For the first edition of the FanSided WWE Superstar Power Rankings, we’re going to spoil something for you: AJ Styles is really good. After The Phenomenal (No.) 1, who is behind The Champ That Runs The Camp?
“WWE World Champion AJ Styles” is easily one of the 10 best things you can possibly say each and every day because it still doesn’t feel real.
Styles has been SmackDown’s champion since the Backlash pay-per-view this past September and The Face That Runs The Place has dominated the blue brand and the main event picture since becoming champion.
But, behind The Phenomenal One is a who’s who of WWE stars that could challenge Styles for the top spot on our list. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens is one. Owens’ partner-in-crime and so-called best friend — United States Champion Chris Jericho — is another. Former Shield partners Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are always hovering around a title and the spotlight.
With that being said, who came in at No. 2 behind Styles, along with filling the other 19 positions on our board?
(Disclaimer: The wrestlers chosen for this power rankings list only appear on Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live, so that means no NXT/205Live specific/United Kingdom Tournament stars are on this list.)
OK, so Kurt Angle isn’t an active member of the Raw or SmackDown rosters anymore. But, the Olympic Hero became the first member of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame induction class on Monday night. This was more of an honorary selection to kick off the list because Angle is 1) so deserving of being in the WWE Hall of Fame and 2) it’s Kurt freakin’ Angle and he won an Olympic gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck. Angle hasn’t appeared on WWE programming since 2006, but he’ll be in Orlando (which is pretty ironic with his lengthy stint in TNA after leaving WWE) during WrestleMania weekend to take his place among the best ever in wrestling.
Speaking of TNA alumni, the beautiful, gorgeous, sexy, wonderful, awesome Mickie James finally made her (re)appearance on WWE’s main roster this past Tuesday night in SmackDown Live’s main event between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. James was disguised as La Luchadora and lended a hand to the reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion by costing Lynch a chance at becoming a two-time champion. James’ stay in NXT was short after performing against Asuka a few months ago, but the lovable psycho from years past is back and has the potential to be a big-time player in the women’s scene once again.
Rich Swann might be an interesting name to crack the top-20, but he’s still the Cruiserweight titleholder and one of the best that the 205 lb. division has to offer. It’s been a struggle for him as of late, but with a big challenger nipping at his heels (more on him a little later), Swann could take his game to a new level and rise quickly up the ranks on this list and maintain his slot as the top cruiserweight on the roster with the title around his waist.
Let’s be honest here: Bayley’s segment with Charlotte this past Monday night might have been the worst segment (and overall thing) in the women’s division since Vince McMahon decided to name a stable after a pornographic website. It was terrible. But, things are looking up for Bayley. The crowds dig her everywhere the company goes. She’s in line for a title shot at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and could be well on her way to her first title reign on the main roster soon. She’s going to be a cash cow for McMahon and the company. She’s bubbly, she’s cute and she kicks ass. Here’s to hoping Monday was just one of those skippable segments that never happens again.
Don’t be one of those fans that says, “Oh, Nia’s only around because she’s one of The Rock’s family members!” Don’t be that guy or girl. Just don’t. Nia rules. And, her booking this past Monday was fantastic. Sure, jumping Sasha Banks during a workout before Raw even went on the air is kinda weird, but the fact that she looked dominant, followed by cutting a monster-like promo works. She has the potential to be a dominant piece of the women’s division. It’s still a work-in-progress for her, but that kind of segment could gain her some serious traction.
Cesaro and Sheamus
Do you understand the Cesaro-Sheamus pairing? Yeah, me neither. But, to be fair to the both them, they’ve turned water into wine at times with this latest gimmick of a tag-team champion pairing. But, what’s going to become of this? Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were a referee’s decision away from becoming the new tag team champions on Raw this past Monday. Plus, wasn’t the winner of their best-of-seven feud supposed to get a title shot? Did we just completely forget about that, even though there wasn’t a winner? They get a spot here because of their titles, but they might not be around their waists for too much longer.
Getting Dean Ambrose out of the main event picture for a while was the best thing that could happen to Dean Ambrose. That’s not to say Ambrose isn’t good. Believe me, he most certainly is. The man navigated a hot dog cart to the ring one time. Trust me, he’s good. But, getting out of the world title picture and into the Intercontinental title picture helped not only him, but The Miz as well. The Miz-Ziggler thing was obviously starting to dry out, so turning Ziggler into a heel again and bringing the babyface Ambrose into The Miz’s rhelm was solid stuff. Ambrose deserves a spot on the list (not Jericho’s list, though).
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
If you’re like me, you’ve been wanting Raw’s tag team titles on Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows for a long, long time now. That’s no slight at The New Day because they’re awesome and you’ll be hit with a Stunner if you disagree with that. It’s just … it’s Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. These guys rock and they should be given a shot to wear the gold for a good run. Plus, with Finn Balor’s return looming off the shoulder surgery, these two could be in line for a big push with their old friend and leader’s return to action.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (Sorry, it’s a habit for some, so we just had to get that out of the way.) Here’s the thing with Roman Reigns: he’s actually good. He gets a bad rap from many in the infamous IWC and with casual fans around the world because he’s seen as “Vince’s Guy”. Regardless of how he’s seen backstage, Reigns is a talented guy in the ring and if you sit down and watch him perform, you’ll notice that he can hang with anyone. He’s capable of putting on a good show. That Spear he hit on Kevin Owens this past Monday? My word. That was lethal. He may have lost some momentum after being powerbombed through the announce table by Owens to close the show, but The Big Dog is coming for that Universal title, boos or no boos.
So, Brock’s back. And he’s pissed. After the most shocking moment of 2016 (in my own humble opinion), in which Goldberg beat Brock Lesnar (again) in less than two minutes back at Survivor Series in November, Lesnar returned to Raw on Monday night and obliterated everyone in his path. The Beast Incarnate was not in a mood to be messed with. He looked good. He looked strong. And good lord, if you’re in the Royal Rumble Match … stay the hell away from Brock Lesnar.
For a long time — specifically, his entire WWE stint — many have wondered what Dolph Ziggler could be instead of what he is. We’re getting a good look at what Ziggler can be in his new role as a heel on SmackDown and it looks very nice on him. Ziggler probably rubs some the wrong way, but how he’s being used right now is the right thing for him and it could lead to a solid run from him heading into the meat and potatoes portion of the WWE schedule.
Harley Quinn … er, Alexa Bliss, retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship in a Steel Cage Match against Becky Lynch (with a little bit of help from Mickie James). The little engine that could has been a solid champion and her feud with Lynch might be over just yet with James’ interference. Regardless, she’s been great in the women’s division on the blue brand.
He may not be as sexy of a pick as the man right in front of him on this list because of what could be coming with the Triple H backlash from the summer, but Seth Rollins will probably be in the thick of things in the Royal Rumble Match. Rollins’ year came two years ago when he did anything and everything for the company. He carried the whole company and was truly “The Man”. The knee injury threw a wrench into things, but his shocking return was one of the best moments in 2016. Rollins could be in line for a huge 2017 and his recent feud with Chris Jericho has been very good.
You want to talk about a hot name in the company right now? Look no further than Braun Strowman. He’s been rumored to be The Undertaker’s opponent at WrestleMania. He’s been rumored to win the Royal Rumble Match. The point is, Strowman’s a rising name in the business and he’s earning the hype as the biggest and baddest monster today.
The guy that picked up the pinfall on Monday night in the six-man tag team match that ended the show? That was Strowman.
Look, I don’t want to admit this any more than you do, OK? The Miz is good. His role is perfect and he’s damn good at it. I can’t believe it either. We’ve got to accept this because it’s happening whether you like it or not.
In all seriousness, Miz has been awesome for months and even though he recently dropped the gold in the SmackDown lower main event scene, he deserves a top-10 spot without question. He’s good and he’s remained good. Here’s to hoping for the Miz-Daniel Bryan match we’ll never get, but know would be so, so good.
Nikki Bella’s boyfriend is back, guys. Seriously, even you –yes, you– have to admit that things feel right again with John Cena being back on WWE programming. It’s good to see him again. The vibe’s just different and high-powered when he’s around. Cena had a couple spectacular matches with AJ Styles last year, so their meeting at the Royal Rumble should be nothing short of a classic. Get ready.
Neville? At No. 4? What? Yes, this is happening. And it should be happening because this darker Neville has been really, really good lately and deserves to be extremely high on this list. With this latest momentum from one of the best NXT champions ever, a Cruiserweight title run could be in his near future. That would be quite awesome.
I’ve come to confess my sins. I don’t like Charlotte already catching up to her father in title victories with WWE. It’s annoyed me over recent times. But, as much as I personally don’t like Charlotte’s booking … good lord, the woman is magnificent. Did you see her on Monday? She’s an athletic goddess. 2016 was Charlotte’s year. She’s done so much already on the main roster and isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon. She’s the queen of the division. I just wish she liked hugs more.
Kevin Owens would be No. 1 on any list that involves using Twitter among pro wrestlers. Owens is a fantastic heel in the ring, but on social media, he’s a god. Oh, and he’s also the Universal Champion, so that helps him, too. Owens has done amazing work since his first main card feud with Cena. His title-winning moment sent shockwaves across the wrestling universe. He’s taken the ball and ran with it as champion after Finn Balor’s unfortunate injury at SummerSlam. The Jericho storyline? Brilliance from both. Raw is truly The Kevin Owens Show.
I mean, let’s be honest … was there really any other option? Don’t kid yourself. AJ Styles is truly The Face That Runs The Place and has been since SummerSlam. That victory over Cena was the “OK, he’s officially here” moment for Styles in WWE so far. Since then, he’s been on fire. He’s the best wrestler on the planet. The Royal Rumble pay-per-view will mark his first full year in the company and it was a good one. The Phenomenal One resides at No. 1 on this list.