The 2022 Golden Issue Award for Best Rising Star

Multiple names from across the world of professional wrestling had career years in 2022. AEW‘s Chris Jericho reinvented himself once more, forming the Jericho Appreciation Society and reigning as Ring of Honor World Champion. WWE’s Sheamus experienced a wrestling renaissance, putting on banger after banger against the likes of Gunther and Drew McIntyre. While those two in-ring veterans resurged themselves to superstardom, plenty of newcomers were given the opportunity to perform on a global stage, and it’s safe to say these nominees for’s Golden Issue Award for Best Rising Star proved that they are not going anywhere.

NXT standout Carmelo Hayes spent the majority of 2022 reigning as the NXT North American Champion, establishing the midcard strap as the “A Title” on the white and yellow brand. Another NXT nominee comes in the form of Roxanne Perez, as The Prodigy wowed with her feud against former friend Cora Jade and capped off the year by ending Mandy Rose’s lengthy NXT Women’s Title reign. AEW’s Jamie Hayter has been wrestling since 2015, but 2022 saw her burst onto a western stage as she rode her groundswelling fan support to an AEW Women’s Title victory to close out the year. Fellow AEW star Hook’s true rookie year came in 2022, as his undefeated run has led him to an FTW Championship victory. Wardlow finally broke free of MJF’s chains, handing his former associate a rare loss at AEW Double or Nothing and capturing the AEW TNT Championship shortly after.

And the winner of the 2022 Golden Issue Award for Best Rising Star is…

(Photo: AEW)

AEW Women’s Champion Jamie Hayter!

The Hayter fans see today is night and day compared to the Hayter two years ago. While she had a couple of AEW matches in 2019, she spent most of the early months of 2020 in Stardom, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With many promotions closing their doors during the time, Hayter found herself couch-surfing at friends’ houses, unsure if she would ever wrestle again.

In August 2021, Hayter was brought back to AEW to stand alongside then-AEW Women’s Champion Dr. Britt Baker DMD as the titleholder’s muscle. She would still wrestle, but rarely was given the opportunity to shine on her own. Slowly but surely, chants of “Jamie Hayter!” echoed throughout AEW arenas across the country, progressively getting louder and louder. That fan support carried Hayter to title opportunities in the fall, with the Southampton native eventually capturing the AEW Women’s Title this past November at AEW Full Gear.

Congrats to Hayter on her victory!


The full list of nominees for Best Rising Star are…

  1. Carmelo Hayes

  2. Jamie Hayter – WINNER

  3. HOOK

  4. Roxanne Perez

  5. Wardlow