thecubsfan.com

The Gagne 500!

Jun
26

By Joe Gagne

I remember buying the very first PWI 500 back in 1991 (when Hulk Hogan was #1 and they comically left the Undertaker off the list completely). Basically, they took 500 wrestlers (the vast majority of whom were from the U.S. – David Sammartino finished 1 slot ahead of Mitsuharu Misawa, and Jumbo Tsuruta was 1 spot behind the Yellow Dog, but he did just beat Tim Horner), and ranked them in a kayfabe manner over who was the best. I think I appreciated the scope of it more than anything – I knew all the WWF and WCW wrestlers, and some indy wrestlers I knew of mostly from reading PWI, but the fact 500 wrestlers existed, and someone took the time to rank them and write bios fascinated me. Even when I stopped reading the Apter mags not long after I always tried to track down the PWI 500. It still gets published to this day, and costs about $86 dollars on the newsstands.

There have been fan attempts, most notably the Death Valley Driver 500. I had always thought about doing a list like that, but didn’t think I watched enough wrestling to make a comprehensive list. Remember, back in the day, to see a show from Japan you had to trade tapes or pay $10, if not more. Now, with the likes of Youtube, Daily Motion, Sendspace, MP4’s, and other means, almost any show that happens anywhere can be viewed in about a week, if not live. So given all that…I still don’t watch enough wrestling to make a comprehensive 500. But I can come pretty close.

My approach here was basically to ask: “Who do I most want to see in a match right now?” I’d rather see #9 wrestle more than #10, #5 more than #4, and #1 is the guy I most want to see overall.

Some caveats:

A) This is based on in-ring performance only.
B) I tended to take a “best case scenario” for each wrestler. Tomoaki Honma is a guy who knocks it out of the park when given a high profile singles or tag match, if you only watched him in lower card tag matches where he doesn’t get a chance to shine, you may think his ranking is nuts.
C) There’s obviously a discrepancy in amount of footage for each wrestler. I can see John Cena wrestle 100 times a year easily; for some indie guys it can be tough to track down anything. I tried to watch at least a handful of matches for everyone on the list.
D) No women or mini’s. While there are plenty of both who would deserve being added to an overall 500, I just don’t follow either at the level where I’d be comfortable adding them.
E) Smaller Indies are going to suffer in terms of representation, and that goes for the entire world, not just the U.S. Through the Network and TV, there’s plenty of WWE to watch, lucha is easy to find online, and even not counting iPPV’s on Ustream, a lot of Japanese stuff is available. Indies can get expensive (unless you’re a dirty thief), and I mainly focus on the larger groups. There are also only so many hours in the day to watch wrestling, and indie wrestling is likely the one to get cut. I know there’s a bunch of guys in Europe who should make the cut, but I lack the time and funds to properly rate them. Such is life.
F) I would count tag teams as separate wrestlers, in order to pad the list, and also it’s just fun to think about which teammate is better. In true PWI 500 fashion, tag teams members are usually only a few slots apart.
G) As far as who was included, if I think a person currently injured or on hiatus will wrestle soon, I included them. That’s why CM Punk is here, as I can’t imagine him never wrestling again. I’m also assuming Daniel Bryan comes back close to 100%. The Undertaker is not here, since I get the sense he’s done, and he may only wrestle one more match if he does come back. Evan Bourne is here and fairly high, which may be weird, since he hasn’t wrestled since Obama’s first term, but what can I say? I’m excited to see him wrestle again. Jado may have retired as I type this, but I left him on.
H) Personal biases weigh heavily. Yuji Nagata is likely too high. Don’t care. Kane is probably too low, but I don’t ever want to see him wrestle again so there you go.
I) If I see guys live a lot that also probably affects the rankings.
J) “Just repeat to yourself, it’s just a list, I should really just relax.”

So there you go. Big thanks to The Cubs Fan, Dylan Hales, Alan4L, and Mike Falcone for suggestions, feedback, and finding the embarrassing amount of duplicates in the original list. I had a lot of fun putting this together, but I doubt it’ll be a yearly thing. I could narrow it down to the top 200, which is more manageable, but not nearly as much fun. Anyway, I did it, here it is, enjoy.

list last corrected on 07/02/2014

1. Tomohiro Ishii
2. Kazuchika Okada
3. Daniel Bryan
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi
5. Shinsuke Nakamura
6. Negro Casas
7. Antonio Cesaro
8. Virus
9. Tomoaki Honma
10. Sami Zayn
11. AJ Styles
12. Ricochet
13. CM Punk
14. Brock Lesnar
15. John Cena
16. Masaaki Mochizuki
17. KENTA
18. Seth Rollins
19. Daisuke Sekimoto
20. Pentagón Jr.
21. Hirooki Goto
22. Adrian Neville
23. Kevin Steen
24. Minoru Tanaka
25. Katsuyori Shibata
26. Chris Hero
27. Prince Devitt
28. Michael Elgin
29. Titán
30. Adam Cole
31. YAMATO
32. Kotaro Suzuki
33. Dean Ambrose
34. Yuji Nagata
35. Tetsuya Naito
36. Sheamus
37. Hechicero
38. Kota Ibushi
39. Fujita “Jr.” Hayato
40. Minoru Suzuki
41. Akira Tozawa
42. Atsushi Aoki
43. Goldust
44. Guerrero Maya, Jr.
45. CIMA
46. Dolph Ziggler
47. Rey Mysterio
48. Alex Shelley
49. Karl Anderson
50. Taiji Ishimori
51. KUSHIDA
52. Rush
53. Rey Escorpión
54. Jay Briscoe
55. Masato Tanaka
56. Reigns, Roman
57. Jimmy Susumu
58. Daisuke Harada
59. Evan Bourne
60. Valiente
61. Mascara Dorada
62. Kenny Omega
63. Masato Yoshino
64. Takashi Sugiura
65. Christian
66. Zack Sabre Jr.
67. Samoa Joe
68. Togi Makabe
69. Averno
70. Kyle O’Reilly
71. Shingo Takagi
72. Shuji Kondo
73. La Sombra
74. William Regal
75. T-Hawk
76. Johnny Gargano
77. Silver Ant
78. Triple H
79. Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!
80. Biff Busick
81. Rey Cometa
82. Yuka Okabayashi
83. Ryo “Jimmy” Saito
84. Atsushi Kotoge
85. Austin Aries
86. Drew Gulak
87. Shigihero Irie
88. Mark Briscoe
89. Bray Wyatt
90. Fire Ant
91. Alex Koslov
92. Jack Evans
93. Randy Orton
94. Bad News Barrett
95. Go Shiozaki
96. KAI
97. Volador, Jr.
98. Satoshi Kojima
99. Timothy Thatcher
100. Blue Panther
101. Rocky Romero
102. Kurt Angle
103. Kofi Kingston
104. Jay Lethal
105. Tyson Kidd
106. Luke Harper
107. Eddie Edwards
108. Takeshi Morishima
109. Barbaro Cavernario
110. Mark Henry
111. Ryusuke Taguchi
112. Bobby Fish
113. Alberto Del Rio
114. Chuck Taylor
115. Jigsaw
116. Cachorro
117. Dragon Lee
118. Rhodes, Cody
119. Kaz Hayashi
120. Puma
121. Shane Haste
122. HARASHIMA
123. Jimmy Uso
124. Tiger
125. Paul London
126. Jey Uso
127. Kazuki Hashimoto
128. El Desperado
129. Mikey Nichols
130. KUDO
131. Yoshihito Sasaki
132. Atlantis
133. Hallowicked
134. Matt Jackson
135. Nick Jackson
136. Jushin Thunder Liger
137. Don Fujii
138. Rich Swann
139. Kenou
140. Jonathon Gresham
141. Katsuhiko Nakajima
142. Aerostar
143. AR Fox
144. Naruki Doi
145. Eric Young
146. El Terrible
147. Stuka, Jr.
148. Ikuto Hidaka
149. LA PARK
150. Fuego
151. BUSHI
152. Roderick Strong
153. Eita
154. Tommaso Ciampa
155. Último Guerrero
156. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
157. JT Dunn
158. Flamita
159. Tony Rivera
160. Vangelis
161. ACH
162. BxB Hulk
163. K-ness
164. Jimmy Jacobs
165. Yoshi Tatsu
166. Kento Miyahara
167. Cancerbero
168. Negro Navarro
169. Uhaa Nation
170. U-T
171. Trent Baretta
172. Lance Archer
173. Jack Swagger
174. Dr. Wagner Jr.
175. Dragon Kid
176. Yosuke Santa Maria
177. Koji Kanemoto
178. Shinya Ishikawa
179. Angelico
180. HUB
181. Kohei Sato
182. Pólvora
183. Batista
184. R.D. Evans
185. Akebono
186. Caprice Coleman
187. Mark Angelosetti
188. Brian Cage
189. Mephisto
190. T.J. Perkins
191. Jimmy Kagetora
192. Naomichi Marufuji
193. Shinobu
194. Jimmy Kanda
195. Justin Gabriel
196. Erick Rowan
197. Maximo
198. Black Terry
199. Myzteziz
200. Gedo
201. Kallisto
202. Titus O’Neil
203. Andrew Everett
204. Black Buffalo
205. Dasher Hatfield
206. Danny Cannon
207. Mr. Que Que Naoki Tanizaki
208. Ultimo Dragon
209. SUWAMA
210. Christopher Daniels
211. Touru Owashi
212. Joe Doering
213. Machine Rocker
214. Hiroshi Yamato
215. Shocker
216. Pegasso
217. Tritón
218. Curt Hawkins
219. Willie Mack
220. Masakatsu Funaki
221. MEN’s Teioh
222. Delta
223. Cedric Alexander
224. Oficial 911
225. Ricky Marvin/Bengala
226. Big E
227. The Big Show
228. Tama Tonga
229. Tetsuya Endo
230. Kaji Tomato
231. Oficial AK47
232. Daichi Hashimoto
233. TAKA Michinoku
234. Místico
235. Kenichiro Arai
236. Soberano, Jr.
237. John Silver
238. Konosuke Takeshita
239. Carta Brava Jr.
240. Vordell Walker
241. Jun Akiyama
242. Frightmare
243. Hercules Senga
244. La Máscara
245. Kazarian
246. Eddie Kingston
247. Tsutomu Oosugi
248. Heath Slater
249. Kzy
250. Ryota Hama
251. Cibernetico
252. Diego
253. Yasufumi Nakanoue
254. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
255. Takao Omori
256. Chris Sabin
257. Fernando
258. Daisuke Sasaki
259. Roode, Bobby
260. Raziel
261. Super Shisa
262. Yujiro Takahashi
263. Drago
264. Ethan Carter III
265. UltraMantis Black
266. MIKAMI
267. Black Panther
268. Texano Jr.
269. Speedball Mike Bailey
270. Niebla Roja
271. Eterno
272. Anthony Nese
273. Davey Richards
274. Ryback
275. Player Uno
276. Star Jr.
277. Tracy Smothers
278. Jeff Hardy
279. Arik Cannon
280. Genba Hirayanagi
281. Silas Young
282. Fénix
283. Shuji Ishikawa
284. Seiya Senada
285. Trevor Lee
286. Gota Ihashi
287. Dragón Rojo, Jr
288. Taichi
289. Curtis Axel
290. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
291. Fandango
292. Bobby Roode
293. Isami Kodaka
294. Big Van Walter
295. Gran Apache
296. Shane Strickland
297. Colt Cabana
298. Solar
299. Magnitude Kishiwada
300. Doc Gallows
301. Stupefied
302. Toru Yano
303. Hajime Ohara
304. Golden Magic
305. Young, Darren
306. Adam Page
307. Artillero
308. TaDarius Thomas
309. The Shard
310. Bully Ray
311. Matt Hardy
312. Shachihoko BOY
313. McIntyre, Drew
314. Bobby Zavala
315. Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa
316. Herodes, Jr.
317. Gunner
318. Soul Rocker
319. Euforia
320. Captain New Japan
321. Damien Sandow
322. Tiger Mask
323. Gran Guerrero
324. Michael Nakazawa
325. Marco Corleone
326. Manabu Soya
327. YOSHI-HASHI
328. Rey Bucanero
329. El Felino
330. Masayuki Kono
331. Mark Andrews
332. Bad Luck Fale
333. Sanshiro Takagi
334. Jun Kasai
335. Canis Lupus
336. Mr. Niebla
337. Hiromu Takahashi
338. Súper Comando
339. Mohammed Yone
340. Great Sasuke
341. James Storm
342. Reapper
343. Sangre Azteca
344. Sin Cara II
345. Amasis
346. Ryotsu Shimizu
347. Hanson
348. Abyss
349. Brazo de Plata
350. Olímpico
351. Caleb Konley
352. Yoshinari Ogawa
353. Shane Hollister
354. Yuka Miyamoto
355. Jinsei Shinzaki
356. Dr. Cerebro
357. Hijo Del Fantasma
358. Damien Wayne
359. Steve Pain
360. Hikaru Sato
361. Scott Parker
362. Zack Ryder
363. Jaki Numazawa
364. Guerrero Negro, Jr.
365. Yasu Urano
366. Matt Tremont
367. Billy Ken Kid
368. Kikutaro
369. Dan Barry
370. Shane Matthews
371. Mesías
372. Alexander Rusev
373. Camorra
374. Kotoka
375. Ophidian
376. Ryouji Sai
377. Magnus
378. Kenny King
379. Worker Ant
380. Mr. Águila
381. Toscano
382. Mondai Ryu
383. Chris Dickinson
384. Shinjiro Otani
385. Belial
386. Jinder Mahal
387. KUUGA
388. Yutaka Yoshie
389. Daisuke Ikeda
390. Tajiri
391. SUSHI
392. Lince Dorado
393. Matt Cage
394. Australian Suicide
395. Perro Aguayo Jr.
396. Okumura
397. Bill Carr
398. Akitoshi Saito
399. Osamu Nishimora
400. David Starr
401. Bo Dallas
402. Cyber Kong
403. Santino Marella
404. Quiet Storm
405. R-Truth
406. Matt Taven
407. Kraneo
408. Tursas
409. Ryuji Ito
410. Hombre Bala
411. AKIRA
412. BJ Whitmer
413. Josh Alexander
414. Jake Crist
415. Arkangel de la Muerte
416. Silver King
417. Dave Crist
418. Buxx Belmar
419. Mineo Fujita
420. Jado
421. Shynron
422. Michael Bennett
423. Homicide
424. Angel de Oro
425. Gamma
426. Kazushi Sakuraba
427. Takaaki Watanabe
428. Braham Shu
429. Tim Donst
430. Obarion
431. Bobby Beverly
432. Ultimo Gladiador
433. Adam Rose
434. Kodama
435. Icarus
436. The Miz
437. Tyler Breeze
438. Braham Kai
439. Menso~re Oyaji
440. Xavier Woods
441. Ricky Shane Page
442. Hideki Suzuki
443. Oro, Jr.
444. Solomon Crowe
445. Stigma
446. Super Halcón, Jr.
447. Ephesto
448. Arik Royal
449. Hijo Del Pantera
450. Kane
451. Keiji Muto
452. B-Boy
453. Danshoku Dino
454. Flip Kendrick
455. Marion Fontaine
456. Aiden English
457. Zeus
458. Sho Tanaka
459. Ethan Page
460. Ray Rowe
461. Akuma
462. Antonio Honda
463. The Bodyguard
464. Gary Jaye
465. Johnny Yuma
466. Graves, Corey
467. Canelo Casas
468. Official Fiero
469. Juntai Miller
470. Joey Ryan
471. Trauma II
472. Tyson Dux
473. Trauma I
474. Louis Lyndon
475. Abdullah Kobayashi
476. Kamataichi
477. Scotty O’Shea
478. Jake Manning
479. Sensei
480. Johnny Goodtime
481. Colin Cassidy
482. Davey Vega
483. Peter Avalon
484. Oliver Grimsley
485. Yohei Komatsu
486. Thomas Dubois
487. Jeremiah Plunkett
488. Mathieu St. Jacques
489. Arctic Resuce Ant
490. Hitoshi Kumano
491. Akuma (CMLL)
492. Ryan Rush
493. Hijo de Pirata Morgan
494. Nitro
495. Sugar Dunkerton
496. Bengala
497. Yoshihiro Takayama
498. Camaleon
499. Manabu Nakanishi
500. Mayback Tanaguchi
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