PINFALL Magazine » PINFALL Magazine , WWE » WWE Power Rankings (10/23-10/30)

WWE Power Rankings (10/23-10/30)

This pre-Halloween week of WWE television provided some highly entertaining television. At this time last year, the hottest angle in the business was John Cena’s involvement with Wade Barrett and the Nexus, and, as I am sure the majority of PINFALL Magazine’s readers will know, that angle eventually led to a lamely-conceived, ultra-conventional resolution as we witnessed Cena’s triumphant victory over Wade Barrett at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, thus sparking the demise of the Nexus. Fast forward one year later, and the WWE’s conspiracy angle is the hottest one going, being full of unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions. Taking over duty for WWE Bragging Rights this year was WWE Vengeance, and, to my surprise, the event truly delivered. The conspiracy angle saw the return of Kevin Nash, who delivered a wicked-looking Jackknife Powerbomb to Triple H, providing the centerpiece for what was an all-around very intriguing pay-per-view. Vengeance provided an outstanding initiation for this week in the WWE, and the momentum from the event carried over substantially to Raw and Smackdown. So, “Which Superstars rose above the rest this week?”, you ask? Consider your question to be answered. Let’s get on with the Power Rankings…

1. John Cena (Previous Rank: 7)
The poster child of the WWE “rises above hate” to the top spot of PINFALL Magazine’s WWE Power Rankings this week and, therefore, could be the most fluctuating WWE Superstar in this column’s history. After his debut at #2, Cena dropped five spots in the second edition of these power rankings, only to elevate right back up to the summit this week. You just know John Cena is bound to have a good week when he debuts new attire. The new “Rise Above Hate” theme certainly feeds into his status as the quintessential company man, but it is flat-out cool-looking. Although he came up short in an extremely enjoyable Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship against Alberto Del Rio on Sunday at Vengeance, he rebounded by basically kicking off what should be the true beginnings of the build for his feud with The Rock that will culminate at WrestleMania XXVIII by choosing him as a tag partner against Awesome Truth at Survivor Series. I am very excited to see this story finally begin to take shape, even though I feel like The Rock’s return for this past year’s WrestleMania was ultimately pointless. I should have known when he said he was never leaving, he obviously did not mean it. Nonetheless, this is about John Cena, and the main event at Vengeance was all kinds of awesome. He and Del Rio left us with some very unique spots and were able to tell a great story in the disheveled ring and backstage area. To those who are not entertained by Cena’s matches, especially those on pay-per-view, you confuse me. While he is not the most technically sound, John Cena simply knows how to put on a show for the fans, and he is certainly good enough to claim having the best last seven days in the WWE.

2. Randy Orton (Previous Rank: 1)
Although the WWE’s Apex Predator is currently exploring the mysterious land of not being in the World title picture, his level of success this week was enough to land him in second place. It all began at Vengeance after he was victorious in the second-best match of the night (yes, I thought that highly of the Cena-Del Rio match) over WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes. Randy is simply one of the best workers in the business, so when he is put in the ring against an adversary who is extremely talented in his own right, an outstanding match is inevitable. Randy’s winning ways continued on Monday Night Raw in a déjà vu-inducing tag team match, pitting himself and Sheamus against Rhodes and Christian. The undefeated streak continued on Smackdown with yet another splendid bout against United States Champion Dolph Ziggler. I do not see why it was necessary for Randy and Sheamus to go over Christian and Rhodes on Raw, as it would have given the latter team a much-needed boost in each character’s credibility, but that decision is no fault of Orton’s. The Viper may be the single-most reliable Superstar in the WWE thanks to his ability in the ring. While it is unclear as to what his role at Survivor Series will be, one thing that is for sure is that he needed to get back to showing everyone why he is a top dog in the business after coming up short time and time again against Mark Henry, and he has done just that.

3. Mark Henry (Previous Rank: 2)

The World’s Strongest Man has now occupied each of the top three spots in the PINFALL Power Rankings, and that is both good and bad. How has it benefited the World Heavyweight Champion? It continues to mean that he is having the best year of his professional wrestling career and remains one of the most dominant forces the WWE has ever seen. How is this statistic a bad thing? He is gradually descending in the countdown and is need of another one of those brilliant weeks that conveys his unbeatable nature. His character remained in tact at Vengeance in the no-decision result of his World Heavyweight Championship match against the Big Show following the implosion of the ring a la Big Show and Brock Lesnar on Smackdown eight years ago. The two behemoths put on a surprisingly substantial performance in the ring together, and the match’s abrupt ending due to that destructive, awe-inspiring Superplex was a sight to see. It was also the perfect way to maintain the credibility and momentum of both Superstars and continue the feud. The rest of the week did not play out as well for Mark Henry, with his absence on Raw and his feeble cowardice in the exchange of words with Big Show. However, despite selling the injuries from Vengeance as a way to back down from the World’s Largest Athlete, his work on the microphone was spot-on as usual. The impact his words produce is almost physical. He may be the most convincing man on the mic in the business, because I sure as hell believe every word he says about being the most dominant and unbeatable WWE Superstar today. Mark Henry’s ability to carry his physical strength over to his verbal skills has been the most significant aspect of his success this year. As long as he gets an equal amount of time to both mouth off and beat people senseless, he should remain right here in the upper echelons of the WWE Power Rankings for the foreseeable future.

4. Triple H (Previous Rank: 3)
To say the least, it was a bizarre week for the COO of the WWE. Honestly, how many other Chief Operating Officers of companies can say they have been randomly attacked by their ex-best friends with Powerbombs and sledgehammers and nearly left paralyzed? Yep, that pretty much sums up The Game’s week. The tag team match pairing H with CM Punk against The Miz and R-Truth at Vengeance was the latest installment in the conspiracy angle, and Miz and Truth getting the victory was obviously the right decision. What would be left to fight about had they been defeated? The match played out entertainingly and ultimately served its purpose, which was to bring Kevin Nash back into things. Triple H maintained his momentum by not doing the job and having Punk take the pinfall defeat, but the post-match Jackknife Powerbomb he received at the hands of Nash was truly cringeworthy. One of the most awkward landings I have seen in a while. On Monday Night Raw, his introductory promo did wonders to cement his power and push the story to an emotional level, and it was finally great to see him establish that he is still the COO and can shut John Laurinaitis up whenever he so chooses. The subsequent attack with the sledgehammer by Kevin Nash really heightened the drama for this angle and now begs the question of just how incensed and downright pissed off Trips will be when he returns. Although the “Cerebral Assassin” did not have a stellar week on paper, his actions took great leaps toward advancing what is the most intriguing angle in the WWE at the moment.

5. CM Punk (Previous Rank: 9)
The Straightedge Savior is back in the Top 5! CM Punk has finally reminded the WWE Universe of his utter brilliance with his performances this past week on all three stages. At Vengeance, he did his job. He partnered with Triple H and excelled in the ring, carrying both The Miz and R-Truth to above-average showings in the tag team semi-main event. However, the weekly television shows were where Punk truly thrived, largely because my wish from the previous edition of the PINFALL Power Rankings was granted: he got his pipe-bomb back. And it was glorious. The Voice of the Voiceless captivated the audience on Monday Night Raw in his banter with WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio and through his disrespect of John Laurinaitis. He just works the microphone so magically that I find myself wanting him to keep talking and talking and talking. Heck, I would not mind if the entire first-hour of Raw were a CM Punk promo. On a more concrete note, Punk is now in the initial stages of re-entering the WWE title picture, as it seems that a chance at the gold against Del Rio at Survivor Series is all but official. I expect this feud to propel Punk even higher in these Power Rankings in the next few weeks, as his pipe-bomb should make a substantial impact in the build of the rivalry, as it did to produce a one-off story with Christian this week on Friday Night Smackdown. A large part of Punk’s Top 5 status this week was his being heavily featured on the Blue Brand, with his brilliant verbal dissection of Christian at the top of the show (“…and bitching and bitching and bitching and bitching…”) and main event victory in a quality match against—you guessed it—Christian. The “Best in the World” did a lot to showcase this nickname this week, and his current position in the WWE title hunt can only mean that Punk will consistently rise in the weeks to come.

6. Alberto Del Rio (Previous Rank: 8 )
It is quite odd to notice that the “The Mexican Aristocrat” has yet to enter the Top 5 in these rankings, but he does appear to be on the way. I have to admit that I was a bit scared for him heading into Vengeance that he would be fed to the Cena-machine considering Cena’s history in Last Man Standing matches. Luckily, my fright was unwarranted, and Del Rio emerged out of a fantastic main event still your WWE Champion. This was honestly the greatest reason why he holds the solid position of #6 this week, because his exposure on both Raw and Smackdown was limited. On Raw, he delivered a classic heel promo about his greatness coming off, arguably, the biggest win of his career at Vengeance before being interrupted by CM Punk. Punk clearly dominated the rest of the segment on the microphone, but Del Rio held his own and did the typical heel thing to do by claiming Punk to be unworthy of a title match. Notice my phrasing in the last couple of sentences; I use terms like “classic heel” and “typical heel” to describe his actions because that is just what Alberto Del Rio portrays best: the classic, typical heel. A selfish rich man is never a likable character, both in the real world and in professional wrestling, and Del Rio surely knows it. He plays the part of the bad guy absolutely brilliantly, and this upcoming rivalry with CM Punk should be exciting for this very reason, seeing as how Punk has gone from playing the heel brilliantly in his own right, though in a very different manner from Del Rio, to creating this unique, rebellious babyface persona based on his actions as a heel. The seeds for the feud were planted further on Smackdown with Del Rio’s interference in the Punk-Christian match, marking the WWE Champion’s only appearance on the show. Coming off that incredible victory at Vengeance, the champ played it fairly safe this week, but I expect great things from Alberto as we march toward Survivor Series.

7. Awesome Truth (Previous Rank: 10)
AAAAWWWWWEEEEESSSSOOOOOOOMMMMMMMEEEEEEE! THE TRUTH…HAS SET ME FREE! Any time we hear these phrases over the speakers cuing the tandem’s entrance music, big things are bound to happen. The Miz and R-Truth rise in the PINFALL Power Rankings this week three spots after being heavily showcased on all three forms of WWE programming. The conspiracy angle has propelled them to being a main-event level tag team, something we have not seen since DX and JeriShow in 2009. This past Sunday at Vengeance, Awesome Truth not only defeated Triple H and CM Punk, but they also went on to interfere and beat down John Cena in the WWE Championship match, kicking off a feud that we now know will build all the way to the 25th annual Survivor Series in New York City. The next night on Raw, the team continued their unhinged unpredictability by assaulting Zack Ryder in the backstage area and double-teaming John Cena in the handicap match main event leading to a disqualification. A huge part of their improvement this week then came on Friday Night Smackdown, as they were able to defeat the WWE Tag Team Champions, Air Boom, in a non-title match and deliver an always-brilliant promo following the match. Miz and Truth did wonders with this promo to express that they are not intimidated by John Cena’s pursuit of The Rock to be his tag team partner against them at Survivor Series, doing an outstanding job pointing out that Rock and Cena are likely to turn on each other well before November 20. A month ago I did not think it would be possible, but these two have truly proven themselves to be a force to be taken seriously and to be reckoned with in the WWE and are now poised to continue to shine in a potential feud with two of the biggest Superstars the WWE has ever seen.

8. Kevin Nash (Previous Rank: N/A)
“Big Daddy Cool” returned in a huge way to WWE television this week, cementing a debut position of #8 in the PINFALL Magazine WWE Power Rankings. Although it was predictable, his return at Vengeance on Sunday night made quite the impact as he delivered one of the sickest-looking Jackknife Powerbombs to date to Triple H. His character has taken on an incredibly intriguing role as an infiltrator, being a physical representation of the all-encompassing chaos that has ensued in the WWE since Triple H took power. This was made further evident on Monday night through his vicious assault of the COO, blindsiding him with a sledgehammer shot to the spine at the top of the entrance ramp and then, more brutally, striking Triple H square in the face with that very same weapon as he was strapped to a stretcher as a result of the first attack. The combination of his overwhelming physical stature with his current status as a loose cannon makes for a compelling character, and this trait is the main reason why he is a part of the most interesting angle the WWE has going right now. My primary concern with Nash, however, is that he likely will not have an actual wrestling match until Survivor Series, or perhaps later, after the announcement on Smackdown that Triple H would be out of action for at least six weeks. It may be difficult for Nash to maintain a decent amount of momentum without competing, and I would not be surprised to see him drop in and out of these rankings in the weeks to come.

9. Dolph Ziggler (Previous Rank: N/A)
After dropping out of the Top 10 in the previous edition of this column, the United States Champion reemerges in the #9 spot this week, the exact position he held in the inaugural PINFALL Power Rankings. Unfortunately for Dolph Ziggler, I expect him to hover around this bottom region of the list for the next few months. But, hey, it could be worse; he could be Cody Rhodes (who had a very disappointingly underwhelming week after losing at Vengeance and Raw and doing almost nothing on Smackdown, causing him to drop completely out of these rankings after holding the #4 spot previously). Ziggles has done a nice job to get himself back in the Top 10 this week, largely due to his pulling double duty at the pay-per-view on Sunday. Vengeance served as the perfect example of Dolph’s almost certain future as a main-eventer. The opening contest pitting himself and Jack Swagger against Air Boom for the WWE Tag Team Championship was expectedly fast-paced and entertaining. Aside from taking the pinfall defeat at the hands of Air Bourne, there was not much to take away from Ziggler’s performance. The fact that he then had to defend the United States title following this match against Zack Ryder was a true test of his resiliency and talent. Dolph was able to carry Ryder to another highly entertaining contest, resulting in a victory and successful title defense for the champion. Aside from tournament-like formats, one Superstar wrestling more than one match in a single night is extremely rare, and the fact that WWE trusted Ziggler to do just this says a lot about their confidence in his abilities and his potential. As if wrestling twice on Sunday was not enough, he then went on to win a squash match over Santino Marella on Raw and come up short in a wonderful match against Randy Orton on Smackdown. Dolph is slowly but surely establishing himself as a top-notch WWE Superstar and seems poised to take the next step in his career, but, as long as he keeps feuding with mid-carders like Zack Ryder and Mason Ryan, which is direction WWE seems to be going, he will be stuck fluctuating in and out of the PINFALL Power Rankings.

10. Sheamus (Previous Rank: 5)
By the skin of his three hundred teeth (you know, because he is “The Great White”), Sheamus rounds out the Top 10 this week, taking an unfortunate decline of five spots from his previous position. His exposure, or lack thereof, on Friday Night Smackdown is almost directly responsible for this sudden descent. The Celtic Warrior kicked off the week with another victory over Christian at Vengeance in another stellar match, and he escalated himself even further by picking up the pinfall victory in a tag team match with Randy Orton against Christian and Cody Rhodes. With these back-to-back victories, I was expecting a heavy spotlight on Sheamus on his own brand this week. Instead, he was on the screen for roughly thirty seconds. With the way the man has been booked over the last few months, his incredible push as the co-face of Smackdown with Randy Orton is obvious. It is, therefore, essential for Sheamus to be consistently featured in a prominent way week in and week out on Friday nights. I do not buy that all he had time for this week was a totally nonphysical distraction of Christian, causing him to lose his match to CM Punk. Sheamus could have easily been given a squash match victory over a mid- to low-carder. In fact, it could have been Sheamus getting that win over Tyson Kidd instead of Daniel Bryan—although it was great to see Mr. Money In The Bank finally break his losing streak. Nonetheless, with Bryan being totally ignored on Smackdown over the last few weeks, one more week would not have made a difference. Finally giving him a victory was inappropriately timed, because it indirectly occurred at the expense of Sheamus. However, a large amount of Sheamus’s decline this week also has to do with the staleness of his feud with Christian, a feud that I recently praised for its realism and ability to produce great matches. The problem simply lies in the fact that Sheamus keeps beating Christian time and time again. Unless Christian is booked to intensely seek revenge by consistently assaulting Sheamus over the next few weeks, the rivalry seems played out already. This first week of November should prove to be an intriguing one for “The Great White”, and I do expect Sheamus to be back in a single-digit position in next week’s rankings.

In The Doghouse: John Morrison
Wow. Now “The Prince of Parkour” has won this dubious distinction under both of its titles (referring to his debut in the inaugural edition of this column as the “Special Stink of the Week”). It may seem redundant, and I hate to reiterate it, but John Morrison is just sad to watch nowadays. It is bordering on painful. Why couldn’t a guy like Alex Riley or Santino Marella be used to job to Wade Barrett on Monday Night Raw? The former has apparently gone into hiding, and, come to think of it, may be a good candidate for a future edition of “In The Doghouse”, and the latter should have his employment description on his contract listed as “jobber”. Why does the WWE have to feed a guy who is established as an extremely talented wrestler to Wade Barrett’s push? Morrison must have pissed a lot of people off backstage to compete at the level he is currently, and that is simply unfortunate. We can only hope there are brighter days ahead for John Morrison, the former WWE Tag Team Champion and Intercontinental Champion (yeah, that’s right), but it does not appear that way. I will try my best in the future to avoid placing him in the spotlight for this section of the column simply to change things up a bit, but that does not mean the term, “In The Doghouse”, will not apply to John Morrison.

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Signing off now, wishing all you wrestling fans happy viewing of the upcoming week of television. Be sure to come back next week to see who made the cut in PINFALL Magazine’s WWE Power Rankings, and that’s the bottom line ’cause @TheRealSton said so.

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