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WWE Power Rankings: Breaking Down WWE's Top 25 Superstars for Week of Aug. 19

Mike ChiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 13, 2016

WWE Power Rankings: Breaking Down WWE's Top 25 Superstars for Week of Aug. 19

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    Although there was only one title change at SummerSlam, the balance of power has certainly shifted to some degree in the WWE and that will be reflected in this week's power rankings. Unlike the rankings that WWE.com releases each week, however, mine are based more on entertainment value than kayfabe.

    Winning or losing big matches comes into play to some degree, but wrestling fans are worried about how well wrestlers are performing more than anything. WWE Champion CM Punk remains atop the rankings for the second consecutive week, but plenty of movement has taken place over the past seven days.

    With Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho each leaving the company through storyline purposes, the rankings are likely to be even more jumbled next week. This week's rankings are based solely upon how superstars performed on SmackDown, SummerSlam and RAW over the past week, however.

    Here are my power rankings for the week beginning on Aug. 19.

25. Jinder Mahal

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    Last Week's Ranking: NR

     

    I certainly wouldn't call myself a Jinder Mahal fan, but the creative team has decided to do something with him, so I suppose he deserves a spot on the list. Mahal interrupted a Ryback squash match on Monday and received a Shell Shocked finisher for his troubles, but he is the only superstar to frustrate Ryback thus far.

    Mahal isn't exactly the best opponent for Ryback since Ryback would be better off against a big guy like Tensai, but hopefully there is actually some progress in this feud and Mahal can give Ryback a match that lasts longer than two minutes.

24. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth

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    Last Week's Ranking: NR

     

    Perhaps the most vanilla Tag Team Champions of all time, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth retained their titles yet again on Sunday as they defeated the Prime Time Players. I expected Darren Young and Titus O'Neil to come out on top since Kofi and Truth have seemed like placeholders from the second they won the straps, but apparently the creative team doesn't agree.

    Both Kofi and Truth are solid in the ring and their new Superman-inspired attire looks pretty cool, but they make this list because they're the only tag team of any consequence in the WWE right now.

23. Cody Rhodes

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    Last Week's Ranking: 24

     

    Cody Rhodes was left off the SummerSlam card and has continued to fall precipitously since dropping the Intercontinental Championship to Christian at Over The Limit, but his in-ring prowess allows him to remain on the list. Rhodes has something of interest going on with Sin Cara right now as he tried to unmask him once again on RAW.

    I do like that the WWE is trying to create some mid-card feuds, but perhaps it would have been better off allowing Rhodes and Sin Cara to wrestle at SummerSlam rather than having a lame musical performance by Kevin Rudolf. Rhodes has all the tools to be a top star, but the push simply isn't there.

22. David Otunga

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    Last Week's Ranking: NR

     

    David Otunga made his return to WWE programming on Monday after a hiatus to film a WWE-funded movie. Otunga came back sans goatee and had a conversation with new RAW general manager AJ Lee. Otunga offered to be her legal counsel, but he mentioned her being crazy and that prompted AJ to put him in a match with Big Show.

    Otunga was squashed as he is in many of his matches, but he makes this list due to his lackey character. I'm hoping he ultimately becomes AJ's assistant or something to that effect since he was entertaining in that role under John Laurinaitis.

21. Brodus Clay

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    Last Week's Ranking: 23

     

    There is no doubt that Brodus Clay has fallen off compared to his dominant run when he first debuted the Funkasaurus gimmick, but at least he is finally engaged in a real feud. Clay and Damien Sandow have been going at it for the past couple weeks and it finally resulted in a match with Sandow winning via a roll up on Monday.

    Sandow has continually gotten the better of Clay, but Brodus did get the last laugh as he beat down Sandow afterward. It seems like Clay is on the back burner to some degree, and while he may never be more than a mid-card comedy act, he is still extremely entertaining.

20. Antonio Cesaro

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    Last Week's Ranking: 21

     

    Only one title change happened at SummerSlam and it took place on the pre-show as Antonio Cesaro defeated Santino Marella to win the United States Championship. Santino had been the champ for more than 160 days, but his reign was uneventful to say the least as he rarely defended the title and didn't need the strap in order to get over.

    Cesaro is a guy with a ton of potential, but the fans have reacted much to him yet, so giving him the United States Championship was a good move. Cesaro is solid in the ring and has an interesting look, so hopefully this leads to a push for Cesaro and the U.S. title.

19. Wade Barrett

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    Last Week's Ranking: 16

     

    With promos continuing to air hyping the return of Wade Barrett, many fans expected him to come back at either SummerSlam or the following RAW. Neither happened, however, so Barrett falls down the list a bit this week, but people are still talking about him and that makes him worthy of being ranked at the very least.

    My hope was that Barrett would attack Sheamus at SummerSlam, allowing Dolph Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. When that didn't come to fruition, I thought he might attack Chris Jericho on RAW and put him out of commission. That too was wishful thinking as I and the WWE Universe are left wondering when the Barrett Barrage will finally resume.

18. Sin Cara

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    Last Week's Ranking: 15

     

    A guy who can't talk can only be entertaining to a certain extent, but I have thoroughly enjoyed Sin Cara ever since he returned from injury. He has tone things down a bit in the ring, but he is much cleaner and crisper, and he seems to have adapted to the WWE style. He has been used with great regularity and now has a bit of a feud going with Cody Rhodes.

    Hopefully he and Rhodes can do battle on the Night of Champions undercard, perhaps in a mask vs. mask match. If Rhodes wins then Sin Cara must unmask, but if Sin Cara wins then Rhodes must put his mask back on. I didn't love Rhodes' grotesque gimmick, but he has no gimmick whatsoever right now, so I wouldn't be against him reverting back to it.

17. Randy Orton

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    Last Week's Ranking: 18

     

    Apparently Randy Orton served his punishment for his 60-day drug suspension by being left off the SummerSlam card, but now it's most definitely time to put him in a meaningful feud. Orton could have easily had a match with The Miz at SummerSlam and put him over, but I suppose politics got in the way, so now Orton is essentially starting from square one.

    He defeated Alberto Del Rio on RAW with a little assist from Sheamus, and I'm wondering whether he might be thrown into the World Heavyweight Championship scene. This is the second time in a few weeks that Orton has faced Del Rio and Orton exchanged some words with Sheamus as well, so maybe he can inject some life into a stale angle.

16. Kane

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    Last Week's Ranking: 22

     

    I hate when the creative team toggles between making a guy face or heel too often, but I'm suddenly intrigued by Kane's recent mean streak. There was honestly no reason to make him face in the first place, so I'm glad that he attacked Josh Matthews after losing to Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam and then snapped again on RAW.

    While I wish the writers could have made their point with Kane without burying Zack Ryder, Kane is once again interesting at the very least. His feud with Bryan could head in a number of different directions, but perhaps a reluctant partnership between the two psychotic wrestlers is in the cards.

15. Ryback

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    Last Week's Ranking: 7

     

    Ryback really seemed to be picking up steam last week as he debuted a new theme song on RAW, squashed JTG and had the crowd erupting in "feed me more" chants. I can't help but feel like he reverted to some degree this week, however, as he was left off the SummerSlam card and then went back to his formula of beating two local jobbers at once on Monday.

    It was a little different this time around since Jinder Mahal interfered and Ryback won by disqualification, but the double enhancement talent squash has got to stop regardless. If Ryback is ever going to take the next step then he needs to beat Mahal in a feud and then wrestle more believable guys like Tensai or perhaps a returning Mark Henry in due time.

14. Rey Mysterio

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    Last Week's Ranking: 17

     

    I've never been a big Rey Mysterio guy, but even I can admit that he still is a very useful commodity for the WWE, even at the age of 37. Mysterio is awful on the mic and always has been, but he can do some incredible things between the ropes and can be trusted to have great matches with pretty much anyone on the roster.

    It seems like the creative team is looking to give The Miz a push and Mysterio helped that process along at SummerSlam as he put over the Intercontinental Champion in a highly-entertaining contest. The Miz definitely held his own in the match, but Mysterio controlled the pace and did a rally nice job. I'm not sure what's next for Mysterio, but as long as he continues to give it his all in the ring, then he is definitely doing his job.

13. Alberto Del Rio

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    Last Week's Ranking: 14

     

    Alberto Del Rio has actually done a nice job as of late in the ring and on the mic, but his feud with Sheamus is so stale and boring that I can't put him any higher than 13th on this list. The writers haven't made Del Rio look like a credible threat for the World Heavyweight Championship and that has hurt the Mexican Aristocrat since nobody truly believes that he can beat Sheamus for the belt.

    He and Sheamus had another solid match at SummerSlam, but I absolutely hated the ending with Del Rio's foot being on the rope. I was looking forward to Del Rio and Sheamus moving on with Del Rio perhaps reprising his feud against Rey Mysterio, but instead it looks like an angle that still hasn't gotten over after three months is going to continue.

12. Sheamus

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    Last Week's Ranking: 13

     

    Wherever Alberto Del Rio is on this list Sheamus obviously has to follow soon after. The World Heavyweight Champion has done a nice job with the title thus far, but he is suffering from a lack of credible competition and terrible storyline writing. I feel like Sheamus is a fine champion, but he hasn't been put in a position to succeed since his feud with Daniel Bryan.

    Hopefully guys like Randy Orton, Wade Barrett and even Dolph Ziggler can get involved in the title scene so Sheamus can be revitalized rather than continually going at it with Del Rio week after week. I want to love Sheamus as a character and a performer, but I'll be somewhat lukewarm on his until changes are made.

11. Shawn Michaels

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    Last Week's Ranking: 8

     

    It looks like Shawn Michaels is going to be out of the spotlight for the foreseeable future, but he definitely did his job when it came to the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar feud. He was involved in the broken arm angle last week, but his speech via satellite on RAW was absolutely fantastic. He did a great job of making it seem like Triple H is actually going to retire and almost made me forget for a second that it's all storyline related.

    Some people have been critical of Michaels' frequent appearances as of late, but he always enhances the product, so I have thoroughly enjoyed it. This won't be the last that we'll see of HBK either as I anticipate Triple H goading Michaels out of retirement for one more match at WrestleMania so that both of them can go out on top.

10. Daniel Bryan

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    Last Week's Ranking: 12

     

    Daniel Bryan seems to subscribe to old saying of "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I don't think it would be a stretch to call Bryan's senseless feud with Kane a lemon, but Bryan has managed to remain entertaining and relevant to a certain extent thus far. Bryan picked up the win on SummerSlam, and while I wish it would have come in more convincing fashion, I'm glad that he ultimately went over.

    Bryan seems to be a long way from world title contention currently, but I'm actually hoping that he and Kane form a tag team as I mentioned previously. The tag-team division is a joke as it is, so it wouldn't hurt if a randomly-created team were to win the titles. An unstable pairing of Bryan and Kane could be fun and they might be able to bring some credibility back to tag-team wrestling as well.

9. Big Show

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    Last Week's Ranking: 10

     

    I still wish that Big Show wasn't involved in the main-event picture, but I have to give him credit for his performance at SummerSlam. Big Show hasn't always been booked like an unstoppable giant, but he looked like one in the triple threat against CM Punk and John Cena as he tossed both of them around for most of the match and looked like the most dominant competitor in the contest.

    With that said, luckily it looks like Big Show will be moving on since a Punk vs. Cena match at Night of Champions is almost a foregone conclusion. I'm honestly not too sure what can be done with Big Show right now since there isn't an obvious feud out there for him, but a quick program with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus seems like a possibility.

8. Damien Sandow

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    Last Week's Ranking: 4

     

    Damien Sandow's biggest strength is his ability to speak, and since he hasn't really been given any mic time over the past week, I had to drop him a few spots in the rankings. I was almost certain that he and Brodus Clay would have a match at SummerSlam, but they weren't added to the card. A win over the Funkasaurus on pay-per-view would have been great for the WWE's intellectual savior, but he had to settle for a win on RAW instead.

    I'm glad that he won, but it was made out to be somewhat fluky as he surprised Brodus with a schoolboy and stole the victory. Clay then beat him down after the match and got the last laugh. With all of that said, I'm hopeful that Sandow will ultimately win the feud with Clay and then perhaps move on to the main-event scene as there is a true lack of top heels currently.

7. The Miz

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    Last Week's Ranking: 11

     

    The Miz certainly isn't a universally loved figure in wrestling as many still can't get over his time on The Real World, but Miz has developed into an elite superstar as his in-ring ability is now beginning to catch up with his top-notch mic skills. Miz has been great since returning from filming The Marine 3 as he has an altered look, a more menacing attitude and just seems to be a better overall wrestler than he was when he went on hiatus.

    Miz has done well with the Intercontinental Championship thus far and I feel like his match with Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam stole the show. It was more or less just thrown on the card without any storyline development, but Miz and Mysterio put on a great show. Hopefully the WWE brass is taking notice and willing to give him another shot at the main event in the near future.

6. Dolph Ziggler

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    Last Week's Ranking: 6

     

    Dolph Ziggler truly does steal the show every time he steps in the ring, and his feud with Chris Jericho was probably the best thing the WWE had to offer over the past month. He and Jericho had a very good match at SummerSlam, but the result was very simply wrong. I'm a huge fan of Jericho, but Ziggler needed that win as the Money in the Bank contract holder who is trying to get over as a credible main eventer.

    The WWE tried to rectify the situation by having him go over Jericho on RAW in a Money in the Bank contract vs. WWE contract match, and while Ziggler did get his revenge, it was all quite senseless. Getting the win at SummerSlam with the exact same stipulation would have done a lot more for Ziggler than winning on RAW because five years from now people are going to remember the SummerSlam match much more than the ensuing RAW one.

5. Triple H

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    Last Week's Ranking: 9

     

    Few figures in wrestling are more divisive than Triple H as he is loved by many, but equally hated as well due to the perception that he has a massive ego. If there is an ego, then Triple H obviously put it aside at SummerSlam as he put over Brock Lesnar better than perhaps anyone he has ever faced. Not only did Lesnar dominate the match, but Triple H tapped out, kayfabe broke his arm and is on the verge of retirement from a storyline perspective.

    Triple H's performance on Sunday was excellent as he truly looked like a broken man after the match who was simply beaten by a monster. I'm also interested in how things will play out with Triple H moving forward with regards to whether he will announce his retirement or continue to wrestle. As I said in the Shawn Michaels slide, though, this certainly isn't the last we've seen of The Game.

4. Chris Jericho

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    Last Week's Ranking: 2

     

    Chris Jericho's return to WWE after nearly two years away largely looked like it was going to be a failure, but his feud with Dolph Ziggler really turned things around and made Y2J into one of the hottest things in the company. After turning face his promos were spot on, his in-ring work was incredible and he was truly better than he had been even five years prior.

    Now, unfortunately, Jericho has to tour with his band and will be out of the picture of the foreseeable future. It's certainly a major hit for the company because they're unquestionably losing one of their top performers. His matches with Ziggler at SummerSlam and RAW were both very good, and while I've already said that I didn't like the fact that Ziggler won on Sunday, it doesn't change the notion that Jericho was one of the best things going in WWE.

3. John Cena

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    Last Week's Ranking: 5

     

    For the first time in a long time, John Cena seems to be taking a backseat, and he has actually become more interesting and entertaining because of that. WWE Champion CM Punk has truly been the top guy over the past few weeks and I have found Cena much more enjoyable now that he isn't being shoved down the respective throats of the viewing audience.

    He performed well in the triple threat at SummerSlam and I quite enjoyed the way he was duped by Punk by doing the dirty work only for Punk to swoop in and pin Big Show. The interaction between Cena and Punk on Monday was great as well and far exceeded anything they did last year on the mic. We've already seen Punk vs. Cena before, but since the dynamic is so much better this time around.

2. Brock Lesnar

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    Last Week's Ranking: 3

     

    Brock Lesnar isn't one of my favorites by any means, but full marks have to be given to him, Triple H and the creative team for the way things were handled on Sunday. Not everyone enjoyed the match because of its shoot style and slow pace, but the point wasn't for it to be a classic contest. The entire point of the match was to get Lesnar over as a legitimate, unstoppable force so that he could be viewed as a threat to The Undertaker should they face off at WrestleMania.

    Prior to Sunday people were still complaining about Lesnar's loss to John Cena at Extreme Rules, but that is now all but forgotten. Lesnar made Triple H look like a little kid for much of the SummerSlam match and is now as dominant as ever. He announced that he was once again leaving the WWE on RAW, but he'll obviously be back at some point down the line and will be much more established than he was the last time he took a hiatus.

1. CM Punk

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    Last Week's Ranking: 1

     

    As the WWE Champion and self-professed best wrestler in the world, this is certainly a ranking that even CM Punk would agree with. As someone who likes Punk, even I can admit that the vast majority of his title run has been somewhat stagnant, but the new CM Punk has been an absolute joy to watch. I loved the heel tactic he used to win at SummerSlam, but he truly shined in the closing segment on RAW as he all but sealed his inevitable heel turn.

    Punk has been playing the respect card as of late and tried to force John Cena into admitting that he was the best in the world, but Cena wouldn't do it. Punk then proceeded to bully Jerry "The King" Lawler and kick him in the head for proclaiming that he turned his back on the WWE Universe and for also refusing to call him the best. Punk is just so much better when he is playing an edgier character that borders on heel status, so he is at his best right now.

     

     

    Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter and listen to him on Ring Rust Radio.

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