In a groundbreaking moment for women's professional wrestling, Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) has released its annual Women's 250 list, marking a historic expansion from last year's 150. Topping the list is WWE Women's World Champion Rhea Ripley, who has skyrocketed from her 42nd position last year to claim the coveted #1 spot this year.
Ripley is joined in the top ten by fellow WWE superstar Bianca Belair, who secured the #3 position.
#andNEW: Congratulations to @RheaRipley_WWE for being ranked #1 in the 2023 PWI #Womens250! To see the full list and all the analysis that comes with, pick up your copy of the latest issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated (digital edition or print preorder) at https://t.co/ylNeV87zar pic.twitter.com/cXGtWVIyga — PWI (Pro Wrestling Illustrated) (@OfficialPWI) October 18, 2023
AEW's Jamie Hayter and Willow Nightingale also made the cut, landing at #4 and #8, respectively. Ring of Honor Women's Champion Athena came in at #6, while STARDOM's Giulia and Tam Nakano took the #2 and #5 spots. Rounding out the top ten are Impact Wrestling's Deonna Purrazzo at #7, NWA's Kamille at #9, and Jordynne Grace at #10.
Interestingly, only four of the top ten—Ripley, Giulia, Athena, and Nakano—are current titleholders. This raises questions about the criteria used for the rankings, especially considering that other current champions like AEW TBS Champion Kris Statlander and WWE Women's Champion IYO SKY ranked much lower.
Adding to the intrigue is the notable absence of the Four Horsewomen of WWE from the top ranks. For the first time since their inception in 2013, none of them made it to the top 20. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Bayley landed at #21, #29, and #41, respectively.
Mercedes Mone, formerly known as Sasha Banks, was conspicuously unranked due to inactivity.
Rhea Ripley's Meteoric Rise
Ripley's rise to the top has been nothing short of meteoric. Her 2023 has been marked by significant milestones, including winning the Women's Royal Rumble and defeating Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39 to claim the SmackDown Women's Championship.
The title was later rebranded as the WWE Women's World Championship, making Ripley its inaugural holder. She also leads the Judgment Day faction and has a popular alliance with NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio. Off the ring, Ripley celebrated her engagement to AEW's Buddy Matthews.
Looking ahead, Ripley faces a formidable challenge at WWE Crown Jewel on November 4 in Riyadh, where she will defend her title in a fatal five-way match. The bout was set up following Nia Jax's dramatic return to WWE, during which she attacked Ripley and other members of the Raw women's roster. With such a stacked deck, Ripley's reign may be put to the ultimate test.
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