Debate, divergence, and anticipation – this sums up the wrestling fans’ central response to the annual Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 list. A yearly tradition that has wrestling aficionados, professional grapplers, and industry experts anxiously awaiting the top rankings.
However, many question the methodology behind these high-profile placements. Well, here’s the inside scoop directly from the core of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. During an interview with Busted Open Radio, Al Castle, a pivotal figure in the PWI team, publicised their selection process, asserting that it was not merely about ring prowess.
Refuting any speculations that the rankings are an outcome of personal bias, he stated, “This isn’t meant as a slight, like ‘this guy sucks, and this guy’s really good’ or anything like that.”
The process instead prioritises the strength of opponents a wrestler has tussled with and their comparative position on the fight card. Castle pointed out, “It means more to beat a Drew McIntyre than it does to beat an Akira Tozawa. So that’s essentially what we’re talking about when we’re talking about quality of competition.”
A clear testament to this process is seen in the dominance of WWE champions in the rankings. This year, WWE’s Seth Rollins secured the coveted top spot, outdoing the rest, closely followed by Roman Reigns at the number two position.
To shed light on this decision, Castle added, “Seth won his World Title relatively late in the evaluation period and in that time, defended it more than both Roman and MJF.”
Castle lauded Rollins as the industry’s workhorse, giving him top ratings in multiple categories, including technical ability, influence, and fulfilling competition.
This revelation should not only educate wrestling fans on the complexities behind these rankings but also dispel notions of partiality, presenting this list as an acknowledgment of wrestlers’ strategic victories and sheer determination.