Bianca Belair's breakout year in WWE was recognized Thursday, as Pro Wrestling Illustrated officially placed her No. 1 in the PWI Women's 150 rankings for 2021.
PWI (Pro Wrestling Illustrated) @OfficialPWI
BREAKING: As revealed by PWI Contributing Writer <a href="https://twitter.com/KristenAshly?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KristenAshly</a> on the latest episode of <a href="https://twitter.com/ReneePaquette?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ReneePaquette</a>'s Oral Sessions, WWE superstar <a href="https://twitter.com/BiancaBelairWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BiancaBelairWWE</a> is the #1 ranked wrestler in this year’s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Womens150?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Womens150</a>.<br><br>See the full top 5 here: <a href="https://t.co/4f6xtB5lww">https://t.co/4f6xtB5lww</a> <a href="https://t.co/NH8ofv1Nx6">pic.twitter.com/NH8ofv1Nx6</a>
PWI began ranking the top men's wrestlers in the world in 1991 with the PWI 500, and it introduced the PWI Female 50 in 2008, which eventually became the Women's 100 and expanded to the Women's 150 this year.
The top five in the 2021 PWI Women's 150 is as follows:
1. Bianca Belair (WWE)
2. Utami Hayashishita (Stardom)
3. Deonna Purrazzo (Impact Wrestling)
4. Britt Baker (AEW)
5. Thunder Rosa (AEW)
Belair had a year to remember, as she went from an NXT call-up with a ton of promise to one of the biggest stars in women's wrestling.
The EST truly broke out in January when she won the 2021 Women's Royal Rumble match to earn a Women's Championship bout at WrestleMania 37.
Belair went on to challenge Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women's title in a match that main evented Night 1 of WrestleMania 37. Belair prevailed in an instant classic, marking her first title win of any kind in WWE.
The 23-year-old Hayashishita may not be well known to most American fans, but she is a standout in the Japanese Stardom promotion where she is the reigning World of Stardom champion.
Purrazzo is a former WWE Superstar who found enormous success in Impact Wrestling after her WWE run fell well below expectations.
The 27-year-old native of New Jersey is the reigning Impact Knockouts champion and AAA Reina de Reinas champion, beating Faby Apache for the title at Triplemania XXIX in August.
Purrazzo has held the Impact Knockouts Championship for nearly one year, making her the second-longest-reigning champion of all time behind only Taya Valkyrie's reign of 377 days.
The final two spots in the PWI Women's top five are occupied by AEW stars in Baker and Rosa. It is fitting that they are connected on the list since their unsanctioned lights-out match in March is considered the best women's match in AEW history and one of the best in all of wrestling over the past year.
Baker has been the AEW Women's World champion since May, when she beat Hikaru Shida for the title at Double or Nothing.
With Belair taking the top spot, WWE has had the No. 1 wrestler in the PWI Women's rankings in each of the past eight years.
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