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.
Well there you go ladies and gentlemen, 2016 kicked off with one of the most consistent and well written Raw’s in a very long time. From start to finish, the show let the wrestling do the talking while advancing crucial storylines as we head towards the Royal Rumble. A lot of credit has to go to the San Antonio crowd as well for being super loud all night, while not stepping all over the product like some other towns do. Unfortunately, someone has to claim last place in this week’s Raw ratings, so let’s get straight into them.
- Ryback and Big Show
The fact that this match lasted less than a couple of minutes before The Wyatt Family interfered highlighted the difference between this show and previous Raws. They did something interesting here instead of giving us a mundane bout and now The Wyatt Family, considering they’re three giants and a maniac, are the ones to watch going into the Rumble. Ryback and Show will be factors in the Rumble match, but I can’t see them being anything more than a means to getting a big elimination under the belts of others.
This was the only part of Raw that felt like filler and even it wasn’t bad. Titus and Stardust have been going back and forth backstage for a while now so the match made sense and so did the finish with Titus winning. One thing I want to see in the Rumble match is Stardust come out early on, get eliminated, and then come back later on as Cody Rhodes – in a similar vein to Mick Foley in 1998.
- The Dudley Boyz
Took a clean loss and can’t really see them going up the card any time soon. Despite injuries, there is more than enough talent on the roster to put on a Rumble Match without them so their place on this roster is looking shaky. Unfortunately, they’re just a step behind younger teams. However, the longer they want to stay and provide depth to the tag division, the better.
- Dolph Ziggler
Most of me thinks that Dolph Ziggler would have put his hand up to help get Heath Slater and the Social Outcasts a big win, but at the same time, Dolph deserves better. Thankfully, when it comes to the WWE, wins and losses mean nothing and Dolph will still hopefully be a factor in the Rumble this year. It makes no sense to me that Tyler Breeze debuts on the roster, loses to Dolph in two out of their three matches, then disappears off the roster and Dolph goes and takes a loss to Slater. Why bury Breeze like that? What a waste of potential.
- Titus O’Neil
A good win for Titus that will hopefully spark a good singles run for him in 2016. I can’t see him getting much higher than the Intercontinental Championship picture, but you never know. He has the athleticism and the charisma to get the crowd right behind him, there might just be too many people in front of him at this stage.
Kalisto, once again, stole the show in this six man tag team match. He far exceeded his team mates and stood out in both the bumps he took and his fast paced offence. Who knows how long Sin Cara will be on the shelf for, but Kalisto can’t be kept off TV like the WWE did when one of The Usos were injured. Kalisto needs to be given a singles run because there’s no question he’s good enough.
- The Usos
In what was otherwise an unimportant match up, The Usos and their opponents did a great job in making this match into something worth watching. The near falls were smart and the finish was much better than your standard Raw tag team match. They should be kept out of the Rumble this year. With the likes of the Social Outcasts, The League of Nations and The Wyatt Family, the Rumble is already pretty full and so outside of The New Day, the other tag teams should be left out. Maybe have a number one contenders match for the Tag Team Championships on the pre-show or something.
- Alberto Del Rio
No Cena on Raw this week was strange, but I guess they didn’t really need him. While it means Del Rio’s feud with Cena didn’t really go anywhere, he still had a strong week and showed that there’s a lot of potential for Del Rio and Rusev to be used as a tag team in the future. It would add a lot of depth to the roster and give them something important to do.
Before getting onto Rusev, I’m very glad the WWE have decided to take Wade Barrett off of television altogether. Like I said last week, if he’s injured, get him off and certainly don’t have him competing in matches. As I said with Del Rio, Rusev is in need of a rebranding up and a stint in the tag team division could be just that. These two would dominate.
- The New Day
Not their sharpest work on the mic, but their new titantron is amazing and the countdown transition was perfectly executed. The idea of The New Day and Chris Jericho going at it in some fashion is awesome and it’s good that they got a relatively clean win tonight. They certainly need to get a few wins under their belt heading forward.
I wouldn’t argue with you if you told me Neville was the best wrestler in the world, because he is insane. Once again, he’s taken a 10 minute match and turned it into something filled with spectacular athleticism. Yes, having his ribs taped and then doing all of that acrobatics was a tad strange, but it will still damn cool. There’s probably no big push coming Neville’s way, but expect him to have some kind of high flying spot in the Rumble Match. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kofi passes the Rumble-Spot baton to Neville.
- Chris Jericho
Usually I don’t include part timers on this list, but Jericho isn’t your average part timer. I think we’ll have Jericho right through WrestleMania season and he could be the perfect guy to help get a newer guy like Neville or even a Samoa Joe over on the main roster. This Jericho is great but as we saw, audiences are reacting less and less to the Jericho babyface surprise return. After the Rumble, hopefully we get a taste of the man who is still the greatest heel of all time.
- Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Adam Rose
Well that was unexpected. Where will these four go? Probably nowhere, but at least they’re doing something! Rose is brilliant in the ring, Bo is brilliant on the mic, Axel has great intensity and Slater has an x-factor about him that can get him over. The only problem is whether these four will be a cohesive unit. Their promo today seemed like four guys who are in it for themselves, trying to get us much screen and mic time for themselves as possible rather than a driven, focused unit. On top of that, Slater was a little rusty and awkward in the ring and you know that Dolph isn’t going to make a mistake, so Heath needs to sharpen up quickly. All four of these men being used is great and they should all be in the Rumble match to help make up the numbers. I hope they go somewhere, but I’m slightly annoyed that Damien Sandow was overlooked here because he is far too good to STILL be doing nothing.
Sheamus was the side-attraction in this WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match and that’s hilarious to type. This was all about Reigns versus Vince and Sheamus never looked like winning the title. This match made Sheamus look like no threat to Reigns, but that’s not really much of an issue as really, Sheamus should return to the mid card anyway. Expect him to play a big part in the Rumble match though.
- The Wyatt Family
Making these guys look dominant heading into the Rumble is a genius move. In fact, I would go so far as to have them lay out the entire roster on the Raw before the Rumble. You know, when they do the full roster brawl to close the Raw before the Rumble, have all four Wyatt members standing tall at the end. These guys are going to toss out a quarter of the rumble field by themselves. Then you can have a group of guys like Dean, Roman and Cena toss them out, because who needs strong heels?
- Dean Ambrose
Ambrose and Owens continue to have the best rivalry going and Dean continues to show how perfect a person he is for the Intercontinental Championship. He always delivers and everything he does feels importance and so the Intercontinental Championship feels more important around his waist than it has in a very long time. Ambrose defending the title on Smackdown is strange as this rivalry was humming along nicely toward the Rumble. I could actually see Owens stealing the title here, allowing Ambrose to win it back at the Rumble. Either way, we need another singles, pay-per-view match between these two.
Charlotte and Becky Lynch put on the best match of the night. From the first move of the match, this was a fast paced game of one-upmanship that then deteriorated into a fight between two women who did not want to lose to each other. It told a smart story and the fact that the crowd were loud for both women was very telling. Charlotte cementing her heel turn here was great and hopefully she weasels her way out of the title match on Smackdown, retaining through some kind of shearings, because these two should face off again at the Rumble. This would comfortably be in the top five Divas matches on Raw in the last 10 years.
- Kevin Owens
Consider Owens a very legitimate dark horse to win the Rumble Match. It’d be the kind of swerve that would get people talking going into WrestleMania and he’s the perfect person to put the title on outside of the obvious choices. Expect him and Ambrose to tear the house down earlier in the night because these two do nothing but deliver.
- Becky Lynch
This was a really good win for Becky. Not only did it make sense storyline wise, but it shows the casual fan that she is in the same league as the Divas Champion. The crowd was vocally behind Becky for the entire match and that is a highlight to how well she plays the babyface role. While Becky’s match with Sasha last week was good, the slow pace didn’t suit Becky’s offence. This week, they corrected that by keeping this match five minutes shorter and much quicker – which is where Becky works best. Becky winning the title at the Royal Rumble would be one of the stories of the year. If anyone is unfamiliar with how much Lynch has gone through to get to the WWE, go listen to her podcast with Sam Roberts or Chris Jericho.
- Roman Reigns
Reigns will take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship into the Royal Rumble and will defend the title inside the Rumble Match. That provides so many opportunities for the WWE and so many different possibilities. Personally, I think Reigns should not only lose at the Rumble, he should be eliminated early on by Triple H after dominating. Have Reigns start the Rumble, get multiple eliminations before being distracted by Vince and eliminated by Triple H. This not only set up your WrestleMania feuds, but it means that the second half of the Rumble Match will see us guaranteed a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The excitement that would generate would be unmatched.
Stay tuned to Camel Clutch Blog for my FULL Royal Rumble prediction later this week!