Acknowledged. The annual Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 List has cemented Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns in the top spot for the second time. The Tribal Chief previously was ranked No.1 in 2016. While this is only his second time at the top, Reigns has finished within the top seven in every year since 2014, barring 2020 where he finished 14th. It's important to note that even though the PWI 500 is an annual ranking, it does not solely account for a singular calendar year. This particular year's PWI 500 evaluation period lasted from July 1st, 2021 until June 30th, 2022 and took factors like win-loss record, technical ability, success against highest grade of competition and against the most diverse competition, and influence on the sport of professional wrestling.
Reigns reigned as Universal Champion for the entire duration of that evaluation period and had successful defenses against John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and more.
Beyond the Head of the Table, top talent from NJPW, AEW, and AAA round out the top ten.
- Roman Reigns
- Kazuchika Okada
- CM Punk
- Hangman Page
- Bobby Lashley
- Cody Rhodes
- Bryan Danielson
- Big E
- Jonathan Gresham
Notable top ten inclusions like Big E and Cody Rhodes are currently out of action, but during the evaluation period they reigned as WWE Champion and put on five-star matches, respectively. Just outside the top ten is Matt Cardona, who sits at No.13. This is Cardona's highest ranking since 2012, when he clocked in at No.70 as WWE's Zack Ryder.
While Cardona's non-top ten ranking is a massive improvement from his No.297 spot in 2021, some that fell outside of the coveted decimal are considered snubs. The three that stand out are Jon Moxley (12), Seth Rollins (17), and Will Ospreay (27). This is Moxley's first time outside of the top ten since 2019. Mox previously held the top spot in the 2020 rankings. Rollins is also a two-time holder of the PWI 500 top spot in both 2015 and 2019. Even though he fell short of the top ten, Rollins's No.17 finish is an improvement from last year's No. 48. As for Ospreay, this is his lowest finish in the PWI 500 since he began getting ranked in 2016. His highest ranking came last year, where he finished at No.7.0comments