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Kenny Omega, AJ Styles, and Brock Lesnar top the PWI's 500

Ali Akber
661   //    30 Aug 2018, 11:50 IST

Kenny Omega and AJ Styles in NJPW
Kenny Omega and AJ Styles in NJPW

Kenny Omega, who is currently the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, has landed the top spot in this year’s installment of Pro Wrestling Illustrated famed PWI 500 list.

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)’s increased prominence has allowed the company to have its second superstar in consecutive years to top the list in the 28-year history of Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s annual list of the 500 best in pro wrestling. Previously, Kazuchika Okada, the man who Kenny Omega defeated for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, was crowned the number one pro wrestler in the world.

"Not only has Kenny Omega managed to set a new standard for excellence in his matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but he has also captured the imagination of the fans in a way few others wrestlers have been able to do in recent years," said Dan Murphy, who is the Senior Writer for PWI 500. "In a very real way, Kenny Omega embodies 2018 in professional wrestling. His success on his own terms has made him an international phenomenon."

Omega moves up from fifth place on 2017’s PWI 500. AJ Styles who is the current WWE Champion in his second-reign is ranked No. 2 on the list. In August, Styles became the longest-reigning WWE Champion in SmackDown history, surpassing the 280-day record set by John Bradshaw Layfield. He is widely regarded as the best in the business by both fans and fellow wrestlers. 

WWE SummerSlam 2015
Brock Lesnar during SummerSlam 2015

Brock Lesnar has surprisingly taken the No. 4 spot as he’s been a part-time wrestler and has stuck to a handful of wrestling moves as compared to his fellow stars. Brock Lesnar was PWI’s wrestler of the year in 2003. Other WWE wrestlers in the top ten include the current WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins (5), Mr. Monster in the Bank Braun Strowman (6), the current WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns (7) and the “A-lister” The Miz (10).

WWE SummerSlam 2015
The Architect

However, it’s surprising to note that the “King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Dean Ambrose have dropped out of the Top Ten.

The 2018 PWI 500 Top Ten

  1. Kenny Omega
  2. A.J. Styles
  3. Kazuchika Okada
  4. Brock Lesnar
  5. Seth Rollins
  6. Braun Strowman
  7. Roman Reigns
  8. Cody Rhodes
  9. Tetsuya Naito
  10. The Miz

The PWI 500 covers July 31, 2017, to June 30, 2018. The ranking is voted on by the editors and writers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

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