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?
The A-List superstar had a WrestleMania to forget, as he was left embarrassed by his underling in front of over 70,000 people. On RAW he was on the losing end of a ten-man tag featuring members of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. And although he found himself in the final three, Miz’s desire to work with Damien Mizdow against the Big Show was met with a definitive no from his personal assistant, as he sent Miz soaring over the top rope.
The Intercontinental Championship battles finally reached their conclusion at WrestleMania, and unfortunately for Stardust it did not become his Ivory Enterprise. On RAW, the bizarre superstar lost a tag team contest with Luke Harper against Dean Ambrose and R-Truth. Then, despite being a critical part of an excellent ladder match at the PPV, Stardust was one of six men that left disappointed.
Another member of the ladder match, Luke Harper demonstrated a lust for violence that created arguably the most extreme moment of the entire match. On RAW, he and Stardust lost against fellow competitors Dean Ambrose and R-Truth in a tag team match. But, Harper got revenge and more on Ambrose by powerbombing him over the top rope and through a ladder set up at ringside. But, he couldn’t push this maneuver into a victory.
Ryback was another member of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal that came close, but sadly missed out on the golden trophy. The Big Guy contributed to a win in a ten man tag team match on RAW featuring his fellow competitors in the upcoming match. And after accounting for a number of eliminations with his explosive power at WrestleMania, he ran afoul of the Big Show, the giant tossing him over the top rope on the way to victory.
Bad News Barrett will now no longer have to worry about people stealing his Intercontinental Championship in future, as it is now out of his possession for good. Barrett was the defending champion heading into the ladder match at WrestleMania, and looked to finally have momentum with his Bullhammer flying on RAW. And although that forearm was loaded up in the match, he could only watch battered as Daniel Bryan usurped his title for the final time.
Whilst he spent most of the last few weeks in possession of the Intercontinental belt illegally, R-Truth couldn’t use that experience to his benefit in the ladder match at WrestleMania. He and Dean Ambrose did win a tag team match on RAW against Luke Harper and Stardust to build some momentum. But, Truth rarely troubled the ladder in pursuit of the title, and would end the night empty handed but with a Mania moment to remember.
No longer undefeated, and no longer United States Champion. It was certainly a poor first showing at WrestleMania for Rusev in terms of result, although the performance against John Cena was pretty great. His week started excellently on RAW with a victory over Jack Swagger, and then forcing Cena to pass out on the announce table. But, despite an intimidating entrance and Lana by his side, Rusev was pinned following the AA, and the Super Athlete tasted defeat for the first time.
The Lunatic Fringe was definitely up for putting his body on the line in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, but that eventually proved to be his downfall. On RAW, he and R-Truth overcame Luke Harper and Stardust, before Dean Ambrose then watched as special guest referee as Dolph Ziggler beat Daniel Bryan. Ambrose didn’t leave WrestleMania the champion, and was lucky to walk out at all after being powerbombed by Harper through a ladder.
For the second consecutive year, Bray Wyatt fell short of another legend of professional wrestling, as his desire to become the new face of fear was not to be realized. His fantastic promos towards his match with The Undertaker could not strike fear into the Phenom, and after losing an eight man tag team match on SmackDown’s main event, Wyatt could not bury the Deadman. He became Undertaker’s 22nd victim, despite a psychologically excellent contest.
Everything seemed to be falling into place for the Bella Twins heading into the biggest show of the year. On RAW, they planned to drive a wedge between rivals Paige and AJ Lee by offering one of them a shot at Nikki’s Divas Championship, and Nikki was able to defend against Paige thanks to a breakdown of communications. However, this tension did not stop their opponents’ desire to beat them down, as the Bella Twins fell to defeat at WrestleMania.
In the WrestleMania Kick-Off show, there was one name that was on the lips of the entire WWE Universe, and that would not have been expected at last year’s event. Damien Mizdow has been one of the most popular members of the roster in recent months, as indicated in a loss in a ten man tag team match on RAW. Then in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, Mizdow finally cut his ties with the Miz by ousting him from the match. However, despite a valiant effort, he couldn’t take the victory when the Big Show threw him to the floor.
Paige got to revel in her first WrestleMania moment this year, as she celebrated a year on the main roster with a tag team victory. Of course, the week did not get off to a great start, as she lost in her attempt to capture her third Divas Championship against Nikki Bella on RAW. This was followed by a post-match brawl with AJ Lee, but their partnership was patched up once again by Sunday night. And that partnership bested the Bella Twins at WrestleMania.
Whilst the result of his first ever match in a WWE ring was not what he would have desired, Sting left a lasting impression on the Grandest Stage of Them All that few ever manage on their debut. The legend of WCW battled Triple H at WrestleMania in a clash billed as fourteen years in the making. And in a bout that over-exceeded expectations in terms of quality and storytelling, Sting eventually suffered a blow by a sledgehammer and had his shoulders pinned to the mat.
The four-time Intercontinental Champion could not make it a fantastic five at WrestleMania, as his head proved weaker than his heart in the closing moments. Dolph Ziggler had the perfect start to his week on RAW, where for the second consecutive occasion he pinned Daniel Bryan to the mat in a match. So, on the grandest stage, it was fitting that the battle for the swinging belt came to these two on the ladder. But with headbutts flying, Ziggler was sent off the ladder and into a losing place.
AJ Lee made it two consecutive WrestleMania victories this week, when it seemed like the seven days were heading in the worst possible direction. Watching Paige battle Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship, AJ caused her partner’s defeat with an inadvertent slap to the face during the contest. A brawl between the two ensued in the aftermath, but their shared hatred of the Bella Twins and what they stand for pushed them to victory, AJ causing Nikki to tap to the Black Widow.
The Tag Team Champions had their backs against the wall at WrestleMania, with three hungry teams breathing down their necks for the titles. On RAW, they suffered a loss to Los Matadores to demonstrate the precarious nature of their reigns, and Cesaro losing a fatal four-way on SmackDown to Jimmy Uso. However, with the huge pressure of a title defense on the Kick Off show, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd were strong and opportunistic enough to pull off the victory.
Roman Reigns would probably have wished to be a great deal higher on the list, as he fought in the main event of WrestleMania. However, he should probably feel lucky to still be breathing after the beating he sustained at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Reigns had a great SmackDown when he helped his team win an eight man tag team match. But at WrestleMania, he endured the demolition of a lifetime to the immense power of the Beast. But neither of them walked out WWE Champion, as Seth Rollins interjected with his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Finally, the Giant earned himself the right to be considered the successor to Andre the Giant with a powerful victory over WrestleMania. His time on SmackDown was not very enjoyable, as he was hit with nearly every imaginable finisher of his opponents in a tag team loss. But, in the WrestleMania Battle Royal, Big Show channeled the spirit of his fellow giant throw every superstar in his wake to the floor, and win the gleaming golden trophy.
He walked into WrestleMania the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and by the strength of his gladiatorial performance was set to walk out of the PPV the same way. Brock Lesnar tore Roman Reigns limb from limb for the vast majority of the match, and only his Samoan opponent’s fighting spirit kept him in the match. Eventually, both worn down superstars had their bones picked by Seth Rollins, who inserted himself into the match and took the Beast’s belt.
In the awesome battle of WWE against WCW at WrestleMania between Triple H and Sting, the Terminator-laden Game would reign supreme. From both their epic entrances to the incredible storytelling and clash between DX and nWo, this was an instant classic from start to finish. Triple H had not lost a step, but it took a shot from his favorite sledgehammer to the skull of the Icon to give him the unique win.
He might have just turned 50, but the Undertaker looked better than he has for years in his contest against Bray Wyatt. The Phenom was always going to be a source of contention in this fight due to the poor match with Brock Lesnar last year, but he truly delivered an excellent role in his match with the Eater of Worlds. The Deadman has years left on the strength of this performance, and now stands 22-1 with his record at WrestleMania after felling Wyatt.
The Apex Predator has become a WrestleMania mainstay in his impactful career with WWE, and added another victory against Seth Rollins to his record this year. On RAW, Rollins escaped the wicked punishment of Randy Orton by throwing his J&J Security in his path in a handicap match. But, when Orton got his former Authority cohort one-on-one at the grand stage, a fantastic contest concluded with one of, if not the greatest RKO ever witnessed. The Viper reversed a Curb Stomp, throwing Rollins in the air and brought him crashing down to triumph.
The Intercontinental Championship was contested for between seven of the toughest superstars on the roster in WWE today, and thus it was fitting that Daniel Bryan stood atop the ladder with the belt at the conclusion. Bryan did not have a great RAW, when he again was pinned by Dolph Ziggler in a singles match. But his SmackDown provided momentum with a victory in an eight man tag team match. And, with over 70,000 fans chanting YES in a repeat of last year, Bryan walked out of WrestleMania for the third straight year in possession of a title belt.
The United States Championship belongs to home soil once again, and for the first time in over a decade adorns the waist of John Cena. He was forced to pass out by the intimidating Russian sympathizer Rusev on RAW thanks to the Accolade, but responded by helping his team win an eight man tag team match on SmackDown. With the spirit of America behind his pursuit of triumph, if not the fans that were firmly in Rusev’s corner, Cena hoisted his rival on his shoulders and dropped him with the AA to capture the midcard title.
Seth Rollins had four matches this week, and only won one of them. On RAW he and J&J Security could not overwhelm Randy Orton in a handicap match. On SmackDown he was on the losing side of an eight man tag team match in the main event. And at WrestleMania, Orton once again proved the better man, catching Rollins in mid-air with an RKO and pinning him to the mat. But none of those facts matter, as Rollins lost his Money in the Bank moniker and was the lasting image of WrestleMania 31. Cashing in his briefcase late in the contest between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, Rollins stomped his former Shield partner’s head into the mat, winning him the WWE Championship for the first time in his career.
Do you think anyone should be listed differently?