IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega topped this year's annual PWI 500 list, as voted on by the editors and writers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. This marks the first time in the 28-year history of the "500" that non-WWE wrestlers have received the honor in consecutive years. Last year, fellow NJPW star Kazuchika Okada earned the honor.
"Not only has Kenny Omega managed to set a new standard for excellence in his matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but he has also captured the imagination of the fans in a way few others wrestlers have been able to do in recent years," said Senior Writer Dan Murphy, who coordinates the PWI 500 issue. "In a very real way, Kenny Omega embodies 2018 in professional wrestling. His success on his own terms has made him an international phenomenon."
This year's "PWI 500" evaluated the time period from July 31, 2017, to June 30, 2018. Omega, who finished fifth last year, was selected in front of top 10 finishers AJ Styles (2010 winner), Okada (2017 winner), Brock Lesnar (2003 winner), Seth Rollins (2015 winner), Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns (2016 winner), Cody, Tetsuya Naito and The Miz (2011 winner).
Omega is scheduled to face Pentagon Jr. at this Saturday's All In pay-per-view from Chicago. As always, Wrestling Inc. will have live coverage of the event.
The PWI 500 is available for purchase in print and digital formats at pwi-online.com.