Welcome to this week’s WWE Raw Rankings. Here I will rank every Superstar from worst to first based on their performances on this week’s edition of Monday night Raw.
This week’s show, on the back of Payback, was a steady but not spectacular show.
There were a few standouts, but nothing really stole the show which leaves the rankings very open for new contenders at the top.
- Goldust and Fandango
It’s always nice to see undercard feuds getting some airtime on Raw and this was about as undercard as it gets. Truth and Goldust’s backstage skits were quite funny when they started, but they’ve dragged on far too long. Just get them together already please. At the same time, it’s good to see guys like Fandango and Tyler Breeze getting some time on Raw. The match time that was devoted to this segment would probably have been better utilized with someone like Sasha Banks, but that’s another argument all together.
- R-Truth and Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze picked up his first televised win of 2016. Breeze has competed in 74 matches so far this year for a total of three wins so even if it was a distraction win over Goldust in a feud that’s not your own, you take it! Nobody would benefit more from a brand split than Tyler Breeze.
- Apollo Crews
Only the participants in the Battle Royal that had some kind of story development will be mentioned individually and Crews was almost conspicuous in his lack of development. He didn’t get an entrance and he was eliminated early on by Sheamus in relatively easy fashion. He was brought up from NXT far too quickly and there isn’t really a spot for him on the roster right now which might hurt him long term.
- The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley’s were apparently supposed to make the run in and cost Enzo and Cass the match at Payback, but obviously that didn’t go to plan so involving them tonight was smart. They were the team that existed to make up the numbers in the eight man tag, but it was one of their stronger performances in recent times.
- Battle Royal Jabronies
Most of the battle royal participants were simply there to make up the numbers and it was a shame to see guys like Sandow and Titus being eliminated virtually with no purpose. It was surprising to see Bo and Curtis Axel last as long as they did and they even got themselves an elimination! Sheamus and Del Rio were used really well as the dominant heels of the match and overall, this was a very entertaining and well booked battle royal. Going in, you could make an argument for Sheamus, Del Rio, Rusev, Corbin, Sin Cara and Crews winning and Zack Ryder presented himself as an unexpected victor towards the end.
- Becky Lynch
It always good to see a storyline developing in the women’s division that doesn’t need the title, Total Divas or men in order to catalyse it. Becky and Emma are capable of putting on quality matches and the ending involving Emma jabbing at Becky’s injured eye was well booked and surprisingly well commentated. While they’ve been given no screen time since WrestleMania, it would appear the further we get from WrestleMania the more Raw time will be available for feuds in the women’s division.
- Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin
Ziggler eliminating Corbin so early after beating him the night before at Payback was very surprising. Clearly, Dolph watched Corbin’s match with Austin Aries and determined that he was weak to roll-ups. Neither loss hurts Corbin and the way he decimated Ziggler afterward was really well executed. With three weeks to Extreme Rules, you’d assume these two will go at it again.
- Zack Ryder
Ryder is seemingly being treated as a babyface who needs to be taken seriously and they’re using the momentum from WrestleMania effectively rather than returning him to jobber status. Having him virtually outsmart the League of Nations and survive to the end made Ryder look like a strong underdog which is something he does well.
- The Vaudevillains
The Vaudevillains using Enzo’s injury to get some boos from the crowd was definitely a good thing. They needed something to spark the crowd as they were getting absolutely nothing from them. They have virtually no chance of beating The New Day at Extreme Rules, but with Enzo out, they might get a couple of pay-per-view matches rather than just the one.
- The Miz
Miz retaining at Payback one way or another was the right move in the end and setting up this Fatal 4-Way for Extreme Rules benefits everyone involved. While Miz didn’t have much to do on Raw, he showed why he should be used on commentary after he’s finished wrestling as he’s already more interesting than Saxton and JBL combined as a color commentator.
Why on Earth would they have Emma lose clean to Natalya last week only to begin her feud with Becky this week? Surely someone like Summer Rae could’ve taken the loss last week as now it makes Emma look a class below Natalya. Regardless, the booking was much better this week and as long as Emma and Becky get some adequate screen time and more fleshed out reasons for fighting, this should be good.
- Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho
First Francesca and now Mitch… Jericho is an awful, awful man. Jericho fooled fans into believing he was done with the company, but keeping him around for one more pay-per-view gives Ambrose something to do when otherwise there’d really be nothing for him. Hopefully this isn’t completely the end of the Ambrose Asylum as there’s always a need for a babyface talk show and the WWE haven’t really had one in years.
- The New Day
It’s actually true. Xavier Woods’ DM’s on Twitter are actually open and anyone can send him a message. I would love to know what kind of messages he gets. Regardless, The New Day had the 15 minute match tonight on Raw and while it was a little slow in the middle, it was a great example of how a long tag team match should be worked. Xavier in particular shined from The New Day, getting to show off a bit of offense that we don’t normally get the chance to see from him. Only Big E could stuff up his lines and turn it into a standing ovation from the crowd.
- Charlotte and Natalya
The screwjob at Payback, at first glance, was one of the most infuriating pieces of booking in recent memory. Thankfully, the WWE *sort of* capitalized on it on order to make a rematch between the two that will probably be a match of the year candidate. Unfortunately, you can’t have an angle where someone PAYS OFF a referee and the only punishment be a banning from ringside. Not to mention, the referee probably won’t even be sanctioned himself. Remember when Scott Armstrong screwed Bryan? The commentators treated it like match fixing should be treated rather than joking and laughing about a Ric Flair impersonator. The angle should’ve been treated more seriously by all involved.
- Roman Reigns and The Usos
The Usos are becoming the blandest act in WWE and their only asset right now is their relation to Roman. They can still perform high quality matches, but their characters are very stale. Reigns on the other hand seems to be flourishing in this tweener role. It feels more natural for him and the boos are no longer an issue because they’re a part of his character. His powerbomb to Styles was brutal. AJ bounced when he hit the table and that cannot have been a fun experience.
- Sami Zayn
The reaction Sami Zayn got when he held up the Intercontinental Championship was one of the biggest takeaways from Raw. As expected, he’s been accepted as one of the top babyfaces in the company within months of joining it and he hasn’t even needed a pay-per-view win to do it. Having Owens win at Payback was a great call and having the match end clean was even smarter. From here, they have an Intercontinental Title match at Extreme Rules, be in the Money in the Bank ladder match and then have their second and third matches at Battleground and SummerSlam rather than overexposing them at the two pay-per-views beforehand.
- AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
It was surprising to see Styles, Anderson and Gallows win clean, but they worked the match very intelligently. Anderson and Gallows did the brunt of the heel control work while Styles still shone in the match as a babyface despite effectively being on the heel team. It was a strong six man tag main event that for once didn’t feel like a main-event that was thrown together because they had nothing else. Gallows and Anderson turning on Styles at Extreme Rules makes the most logical sense, as keeping them together at this point would be pretty underwhelming unless Styles wins the title.
Rusev has been handled terribly since his undefeated streak came to an end, but finally it seems he’s getting some well-deserved spotlight. His match with Kalisto on Raw a few months ago was outstanding and makes a rematch very much worth anticipating. Whether he wins or not, it’ll be interesting to see how they book the feud in the coming weeks.
Cesaro will surely win the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules. Owens and Zayn don’t need a title for their feud (maybe a Money in the Bank briefcase) and Cesaro would benefit greatly from getting to hold a title for a while. The Miz has done a great job as champion, but it should be Cesaro pinning him to win the title at Extreme Rules. His match with Kevin Owens was exactly what you would expect from Cesaro who is finally starting to shine out of the ring as well as in the ring.
- Kevin Owens
This mini-feud between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon is very intriguing. It’s probably not going anywhere, but having Owens as the guy opposing Shane is really smart as it spotlights Owens in big segments and shows that he has big things coming in the immediate future (like maybe a briefcase). Owens probably came out of Payback looking better than anyone.
- Colin Cassady
Nobody came out of Payback in a worse situation that Cassady. His tag team were taking over the WWE and all of a sudden they’re on the back burner. Concussions are nothing to be scoffed at and who knows how long Enzo will be out for. He’s been pulled from WWE events for the remainder of May which doesn’t help. However, Cassady showed why he’s one of the best hot-tag wrestlers in WWE history on Raw, lighting up the crowd and showing that even without Enzo, he’s a massive asset to the company. He should be utilized as a single’s competitor as he has a very big career ahead of him.