The first issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated was released in 1979. The magazine soon became known for not breaking kayfabe in its articles as it traditionally treated all "angles", or storylines, as real. However, in more recent years, the magazine has taken an editorial approach between kayfabe and "shoot" writing, differentiating between on-screen feuds and controversies behind the scenes. PWI is not limited to covering only prominent professional wrestling promotions, as it also covers multiple independent promotions in the United States. PWI also publishes other special issues, which include: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts since 1996, Women of Wrestling, and a weekly newsletter entitled PWI Weekly from 1989 to 2000. It was eventually acquired by Golden Boy Enterprises.
PWI has given out annual awards and recognitions since its inception. These awards had previously been given out by another Victory Sports Magazine property- Sports Review Wrestling. PWI has also given out monthly rankings for the big promotions, some select independents, and an overall rankings in singles and tag teams. Additionally, readers are given the ability vote for the winners of the year-end awards with ballots being included in special year-end issues. A special PWI Awards magazine is issued annually, which reveals winners and the number of votes counted. The following is a list of categories in which PWI has issued awards.
Wrestler of the Year (since 1972) Tag Team of the Year (since 1972) Match of the Year (since 1972) Feud of the Year (since 1986) Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (since 1972) Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (since 1972) Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (since 1978) Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (since 1972) Rookie of the Year (since 1972) Stanley Weston Award (since 1981) Comeback of the Year (since 1992) Woman of the Year (1972 to 1976, re-established since 2000) Manager of the Year (1972 to 1999) Midget Wrestler of the Year (1972 to 1976) Announcer of the Year (1977)
PWI world championship statusEdit
The following shows which championships are recognized by the magazine’s editors as having been world titles. According to the latest PWI Almanac, PWI also recognizes select world title reigns from May 4, 1905 – January 28, 1946, prior to the formation of the National Wrestling Alliance in July 1948. As of June 29, 2015, only the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is recognized as a world title.
- National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship: July 1948 – January 11, 1991; May 8, 2006 – May 13, 2007
- American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship: August 16, 1960 – December 12, 1990
- WWE Championship: April 25, 1963 – present
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship: January 11, 1991 – March 26, 2001
- ECW World Heavyweight Championship]]: July 6, 1999 – April 11, 2001
- WWE World Heavyweight Championship: September 2, 2002 – December 16, 2013
- TNA World Heavyweight Championship: May 13, 2007 – June 29, 2015
PWI has published its list of the top 500 professional wrestlers each year since 1991 in an annual special edition magazine called the PWI 500. PWI writers choose the position of the wrestler following a designated evaluation period. Anything a wrestler accomplished before or after that period—whether it's winning a world title or doing an opening match job—is not considered. Also, they follow a criteria that includes win-loss record, championships won, quality of competition, major feuds, prominence within a wrestler's individual promotion(s), and overall wrestling ability. As of 2013, only Jushin Thunder Liger has appeared in every edition of the PWI 500. In 1993, Jacqueline Moore was the first woman to be ranked in the list, she was #249.