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 was the final Raw before Payback and it was filled with fresh matches that were given far more time than you’d usually expect for Raw.
Despite that, there were a few issues later in the show that also need to be addressed in this week’s rankings.
- The Colons
Obviously these two were not on Raw this week, but I want to talk about the vignettes briefly. What is their gimmick? Does anybody know? Does Vince even know? It seems like they’re simply Puerto Rican guys who happen to be a tag team. This is destined to fail, but at least WWE cameramen got a trip to Puerto Rico out of it. Make them heel travel agents who simply hate on every town they’re in… It’s better than their current idea!
- Damien Sandow
Damien Sandow defeated Baron Corbin by forfeit on Raw and got a bigger reaction during the commercial break than almost the entire roster. Come on WWE. Give this man a proper chance.
The weakest part of Raw this week was the women’s segment. Simply because it was no different to the women’s segments of year’s passed in terms of effort, time and storyline. Heel champion, babyface number one contender beats heel jobber in less than five minutes to get some momentum before the pay-per-view. It is incredibly lazy booking. As for Emma, her ‘feud’ with Becky Lynch hasn’t even appeared on TV yet outside of a backstage segment on SmackDown which is as little as it gets. Their entire feud has taken place on YouTube which just goes to show you that nothing has really changed in the Women’s Division. They’ve just rebranded. They’ve lost all of the momentum they had after WrestleMania by pushing Becky and especially Sasha off to the side.
It was Stardust’s turn to take a quick loss to Crews this week and there isn’t really much more than can be said about Cody. If they dropped the Stardust gimmick right now and brought him back as Rhodes without an explanation, I would just accept it. It’s beyond farcical at this point.
- The New Day
The New Day has taken a back seat in order for the number one contender’s competition to take place, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This has given them the chance to appear less on Raw, not overexposing them and letting them maintain their status as probably the most popular entity on the WWE roster.
- Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio was the only League of Nations member to really come out of Raw not looking impressive. And no, this is not because he was facing Roman while the others faced Zayn and Styles, it’s simply because Del Rio does not get out of first gear. Roman and Del Rio could put on a fantastic, hard-hitting match, but Del Rio seems to care about as much as the crowd cares about him.
- The Usos
The Usos’ promo with Roman backstage before their match was one of the more scripted things I’ve heard in my life. The Usos are two of the most naturally charismatic and funny people in the WWE locker room (just watch UpUpDownDown to know that) so if you want to re-energize them, let them be themselves. Having them be nothing more than Roman’s cousins isn’t exactly going to help them get back over with the crowd.
- Natalya and Charlotte
This will undoubtedly be one of the best matches of Payback, so why has it been given absolutely no time to work with? Natalya needed to be given promo time to talk about how she struggled to get any screen time during the Divas Revolution or the Divas Era full stop, but now she’s found motivation in going after the Women’s Championship. Instead, they’ve been given the usual women’s treatment as already mentioned. Not putting the title on Banks is one thing, but allowing the momentum to evaporate by having Natalya as the top face in the division for a few months was a really poor decision. Unfortunately, Nattie simply can’t carry the division. She doesn’t have the star power. Tip for Payback: Charlotte retains comfortably.
- Apollo Crews
They seem to be taking the slow build approach with Apollo, but he’s going to need something more substantial to get him over. The best thing to do would be to put the United States Championship on Ryback and then have Crews take it from him. A U.S Title run would work well for Apollo.
- The Vaudevillains
Let’s just all pause for a minute and appreciate Aiden English’s singing voice, because damn. The Vaudevillains are the logical favourites for the match at Payback simply because as heels, they’d make the more straightforward opponents for The New Day. On top of that, Enzo and Cass versus The New Day is a money feud that doesn’t have to be rushed. Whether The Vaudevillains gimmick will work on the main roster or not we’ll find out soon, but giving them promo time and having them sound and act like normal people rather than the over-the-top mess The Ascension were is a good way to stop them from sinking to the bottom of the card.
- Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
It’s amazing just how quickly these two have captured the casual fan base. Within a month, they’ve already established one of the biggest pops of the night and Enzo is bringing his absolute A-game whenever he touches the microphone. I’ll be tipping The Vaudevillains for Sunday, but this one could truly go either way. Maybe The Dudley Boyz cost them the match.
- The Miz and Cesaro
Maybe I’m the only one, but The Miz reciting famous movie lines while Maryse coaches him through them is hilarious. Cesaro having a line to through straight back at him was even better. While Cesaro’s mic work isn’t anywhere near the level of The Miz, this has still been an entertaining feud. However, Natalya and Charlotte should’ve been given the mic time this week and Cesaro should’ve been given the match with Miz and Maryse on commentary. They got those two segments backwards. Prediction: Cesaro wins the title.
- Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho
Dean Ambrose’s promo skills are elite and outside of guys like The Miz and Xavier Woods, he may be the strongest promo cutter in the WWE. Jericho was equally good here, but still seems slightly lost. By that, I mean Jericho’s mannerisms are stuck in the early 2000’s and it doesn’t seem to flow well with the rest of the card. You have to watch carefully to pick it up but it’s obvious if you’re looking for it. Prediction: Jericho wins, holding the ropes.
Sheamus had his best match since Night of Champions 2014 (yes, I remember that far back) tonight on Raw, going one-on-one with AJ Styles. There was no interference and no heel tactics, it was just a strong match between two competitors whose styles meshed immediately. Unlike Del Rio, Sheamus brought it here tonight and deserves credit for doing so.
The same goes for Rusev who took on Sami Zayn in a fantastic match that put the former NXT Champion over big time. The ending was smart and Rusev looked fantastic, dominating Sami for most of the match. It may be time to just split the League of Nations up as the roster needs mid-card heels and these three should fill those gaps. Lana struggling to get her shoes off to throw at Sami was also hilarious.
- Roman Reigns
Reigns was the clear stand out in his match with Del Rio and looked to really want to elevate that match above what it ended up being. This entire feud is as interesting as it gets and the WWE have done a fantastic job building interest for this match despite the fact that Roman Reigns will not be losing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In fact, the main reason people will be watching will be to see how the Bullet Club angle plays out rather than tuning in to see if Styles can win the title.
- Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler
Corbin and Ziggler have far exceeded expectations in the last few weeks. With some ferocity on Corbin’s side and the passion Ziggler always brings, the two have created a feud worth paying attention for. Even though we know what the result will be at Payback, this has still been far better than most would’ve anticipated. Credit has to go to Dolph for continuing to make everyone look incredibly good whenever they’re out there with him. Prediction: Corbin wins clean.
- Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Gallows and Anderson picked up an impressive debut victory over The Usos in a match that started out probably a bit too slowly for a Raw match, but picked up towards the end for a strong finish. Obviously, it’ll take them a few matches to adjust to the WWE style and that’s completely fair, but they still looked impressive in this match. The massive question is what will these guys be doing after Payback? Will the man who just lost the NXT Championship be involved and will they turn on Styles? This is what they SHOULD do.
- Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
The vignette shown before Zayn’s match with Rusev was fantastic. It chronicled what these two men have done for the last 15 years and gave casual fans a glimpse into what they can expect on Sunday. This is a feud that needs to extend well beyond Payback so expect some shenanigans in this match. Sami Zayn versus Kevin Owens in Chicago… get ready folks, it’s happening. Prediction: Zayn wins via disqualification, Owens then puts him through the announce table.
- AJ Styles
AJ Styles being in the match of the night on Raw seems to be the norm now as almost every single week he takes that accolade. As already mentioned, he and Sheamus meshed beautifully and put on a fantastic contest. As far as Payback goes, he won’t be leaving as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but the potential for Styles and the Bullet Club to be feuding one way or another is a brilliant consolation prize. This has been a main-event feud that has felt like a main-event feud and at Payback, Roman Reigns and AJ Styles will put on a fantastic match.