WWE News: Asuka tops PWI Female 50 2017
What's the story?
Unsurprisingly, former NXT Women's Champion Asuka has been awarded the number one position in the 2017 PWI Female 50. Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Bayley round out the top five.
In case you didn't know...
Pro Wrestling Illustrated is an American wrestling magazine that started life in 1972, making it the longest-running English language wrestling magazine still in production. PWI is best known for its adherence to kayfabe, an impressive move when many other media outlets have focused more on the creative side of things.
PWI has published a Top 500 Wrestlers list since 1991, but the publication expanded its annual rankings with a Top 50 Female Wrestlers in 2008. Awesome Kong was the first winner of the award, which has also been won by stars such as Paige, Gail Kim and Mickie James in the years since.
Charlotte Flair won the award in 2016, winning out over Sasha Banks and Asuka.
The heart of the matter
Asuka tops the rankings in 2017, and it is difficult to argue with that positioning. No female in professional wrestling has been booked as strongly as "The Empress of Tomorrow" has in 2017, defeating all comers on her way to a record-breaking run as NXT Women's Champion. Asuka is yet to be defeated since signing with WWE in August 2015.
Charlotte Flair drops to second place in 2017, a surprising ranking considering her relatively quiet year when it comes to championships. Flair lost the RAW Women's Championship to Bayley in February and hasn't won a championship since.
WWE stars dominate the upper echelons of the list, with only Io Shirai and Sienna featuring in the top 10 from outside the biggest wrestling promotion on the planet. Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Bayley fill the top five, with Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane coming in 10th.
The women of WWE will do battle in a five-on-five elimination match at the 2017 Survivor Series, with Alicia Fox (not ranked) and Becky Lynch (19) captaining RAW and SmackDown sides respectively.
As usual, it is difficult to make sense of a PWI ranking list. Asuka at number one makes sense, but how does Charlotte rank above Alexa Bliss? Io Shirai spent a lot of the year out injured, yet she still sits above a number of more successful calendar performers. As with star ratings, it is best not to get too involved in arguing over positioning.
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