Welcome to this week’s WWE Raw Rankings. Here I will rank every Superstar and Diva from worst to first based on their performances on this week’s edition of Monday night Raw.
The Raw after WrestleMania was as rowdy as ever (for better and for worse) and with Shane McMahon ‘in charge’ of the show, we were delivered what was a very different and fresh Raw.
There are going to be a lot of new names on this week’s Rankings list.
- The Usos
The Raw after WrestleMania crowd, when they’re not obsessing over beach balls like children, are a decent representation of the smarter WWE fan base and their reaction to The Usos was telling. It wasn’t an assault of booing like there was for Roman… there simply was no reaction. The loudest crowd of the year met the brothers with apathetic silence and that was telling. They lost clean to The Dudley Boyz in order to give them some momentum going into their next feud and considering their lack of character development in the last six months, it’s hard to see The Usos going anywhere any time soon.
- Summer Rae
Summer Rae is incredibly talented on the mic and even giving her a minute to show her stuff got the crowd that much more hyped for Sasha’s appearance. While this was nothing more than a squash match, now that the women’s division has been rebranded, it must be taken seriously and that means multiple matches per week getting good time and storylines outside of the title. I’d like to see the blonde part of last night’s 10 Diva tag team match remain together in order to push Emma as a genuine threat.
- Tyler Breeze
Things seem to be changing on Monday night Raw, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is Tyler Breeze’s place on the card. Despite a decent reception from the crowd, Breeze appears to still be nothing more than an enhancement talent which is a shame.
- Dolph Ziggler
They seem to be going to the company’s *second most reliable man in order to get Corbin over. The double count out ending and beat down probably means we’ll be seeing more of Dolph and Corbin in the coming weeks. While Dolph having to put someone as average as Corbin over is annoying, someone has to do it for a few months before they realize he’s nothing special and relegate him to the mid-card forever. *The company’s most reliable guy wasn’t even on Raw. Where was Ambrose? Selling his injuries from Brock?
- The League of Nations
Goodbye Wade Barrett, you were nearly something special quite a few times but never quite got given the push from the higher ups. As for the rest of the League of Nations, their title match was nothing special whatsoever and they never even looked like winning the match. I’m not sure they even had a near fall. The post-match antics with The Wyatt Family were very strange, but more on that later.
- The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley’s did the right thing in putting The Usos over at WrestleMania, but I can’t help but feel there’s a better use for them. It would appear that they’ll be used in a similar vein to get Enzo and Cass their first big win in what looks like a really awesome feud on paper. The Dudley’s still have a lot to offer – especially in a role where they can do the dirty work of The Authority – but for now getting a team like Enzo and Cass, who are going to have the feud of the summer with The New Day, over is the way to go.
If the WWE are going in the direction I think they’re going, this week’s strange Women’s Championship segment may prove to make a lot of sense. A lot of people are confused by the decision to have Natalya face Charlotte instead of Sasha, but we will probably still see that match at the Payback pay-per-view. I get the feeling we’ll be seeing Charlotte versus Natalya next week on Raw for the title, possibly in the main-event, in order to get Charlotte a successful title defence and to raise the prestige of the title by having Natalya and Charlotte put on another awesome match. Payback is still a month away which means there’s plenty of time to build both feuds and having the first Women’s Championship title defence be Charlotte versus Natalya guarantees you an awesome match and allows Charlotte to get some momentum before hopefully dropping the title to Sasha Banks.
- The Wyatt Family
After being a part of a very entertaining segment at WrestleMania, The Wyatt Family returned to Raw to attack the League of Nations. The Wyatt’s were in desperate need of a character shift and turning them face is a good way to freshen them up. Unfortunately, as of now, it makes no sense. The last thing we saw them doing before WrestleMania was attacking Ambrose and Lesnar. Then at WrestleMania they go after The Rock and then on Raw they, for no reason, appear and attack the League of Nations? I hope Bray has a promo for us to explain it because right now, it’s completely illogical and makes no sense. At least Erick Rowan can tell his grandchildren that he wrestled The Rock at WrestleMania… and Luke Harper can tell his that he was going to wrestle The Rock at WrestleMania before injuring his knee. Ouch.
- Zack Ryder
Anyone who thought Zack Ryder was going to be anything other than a WrestleMania moment is kidding themselves. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the match. He was added because Neville got injured. Ryder winning will go down as one of the coolest moments in WrestleMania history, but he was never going to be anything more than a transitional champion. If anything, the championship match on Raw was actually very well done. The finish involving Zack’s dad and then having Maryse come over all made sense and worked really well.
The decision to have Charlotte win the title at WrestleMania really only makes sense if it was done in order to get the crowd more behind Sasha. Given Sasha’s reaction tonight on Raw, that seemed to be successful, but Natalya being thrown in as the challenger seems to have thrown a spanner in that. Charlotte struggled to get the raucous crowd under control when they exploded into chants for Bayley, Sasha and Becky, but she got her point across and the walk-off made sense. Charlotte’s reign as champion can’t be a long one. If it is, she might fizzle out the momentum the women’s division currently has.
- Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews made his Raw debut defeating Tyler Breeze in a quick match. Where did this come from? Apollo was probably the one top guy in NXT who really needed more developmental time in order to sort out his mic work, character development and engagement with the crowd, but here he is debuting on Raw. I understand it from a story perspective, Shane, ‘in charge’, wants to give these young, talented guys a chance. Given how much talent there is currently on the roster, hopefully this is a one week showcase match and Crews gets to spend some more time in NXT. There really isn’t a place for him on the main card right now.
- Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns came out and cut a promo on Raw to the loudest and most universal boos heard in a WWE ring in a very long time. If the mindset has changed and Reigns is now going to be either a tweener or a heel, then he did a great job. He did in fact say that he was neither a good guy nor a bad guy so I guess they spelled it out for us. The fact that Styles is the number one contender just compounds that, because there’s no way Styles is going to be the heel in this feud.
- Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin made his Raw debut after winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Having Corbin win the Battle Royal gives him a launching pad to build off, but we have to remember that Corbin isn’t actually that good. In the ring, he’s average and on the microphone, he’s average so while he’s being given a debut push, don’t expect him to go too far unless he improves dramatically.
- Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks was the breakout star of WrestleMania 32. Everything she did from her entrance, to her attire, to the match itself screamed megastar and it’s a shame that WWE didn’t pull the trigger and put the title on her. However, the reaction she got when she came out was a sign that she arrived at WrestleMania and her coronation as champion shouldn’t be too far away.
- Chris Jericho
Despite his age, Jericho did a great job of keeping up with Cesaro, Styles and Owens in the main-event and was probably the favourite to win the match going into it. Owens obviously has his feud with Zayn and that left Jericho as the only heel left in the match and so it was assumed he’d be facing Roman at Payback. Jericho hitting a code breaker on Styles for a two count late in the match was probably the best near fall to happen in the WWE in a long time because you could tell the entire crowd thought the match was over. With Styles facing Roman and Jericho apparently sticking around, he should be used to get Cesaro over across the next few pay-per-views.
- Sami Zayn
Outside of Cesaro’s return and the debut of Enzo and Cass, Zayn got the biggest ovations of the night and with good reason. Sami is poised to become the top babyface in the WWE and with a personal feud against Owens coming up, there’s no reason why he can’t become one of the biggest names in the company within a year. There were some concerns that Zayn had re-injured his shoulder and that’s why he was pulled from the fatal 4-way, but thankfully he’s not injured and the whole thing was planned.
- The New Day
When you get to the point of popularity where the crowd recite your catchphrases without you even having to say them, you know you’ve got a good thing going. While the Tag Team Championship match itself was nothing special whatsoever, the promo beforehand just highlighted how good these guys are. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here. Enzo and Cass are facing The Dudley Boyz so unless The Usos turn heel or The Vaudevillains get thrown straight into the title picture, they don’t really have an opponent for Payback.
- Kevin Owens
Owens got one of the biggest ovations at WrestleMania and backed that up with a massive pop tonight on Raw. Even though he lost the Intercontinental Championship and doesn’t seem to be too fussed about going after it again, he still remains in a great position on the card and this feud with Sami should be a massive launching pad for both of them.
- The Miz
The Miz is now a five time Intercontinental Champion to go with already having won every title in the company and main-eventing WrestleMania AND being married to Maryse. You can hate the guy, but his career has been pretty damn successful. The angle was well executed and with Ryder set to get a rematch on SmackDown, it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.
- Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy
When the Dudley Boyz defeated The Usos and these two didn’t come out, it appeared that they wouldn’t be making their debut. Then, we returned from commercial and the Dudley’s were still out there… and we all knew these two would be coming out. And they did. And it was awesome. Even though the entire crowd knew who these guys were, casual fans watching would’ve been immediately taken in by Enzo’s brilliant promo work and Cass’ energy. It was a perfect debut which highlighted exactly what these guys are great at doing. Carmella not coming up with them is a good thing. She’s worth developing as a wrestler and deserves more time in NXT to hone her skills.
Cesaro made the perfect return to in-ring action, replacing Sami Zayn in the fatal 4-way number one contender’s match. The crowd gave him, by far, the biggest pop of the night and treated him like the star he is. The rip away suit was also a cool idea and worked well. Even if it scared the USA Network censors into dropping the feed for half a second. WWE television will be very interesting over the next few months to see how they use the likes of Cesaro, Styles, Zayn and Ambrose who are all fighting for the top babyface spot in the company. If anything, it’s a great problem for the company to have and the amount of depth on the roster right now, with Cena, Orton and Rollins still yet to return, is immense and can only mean a brand split is coming.
- AJ Styles
Well there you go, AJ Styles, after losing at WrestleMania is now the number one contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Does he have a chance at dethroning Roman? No chance in hell, but the feud and the match will certainly be worth watching. The decision to have Styles win highlighted how things felt different this week and hopefully this is the beginning of the new face of Raw, filled with strong wrestling talent, women’s wrestling and a card slowly being filled with NXT talent.