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 Intercontinental Champion can’t seem to catch a break at the moment, as bad news seems to encounter him at every turn. Bad News Barrett can’t keep hold of his own title, let alone concentrate long enough to earn any victories. On RAW, he was defeated by Dean Ambrose, one of his upcoming opponents in the WrestleMania ladder match. And in the SmackDown main event, Barrett and Luke Harper fell to Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler.
Whilst he was kept out of active competition this week, Randy Orton still proceeded to make a noticeable impact. Still showing firm allegiance to the Authority, Orton agreed to watch Seth Rollins’ back in his main event with Roman Reigns, following stopping his reluctant ally attacking Jon Stewart. In the end, his tug on the leg of Reigns caused enough of a distraction for him to be pinned.
Luke Harper is heading to WrestleMania as part of the Intercontinental title ladder match, but was on the receiving end of two defeats on the road to that event. Daniel Bryan was the first one to overcome the burly superstar on RAW. Then on SmackDown, he teamed with the man who he hopes to dethrone at the upcoming PPV, Bad News Barrett, in a loss against Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler.
Whilst Nikki Bella can still boast being the Divas Champion at the end of the week, very little else went in her favor. In fact, the only reason that she still is champ following her match with Paige is due to the interference of Brie when she was locked in the PTO. This double-team brought the return of AJ Lee to even the odds against the despicable twins. In a match on SmackDown, Brie suffered defeat to AJ in her first match back.
It is difficult to tell what would have been worse for the Miz to endure over the last week. On RAW, he was greatly embarrassed when an advert he took from Damien Mizdow turned out to be for ‘Niagra’, an erectile dysfunction medication. The tension between their tandem then grew on SmackDown, as they teamed up against The New Day. Mizdow was cleaning house, until a jealous Miz tagged his way back in, only to be hit with a finisher and pinned.
R-Truth was not competing in a match, but his antics have been a good source of entertainment for fans and severe frustration for Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett. He has made it a mission to keep the title belt away from its rightful holder, liberating it from a number of situations and passing it off to other superstars. Of course, Truth will be looking to win it himself after WrestleMania’s ladder match.
AxelMania might be catching fire among fans, but it hasn’t exactly benefitted Curtis Axel’s pursuit for victories. On RAW, a match with John Cena ended decisively quickly, with the multiple time world champion dominant over Axel. Then on Main Event another loss followed against Fandango. And whilst he has received a United States Championship match for this Monday, on current form it will only take a matter of seconds for a Rusev crushing to occur.
The Real American once again came up short in his attempts to overcome the Russian threat within the roster. On SmackDown, Jack Swagger tried to become the first man to defeat Rusev, but was instead forced to tap out to the Accolade in short order.
Kane’s power in the Authority was exploited sufficiently on SmackDown, to make up for a poor performance in the ring. The Corporate Demon battled another participant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Ryback. And the Big Guy steamrolled him with a Meathook Clothesline, and a bitter Kane proceeded to place him in another match with Big Show immediately afterwards, aiding the giant to victory.
Bray Wyatt continues to eerily stalk the Undertaker in the lead-up to their eventual match at WrestleMania, although the Deadman is yet to formally respond to the Eater of Worlds. On RAW, Wyatt gave a sermon on the Phenom before setting a casket ablaze, and then on SmackDown promised to release the spirit contained in his Urn this Monday.
The Tag Team Champions continue to be unable to fully scratch the Usos out of their lives, as the former champs picked up another victory over them on RAW. This was in a mixed six-person tag, where Tyson Kidd’s wife Natalya suffered the pin. But, they were able to respond on SmackDown in a standard tag team affair, as Cesaro & Kidd defeated Los Matadores with relative ease.
Naomi was able to help her Uso family earn a victory on RAW in a mixed six-person tag. Able to mix it up with Natalya with their excellent chain wrestling, she capitalized on the Canadian’s leg injury and their opponents’ miscommunication to win.
The Big Guy was the victim of some crooked work by the Authority on SmackDown, something that he has become very familiar with in recent months. Ryback was able to defeat Kane after landing a powerful Meathook clothesline. But, an enraged Kane placed him in an immediate second match with the Big Show. And despite another spirited performance from Ryback, the power of Show and interference from Kane led to his defeat.
The New Day were back to winning ways on SmackDown, as they continued their trend of exploiting fractious relationships in tag teams. Previously it was Gold/Stardust, but now it is the Miz & Damien Mizdow who were the victims. With Miz bullishly keeping his partner out of the action, Kofi Kingston and Big E won with the Midnight Hour on the A-List superstar.
John Cena is still waiting to see whether he actually makes it on the WrestleMania card, after his desire to enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was refused by Stephanie McMahon. She proceeded to tell him that he might be forced to sit this event out, and Cena then unleashed that frustration into an easy victory over Curtis Axel. Will Cena get his match on the Grandest Stage? I mean of course he will, and Rusev looks to be set in the firing line.
Roman Reigns’ pursuit of the WWE Championship hit something of a stumbling block in the main event of RAW. Following Paul Heyman’s virulent promo about how he has no chance of besting Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, Reigns would suffer defeat to Seth Rollins due to the usual body of interferences by Authority members, and a well-timed tug by Randy Orton. However, he ended the night standing tall by laying out most Authority members with Spears, including a particularly vicious one to Rollins from the top rope.
The Super Athlete continues to dodge the challenge of John Cena for WrestleMania, the United States Champion determining that that trial has been crushed. Rusev instead faced a longtime rival in Jack Swagger on SmackDown, and just as every time previously, was able to defeat the Real American. However, he is to defend his title against Curtis Axel on the coming episode of RAW, and will he be able to contain the power of AxelMania?
Big Show was the beneficiary of some Authority swindling on SmackDown, as he was the second opponent of Ryback’s night following Kane’s executive decision to a loss. The Giant was a much tougher proposition for the Big Guy after he had already endured a prior match, and thanks to some assistance from his fellow Authority member, Show knocked him out for the victory.
AJ Lee made her return to action after a three-month absence on RAW, coming to the aid of her ‘frienemy’ Paige against the Bella Twins, especially Nikki Bella, who took the title from her at Survivor Series. Her first match back in action was against Brie Bella on SmackDown, and with Paige watching her back against interference, AJ trapped her in the Black Widow and forced her to tap out.
Another member of the ever-crowded Intercontinental Championship scene, Dolph Ziggler has made Bad News Barrett and the rest of the opposition targets. Ziggler ended RAW with the title belt in his possession after kicking Luke Harper in the face. Then after officially announcing his entrance into the WrestleMania ladder match, he and Dean Ambrose won a tag team battle against Barrett and Harper.
Daniel Bryan is still without a sparring partner heading into WrestleMania, but that hasn’t stopped him putting on prominent performances. On RAW, he battled Luke Harper and pulled out the victory by forcing his bigger opponent to tap out to the Yes Lock. It then appeared Bryan became interested in the scuffle over the Intercontinental Championship. Following the SmackDown main event, he celebrated with the belt R-Truth handed him, before being taken out by Stardust.
The Architect of the Authority had a busy Monday Night, as he juggled hosting his own version of the Daily Show and competing in the RAW main event. Seth Rollins first took part in some verbal sparring with Jon Stewart, which seemed close to disintegrating into actual sparring before an interruption from Randy Orton. But, Stewart did leave a boot print in Rollins’ groin for good measure. Yet thanks in no small part to Orton’s assistance, Rollins did defeat Roman Reigns later in the evening, although Reigns almost split him in two with a post-match Spear.
If not for the interference of Brie Bella, Paige would likely be standing atop these rankings as the new Divas Champion. A solid match with Nikki Bella for the title was going the Brit’s way, and she had her trapped in the PTO primed to tap out, only for Brie to interrupt with an attack. This caused the reuniting of the ‘frienemies’ when AJ Lee came to her aid. Paige then defeated Summer Rae on Main Event, before returning the favor to AJ by protecting her from interference in her win over Brie on SmackDown.
The Usos have continued to maintain form in their attempts to return to the top of the mountain in the division for a third time. On RAW, they got another win over the current champs on their books, defeating Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Natalya in a six-person tag. They followed this up on Main Event with a victory over the previously dominant Ascension, inflicting only the second defeat upon their tandem.
Top of the tree this week is the Lunatic Fringe, who has the Intercontinental Championship firmly in his sights heading into the WrestleMania ladder match. On RAW, Dean Ambrose achieved what he couldn’t quite do at Fast Lane by pinning Bad News Barrett, and would then proceed to get involved in the later night brawling over possession of the coveted strap. Then on SmackDown, he teamed with one of his future opponents in Dolph Ziggler to win in a tag team match opposite Barrett and Luke Harper.
Do you think anyone should be listed differently?