Lashley Rises with Win Over Rollins

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In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve seen an increase in the number of factions around WWE these days. Some of this predated Triple H taking over creative, but others have arisen since he took on his new responsibilities. Either way, it’s a nice change of pace from how WWE has done business in recent years, especially with the style proving popular in AEW.

With that in mind, we have made some changes with our rankings this week to account for the various factions within the company. Roman Reigns will remain independent of The Bloodline for obvious seasons, but Gunther is lumped in with Imperium, and so on. One benefit of this change is that we have some fresh names cracking the Top 20 this week.

One of the most buzzed-about topics in the wrestling world this week is what “White Rabbit” signifies. First there was the song by Jefferson Airplane playing at WWE events over the weekend and on Monday we saw a creepy vignette which seemingly indicated that there will be some sort of reveal on 9.23 at 9:23. In other words, this Friday. Are we in for a Bray Wyatt return, or is this the biggest misdirection of all-time? It sounds like SmackDown will be a must-watch this week.

Let’s get to it and find out exactly how high they land with us this week. And for a further breakdown, be sure to read on beyond the table.

Change Key:
NC = No Change from last week
NR = Not Ranked last week
Plus = Moved up from last week
Minus = Moved down from last week

Rank

Superstar

Brand

Change

1

Bobby Lashley – United States Champion

Raw

+1

2

Roman Reigns – Undisputed WWE Universal Champion

SmackDown

-1

3

Imperium

SmackDown

NC

4

Bianca Belair – Raw Women’s Champion

Raw

NC

5

Damage CTRL

Raw

+1

6

The Bloodline

SmackDown

+4

7

Kevin Owens

Raw

NC

8

Seth “Freakin'” Rollins

Raw

-3

9

Liv Morgan – SmackDown Women’s Champion

SmackDown

-1

10

The Judgement Day

Raw

-1

11

Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett

SmackDown

+1

12

Ronda Rousey

SmackDown

+2

13

Drew McIntyre

SmackDown

-2

14

The Brawling Brutes

SmackDown

+4

15

Braun Strowman

SmackDown

+1

16

Matt Riddle

Raw

NR

17

Johnny Gargano

Raw

NC

18

Logan Paul

N/A

NR

19

Ricochet

SmackDown

NR

20

Austin Theory

Raw

NR

1. Bobby Lashley – United States Champion, (+1)

After ceding the top spot to Roman Reigns for a couple of weeks, Bobby Lashley is back on top of our list. He earned his way back after coming out on top in a showdown against Seth “Freakin’” Rollins to kick off Raw on Monday. It was an excellent match, though the ending was a bit muddled. Rollins hit a low blow on Lashley while the referee was knocked down momentarily, but Matt Riddle came out and provided enough of a distraction for the champ to hit a spear for the pinfall victory. Still, Lashley’s incredible run continues.

In addition to Rollins, “The All Mighty” has successfully defended the title against the The Miz, A.J. Styles, Ciampa, and Theory in recent weeks and months. Lashley is more active than Reigns as a singles champion and the high-profile victories are piling up, so that’s why he’s back at No. 1 this week.

2. Roman Reigns — Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, (-1)

Roman Reigns returned to the No. 1 spot after his victory over Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle, but that turned out to be short-lived. Most of the credit can go to Bobby Lashley, as noted above, but Reigns was absent from WWE programming this week. However, he did show up for a press conference in Las Vegas last Saturday during which it was officially announced that he’ll defend his undisputed championship against Logan Paul at WWE Crown Jewel on Saturday, November 5.

Paul’s following is immense and he’s been impressive in his small sample of opportunities in WWE, but it was still surprising to see this match come together. Roman Reigns said as much during the press conference while exuding confidence in his ability to “smash” his inexperienced opponent. He’ll naturally go into the match as the heavy favorite, but it will be interesting to see the build in the coming days. By listening to the WWE audience’s response to Paul on SmackDown, Reigns might actually be the “face” in this match.

3. Imperium (NC)

How good is it to have Imperium back together on the main roster? The group reunited in surprise fashion during WWE Clash at the Castle earlier this month and continues to carry plenty of momentum with Gunther as the Intercontinental Champion. The rivalry with the Brawling Brutes remains red-hot, though Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci came up on the short end during a four-way No. 1 contenders’ match (with New Day and Top Dolla also taking part) last Friday on SmackDown. Imperium had the win in their sights after Kaiser and Vinci landed the Imperial Bomb on Kingston, but Ridge Holland stole the win after tagging in and throwing Kaiser outside the ring. This just adds more fuel to the fire for this rivalry. Chances are we’ll see a rematch between Sheamus and Gunther in the near future, which is just a gift to all wrestling fans.

4. Bianca Belair — Raw Women’s Champion, (NC)

Bianca Belair stays put in our rankings this week, though Damage CTRL got the upper hand on Monday. After Bayley managed to knock off Alexa Bliss in the final match of the night, it ended up being a three-on-one attack with Dakota Kai and IYO SKY joining from ringside. Asuka attempted to break up the beatdown, but was quickly snuffed out before Belair joined the fracas. Initially the champion looked like she might be able to bring down the trio, but the numbers proved to be too much. Bayley stood over Belair to close out the show while officially challenging her to a match at Extreme Rules on Saturday, October 8. Can “The EST of WWE” overcome this new dominant group?

5. Damage CTRL (+2)

Damage CTRL has their highest position to date in our rankings and they’ve certainly earned it of late. Dakota Kai and IYO SKY are the newly-crowned WWE Women’s Tag Team champions and Bayley has picked up key victories over Raquel Rodriguez and Alexa Bliss over the past week. Damage CTRL came to the ring in a customized golf cart on Monday, complete with pyro and streamers, to celebrate their tag team title win. Kai cut a nice promo in the process, proving that Bayley doesn’t always have to carry the group with the mic.

The group also stood tall to end Raw, with Bayley laying down the challenge to Bianca Belair for a championship match at Extreme Rules. These two have been on a collision course since SummerSlam, so it will be a blast to finally see it come together. Damage CTRL could have more gold on the way.

6. The Bloodline (+4)

For the purposes of this column, The Bloodline includes The Usos, Solo Sikoa, and yes, even the honorary Uce Sami Zayn. Sikoa has made an excellent first impression on the main roster, including a win over Madcap Moss on SmackDown this past Friday, though he oddly had to surrender the NXT North American championship on Tuesday’s show. Either way, he’s making a major impact. There is some degree of friction in the group at the moment, as Zayn and Jey Uso continue to butt heads. Zayn took umbrage on SmackDown last Friday after Jey distracted the referee and prevented a three-count on Ricochet. They got nose-to-nose outside the ring, which allowed Ricochet to capitalize and notch the win.

The Bloodline was also present for Roman Reigns’ press conference with Logan Paul on Saturday, though Jey later put a clown in place of Zayn’s face in a picture posted on social media. The Usos better get their heads in the game, as they’ll be challenged by The Brawling Brutes for the undisputed WWE tag team titles this coming Friday on SmackDown.

7. Kevin Owens (NC)

Kevin Owens had a fire promo segment with Austin Theory on last week’s Raw and the two met in the ring this past Monday in what was a highly-competitive match. Similar to the Lashley/Rollins match, it ended in messy fashion, with Johnny Gargano distracting Theory to set the table for Owens to capitalize. K.O. landed a superkick and a cannonball in the corner before finishing him off with a pop-up powerbomb. The pairing with Gargano will continue next week, as the old friends are set to team up against Alpha Academy. This wasn’t the tag team combination we originally had in mind for Owens (hello Sami Zayn!), but the crowd is eating up everything he’s doing right now.

8. Seth “Freakin’” Rollins (-3)

As noted earlier, Seth “Freakin’” Rollins faced Bobby Lashley in a singles match for the United States championship this week on RAW. The matchup started off slow but featured a cool spot where Rollins went for The Stomp, but Lashley was so strong that he didn’t budge. As the match went on it got better and better and really picked up at the end with a low blow from Rollins and a distraction from Matt Riddle leading to a spear from Lashley to retain.

Seth drops in our rankings due to his loss, and he’s back to feuding with Riddle. This is unfortunate because we felt the match at Clash at the Castle was a good way to end the feud, as Rollins won clean over Riddle. So, while we are excited for a Pit Fight at Extreme Rules, hopefully this feud can remain interesting.

9. Liv Morgan — Smackdown Women’s Champion, (-1)

Liv Morgan falls a spot partially because she didn’t do anything in the ring this week. Her only involvement on SmackDown was interrupting a Ronda Rousey interview. She proceeded to challenge Ronda to an “Extreme Rules” match, which is presumably a fancy way of saying it will be a hardcore match. While this seems to be setting up for Rousey to dominate and reclaim the SmackDown Women’s Championship, taking her out of her comfort zone as an MMA fighter and submission expert could potentially be the edge Morgan needs. Ronda has never fought in a hardcore match while Liv Morgan has been in two Money in the Bank Ladder matches. Maybe she’s not the clear underdog everyone thinks she is?

10. The Judgment Day (-1)

The Judgment Day were once again featured prominently on RAW this week. With Dominik Mysterio joining the group, they seem to have more heat than ever before. Dom had a hard time speaking while the crowd was showering him with boos. Finn Balor & Damian Priest eventually had a match against Matt Riddle & Rey Mysterio where they walked away victorious courtesy of Balor’s Coup de Grace.

The Judgment Day have been built up to be a very strong stable, which is great to see post-Edge. We loved the moment where Dom was pleading with his dad to hit him in the face with the chair but Rey just couldn’t do it. It’s a multi-layered story, with the Mysterios saga, Matt Riddle, and now Finn Balor and A.J. Styles having an interaction that wasn’t “too sweet.” Multiple feuds across multiple fronts means we’ll hopefully see more of The Judgement Day each week.

11. Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett (+1)

Karrion Kross moves up a spot this week, though the only thing we saw from him on SmackDown last Friday was a grainy, black-and-white promo where he reflected on “executing” Drew McIntyre the previous week and promising further dominance.

McIntyre responded later in the program by coming through the crowed and standing on top of the announce desk to deliver a message to Kross. More specifically, he intimated that Kross is a coward and that a Claymore Kick is coming his way. Will this all finally come to a head at Extreme Rules?

12. Ronda Rousey (+2)

With each passing week Ronda Rousey is gaining more and more confidence in her persona. She is delivering great succinct mic work, her ring work has gotten more crisp, and she is reveling in being the heel foil to Liv Morgan.

The stipultion for the SmackDown Women’s Championship has been set as Morgan and Rousey will look to settle the score once and for all at Extreme Rules. Will Morgan be able to pick up another underdog victory to retain her title or will “The Baddest Woman on the Planet” get the last laugh to regain her place at the top of SmackDown’s women’s division?

13. Drew McIntyre (-2)

Drew McIntyre has his sights set on Karrion Kross and will do whatever it takes to get his hands on him. After Kross attacked McIntyre the week before then making it very clear that as long as he’s around “The Chosen One” will not succeed.

Well “The Scottish Warrior” has made it very clear that Kross has his full attention now and after questioning Kross’ manhood McIntyre let Kross know that there is a Claymore coming to him in the very near future. Now the only question is will he be able to hold up this promise?

14. The Brawling Brutes (+4)

The Brawling Brutes are gaining back some momentum. After picking up a hard fought victory in the Fatal 4-way tag team match last Friday to become the new No. 1 contenders to the Undisputed Tag Team Championships. Butch and Ridge Holland then went to Monday Night RAW to pick up another impressive victory over the always game Street Profits.

With their championship opportunity coming this Friday against The Usos, will The Brawling Brutes finally be able to add gold around their waists or will the continued dominance of “The Ones” roll on?

15. Braun Strowman (+1)

“The Monster of all Monsters” has continued to steamroll anyone in his path since his return. He made very quick work of Maximum Male Models interrupting their latest runway appearance, which then brought out the Alpha Academy. Otis and Chad Cable thought they gained an upper hand on Strowman a World’s Strongest Slam.

All that did was anger the giant even more and now there is a Strowman sized target on Otis’ back. These two behemoths will collide Friday going one on one but something tells me this growing rivalry is far from over.

16. Matt Riddle (NR)

The Original Bro still can’t seem to buy a win, but due to his high-profile feud with Seth “Freakin’” Rollins, he’s back in the Power Rankings. While Riddle suffered a defeat in tag team action when his partner Rey Mysterio was pinned by Finn Balor of The Judgment Day, he made a major impact in the opening match of Raw this week. Rollins looked to have United States Champion Bobby Lashley right where he wanted him when Riddle’s music hit, distracting The Visionary. Lashley took advantage and caught him in the Hurt Lock. Rollins was furious and finally gave in to Riddle’s request for a re-match, even letting Riddle name the time, place and stipulation. Perhaps Riddle is finally playing a better cerebral game, as he set up their rematch to be at Extreme Rules in a Fight Pit match.

The Fight Pit has been used a couple of times in NXT, and Riddle has even competed in the match type. The Fight Pit is more like an MMA fight, where the winner is determined only by knockout or submission. The ropes are also replaced by a cage, but you cannot win via escape. Riddle desperately needs a win here, and if it comes in an MMA-type fight, it protects Rollins a bit in the process.

17. Johnny Gargano (NC)

Johnny Wrestling didn’t have a match this week, but he still made his presence felt, distracting Theory and costing him his match against Kevin Owens on Raw. Alpha Academy took offense to this, and Chad Gable and Otis challenged Johnny Wrestling in a backstage segment. Owens overheard things and made it a tag team match. And with next week’s RAW being in Edmonton, Owens will have the Canadian home-field advantage. Regardless, with three of the company’s top in-ring technicians involved (no offense to Otis), this should be a great matchup.

18. Logan Paul (NR)

The host of the wildly popular Impaulsive podcast is back in the mix in WWE, and he’s back in as big of a way as possible. After having Roman Reigns as a guest on his podcast, Paul, never one to shy away from the spotlight, said that he thought if he had a match against the Tribal Chief, he’d come out victorious. Paul followed that up by showing up on SmackDown and verbally jousting with Paul Heyman, laying out an official challenge to the Head of the Table. A press conference followed in Las Vegas on Saturday, and now things are official as Logan Paul will get his shot at the gold at Crown Jewel on Nov. 5. Paul hasn’t done much at all in the ring since his impressive victory over The Miz months ago, but if you can lock in a championship match against Reigns, you deserve to be back in the Power Rankings.

19. Ricochet (NR)

After a brief couple of matches in NXT, Ricochet was back on SmackDown this week. While he lost to Carmelo Hayes in NXT, he did a great job in showcasing Hayes and making him a more legit prospect, and he still deserves kudos for that. If you’ll recall, Ricochet was building up a mini winning streak on SmackDown before that, and he got right back to his winning ways with a victory over Sami Zayn. Ricochet did have Logan Paul in his corner, and Jey Uso also didn’t do Zayn any favors, but hey, a win is a win.

20. Austin Theory (NR)

Mr. Money in the Bank came up short in his match against Kevin Owens after being distracted by Johnny Gargano, but it’s clear Theory is still a big part of WWE”s plans moving forward. The more the losses pile up, though, the more a successful cash-in of the briefcase will feel like a fluke. At some point, Theory probably needs to start stringing together some victories, so the briefcase becomes less of a crutch.

On the cusp: The Street Profits, Alpha Academy, A.J. Styles, Madcap Moss, Dexter Lumis, The Miz w/ Tomasso Ciampa

Who’s NXT: Bron Breakker, Mandy Rose, Tyler Bate, JD McDonough, Ilja Dragunov, Pretty Deadly, Carmelo Hayes, Creed Brothers, Katana Chance & Kayden Carter, Alba Fyre, Cora Jade

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