It’s that time of year once again, wrestling fans.
Yes, it is time for Pro Wrestling Illustrated to release their annual “PWI 500” issue, where they rank the 500 best pro wrestlers in the world over the last year. It is also time for pro wrestling fans around the world to have debates on where so-and-so is ranked, where so-and-so isn’t ranked, what company is receiving too much bias from PWI, and so on. PWI has been doing this since 1991, and since 1991, the debates and arguments have been a yearly tradition. If PWI is still doing this in 2091, it will still be a thing.
As always, there is a lot to talk about with this year’s rankings, and I have a lot to say. Before we get in-depth on anything, I have to share PWI’s criteria for making these rankings. There’s always questions and debates that can be solved right away if people were to simply read PWI’s criteria first. Here goes…
Evaluation Period: July 1st, 2021 to June 30th, 2022
- In-Ring Achievement: Win/Loss Records, Championships, Tournaments Won
- Influence: Visibility and prestige within a promotion and/or the industry
- Technical Ability: Quality of moves, matches, and ring psychology
- Competition: Success against the most varied and highest quality opponents available
- Activity: Minimum ten matches total (or six matches in separate months)
Side Note: The list prioritizes success in singles competition and in vying for heavyweight singles accolades, and to a lesser extent, those in lower weight classes.
All of that information needs to be made very clear from the start. I didn’t rank these wrestlers, and have absolutely nothing to do with where they’re placed. Now that all that good stuff is out of the way, let’s go ahead and get things started, and there’s no better place to do so than at the top of the rankings. To the surprise of nobody, Roman Reigns takes the top spot. It marks his second time, 2016 being the other, that he claims the top spot in the PWI 500. Generally, there’s going to be controversy over the person in the #1 spot, but you’d be a fool to argue against Reigns this year. He entered the evaluation period as the WWE Universal Champion, and then won the WWE Title, as well, now reigning as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. During the evaluation period, Roman had a singles win/loss record of 16-2 on television and pay-per-view, with both of those losses coming by disqualification. He had nine successful title defenses in that span, and if you’re weird enough to count a disqualification loss as a “successful” defense because he didn’t lose the title, then you can make it ten. That goes against the “he never defends his title because he’s never around” narrative that is often floated around, but facts are facts. Is he a “fighting champion” that defends on a weekly basis, issuing “open challenges” and doing things like that? No, but him missing television here and there, and even a pay-per-view every now and then, fits with his character more than just about any World Champion in recent history.
16-2 record in singles competition on television and pay-per-view, with both losses coming by disqualification. A 19-2 overall record on television and pay-per-view. He’s certainly not going to gain a ton of points in the “Activity” category, that’s for sure, but how does he fare in the other categories?
“In-Ring Achievement” is something he has exceled at during the evaluation period. He has one of the best win/loss records in all of wrestling as far as percentages go, and he went from holding one World Title to holding two of them. I’d say that’s a pretty successful year.
“Influence” is pretty easy to figure out. He’s the dominant face of the largest wrestling promotion in the world right now. What more needs to be said about him here?
“Technical Ability” is always going to be divisive when it comes to Roman. Does he have the amateur background of a Kurt Angle? No. Does he possess a move set that is as vast and varied as someone like Bryan Danielson or Jonathan Gresham? No. With that said, does he seem to find himself consistently involved in Match Of The Year candidates? He sure does. Amazing how that works. His ring psychology is off-the-charts. He has shown, time and time again, that he can tell a great story in the ring, even as his title reign continues to get longer and longer and he is “expected” to win more and more of his matches.
“Competition” is an interesting category. When it comes to “high quality” opponents, the Universal Champion almost gets a lot of points by default. Chances are, the Universal Champion isn’t going to be having matches against the bottom of the barrel names on the roster. During the evaluation period, Reigns holds victories over Edge, John Cena, Finn Balor (twice), Montez Ford, Shinsuke Nakamura, Brock Lesnar (twice), Big E, Sami Zayn, Goldberg, and Riddle. Every name on that list is either a former World Champion or someone that you could easily see as a World Champion in the future. The only thing that “hurts” WWE wrestlers in this category is that the company is in its own bubble. For example, a top AEW star can have victories over other top AEW stars, but also over top Impact Wrestling stars, top New Japan stars, top independent stars, and so on. You’re not going to get more “varied” than that. Top WWE guys beat top WWE guys, and that’s it. Is that a negative? It doesn’t appear that PWI has docked Roman for it.
Can an argument be made for anybody else in the top spot this year? I think you could make a minor argument for “Hangman” Adam Page, should you see fit. He was the AEW World Champion for over six months (197 days, to be exact) of the evaluation period. That counts for a lot. There are two things that hurt Page’s case here, though. For one, he missed a couple months of the period because he was on paternity leave. Because of that, and because of AEW’s ridiculously deep roster, Page wrestled less than Reigns did. Page holds a 10-7-1 record on television and pay-per-view during the evaluation period, although his singles record was 10-2-1, with his only losses being when he dropped the World Title to CM Punk at Double Or Nothing and in a Four-Way at Forbidden Door. I just think he falls short in just about every category, although I would say he’s got the closest case to be ahead of Reigns.
Kazuchika Okada was in the #2 spot this year. He was in a similar spot to Adam Page as far as his title history went. He was the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion for just over five months (159 days) of the evaluation period. He had an impressive 22-5 record in singles competition during the evaluation period, but PWI’s weighted prioritization toward singles action really comes into play here. REALLY comes into play. His overall record during the evaluation period was 44-57. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. New Japan LOVES their tag, six-man, eight-man, and all sorts of multi-man matches, and Okada wrestled in a ton of them. Needless to say, with a 22-52 record outside of singles competition, that really works against him, even if he wasn’t exactly taking the pin in most of those losses. Even if The Usos were the ones taking pins all the time, can you imagine if Roman Reigns was on the losing end of 52 tag matches during the evaluation period? That would REALLY hurt him.
All in all, I think Reigns is the undisputed #1 this year. Okada at #2, CM Punk at #3, Page at #4, and Bobby Lashley at #5 round out the top spots, but the winner is pretty clear. To me, at least.
When I do these “recaps” of the PWI 500, I like to take a look at those individual criteria categories and say who would’ve taken the top spot in the rankings if that particular category was the only one used.
- In-Ring Achievement: Roman Reigns. It’s pretty difficult to beat holding one of the top titles in all of wrestling for the entire evaluation period, and then adding another one of the top titles in the business for the last three months of the period. He didn’t win as many titles during the year than some of the other PWI 500 #1’s in the past, but he didn’t need to.
- Influence: Roman Reigns. As I said, he’s the clear and undisputed top star in the world’s largest wrestling promotion, working on one of the greatest title reigns in company history. You’re not going to have more visibility and prestige than that.
- Technical Ability: Bryan Danielson. There was a lot of great in-ring quality this year, but nobody was more consistent with that quality than Bryan Danielson was. During the 2021 portion of the evaluation period, he wrestled in no less than seven or eight matches that were very popular on year-end Match Of The Year lists. In the 2022 portion of the evaluation period, he had four or five more matches that are going to be popular on those same year-end lists this year.
- Competition: Jon Moxley. You want wins over some of AEW’s biggest and best? He’s got them. You want wins over some of New Japan’s biggest and best? He’s got them? You want wins over some of the top names on the independent scene? He’s got them. Singles? Tag? Bloody brawls? Huge shows? Small shows? He’s got big wins everywhere. It would be tough to find a top-tier wrestler who had a more varied set of opponents than he did.
- Activity: Eita. He came in at #130 overall this year, but if you’re talking about activity, he wrestled in a whopping 152 matches during the evaluation period. He stayed incredibly busy working in Japan for Dragon Gate and Pro Wrestling NOAH, participating in lots of tournaments and things of that nature.
Rounding out this year’s top ten are Cody Rhodes at #6, Bryan Danielson at #7, El Hijo Del Vikingo at #8, Big E at #9, and Jonathan Gresham at #10. That’s a pretty strong top ten. There will probably be some complaints about Big E’s ranking. Yes, he won Money In The Bank and then won the WWE Title two months later. People are going to “punish” him because his title reign only lasted three-and-a-half months, and of his five title defenses that didn’t take place at a house show, one was a No Contest, one was against Austin Theory, and one was at Tribute To The Troops, which basically is a house show. He also missed the last three-and-a-half months of the evaluation period because of his neck injury. No, that isn’t his fault, but when you’re missing over 30% of the grading period, it’s tough to make up for that.
I know that there are people who feel Jon Moxley (#12 this year) should have been in the top ten, and while he has a strong case to move up, go back to what I just said about Big E missing time. Mox was gone for three months of the evaluation period as he battled his personal demons. It’s great that he was able to get clean and get his life in order, but again, it’s difficult to make up for missing that much time. Had Mox been around for the entire period, I have no doubt whatsoever that he would be rated higher, but it is what it is.
When I do these PWI 500 columns, I like to go beyond looking at the top ten and talk about who made the biggest jump from their spot in last year’s rankings, as well as who fell the furthest from their spot in last year’s rankings. With all the reasons someone can rise or fall in the PWI 500, it’s important, and fun, to talk about this stuff.
- Biggest Rise: Technically, that title belongs to CM Punk, who was obviously unranked last year, and moved all the way to #3 this year. If you want to keep it strictly to people who were ranked in both years, then that crown goes to Alex Kane, who jumped 328 spots, from #414 last year to #86 this year. He signed a contract with Major League Wrestling about a month before the evaluation period began, and would then go on to become the MLW National Openweight Champion, holding the title for 229 days, dropping it a week before the period came to an end. That definitely warranted a huge jump in the rankings.
- Biggest Fall: Braun Strowman gets the “win” here. The 2021 PWI 500 saw him in the #27 spot, and he was unranked in the 2022 edition. This isn’t a big surprise. WWE released him a month before the evaluation period, and then he didn’t even meet the ten match minimum for consideration, working only eight total matches for Control Your Narrative and multiple independent promotions before eventually re-signing with WWE after the period was over. However, if we’re keeping it strictly to people who have been ranked in both years, Apollo Crews gets the nod here, plummeting a whopping 358 spots, from #65 last year to #423 this year. More on him in a little bit, though.
While we’re talking about people that were rising and falling in the rankings, we should also talk about people who rose or fell more than they probably should have. There are always going to be people ranked a little too high, or a little too low, in any given year. Let’s take a look at some of those people in this year’s 500.
- Too High: Matt Cardona. Look… I get it. He won a bunch of titles. At one point during the evaluation period, the artist-formerly-known-as Zack Ryder held seven different titles from different promotions all over the United States. Like him or not, he gets a lot of points for that, and I do believe that he should have a good ranking this year. The #13 spot, though? Are you kidding me? If the list was of the top wrestlers in the world named “Matt” in 2022, then I’d see you giving him the #13 spot. Otherwise, he’s rated way too high. Kudos to him for getting a portion of the independent fans talking, but there’s a reason why he doesn’t see a ton of major success when he’s in the larger companies, you know?
- Too Low: Konosuke Takeshita. He had a good year for himself in his home promotion of DDT Pro. A week before the evaluation period, he and Shunma Katsumata won the KO-D Tag Team Titles and would hold them for three-and-a-half months. In August, he would win the KO-D Openweight Title, DDT’s top championship, holding it for seven months. He has had good matches all over the card in Japan. If that’s all his year included, you could argue that he would’ve had a higher ranking than #59. His AEW tenure muddies the water a bit, though. He had some phenomenal matches in AEW, which allowed him to compete for several independent promotions, although most of those independent matches took place after the evaluation period. While his AEW matches were good, he took a lot of losses. He was winning on the company’s YouTube shows, but he didn’t win on AEW television at all during the evaluation period. With all the other points he gained during the year, I’m comfortable in saying that he was easily one of the 50 best wrestlers in the world from July 1st, 2021 to June 30th, 2022. In fact, I’m comfortable saying that he was one of the 40 best wrestlers in the world during that span. It would be difficult to put him any higher than that because of how far he was, or wasn’t, able to climb in AEW.
- Too High: Kenny Omega. Last year’s #1 came in at #19 this year. That’s still really good, but we need to be honest with ourselves here. He had a total of 14 matches during the evaluation period, missing the last seven-and-a-half months due to injuries. In those 14 matches, he had a record of 8-5-1, which is decent, but hardly a game changer. He held three singles titles coming into the period, but would lose two of them pretty quickly, and would vacate the third when he needed to miss the aforementioned time because of a myriad of injuries. He simply didn’t have enough action to justify being ranked so high. I’m not saying he should’ve been #394 or anything, but #19 is way too high, if you ask me, and since you clicked a link to my column, you did ask me.
- Too Low: Apollo Crews. I totally understand why he fell from the #65 spot in 2021. He was the Intercontinental Champion coming into the evaluation period, but would lose it a month in. His record on television and pay-per-view during the period was 2-15, and those two wins were in a tag team match and a six-man tag match. That’s fine and all, but #423? You rarely ever see main roster WWE wrestlers ranked that low in the PWI 500, no matter how bad their year was. It’s almost as if PWI assigns them a middle-of-the-road spot simply for being under WWE contract, and then moves them up or down from there. Call it a “WWE bias” if you want, but I just don’t think a main roster talent should be rated that low at all, especially if they had the Intercontinental Title, even if it was for a small amount of time.
- Too High: Ricochet. He did win the Intercontinental Title during the evaluation period, but what his reign will most be remembered for is that he was stomped out by Gunther and the title immediately become more prestigious after it changed hands. Throw in a feud with Karrion Kross that almost felt like Kross’ only main roster wins, plus a four-month stretch where he didn’t win a match on television or pay-per-view, and I think coming in at #54 is too generous. I think a ranking that is, at best, in the 70’s, and at worse, around the 100 mark, would make more sense.
- Too Low: Dax Harwood. I get it… the fact that PWI prioritizes singles activity hurts him here. He only had five singles matches during the evaluation, losing four of them, but they were all phenomenal performances. I will say, and say confidently, that there were not 100 better wrestlers than Dax Harwood over the last year. Coming in at #101 doesn’t properly show how great he has been every single time he stepped foot inside of a wrestling ring. He has been part of SEVERAL matches that are going to be getting Match Of The Year votes at the end of the year, and with Cash Wheeler, he has won tag team gold everywhere he’s been.
- Too High: Omos. Sure, he and AJ Styles held the Raw Tag Team Titles at the start of the evaluation period, but they lost the belts to Randy Orton and Riddle less than two months later. Since dropping the belts, Omos has been a mixed bag, albeit a very tall one. He was part of a lot more losses with Styles, then saw the team split and AJ turn face. After the split, most of the big man’s matches were short squashes on Raw. He does own a pinfall victory over Bobby Lashley and Riddle in the final stretch of the evaluation period, and I think that helped him, but the bloom is off the rose here, so to speak. Even at #120, I think that’s too high for someone who hasn’t really shown he can do much beyond defeating members of the Job Squad in quick contests.
- Too Low: Jeff Cobb. At the beginning of the evaluation period, he and Great-O-Khan were dominant in New Japan’s tag scene. Then he started to pick up tons of steam as a singles competitor, starting with a win over Kazuchika Okada and then making it to the finals of the 2021 G1 Climax Tournament before losing to Okada. He would pick up wins over the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto along the way in the tournament. From there, he saw a lot of success for different promotions in multiple countries before he and Great-O-Khan saw two different reigns as the IWGP Tag Team Champions at the end of the evaluation period. He did too much, and picked up wins over too many top talents, to only be ranked at #169.
There are definitely others that are ranked too high or too low, but those are just some of the main ones that jumped out at me right away when I first went over the list.
We’ve looked at the past, and we’ve looked at the present, so what about looking to the future?
It’s really difficult to predict the next year’s PWI 500, but that’s part of what makes doing it so much fun.
Who’s an early candidate for the #1 spot in the 2023 PWI 500? At this point, I think the favorite has to be Roman Reigns again, doesn’t it? He continues to win, win, and then win some more. Rumors are always floating around that he’s going to be the champion until AT LEAST WrestleMania 39, which would give him 944 or 945 days as champion, depending on which night of Mania he participated in. Even if he loses at WrestleMania, that’s an incredible accomplishment that can’t be overlooked, and it still leaves just about three more months during the evaluation period to add more points and accolades. Barring an injury or unforeseen catastrophe, I just don’t see anyone knocking Reigns out of the top spot next year.
If Roman does get the top spot, it would be his third time topping the PWI 500. That would put him in very rarified air. He would become only the fourth person in history, after Bret Hart (1993 & 1994), Steve Austin (1998 & 1999), and John Cena (2006 & 2007) to top the PWI 500 in back-to-back years. More importantly, he would become only the second person in history, after John Cena (who also did it in 2013), to top the PWI 500 three times.
The winner of the Jon Moxley vs Bryan Danielson match on Dynamite (that airs a few hours after this column goes live) has a great chance of being ranked in a very high spot if they have a lengthy and successful AEW World Title reign. As of right now, Danielson has a 4-2 record in the new evaluation period, while Moxley has a 13-1 record. Even if Moxley doesn’t win the AEW World Title, he has already held the interim version of it during the new evaluation period, and he defeated CM Punk to unify the company’s World Titles. Moxley is also the GCW Heavyweight Champion at the moment. As I said, a lengthy AEW World Title reign for either man could pretty much guarantee them a high ranking in 2023. If either man finds a way to claim the top spot in 2023, it will be their second time topping the list, making them the eighth man in history to get the #1 spot in the PWI 500 twice, so a lot is riding on this.
While I wouldn’t say he’s a “sleeper” name, don’t be surprised if Cody Rhodes makes a run at the top. As the #6 guy this year, he could easily climb in 2023 if some of the popular predictions for Cody come true. What if he wins the Royal Rumble and ends up beating Roman Reigns at WrestleMania to become the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion? I don’t think it’s beyond the scope of our imaginations that he could jump five spots if he’s able to pull that off.
What about someone like Bron Breakker? He made his PWI 500 debut this year, coming in at #26. In this new evaluation period, he already has a record of 4-0, and that includes two successful NXT Championship defenses and a win that unified the NXT Title and the NXT UK Title. He continues adding new opponents to his list of victims, and there is always buzz that he’ll either be main roster bound, or at least have more main roster talents coming to NXT to challenge him. He’s approaching the six-month mark of his current reign as champion. What happens if his reign reaches eight months? Ten months? A year?
What say you, ReaderLand? Out of respect for Pro Wrestling Illustrated, I’m not posting the entire list of 500 people, but enough names have already been floated out there publicly. If you’ve seen the list, what are your thoughts? Do you agree with Roman Reigns taking the top spot? Give me whatever thoughts you want… who’s too high, who’s too low, who we should look out for next year, and so on. As always, hit me up in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know what’s on your mind.
Weekly Power Rankings
- Bobby Lashley vs Seth Rollins: When this match was first announced, I saw a ton of people who legitimately thought Rollins had a chance of winning and becoming the new United States Champion. At face value, that makes sense, as he’s one of the biggest stars in the business right now. I think the inclusion of Matt Riddle in the finish of the match was pretty obvious, though. Some people have said “Riddle should have let Rollins beat Lashley so that he could go on to beat Rollins for the title” and things of that nature, but I think it makes too much sense for Riddle to do any and every little thing he can to make Rollins miserable. That’s exactly what he did. Either way, this was a fantastic match. I hope all of you are properly appreciative of just how many pay-per-view quality matches we’re getting on free television every week. Not just pay-per-view quality, but in many cases, this match included, we’re talking about pay-per-view main event quality.
- Bryan Danielson vs Chris Jericho: Speaking of high quality matches on free television, here’s another match that fits that description. The result made a lot of sense after Jon Moxley won the other semi-final match earlier in the night, as there’s a lot of drama in Blackpool Combat Club vs Blackpool Combat Club to crown a brand new AEW World Champion. I do dig the extra intrigue of Danielson’s injury here. It gives him an “out” if he loses to Moxley, but it also makes for a better “underdog” story if he defeats Moxley.
- Tyler Bate vs JD McDonagh: Tons of NXT UK flavor here, obviously. Big stakes on the line, too, with a shot at Bron Breakker’s NXT Championship on the line. This was one of those matches where it wasn’t super long (it clocked in at just under 13 minutes), but it felt like it was the perfect length. It wasn’t too short to the point where you’re disappointed, but it also didn’t go too long, which opens the door for something in the future between these two. You’re not going to get any complaints from me if that happens.
- Triple H: The winds of change, they are a-blowing. Vince McMahon is pushed in front of a moving train, and WWE moves forward without him in an attempt to erase everything Vince liked and wanted to do. Oh, Vince released you? We’re bringing you back. Vince liked you? There goes your push. Vince hated this type of thing? Time to make it happen all the time. The latest instances of this are NXT returning to its “Black & Gold” roots and also going back to Takeover events, and now, changing the Survivor Series format to include War Games for the very first time. No more of the lame ass “brand warfare” with the Bloods and Crips showing up on each other’s television shows wearing their colored shirts and asking “CAN THEY COEXIST?!?” a million times. The addition of a men’s and women’s War Games to Survivor Series adds a new makeover to a show that has been in dire need of one for years now. For the most part, fans have been getting a lot of what they have been asking for, and we know the surprises are going to keep happening. Exciting times.
- Rey Mysterio & Matt Riddle vs Finn Balor & Damian Priest: The boost for The Judgment Day continues, and that’s great. They deserve to be treated as a big deal, and that’s what is happening right now. I figured we would see Seth Rollins interfere in the match after Riddle cost him the match with Lashley earlier, and while Rollins did make his presence known, it had nothing to do with the outcome of the match. I like that. They could’ve went with the “easy” option, but they didn’t.
- New Day vs Imperium vs Brawling Brutes vs Hit Row: The match itself was really good, but my favorite part of the whole thing was that we’re not going to get Usos vs New Day AGAIN. Even if Butch and Ridge Holland are unsuccessful in taking the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles from The Usos, I’m still excited to get a fresh match, and one that has potential to be a lot of fun at that.
- Kevin Owens vs Austin Theory: Another week, and another really good match that involves Kevin Owens. Ho hum. Another week, and another really good match that involves Austin Theory. Ho hum. In all seriousness, both men are on a roll in the ring, and they have both become regulars in my Power Rankings every week.
- Solo Sikoa vs Madcap Moss: Some have said Moss got too much offense here, and that the match shouldn’t have been as long as it was. I disagree. Yes, Solo was the NXT North American Champion and a new member of The Bloodline, but he was still the baby of the bunch and largely unknown to most of the WWE Universe. By having a longer competitive match here, you’re able to achieve two things. One, you give that WWE Universe, who may not know anything about Solo Sikoa, a chance to see him have a good match against someone who WWE commentators constantly refer to as a “blue chip” prospect. Two, that “blue chip” prospect looks good, and looks like a legitimate challenger for a title. Now, you’re building two different people at the same time. Nothing wrong with that.
- Street Profits vs Brawling Brutes: If you’re trying to build the Brutes as a legit threat to The Usos, it makes a ton of sense to have them facing off, and defeating, the Street Profits. The Profits and New Day are Jimmy and Jey’s biggest rivals, and we’ve already seen the Brutes defeat New Day. Having them topple both New Day and the Profits gives them a ton of momentum going into a title match that they need every bit of momentum for.
- Swerve In Our Glory vs Lucha Bros: As big as Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix are in AEW, I don’t think there was ever any doubt that they would be losing this match here. With The Acclaimed already having their AEW Tag Team Title rematch against Swerve In Our Glory announced, it was pretty clear that we weren’t going to get a last-minute switch to The Acclaimed vs Lucha Bros. This was a good match, albeit one that was a lot shorter than I expected it to be. It continues to amaze me to see just how over Max Caster and Anthony Bowens have become as faces. Everything they do, and everything they say, has live crowds eating out of the palms of their Daddy Ass scissored hands.
- Ricochet vs Sami Zayn: You know, if Sami Zayn keeps losing his matches, he runs the risk of not being invited to Thanksgiving at Uncle Sika’s house this year. I like the story being told with Sami and The Bloodline. He doesn’t get along with Jey, who almost comes across as jealous of the attention that Sami is getting from Roman Reigns. At the same time, Sami seems to be getting along well with Jimmy Uso, and now Solo Sikoa, as well. Even if it leads to the expected moment where the entire group “turns” on Sami and destroys him, it’s fun to watch everything unfold in a layered manner.
- Dominik Mysterio: He is progressing as a heat-seeking missile so much quicker than most expected him to. Did you hear the heat he got during his portion of the Judgment Day promo? My goodness. It was like the heat his stepmom, Vickie, used to get when she was on WWE programming. This heel turn might end up being the absolute best thing that ever happened to Dom’s career.
- Logan Paul As Roman Reigns’ Next Challenger: I’m not sure why everyone is so upset about Logan Paul being named as Roman’s next challenger. First and foremost, it’s for a match at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia, so who gives a shit? Those are usually glorified house shows with the Saudi government paying WWE a ton of money for spectacles instead of true furtherment of storylines. Secondly, it’s a brand new challenger, which is what most of those complaining have been asking for. They complain that Roman has beaten everyone there is to beat, and well… now he’s facing someone he’s never faced before. Third of all, there never is a three. Fourth of all, the match is going to be a ton of fun. Roman has mastered the art of telling “WWE style” stories, and Logan Paul is INFINITELY better in the ring than he has any business being at this infancy of his wrestling career. It will be a good match, and it will help to bridge the gap to Roman’s next big-time challenger, whether that’s Cody Rhodes, The Rock, or someone else.
- Ilja Dragunov: He made his return to NXT, coming back from an injury to insert himself into the NXT Title picture. The idea of Bron Breakker vs JD McDonagh vs Ilja Dragunov works for me, and it will become yet another title defense for Bron that people will wonder how he survives… if he survives.
- Samoa Joe vs Josh Woods: Joe is still a dangerous presence, and someone that remains over with crowds wherever he goes. With that said, I continue to say that something has been “off” with him for a while. Injuries seem to have piled up, and that makes sense. He’s been working such a hard-hitting style for well over two decades now. I think he still has a lot to give, so I’m not saying he needs to retire, but it’s just something I’ve been noticing. He has another match that made it on my Power Rankings, so it’s not like I’m viewing him as a worthless bum or anything.
This Week’s Playlist: “Heat Wave” by KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz… “Welcome To Harbor City” by KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz… “911” by KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz… “Ocean Terminal” by KXNG Crooked, Joell Ortiz, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jewliet… “Game Over” by KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz… “The Happiest Girl” by BLACKPINK… “Broken” by The Devil Wears Prada… “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by No Resolve… “Pain Remains I: Dancing Like Flames” by Lorna Shore… “Sound Of Your Excuse” by ALPHAMEGA… “Hall of Shame” by Edenbridge… “Hiding Zone” by Balboa Son… “Moonlight” by XXXTENTACION… “SAD!” by XXXTENTACION… “Pualena” by Vika… “Crave” by Marc Dorsey… “PILLOWTALK” by ZAYN… “6 Underground” by Sneaker Pimps… “A Favor House Atlantic” by Coheed & Cambria… “The Kill” by Thirty Seconds To Mars… “Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold… “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” by D’Angelo… “This Woman’s Work” by Sons Of Serendip… “I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face)” by Rome… “Acquainted” by The Weeknd… “Summer Nights” by Lil Rob… “Down For Yours” by Nastyboy Klick & Roger Troutman… “Lost In Love” by Nastyboy Klick… “Do It To It” by Cherish & Sean Paul… “Free Me” by 42 Dugg