Pro Wrestling Illustrated

Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) is an American produced, internationally sold professional wrestling magazine that was founded in 1979. PWI is headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and published by Kappa Publishing Group. The magazine is the longest currently published English language wrestling magazine. The PWI publishes monthly issues and annual special issues such as their "Almanac and Book of Facts".

Pro Wrestling Illustrated
Daniel Bryan on the March 2014 cover
PublisherStu Saks
CategoriesSports
FrequencyMonthly
PublisherKappa Publishing Group
First issueSeptember 1979
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Websitewww.pwi-online.com
ISSN1043-7576

PWI is often referred to as an "Apter Mag", named after its long time publisher Bill Apter, a term used for wrestling magazines that keep kayfabe. In recent years, the PWI has moved away from reporting on storylines as actual news and mixed in editorial comments on the behind the scenes workings.

Each year since 1991, PWI publishes every year their "Top 500 Wrestlers" in the world list; since 2008, they also publish a "Top 100 Female wrestlers" list.

History

The first issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated was released in 1979. The magazine soon became known for not breaking kayfabe in its articles as it traditionally treated all "angles", or storylines, as real. However, in more recent years the magazine has taken an editorial approach between kayfabe and "shoot" writing, differentiating between on-screen feuds and controversies behind the scenes. PWI is not limited to covering only prominent professional wrestling promotions, as it also covers multiple independent promotions in the United States. PWI also publishes other special issues, which include: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts since 1996, Women of Wrestling and a weekly newsletter entitled PWI Weekly from 1989 to 2000. It was eventually acquired by Golden Boy Enterprises.

PWI has given out annual awards and recognitions since its inception. These awards had previously been given out by another Victory Sports Magazine property, Sports Review Wrestling. PWI has also given out monthly rankings for the big promotions, some select independents, and an overall rankings in singles and tag teams. Additionally, readers are given the ability vote for the winners of the year-end awards with ballots being included in special year-end issues. A special PWI Awards magazine is issued annually, which reveals winners and the number of votes counted. The following is a list of categories in which PWI has issued awards.

PWI world championship status

Historical recognition

Although many wrestling organisations promote their lead title as a World Heavyweight Championship, PWI has only recognised two or three top versions as valid World titles at any one time. With regard to the NWA World Heavyweight championship, PWI has generally recognised the lineage retrospectively traced by the NWA from its 1948 formation back to Georg Hackenschmidt in 1905.[1] PWI has also recognised any tag team title corresponding to a recognised World title as a World Tag Team Championship.

Until March 1991, Pro Wrestling Illustrated and its sister publications steadfastly referred to WCW as "the NWA" despite WCW having increasingly phased out the latter name in the preceding months. In Spring 1991, the family of magazines adopted a new policy of referring to the current promotion and its champions as WCW and the promotion's pre-1991 past as the NWA. The magazine also announced it would refer to the overall history of the World title as the "NWA/WCW World Championship" (and likewise with other WCW championships).[2]

Subsequently, after Ric Flair left WCW and was stripped of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in July 1991, PWI and its sister publications nonetheless continued to recognise the WCW title as held by Lex Luger, Sting, Vader and Ron Simmons as the rightful continuation of the historic NWA World Heavyweight Championship. When Masa Chono won an NWA World title tournament in Japan in July 1992, PWI and its sister publications only recognised Chono's title as the "NWA Championship" and rejected it as a World title or as a continuation of the historic NWA World title.[3]

In 1983 Pro Wrestling Illustrated withdrew world title recognition from the WWF, citing how champion Bob Backlund was not facing contenders from outside the WWF territory and furthermore was only facing rulebreakers.[4] This coincided with the WWF's withdrawal from the NWA in summer 1983. PWI reinstated world title recognition in 1985[5] on account of the WWF's massive mainstream media profile.

The AWA was stripped of world title recognition in January 1991 when the promotion was in its final months.[6] By this time, the AWA World Heavyweight Championship was vacant and would remain so until the promotion's closure in August that year.[7] ECW was finally granted world title status in 1999 only for the promotion to close the following year.

Current retrospective recognition

As of August 21, 2016, only the WWE Championship and WWE Universal Championship are currently recognized by the magazine's present editors as having been world titles.[8][9]

ChampionshipsDates
NWA World Heavyweight Championship July 14, 1948 – January 11, 1991;
May 8, 2006 – May 13, 2007
AWA World Heavyweight Championship August 16, 1960 – December 12, 1990
WWWF/WWF/WWE Championship April 25, 1963 – present
WCW World Heavyweight Championship January 11, 1991 – March 26, 2001
ECW World Heavyweight Championship July 6, 1999 – April 11, 2001
World Heavyweight Championship (WWE) September 2, 2002 – December 15, 2013
TNA World Heavyweight Championship May 13, 2007 – June 29, 2015[10]
WWE Universal Championship August 21, 2016 – present

According to the latest PWI almanac, PWI also recognizes select world title reigns from May 4, 1905 – January 28, 1946, prior to the formation of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in July 1948.

PWI 500

PWI has published the list of the top 500 professional wrestlers each year since 1991 in an annual special edition magazine, the PWI 500. PWI writers choose the position of the wrestler following a designated evaluation period starting from mid-June; anything a wrestler accomplished before or after that period is not considered. They follow a criterion that includes win-loss record, championships won, quality of competition, major feuds, prominence within a wrestler's individual promotion(s) and overall wrestling ability.[11][12] As of 2018, only Jushin Thunder Liger has appeared in every edition of the PWI 500.[13] In 1993, Miss Texas (Jacqueline Moore) was the first woman to be ranked in the list at No. 249. Since 2008 men and women have their separate lists.

Year 12345678910
1991[14]Hulk HoganLex LugerRic FlairRandy SavageStingScott SteinerRicky SteamboatSteve WilliamsArn AndersonRick Steiner
1992[15]StingRandy SavageRick RudeBret HartRicky SteamboatJerry LawlerScott SteinerThe Ultimate WarriorStunning Steve Austin
1993[16]Bret HartBig Van VaderShawn MichaelsStingYokozunaRic FlairLex LugerRick RudeMr. PerfectScott Steiner
1994[17]Hulk HoganRic FlairBig Van VaderShawn MichaelsStunning Steve AustinRazor RamonStingRicky SteamboatOwen Hart
1995[18]DieselShawn MichaelsStingBret HartSabuHulk HoganBig Van VaderRandy SavageRazor RamonMitsuharu Misawa
1996[19]Shawn MichaelsThe GiantKenta KobashiAhmed JohnsonKevin NashRey Misterio, Jr.Hulk HoganSabuRic Flair
1997[20]Dean MalenkoMitsuharu MisawaStone Cold Steve AustinDiamond Dallas PageLex LugerThe UndertakerShinya HashimotoThe GiantJushin Thunder LigerChris Benoit
1998[21]Stone Cold Steve AustinGoldbergMitsuharu MisawaThe UndertakerKenta KobashiBooker TKen ShamrockChris Jericho
1999[22]Rob Van DamRey Misterio, Jr.The RockDiamond Dallas PageKeiji MutohThe UndertakerGoldbergTaz
2000[23]Triple HThe RockChris BenoitKenta KobashiJeff JarrettJustin CredibleMike AwesomeJushin Thunder LigerChris JerichoKensuke Sasaki
2001[24]Kurt AngleStone Cold Steve AustinKeiji MutohBooker TTriple HScott SteinerMitsuharu MisawaRhyno
2002[25]Rob Van DamThe UndertakerKeiji MutohChris JerichoEddie GuerreroKurt AngleEdgeYuji NagataThe RockTriple H
2003[26]Brock LesnarTriple HKurt AngleKeiji MutohChris JerichoBig ShowBooker TKenta KobashiEddie GuerreroRob Van Dam
2004[27]Chris BenoitEddie GuerreroTriple HKenta KobashiRandy OrtonToshiaki KawadaJohn CenaA.J. StylesShawn MichaelsChris Jericho
2005[28]BatistaJohn CenaSatoshi KojimaTriple HJohn Bradshaw LayfieldKurt AngleA.J. StylesEdgeShelton BenjaminHiroyoshi Tenzan
2006[29]John CenaKurt AngleEdgeSamoa JoeMísticoRey MysterioBrock LesnarKenta KobashiShawn MichaelsJeff Jarrett
2007[30]EdgeMísticoKurt AngleThe UndertakerShawn MichaelsChristian CagePerro Aguayo, Jr.Bobby LashleyTakeshi Morishima
2008[31]Randy OrtonKurt AngleTriple HSamoa JoeEdgeThe UndertakerShawn MichaelsNigel McGuinnessJohn CenaShinsuke Nakamura
2009[32]Triple HChris JerichoJohn CenaEdgeRandy OrtonNigel McGuinnessHiroshi TanahashiCM PunkStingÚltimo Guerrero
2010[33]A.J. StylesJohn CenaCM PunkRandy OrtonChris JerichoBatistaShinsuke NakamuraThe UndertakerKurt AngleSheamus
2011[34]The MizRandy OrtonJohn CenaKaneTakashi SugiuraAlberto Del RioMr. AndersonRey MysterioEddie EdwardsCM Punk
2012[35]CM PunkBobby RoodeDaniel BryanSheamusJun AkiyamaDavey RichardsKurt AngleMark HenryAlberto Del Rio
2013[36]John CenaCM PunkHiroshi TanahashiBully RayKazuchika OkadaSheamusJeff HardyAlberto Del RioDolph ZigglerKevin Steen
2014[37]Daniel BryanRandy OrtonJohn CenaA.J. StylesBray WyattRoman ReignsMagnusAdam ColeBully Ray
2015[38]Seth RollinsJohn CenaA.J. StylesRoman ReignsShinsuke NakamuraRandy OrtonJay BriscoeRusevAlberto El PatrónKevin Owens
2016[39]Roman ReignsKazuchika OkadaFinn BálorA.J. StylesJay LethalKevin OwensShinsuke NakamuraSeth RollinsDean AmbroseJohn Cena
2017[40]Kazuchika OkadaA.J. StylesKevin OwensRoman ReignsKenny OmegaShinsuke NakamuraSamoa JoeDean AmbroseBobby RoodeThe Miz
2018[41]Kenny OmegaKazuchika OkadaBrock LesnarSeth RollinsBraun StrowmanRoman ReignsCody RhodesTetsuya Naito
2019[42] Seth RollinsDaniel BryanA.J. StylesKofi KingstonKazuchika OkadaJohnny GarganoKenny OmegaHiroshi TanahashiWill Ospreay

PWI Women's 100

PWI has published a list of the top female professional wrestlers each year since 2008 in a special edition magazine, the Women's 100 (formerly known as Female 50). Like the list of male professional wrestlers, PWI writers choose the position of the wrestler following a designated evaluation period starting from mid-June; anything a wrestler accomplished before or after that period is not considered. In 2018, after ten years of the list including 50 wrestlers, it was expanded to 100, and renamed from Female 50 to Women's 100.[43]

Year 12345678910
2008[44]Awesome KongBeth PhoenixGail KimMickie JamesMsChifSara Del ReyRoxxi LaveauxMelinaMichelle McCoolCandice Michelle
2009[45]Mickie JamesAngelina LoveMelinaMsChifTaraAwesome KongBeth PhoenixMichelle McCoolMaryseTaylor Wilde
2010[46]Michelle McCoolMercedes MartinezCheerleader MelissaEve TorresMadison RayneMickie JamesMsChifMaryse
2011[47]Madison EaglesMercedes MartinezMickie JamesNatalyaMadison RayneCheerleader MelissaTaraSara Del Rey
2012[48]Gail KimBeth PhoenixCheerleader MelissaSara Del ReyJessicka HavokLaylaMiss TessmacherSaraya KnightMercedes MartinezTara
2013[49]Cheerleader MelissaMickie JamesSaraya KnightJessicka HavokKaitlynGail KimKacee CarlisleTaraAJ LeeMercedes Martinez
2014[50]PaigeAJ LeeGail KimCheerleader MelissaLuFistoAngelina LoveIvelisse VelezCourtney RushNatalyaCharlotte
2015[51]Nikki BellaPaigeSasha BanksSantana GarrettGail KimCharlotteNaomiCherry BombCourtney RushTaryn Terrell
2016[52]CharlotteSasha BanksAsukaBecky LynchBayleyJadeNatalyaGail KimSexy StarSienna
2017[53]AsukaCharlotte FlairAlexa BlissSasha BanksIo ShiraiSiennaNaomiKairi Sane
2018[54]Ronda RouseyAlexa BlissCharlotte FlairIo ShiraiAsukaShayna BaszlerCarmellaNia JaxMayu Iwatani
2019[55]Becky LynchCharlotte FlairRonda RouseyShayna BaszlerTessa BlanchardBayleyNatalyaIo ShiraiMercedes MartinezNicole Savoy

See also

References

  1. "The NWA was formed in 1948 but the NWA World Heavyweight championship is traditionally traced back to the World Heavyweight Championship that was created in 1905." = WWF vs NWA: Who's Better? Pro Wrestling Illustrated January 1991
  2. Editorial, Wrestling '91, Spring 1991 edition
  3. "The NWA World champion became the WCW World champion when the federation changed initials ... The initials may have changed, but Ron Simmons wears the same belt (figuratively, at least) in 1992 that Lou Thesz wore in 1952. Given that, Chono cannot be considered the NWA World champion in the historical sense ... We'll call him NWA champion because that is the title he won. But this article will be the last time we'll call him NWA World champion"
    – "Who Needs The Confusion? Why Reviving The NWA Title Was A Bad Idea." Inside Wrestling December 1992 edition, pages 38–41
  4. Item: "Those Samoans Are Tough – Especially The Fourteenth Time!" 1983 Year In Review. Pro Wrestling Illustrated March 1984
  5. "1985 ... July 2: Pro Wrestling Illustrated reinstates world title recognition for the WWF heavyweight title after more than two years of viewing it as a regional championship." Wrestling History, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Online, retrieved March 14, 2018
  6. Pro Wrestling Illustrated strips the AWA of World Title Recognition – Pro Wrestling Illustrated May 1991
  7. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/awa/awa-h.html
  8. "The New PWI". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  9. "PWI Will No Longer Recognize TNA World Heavyweight Championship". wrestlingnewsworld.com. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  10. "PWI Online". wrestlinginc.com. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  11. "PWI 500: 1–100". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  12. http://www.diva-dirt.com/152283/pwi-responds-womens-100-reactions/
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  36. "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2013". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
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  38. "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2015". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
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  40. "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  41. "PWI 500 2018: Kenny Omega is the second straight non-WWE wrestler named #1 in the world". Cageside Seats. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  42. Lambert, Jeremy (August 29, 2019). "Seth Rollins Tops Annual PWI 500". Fightful. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  43. "Various News: PWI Female 50 Expanding to 100, Mikey Whipwreck Partners With Indy Promotion". 411 Mania. August 9, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
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  52. "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) Female 50 for 2016". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
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  • 2005 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts.
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