Inspired by my PressBox colleague Glenn Clark using a WWE theme for his
NFL Power Rankings
this week, I decided to put together my first installment of WWE Power Rankings.
Unlike Glenn, I won't be doing power rankings every week, though. Probably not every month, either. In fact, this may be a one-off (unless I get stuck for a topic for my column again). So savor this. And just to build suspense, I did the rankings in descending order.
20. Finn Balor
Creative has had nothing for the talented Balor as of late, and this week on "Raw" he was relegated to working a match against Bo Dallas. Balor won, of course, but the match was more competitive than it should've been. On a side note, Balor does indeed weigh less than 205 (hint, hint).
19. Shinsuke Nakamura
"The Artist" returned to "SmackDown Live" after a two-week absence, saving Randy Orton from an attack by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Nakamura now will team with Orton against Owens and Zayn at the "Clash of Champions" pay-per-view Dec. 17. Hey, it's better than working a pre-show match.
18. Baron Corbin
Whatever momentum the United States Champion gained from his win against then-Intercontinental Champion The Miz at "Survivor Series" Nov. 19 has already been lost -- along with several more hairs from Corbin's dome.
17. Jason Jordan
Kurt Angle's "son" is getting more heelish by the week -- and that's a good thing. Jordan delivered a strong performance during a losing effort in his Intercontinental Title match against champion Roman Reigns on "Raw," and he also more than held his own on the mic. 2018 is going to be a big year for Jordan. Oh it's true.
16. New Day
Rusev Day > New Day this week on "SmackDown Live." By the way, I think New Day owes the WWE Universe an apology for interrupting Aiden English's sterling rendition of "The 12 Days of Rusev."
There's no doubt Kane will ultimately come out on the losing end of his monster vs. monster feud with Braun Strowman, but I'll bet Strowman doesn't have a clue about
how to lower taxes
in Knox County, Tenn.
The threesome led by Paige has given a shot in the arm to the "Raw" women's division. This week, Paige scored a big victory against Sasha Banks, and then she, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville beat down Alicia Fox. By the way, after reading the first two words of this paragraph, I bet you thought I was going to make a cheap joke at Paige's expense, didn't you? As the late, great Jim Nabors (as Gomer Pyle) would say: Shame, shame, shame.
13. Alexa Bliss
The "Raw" Women's Champion hasn't wrestled on TV since losing to "SmackDown" Women's Champion Charlotte Flair at "Survivor Series." Bliss didn't add much to the broadcast when she sat in on commentary on "Raw" this week, but she did come across as the least obnoxious person on the announce team.
12. Randy Orton
"The Viper" has wrestled in the main event on the past two episodes of "SmackDown Live," losing to Kevin Owens last week and defeating Sami Zayn this week. On a side note, it's nice to see Orton growing out his hair on top. It always ticks me off when guys who have a healthy head of hair voluntarily choose to shave it off. That'd be like Naomi choosing to wear baggy sweatpants instead of yoga pants.
11. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
Ambrose and Rollins failed to regain the "Raw" Tag Team Title from Sheamus and Cesaro this week. On the same show, their Shield brother Roman Reigns successfully defended his Intercontinental Title. I'm sure this development was not lost on the anti-Roman contingent of young males as they watched the show from their parents' basement.
10. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Regardless of whether they win or lose, The Sami and Kevin Show -- or is it the Kevin and Sami Show? -- is the best thing going on "SmackDown Live." Who knew Zayn could be this entertaining?
9. Sheamus and Cesaro
In a bit of surprise, Sheamus and Cesaro retained the "Raw" Tag Team Title against Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins this week, actually proving that they don't just set the bar, they are the bar. On a side note, I once closed down a couple bars one night/morning with Sheamus when I was on the road with WWE several years ago. Note to self: Never again try to keep up with a 6-foot-4, 270-pound Irish pro wrestler when it comes to drinking adult beverages.
8. Charlotte Flair
Not only is the "SmackDown" Women's Champion still the measuring stick in WWE's women's division, but she's also making her acting debut in "Psych: The Movie" on USA Network Dec. 7. Flair plays a character named Heather Rockrear. That's the best double entendre moniker I've heard since a guy in my fantasy football league named his team "Two Gurleys, One Cup."
7. The Usos
If Jimmy and Jey don't retain the "SmackDown" Tag Team Title in the Fatal 4-Way Match at "Clash of Champions," Vince McMahon should be sentenced to a long stretch in the Uso penitentiary.
6. Jinder Mahal
If Mahal regains the WWE Title from AJ Styles at "Clash of Champions," Vince McMahon should be forced to watch every Punjabi Prison Match on a loop, "A Clockwork Orange"-style.
5. Samoa Joe
On the way to his inevitable showdown with Roman Reigns, Joe caused Reigns' buddies Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to lose to Sheamus and Cesaro in the "Raw" main event, and he also roughed up Jason Jordan backstage. I've gone on record a number of times throughout the years in saying that Joe would always be a big fish in a small pond and never become a star in WWE. It's now on record that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.
4. Braun Strowman
Based on Strowman's attack on Elias on "Raw" while the latter was treating the audience to his considerable singing and guitar-playing skills, I think it's safe to assume "The Monster Among Men" isn't a music lover. Hopefully, Strowman was on hand when Machine Gun Kelly performed at WWE's Tribute to the Troops show (which was taped Dec. 5 and will air on USA Network Dec. 14).
3. AJ Styles
Since WWE Champion Styles did not appear on "SmackDown Live" this week, I'm going to take a page from Glenn Clark's book. When an NFL team is on a bye, Glenn writes a "fun fact" about that team's city or mascot in his power rankings. So here's a fun fact about Gainesville, Ga., where Styles lives: Gainesville is known as the "Poultry Capital of the World." Now that I know that, I wonder if it was a source of pride for Styles when he
wore that turkey suit
in TNA a decade ago.
2. Roman Reigns
For the second week in a row, Reigns' open challenge match for his Intercontinental Title was one of the highlights of "Raw." This time, Reigns' successful title defense was against Jason Jordan, and Reigns did his part to make the kid look good. As big of a Reigns fan as I am, however, even I had to shake my head when he dismissed Jordan's suggestion that he has been given every opportunity to succeed in WWE.
1. Brock Lesnar
Yeah, I know the Universal Champion has won as many matches and been on WWE TV as many times as you have throughout the past three weeks, and you think that means Lesnar shouldn't be No. 1 or possibly even in the rankings at all. But he's Brock Lesnar and you're not. Case closed.