Each week, we will break down the current roster and examine who has gone up the WWE hierarchy and who has unfortunately taken a step down the ladder. Factoring in things such as wins and losses, suspensions, injuries, making a name for one's self, being humiliated, and more, who is at the top of the food chain and who needs to make up some ground next week?
With his tag team partner Heath Slater preoccupied with legal issues, Titus O’Neil was left alone to face Jack Swagger on SmackDown. With the Real American fuelled by his aggression towards Rusev, O'Neil was little more than a stepping stone for his opponent heading into TLC, and was therefore easily dispatched.
Although she would be much higher up the list for her efforts at NXT: R Evolution, this ranking only counts main roster appearances. Which is a shame for Charlotte, whose first appearance on RAW proved to be a short and uninspiring affair. She battled Natalya and was caught in a small package within minutes to head back to Florida with a defeat.
Well, the one thing that can be said for Fandango is that he keeps turning up on TV, which is a step up from before. However, he has little else to be pleased about, as his showing at RAW was limited to accepting a Slammy Award on behalf of Chris Jericho. The awkward speech talking about how he once defeated Jericho at WrestleMania did little to improve his stock however.
When you have two talented superstars that currently have no direction, it seems a makeshift tag team is on the cards. This has happened in the last couple of weeks with Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, who have united in their desire to get their just rewards. Yet, their quest didn’t get off to the ideal start when they fell to Tag Team of the Year The Usos on SmackDown in relative ease.
Alicia Fox might soon be enjoying a step up in relevance due to being recently added to Total Divas. But at the moment she is simply fodder to the top divas in the division. She maintained this status on SmackDown where, in spite of an athletic performance, she was defeated by Divas Champion Nikki Bella, and then assaulted post-match for good measure.
Another Total Diva enters the list next, but was a little more successful in terms of results. However, few would thank her for that fact, as she defeated NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte on her WWE debut after an utterly forgettable match. Short and with very little technical wrestling, the only entertaining aspect was seeing Nattie’s husband Tyson Kidd celebrate like he won the match instead.
The former tag team champions have fallen far onto the undercard in battling with the latest faction of the New Day. And this new day proved to be more than a match for their cosmic key across all shows this week. Kofi Kingston defeated Stardust on RAW, followed by Big E squashing Goldust on SmackDown. And unsurprisingly this was topped-off with a tag team loss on the TLC kick-off show.
The corporate clothes remain, and at this point Kane might be better placed in the office. On RAW he teamed with the tag team champions Miz and Damien Mizdow against Ryback and the Usos, which ended in defeat. Another six-man tag team loss followed on SmackDown, as Kane’s team lost to Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and the Big Guy once more. So, he was probably sick of the sight of Ryback by the time they met at TLC, and rightly so as he fell to the Big Hungry in a chairs match.
The Real American had a fire behind him like never before when he pursued Rusev’s United States Championship. With his manager Zeb Colter sidelined with a broken leg due to an attack by the Bulgarian, Jack Swagger made it his mission to snap Rusev’s ankle, and came close on RAW. After defeating Titus O’Neil on SmackDown, Swagger came out strong against Rusev in the title match at TLC, but was quickly caught with a kick and locked in the Accolade. He eventually passed out from the pressure, ending his hopes once more.
Luke Harper entered this week as Intercontinental Champion, but finished it without his belt and cuts all over his body. On RAW he battled his former Wyatt Family brethren Erick Rowan, which descended into a brawl and resulted in him being disqualified for using a ladder. They were on opposite sides again in a six-man tag team match on SmackDown, as Harper’s side lost when he was pinned by Ryback. Then at TLC, he and Dolph Ziggler went through hell in their ladder match, and the Show-Off came out on top when he kicked Harper off the top of the ladder.
The New Day may behave like their full of excitement, but they are only gradually starting to inject some of that into the crowd. At least results are going their way at the moment, as they utterly dominated their feud with Gold/Stardust. On RAW, Kofi Kingston began with a win over Stardust, and then Big E followed this up with victory over Goldust. Then on the TLC kick-off show, they teamed up to face both golden brothers, and won once again.
The Diva of the Year she may be, but AJ Lee did not capture the award that she desired most of all on Sunday night. After being voted by the fans to win the Slammy Award for the second year running, she defeated Summer Rae on RAW rather quickly with the Black Widow. But, when it came to the big match at TLC, she came up short. In a match that at least surpassed their Survivor Series encounter, but little more, she was pinned by Nikki Bella after a brief distraction by Brie allowed her to be sprayed in the face and caught in the Rack Attack.
Adorned with the nickname ‘Big Red’ by JBL, it was a mixed week for the sheep-masked genius Erick Rowan. He fought with former partner Luke Harper on RAW, and whilst picked up the victory, it was only due to being smashed in the face with a ladder. SmackDown was an improvement, as he was on the winning side of a six-man tag against Harper, Kane and Big Show. But, his match against the Giant left him with plenty of bruises, as their oddly impressive Stairs match left Rowan pinned under the steel by Show.
Few superstars have the ability to shoot up the rankings without competing in a match. But Roman Reigns made one hell of an impact this week as he announced his return in style. Reigns won Superstar of the Year in a surprising crowd vote, and in his speech set everybody on notice. This proved to be a sign of immediate things to come, as his music blared through the arena at TLC. He ran through the crowd with purpose, spearing Big Show through a table when he interfered in John Cena’s match. Then a superman punch to rival Seth Rollins cost him the match, and Reigns had returned with a vengeance.
The Big Show was another recipient of a mixed week, but in terms of hurting people he was on top form. The World’s Largest Athlete began his rampage against John Cena on RAW. Despite losing by disqualification as J&J Security interfered, Big Show proceeded to knock out Cena, Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan before the night’s end. On SmackDown, Show was again on the losing end in a six-man tag against Ziggler, Rowan and Ryback. But, he returned to winning ways against Rowan in the Stairs match in a hard-hitting affair. However, his TLC wasn’t entirely successful, as his attempt to cost Cena in the tables match resulted in him speared through a table by Roman Reigns.
The Tag Team Champions maintained hold of their gold at TLC, but only through some shifty shenanigans. Their week beforehand was certainly less than ideal, as the Miz continued to pursue Naomi with little response, and lost in a six-man tag team match alongside Kane against Ryback and the Usos. Then at TLC against challengers the Usos, with the Miz refusing to tag in partner Damien Mizdow to the chagrin of the crowd, they lost by disqualification, but kept hold of their titles as a result.
The United States Champion was not in action for most of the week, allowing Lana to do the majority of his work with promos. This did not help Rusev when confronted by Jack Swagger on RAW when the Real American zeroed in on his ankle. This led into their title match at TLC, which proved underwhelming compared to their previous encounters. In a short affair, Rusev’s second attempt at the Accolade eventually got the better of Swagger, causing him to pass out and keeping hold of his championship.
The Lunatic Fringe was given another opportunity to headline a PPV at TLC against rival Bray Wyatt, and produced his usual mix of extreme spots and craziness. On RAW he confronted Wyatt out of the back of an ambulance, before launching at him a barrage of weaponry for their TLC match. At the PPV itself, it was a match filled with huge moments and violence, with both superstars lucky to walk out with their careers intact. Yet, Ambrose was left on the losing end again on the big stage, as after a monitor exploded in his face, he was hit by Sister Abigail and pinned.
Mr. Money in the Bank’s desire to cost John Cena his title shot against Brock Lesnar came up short in their tables match, in no small part down to an old friend. On RAW, he defeated Dolph Ziggler thanks to some assistance from Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury at ringside. He ended the night standing above Cena after smashing him through an announce table. However, that momentum was not enough to overcome his rival at TLC, even with his security at his side. Rollins was slammed through two tables, the second one after Roman Reigns returned to punch him in the mouth and an Attitude Adjustment for good measure.
The Samoan brothers were full of winning results this week, but still couldn’t end it with the tag team titles that they crave. On RAW, they teamed with Ryback to defeat the team of Kane, The Miz and Damien Mizdow, with Jimmy Uso in particular singling out Miz for abuse due to his interactions with his wife Naomi. This was followed up with victory over Tyson Kidd and Cesaro on SmackDown. However, at TLC, despite another win to their name, the fact it was by disqualification meant they left Sunday without the championships and some Slammy-shaped marks in their foreheads.
Nikki Bella likes to talk about how she is stronger, but this week certainly showed that she is crafty above all else. The Divas Champion picked up a convincing victory on SmackDown against Alicia Fox, giving her a post-match Rack Attack for good measure. This was intended as a message to challenger AJ Lee, as they battled at TLC for the title. In the end, in a confident and powerful display by the champ in particular, a brief distraction by Brie allowed her to apply some spray to the eyes of AJ. This led to the Rack Attack and a title defense amid controversy.
A main event slot at TLC for Bray Wyatt, although it came at some cost to his body and welfare. In the week leading up to the PPV, Wyatt let his talking prepare for the build-up, until he was assaulted on RAW by Dean Ambrose with anything the Lunatic Fringe could lay his hands on. This led into their extreme TLC match at the PPV, which included Wyatt being elbow dropped through at least three tables. In the end, due to Ambrose being blinded by an exploding monitor, Wyatt was able to pin him after a second Sister Abigail.
John Cena had a great deal to lose at TLC, let alone enduring a number of splinter marks in the process. He certainly felt that pain by the end of RAW, as although he secured a victory over Big Show by disqualification, he was soon knocked out by the Giant and then powerbombed by Seth Rollins through the announce table. This built into their match at the PPV, as Cena and Rollins battled to put the other through a table. And, as has become a typical sight, Cena overcame Rollins, J&J Security and the Big Show, with a helping hand from Roman Reigns, to defeat his opponent. Next stop, the Royal Rumble and Brock Lesnar.
Dolph Ziggler continues to be one of the most in-form stars in the company at the moment, with his performances and results outshining many on the roster. His week started not exactly as planned, as he fell to Seth Rollins thanks to some interference by J&J Security. He then suffered a WMD by the Big Show, but recovered in time to win a six-man tag on SmackDown against Show, Kane and Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper. Then came the big match at TLC, as Ziggler put his body through hell and back against Harper with the title on the line. And, for the third time this year, the IC title returned to his waist after a gutsy performance.
For the second consecutive week, Ryback sits atop the rankings due to his consistent victories. On both RAW and SmackDown, he was a part of six-man tag team matches, and in both cases was the superstar scoring the pinfall victories. On Monday he finished off the Miz alongside the Usos, and on the blue show delivered another Shell-Shock finisher to Luke Harper when teaming with Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan. This momentum carried him towards another win at TLC, facing Kane in a chairs match. Although it was far from a classic encounter due to no head shots and the in-built limitations of these matches, Ryback produced another solid result, slamming the Corporate Demon to the canvas.
Do you think anyone should be listed differently?