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.
The go-home show before Money in the Bank delivered in spades with fun segments throughout the night that hyped each of the big pay-per-view matches successfully.
There were a few wasted segments and the undercard didn’t get the time it should have, but that will all be reflected in this week’s rankings.
- Darren Young
Darren Young’s vignettes are entering a crisis point. They are Kofi-Kingston-ECW-vignette levels of bad, but unlike the Jamaican Sensation, Young doesn’t have the charisma or in-ring talents to turn into something workable. Expect Young to play a mid-card role for a few months after the brand split before fading back into obscurity.
- Zack Ryder
Ryder still carries slightly more presence than he did before WrestleMania given the significance of his win, but the WWE are doing a great job of stomping Ryder back into the ground. His match with Sheamus was the clear pee-break match of the night and we all saw the Crews run-in coming a mile away.
- The Lucha Dragons
Kalisto was the United States Champion less than a month ago and now he’s back jobbing alongside Sin Cara. The fact that a stipulation was added to the match gave it some spice, but the result was never in question. Kevin Owens being taken out of the ladder match would’ve caused a riot. The match itself was nothing special and with the depth of the tag division right now, it’s hard to see these two being prominent in anything until the brand split, assuming they’re kept together.
- Sheamus and Apollo Crews
As already mentioned, this was the standard, lazy booking that we’ve become accustomed to in the WWE undercard. Heel defeats babyface. Heel continues to beat up babyface, other babyface comes out to make the save. This is compounded by the fact that Crews simply has no character whatsoever. He’s a smiley good guy who can do some flips, that’s literally it at this stage. As for Sheamus, few wrestlers on the roster need the brand split more. Expect Sheamus to either steal a win, or Crews to win clean.
The idea of a different general manager returning every week to try and get control of SmackDown is quite funny and bringing Corporate Kane back for a night, filled with fire related puns, was reasonably entertaining for what it was. Money’s on John Laurinaitis throwing his hat into the ring next week. It’s a good way to build tension between Steph and Shane without having them take up 20 minutes of television time.
The women’s division is a complete mess right now. Unless they’ve had some big long term plan for SummerSlam in the works for months that explains the atrocious booking of the division since WrestleMania, then they’ve done a fantastic job driving this division back to where it was a year ago. Paige now has two clean wins over Charlotte and given WWE logic, it’ll probably end up meaning nothing, but they could turn this all around at the Battleground pay-per-view.
- Charlotte, Dana Brooke, Becky Lynch and Natalya
This is the way to bring the women’s division out from the ditch it’s currently been pushed into. Have Becky and Natalya win at Money in the Bank, which leads to both women arguing over who gets the next shot at Charlotte. Natalya argues that she never got a fair fight against the champion, but Becky says that Natalya’s had the last three shots at the title and now it’s her turn. Out comes Paige who says that she’s beaten Charlotte twice now and that she deserves a shot at the title. Finally, Sasha comes out and says she’d be champion right now if it weren’t for Ric Flair at WrestleMania. A Fatal 4-Way is made for Battleground with the winner getting Charlotte at SummerSlam. There, how hard is it, WWE?
- Rusev and Titus O’Neil
This was a concise and effective segment that did more for this feud than any six minute squash match would have. Rusev laid the beating in thick and it really showed just how much of a monster the Bulgarian is. JBL also did a fantastic job on commentary, stating that it showed that Rusev respects Titus and sees him as a genuine threat. Rusev should retain the title at Money in the Bank, but this is O’Neil’s chance to show what he can do. This was well done all-round. It’d have sucked if you were Titus’ scheduled opponent though…
- Alberto Del Rio
Of the six Money in the Bank participants, Del Rio is probably the one that’s just there to make up the numbers and provide some Money in the Bank experience to the match. Del Rio has zero momentum, fans wouldn’t care if he disappeared and the other five members of the match would all make far, far better winners. Del Rio feels like a comic book villain standing in a ring full of real people with the way he delivers his promos and his mannerisms.
- Kevin Owens
Owens is currently the betting favourite to win the ladder match, but Ambrose isn’t far behind him. One interesting thing to note is Owens is the only participant in the match who hasn’t won a single’s match over one of his opponents in the last fortnight. WWE logic dictates he therefore wins the match. Let’s face it, the main-event of Raw this week wasn’t Ambrose versus Jericho, it was getting to listen to Kevin Owens on commentary because he is an absolute gem on it.
- The Vaudevillains, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
The eight-man tag team match was nothing we haven’t seen a million times before and was simply a way of taking up another 20 minutes of Raw, but the match at Money in the Bank should be fantastic. These four teams have done a great job of putting over the match and getting the opening segment of the night highlights the importance of the match. Gallows and Anderson getting the win probably means they don’t win the titles at Money in the Bank, but you’d assume they’ll get their hands on them pretty soon. The Vaudevillains are probably there to make up the numbers, if anything.
- Chris Jericho
This was Jericho and Ambrose’s best match in the series they’ve had. Whether it was the chaos at ringside or Jericho being billed from Stupid-Idiotville, who knows, but this was their most entertaining bout. Jericho closed the show holding up the briefcase which, as we’ve already stated, probably means he ain’t winning Sunday. It’s smart to have him, of the six, looking like the favourite going in though. Sidenote, Jericho crossing his legs on top of the ladder as a nod to the memes that were going around the internet last week was fantastic.
- The New Day, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
Let’s be honest, everyone watching that segment would’ve preferred 20 minutes of these two teams going at it on the microphone to the eight-man tag match. There was serious electricity when these guys were in the ring, despite the fact that it felt like Enzo, Cass, Xavier and Big E versus Kofi and his shoes. Forget what some jaded fans might say, this was a fun segment between two entertaining teams and hopefully there’s more of it to come.
- AJ Styles
Styles and Cena will no doubt have an amazing match at Money in the Bank, but Styles isn’t quite matching Cena on the microphone. While AJ has been given a lot of credit for his work with Cena on the mic the last two weeks, he’s had to resort to stealing Cena’s catchphrases and other generic comments that don’t quite stack up when you compare with similar matches Cena has had in the past, for example, Kevin Owens. This seems to be one of those feuds where WWE are giving both men a lot of license and not really scripting their work and if that’s the case, Cena is blowing AJ out of the water at this point in time.
Whenever you put Sami and Cesaro in the ring together, you’re guaranteed something good and the finish to this match was elite. WWE 50/50 booking was at its finest here, however as if you look at the last two weeks, none of the Money in the Bank contenders look any different right now. Cesaro beat Jericho. Jericho beat Ambrose. Ambrose beat Jericho. Del Rio beat Zayn. Zayn beat Cesaro. Ambrose beat Owens. Owens won tag matches.
- Sami Zayn
A clean win for Sami over Cesaro was a fantastic momentum builder for him as he’s clearly starting to connect and build a following with the casual fans. Sami is probably only ahead of Del Rio in terms of likelihood to win the briefcase, but it’s all about the bigger picture for Sami right now. He’s in high profile matches, his feud with Owens still has time to play out and the brand split will do wonders for him. He’s in a great spot right. As for a Money in the Bank prediction, expect Ambrose to win, but not cash in until Battleground in the Seth/Roman re-match.
- Roman Reigns
This was some of Roman’s best mic work in his career. Roman has been in career best form since WrestleMania and his short-but-sweet work here as well as the passion in his voice when talking about Seth’s betrayal was perfect. Passion and believability are the two things he’s always been missing, but that promo felt real, his hatred felt real and that’s what’s selling this feud right now. The other thing is we don’t really know who will be leaving Money in the Bank as champion which adds another layer of anticipation.
- Seth Rollins
This was Seth at his best. He acknowledged his history with The Shield, he stood there and talked about everything he’s gone through since his injury and sounded like someone worthy of empathy… and then he threw it back in their faces and laughed. It was brilliant. What happens at Money in the Bank is totally up in the air. If Ambrose wins the briefcase, it’s hard to see him cashing in on Roman, so you’d think Seth would win to make that a possibility. If Ambrose doesn’t win the briefcase, Seth could still win to continue the feud through to SummerSlam. We’ll have to wait and see!
- John Cena
Cena has been at his best since returning, but now he has the added bonus of a little more universal cheer from the WWE universe. That will probably not be the case in Vegas, but it’s been interesting to see. Styles and Cena should steal the show on a card that will be very hard to top. AJ has to win. Whether The Club neglects the contract and gets involved or not, Styles has to win.
- Dean Ambrose
No one came out of Raw looking better than Dean. He did a fantastic job hosting the Asylum, creating a great back-and-forth between Rollins and Reigns. Despite how well he put both men over, the biggest pop came from the possibility of him winning the briefcase and cashing in which just goes to show you that at the end of the day, Ambrose will always be the crowd favourite. The potential of Ambrose winning the briefcase in order to set up a Shield triple threat at SummerSlam is too good to ignore.