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.
This week’s show was a very up and down show that was carried by a few exceptional performances by some of the companies most reliable names.
There was a lot of good this week, but a lot of missed opportunities and we’ll go in depth into those as we get into the rankings.
Neville’s match with Chris Jericho this week on Raw was seemingly cut short when Neville appeared to be injured after a baseball slide during the match. Jericho could be heard asking Neville if “he was alright”, before telling the ref “he’s hurt” and leading to the disqualification finish. Neville is fresh off a fantastic match last week with Owens and if he is seriously injured, the WWE’s injury list is starting to become legitimately concerning and something has to be done to try and offset the problem, for example, reducing the amount of house shows.
- R-Truth and Goldust
It seems more and more likely that these two won’t be getting together until after WrestleMania, but it’s time to minimize the amount of backstage segments. Instead of doing two per week, maybe do one per fortnight between now and WrestleMania and have the two of them agree to work together during a backstage segment AT WrestleMania.
- Brie Bella and Alicia Fox
I told you all, an eight Diva tag team match at WrestleMania is going to happen this year and this week saw that took a little more shape with Brie and Alicia going down to Team BAD with Lana and Paige both also getting involved. It just needs Natalya, who tore the house down at Road Block for the record, and Summer Rae and the match is complete. It’ll be nothing more than a piss break between main-events, but multiple storylines in the Divas Division isn’t a bad thing
- The Social Outcasts
The backstage segment with these guys was very well done and props to them for it, but once again they’ve been reverted to nothing more than jobbers. At the end of the day, anyone who expected these guys to be anything more than a team of jobbers was too optimistic. All WWE did was repackage these guys to give them a little more credibility while being beaten by everyone from The Big Show to The Usos. It’s a shame because all four, in particular the two that competed tonight, have potential to be much more.
- The Miz
The Miz is finding himself to be the third wheel in a feud once again, but this is seemingly leading to some kind of multi-man match for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. Despite people craving a one on one match between Zayn and Owens, this is a smart call and I’ll get into why later, but The Miz will definitely be a part of that multi-man match and he deserves it for his brilliant mic work this year.
- Tamina, Naomi and Lana
Naomi and Alicia Fox momentarily showed a lot of chemistry in the ring together and highlighted how much better they both are than their tag team partners. Neither Naomi nor Alicia are in the same league as the NXT trio in the title match at WrestleMania, but they are definitely the best of the four that competed tonight. Lana will seemingly make her in ring debut at WrestleMania and as long as they don’t do something stupid like put her in the title picture, it will be interesting to see her actually compete, even if it’s in a tag team match.
- The Lucha Dragons
It must sting for Dolph to know that Kalisto and Ryback will be getting a single’s match at WrestleMania before him. Kalisto is a star of the future, don’t get me wrong, but singles matches at WrestleMania are prestigious and sacred and neither he nor Ryback are quite worthy of one at this stage in their respective careers. On top of that, given what he showed at TLC, putting Kalisto in a multi-man ladder match might’ve been the better showcase for him anyway.
- Chris Jericho and AJ Styles
Jericho and Styles didn’t quite get to have the confrontation they would’ve wanted after a fantastic heel turn last week due to the injury to Neville and that’s hurt their ranking this week. It’s clear these two will face off one last time at WrestleMania which is great considering how good Jericho, as a heel, is at getting people over and a big win for Styles over Jericho at WrestleMania will be big for him. They’ll get more chances to shine, but this wasn’t their week.
After a great match with Natalya at Road Block, the Divas Championship picture was confined to a single backstage segment this week on Raw, which is disappointing. Charlotte announced that she’d be face to face… to face with Becky and Sasha on SmackDown which means we’ll get a promo between the three of them then, but it means they’re unsighted on the flagship show. As long as they let all three talk about how much WrestleMania means to them on SmackDown and put the match over as the biggest women’s match in WrestleMania history, which it is, I can live with their non-appearance tonight.
- The Dudley Boyz and The Usos
It has been announced that these two teams will square off at WrestleMania. By my count, that gives us ELEVEN matches for WrestleMania PLUS whatever The Rock is scheduled to do. That means at least two need to be shuffled onto the pre-show and this should definitely be one of them. The feud has been lacklustre despite how interesting The Dudley’s original heel turn was. They should just align themselves with The Authority given their existing friendship with Triple H.
Another good win for Ryback and I have to say I’m still enjoying his heel turn. I can’t see Ryback going much higher than the United States Championship and nor should he, but he’s in his element right now. Not sure if it’s worthy of a single’s match at WrestleMania, but he’s doing everything right and his promo this week was much better than last week’s monotonous effort which shows he’s quickly addressing errors in his game.
- Roman Reigns
The WWE missed a massive opportunity here. Instead of having Reigns return, cost Triple H the match and giving Dolph a WrestleMania moment, we get Roman returning after the match, meaning the fans are already upset about Dolph losing leading to more boos for Roman and a brawl that was good, but marred by boos aplenty. Roman versus Triple H will be a great match, but at this stage, how do you end WrestleMania without fans turning on Roman?
- Sami Zayn
Zayn not only got an impressive win tonight on Raw, he got a chance to highlight his diverse offence. We even saw a couple of things tonight on Raw that we never saw on NXT which shows how much he has in his trick bag. Zayn being in a multi-man match for the Intercontinental Championship with Owens at WrestleMania works because it allows Owens to retain while not pinning Zayn, giving this feud a chance to develop from there. Trust me, be patient, this feud deserves the proper time to play out properly and having Zayn dethrone Owens one on one at WrestleMania is too soon.
- The League of Nations
What do you know, an actual wrestling match kicked off Raw. That was very surprising. The segment itself went for 25 minutes, which was too long, but it was a good title match that had me convinced at one point that the titles were changing hands. Using Xavier Woods in this match was a nice change of pace and had people wondering if the titles were in fact changing hands. At WrestleMania, I assume we’re going to get a three on four handicap match for the Tag Team Titles, highlighting the Freebird Rule with the aforementioned team going into the Hall of Fame this year. If it’s a standard tag team match, Sheamus and Rusev should be the two people to represent the League of Nations.
- Brock Lesnar
In a night with two standout segments, this was probably the better of the two. Lesnar has gotten to the point where he has transcended babyface and heel routines as he’s able to work Luke Harper at Road Block as a babyface and Ambrose two nights later on Raw as a heel without a problem. It obviously helps that crowds love Ambrose more than anyone else, unlike last year where Lesnar was the heel and yet everyone cheered for him… which coincidentally will happen at this year’s WrestleMania main-event too.
- Triple H
Triple H must be in his final year of active competition. The fact that we’re getting dream matches between Triple H and the likes of Dolph and Ambrose makes me think he’s giving us some matches we’ve all been craving for before finishing his career as an active performer up. Obviously, that is total speculation and not based on anything so it could be totally wrong. Unless Triple H breaks into Roman’s house and beats him up in front of Reigns’ daughter, I don’t think Triple H is going to get booed at WrestleMania.
- The New Day
The New Day’s babyface transition continued this week and the team highlighted just how versatile they are, getting the crowd right behind them in a matter of minutes. They’ve made such a big name for themselves as heels that they will leap into mega-stardom with a babyface turn. As long as they don’t lose the edge they’ve developed over this year in the process. They must remain jerks and they must remain as engaging as they became in 2015 as heels.
- Dolph Ziggler
This segment highlighted one thing. Even if Dolph Ziggler is buried under an entire factory of shovels, if you give him even the slightest amount of momentum, the crowd will be back behind him in full voice – and they were. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t end up leading anywhere and honestly, if this leads to Dolph giving in and turning heel, that might actually be the best possible outcome out of all this. Credit to Dolph for delivering a promo that felt real, heartfelt and passionate because that’s the difference between Dolph Ziggler’s crowd support and Roman Reigns’. Dolph’s is real, heartfelt and passionate while Reigns’ ‘hardships’ are manufactured and thus don’t elicit the same response as fans give for the likes of Ziggler, Bryan, Sandow and Ambrose.
- Dean Ambrose
Nobody came out of Raw tonight looking better than Ambrose. After a match of the year candidate at Road Block where he PINNED Triple H, Ambrose came out to the biggest ovation of the night and rolled seamlessly into his program with Lesnar. The tension between Dean and Brock is palpable and there is no doubt in my mind about the fact that these two will put on the match of the night at WrestleMania 32. Then after all that, Mick Foley shows up and in a passing of the torch moment, gives Ambrose his fabled barb wire baseball bat. From the hardcore legend to a hardcore legend of the future, this was a great moment and cements Ambrose as the top babyface in the company without a shadow of a doubt.
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