Simon Lamb

The 2003 PWI 500 – Wrong Again!

So, the Pro Wrestling Illustrated annual list of the top 500 wrestlers in the world rears it’s ugly head again. Forgive me for wondering just how the hell they came up with the results though. Surprisingly, the list for 2002/2003 is almost as bad as the last one. How is that possible you ask? Read on and find out…

So, the Pro Wrestling Illustrated annual list of the top 500 wrestlers in the world rears it’s ugly head again. Forgive me for wondering just how the hell they came up with the results though. Surprisingly, the list for 2002/2003 is almost as bad as the last one. How is that possible you ask? Read on and find out…

Before I start, Summerslam was disappointing, and everyone knows it. 6 matches on one of the big 4 WWE PPVs, the main event being HHH v Goldberg with a fancy cage and 4 fall guys and Coachman’s turn being moment of the night… not exactly what everyone was hoping for. Enough with the ‘it wasn’t as bad as it could have been crap’, it was OK, and if I had paid for it I’d feel extremely robbed. The finish to the main event was tragic, and you have to wonder if big nose will have to have the title surgically removed from him in order to get a new champion for RAW.

It left no reason for any fan to watch Raw other than for their weekly free fix of wrestling, and Smackdown, whilst still entertaining is turning into ‘The McMahons’ unfortunately. Even Shane O’Mac is boring these days. Perhaps one day Vince will wake up from 1999, and think of another ‘genius’ idea other than doing the whole evil promoter nonsense with yet another worker. Summerslam really does deserve a crap buyrate… even though it gave us the Coachman turn.

I’m watching this weeks Raw as we speak. I really am speechless. I’ve just sat and watched Lance act like a face whilst having a mini-Goldust humping his leg, followed by a terrible Rosey/Hurricane sketch. Who… I MEAN WHO finds this entertaining?


Ah… now to the evil, evil PWI 500. Much like last year, the list is just one big contradiction. You just know names are flung in here and there to make the list look more respectable, but really, apart from the dumbest of dumb marks, who in the blue hell is going to take the results seriously?

There is no attempt whatsoever to justify the outcome, we’re just meant to accept it. By going over the results even with the finest toothcomb it’s impossible to see how they’ve judged it. Is it done by charisma? No. Is it done by workrate and how many workers they’ve helped get over? No. Is it about who is the most popular with the fans? No. Is it a random list of guys chosen by the PWI people to try and look clever? Yes!

Remember Undertaker was number 2 last year? Now he’s number 18…. Because…. Err…. Why? Last year you could argue Taker had a good spell as a heel and all that even though the placement was ridiculous, but apart from being an established name jobbing out other workers, what made him different from any other big guy like A-Train? Can they honestly say he was one of the top 20 workers from last year in the ENTIRE WRESTLING WORLD?

That’s another reason the list is so ridiculous. ‘Oh… they put in a couple of Japanese guys in the list… it must mean something then’. No, no… NO. I’m not buying it, and I sure as hell don’t know anyone else who is.

Let me start from number 20 then and work my way up. Always good fun.

At number 20… the fallen angel Christopher Daniels. Good to see TNA talent getting up there, and Daniels is personally a favourite of mine (sorry people I prefer him to Low-Ki of the jungle and Elix Skipper). No problems there I suppose… although even then how can you judge that one… did the PWI guys, who know all, throw that one in for the smarks? Argue it a high placement or too low, not worth questioning though really in my eyes.

Who’s that jumping out the sky? Why it’s Rey Mysterio into 19th. Again, can’t really argue with a top 20 placement for Rey, he has been outstanding obviously. And since he’s a luchadore the PWI guys won’t have to worry about appeasing the Lucha Libre lovers… pathetic really. You know for a fact that even though they’ll stick in Larry Luchadore Snr etc. it’ll always be the best known one to US/Canadian wrestling style fans, and that they are no more an important part of the PWI 500 than the little vegetable decorations you get in restaurant food. Just so happens here that Rey deserves it, going by mainstream standards anyway. (What the PWI 500 tries to deny it does, but it does)

Already mentioned the Undertaker in at number 18, even though he has contributed probably the least in the past year than he has for a good number of years. Then again, he is the Undertaker and is a great guy and all that so let’s throw him in the top 20 to make it look as if it’s about how important to the business they are. Matt Hardy in at 17th and I’m a huge Matt mark so one thing to say…. Ohhhh yeahhhh. Totally spot on there, should have been higher! [/mark]

Here’s your first big Japanese name here… at 16th, Shinya Hashimoto. Just like last year, I have no idea who the Japanese guys are. So sue me, but I don’t follow Japanese wrestling. And I’d bet my house on the fact that the PWI guys don’t either. Still, I have it on good authority from TWO’s International scene specialist, Rikizodan, that he “Hasn’t done anything of note all year, including his Triple Crown run.” And that he belongs “Outside of top twenty” instead.

Double J, Jeff Jarrett in at number 15 next. Deserved in my opinion, since he was a deserving TNA champion for so long and really basically deserves credit for the job he did as NWA-TNA’s main face. Having him at the top really gave the TNA product some credibility in my eyes anyway. I know you could argue this one up further or down lower, but I’m hardly going to cry about Jarrett only being 15th when I’d have liked to have seen him a tiny bit higher. Then again I am a bit of a Jarrett mark.

Ahh… El Hijo Del Santo at number 14. Say no more. Misplaced? “Santo – should be outside top twenty.” Say no more. Another of TWO’s international specialists, Jungmuta, puts it best by saying “Is always top 20 even if he didn’t wrestle a match” Either someone in the PWI is a Santo mark or he’s just a foreign name in there to make the list look credible AGAIN.

Hailing from Permanent Limbo, the greatest technical wrestler in the WWE today, and 13th in the PWI 500… Chris Benoit. You might complain at first, but the guys above him are pretty solid as well. I was looking for a way to whine, but Benoit hasn’t really had any major main event exposure bar the Royal Rumble 2003 5 star match, and obviously that’s gonna harm you on lists like these. If I was Benoit, and this list wasn’t such a heap of crap, I’d be happy with 13th out of 500.

The lord of Thuganomicz then comes in at 12th, and again I’m not going to argue with it. Taken a gimmick which would fail on most, and made it into something great. Deserves his place. A.J. Overrated, I mean Styles (I feel the boos already) follows then at number 11, and fair enough. I don’t mind Styles, but I’m not his biggest fan. To me he just doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor. What that is I don’t know, but it’s probably better than the X-factor (I hope that phrase makes you laugh too). Point is, Styles being at number 11 is probably fair enough.

Numero 10 is Job Van Dam aka RVD. Last years PWI number 1 as well. I bet he’s gutted. It hurts my brain when I think about how they decided to put RVD at number 10. Are they judging guys by how well known round the world they are or by being talented? It’s just that I can’t think of what RVD has done in the last year to deserve a top 10 placement. I do like RVD, it just confuses me that’s all. Eddie Guerrerro follows in at number 9, down from number 5 last year… obviously the price to pay from being even better than he was last year. Oh no wait he wasn’t holding some gold and making other workers look like crap. He can’t be number 5 anymore.

It’s that time again… the 1st of 2 Japanese guys in the top 10. At number 8 it’s Kenta Kobashi. I assumed after hearing Riki say “The PWI team look like asses, have they not seen Kobashi work this year? Big Show ahead of Kobashi?!?!?!” that he’s been pretty hot, and right enough, when asking someone for an opinion on the man and his 8th place I was told “easily top-five, had match of the year (by far) with Misawa earlier in the year. Also has banged-up knees and elbows which make his comeback even more profound”. You see, it’s a list hated by wrestling fans of all styles.

Ah, Booker T, there you are. Didn’t see you amongst that pile of going-nowhere. Have number 7. Why, I don’t know, ask the morons at PWI 500. Perhaps it was your consolation for doing the most disgusting job in Wrestlemania history to HHH. ‘Ok, as long as I can be 7th in the PWI’. Booker has done nothing post-Wrestlemania of notice, and whilst he should be worthy of a spot in the top 10, he’s really been made to look as good as Hillbilly Jim. A 5 time WCW champion with the IC champ. Makes sense… since WCW was a joke…. Obviously. You’ll hopefully know that I hate/hated WCW as much as the next guy, but to just turn around and deny that their titles didn’t have any prestige whatsoever, even with all the nonsense there, its nothing short of scandalous. Shame on you JR, you stupid, stupid man.

Welllllll… bear with me here. Big Show is 6th… 6th best worker in THE WORLD. How? Unless the category for good worker is defined by Vince McMahon, I don’t understand this one. I don’t want to go all smarky here, but aside from being ‘500’ lbs and 7 foot tall… Big Show really doesn’t do much does he. Now if you want to do this list sports-entertainment wise, fine, Big Show should be up there. The past year has seen some of his best work in ages, personally I believe his feud with Lesnar was excellent, they really seemed to work well together (and I saw the match live at a house show so there, bet your REALLLLY jealous.) However, don’t tell me this is a list where you put people in the top 20 for their wrestling talent, because that’s bullshit. Man, this list really does contradict itself. If the motivation for Big Show is ‘sports entertainment’ value, then maybe he deserves to be up there. So should Glen Gilberti damnit, 92nd? What in the blue hell is that all about? (Gilberti mark, so shut it). If its not that then why. Just why. Choose a means of judging it, and GODDAMN STICK WITH IT.
Come to think of it, if it is judged by entertainment value then why the hell is Gilberti at 92nd and Show at 6th. The gap in entertainment value is certainly not 86 places.

MVP of the WWE calendar so far in my opinion gets number 5 then, Chris Jericho. Just like Guerrero though, being at your best doesn’t make you better apparently, as Jericho drops from 4th last year to 5th. Makes sense, being the most entertaining guy on the RAW roster and all. Yeh, I can see where they are coming from. At least he’s in the top 10. Instead, replacing him at number 4 is a guy who the PWI guys must think ‘throw him in, he’s always a crowd pleaser’, down one place from last year as well it’s Keji Muto. To quote TWO’s Russ, “Anyway, even although I know that the PWI 500 is a joke, I’m pretty shocked at the fact that Kobashi wasn’t higher up on the list. He had a MOTYC with Misawa and won tag and world title belts, so to have him behind Muto, who lost his Triple Crown to Hashimoto, and lumps of untalented deadwood like HHH and Big Show is certainly surprising.” On top of that, Jungmuta states it was “One of his worse years”.
Exactly what I was going to say… stop looking at me like that!

Kurt Angle seems to be the only wrestler to actually improve and in turn get a deserved climb up the list, making it as the ‘3rd best worker’. Kurt’s been outstanding for years now, and this year has been just as good as any, if not better. So fair enough, even though Kurt and Jericho should have been 1st and 2nd.

Now that brings me to numbers 1 and 2. Once you read these, since you’ve seen the people they have beaten to the positions, you are guaranteed to just say ‘Why?’ and will instantly think of the PWI 500 at carrying no weight at all (if you did beforehand then there is something wrong with you anyway).

Numero due… Number 2… 2nd place. It’s him. YES, HIM.
Climbing 8 places from 10th to 2nd, it’s HHH. Ok, so I’ll grant you this, and pay attention cause you won’t find me EVER saying this again. I’ll admit HHH has been slightly more entertaining since his year of total and utter crap in 2002. The cowardly heel character has been far more entertaining than the ‘Game’ crap he’d been using since his ego trip post No Way Out 2001. It would be even more entertaining if he even played it right. Still, 2nd place is totally, and I stress totally undeserved.

Do I even need to go through this? I’m sure, no, I’m hoping that you all agree that this position is nonsense. I can only assume the PWI morons put him up there because he has been RAW champion for so long and that he’s therefore ‘carried the show well’. HOW? Raw continues to be the biggest pile of crap there is to choose from the acres of excrement offered on TV. He’s turned it into the HHH show, and has had about 3 possible Worst Match of the Year contenders. SO HOW THE HELL IS HE 2ND?

Steiner v HHH I, Steiner v HHH II, the horrible job Booker T had to do to him in their pathetically built up feud, the agh… dare I say it… the Kevin Nash feud and their 2 DISGUSTING matches. And now the Goldberg feud. I’ll not moan about him having the belt here because then you go into the argument of who else. (Plenty of options in my eyes, plus I refuse to believe these days that the RAW champion has to carry the weight of the show… it’s no longer the case since the roster split. Did Big Show carry Smackdown when he was champion after all?) What I will moan about is the fact that it’s probably the reason he’s 2nd in the top 500 list. It’s just nonsense, and you don’t need me to tell you that.

Well at least he’s not number 1. Instead we get a rather silly choice for number 1 worker of the year… Brock Lesnar. Now I love Brock Lesnar as much as the next New York style promoter, but really… why? It puzzles me, and I can only think the same moronic thinking that put HHH at number 2 thought ‘Uhh… Shmackdowns the more wrasslin style of show, so theys be better’ and therefore put the Smackdown champion, Lesnar at number 1. (Don’t split hairs, he was champion for ages ok). Lesnar can’t be up there for charisma, since he doesn’t have much, and while he did have a great title reign with several entertaining title matches… to say he’s the top worker of the year is… well… you and I just both know it’s wrong, for whatever reasons. I can’t even go on about it anymore, since I like Lesnar and think he is entertaining. To say he was the number 1 worker in the business for the past year really doesn’t say much for the past year though.

I said last year we should all just turn away from the PWI 500, walk away quietly, and ignore it. If people still bring it up though, it’s our duty as wrestling fans to shoot it down. Evil, evil list, as usual without any pattern whatsoever. They might have a fancy ‘PWI 500’, but if you wanted a list like that, go ask people on wrestling forums who they think the best workers are today. It’s the only other way you’ll produce a list which makes less sense than the WWE’s booking. To re-cap on the top 20 then:

1. Brock Lesnar
2. Triple H
3. Kurt Angle
4. Keiji Muto
5. Chris Jericho
6. The Big Show
7. Booker T
8. Kenta Kobashi
9. Eddie Guerrero
10. Rob Van Dam
11. A.J. Styles
12. John Cena
13. Chris Benoit
14. El Hijo Del Santo
15. Jeff Jarrett
16. Shinya Hashimoto
17. Matt Hardy
18. The Undertaker
19. Rey Mysterio Jr.
20. Christopher Daniels

To conclude, what a load of crap.
Cheers to’s Russ, Jungmuta and Rikizodan for their opinions on the International stars on the list.

Discuss the 2003 PWI 500 List here

Ciao for now,

Simon Lamb