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PWI 500 acknowledges Roman Reigns as #1

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 9 Photo by: Todd Owyoung/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The 32nd annual PWI 500 - Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s (mostly) kayfabe ranking of the 500 best wrestlers in the world - is here.

For the first time since 2019, a WWE talent tops the list. Roman Reigns is number one on the PWI 500. He moves up from second place last year. And like last year’s winner Kenny Omega, this is Roman’s second time in first place. He was PWI’s top ranked wrestler back in 2016, too.

According to the magazine, each PWI 500 covers the period from July 1 of the previous year to June 30 of the current one. Selectors weigh win-loss record, technical ability, influence on the sport, success against the highest grade of competition, success against the most diverse competition, and activity. I call it “(mostly) kayfabe” because “influence on the sport” gives them some room to consider non-work elements of a person’s career... and because I personally believe some thought is understandably given to their own shoot business, e.g. what will sell magazines. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Because even more than honoring some talented folks who’ve had amazing runs over the past 12 or so months, the point of the PWI 500 is to give fans something to debate. And giving Reigns the nod over Kazuchika Okada and CM Punk - or not even having Jon Moxley (12th), Seth Rollins (17th), or Will Ospreay (27th) in the top ten - is certainly going to lead to a few arguments.

Since the ranking is largely based on storyline accomplishments, it’s hard to argue against the guy setting a record with his run with the Universal title while also holding the WWE championship since WrestleMania 38. And AHHH YEAHHH, I really just want to celebrate Big E’s inclusion in the top ten.

Here that is:

1. Roman Reigns
2. Kazuchika Okada
3. CM Punk
4. Hangman Page
5. Bobby Lashley
6. Cody Rhodes
7. Bryan Danielson
8. El Hijo del Vikingo
9. Big E
10. Jonathan Gresham

It’s a fun debate, so let it begin!

You can purchase a digital or print copy of the December issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated dedicated to the 32nd PWI 500 here.

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