Pro Wrestling Illustrated

Pro Wrestling Illustrated April 2019

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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9 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
from the desk of…

I WASN’T GOING to report this private conversation, but I feel ethically compelled to do so. Once word spread on social media that we were planning to put the Woman of the Year, Becky Lynch, on the cover of this issue, I received a call from Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority’s chairman asking that we reconsider. “From what we understand, you always put the Wrestler of the Year on your cover,” said Turki bin Abdel Muhsin Al-Asheikh. “We understand the West’s feelings about female professional athletes, and we respect Miss Lynch’s talents and abilities, but isn’t it more appropriate to put a man on the cover?” I have to admit that I was confused when I noted the caller ID on my phone. I had no idea who was calling or what I…

10 min.

WWE IS MAKING more money than ever, with more viewers and consumers than at any point in its history. Fox Broadcasting agreed to pay WWE a billion dollars over five years to air Smackdown Live. WWE stock reached an all-time high of $97.69 this past fall. The WWE Network has defied Wall Street analysts and now boasts 1.5 million subscribers. NXT rivals Ring of Honor and New Japan in terms of critical acclaim. International events, such as Super Show-Down in Melbourne, Australia, nearly equaled WrestleMania in live-gate receipts and overall match quality. Yet Raw and Smackdown, the traditional measures of WWE’s success or failure, are experiencing record ratings lows on USA Network. Is this merely a reflection of cable television’s declining influence? Or does it signal bigger problems? The overall rating for…

2 min.
achievement 2018 the year in review

THE FANS HAVE spoken, the votes have been counted, and the 2018 Achievement Awards are official. The wrestling landscape has changed considerably since the very first Achievement Awards appeared in the pages of the Victory Sports Series Wrestling Annual And Yearbook in 1972. Back in those days, who could have predicted that one promotion could become a multibillion-dollar “sports entertainment” empire? Certainly, no one foresaw the day when the Girl Wrestler of the Year (as the award was unfortunately named then) Marie La-Verne would beat out Wrestler of the Year Pedro Morales for the cover of the magazine. To borrow WWE’s term, wrestling has evolved, and the PWI Achievement Awards have evolved along with it. The 11 Achievement Awards are decided entirely by fan ballot. Because they are not awarded by the editorial…

3 min.
ronda rousey

THE STAKES were high. Ronda Rousey—the former UFC champion and Olympic medalist—would be making her pro wrestling debut in a marquee match on the biggest stage of all: WrestleMania. Everyone knew that Rousey had the athletic credentials to become a WWE Superstar, but she had never competed in front of 78,000 rabid fans, and millions more watching on the WWE Network. The world was watching … and “Rowdy” Ronda delivered in a big way. Wrestling Observer Newsletter publisher Dave Meltzer gave the mixed tag team match pitting Rousey and Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon 4.25 stars, his highest-rated match of WrestleMania 34. Even opinionated curmudgeon and historian Jim Cornette conceded it was “the best debut match ever” on The Jim Cornette Experience podcast. But as impressive as the former UFC star…

3 min.
roman reigns

ROMAN REIGNS has been a polarizing figure, but the entire wrestling world rallied to his side after he announced in October that he was once again fighting leukemia. The October 22 edition of Raw began as it often did, with WWE Universal champion Reigns coming to the ring and addressing the fans. However, it didn’t take long to realize that this wasn’t a standard, run-of-the-mill wrestling promo. “My real name is Joe, and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years,” Reigns (real name Joseph Anoa’i) announced. “And, unfortunately, it’s back.” Reigns said that he was vacating the championship and stepping away from wrestling to concentrate on his health. The announcement came as a surprise to all but Reigns’ closest friends and family. The fact that he had even been diagnosed with leukemia (which…

3 min.
most improved wrestler of the year

WHEN THE Velveteen Dream turned up in NXT in the spring of 2017, fan reaction could be described as a combination of intrigue and bemusement. NXT fans had previously seen him compete under the much less ostentatious name Patrick Clark. He was an undercard competitor and former Tough Enough contestant with few wins to his name. Now with a violet makeover, a flashy name, and apparently a closet full of Prince’s old togs, Clark had the sizzle … but what about the steak? The Dream began to collect a few more wins, but he was still more known for his elaborate ring entrances and promos than his in-ring abilities. But Dream showed continuous improvement, demonstrating his toughness in losses to Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano. At TakeOver: Philadelphia, he scored a big win…