The new PWI 500 for 2021 has been announced by Pro Wrestling Illustrated with AEW World Champion Kenny Omega topping the charts at number one.
The PWI 500 is a rundown of the top 500 wrestlers over the course of a year and has been an integral part of the wrestling business since the first edition of it in 1991. On that occasion – perhaps not surprisingly – Hulk Hogan came in at number one ahead of Lex Luger.
Kenny Omega won the AEW World Championship in December of 2020 by defeating the man who topped the PWI 500 list in 2020, Jon Moxley. Since then Omega has defended the title six times including for the first time outside the confines of AEW at IMPACT Wrestling’s Rebellion pay-per-view. After defeating Christian Cage in the main event of All Out, Kenny Omega can also boast of being the longest-reigning AEW World Champion in the company’s short history.
It is not the first time The Best Bout Machine has topped the PWI 500 list, as he did so previously in 2018. In that year, Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada in a Two Out Of Three Falls match that lasted over an hour to finally capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
In the PWI 500, Omega has pipped WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns to the top spot with The Tribal Chief having to settle for second place. Reigns has had a banner year since returning at SummerSlam in 2020 and aligning himself with Paul Heyman and The Usos. Reigns has become the longest-reigning Universal Champion in WWE history with a reign that now stretches over one year.
Third place went to WWE Champion Bobby Lashley who has been dominant since capturing the title from The Miz in March. In fourth place was the man who held the WWE Title for most of the latter half of 2020 and who fell in his challenge for Lashley’s title at WrestleMania 37, Drew McIntyre. Fifth place then fell to the man who combined the IWGP Heavyweight Title and the IWGP Intercontinental Title into the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Kota Ibushi.
Jon Moxley was in sixth place with the rest of the top ten rounded out by stars who did not make the top ten in 2020 with Will Ospreay, Finn Balor, Shingo Takagi, and Rich Swann all making the top ten.