Welcome to the WWE Power Rankings for August 26, in which I pick the top 10 WWE Superstars this week.
In this weeks' rankings, two big names have been removed. First, obviously, is John Cena. He's gone for four to six months recovering from surgery to repair a torn triceps. The other big name is Brock Lesnar. He was ranked No. 4 last week, but with reports stating he won't be back until just before WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans, he can not be kept on the list.
Some of you may have an issue with that decision, but with no indication he'll be back any time soon, I just could not justify placing him above members of the active roster.
In any case, here's the quick refresher on how these rankings work. Wins and losses account for most of the week-to-week movement on the list. Holding a title, being a No. 1 contender, or holding a Money in the Bank Briefcase provides an advantage over others, but does not necessarily guarantee a spot in the top 10. Superstars who are considered for top 10 status, but ultimately did not make the cut, reside on the Watch List.
OK, now that that's all settled...
This week, the Watch List has four Superstars on it. In no particular order:
-Bray Wyatt/Wyatt Family
-Big Show and Mark Henry (as a team)
Now, on to the top 10.
Previous Rank: Outta Nowhere!
AJ Lee, despite many challenges, has remained WWE Divas Champion. She picked up a win over Naomi on Main Event this week, and continues to be the mastermind behind the harassment of Kaitlyn.
Her new alliance with Layla has some intrigue, and could lead to much more down the line. In the meantime, she gets the benefit of the title, and makes the list for the first time in a while.
Previous Rank: Watch List
The Shield actually had a pretty good week. Not only are they still all champions, but they won three matches and look to be running security for Triple H and his new alliance.
While winning two three-on-one matches is not really a feat to brag about, they did defeat Kofi Kingston and the Uso's on Main Event. Most importantly was the beating they gave Daniel Bryan at the behest of the McMahon family.
We'll have to see what, exactly, their role in this new alliance is, but in the meantime they powered their way back into the top 10.
Previous Rank: 6
Movement: Down 2
Christian is on the verge of dropping out of the top 10, and appears to be done with Alberto Del Rio. That means he's likely out of the World Heavyweight Championship picture.
After being one of the hottest wrestlers in WWE, he's lost to Del Rio twice via submission, and has all but lost his spot to Rob Van Dam. He's still on the list, but he'll need to rebound quickly if he hopes to stay in the top 10.
Previous Rank: 10
Movement: Up 3
CM Punk came out swinging this week after taking a beating from Brock Lesnar. He yelled at a fan and beat up Curtis Axel in a "fight." He's also accepted Curtis Axel's challenge to an Intercontinental Championship match coming up on Raw.
CM Punk may have had a tough go of it with Lesnar, but there aren't many around who can say they got the best of "the Beast." Punk took his beating like a man and did not miss a beat.
Previous Rank: 7
Movement: Up 1
Cody Rhodes continues to win when it counts. This week, he beat Damien Sandow yet again. Rhodes may be poised to move into position for a World Heavyweight Championship match in the near future.
He may have to leapfrog Rob Van Dam, but Rhodes is inching closer and closer to the title picture. Another signature win may yet get him a shot. But he'll have to keep an eye on Sandow, who will surely be waiting to prevent Rhodes from succeeding.
Previous Rank: 8
Movement: Up 3
I know, I know...
Curtis Axel, as I've said several times, is pretty hard to rank. He is still the Intercontinental Champion, and now he's set to face CM Punk on Raw.
As usual, he wins his matches. While he took a beating from Punk, he defeated Cody Rhodes on SmackDown (with help from Heyman). If he can defeat CM Punk, even with interference, Axel will solidify himself in the middle of the top 10. If he loses, he'll be left without a credible feud and without a big win in a long time.
This is a big week for Curtis Axel.
Previous Rank: 9
Movement: Up 5
In the biggest jump of the week, Rob Van Dam finds himself sitting pretty at No. 4. He's poised to take on Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship, and he's stolen Ricardo Rodriguez from the champ.
While the Ricardo-RVD pairing may be awkward, it clearly agitates Del Rio, which could give RVD the edge he needs to take the title off him. RVD has put on some amazing matches in the last few months, and though he has not won all of them, he's done enough it seems to finally get a shot at the title.
Previous Rank: 3
Just when you think Alberto Del Rio finally met his match, he finds a way to keep his title and stay on top. After defeating Christian at SummerSlam, he defeated him again on SmackDown, also via submission.
Del Rio may have been run off by Rob Van Dam a few times, but he won his match. He's a world champion, and has continued to exhibit the savvy needed to be a champion at the highest level.
Previous Rank: 2
Daniel Bryan was called a "B+" by Stephanie McMahon on Raw. Then he was removed from the arena, only to return. He was berated by Triple H, Beaten down by The Shield and then hit with an RKO by WWE Champion Randy Orton. That was Raw, and it was not a good one for Bryan.
But SmackDown was different. In a very entertaining match, Daniel Bryan defeated Wade Barrett in a cage match. We also found out he will get a rematch against Orton at Night of Champions. All in all, a decent week for Bryan. And for that, he holds steady at No. 2 in the rankings.
Previous Rank: 1
Randy Orton may well be staying at No. 1 for quite a long time. He seems to have aligned with Triple H and the McMahons in what may be a new version of the Corporation. Orton, it seems, is the new "Corporate Champion."
Protected by The Shield and promoted by the McMahon Family, Orton is as close to untouchable as he could be. He may not have had to do anything but pin Bryan, but it may be a very long time before anyone else holds the WWE title.