Okada Breaks The Mold - First Japanese Wrestler To Be Named Best In The World

Jabroni Journal

August 31, 2017

For the past 27 years, Pro Wrestling Illustrated has published a yearly list of the Top 500 wrestlers across the globe. Growing up, this magazine was practically a Bible for me. At first, I would make sure all my favorites were somewhere in the top 50, but considering the fact that this was in the days before Wikipedia and YouTube, I would later go back and study some of the lesser known names and rising stars to make sure I knew who to keep my eye on. 

The magazine takes the wrestlers win-loss record from the past year into account and also takes a look at the major storylines and title matches they were involved in. Historically, it has always been heavy with WWE talent, as they are the most well-known company with some of the best wrestlers in the world. The #1 ranked wrestlers for the past five years have been Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, John Cena and C.M. Punk. 

But 2017 is different. Much different. This is the first year that a Japanese wrestler has been ran ked #1 on the PWI 500. It’s no secret that Kazuchika Okada has had a monster of a year. As IWGP Heavyweight Champion in one of the world’s most prestigious wrestling companies – New Japan Pro Wrestling – Okada has raised the bar. He is wrestling on a whole new level. While we as fans understand this, it’s a totally different thing for a publication like PWI to recognize this and break the mold – showing that you don’t need to wrestle for the WWE to be the best wrestler in the world. 

If you’re looking for a place to start with Okada, just check out these clips from the epic match he had against Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 11 this past January.