IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada has been named number one in the 27th annual “PWI 500.” This marks the first time a Japanese wrestler has ever been given the top spot by the magazine’s writers and editors.
“What this award signifies is that wrestling fans and media worldwide are thinking about what promotion and what wrestler deserves their attention, and the answer is Okada,” he told Senior Writer Dan Murphy. “It’s an indication that finally the world at large is realizing just how great Japanese wrestlers and Japanese wrestling is, and that’s special.”
“Kenta Kobashi was ranked fourth on three occasions (1996, 2000, and 2004) and Keiji Muto made it to number three (2002), but neither of those all-time greats were able to achieve what Okada did this year,” Murphy noted.
Okada held the IWGP championship throughout the entire evaluation period, July 31, 2016 to June 30, 2017. Okada has been in the “PWI 500’s” top 10 for four of the past five years, including a second-place finish last year.
The “PWI 500” is available for purchase in print and digital formats at pwi-online.com.