PWI 500: 2010 Who is number 1?

Pro Wrestling Illustrated has been one of the leading wrestling magazines for over 30 years. For the past 20 years they have released an annual list every summer of the top 500 wrestlers in the world. The PWI 500 year runs from June to June, and is voted on by various staff members of PWI. The magazine still tries to maintain kayfabe so deciding factors are win-loss records, title runs, quality of opponents etc. The only odd year was 1997 when they picked #1 based purely on wrestling talent, the award went to Dean Malenko that year.

Wrestlers who have ranked #1 in Previous years include Hulk Hogan, Sting, Bret Hart, Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Dean Malenko, Steve Austin, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, Batista John Cena, and Randy Orton.

There are only four guys who have topped the list twice:  Triple H, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and John Cena.

The WWF/E has dominated the top spot in the PWI rankings.  Only twice has a wrestler from another company captured the #1 ranking, Sting in 1992 and Dean Malenko 1997. When WWE bought out out WCW in 2001 they solidified their hold on the top spot, because while International wrestlers often rank in the top 5, never has one grabbed that top spot — and honestly probably never will in a primarily American publication.

In 2010 a wrestler from the WWE will not hold the top spot on the PWI 500. For the first time that wrestler will be from TNA, and for fans who watch on SPIKE TV, it should come as no surprise that wrestler will be AJ Styles.

AJ held the TNA World title for 211 days during the period being reviewed for this years PWI 500. AJ is no stranger to the PWI 500 ranking in the top twenty, 5 of the last 8 years before grabbing the number one spot.

AJ Styles PWI Ranking History
2010 – 1
2009 – 19
2008 – 21
2007 – 32
2006 – 13
2005 –  7
2004 –  8
2003 – 11
2002 –  70

The complete list of this years PWI 500 will be revealed when the issue hits newsstands August 3rd. I will have a follow up article then featuring the entire list, and in depth look at the Top 10. Do you think AJ Styles deserves the spot as top wrestler in the past 12 months? If not feel free to leave a comment below on who you think should be #1.

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