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?
Starting with a team on the brink of disintegration, it seems only a matter of time before Damien Mizdow becomes sick of his employer’s actions. On RAW, the Miz’s desire to have his smallest whims catered for cost Mizdow in his match with Bad News Barrett. But, the A-Lister was also less than successful in the ring on SmackDown, as he fell to Daniel Bryan.
Big Red suffered greatly at the hands of the Authority this week after aiding Dolph Ziggler on RAW. Particularly the giant hands of the Big Show, as the World’s Largest Athlete dominated Erick Rowan on SmackDown following a pre-match assault. This then moved onto Fast Lane, as Rowan’s leg was picked upon by the Authority in the six-man tag team match, and he ended up on the losing team.
The optimistic stable didn’t have a great deal to celebrate this week. It began well on RAW when they capitalized of a crumbling tandem of Goldust & Stardust to win. But, things took a sudden downturn on SmackDown as they could not halt the Ascension’s unbeaten run.
Naomi was the beneficiary of some reluctance on the part of Tyson Kidd to tag in to a mixed tag team match between married couples on RAW. Her and husband Jimmy Uso defeated Kidd and Natalya when Naomi pulled out a number of pinfall reversals to keep the Canadian’s shoulders down for the three count.
Whilst not competing in the ring this week, Bray Wyatt definitely left a lasting impact on the WWE Universe at Fast Lane. Coming out to the ring in a coffin, with the music and lighting of the Undertaker in the background, the Eater of Worlds called himself the new face of fear in professional wrestling. Wyatt then challenged the Phenom at WrestleMania to prove such a claim to be true.
The Ascension continue to make their claim to be the new dominant force in the tag team division, as they decimated Darren Young and his unknown partner on RAW before the bell rang. However, the appearance of Titus O’Neil chased them off. But on SmackDown they actually waited for the match to begin to dominate their opponents, defeating the New Day.
He might be entering the twilight of his career in the lower reaches of the card, but R-Truth should not be written off in any match. That proved the case on SmackDown, as the rapper pulled off a shock win over Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, thanks in no small part to some distraction by Dean Ambrose.
The former Cody Rhodes finally snapped on RAW, as even the presence of father Dusty Rhodes could not repair the bond between the golden brothers. Following defeat to the New Day on RAW, Stardust turned on brother Goldust. And after a stop at Main Event to beat Zack Ryder, the siblings clashed at Fast Lane, the older of the two scoring the win. Stardust showed his anger by assaulting Goldust backstage, showing this rivalry is far from over.
Now bearing the undesirable distinction of being former Tag Team Champions, the Usos’ week began reasonably well, as Jimmy Uso and Naomi defeated Tyson Kidd and Natalya in mixed tag team action. And after a no contest on SmackDown due to the rage of Rusev, both teams had a highly charged tag team affair at Fast Lane. However, after Kidd exploited an injury to Jimmy’s leg, a swinging fisherman suplex left the Usos fallen and without their coveted titles.
The Show-Off will fill incredibly hard done by after this week in his continuing battles against the Authority. Dolph Ziggler did score a victory on RAW over Seth Rollins, but not by pinfall as he should have, but disqualification following interference by J&J Security. Then on SmackDown the numbers game led to Ziggler falling to Rollins in a rematch. Then at Fast Lane, a six man tag team match between the Authority and three of its chief adversaries resulted in Ziggler being the man pinned by Kane.
Kane may not experience too many victories in his role as an aging veteran nowadays, but he got one when it counted at the end of this week. However, this came after back-to-back defeats for the Corporate Demon, starting with a loss to Roman Reigns on RAW by count-out. Then on SmackDown the power of Ryback proved too much for Kane. Yet these all dissipated with a victory at Fast Lane, as in the six-man tag team match he pinned Dolph Ziggler to give the Authority the win.
Another enemy of the Authority that had a week to forget was Ryback. Although on SmackDown he recorded a convincing win over Kane, by the end of the night he was knocked out by a Knockout Punch and Curb Stomp. Then at Fast Lane, the Big Guy’s power was not enough to help his team to a win in the six-man tag team match against Kane, Seth Rollins and Big Show.
It will take a great deal of fortitude for John Cena to come back from the beating he took at Fast Lane to a Super Athlete. On RAW, Cena demonstrated that he wasn’t the washed-up veteran Rusev and Lana claimed he was with an aggressive assault of the United States Champion. But in the end he became the latest victim to fall to Rusev, as Cena passed out whilst being locked in the Accolade.
It was a tumultuous week for the Bizarre One, as Goldust’s family collapsed before his very eyes. In a tag team match with the New Day, another defeat was this time compounded by a post-match attack by brother Stardust, signaling the end of their partnership. This led to a match at Fast Lane, with the elder brother earning the hard-earned win with a roll-up over Stardust. However, a backstage assault left Goldust feeling a lot less like a winner.
After a lengthy absence, Randy Orton made his highly-awaited return at Fast Lane, at the conclusion of the six-man tag team match. With the Authority in his crosshairs, Orton charged the ring and cleared house. A couple of RKO’s fell J&J Security, before the Big Show rescued his primary target Seth Rollins from a beating. One more finisher to Kane and Orton was back with a vengeance.
The Lunatic Fringe walked into Fast Lane without a championship belt, and walked out clasping one, but not exactly legally. On RAW, Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Harper to demonstrate his worthiness for an Intercontinental title opportunity. Then, he proceeded to ‘encourage’ Bad News Barrett to agree to such a bout with some zip ties. But, at the PPV itself, Barrett’s desire to avoid Ambrose reached new heights, leading the madman to get himself disqualified, before dropping Barrett and leaving with the championship.
A week which looked like it may have been extremely positive for Paige took a very bad turn at the last minute. The Anti-Diva had her attire stolen on RAW by her rival Bella Twins, but adorning the costume of a Rosebud was still able to conquer Summer Rae. This was followed up with a victory over Cameron on SmackDown in front of her Fast Lane opponent. But, when the Divas Championship was on the line, Paige could not get the job finished, as Nikki Bella and a handful of tights were enough to keep her down.
The Intercontinental Champion might still be that in name, but is currently missing the belt that indicates such a moniker. Bad News Barrett scored a victory on RAW over Damien Mizdow, before then being cajoled into agreeing to a title defense against Dean Ambrose at Fast Lane. A loss to R-Truth followed on SmackDown, leaving the champ in a bad run heading into Fast Lane. But, Barrett did get the win to his name, albeit due to his actions causing the Lunatic Fringe to get disqualified before stealing the belt for himself.
The Divas Championship is still in the possession of the nefarious twin sisters, as Nikki Bella proved too crafty for Paige. After weeks of attempting to play mind games with the Brit, including stealing her ring gear on RAW, the match finally came to a head on Fast Lane. In a closely-fought battle, Nikki grabbed Paige’s tights in a roll-up to secure the controversial victory.
Unfortunately for a number of fans, the sounds of ‘YES!’ will not be heard at the WrestleMania main event. Daniel Bryan’s week started poorly, as due to Roman Reigns, he was disqualified in his match with Big Show. This led to a brawl between the top contenders for Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship where neither gave an inch. On SmackDown, Bryan did secure a win over the Miz. But, in the main event of Fast Lane he came up second-best in his epic bout with Reigns, a Spear catching Bryan out and keeping him down for a three count.
The United States Championship was faced with his toughest test in his time in WWE, as Rusev battled John Cena at Fast Lane. This became extra apparent on RAW, as Cena assaulted the Russian-sympathizer without remorse at the start of the show. This led to Rusev venting his fury on the Usos and Tyson Kidd on SmackDown in a demonstration of his own power. And this power dominated Cena for the vast majority of their match, yet it was an unseen low blow that opened the chance to lock him in the Accolade, Rusev retaining his belt when Cena passed out.
Mr. Money in the Bank’s week got better as it went along, as Seth Rollins led the Authority’s charge against three of its biggest rivals. On RAW and SmackDown he personally battled against longtime rival Dolph Ziggler, losing by DQ in the former and winning the latter. Then in a six-man tag team match with Kane and Big Show by his side, Rollins defeated Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan. But, with Randy Orton making his triumphant return, this might be the last great week the self-professed future of the WWE enjoys for a while.
An undefeated week for the World’s Largest Athlete earns him a spot in the top three this week. Although, the first of these did not come without controversy, as thanks to some unexpected assistance from Roman Reigns, Big Show defeated Daniel Bryan on RAW. Then he destroyed Erick Rowan following a pre-match attack with consummate ease. This all led to the six-man tag team match at Fast Lane, where Show and the rest of the Authority overcame their opponents, Show himself landing the crucial knockout punch to Dolph Ziggler.
Whilst this tandem did not have a completely unblemished week, both of their waists became more covered following Sunday night’s matches. On RAW, Tyson Kidd watched from the apron as his wife Natalya fell to Naomi in their mixed tag team match including Jimmy Uso. This was their low point, as Cesaro produced a great performance in beating Jack Swagger on Main Event. And whilst SmackDown’s match was interrupted by Rusev, there was nothing to stop Cesaro and Kidd. In a great match with the Usos, the underrated pairing launched themselves into notoriety by capturing the Tag Team Championships.
Finally, the main event for WrestleMania is set in stone, as the Royal Rumble winner jumped his latest hurdle before his battle with Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns had an utterly perfect week, defeating anyone who stood in his path. On RAW, he started by defeating Kane by count out, and ended the night brawling with Daniel Bryan throughout the arena. Then on SmackDown, Luke Harper was the next to fall to his explosive power. But, both these matches paled in comparison to the war he waged with Bryan at Fast Lane. In undoubtedly the best match of Reigns’ single career, both took the fight to each other, before a final spear by Reigns proved the difference, and sends him into the WWE Championship match with Lesnar in five weeks.