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?
AxelMania might be gaining a following heading into the Grandest Stage of Them All, but it hasn’t resulted in a massive improvement with regards to results for Curtis Axel. On RAW he looked to become the man to return the United States Championship to home shores. However, Rusev put a stop to his running wild with a kick to the face and the Accolade. Things did not improve on Main Event either as he fell to Erick Rowan.
The blonde dancer was not able to derail either AJ Lee or Paige’s road to WrestleMania, as her chance in the Divas division ended in another two defeats. On RAW, she suffered defeat to AJ being forced to tap to the Black Widow. And on SmackDown she was again submitting in agony, only this time after being locked in the PTO in a tag team match against Paige and AJ.
Another week, more bad news for the Intercontinental Champion, as the defeats keep piling up heading into his title defense. On RAW, Daniel Bryan’s Yes Movement swept him aside with relative ease, as his focus continues to be distracted by his disappearing belt problem. Then on SmackDown, after the WrestleMania Ladder match was increased to seven participants, his team lost a six-man match against Bryan, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler.
The Bella Twins continue to scout their WrestleMania competition heading into the big event, and as AJ Lee and Paige pick up victories they were too busy talking about the new Flintstones movie. Perhaps the focus on their future opponents cost Divas Champion Nikki her focus on Main Event, as Naomi pulled off a shock victory over the champ.
The former Tag Team Champions will not be especially happy about their week in the ring, as the tag team scene was burst wide open on RAW. They battled Los Matadores, and the masked competitors pulled off a shock victory to leave the brothers left in a crowded field of challengers. Then on SmackDown, they paired up with the New Day to suffer a loss to the matadors and the champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd.
Whilst he was in possession of what he calls the Ivory Enterprise on RAW, Stardust will have to go through six other men at WrestleMania to claim it permanently. He will need to work a lot harder than he did on Monday, when he suffered defeat at the hands of Dean Ambrose. Then in a SmackDown tag match featuring six of the seven superstars involved in the upcoming ladder match, his team lost to Ambrose, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler.
It was not a fun night for the Money in the Bank holder on RAW for a variety of reasons. Seth Rollins led the celebrations for Randy Orton’s official return to the Authority, and then listened as he berated and belittled all his fellow members. Assured that he was joking around, Rollins later teamed with Orton against Roman Reigns in a handicap match. Not only did he lose courtesy of a Spear, but was then decimated by his partner post-match, as Orton beat Rollins all across the arena before dropping him with an RKO through the announce table.
On a bad night overall for the Authority, Kane was not immune to poor results on RAW. He first had to stand stoically as Randy Orton emasculated him in front of the fans. Then when he teamed up with the Big Show to battle fellow Andre the Giant Battle Royal participants Ryback and Erick Rowan, he was knocked out unintentionally by his own partner. After being emasculated even further by Stephanie McMahon, it would be a miracle if Kane still had any brimstones remaining.
The Big Show also endured the barbed tongues of Randy Orton and Stephanie McMahon throughout the course of RAW, leaving the Giant looking as small as Hornswoggle by the conclusion. The show also resulted in him knocking Kane out with the WMD when aiming for Erick Rowan in their tag team match, costing the Authority the match.
The Tag Team Champions encouraged the competition in their division to step up and prove they are worthy of a title shot, but that has led to an immediate response. On RAW, the New Day proved too much for the champs, as they pushed themselves into contention with an unlikely victory. But SmackDown proved a lot more favorable, as a one night partnership with Los Matadores brought victory against the New Day and the Usos.
The eerie Bray Wyatt finally received his answer on RAW that he has been awaiting since Fast Lane. In a ceremony supposedly resurrecting the Undertaker, also his best promo in months, the Phenom symbolically set fire to Wyatt’s rocking chair to accept the challenge. Wyatt took this news into Main Event, where he didn’t need a great deal of time to dispatch of Zack Ryder. The battle will certainly be more fierce come WrestleMania.
The New Day made their voices heard loud and clear on RAW, as they pushed themselves into a crowded tag team title picture. With suggestions that a Tag Team Turmoil match could take place on the Kick-Off show, the heralds of positivity entered the fray with a victory over champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. However, when paired with the Usos on SmackDown, they couldn’t make it two for two against the champs and Los Matadores.
A simple victory and title defense over Curtis Axel on RAW will be the last thing running through the mind of Rusev when he recaps the episode. Instead, he’ll be fortunate to recall anything that took place before John Cena placed him in the STF, twice forcing him to pass out to the pressure without a referee in the vicinity. This forced Lana to give in to Cena’s demand for a title match at WrestleMania, as Rusev has a battle on his hand to maintain his grasp on the US Championship.
Paige is heading towards her first WrestleMania with momentum on her side, as she and AJ Lee have bonded over the common foe of the Bella Twins. On RAW she simply watched from the outside as her frienemy defeated Summer Rae, but got her hands dirty on SmackDown. In a prelude to their future tag team match Paige and AJ defeated Summer Rae and Cameron before a post-match confrontation with Divas Champion Nikki.
John Cena earned his WrestleMania moment by forcing the issue with the United States Champion Rusev. Infuriated by the Bulgarian’s defaming of the American population, Cena charged the ring, beat down Rusev and locked him in the STF until he passed out. Waking him up with water, Cena applied it again until Lana agreed to give him a title shot on the grand stage. Will Cena capture the title that underlined his first WrestleMania moment this year?
The Viper finally struck out after months of binding his time on RAW, and even had the gall to list every detail to Seth Rollins beforehand. Randy Orton berated every member of the Authority, and when he had Rollins alone as his partner in a handicap match against Roman Reigns, he cost his partner the contest and then got to work. Orton beat his rival all across the arena with no remorse, finishing with a patented RKO through the announce table.
Big Red is already heading to WrestleMania as part of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but proved his worth in a tag team match involving other members of the huge match. Alongside Ryback they vented their frustrations against the Authority’s Big Show and Kane. A misplaced WMD from Show allowed Rowan to capitalize by pinning Kane. This was followed by another win on Main Event, as Rowan gave AxelMania another rough ride.
One of the participants in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, Dolph Ziggler spent the majority of his week brawling with other competitors over possession of the strap. This led to a huge six-man tag team match in the SmackDown main event, with Ziggler’s team with Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan overcame Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper and Stardust.
AJ Lee will return to WrestleMania with revenge on the Bella Twins high on the agenda, but this week she had to settle for smacking Summer Rae around. On RAW she handily defeated the blonde bombshell by forcing her to tap to the Black Widow. This was followed by a tune-up tag team match alongside partner Paige where victory over Summer and Cameron sent a message of intent to the nefarious sisters.
The number one contender for the WWE Championship seemed to be unaffected by the words of Paul Heyman and the presence of Brock Lesnar this week. Roman Reigns had enough to deal with on RAW when faced with Seth Rollins and Randy Orton in a handicap match. But thanks to Orton’s betrayal and a Spear, Rollins was quickly dealt with. Then in response to his upcoming opponent on SmackDown, Reigns beat down Mark Henry, spearing him through the barricade.
Out of nowhere, Los Matadores have pushed themselves towards the summit of the tag team division by a pair of shock victories. Firstly on RAW they overcame two-time champions the Usos in stunning fashion. And then on SmackDown, they enjoyed a marriage of convenience with current champions Cesaro and Tyson Kidd to defeat the Usos and the New Day.
Ryback continues to steam towards the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, and in the process take down anyone standing in his way. On RAW the Big Guy exorcised some of his demons against the Authority, when he teamed with Erick Rowan to defeat the Big Show and Kane. Then opposite another rival in the battle royal on SmackDown, Ryback bested the Miz.
Although her RAW match with Natalya was a blink and you’d miss it affair that has become the hallmark of the Divas division, the results are what count for Naomi. She defeated the Canadian courtesy of the Rear View. But her biggest scalp came on Main Event, which meant that sadly many would have missed it. However, a victory over Divas Champion Nikki Bella is significant at any time, leaving the question of whether a title shot is awaiting her soon?
Just missing out on the top spot by a whisker is the Lunatic Fringe, as Dean Ambrose continued a winning run heading into WrestleMania’s ladder match. On RAW he defeated the man who was in possession of the Intercontinental Championship belt in the form of Stardust, but before he could take hold of it a mass brawl erupted. Then on SmackDown he teamed with Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler to beat Stardust, Luke Harper and Bad News Barrett.
Aside from being brandished a turd by Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler at the end of SmackDown, it was a pretty flawless week for Daniel Bryan. The Yes Man would defeat Bad News Barrett at the opening of RAW. Even two post-match Bullhammers could not take the sheen off another win over the current Intercontinental Champion. Then, after agreeing to join the ladder match for that same title at WrestleMania, Bryan teamed with Ambrose and Ziggler to get the win over Barrett, Stardust and Luke Harper.
Do you think anyone should be listed differently?