Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Smackdown Top 10 for February

After the events of Elimination Chamber, the stars of Smackdown Live edge closer to the lineup for Wrestlemania. With no matches official yet for the biggest show of the year, everything seems up in the air with the men and women of the blue brand. But even with as many questions as answers left, The Wrestling Weekday takes a look at the top ten superstars or teams of the brand.

Just a reminder about the numbers at the end of each entry. The first number is the wrestler's rank from the last list. The second is the number of months they have been ranked on the list.

Image credit: WWE.com. 
  1. American Alpha: I've got to be honest; I wish I could rank the Smackdown Tag Team Champions a lot higher than the number ten spot. But while Chad Gable and Jason Jordan are infinitely talented, their booking has been one of the weakest part of Smackdown Live. A feud with The Usos looks to be in the cards, but already this team seems hungry for new challengers. (10/5)
  2. Dolph Ziggler: His heel turn came about a year too late, nor will a feud with Apollo Crews or Kalisto really help him move up the ladder. An entourage would actually be a great thing for him right now, but WWE seems unlikely to make that happen. For now it seems Dolph is destined to play the perennial midcard talent until the end of time. (7/3)
  3. Dean Ambrose: Dean's push has faltered post-WWE title reign quite a bit. As Intercontinental Champion, he feels like he's mostly treading water, even as he seems destined to be thrown into the annual seven way ladder match for that belt at Wrestlemania. It's a far cry from the solid and steady booking of Reigns and Rollins, which is a true shame for (IMHO) the most talented of the former Shield members. (8/12)
  4. Alexa Bliss: The former Women's Champion took a tough loss at Elimination Chamber. But even though she lost her belt, it is hard to argue that Alexa has had one of the fastest rises on the main roster of any star post-draft. Even without the title, she is still arguably the top dog of the women's division, with battles with Becky Lynch and Naomi to continue in the future. (4/3)
  5. Baron Corbin: The Lone Wolf has cemented himself as a dominant force on the WWE main roster post-Survivor Series. With a series of strong wins and a pair of near misses for the WWE title, he seems clearly poised to enter the main event scene post-Wrestlemania. I still suspect he lost his position for that show to Orton, but even if his push has been slowed, he clearly will be one of WWE's top stars in the years to come. (9/2)
  6. John Cena: The face that runs the place won his record tying sixteenth world title, only to drop it two weeks later. Going into Wrestlemania, his future seems unclear but with his time divided between Hollywood and WWE, he will likely pop on and off this list frequently. (U/1)
  7. AJ Styles: The former WWE champion has made a huge splash in his year with WWE. Though he's lost the title and seems clearly out of that picture for Wrestlemania, he clearly has a strong future on the blue brand in the coming months. (1/2)
  8. Randy Orton: His push from Survivor Series to Royal Rumble has been astronomical, but the fan reaction to his sudden rise to the top of the card has been less than stellar. Though he could be destined for a stellar match at Wrestlemania, the situation between him and the current WWE champion is far from clear as of this writing. (3/2)
  9. Naomi: Few wrestlers have deserved a major run with the women's title as Naomi. She is a natural talent and showed great promise back to her earliest days in FCW, but the Funkadactyls gimmick hampered her rise in WWE's women's division. After her last push was halted by the arrival of Paige, she floundered until recent weeks when the writers saw fit to move her to the top of the Smackdown women's division. Hopefully she can retain a presence there, but with a multi-woman match at Wrestlemania likely in her future, she could face more contenders than she could handle very soon. (U/1)
  10. Bray Wyatt: In the last few months, Bray Wyatt has won his first two titles in his four years as a WWE star. Now as WWE champion, he's finally arrived at the pinnacle of the blue brand. The position is well deserved, but whether or not he will hold on to it for more than a few weeks remains to be seen. But with Wyatt as champion, it seems clear he will have the fans eating from his hand for some time to come. (3/2)
Image credit: WWE.com.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Top 10 Stars of NXT, Post-Dallas Edition

It has been seventh months since the last NXT Top 10, so an update to the list seems more than overdo. Seven of the ten entries on that list are no longer NXT wrestlers, now regularly plying their talents on the Raw and Smackdown brands. The other three return to the list, but you will just have to see who and when a bit down the page.

As always, the wrestlers all have a pair of numerical entries behind their profile. The first number represents their last place on the list. The second represents the number of repeated Top 10 lists each wrestler has been on. Got it? On to the list!

Image credit: WWE.com.
  1. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce: The bad girls of NXT have been working their way around the roster for years now. But these leggie Aussies are finally getting their do as they try to establish their dominance of the NXT women's roster. Of course, they have several other dangerous talent to contend with, including Ember Moon and the other two women on this list. (U/1)
  2. The Revival: Injuries and storylines have limited The Revival's NXT appearances in the weeks leading into Dallas. But never underestimate Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. The old school beatdown they bring make them two of the most dangerous men on the roster and with two NXT Tag Team titles in their history, even the current champions should be wary of the pair. (8/4)
  3. #DIY: Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano may have dropped their tag titles, but it is hard to argue that they've secured their place as the show stealers of NXT. They put on amazing match after amazing match, even against talents greener than they (such as the new tag champions.) Both men should have solid main roster careers in the near future, whether on 205 Live or the main brand. (U/1)
  4. Roderick Strong: Strong still suffers from the same problem he had in ROH: lack of a strong gimmick or personality to match his amazing in ring abilities. NXT is a great place to help round Strong off to a world class performer. And if they're looking for gimmicks, may I suggest frat boy whose cruel to midgets? (U/1)
  5. Authors of Pain: It's amazing to see how far the new NXT Tag Team champions have came in in ring proficiency. They are slowing turning into talented monsters and the presence of Paul Ellering continues to lend legitimacy to their dominating run. While I am not as sure they will be as dominant now that they hold the titles, I suspect both men to have a solid run in NXT and a huge showing on the main roster in years to come. (U/1)
  6. Nikki Cross: While the rest of Sanity seems almost directionless, focused pointlessly on Tye Dillinger joining their cause, the completely insane Nikki Cross has in just a matter of a couple matches established her place as one of the top threats to the NXT Women's Champion. She has a huge upside ahead of her in the months to come. (U/1)
  7. Shinsuke Nakamura: A big loss at Takeover: Dallas cost Nakamura his NXT title and left him with an injured leg, but he is still one of the biggest stars the promotion has to offer. Even a roster as stacked as NXT is hard pressed to match up with the former New Japan star. (1/2)
  8. Tye Dillinger: It is hard to believe that a year ago "The Perfect 10" was barely a jobber on the NXT roster. After making his Royal Rumble debut, he seems intent on staying in NXT to continue his feud with Eric Young. While I suspect his days in NXT are numbered, with a call up to Smackdown coming by the post-Wrestlemania season, he still has a lot to offer the brand especially as he settles into the role as the company's most likable star.  
  9. Bobby Roode: Not since the days of Bo Dallas could I argue a wrestler wasn't established enough to take the NXT title. But despite years in TNA, Roode still seems less than established in NXT. I suspect he will have a "Glorious" reign as NXT champion however and cement himself as something of a Triple H like figure on the brand. It will be especially interesting if his spot on the top of the card might mean a face turn for his old rival Eric Young and Sanity. 
  10. Asuka: She is now the longest running champion in NXT history. It seems unlikely she will lose the NXT Women's title until at least Takeover: Orlando. Even against three other women, she showed her total dominance in Dallas. With Royce, Kay, Cross and Ember Moon in the wings, she has plenty of challengers, but I suspect Asuka will continue her dominance of the NXT women for several more months. (3/4)
Image credit: WWE.com.