Pro Wrestling Illustrated

Pro Wrestling Illustrated April 2020

Published every other month, the magazine’s mission is to bring our readers right to the ringside with brilliant, high-impact photography and to inform and entertain readers about the Pro Wrestling world. Get Pro Wrestling Illustrated digital magazine subscription today to get unbiased coverage of every major promotion and wrestling news.

United States
Kappa Publishing Group, Inc.
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$5.70(Incl. tax)
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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
from the desk of… stu saks

AS MUCH AS Tony Khan likes to talk to the media, like any smart business executive, he tells us only what he wants us to know. We can make assumptions about the state of AEW’s business based on buy rates of a few pay-per-views, and, of course, Dynamite’s Nielsen ratings are a matter of public record. But we don’t know what was written in that business proposal Tony wrote to convince his father that it was worth parting with a portion of his $8-billion to carry out his vision for a new wrestling company. Presumably, there were spreadsheets that projected profits and losses for the coming years and the 37-year-old’s estimate as to when the company would see mostly black on its ledger. Tony had learned at his dad’s knee and…

11 min.

EVERYTHING CHANGED IN 2019. AEW Dynamite is on TNT, NXT is on USA, and WWE Friday Night Smackdown is on Fox, and consequently, Raw must fight slumping ratings to avoid becoming just another wrestling show. At the end of the year, AEW and NXT were in symbolic deadlock, with Dynamite and NXT tying at 778,000 viewers apiece on the December 11 installment of the Wednesday Night War. Now 2020 is here, and the shifting fortunes of promotions just below the level of WWE and AEW are like tectonic plates causing friction and dynamic change. The situation in Ring of Honor is the most volatile. ROH, which enjoyed unprecedented favor among critical fans for a decade-and-a-half, received tough reviews for its last pay-per-view of 2019, Final Battle, occurring December 13 in Baltimore. Despite…

2 min.
2019 achievement awards

ADAM COLE HAS been in the wrestling business for 13 years, and until this issue, had never been on the cover of a wrestling magazine. When he sees this issue, he’ll give that cool little smile of his, congratulate himself, and then, in a moment of humility, count his blessings that he’s finally had the opportunity to display his talents on the world stage. If he’s thankful to PWI that we honored him with the magazine’s top annual prize, that appreciation would be misdirected. It wasn’t us, it was you who made it happen. You voted for Adam Cole as Wrestler of the Year. Actually, you probably didn’t. The closest Wrestler of the Year voting in recent memory came down to a photo finish, with Cole, Chris Jericho, and Seth Rollins…

2 min.
rookie of the year: brian pillman jr.

THERE WERE MORE than a few talented rookies vying for this award, but none made quite as strong an impression on our readers as Brian Pillman Jr., as suggested by his vote dominance. It’s not hard to imagine why. After all, it’s been an incredible first two years for this preternaturally gifted young grappler. Pillman exudes an effortless confidence and swagger—not to mention awesome athleticism—reminiscent of his father, the legendary Brian Pillman Sr. Like more than a few of the industry’s rising talents, he trained under Lance Storm at the now-shuttered Storm Wrestling Academy. He debuted in January 2018 and immediately rose to indy prominence, scoring a memorable victory over Joey Janela in his first appearance for Black Label Pro. From there, Pillman continued to pick up wins against high-profile opponents in major…

2 min.
inspirational wrestler of the year: roman reigns

FOR THE SECOND straight year, Roman Reigns has taken home the prize for Most Inspirational wrestler—making him only the second wrestler to ever do so. (Bayley managed the same feat in 2015 and 2016.) For viewers casually tuning in to WWE programming, his year probably didn’t seem all that different from many of the company’s other top stars. He won some big matches, lost some others, and consistently performed at the level expected of someone of his standing. Of course, that’s only part of the story. On the October 22, 2018, edition of Raw, Reigns—who was then Universal champion—revealed that he was once again battling leukemia. More than a decade after turning back the disease, he would need to step away from the ring to focus on his health. Fans in attendance (and…

2 min.
most improved wrestler of the year: brian cage

FIRST, LET᾿S ACKNOWLEDGE the double-edged sword that comes with being “Most Improved” in any setting: Those words often imply underachievement in the past. While that may be the case for many other wrestlers, in the case of “The Machine” Brian Cage, the improvement was simply a matter of tapping into his natural abilities and taking things to the next level. Heading into 2019, the former Lucha Underground standout already had a slew of championships on his resume, including a memorable run with the Impact X division title in 2018. But 2019 marked the first year Cage enjoyed a run with the top title of a major televised promotion. Cage earned that status by defeating Johnny Impact (John Morrison) at Impact Wrestling Rebellion to become the company’s heavyweight champion. He’d hold the title for…