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?
Sometimes it doesn’t take a win or a loss during the week to drop you in the lowest spot on these rankings. In the case of Erick Rowan, he missed the chance to compete as he was busy having his ribs reset following a pre-match beating from the Big Show. The extent of this mauling was so total and destructive, that I would be now be more likely to back Stephanie McMahon in a match with the Giant than Rowan.
The Intercontinental Championship picture has become very crowded in recent weeks, and provided some of the more entertaining aspects of the shows. Unless of course you are Stardust, who not only is no longer in possession of his ivory enterprise, but suffered a pair of defeats. He was on the losing side in a RAW six-man tag featuring participants in the upcoming WrestleMania ladder match, and then in a SmackDown gauntlet, he was the first man eliminated in short order to Dean Ambrose.
This partnership is very apparently heading towards its last legs after the events of RAW. As the Miz suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of Ryback, as assistant Damien Mizdow attempted to help him up, his boss floored him with the Skull-Crushing Finale. However, this did not lead to any success in another match with Ryback on Main Event.
The Corporate Demon looked to demonstrate his dominance prior to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, by inviting every other competitor in the match for a showcase on RAW. However, he didn’t plan on Mark Henry putting his name in the hat, and then eliminating almost everyone from the ring, including Kane. Then on SmackDown, after a backstage attack on Henry, Kane and Seth Rollins attempted to defeat Roman Reigns in a handicap match. A Spear put an end to those hopes though as Kane suffered the pinfall.
R-Truth has had a great deal of fun as part of the Intercontinental Championship scene, hanging with JBL on commentary and taking possession of the title belt at every opportunity. Yet, this week saw a turn for the worst for the rapper, after Bad News Barrett introduced him to a Bullhammer on RAW when he attempted to liberate his title once again. And then on SmackDown, he was eliminated in the gauntlet match by Dean Ambrose in a matter of seconds.
The Tag Team Championship picture is certainly as crowded as the Intercontinental title’s heading into WrestleMania. However, it has not been nearly as successful at attracting the interest of the audience. The New Day will be part of the turmoil match likely to be the pre-show spectacle, but they will have to improve on their result on RAW, as they lost to champions Cesaro & Tyson Kidd.
The Architect thought he had crafted a superb plan on RAW to catch Randy Orton out as badly as he did a week prior. Seth Rollins appeared to lose the support of the entire Authority throughout the evening, and headed out to his match with the Viper alone. However, he was soon flanked by his faction, and would have enjoyed a 5-on-1 assault of Orton, if it wasn’t for the arrival of Sting to help clear Rollins and others from the ring.
Heading into their tag team match at WrestleMania, the divas received a great deal of attention for once on RAW. Opening the show, a solid encounter took place between AJ Lee and Divas Champion Nikki Bella. Unfortunately for the outspoken AJ, a brawl at ringside between partner Paige and Brie Bella proved a costly distraction. This led to AJ being felled by the Rack Attack.
Let’s face it – contract signings are usually the most predictable and dull moments on any episode they feature in. After some cross table talking between the participants, the contract is signed, a table is flipped and a fight ensues. At least in this example, John Cena didn’t get the opportunity to get to Rusev thanks to the table being flipped onto him. Hopefully the match at WrestleMania will prove a more intense affair.
As the tag team titles will soon be up for grabs, Los Matadores get a brief and rare stint in the spotlight, especially due to the injuries to Jey Uso. On RAW, they watched on as Cesaro & Tyson Kidd defeated The New Day, before beating up members of both teams. But this success was followed up with defeat on SmackDown, as alongside their mascot El Torito couldn’t win an inter-species tag match opposite the champions and Natalya.
The Russian sympathizer and United States Champion took part in a mind-numbingly dull contract signing to add filler to a previously heated feud. Frankly, the only thing that caught fans’ attention for this segment with Rusev and John Cena was the replacement of Lana with some weird-looking guy in a suit and glasses.
Natalya has often been on the outside looking in on her Tag Team Champion husband on the run towards their title defense at WrestleMania. But, she stepped into the ring on SmackDown to take part in the inter-species tag team match. And Natalya secured the definitive pinfall by hitting El Torito with a sat-out powerbomb.
Another member of the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, Luke Harper has often been treated as one of the lame ducks to build up the momentum of the babyfaces. This was the case on RAW, as he lost in a six-man tag team match and received a post-match knee to the face. However, Harper took a victory of sorts on SmackDown by pinning Dean Ambrose during the gauntlet match, but that was followed by a loss to Daniel Bryan despite another excellent showing.
Mark Henry made his return to WWE last week looking more svelte and meaner than ever, and proved that he means business on RAW. Entering himself into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, the World’s Strongest Man proceeded to throw most of his fellow participants from the ring, including Kane. But on SmackDown, when he was about to team with Roman Reigns in the main event against Seth Rollins and Kane, he was knocked unconscious backstage.
The Intercontinental Champion has been rooted to the bottom of this list for close to a month thanks to numerous defeats to his upcoming challengers. And to be fair, he did receive another loss to his name on RAW when he was pinned by Dean Ambrose in a six-man tag team match. Yet, it seemed the building frustration finally snapped in him, as Bad News Barrett unleashed his Bullhammer to anyone standing in his vicinity, reclaiming his belt.
With the ladies of WWE receiving a bit of attention at last heading into WrestleMania, the Bella Twins enjoyed a mixed week before their tag team match. Divas Champion Nikki Bella opened with a very good performance and victory over AJ Lee on RAW, and Brie got to ram Paige’s head into the ring post in the process. But on SmackDown, Brie was not as fortunate, as Paige exploited her opponent’s lackadaisical attitude to score a quick victory.
The World’s Largest Athlete is not somebody you want to face when he is angry, as Erick Rowan found out to his cost on RAW. The Big Show stomped to their match but didn’t wait for the bell to get the action underway, knocking out his bearded rival with a punch before crushing him with an elbow drop. But, he couldn’t follow that up with beating up Randy Orton and Sting later in the evening.
With the Andre the Giant Battle Royal on the horizon, Ryback appears to have lost a little creative direction heading into the show, although the victories keep piling up. This week’s victim was once again the Miz, who suffered the wrath of the Big Guy both on RAW and Main Event. But, he’s still likely to be a key participant in the battle royal.
Paige continues to be significant aggressor in the build-up to the WrestleMania tag team match alongside AJ Lee against the Bella Twins. After being thrown into the ring post on RAW whilst watching her partner from ringside, she took on her assailant Brie Bella on SmackDown. And when Brie attempted a lazy pin during the match, Paige was quick to capitalize with a roll-up to get one over the Bella Twins.
If the Power Rankings were based upon who had the coolest lasting image of the week, Randy Orton would be top by a massive distance. After being tricked by the Authority into thinking he had a one-on-one match with Seth Rollins, he was facing a five person beating. However, he was aided by Sting, and the image of them laying out all rivals was one to behold. Then on SmackDown, despite all efforts of J&J Security to keep him out, Orton invaded the arena and took out anybody that stood in his path.
The Lunatic Fringe has enjoyed a great deal of success since entering himself into the Intercontinental title hunt. Dean Ambrose teamed up with Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler to win a six-man tag team match on RAW against other ladder match participants. Then on SmackDown, he was the only member of the gauntlet match to eliminate two individuals, Stardust and R-Truth. But the overall win was beyond his reach, as he fell to Luke Harper in the next bout.
The main event to WrestleMania is on everybody’s lips at the moment, as Paul Heyman continues to push the idea that Brock Lesnar is an indomitable champion. But Roman Reigns has yet to feel threatened by his conquering rival, and stands toe-to-toe with Paul Heyman stating that not only can he win at WrestleMania, but he will. Reigns demonstrated that fighting attitude on SmackDown when he defeated both Seth Rollins and Kane in a handicap match.
The Tag Team Champions might not be getting the fan response as the Intercontinental ladder battle, but that hasn’t stopped them from picking up wins on the Road to WrestleMania. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd began the week on RAW with a victory over The New Day, before suffering some embarrassment by Los Matadores. They got their own back on SmackDown, as thanks to Kidd’s wife Natalya, they won an inter-species tag.
In his pursuit of the Intercontinental Championship, Daniel Bryan has not picked up many friends along the way. Even though his team won a six-man tag team match on RAW, Bryan ended up brawling with his partner Dolph Ziggler over the belt, before being floored with a Bullhammer of Bad News Barrett. Then on SmackDown, Bryan ran the gauntlet and defeated Luke Harper along the way, but when it came to an encounter with Ziggler, the Yes Man couldn’t score a second victory. And much like RAW, he ended the night laid out by a Bullhammer.
Like Bryan, Dolph Ziggler experienced two more Bullhammers than he would have liked to felt in his lifetime this week. But, that didn’t stop him from enjoying victories along the way. The Show Off won a six-man tag alongside Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose against some of his title rivals, including Bad News Barrett. Then he was fortunate enough to be the last entrant into the gauntlet match on SmackDown, and had an epic contest with Bryan, and Ziggler staked his claim for the belt with a significant victory.
Do you think anyone should be listed differently?