IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada will become the first Japanese wrestler to ever rank #1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 wrestlers, as per PWI editor Dan Murphy on this week's Ross Report.

It'll be the latest in a long line of accolades for 'The Rainmaker,' who is enjoying a career-best year as New Japan Pro Wrestling's top champion, and has shot to new levels of international prominence in 2017.

Traditionally published in September, the PWI 500 attempts to rank the best wrestlers in the world from a kayfabe standpoint. Okada finished second to Roman Reigns on last year's list, and given how many major matches WWE's 'Big Dog' has lost in the past 12 months, it's no surprise he has been overtaken.

Okada's losses to EVIL and Kenny Omega in this year's G1 Climax tournament were his first since August 2016. He is the cornerstone around which NJPW's modern success is built, and is currently 432 days into his fourth reign as IWGP Champion. He has broken Dave Meltzer's famous match rating system with three six-star bouts in 2017, and has now done what countrymen like Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi couldn't - top the PWI 500.

 

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