Ranking the TOP TEN professional wrestlers in the world
Good evening, wrestling fans!
Wrestling is a worldwide sport/entertainment enterprise, enjoyed by millions of fans across the globe…
Here is a list of countries that currently have professional wrestling promotions in operation:
Across those promotions, there are hundreds of talented wrestlers/performers. I will, in the best of my combined analytical and fan based knowledge, attempt to rank the TEN BEST PROFESSIONAL WRESTLERS currently in the world today, as I see and rank them. I will attempt to be as objective as I can and please remember this is my list….Yours may vary quite a bit from mine but that’s the beauty of this…EVERYONE has their own opinion and enjoys different wrestlers for different reasons.
The criteria I will use is as follows:
I am not big into the importance one wrestler has over another in their promotion and so on…I will grade these men and women out on one thing…their talent in the ring and in the industry as compared to their peers (and the way I view that talent).
So here we go….!
- KENNY OMEGA (Canada)
Current wrestling in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he is the reigning and inaugural IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. In NJPW, he is also a former one-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion, two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, one-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, and a two-time NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion. He is also a one-time winner of NJPW’s premier tournament, the G1 Climax, having won it in 2016 and being the first non-Japanese wrestler to do so. He also appears in the American promotion Ring of Honor (ROH). Kenny Omega is the best of the best…Can adapt to any style of wrestling and continually puts on 5-star matches. In my opinion, the greatest professional wrestler in the world today.
- A.J STYLES (United States – Georgia)
WWE wrestler currently performing on the SmackDown brand and the reigning United States Champion in his second reign. He has long been regarded as one of the world’s best professional wrestlers. Styles has held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship twice. He was also the first holder of the X Division Championship, a title he held six times. Styles is the first professional wrestler ever to complete the TNA Triple Crown (five times) and the TNA Grand Slam (two times). In 2010, Styles became the first ever TNA-contracted wrestler to be ranked number one on the annual Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) PWI 500 list. He simultaneously appeared in Ring of Honor (ROH) from 2002–2006, where he became the first ROH Pure Champion. In 2014, Styles signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and won his first of two IWGP Heavyweight Championships in his debut match with the company, later becoming the leader of the Bullet Club. Styles has also competed internationally on the independent circuit, winning various titles including the PWG World Championship. Styles first appeared in WWE in 2002… He signed a multi-year contract with WWE fourteen years later in January 2016, making his re-debut at that month’s Royal Rumble. After appearing at his first WrestleMania that April, Styles headlined multiple pay-per-view events en route to winning the WWE Championship at Backlash in September, holding the title up until 2017’s Royal Rumble in January. Also in 2016, both PWI and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter voted him “Wrestler of the Year”. In my estimation, the finest wrestler under the WWE umbrella.
- KAZUCHIKA OKADA (Japan)
Japanese professional wrestler currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he is in his fourth reign as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Okada has also competed in TNA (Total Nonstop Action Wrestling). Okada defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win NJPW’s top title, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which he would hold for four months before losing it back to Tanahashi. The following August, Okada won NJPW’s premier tournament, the G1 Climax. At the end of the year, the Tokyo Sports magazine named Okada the 2012 MVP in all of Japanese professional wrestling. The following year, Okada first won the New Japan Cup in March and then regained the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Tanahashi in April. After a thirteen-month reign, Okada lost the title in May 2014. Three months later, he won his second G1 Climax. Okada has since won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship two more times and headlined NJPW’s biggest annual event – the January 4 Tokyo Dome Show – four times (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017). In 2017, Okada became the first Japanese wrestler to top Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s list of the top 500 wrestlers in the world. In my opinion, the finest JAPANESE wrestler in the world and #3 on my overall list.
- RICOCHET (United States – Kentucky)
Currently wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he is in his third reign as one-half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, while also being a former three-time NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion and the winner of 2014 Best of the Super Juniors and 2015 Super Jr. Tag Tournaments. He has also worked for the Japanese Dragon Gate promotion and its American branch Dragon Gate USA, where he is a former Open the Freedom Gate Champion, Open the Dream Gate, Open the Brave Gate, Open the Twin Gate, Open the Triangle Gate and Open the United Gate champion. He also wrestled as Prince Puma for Lucha Underground, where he was the inaugural and two-time Lucha Underground Champion. Other promotions he has worked for include Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), where he won the 2014 and 2017 Battle of Los Angeles tournaments, and Chikara, where he mainly worked under a mask as Helios. He also wrestled for House of Glory, where he was the inaugural HOG World Heavyweight Champion. The way I see it, this man is an amazing talent who continues to stay under the radar, but true wrestling fans will know and appreciate the all-around greatness of King Ricochet.
- ROMAN REIGNS (United States – Florida)
Played college football at Georgia Tech and professionally in Canada. A member of the Anoa’i family (the great Samoan wrestling family). Signed by WWE in 2010 and reported to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) for his start in professional wrestling. Reigns made his main roster debut in November 2012 alongside Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as The Shield. The trio teamed together until June 2014, after which Reigns entered singles competition. Reigns is a three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, a one-time United States Champion, a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion (with Rollins), the 2015 Royal Rumble winner and the 2014 Superstar of the Year. He also tied the WWE record for most eliminations in a Survivor Series elimination match with four in the 2013 event and set the record for most eliminations in a Royal Rumble match with 12 in the 2014 event. Reigns, like it or not, is the pillar of the RAW brand of WWE. Durable, charismatic and respected, Reigns is in his prime and positioned to carry the brand for years to come.
- SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (Japan)
Former mixed martial artist currently signed and performing on the SmackDown brand in the WWE. He is best known for his work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a former three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, five-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion, one-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, and the winner of the 2011 G1 Climax, 2006 G1 Tag League, and 2014 New Japan Cup tournaments. Nakamura is the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history, having won the title for the first time at the age of 23 years and 9 months. In 2015, Nakamura was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. Prior to his main roster debut, Nakamura competed in WWE’s developmental branch, NXT, where he is one of only two wrestlers (along with Samoa Joe) to have held the NXT Championship on more than one occasion. The King of Strong Style is one of the most beloved superstars on the SmackDown brand where he continues to be one of the top stars in the industry.
- SETH ROLLINS (United States – Iowa)
Performing on the Raw brand and currently one-half of the brand’s Tag Team Champions with Dean Ambrose in his second reign (his second as an individual and first with Ambrose). After signing with WWE in 2010, he was sent to its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) where he was the first FCW Grand Slam Champion. After WWE rebranded FCW into NXT, he became the inaugural NXT Champion. Rollins debuted on WWE’s main roster in 2012 alongside Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose as The Shield. Rollins won his first main roster championship while with the group, the previously-named WWE Tag Team Championship, with Reigns. Following The Shield’s breakup, Rollins has gone on to become a two-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, a one-time United States Champion, a second reign as Raw Tag Team Champion, the 2014 Money in the Bank winner, and the 2015 Superstar of the Year. Rollins has headlined numerous major pay-per-view events for WWE, including WrestleMania 31. Industry veteran Sting, who wrestled his final match against Rollins at Night of Champions on September 20, 2015, described him as the most talented professional wrestler he has ever seen or worked with. Also wrestled as Tyler Black for Ring of Honor (ROH), where he held the ROH World Championship once and the ROH World Tag Team Championship twice (with Jimmy Jacobs), as well as the winner of the 2009 Survival of the Fittest tournament. He also wrestled for various independent promotions including Full Impact Pro (FIP), where he was a one-time FIP World Heavyweight Champion, as well as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), where he was a one-time PWG World Tag Team Champion (also with Jacobs). Rollins is a smooth technician with second to none cardiovascular conditioning. Young and talented, this performer is also a linchpin talent in the WWE alongside Styles and Reigns.
- FINN BALOR (Ireland)
Previously known for his tenure with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) as Prince Devitt, where he is a three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, having held the title twice with Minoru and four times with Ryusuke Taguchi. He is also a two-time winner of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, having won in 2010 and 2013, as well as being a founding member of the Bullet Club stable. Through NJPW’s working relationship with Mexican promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), Devitt also wrestled there, becoming a one-time NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion. He also wrestled for numerous independent promotions, becoming a one-time ICW Zero-G Champion, one-time RPW British Cruiserweight Champion and a two-time NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion. After signing with WWE’s development territory NXT and adopting his current ring name, Bálor became a one-time NXT Champion, with his reign being the longest in the title’s history at 292 days. Shortly after arriving on the main roster, Bálor became the first wrestler in WWE history to win a world title in their pay-per-view debut, as well as becoming the quickest wrestler in WWE history to win a world title at 27 days following his main roster debut by becoming the inaugural WWE Universal Champion which he unfortunately relinquished the championship a day later due to suffering a legitimate shoulder injury during the match. An exceptional talent that can “do it all” and can even summon his much loved (by the WWE Universe) alter-ego, the Demon Balor….
- WILL OSPREAY (England)
Currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honor (ROH), where he performs under the ring name Will Ospreay. Among other accolades, Ospreay is a former ROH World Television Champion, a former Progress Wrestling Champion, a former WCPW Tag Team Champion, and was also the winner of the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. This young man is oozing with talent and is a technical maestro…Any doubts, they will quickly and most assuredly be washed away after watching this incredible match with my #4 ranked wrestler, Ricochet… (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2tzwazU3yY)
- DOLPH ZIGGLER (United States – Ohio)
Ziggler was a collegiate wrestler at Kent State University where he set what was then the record for most career wins in the team’s history (121 wins). Signed to a developmental contract with WWE in 2004, Ziggler was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). He was brought up to the Raw brand in 2005 as Kerwin White’s sidekick. He was, however, sent back to OVW shortly afterwards, where he joined The Spirit Squad as Nicky. They debuted on Raw in January 2006, and won the World Tag Team Championship once before returning to OVW that November. In September 2007, Ziggler was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), where he won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship twice. Ziggler returned to the WWE main roster in September 2008. Since then, Ziggler has held WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship twice, the Intercontinental Championship five times, the United States Championship once, and was the 2012 Money in the Bank winner. He has also been the sole survivor of two Survivor Series elimination matches at the 2012 and 2014 events. A great talent who can carry any match in any style of wrestling, Ziggler remains a highly underutilized talent on the WWE roster.
NEVILLE (England), TETSUYA NAITO (Japan), CHARLOTTE FLAIR (United States – North Carolina), MICHAEL ELGIN (Canada), Zach Sabre, Jr. (England) and ASUKA (Japan).
Special shout out to WIKIPEDIA for the stats and background on my top ten and to YouTube for the outstanding video of Ricochet vs. Ospreay.
Talent…the only criteria I used and, with that said and in my opinion, the top wrestlers in the world today. Enjoy and let the banter begin!