From WWE to NJPW and NXT to AEW, here are the top 50 wrestlers from around the world in our annual countdown.
For the second successive year, our resident global wrestling expert, Mo Chatra, has produced an epic list.
Like his 2018 ratings, the 2019 list is determined by the quality of wrestling matches over the last 12 months.
It is derived from an exhaustive database compiled by Mo of top bouts rated four stars (a great contest) or better, from a six-star system.
The list follows the tradition of an annual list produced by the now-defunct Power Slam magazine, which Mo wrote for between 1999 and 2012.
Here he presents the 50 men and women he considers to have been 2019's premier wrestlers.
The Top 50 wrestlers in the world
(Name, nationality, primary affiliated promotion, age and last year's placing)
50. Chihiro Hashimoto (Japanese, Sendai Girls, 27, LYP: Not Listed)
49. Marty Scurll (British, ROH, 31, LYP: 34)
48. Mark Davis (Australian, Independent, 32, LYP: Not Listed)
47. Pete Dunne (British, WWE, 26, LYP: 19)
46. Taiji Ishimori (Japanese, New Japan, 36, LYP: Not Listed)
45. Jay White (New Zealander, New Japan, 27, LYP: Not Listed)
44. Suwama (Japanese, All Japan, 43, LYP: Not Listed)
43. Sareee (Japanese, Sendai Girls, 23, LYP: Not Listed)
42. Shotaro Ashino (Japanese, WRESTLE-1, 29, LYP: Not Listed)
41. Shun Skywalker (Japanese, Dragon Gate, 23, LYP: Not Listed)
40. Kagetsu (Japanese, Independent, 27, LYP: Not Listed)
39. Matt Jackson (American, AEW, 34, LYP: 10)
38. Jon Moxley (American, AEW, 34, LYP: Not Listed)
37. Kzy (Japanese, Dragon Gate, 33, LYP: 50)
36. Zeus (Japanese, All Japan, 37, LYP: 40)
35. Sho (Japanese, New Japan, 30, LYP: Not Listed)
34. Kyle Fletcher (Australian, Independent, 21, LYP: Not Listed)
33. Kenta (Japanese, New Japan, 38, LYP: Not Listed)
32. Nick Jackson (American, AEW, 30, LYP: 11)
31. Ilja Dragunov (Russian, WWE, 26, LYP: Not Listed)
30. Naoya Nomura (Japanese, All Japan, 26, LYP: Not Listed)
29. Ben-K (Japanese, Dragon Gate, 28, LYP: 37)
28. Jake Lee (Japanese, All Japan, 30, LYP: Not Listed)
27. Evil (Japanese, New Japan, 32, LYP: 43)
26. Jordan Devlin (Irish, WWE, 29, LYP: 41)
25. Kenny Omega (Canadian, AEW, 36, LYP: 2)
24. Shuji Ishikawa (Japanese, All Japan, 44, LYP: 42)
23. Pac (British, AEW, 33, LYP: Not Listed)
22. Konosuke Takeshita (Japanese, DDT, 24, LYP: 31)
21. Penta El Zero Miedo (Mexican, AEW, 34, LYP: 27)
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20. Yuji Okabayashi (Japanese, Big Japan, 37, LYP: Not Listed)
19. Susumu Yokosuka (Japanese, Dragon Gate, 41, LYP: Not Listed)
18. Johnny Gargano (American, WWE, 32, LYP: 8)
17. El Phantasmo (Canadian, New Japan, 33, LYP: Not Listed)
16. Adam Cole (American, WWE, 30, LYP: Not Listed)
15. Sanada (Japanese, New Japan, 31, LYP: 24)
14. David Starr (American, Independent, 28, LYP: 30)
13. Dragon Lee (Mexican, New Japan, 24, LYP: Not Listed)
12. Daisuke Sekimoto (Japanese, Independent, 38, LYP: Not Listed)
11. Bandido (Mexican, Independent, 24, LYP: 21)
10. Zack Sabre Jr. (British, New Japan, 32, LYP: 1)
9. Walter (Austian, WWE, 32, LYP: 6)
8. Rey Fenix (Mexican, AEW, 29, LYP: 17)
7. Kota Ibushi (Japanese, New Japan, 37, LYP: 7)
6. Tetsuya Naito (Japanese, New Japan, 37, LYP: 9)
5. Tomohiro Ishii (Japanese, New Japan, 44, LYP: 4)
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Japanese, New Japan, 42, LYP: 12)
3. Kazuchika Okada (Japanese, New Japan, 32, LYP: 5)
2. Kento Miyahara (Japanese, All Japan, 30, LYP: 23)
1. Will Ospreay (British, New Japan, 26, LYP: 3)
The rankings explained
Once again, narrowing a list down to 50 individuals proved to be a very tough task – great talents like independent star Jeff Cobb, Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya and NXT’s Velveteen Dream narrowly missed out.
Nonetheless, for the second successive year the list is topped by a Brit – Essex’s own Will Ospreay.
'The Aerial Assassin' competed in an incredible 40 matches rated four stars or better during 2019, which is double that of anyone else in the list.
Ospreay has been wrestling at an elite level for several years now, and despite still being only 26, some already consider him to be the finest wrestler ever produced by the British Isles.
On June 5 he defeated Shingo Takagi to win the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in Mirror Sport’s 2019 match of the year.
Four days later, Ospreay captured the coveted IWGP junior heavyweight title, defeating Dragon Lee in a fantastic bout.
Ospreay entered the annual G-1 Climax tournament and contested one great match after another during July and August.
Successful title defences against El Phantasmo in October and Bushi in November ensured Ospreay ended 2019 as the IWGP junior heavyweight champ.
Finishing in second place and moving up 21 places in this year’s ranking is All Japan Pro Wrestling ace, Kento Miyahara.
All Japan is the historic rival promotion to New Japan but over the last 20 years it has struggled to compete with its more famous competitor.
Miyahara has looked to close the gap, however, and has developed into a magnificent in-ring competitor.
Throughout 2019, Miyahara defended the Triple Crown Championship that he has held since October 2018 – and he defended the title in one sensational title match after another.
In third place is the remarkably consistent Kazuchika Okada.
On March 24, Okada bested Sanada to win the final of the New Japan Cup tournament in a magnificent match.
The IWGP Heavyweight title was captured for a fifth time by Okada in a great encounter with Jay White on April 6 in Madison Square Garden.
Okada enjoyed a strong G-1 Climax tournament during the summer and managed to retain the IWGP Heavyweight title into 2020.
As with last year’s rankings, the list is dominated by New Japan, with 15 of the 50 spots being occupied by that promotion's talents.
AEW will be pleased to find seven of its wrestlers make the list but several of them (such as Pac and Rey Fenix) achieved their rankings largely due to work outside of Tony Khan's company.
Six WWE-contracted talents made the list but all of them compete for either NXT or NXT UK, and as with AEW-affiliated wrestlers, the likes of Walter and Ilja Dragunov made the list largely down to work on the independent scene.
Conspicuous by their absence are members of the WWE's main roster- this year Raw and SmackDown have no representatives in the top 50 ranking.
Though Raw and SmackDown talent such as Daniel Bryan, Ricochet and Aleister Black competed in many good matches on television and pay-per-views, they didn't contest enough truly great matches to warrant finishing in this year's countdown.
This list sees three women make the top 50.
Chihiro Hashimoto, Sareee and Kagetsu all compete for women's groups in Japan and each competitor enjoyed an outstanding 2019, during which they produced a number of cracking contests.
No fewer than 18 of the top 50 are individuals in their twenties, which suggests the long-term future for pro wrestling is bright.
Remarkably, 23 of the top 50 are new entrants to the list and therefore did not place in the 2018 rankings.
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