Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) is a professional wrestling magazine. PWI is currently based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and published by Kappa Publishing Group.


Pro Wrestling Illustrated was started in 1979. The magazine is known for not breaking kayfabe. Some magazines will break kayfabe and tell the behind-the-scenes reality of pro wrestling; PWI has never done that, traditionally treating all "storyline" events as real. However, in more recent years, the magazine has taken an editorial approach halfway between kayfabe and "shoot" writing, for the first time using terms such as "storyline" and differentiating between "onscreen" feuds and real-life controversies.

PWI also does not follow only the "big" promotions, as they also cover some independent promotions. The magazine features stories about wrestlers and wrestling groups/teams. PWI also has monthly rankings for the big promotions, some select independents, and an overall rankings in singles and tag teams.

PWI declared it would recognize three World Titles when it started publication: NWA, AWA and WWF. When Jim Crockett Promotions, which controlled the NWA Title, became WCW in 1991, WCW earned World Title Status, and the NWA's world title status was dropped. ECW finally earned World Title recognition status in 1999, not long before ECW itself went out of business. The NWA title was restored to a World Title in July 2006 based on TNA's success. They also granted World Title status to two of WWE's World titles, referred as the "RAW World Championship" and the "SmackDown! World Championship". Despite the fact that ECW has been revived as a WWE brand, PWI has yet to recognize the world title status of the resurrected "ECW Championship".

Bill Apter, who can be seen at most high-profile wrestling events taking photos, was the senior editor of PWI for years. Stuart M. Saks is the current longtime publisher for PWI. Hunter S. Thompson-influenced Matt Brock has been PWI's most popular columnist. Brock, however, is actually a fictitious writer. Through the years, many different PWI editors have written stories as Brock. Likewise, columnist Liz Hunter is fictitious, as are oft-quoted WWF/WWE "inside source" Thomas Pilliard and "wrestling psychologist" Dr. Sidney M. Basil.

While PWI writers do conduct certain legitimate interviews with figures within the wrestling business, the majority of "in-character" quotes are penned by the magazine's staff. The rule of thumb: If a quotation is about real-life events (i.e., the people behind the characters), it was uttered by the quoted source. If the quote pertains to any angle or someone's in-ring persona, the response is typically "invented" by the feature's writer.

PWI is now headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and published by Kappa Publishing.

PWI's biggest competition is no longer from other wrestling magazines, but from the Internet. Results are reported faster online than the magazine can report, but PWI still has enough sales to stay alive.

PWI Awards

PWI's family of magazines has given out annual awards since 1972. Unlike the PWI 500 which is voted on by the PWI Staff, the fans ostensibly vote for the winners of the year-end awards. A ballot is printed in the special year-end issue. A special PWI Awards magazine is put out annually, which shows not only the winners, but the first three runners-up with the number of votes. The wrestlers receive plaques for each PWI Award that they win.

The awards that PWI has given out are as follows:

Discontinued awards are as follows:

The "PWI Awards" issue also serves as a "year-in-review" issue, with a listing of the top events, matches, angles, feuds and other news (both kayfabe and legit) of the preceding year, usually from January to the publishing deadline for the year-end issue (typically, early December). A listing of wrestlers who had passed away during the past year is also included, as well as a list of top superstars who had announced (legit) retirements. In addition to the voted awards in the established categories, readers are also invited to create their own "categories" and award them to a wrestler or other individual fitting that category, and make their predictions as to what they think will happen (or would like to see happen) during the upcoming year.

Starting in 1981, the "PWI Editor's Award," a legit award given to a wrestler, personality, promoter or other individual connected with the business for lifetime achievements in the industry, was created. The first recipient was Bruno Sammartino, who had announced his (first) retirement that year; later honorees were typically longtime wrestlers who had recently retired or top superstars who had passed away during the past year. The award was renamed in memory of PWI founder and longtime publisher Stanley Weston in 2003.

Special PWI Editions

Besides the special year-end edition and the special PWI Awards Edition, PWI also publishes other special issues. They have published the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts since 1996. It includes all of the PWI 500 rankings over the years, title histories, PPV histories, wrestler stats, top stories of the year, PWI Award Winners and a What's In/What's Out list.

PWI also publishes a Women of Wrestling magazine that has short bios of the divas of pro wrestling and includes lots of pictures.

From 1989 through 2000, PWI published a weekly newsletter entitled PWI Weekly. It had results from the previous week that included all wrestling shows, title changes, injury updates, wrestlers leaving/entering promotions, and obituaries. It was cancelled due to monetary and time constraints on the part of its writers.

PWI 500 Top Singles Popular Wrestler of This year

Most International Vista Wrestling WrestlingI has published its list of the top 500 wrestlers each year since 1991, in an annual special edition magazine called the PWI 500. Here are the number one ranked wrestlers for each year:

Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1991 Hulk Hogan Lex Luger Ric Flair Randy Savage Sting Scott Steiner Ricky Steamboat Steve Williams Arn Anderson Rick Steiner
1992 Sting Randy Savage Ric Flair Rick Rude Bret Hart Ricky Steamboat Jerry Lawler Scott Steiner The Ultimate Warrior Steve Austin
1993 Bret Hart Big Van Vader Shawn Michaels Sting Yokozuna Ric Flair Lex Luger Rick Rude Mr. Perfect Scott Steiner
1994 Bret Hart Hulk Hogan Ric Flair Big Van Vader Shawn Michaels Steve Austin Razor Ramon Sting Ricky Steamboat Owen Hart
1995 Diesel Shawn Michaels Sting Bret Hart Sabu Hulk Hogan Big Van Vader Randy Savage Razor Ramon Mitsuharu Misawa
1996 Shawn Michaels The Giant Sting Kenta Kobashi Ahmed Johnson Kevin Nash Rey Misterio, Jr. Hulk Hogan Sabu Ric Flair
1997 Dean Malenko Mitshuaru Misawa Steve Austin Diamond Dallas Page Lex Luger Undertaker Shinya Hashimoto The Giant Jushin Liger Chris Benoit
1998 Steve Austin Bill Goldberg Mitsuharu Misawa Diamond Dallas Page Undertaker Kenta Kobashi Booker T Ken Shamrock Jushin Liger Chris Jericho
1999 Steve Austin Rob Van Dam Mitsuharu Misawa Rey Misterio, Jr. The Rock Diamond Dallas Page Keiji Mutoh Undertaker Goldberg Taz
2000 Triple H The Rock Chris Benoit Kenta Kobashi Jeff Jarrett Justin Credible Mike Awesome Jushin Liger Chris Jericho Kensuke Sasaki
2001 Kurt Angle Steve Austin Chris Benoit Keiji Muto Booker T Triple H Scott Steiner Mitsuharu Misawa Chris Jericho Rhyno
2002 Rob Van Dam Undertaker Keiji Muto Chris Jericho Eddie Guerrero Kurt Angle Edge Yuji Nagata The Rock Triple H
2003 Brock Lesnar Triple H Kurt Angle Keiji Muto Chris Jericho Big Show Booker T Kenta Kobashi Eddie Guerrero Rob Van Dam
2004 Chris Benoit Eddie Guerrero Triple H Kenta Kobashi Randy Orton Toshiaki Kawada John Cena A.J. Styles Shawn Michaels Chris Jericho
2005 Dave Batista John Cena Satoshi Kojima Triple H JBL Kurt Angle A.J. Styles Edge Shelton Benjamin Hiroyoshi Tenzan
2006 John Cena Kurt Angle Edge Samoa Joe Místico Rey Mysterio Brock Lesnar Kenta Kobashi Shawn Michaels Jeff Jarrett
2007 John Cena Edge Místico Kurt Angle Undertaker Shawn Michaels Christian Cage Perro Aguayo, Jr. Bobby Lashley Takeshi Morishima
2008 Randy Orton Kurt Angle Triple H Samoa Joe Edge Undertaker Shawn Michaels Nigel McGuinness John Cena Shinsuke Nakamura
2009 Triple H Chris Jericho John Cena Edge Randy Orton Nigel McGuinness Hiroshi Tanahashi CM Punk Sting Último Guerrero
2010 AJ Styles John Cena CM Punk Randy Orton Chris Jericho Batista Shinsuke Nakamura The Undertaker Kurt Angle Sheamus
2011 The Miz Randy Orton John Cena Kane Takashi Sugiura Alberto Del Rio Mr. Anderson Rey Mysterio Eddie Edwards CM Punk
2012 CM Punk Bobby Roode John Cena Daniel Bryan Sheamus Jun Akiyama Davey Richards Kurt Angle Mark Henry Alberto Del Rio
2013 John Cena CM Punk Hiroshi Tanahashi Bully Ray Kazuchika Okada Sheamus Jeff Hardy Alberto del Rio Dolph Ziggler Kevin Steen
2014 Daniel Bryan Randy Orton John Cena AJ Styles Kazuchika Okada Bray Wyatt Roman Reigns Magnus Adam Cole Bully Ray
2015 Seth Rollins John Cena AJ Styles Roman Reigns Shinsuke Nakamura Randy Orton Jay Briscoe Rusev Alberto El Patron Kevin Owens
2016 Roman ReignsKazuchika Okada Finn Bálor AJ Styles Jay Lethal Kevin Owens Shinsuke Nakamura Seth Rollins Dean Ambrose John Cena
2017 Kazuchika Okada A.J. Styles Kevin Owens Roman Reigns Kenny Omega Shinsuke Nakamura Samoa Joe Dean Ambrose Bobby Roode The Miz

Woman of the Year

Year Winner First runner-up Second runner-up Third runner-up
1999 Debra Sable Terri Runnels Jacqueline
2000 Stephanie McMahon Lita Chyna Major Gunns
2001 Lita Stephanie McMahon Stacy Keibler Torrie Wilson
2002 Trish Stratus
2003 Victoria
2004 Victoria Trish Stratus Stacy Keibler Molly Holly
2005 Trish Stratus Christy Hemme Melina Lita
2006 Dixie Carter Mickie James
2007 Candice Michelle Beth Phoenix Gail Kim Karen Angle
2008 Awesome Kong Mickie James Michelle McCool
2009 Mickie James Angelina Love Tara
2010 Michelle McCool Madison Rayne Madison Eagles
2011 Mickie James Kelly Kelly Beth Phoenix
2012 AJ Lee Gail Kim Eve Torres Sara Del Rey
2013 Cheerleader Melissa Dixie Carter Kaitlyn
2014 Paige Stephanie McMahon Jessicka Havok
2015 Sasha Banks Nikki Bella Charlotte Paige
2016 Charlotte Flair Sasha Banks Bayley Becky Lynch
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