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?
A familiar place for the hapless Adam Rose and his buck-toothed friend, as they ran into Kane twice more than they would have liked in the past week. This began on RAW, when the conductor of the Exotic Express and the Bunny were simultaneously chokeslammed by the Corporate Demon, with the animal cruelty going a step further with a post-match Tombstone to the Bunny. The following day on the live SmackDown, the same situation repeated itself, only the Bunny was remorselessly driven into the canvas despite wearing a neck brace.
It didn’t take long for the bubble to burst for the Salsa-dancing superstar, as Fandango became the victim of Roman Reigns’ emphatic return. On RAW, Reigns entered from the crowd to spear Fandango out of his stylish boots with little warning. This led to a match on SmackDown, and despite putting on a much more competitive performance than expected, unsurprisingly was run down by the ex-Shield member. If he even makes the cut for the Rumble I’d be slightly shocked now.
The man who became the guest General Manager for the past episode of RAW had a busy evening, not that much of it managed to excite the audience. This was a pertinent example if the Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla can’t enliven the crowd in numerous talking segments, there are clearly taking up too much time. However, his place on this list is due to him booking a match between himself and Paul Heyman later in the evening. Yet, the bell never rang, unless you count the inevitable ringing in Jericho’s ears after an encounter with WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, getting floored with an F-5 in moments.
The Cosmic Brothers have fallen well off the pace since dropping their beloved tag team titles, fading back to the shadows in the light of a New Day. After a defeat at TLC against the new faction, they once again lost to the pairing of Big E and Xavier Woods on RAW. Things did not improve at all when performing in front of the Tribute to the Troops audience, as they were dispatched of convincingly by the team that they previously bested to begin their title reign, the Usos. They may still be lined with gold, but their results recently would be lucky to garner them a wooden spoon.
Paige has been unfortunately absent in recent weeks as other divas take up the spotlight she departed in October. Yet, she showed no signs of ring-rust as she battled former buddy Emma on Main Event. The Commonwealth pair have always had a love-hate relationship, and this was certainly more of the latter, as Paige dominated the flow of the contest, eventually forcing the Aussie to tap to the PTO. However, things took a downturn at Tribute to the Troops in the divas battle royal, as despite some attempted craftiness she was disposed of by both Bella Twins.
The tag team champions had a week to forget, as it seems the Miz’s attempts to improve the prospects of Naomi have impacted their results. The antics of Damien Mizdow, though always entertaining, this time proved to his team’s detriment. This distracted the referee, allowing Jey Uso to hit the A-Lister with a Slammy and hand his brother the singles victory. Then on SmackDown, in an ultimate odd couple tandem, the chic champions were paired with the grizzly Luke Harper, and suffered another defeat to the Usos and Erick Rowan.
If these rankings were based on running from fights and attacking others from behind, Rusev would have certainly been a major contender for top spot. However, that’s not how it works, and the United States Champion had a week away from in-ring competition. On RAW, he and Lana were the target of Chris Jericho’s boyish taunting about their relationship, until they escaped following the appearance of Ryback. On SmackDown Rusev responded by assaulting the Big Guy before his intended match with Seth Rollins, throwing him off the stage. But he was back to his running ways at Tribute to the Troops, as Daniel Bryan and some soldiers intimidated the Super Athlete out of the ring.
The Eater of Worlds was predominantly a mouthpiece this week, as he and Dean Ambrose continued to trade words and promises of violence, demonstrating their feud is far from over. But, at Tribute to the Troops their words changed to brawling, as they competed in a Boot Camp match. Weapons galore surrounded the ring, leading to an entertaining hardcore bout between the two, but Wyatt eventually fell to an elbow drop through a table by the Lunatic Fringe.
Alicia Fox was in tag team action on RAW, as she and Natalya battled the Bella Twins. The athletic star suffered the brunt of the nefarious sisters’ offense, eventually fighting out to bring in Natalya to secure the victory for their team. This win on Monday was not able to be repeated at Tribute to the Troops, as without the Canadian by her side Fox was more susceptible to the double team of the Bellas, as they eliminated her from the battle royal.
The former Intercontinental Champion continues somewhat of a nosedive of form since Survivor Series. It seemed Luke Harper’s fortunes had taken a turn for the better on RAW, as his wild-eyed antics helped he and Big Show earn a tag team win over Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan. But, that was his high point for the week, as the odd pairing of the disheveled Harper with the well-groomed tag team champions the Miz & Damien Mizdow lost to Rowan and the Usos. Then, at Tribute to the Troops, he was on the losing side of an eight-man tag to end another week with a losing record.
The Queen of Harts was in fine fettle on RAW this week, as she was given the task of battling the Bella Twins alongside Alicia Fox. After her flexible friend had suffered the majority of the sisters’ onslaught, Natalya came in swinging at Brie Bella, forcing her to tap to the Sharpshooter. Although, during her celebrations it seemed that her husband Tyson Kidd had become pre-occupied with Nikki Bella’s condition at ringside. However, she was less successful in the Santa’s Little Helper battle royal, as though she again plotted the Bellas’ downfall, she couldn’t triumph over Naomi.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Ryback placed himself directly opposite another powerful fighter on RAW when he confronted US Champion Rusev. The Bulgarian chose to back away rather than engage the in-form Big Guy. Yet, Ryback did become far more acquainted with the boot of Rusev on SmackDown, as he assaulted Ryback before his scheduled match with Seth Rollins. Ryback did secure a victory at Tribute to the Troops as part of the face team in the main event, sending the soldiers off happy.
The Divas Champion had a mixed week in terms of wins, but pulled out the big performance when it mattered most. On RAW, Nikki Bella and twin Brie suffered a tag team defeat to Natalya and Alicia Fox when the Canadian forced Brie to tap out. Yet, Nikki could take solace in some comfort by Tyson Kidd when she was knocked off ringside. On SmackDown she was thrown into a title defense against Naomi, and secured a victory thanks to the athletic diva being distracted by outside antics. Nevertheless, she couldn’t take a win from the Tribute to the Troops battle royal, even with Brie by her side, as Naomi eliminated her and Natalya at the same time.
The World’s Largest Athlete placed himself in the cross-hairs of a returning powerhouse on RAW, but only after a victory of his own. Big Show and Luke Harper triumphed over Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan in tag team action, Show himself securing the victory. But, after assuming the role of ending Roman Reigns’ return before it truly began, he was punched to the floor for his efforts. At Tribute to the Troops his focus was taken from Reigns towards some other top faces, but ended on the losing team by the end of the night.
Whether fans are getting on board with their feel-good shtick or not, results are certainly looking great for the New Day. On RAW, they once more took on Gold/Stardust in tag team action, this time with Big E and Xavier Woods on the front line. They secured a victory with little issue, and kept this momentum running into Main Event. There they defeated the makeshift pairing of Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, with their stylish clash of styles hopefully starting to win fans over.
Dean Ambrose was able to do something incredible this week in securing a clean victory over a main event foe on television. If he could only translate onto PPV the WWE would have a force on its hands. After trading words and threats with Bray Wyatt across RAW and SmackDown, the pair fought it out once more at Tribute to the Troops. Finally, the Lunatic Fringe was able to defeat his foe in a violent and fun Boot Camp brawl, finishing Wyatt off with an elbow drop through his heart and a table.
The face of the industry he may be, but results this week mean John Cena barely squeaks into the top 10 of the rankings. He and Seth Rollins were once more placed opposite one another on RAW, with guest GM Chris Jericho making it inside a steel cage to boot. Cena had to deal with the crafty Rollins and his security team on the outside, but was holding his own until a glimpse into the future stopped him in his tracks. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar came out to demolish his number one contender and hand Rollins the victory. But, Cena was able to cast away some of those wounds at Tribute to the Troops, leading his team to victory in an eight-man tag.
The highest ranked Diva this week, Naomi has been on good run as of late, even if her marriage has likely been in a better state. On SmackDown, the Miz’s desire to see her succeed gifted Naomi a Divas Championship match with Nikki Bella. Despite showing her athletic prowess, she ended up without a victory due to outside antics between her husband Jimmy Uso and the Miz distracting her. Still, at Tribute to the Troops, she stood head and toes above the rest of the divas when she won the Santa’s Little Helper battle royal, eliminating Cameron, Nikki Bella and Natalya in the process.
The WWE Champion may not be around very often, but when he turns up he certainly gets people’s attention. Brock Lesnar has been away since retaining his championship at Night of Champions in the build-up to his title defense with John Cena at Royal Rumble. He first stepped out when guest GM Chris Jericho planned to wrestle Paul Heyman, and was utterly decimated by the Beast. But that wasn’t the end of his night, as Lesnar made his way down to the steel cage match between Cena and Seth Rollins, taking a chance to throw his number one contender around the ring with ease. This left the Champ standing tall over his fallen challenger, perhaps an omen for things to come early in 2015.
Another person returning to action after a lengthy absence was Roman Reigns, the former Shield member showing a desire to kick-on his rise to the top. Spearing his way through Fandango in his first action back on RAW, Reigns announced himself as a participant in the Royal Rumble match, following his huge number of eliminations last year making him a massive favorite. Reigns then went on to floor an invasion by the Big Show, and then defeat the “new and improved” Fandango on SmackDown.
It seemed that ‘Big Red’ Erick Rowan was everywhere on TV this week, as he continues to receive a moderate push in the midcard. His week was decidedly mixed however, as he suffered defeat on RAW alongside Dolph Ziggler against former teammate Luke Harper and the Big Show. This result was not improved upon on Main Event, as Rowan was briefly distracted by Titus O’Neil at ringside to suffer defeat to Kane. Rowan’s week then began to pick up, as his teaming with the Usos earned a victory over Harper, the Miz & Damien Mizdow. And, in another tag team win at Tribute to the Troops, Rowan helped his side to defeat a collective of heels in the main event.
Mr. Money in the Bank has had a poor month, with the Authority sent packing and being on the receiving end of John Cena’s onslaught. But, Seth Rollins improved his lot greatly on RAW, earning a victory over Cena to payback his loss at TLC. Inside the steel cage, the interfering Brock Lesnar aided Rollins in decimating the leader of the Cenation, before aligning with Paul Heyman to help eliminate him entirely. Yet, the rest of the week was less inspiring, as on SmackDown he avoided a match with Ryback but instead fell to Dolph Ziggler. And then at Tribute to the Troops, his side lost to Cena’s team in an eight-man tag.
The Tag Team of the Year had a perfect record in WWE matches this week, although Jimmy Uso would likely wish it ended up going a little differently. They began strong on RAW, with the Sa-Bro-ans taking advantage of Damien Mizdow’s ringside antics to allow Jimmy to beat the Miz one-on-one. They then sided with Erick Rowan on SmackDown to once again inflict defeat on Miz, Mizdow and Luke Harper in a six-man tag. Then on Tribute to the Troops they went back to old rivals Gold/Stardust, defeating them in front of the passionate crowd.
The end of Dolph Ziggler’s 2014 is proving to be the best run of his career, as he cements himself as a Royal Rumble dark horse. The Intercontinental Champion did not enjoy the best success on RAW, as his tandem with Erick Rowan could not overcome the Big Show and Luke Harper. However, this loss paled in comparison to a victory that the Show-Off had been craving for in recent months. On SmackDown he took on Seth Rollins, and when J&J Security was sent away for their interference, Ziggler took advantage to finally win over Mr. Money in the Bank. Ziggler then was part of the team that won the main event of Tribute to the Troops.
Well, if Miguel is reading this, it seems like Kane always has a shot. The Corporate Demon has in recent years been more enhancement talent for new stars, but this week got to demolish a few, though one in particular sent the crowd home happy. On RAW, Kane decimated both Adam Rose and the Bunny with a Double Chokeslam, followed by a Tombstone to the furry sidekick. This led into Main Event where in the battle of the Big Reds, the original Kane took down Erick Rowan. On SmackDown Kane once again took great pleasure in derailing the Exotic Express, with another Tombstone to the Bunny in a neck-brace. Kane’s only blemish was at Tribute to the Troops where he was on the losing side of the eight-man tag match, but the faces were always going to go over to close the show on a high. Kane’s veteran status earns him a deserved spot on top this week.