PWI 100: Hikaru Shida’s case for a top-five slot

AEW, Hikaru Shida (photo courtesy of AEW)
AEW, Hikaru Shida (photo courtesy of AEW) /

The PWI 100 celebrates the top women in professional wrestling, and Hikaru Shida has a strong case for being in the top five.

News about the women’s PWI 100 dropped and Wrestling Twitter had a ball with the information. WWE dominated the higher rankings, owning positions one through five. The Four Horsewomen, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch were there along with Asuka. The consensus seems to be that these are the top five women in the business today. But what if one woman on this list was replaced by another? Who would go and who would join the others as one of the top five performers in wrestling today? There is a champion over in All Elite Wrestling that would like to have a word.

The women’s PWI is generated from October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. The ladies are graded based on championships won, quality of opposition, technical proficiency, win-loss records, overall activity, and momentum/promotional push.

Charlotte Flair is widely considered to be one of the best performers in the industry today. She is elevated as such in the WWE as they feature her prominently throughout their content. Much to the chagrin of many viewers, she was a focal point during the early portion of the COVID-19 era in the WWE until she was written off television back in June. She deserved the time off and the anticipation around her return is slowly growing.

But perhaps the perceived oversaturation of Flair on television could make room for Hikaru Shida of AEW to take the fifth slot in the PWI 100, bumping Banks up to number four. The debate for debate’s sake is a fun one as women’s wrestling continues to grow as a focal point across professional wrestling.

Let us look at what Shida has done in the time frame covered by the PWI 100. She is currently the AEW women’s champion, a title she won back in May, putting on one of the best women’s matches in AEW against Nyla Rose at Double or Nothing. Her run has continued with wins over the likes of Penelope Ford, Thunder Rosa, and this week’s win over Big Swole. Even before that title victory, she was the top performing woman on the AEW roster, defeating nearly everyone they had to send her way. While some will argue the level of opposition when compared to Flair, Shida’s consistency is not up for debate – even as AEW struggles to provide adequate time to the women’s division.

But there is something else that stands out about Shida’s past year, from before her time with AEW that should as a part of the PWI ranking. In October of 2019 she produced a two-day show, Revolution TOKYO that was held in Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. This event was created because Shida signed with AEW and was leaving Japan to perform in North America full time. Imagine a send off that included a self-produced event with the top Japanese women’s wrestlers at the time. Shida did that with names such as Rina Yamashita, Hanako Nakamori, Emi Sakura and Aja Kong. That is a major moment for anyone’s career.

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In 2019 Hikaru Shida was ranked number 62 in the PWI 100. In 2020 she came in at number six. There is an argument to be made that she could have slid into the top five if Charlotte Flair were not in her position. While some may not be open to the conversation, that is the whole point of lists like these – to create interesting and passionate debates.