Let's get this out of the way. The PWI (Pro Wrestling Illustrated) 500, a yearly list of the top wrestlers in the world started in 1991, sucks. In the past, it was just, for the most part, whoever was the WWE (then WWF) champion at the time was number one and the rest was as seemingly random as could be. The big two (WWF and WCW) would fill out the top 100-200 and the rest of the list was a who's who of nobodys and never would bes.
That year, those in charge of making this list chose Dean Malenko as the number one wrestler and there was much rejoicing. I loved Malenko as much as the next guy, but this was simply shameless pandering to a dwindling audience whose eye was more turned towards this new fangled thing called the "internet." Malenko was not anywhere near "the top of the card" and this, to me, felt like a hollow way for PWI to endear themselves to the ever growing "smart" crowd.
Then things just went back to the way it always was with whomever was the WWE Champion at the time would be number one, with a few exceptions, and the rest of the list would be of little to no consequence.
But anyone who has been a wrestling fan, became a wrestling fan or became involved with wrestling within the last 20 plus years still looks forward to the PWI 500 every year. "Where is my favorite?" "Who is number one?" "Who is number 500?" I've got a better question:
This week, the 2012 PWI 500 list was released and people are having the same arguments, mostly centered on how the list makes no real sense. Then why do we care so much?
Has being anywhere on a PWI list meant anything? Does that sell that wrestler any more merchandise? Did that give any wrestler a bump in their pay? Did that get that wrestler any more booking? I'd be willing to bet the answer to these questions is probably no about 95% of the time. For the last few years, now more than ever, the best way to improve your status in the wrestling business is the internet.
I say we, collectively, as a wrestling community, give up on the PWI 500 in lieu of something new.
The LFC (Leonard F Chikarason) 500!
Tomorrow on this very blog, I will detail how YOU* can be a part of the first ever LFC 500 in as fair, as coherent and as meaningful a way than the PWI 500 has been in the last 15 years.
Thanks for reading & see you back here tomorrow!
*and by YOU I don't just mean wrestlers...