Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jabroni Companion Special - The PWI 500 2011 Edition

Wow, so by now, everyone who cares ought to know that The Miz took the top spot in this year's PWI 500. It's a fairly reasonable selection, certainly better than dean Malenko (1997) and Rob Van Dam (2002), though it doesn't say a whole lot of the general quality of professional wrestling during this particular grading period. The Miz put on some innovative championship defenses, even if he's not nearly the quality competitor the ideal PWI 500 headliner should be. (In that respect, Malenko and RVD are certainly superior.) He's more than pulled his weight as an ambassador, though, more than anyone not named The Rock.

If I've got problems, it's elsewhere on the list. At #5, Japanese star Takashi Sigiura sounds like a far more interesting wrestler than his general lack of US exposure would indicate. That's part of my problem with PWI. On the one hand, it certainly makes good business sense to concentrate on the market your audience with most be familiar with, but on the other, you have an incredible platform, and media like YouTube, that could finally explode the full scope of wrestling to its widest potential. There's no reason why I should have been surprised by Sigiura's listing, other than my lack of interest in reading about him elsewhere in international roundups that've consistently made stars like Hiroshi Tanahashi and Satoshi Kojima sound more compelling. I get that the Japanese audience probably is more complicated than I can appreciate, but when you describe Takashi as arguably the best wrestler in the world, your case falls apart when he ranks below someone like Randy Orton, who despite serving a couple terms as world champion during the grading period, sleepwalked throughout all of it, and only recently came alive again thanks to the efforts of a hungry rival like Christian.

To make matters worse, PWI also makes Daniel Bryan's year sound like a failure, even while it spends a lot of time apologizing for the fact that lately, The Miz has looked anything like someone to get behind. Bryan had a remarkable fall, and even found himself slated for a championship match at WrestleMania against a former world champion. Just because that match was pulled for time (with very little build-up, this match would have come off as filler if it'd been short, no matter how much people genuinely like the guy), doesn't mean he's completely lost the momentum that made Bryan one of the biggest stories of 2010. Just ask Shingo (#86) what a short memory can get you. A year ago, he and Bryan put on a match of the year candidate before a very small audience, and PWI gobbled it up. A year later, that match isn't even mentioned in either write-up. What gives?

Every year, PWI finds some excuse to say TNA underachieves, even last year, when AJ Styles became its first star to capture the top spot in the PWI 500. Time to find a new tune, PWI? I'd think so, anyway. Instead of catering to lack of general appreciate, why don't you recognize how incredibly versatile, say, Styles was over the past twelve months? He didn't have world title gold, but he was undoubtedly one of the company's most important wrestlers, as he's been since the start. He's only gotten moreso. There's a reason why he was the signature "name" at Destination X.

I don't want to dig around too much, but that's the general idea. When ROH can get a spot in the top ten during an incredibly lean period (do you honestly expect Eddie Edwards, ultimately, to compare to CM Punk, Samoe Joe, or Desmond Wolfe, who was sadly listed as inactive?), you know there's some fishy reasoning in the editorial pool. It's normal. Nothing's perfect, not even the son of Mr. Perfect. But shoot for something greater.

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