In the year 1999, something unprecedented happened. A female performer won the once coveted Intercontinental Title. Defeating Jeff Jarrett in a “Good Housekeeping Match” in his last match with the company, Chyna joined the likes of Pat Patterson, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and The Rock to hold the (at the time) prestigious title. However, before she even rose to this unprecedented level for a female wrestler, she broke another wall down. She was ranked in the hallowed PWI 500.
Since 1991, the flagship title of the “Apter mags” has ranked the top 500 wrestlers in the pro wrestling industry. Encompassing the main US companies, companies from Japan, and indy circuits across the world, it gave you an idea of who was the best. Alot of them you knew, some of them you had heard of, and others were complete wild cards to many readers.
In 1999, Chyna was considered by the PWI editors to be the 235th best wrestler in the world.
The “evaluation period” as they deem it typically runs from July 1st – July 1st. However, for the 2014 edition, it ran from July 1st – July 30th. So we’ll use the same “evaluation period” for both. Also, as it reads in the 2014 edition of the PWI 500, the criteria is the following:
- win-loss record
- technical ability
- influence on the sport
- success against the highest grade of competition
- success against the most diverse competition
Also, by 2014 standards, to qualify you must have either 20 matches, or at least one match in seven seperate months.
So let’s look at Chyna back from July 1st, 1998 – July 30th, 1999. (As an aside, for these statistics I’m using Profightdb.com, if you haven’t checked them out… do it… now!)
Win-Loss Record: 7-8-4
While that total only adds up to 19 matches, I’m sure with the house show matches not included she would’ve at the very least crossed the 20 match barrier for inclusion. Although this was 15 years ago, so maybe that statute wasn’t in effect yet.
Technical Ability: ??
Influence on the sport: First woman in the Royal Rumble. Sure she only lasted 35 seconds, but she blazed a trail for others like Beth Phoenix behind her.
Success against the highest grade of competition: Meh.
A few of her wins included a “Corporate Battle Royal”, an arm wrestling match, and a match against the 50+ year old Pat Patterson/Gerald Brisco. Her competition later got better as she defeated Val Venis (#25), X-Pac (#35), Billy Gunn (#39), and Hardcore Holly (#68).
Activity: Less than impressive
As stated before… with the win-loss record not including house shows, she was probably more active than the record shows. That withstanding she still wasn’t THAT active.
Fast forward to 2014………. *futuristic noises and such*
Since her PWG debut in 2008, Candice LeRae has been a staple in multi-person/singles matches where she’s wrestling guys. Since that time she has been in nearly as many matches against male competitors as females.
One half of the reigning PWG Tag Team Champions with partner, Joey Ryan, “The World’s Cutest Tag Team” has been taking the indy scene by storm. Joey Ryan came in slotted at #260 in the PWI 500 for 2014. Candice LaRae should be pictured somewhere on a PWI 500 milk carton.
Now let’s take a look at Candice’s “evaluation period” from July 1st, 2013 – July 30th, 2014:
Win-Loss Record: 9-13-0
Technical Ability: While the “Ballsplex” might not be adapted from Dean Malenko’s arsenal, Candice is a spectacular worker. Her Suicide Dive-Tornado DDT is something to be seen.
Influence on the sport: Candice is the first female to hold the PWG Tag Team Championship. She is also the first female to hold the Dreamwave Wrestling Tag Team Championship.
Success against the highest grade of competition: Candice/Joey defeated the Young Bucks to win the PWG Tag Team Championship. Nick (#76) and Matt (#80) Jackson are former ROH and IWGP Tag Team Champions, and currently hold four different indy promotion Tag Titles. They also defeated Team AC/DC [Darin Corbin (#238)/Arik Cannon (#280)] in Dreamwave Wrestling. In addition to that Candice competed for two Men’s Titles, first facing Shane Strickland (#340) for the CZW Wired TV Title, then facing Adam Cole (#9) for the PWG World Title. While unsuccessful in both attempts, they were both closely contested matches.
Her ProFightDB.com record gets her over the 20 match minimum, and that doesn’t include Dreamwave Wrestling or other smaller indies. That being said, from her unofficial record she still competed for 11 different organizations, including TNA.
In conclusion, I’m not saying that Candice should be ranked as highly as Chyna was in her PWI 500 debut. Chyna was on a much bigger stage, working with higher caliber (but not more skilled) opponents. But, I don’t think you can argue with the numbers that she simply deserves to be the in the top 500 SOMEWHERE. Admittedly in his exerpt, Zack Ryder has won ONE match on television this year and THREE other matches during the “evaluation period” and he’s ranked #153. (I do love Zack Ryder for the record, but come on)
If you’re still disagreeing with me, simply watch the PWG Eleven main event featuring “The Worlds Cutest Tag Team” vs. The Young Bucks. If you don’t have an enormous amount of respect for Candice after that….. well I can’t help you.
As always I welcome all your thoughts and opinions here in the comments section, or you can follow me @RebookTheFinish on Twitter.