Pro Wrestling Illustrated

Pro Wrestling Illustrated January 2021

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

5 min.
the lockup

THEY SAY IF it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’ve been watching Raw and SmackDown for the past several years, you might think that NXT is completely broken. As most fans know, it isn’t. But WWE’s approach to developing talent may be. Late this summer, we got an unfortunate reminder of this phenomenon thanks to Keith Lee’s abrupt jump from NXT to Raw. Lee, a trainee of the late “Killer” Tim Brooks who achieved unparalleled success on the black-and-gold brand, simultaneously holding the NXT and North American titles and capturing the hearts of fans in the process, has been pegged for great things for a while now. There’s a reason he’s usually described as “Limitless”—because that’s the extent of his potential. Yet his Raw debut the night after SummerSlam, in which…

6 min.
win lose or draw

BY NOW YOU’VE read Editor-in-Chief Kevin McElvaney’s announcement in his “From the Desk Of …” column and learned that PWI is expanding to nine issues per year. I’m hard-pressed to think of another magazine in any genre that has increased its frequency in the internet era. Thanks to a renewed appreciation on social media—and you, our loyal readers—PWI has gone from surviving to thriving. Before the internet, magazines were the only wide-reaching forum where wrestling was analyzed and critiqued. And, before cable television, print was the only vehicle by which regional draws could become national stars. Why would a New Yorker get excited about Dusty Rhodes challenging “Superstar” Graham in Madison Square Garden? He had already read about the “American Dream’s” exploits in Florida and around the world. Why was NWA…

14 min.
hotseat: bayley

THE BAYLEY WE all knew a couple years ago would have surely celebrated topping the PWI “Women’s 100” with a round of hugs for everyone in the WWE women’s locker room. These days, you’re far more likely to find the WWE’s self-professed “Role Model” extending her arms to pat herself on the back—or to clobber an opponent with her title belt. Even more than a year after turning her back on her legion of admirers, it’s still hard for many fans to agree with Bayley’s methods. But what they can’t disagree with is the results they’ve reaped: the longest reign as Smackdown Women’s champion in history; multiple successful title defenses (including against four opponents at WrestleMania); a second reign with the Women’s tag team championship; the most compelling WWE storyline of…

2 min.
hana kimura: a testament to women's wrestling

ON MAY 23, 2020, Japanese professional wrestler Hana Kimura was found dead by suicide in her Tokyo apartment, after being harassed by viewers of Terrace House (a reality show in which she starred) via social media. Fuji TV canceled the rest of Terrace House’s current season as the wrestling industry rallied around Kimura and her memory. AEW paid tribute to her during Double or Nothing. And, on the September 3 episode of Dynamite—what would have been her 23rd birthday—Kenny Omega wore a Kimura t-shirt. Io Shirai and Mauro Ranallo both paid respects to Kimura on the May 27 episode of NXT. On Smackdown two nights later, Sasha Banks wore a black armband with “HANA” written on it. Dakota Kai dyed her hair pink as an homage to Kimura for NXT TakeOver: In…

7 min.
necessary meanness

ERIC YOUNG ADMITS HIS FRIGHTENING NEW PERSONA—AND HIS UTTER RUTHLESSNESS—ARE SIMPLY TOOLS HE USES TO CONTROL HIS OWN DESTINY. IN THIS EXCLUSIVE, YOUNG TAKES US INTO THE MIND OF A “WORLD-CLASS MANIAC.” "I’M TRYING TO win, I’m trying to hurt people, to eliminate threats,” explained Eric Young, giving a calm, calculated analysis of his dangerous new persona and rationalizing the heinous acts he’s committed since returning to Impact Wrestling. “Beating a person one-two-three, allowing them to come back in a week and challenge me again, that’s not smart. I’d be setting myself up for disaster. I don’t want to hurt the same person over and over again, just hurt them bad once and never see them again. It’s not personal.” Now it may be appropriate to mention the word “sociopath.” Here is…

5 min.
independent roundup

HOPE AND UNITY were the prevailing themes of the first-ever Black Wrestlers Matter show, held at the Franklin Jr. High Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 22. The event, organized by wrestler and promoter Jon West, presented a tour de force of African-American talent from far and wide before an enthusiastic audience of live attendees and online viewers. When West first announced the event back in June, he was quickly inundated with excited wrestlers clamoring for a spot on the card. He ultimately assembled a roster of over 40 wrestlers for the show, along with additional in-ring and event staff. “I started the BWM movement in 2015. I felt like Black wrestlers didn’t get showcased the way we should. At every show I worked, I was the only Black personality,” West…