10 Best Non-WWE Wrestlers Of 2017

1. Kazuchika Okada

NJPW

The best wrestler in the world wasn't born in Gainesville, Georgia, didn't wrestle Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, and doesn't carry the WWE Championship. His name is Kazuchika Okada, and his 2017 output is unparalleled.

The Kenny Omega matches are an obvious starting point, but 'The Rainmaker's output is as rich as it is diverse. Renowned MMA badass Minoru Suzuki tried to tear his knee apart in their February showdown, but Okada endured. He performed a thrilling exhibition with Tiger Mask W in March, beat hard-boiled striker Katsuyori Shibata at his own game in April, and survived the monstrous Bad Luck Fale one month later. Okada then dragged Cody Rhodes to the best match of his career in Los Angeles, before embarking on a remarkable G1 Climax run, then concluding his epic year with another successful IWGP Heavyweight Title defence at King Of Pro Wrestling in October.

There aren't enough superlatives for the ace's skills. He's an in-ring storyteller par excellence, with his virtuosity in psychology, pacing, and selling turning every big match into a dramatic masterpiece. The 'Rainmaker' persona is incredibly intoxicating, and he's a certified draw, too, having helped New Japan to one of the most successful financial years since their 1972 formation.

What's most remarkable about Okada is his age. Still only 30, it'd now be a major surprise if he doesn't eventually catch up with, or even surpass, the likes of Mitsuharu Misawa.

Contributor
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A caffeine-dependent life-form from the frozen wastes of north east Scotland. Big on football, MMA, professional wrestling, and hip-hop. Not particularly good at tennis, before you ask.

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