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?
John Cena was pretty much absent the entire week, and simply features on this list due to the company giving him a lot of time to do very little. Instead of concentrating on his upcoming battle with Rusev at Fast Lane, Cena hosted a celebration for the superstars that he brought back to the company a few weeks ago. Cena, Ryback, Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan enjoyed the adulation of the crowd before The Authority came out to place them in matches. Apart from Cena, who left for the remainder of the week.
Things continue to deteriorate for the former tag team champions, as Goldust and Stardust appear to be no longer on the same cosmic path. On RAW, they fell again to the Ascension due to the older brother taking the reins. Stardust continues to lose grasp of his past as Cody Rhodes, and Goldust’s insistence on calling him that led to Stardust walking out of their SmackDown match, a loss to Dolph Ziggler and Ryback.
Alicia Fox was on the reverse of a couple of matches against former BFF Paige this week. As she continues to turn from face to heel with a click of her fingers, she clearly picked the wrong time to be a heel with Paige chasing the Divas Championship. On RAW, the Brit reversed a backbreaker to get the pin, although Fox did help the Bella Twins embarrass Paige after the loss. This came back to bite her on SmackDown, as she was forced to tap out to the PTO.
Adam Rose continues to wallow in the lower card, not receiving any kind of push and the only benefit of allowing independent wrestlers any easy pay day as a Rosebud. Rose was in action on SmackDown against Fandango, and lost to the intense dancer in a very forgettable encounter.
Another tandem demonstrating clear cracks in their alliance, it seems like the tag team division is soon to take a significant hit in numbers. The Miz, enraged by the popularity and antics of his stunt double Damien Mizdow, demoted him to the role of personal assistant. Mizdow couldn’t help pander to his beloved audience on RAW, costing Miz in his match with Sin Cara, and then the A-List star felt the wrath of Roman Reigns on SmackDown.
Not a great week for the Money in the Bank holder, as he missed out on an opportunity to headline WrestleMania on RAW. Due to the controversy surrounding the Royal Rumble victory, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan fought on Monday with the winner set to battle Roman Reigns for the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. Rollins fell in this effort to Bryan, and could not achieve a victory over his bearded rival with J&J Security by his side in a handicap match on SmackDown.
Big Red has not been enjoying the greatest run of form at the moment, his genius being underwhelmed by the underhanded tactics of his opponents. But on RAW, Erick Rowan was bettered by sheer brute force, as US Champion Rusev decimated him before their match could even commence in a showing to future opponent John Cena. On SmackDown their match actually did take place, but Rowan could not overcome the strength of the Bulgarian.
Another former member of the Wyatt Family did not have a successful week in the ring in the burly shape of Luke Harper. Sent out by the Authority to help bring Ryback’s triumphant return to a shuddering halt, he fell short in his mission. The power of his opponent was too much to contain, as their match on RAW ended with a victory for the Big Guy.
The tag team champions continue to endure a less than pleasant run of results since retaining their belts at the Royal Rumble. The gold that adorns their waists have become the target of the pairing of Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, and the Swiss Superman was the opponent of Jimmy Uso. A solid encounter ended when the Uso was caught midflight with a strong uppercut to suffer defeat.
Curtis Axel may never receive the WrestleMania title match that he claims belongs to him after his controversial ‘elimination’ from the Royal Rumble. But at least it has resulted in an interesting angle that gets him on television again. On RAW Axel took to the ring to demand a title shot, only to be interrupted by a feral Dean Ambrose with his own demands. This led to a match between the pair on SmackDown, where the Lunatic Fringe defeated the son of Mr. Perfect.
Another superstar loitering around the lower card with no direction is Fandango. His newfound intensity has taken away the fun of his old entrance music without boosting his place on the card. Still, he managed a victory on SmackDown for the first time in a while, beating another lowly competitor in Adam Rose.
The Bella Twins have made getting Paige off her game as the priority to ensure the Divas Championship remains in Nikki Bella’s possession. This happened on RAW, when after the Brit defeated Alicia Fox, they sprayed her waist with tan. They then headed to Main Event, and Brie Bella produced a dominant performance against Summer Rae.
Although on NXT Sin Cara has lost his tag team championship, his work on the main roster this week was reasonably successful. On RAW, the luchadore was able to take advantage of the fractures between the Miz and Damien Mizdow to pick up a win over the A-lister. However, Sin Cara was not able to carry this momentum into Main Event against Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, a jumbled finish leading to an impromptu meeting with a Bullhammer.
The Intercontinental Champion became caught in the crosshairs of Dean Ambrose this week. Bad News Barrett has not been in action much recently, despite appearing in the best shape of his career, but did make a showing on Main Event to defeat Sin Cara. He then took the time to share some Bad News with Ambrose on SmackDown prior to their title match at Fast Lane.
With a match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania potentially shelved for another date, Dolph Ziggler has been left with a lack of direction heading into Fast Lane. Ziggler suffered a loss on RAW at the hands of Bray Wyatt despite a typically excellent showing. But victory was to come in tag team action on SmackDown, as he played the little guy to Ryback in a strong win over former champions Gold/Stardust.
The newest team on the block continue their undefeated start to life on the main roster, as the Ascension secured another two victories this week. Another win over Gold/Stardust on RAW helped establish them as a threat to the current crop of teams on the roster. This was followed with one of their archetypal squash matches on Main Event against a couple of nobodies.
The Lunatic Fringe came out on RAW with a purpose in his slightly deranged mind. After dispatching of Curtis Axel that stood in the ring, Dean Ambrose discussed a fervent desire to capture the Intercontinental Championship to join the elite class of past champions. He will get his opportunity at Bad News Barrett at Fast Lane, and celebrated with a victory over Axel on SmackDown, building momentum for his title match.
The Royal Rumble winner was sent crashing down on RAW in a number of ways. Thanks to Triple H’s rush of power, Roman Reigns is no longer guaranteed a championship match at WrestleMania, as he battles Daniel Bryan at Fast Lane for the right. This disappointment was directly followed by a loss to Big Show thanks to interference by Seth Rollins. He recovered enough to spear the Giant out of his boots at the close of the show, and then defeated the Miz on SmackDown with relative ease.
Bray Wyatt remains decidedly cryptic about his motives heading into WrestleMania, perhaps stalling for time to see whether the Undertaker is available. But he continues to pick up victories in the meantime, which happened when he was placed opposite Dolph Ziggler on RAW. His power and uncanny speed proved too much for the Show-Off in securing a victory.
Any triumph over the Royal Rumble winner is to be considered a big plus, and the Big Show was able to carry that claim after RAW. With Roman Reigns reeling from the blow that his title match with Brock Lesnar is in serious jeopardy at Fast Lane, Big Show took advantage of this and a distraction by Seth Rollins to pin the Samoan following a Chokeslam.
Paige refuses to let the Bella Twins get in her head leading into Fast Lane, at least beyond fuelling her aggression in matches. On RAW she was mostly outmatched by Alicia Fox, but secured a win with a roll-up. However, she wasn’t given a great deal of time to celebrate before being embarrassed by her opponent and the Bellas in a post-match assault. Yet this didn’t stop the Brit securing another win over Fox on SmackDown, forcing her former friend to submit.
The Big Guy had a pair of big wins to enjoy this week. Whilst the Authority’s wrath against a number of superstars turned out poorly for Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan, Ryback bested Luke Harper on RAW. Then he aligned himself with Ziggler for a tag team match on SmackDown in another victory, as their new little-and-large tandem overcame former champions Goldust and Stardust.
The United States Champion has clearly been fuelled by his desire to dominate John Cena at Fast Lane, as his aggression has reached new peaks. Rusev was scheduled to battle Erick Rowan on RAW, but instead assaulted the sheep enthusiast early, resulting in a no contest as the Bulgarian stood tall. This then led to an actual match on SmackDown, but even Rowan’s size and power could not combat the Accolade.
The tag team division appears to be going through something of a lull in numbers, and this has allowed Cesaro and Tyson Kidd to push themselves into contention. On RAW, Cesaro’s uppercut floored Jimmy Uso, their combinations second singles victory over the tag team champions. Then they recombined for tag team action on Main Event where they came out on top against the New Day.
He may have ended SmackDown flat on his back thanks to a Chokeslam and Curb Stomp, but prior to that it was an amazing week for Daniel Bryan. Bryan was able to place himself in contention for a second consecutive WrestleMania main event, defeating Seth Rollins on RAW to earn a match with Roman Reigns at Fast Lane. The winner of this match will battle Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship on the Grandest Stage of Them All. On SmackDown, Bryan was not to be curtailed by the presence of J&J Security in defeating them and Rollins in a handicap match. The presence of Kane afterwards might have left him hurt at the end, but Bryan will not bat an eyelid if he becomes number one contender in the near future.