The PWI 500 and The Ring Posts 20
You have to give credit to the people who work for Pro Wrestling Illustrated. In the era of insider Web sites and newsletters, the mostly kayfabe magazine is still around and still relevant.
A subscriber to several of the family of magazines that came to be known as “Apter mags” (named after famous wrestling writer Bill Apter) when I was a teenager, I still get the PWI Wrestling Almanac and Book of Facts every year, as well as the PWI 500 and year-end awards issues.
The PWI 500, which is out on newsstands, is always fun to read. For the uninitiated, the magazine ranks the top 500 stars in wrestling. The rankings are based on how wrestlers fared over the past year (basically last summer to this summer).
Randy Orton beat out Kurt Angle for the top spot in the 500. Rounding out the top 10 are Triple H, Samoa Joe, Edge, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Nigel McGuinness (Ring of Honor), John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura (New Japan Pro Wrestling).
In the spirit of the PWI 500, I decided to come up with my own rankings. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of attempting to compile a list as comprehensive as PWI’s. The best I can muster is a top 20.
I based my list on the same criteria used by PWI: overall accomplishments during the past year, titles won, quality of opposition, quantity and quality of promotions worked, overall talent and spot on the card (in addition, PWI said it also took into consideration “other factors,” but there were no specifics). I also took durability into account.
You will notice that my list is comprised entirely of WWE and TNA talent. That’s where “quality of opposition” and “quality of promotion” come into play. There is a clear pecking order in wrestling: WWE is No. 1, TNA is No. 2 and Ring of Honor is No. 3. So in my estimation, ranking ROH champion McGuinness ahead of Cena is ludicrous. Like previous ROH champions Samoa Joe and CM Punk, McGuinness might end up being a star in a big promotion someday, but right now he isn’t even on the radar of casual fans. I didn’t consider Japanese or Mexican promotions because I don’t really watch tapes of international promotions.
Just so everyone is clear, this is a kayfabe list, meaning that the rankings are based on wins and losses as if wrestling was legitimate competition and not scripted entertainment.
Here is The Ring Posts 20 (let the arguments begin):
1. TRIPLE H
2. THE UNDERTAKER
3. RANDY ORTON
6. JOHN CENA
7. SHAWN MICHAELS
8. SAMOA JOE
9. KURT ANGLE
10. JEFF HARDY
11. CHRIS JERICHO
13. CHRISTIAN CAGE
14. BOOKER T.
16. A.J. STYLES
18. CM PUNK