Pro Wrestling Illustrated have revealed their top 500 wrestlers for 2017, and coming in at number one is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, ‘The Rainmaker’ Kazuchika Okada.
This is the first time in nearly 30 years that the top spot has gone to a wrestler not based in an American promotion. The ranking could not have come at a better time for New Japan Pro Wrestling who have made big strides this year in making waves with the American market.
PWI said the decision to select Okada as number one was easy, citing him as having the most impressive wrestler of the past 12 months. Not to mention that he has held Japan’s top prize in wrestling throughout that period, alongside a six star match with Kenny Omega.
In response to this accolade, Okada said:
“What this award signifies is that wrestling fans and media worldwide are thinking about what promotion and what wrestler deserves their attention, and the answer is Okada. It’s an indication that finally the world at large is realising just how great Japanese wrestlers and Japanese wrestling is, and that’s special.”
Okada also stated that he has no desire to head to WWE, but does keep an eye on NJPW alumni Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor and AJ Styles.
The full Top Ten are:
1. Kazuchika Okada 2. AJ Styles 3. Kevin Owens 4. Roman Reigns 5. Kenny Omega 6. Shinsuke Nakamura 7. Dean Ambrose 8. Samoa Joe 9. Bobby Roode 10. The Miz
Do you agree with the top ten? Is there anyone else that should have made the list?
Let us know in the comments.
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