In less than one week, WWE COO Triple H has guaranteed a single unified champion will emerge. Will that be John Cena, Randy Orton or possibly someone else? WWE title matches have had some strange endings lately, so who knows what we'll see at the end of the pay-per-view? But every indication is that WWE, and pro wrestling as a whole, is about to lose one world title.
Heading into WWE TLC 2013, there is a new No. 1, and there's been some movement elsewhere in the rankings.
Before getting into all that, 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 a wrestler's ranking. Wins and losses account for much of the week-to-week movement. "Getting the better" of someone, like beating someone down as well as "getting got," counts as well, though not as much as wins and losses.
Only the top 10 wrestlers 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, and their listing is in no particular order.
Generally speaking, the rankings do not break kayfabe, though any major non-storyline information (serious injury, WWE Wellness Policy violations, legitimate hirings, firings and contract information, etc.) may be included.
Remember to check out last week's rankings here.
Now on to this week's rankings.
Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio is in trouble. He lost to Sin Cara via pinfall and with another loss may well fall out of consideration for top-10 status. For someone so recently in contention for a world title, he has fallen a long way.
Ryback and Curtis Axel
It seems official: Ryback and Curtis Axel are a tag team. So they will be ranked as one until they split up. They've gotten some big wins recently, including one over The Miz and Kofi Kingston and another over the Rhode Brothers. Ryback's DQ loss to Goldust on Main Event kept them out of the top 10, but if they keep winning, they'll get there. They may even get a Tag Team title shot.
What started as a slow week ended with a bang when Mysterio teamed with Big Show to defeat the Real Americans. If he and Big Show form a team, they'll be entering an already crowded division.
In the only match of the week for the group, Eric Rowan lost to Daniel Bryan. While they did cost Bryan a win on SmackDown with a distraction, their slow week drops them out of the top 10.
Another team that is getting lost in the sauce, the Usos have serious competition in the tag team division. They defeated 3MB twice, once on Superstars and once on Main Event. Since 3MB is basically just the whipping boys of the tag division, these wins are not exactly anything to write home about. They'll need wins against better competition to get back into the top 10.
Previous Rank: Watch List
Movement: Into Top 10
With a dominating win over Fandango on Raw, Mark Henry continues his winning streak. He looks to be in good physical shape and could make a run at Big E Langston's Intercontinental Championship. That is, if he betrays his new-found friend.
Henry looks like he's poised for a big run in WWE, but he needs to stay healthy. He's been unable to do that in recent years. Can he keep this momentum going without getting hurt? And how will his relationship with Big E play out?
Previous Rank: 7
Movement: Down 2
Big Show had a mixed week, losing on Raw to The Shield while teaming with the Rhodes Brothers, but then he got a win over the Real Americans when he teamed with Rey Mysterio on SmackDown. Big Show looks to be done with the main event scene, and that could bode ill for him.
Show seems to have forgotten what's happened between himself and Triple H. After all, doesn't Triple H still own Big Show's house? Isn't Big Show still broke? Who helped him access the WWE arenas when he was fired? We'll probably never get these issues resolved, which is truly disappointing. Does Big Show have amnesia?
Previous Rank: N/A
Movement: Outta Nowhere!
Damien Sandow, after looking like he'd fall off the map after failing to cash-in on his Money in the Bank contract, has rebounded nicely and is now No. 1 Contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Big E Langston will be a challenge, but Sandow is a veteran and may have some tricks up his sleeve.
Sandow defeated Dolph Ziggler on Raw to earn his No. 1 Contender status and then defeated R-Truth on Main Event for good measure. Sandow needs to win or at least stay in the IC title picture to remain in the top 10. Can he win the belt this Sunday?
Previous Rank: 8
Movement: Up 1
The Rhodes Brothers moved up only because Big Show moved down. Otherwise, their weeks was not great. Losses to The Shield on Raw and Axel and Ryback on SmackDown were only mitigated by Goldust's DQ win over Ryback on Main Event.
As Tag Team champions, their list of opponents grows, which will make it that much harder to hold on to those Tag Team Championship belts. But that also makes their titles that much more important, helping their positioning in the top 10.
Previous Rank: 6
Big E Langston had a fairly slow week, getting a win over Fandango on SmackDown and not much else. Big E now has to look out for Damien Sandow, who will try and end his nascent Intercontinental Championship reign.
Big E has backup, in the form of Mark Henry, that could help him keep the title. But is Mark Henry to be trusted? Could Henry be "keeping his enemy closer"? If Henry is eying the IC title, Big E may have a big problem.
Previous Rank: 5
Daniel Bryan had a tough week. He was harassed by the Wyatts on Raw, though he did manage to defeat Eric Rowan via pinfall. Then, he lost a big match on SmackDown to Randy Orton. Granted, the Wyatts provided the distraction that cost him his biggest match in a while.
It's unclear if Bryan will still team with CM Punk going forward. If he does, will they, too, become more of a team that singles wrestlers? If not, will Bryan be able to get himself back into the whatever-the-new-unified-title-will-be-called picture?
Previous Rank: 4
The Shield got another big win this week over Big Show and the Rhodes Brothers on Raw. Then, things got a bit dicey, and signs of cracking up may be showing again.
Roman Reigns wanted to take out CM Punk, but Dean Ambrose was insistent he'd be the one, not Reigns, to take out Punk. Reigns did not look happy about that. Ambrose then lost to CM Punk in a great match on SmackDown, but the loss hurts Ambrose's standing in the group and may give Reigns more incentive to challenge Ambrose.
The Shield holds steady this week, but the trio will need to get back on the same page if they hope to remain the dominant force that they are.
Previous Rank: 3
CM Punk is preparing to fight for his life at WWE TLC 2013. He was told he'd be facing The Shield alone at the pay-per-view. But his week would get better in defeating United States champion Dean Ambrose on SmackDown.
That was a big win, and if CM Punk can escape with a win at TLC, he may well jump into the No. 2 spot. That is, if we actually get a clear winner in the title unification match.
Previous Rank: 1
Movement: Down 1
John Cena had no matches this week, and that, coupled with Orton's win, was enough to drop Cena from the No. 1 spot. But that's not to say Cena didn't do anything.
Cena, during the contract signing ceremony on Raw with Orton, managed to attack Orton and AA him through two tables. Cena is probably the odds-on favorite to unify the titles at TLC. And a win will mean he'll enter his 14th world title reign. But this week, he drops to No. 2.
Previous Rank: 2
Movement: Up 1
Randy Orton finally unseats John Cena as No. 1 in the Power Rankings with a big victory over Daniel Bryan on SmackDown. Yes, he needed a distraction from the Wyatts to finish off Bryan. But it was a huge win for him, nonetheless.
Orton was humiliated on Raw by Cena and needed to establish himself as a winner. He did, and over a top-five wrestler at that. As WWE champion, he finally got the win needed to move him ahead of Cena. While the bookies will likely favor Cena at TLC, if Orton can come out of the pay-per-view as the unified champion, he'll cement his place in WWE history as one of the best in this (or any other) generation.
He's going for his 12th world title reign. And at 33, he'd be poised to challenge for Ric Flair's record 16 world title reigns (some argue Flair actually had 21 world title reigns, but who's counting?). Orton tops the rankings this week. Can he get a huge, career-validating win over Cena at TLC?