WWE Power Rankings
On the heels of WWE Hell in a Cell 2013, there are big changes in the WWE power rankings. John Cena returned, as did Kane. Titles were defended, and one changed hands. And there are lots of questions going forward. More on all that later.
In the meantime, here's how the rankings work:
Holding a championship, being No. 1 contender or having a Money in the Bank briefcase counts for much of the rankings. Wins and losses account for much of the week-to-week movement.
Only the top 10 are ranked, and every other wrestler is unranked. Wrestlers on the "Watch List" were considered for top-10 status but ultimately were nixed. They, too, are unranked.
Generally speaking, the rankings do not break kayfabe, though any major non-kayfabe information (like serious injury, WWE Wellness Policy violations, legitimate hirings, firings, and contract information, etc.) may be included.
OK, now on to this week's rankings.
Damien Sandow got a win over Dolph Ziggler on Main Event earlier in the week and picked up a good win over Kofi Kingston on the WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 kickoff show. He didn't cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but he's got lots of time to do that.
Curtis Axel missed Hell in a Cell due to injury. As of this writing, the nature of the injury has not been revealed. Axel missing a pay-per-view is not good, and losing to Big E in a tag match on Raw dropped him from the top 10.
The Wyatt Family
The Wyatts were trying to take out The Miz at Hell in a Cell when Kane drove them off. They may feud with Kane again. If so, where will that feud lead?
AJ Lee is still WWE Divas champion.
Previous Rank: Outta Nowhere!
Your winner and still WWE Divas champion...
AJ Lee, once again, retained her title. In retaining, she has been champion for 134 days and counting. That's good enough to be sixth all time for longest reigns in the history of the title (title inaugurated in July 2008) behind Kaitlin, Maryse, Michelle McCool, Layla, and Beth Phoenix.
She once again proved she's the class of the Divas division, and who her next challenger will be remains to be seen. But this week, for another win defending her title, AJ Lee makes the top 10.
Previous Rank: Watch List
Los Matadores just keep winning. And if there's one thing that counts in the power rankings, it's winning. Their usual punching bags, 3MB, took another loss at their hands on SmackDown.
But at Hell in a Cell, they stepped up in competition, defeating The Real Americans. After the match, Torito (little bull in Spanish) gored Zeb Colter, Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger.
For their recent efforts, they make their first appearance in the top 10.
Previous Rank: Watch List
Big E has powered his way into the top 10 for the first time. In one week, he pinned intercontinental champion Curtis Axel, helped defeat The Shield and Randy Orton in an eight-man tag match, and got a count-out win over Dean Ambrose.
No, he didn't walk out of Hell in a Cell a champion. But at the rate he's going, he will have gold around his waist soon. Big E comes in at No. 8 in his foray into the top 10.
Previous Rank: 6
Movement: Down 1
The Shield, after looking like they may have returned to dominant form, have once again fallen on hard times. They lost the tag team titles a few weeks back, and at Hell in a Cell, they could not gain them back.
The rest of their week wasn't much better. Seth Rollins' win over Goldust on Main Event was the only good news to speak of. Now, after losing in their rematch, what will The Shield do? With mostly losses in the past week, they drop one spot.
Previous Rank: 5
Movement: Down 1
Dropping the Rhodes Brothers a spot this week was tough. But doing so was not so much about anything they did wrong, but what others (read: John Cena) did. More on Cena later.
As a tag team, Cody Rhodes and Goldust are about as high as they can get, with only the top main event singles wrestlers ahead of them. They are one of the most pleasantly surprising teams in a while, and they look poised to make their reign a long one.
Previous Rank: 1
Movement: Down 4
Alberto Del Rio is no longer world heavyweight champion. He was champion for 133 days, which gave him the seventh-longest reign in the title's 11-year history. But he couldn't capitalize on Cena's still-healing arm.
Del Rio ended up losing via pinfall to Cena in a scene all too familiar to WWE fans. Without anything to report from the past week, he drops four spots, and if he can't get the title back, he may well keep falling.
Previous Rank: 4
At Hell in a Cell, CM Punk finally, at long last, got Paul Heyman alone. And when he did, he beat the hell out of him (pun intended). After CM Punk dispatched Ryback inside the cell, there was no one to save Heyman. No Ryback, no Curtis Axel, no Brock Lesnar.
Where CM Punk goes from here is a mystery. But for now, it's safe to assume that CM Punk is finished with Heyman. He did what he said he would, and now, Punk needs to move away from vengeance and focus on getting back into a world title feud.
Previous Rank: 3
Daniel Bryan got screwed again at Hell in a Cell. Even though technically nothing is illegal in a Hell in a Cell match, the situation around the WWE Championship is far from settled. But as usual, Bryan came out on the losing end of company politics.
Earlier in the week, Bryan got wins in singles and tag team matches. But at Hell in a Cell, Triple H did what he needed to do to keep Bryan from recapturing the WWE title. The big question now is whether or not Bryan will get another title opportunity anytime soon.
Previous Rank: 7
Movement: Up 5
John Cena is back. Not just physically back. He's back as a world champion in WWE. At Hell in a Cell, he "overcame the odds" (the "odds" being his surgically repaired elbow) and defeated Alberto Del Rio to become the world heavyweight champion for the third time in his career.
The win also marks his 14th world title. WWE only recognizes one man with more world title reigns, and that's Ric Flair. Love him or hate him, Cena is in some impressive company.
Many readers of these rankings questioned having Cena on the list at all. That's understandable. Wins and losses do matter, and Cena had not been in a match in two months. But being a No. 1 contender for a world title matters, too. It was a tough call to put him on the list a few weeks ago, but in the end, being the No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship warranted Cena's place on the list. If he would have been announced for a match, say, months from now, he would not have made the cut at all. But with only weeks between the announcement and the match, Cena needed to be on the list.
With his victory over Del Rio, Cena, once again, nears the top of the rankings.
Previous Rank: 2
Movement: Up 1
Randy Orton regained the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell. In the Hell in a Cell match, there are basically no rules other than any pinfall or submission must happen inside the ring.
Orton needed all the help he could get. After Shawn Michaels counted a two-count late in the match, Triple H stormed out of the back and distracted Michaels, yelling at him and accusing him of not doing his job. Michaels was then hit by Orton, who was pushed by Daniel Bryan. That brought Triple H into the ring, and all hell broke loose (pun once again intended).
After much confusion, Bryan hit Triple H with the flying knee, which caused Michaels to hit Bryan with Sweet Chin Music. Orton quickly went for the pin, and Michaels had no choice but to count to three. It may not have been pretty, and perhaps Triple H will strip Orton due to the chaos in the cell.
However it happened, Orton survived the cell and pinned Bryan one-two-three. He is the WWE champion, and he regains his spot atop the WWE power rankings.