Kenny Omega is the current AEW World Champion and has firmly established himself as the top star in the company. The Cleaner has added another accolade to his list of accomplishments by being named the #1 wrestler in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500. The 31st annual PWI 500 is a compilation of the best wrestlers in the world that accounts for their kayfabe success and in-ring work.
Joining Omega in the top ten were WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns at #2, WWE Champion Bobby Lashley at #3, Drew McIntyre at #4, Kota Ibushi at #5, Jon Moxley at #6, Will Ospreay at #7, Finn Balor at #8, IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi at #9, and Rich Swann at #10.
Omega earned the #1 spot due to a variety of reasons. Many fans will argue for a few of the top ten members being over "The Belt Collector," but there are some undeniable factors at play as to why he has this honor. In this article, let's take a look at the five reasons why Kenny Omega is the #1 wrestler in the PWI 500.
#5 Kenny Omega as AEW World Champion was on top of the company during their most successful period so far
Omega beat Sonny Kiss, Penta El Zero Miedo and Hangman Page in the World Title Eliminator Tournament to earn his shot at the AEW World Championship. The Cleaner then defeated Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship on December 2nd, 2020 episode of AEW Dynamite entitled "Winter Is Coming".
That night, Omega aligned with IMPACT EVP Don Callis, who helped him to victory. It completed his slow-burn heel turn, which led to him making appearances for IMPACT Wrestling. The Winter Is Coming special was a huge ratings success that bled over into 2021. This year, AEW officially won the Wednesday Night War when WWE NXT moved nights to Tuesdays.
Immediately after NXT's move, AEW Dynamite consistently earned over one million viewers with Omega as the AEW World Champion. The company has been surging and growing in visibility, which has only helped Omega's case for being the best wrestler of the year.
To further cement this case, Omega headlined the biggest pay-per-view buyrate for All Elite Wrestling at Revolution 2021 against Moxley in the Exploding Barbwire Death Match. Being the top star and AEW World Champion during this rise for the company has allowed Omega to be viewed in the upper echelon of the industry.