The Featherstone Files: 2017 PWI Top 500 – Who Benefited the Most and the Least?

Chris Featherstone
Photo Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi

Photo Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi

The latest edition of the PWI Top 500 was released, with a great amount of controversy. This year, IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada topped the list, staking the claim of truly being the “Best in the World.” This achievement was unique, as Okada is the first Japanese star who has ever reached number one.

Names such as Mitsuharu Misawa (#2 in 1997), Kenta Kobashi (#4 in 2000), Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta; #3 in 2002), Satoshi Kojima (#3 in 2005), Takashi Sugiura (#5 in 2011), Hiroshi Tanahashi (#3 in 2013), and Shinsuke Nakamura (#5 in 2015) all reached their respective peaks without claiming the number one spot.

Okada is well deserved of this achievement, as he had proven to be the best wrestler in the world. Along with his 60, 45, and 30-minutes matches with Kenny Omega, each being a worthy Match of the Year candidate, his ability to use his storytelling skills to put both him and his opponents over is an amazing display of old school wrestling, which legendary names such as Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and Randy Savage perfected.

One of the most controversial top five choices was Kevin Owens. While his resume is impressive, winning both the Universal Championship and the United States Championship, his forward progress has not been very strong in 2017. Owens voted as the third best wrestler in the world draws a bit of heat, especially from the few names below him. Namely, Kenny Omega.

Another name that people have told me should not be in the top 10 is Dean Ambrose. Number 8 is indeed a bit high, seemingly. However, he was the WWE Champion, as well as the Intercontinental Champion. His current Raw Tag Team Championship reign had no impact on his ranking, seeing how it was most likely determined before SummerSlam. Sadly, Ambrose is suffering from the same complex as Owens, as his character from a solo perspective has not gained much steam. Thankfully, for Ambrose, this tag team with Rollins is positive momentum.

Bobby Roode jumped 61 spots from last year at #9. There is only one word that best describes this… GLORIOUS.

The Miz jumped 12 spots to place at 10. This is a good placement for Miz, as he has truly had one of his best years of his career. Although the Miztourage is not as over as WWE may have hoped, at least Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas both have spots that they certainly would not gain by being singles competitors. Moreover, Miz’s Intercontinental Championship run was a feature on SmackDown Live for a number of months.

Other notable recognition include Neville having his best spot by jumping 55 places to 11 due to his amazing cruiserweight run, Christopher Daniels jumping 69 spots to 17 due to his ROH World Championship run, Eddie Edwards jumping 54 spots to 27 due to winning the Impact Wrestling World Championship, Pete Dunne jumping an impressive 367 spots to 29 as well as Tyler Bate from not being on the list to #50 due to their WWE UK impact.

Here are a few others:

  • Hiromu Takahashi jumping 221 spots to 48 due to his IWGP Junior Heavyweight run
  • Yamato jumping 134 spots to 47 due to his Dragon Gate run
  • Moose jumping 49 spots to 55 due to his Impact Wrestling tenure, Grand Championship
  • Rich Swann jumping 80 spots to 56 due to his late-2016 cruiserweight run
  • Brian Kendrick jumping 104 spots to 64 due to him cruiserweight run
  • Bad Luck Fale jumping 181 spots to 71 due to ascending to the main event in NJPW

On the other hand, Jinder Mahal was still ranked only 30 after holding the WWE Championship (and being the current champion), Jay Lethal dropped 47 spots to 52 – mainly because last year was arguably the best year of his career, Roderick Strong dropped 76 spots to 89 due to getting accustomed to NXT, and Ryback dropped 97 spots to 128 due to his WWE departure.

205 Live has not proved to be upward movement for Cedric Alexander, and he dropped 90 spots to 206. This also proves true for Tony Nese, as he dropped 94 spots to 231.


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