Saying that the balance of power in the WWE has shifted over the past week would be an understatement. After undergoing emergency knee surgery, WWE Champion CM Punk will not be competing at the TLC pay-per-view and it appears that he will be out of action for the next few weeks, at the very least.
Punk still cut a promo on Raw and vowed to be at TLC, but other superstars will have to pick up the slack during his in-ring absence. The biggest storyline heading into TLC is the feud between The Shield and the coalition of Ryback and Team Hell No. Also, the John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big Show vs. Sheamus feuds have been receiving plenty of attention as well.
It has been a couple months since Punk has been knocked from his perch atop the rankings due to a mixture of sterling in-ring work, polish on the mic and the longest title reign in the past 25 years, but the fact that an injury is preventing him from stepping in the ring could very well shake things up this week.
Here are the top 25 superstars in WWE for the week beginning on Dec. 9. Keep in mind that the power rankings, as always, are based on entertainment value and overall effectiveness rather than kayfabe factors that are out of the performers' control, such as wins and losses.