Pro Wrestling Illustrated released its annual PWI Women's 150 rankings on Thursday, celebrating the top 150 women in the professional wrestling industry. WWE's Bianca Belair took home the top spot on this year's rankings, thanks to her 2021 Women's Royal Rumble victory, her outstanding WrestleMania 37 main event match with Sasha Banks and her various title defenses while leading SmackDown's Women's Division. The rest of the top 10 consisted of Utami Hayashishita, Deonna Purrazzo, Dr. Britt Baker, Thunder Rosa, Sasha Banks, Siri, Io Shirai, Tam Nakano and Raquel Gonzalez.
WWE has consistently dominated PWI's women's rankings since the list was first introduced in 2008 as the Female 50. Since 2014 the ranking's top spot has gone to Paige, Nikki Bella, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Bayley. Belair was ranked No. 23 last year but saw her stock skyrocket following her Rumble win. She'll challenge Lynch and Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women's Championship at the Crown Jewel pay-per-view later today.
BREAKING: As revealed by PWI Contributing Writer @KristenAshly on the latest episode of @ReneePaquette's Oral Sessions, WWE superstar @BiancaBelairWWE is the #1 ranked wrestler in this year’s #Womens150.— PWI (Pro Wrestling Illustrated) (@OfficialPWI) October 21, 2021
See the full top 5 here: https://t.co/4f6xtB5lww pic.twitter.com/NH8ofv1Nx6
Imagine still calling me a “rookie” and then having to get in the ring with me. 👊🏾💋#ESTofWWE— Bianca Belair (@BiancaBelairWWE) October 21, 2021
Ready for this moment at #CrownJewel with @SashaBanksWWE & @BeckyLynchWWE
And I’m ready to walk out as #SmackDown Women’s Champion!
Belair's title reign came to an abrupt end at SummerSlam when Lynch made her return, challenged her to an impromptu title match and turned heel to beat her in less than 30 seconds. Their rematch at Extreme Rules was thrown out last month when Banks interfered. "The EST" recently revealed in an interview with Inside The Ropes that the decision for her to drop the title was incredibly last-minute.
"It was pretty much very, very, very, very, very last minute. Pretty much when I was in the ring up - until the time that I went out [to the ring]. Very late call, very late moment, everything, all the emotions that you saw in my face during the match at SummerSlam, were real emotions, shock. Kind of just like, 'Wow, this is happening. Ok, let's go with it and just be great at what you do.' So it was a very, very last minute call," Belair said.
"But for me, I think I've been able to come out on top of it all by just recovering so quickly," she added. "And I think my journey, everything has been coming so quickly and I've just been capitalizing off of it and rising to the occasion and continue to build my reputation as someone who is always dependable and shows up and shows out and puts on a great show and performs and you know, I have a reputation being great at what I do. But I think coming out of this, most people would see me getting beat in twenty-six seconds [and think] 'oh no, it's the end of her.' But I think it's kind of showing how much the fans are behind me, how much I really am the EST. I'm not going to give up and whenever I see an occasion keep going. So I think it's a great story. Great feud with Becky and you know when and if - I will say when I get my title back - it's going to be an even bigger moment for me."