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Roman Reigns, Kazuchika Okada, CM Punk Headline 2022 PWI 500 List

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 14, 2022

Roman Reigns celebrates after defeating Bill Goldberg during the 2022 WWE Elimination Chamber at the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on February 19, 2022. (Photo by Amer HILABI / AFP) (Photo by AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images)
AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images

For the second time in his career, undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns is atop the PWI 500.

Pro Wrestling Illustrated released its annual list of the top 500 pro wrestlers in the world on Wednesday, and Reigns paced the field for the first time since 2016:

PWI (Pro Wrestling Illustrated) @OfficialPWI

As just announced on <a href="https://twitter.com/BustedOpenRadio?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BustedOpenRadio</a>, Roman Reigns is again the #1 wrestler in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PWI500?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PWI500</a>. The 32nd annual "500" list is featured in our latest issue, available now for print preorder at <a href="https://t.co/ylNeV87zar">https://t.co/ylNeV87zar</a><br><br>The digital edition is available now at <a href="https://t.co/CBIZbQfbOb">https://t.co/CBIZbQfbOb</a> <a href="https://t.co/XJiDhbbTBR">pic.twitter.com/XJiDhbbTBR</a>

Per Fightful's Jeremy Lambert, the top 10 for the 2022 PWI 500 is as follows:

  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Kazuchika Okada
  3. CM Punk
  4. "Hangman" Adam Page
  5. Bobby Lashley
  6. Cody Rhodes
  7. Bryan Danielson
  8. El Hijo del Vikingo
  9. Big E
  10. Jonathan Gresham

Reigns somewhat controversially finished second on the list to AEW's Kenny Omega last year, with Omega getting the nod because he held world titles in AEW, Impact Wrestling and AAA during the evaluation period.

The evaluation period for the 2022 PWI 500 ran from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, and Reigns was a world champion in WWE for the entirety of that time.

Reigns has surpassed 700 days as universal champion, and at WrestleMania 38 in April, he added the WWE Championship to the fold by defeating Brock Lesnar in the main event.

The PWI 500 is based largely on factors like win-loss record and championship wins, making it difficult to argue against Reigns at No. 1 since he didn't lose a single match of consequence over the course of the year.

Coming in second on the list is New Japan Pro-Wrestling star, Kazuchika Okada, who was No. 1 in 2017, and was the IWGP world heavyweight champion from January 2022 until June 2022.

AEW's CM Punk made his return to the PWI 500 at No. 3 after a lengthy absence because of his hiatus from pro wrestling.

Punk returned to wrestling in August 2021 after more than seven years away, and he quickly established himself as one of the faces of AEW.

He became AEW world champion late in the evaluation period by beating No. 4 finisher "Hangman" Adam Page at Double or Nothing, leading to his best placement in the PWI 500 since finishing first in 2012 and second in 2013 while he was in WWE.

Reigns taking the top spot in the PWI 500 breaks a two-year run of dominance by AEW, which saw Jon Moxley take No. 1 in 2020, followed by Omega in 2021.

The Tribal Chief is just the second WWE Superstar in the past six years to top the PWI 500, joining former Shield stablemate Seth Rollins, who was No. 1 in 2019.

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