With WWE Royal Rumble 2014 in the books, we now have a clearer picture for the fast-approaching WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. But where some portions of the card are starting to come together, there's still a long way to go and plenty of questions that need answering.
We'll get into all that in the following slides. For now, 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.
In regard to the Royal Rumble, winning obviously is a great boon to any wrestler, as well as long tenures in the match and quantity of eliminations. Short runs in the match and no eliminations count against wrestlers.
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. No spoilers are included unless WWE itself acknowledges them.
Remember to check out last week's rankings here.
On to this week's rankings.
Daniel Bryan just can't catch a break. His week started well enough, helping the Usos defeat Rowan and Harper and attacking the Wyatts. But at the Royal Rumble, Bray Wyatt controlled much of the match. Bryan looked overmatched and was defeated. He put up a great fight, but it wasn't enough. Now, Bryan's next move is uncertain. Where does he go from here?
AJ Lee had a mixed week. She took the pin in a tag team loss to the Funkadactyls, which she avenged on SmackDown by pinning Naomi. She's become the longest-reigning WWE Divas champion ever recently, but she'll need to string together a few wins to get back into the top 10.
Jimmy and Jey Uso were in the Royal Rumble, though neither did anything of note. They did defeat Rowan and Harper on Raw and picked up a win in a 10-man tag match over the New Age Outlaws and The Shield. As good a week as that may seem, they were jumped in the rankings by others who had better weeks. They could be a force in the tag team division, and depending on what happens between the New Age Outlaws and the Rhodes Brothers, they could be in line for a title shot.
Previous Rank: 7
Movement: Down 3
The Rhodes Brothers are WWE Tag Team champions no more. At WWE Royal Rumble 2014, their reign ended against the New Age Outlaws. In all, their title reign lasted 104 days.
While the loss hurts, they will get a rematch. Will that be on a weekly show, or will they have to wait until Elimination Chamber? Could there be tension between brothers if they can't regain the titles?
Previous Rank: Watch List
Movement: Into Top 10
A bad start to the week for the Wyatt Family ended on a very strong note and earned them a spot in the top 10. On Raw, Eric Rowan and Luke Harper took a loss to the Usos with interference from Daniel Bryan. Things got better on SmackDown, where Rowan and Harper squashed the Prime Time Players.
Then, things really started to turn around for the Wyatts. Bray Wyatt, who had recently taken beatings from Daniel Bryan, took on Bryan once again. This time in a match. And this time, Daniel Bryan could not find a way to win.
Bray Wyatt put on one hell of a match and took it Daniel Bryan. After almost half an hour, Bray Wyatt finished of WWE's most popular wrestler and got what may be the biggest win of his career. The Wyatts move back into the top 10 with their impressive wins.
Previous Rank: Watch List
Movement: Into Top 10
The Road Dogg Jesse James and the Badass Billy Gunn, after 14 years, are once again Tag Team champions of the world. The 14-year hiatus from the top to the tag division is a WWE record.
The newly minted six-time Tag Team champions will have to change up their pre-match promo. Can they keep their titles when the Rhodes Brothers get their rematch? If so, who will they face going forward?
Previous Rank: 8
Movement: Up 1
The Shield had quite a week, especially Roman Reigns. On Raw, the trio defeated the Rhodes Brothers and Big E Langston. They did take a loss in a 10-man tag team match on SmackDown, which hampered their rise up the rankings.
At the Royal Rumble, however, they put on a show. Seth Rollins had the second-longest run in the Royal Rumble match at just over 49 minutes (second only to CM Punk). Dean Ambrose, who is still the United States champion, eliminated three men and lasted nearly 35 minutes.
But the real star was Roman Reigns. He, too, lasted nearly 35 minutes. He eliminated a whopping 12 men, which is a Royal Rumble record. Interestingly, two of those 12 man included his partners, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. And he was the final elimination, losing only to Batista, whom Reigns was nearly able to throw over the top rope.
The Shield had a rather impressive week, and Reigns had one of the best Royal Rumble performances ever. But what will Rollins and Ambrose have to say after being eliminated by Reigns?
Previous Rank: 3
Movement: Down 3
Big E Langston had a great opportunity to make an impact in the Royal Rumble match, but he failed to last even three minutes. The reigning WWE Intercontinental champion only won this week when a 10-man tag match broke down on SmackDown and he and his team earned a DQ win.
Otherwise, he lost in a tag match on Raw to the Shield. Not a great week. What's next for Big E? Perhaps tonight's Raw will reveal the answer.
Previous Rank: 1
Movement: Down 4
John Cena only had one match this week, and he lost. Yes, he chased Randy Orton out of the arena on Raw, but he just wasn't able to finish him off. The story was the same at the Royal Rumble.
Cena and Orton had a long match that the fans were not into, and that's an understatement. But that wasn't Cena's undoing. The Wyatts appeared out of nowhere, allowing Orton to hit an RKO and defeat Cena. Then, Cena was beat down by the Wyatts.
If Orton was right, Cena goes to the back of the line. He may be out of the title picture for some time. Cena may have missed his opportunity, and will have to work vary hard to get another title shot.
Previous Rank: 5
Movement: Up 1
CM Punk had a good week. On Raw, he defeated Billy Gunn. A win is always a good way to start a week. And he capped it off with a very good performance in the Royal Rumble.
Of course, he did not win. CM Punk can thank Kane, who was eliminated long before he came back to pull CM punk over the top rope. But he lasted (if my timer was accurate) just over 49 minutes, good enough for the 12th-longest run in the Royal Rumble ever.
Had Kane not interfered, he may have won. Now, CM Punk will have to got to war with Kane, it seems. Can he get past Kane and get back into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture?
Previous Rank: N/A
Movement: Outta Nowhere!
Batista is back, and with a vengeance. He returned this past Monday on Raw, calling out Randy Orton and powerbombing Alberto Del Rio. And then came the Royal Rumble.
Batista was seen by many as a favorite to win, and he did just that. Entering at No. 28, he eliminated four men, including Roman Reigns as the last elimination, en route to winning his second Royal Rumble. He also became one of only five men to win multiple Royal Rumbles.
It was vary clear, however, that the Pittsburgh crowd was not happy that Daniel Bryan was not in the Rumble, and they let the participants hear all about it once Rey Mysterio was revealed as entrant No. 30. The fans wanted Bryan, but they got Batista. Now, he will headline WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. The only question remaining is, who will he face?
Previous Rank: 4
Movement: Up 2
Brock Lesnar appears poised to be the next challenger to Randy Orton's WWE World Heavyweight Championship. During a promo on last week's Raw, Triple H seemed to indicate Brock Lesnar was, in fact, in line for a title shot after the Cena-Orton match at the Royal Rumble.
Brock Lesnar got punched out by Big Show again on Raw. But that would not be a harbinger of things to come.
Brock Lesnar destroyed Big Show at the Royal Rumble. Before the match even began, Lesnar hit Big Show with chair shot after chair shot. Then, when the match began, he took a KO punch but kept going. In just a few minutes, he had hit Big Show with an F5 and defeated him.
Then, he spent the five minutes or so hitting Big Show with chair after chair, almost non-stop. It was a brutal beatdown. Lesnar showed exactly why he's perhaps the most feared man on the WWE roster. Randy Orton better watch out.
Previous Rank: 2
Movement: Up 1
Randy Orton reclaims the top spot in the WWE Power Rankings after defeating John Cena at WWE Royal Rumble 2014. It was a longer match, and the fans were clearly not into what they were seeing. Perhaps, as Jerry Lawler suggested, the fans were just trying to get under Orton's skin.
Whatever the reason, the fans were giving it to Orton (and Cena, too) all night. And despite a hostile crowd, Randy Orton defeated John Cena. The match could only be won by pinfall or submission, yet when Orton hit Cena with the title belt late in the contest, he tried to hide it. He would have been wise to use the belt again, seeing as there was no way he could have been disqualified But, in the end, it didn't matter.
The Wyatts came out, and that was the opening Orton needed. He finally finished off Cena and got out of Dodge before the Wyatts could get their hands on him. They took care of Cena instead.
Randy Orton has vanquished John Cena and likely won't have to worry about him again. That is, unless Orton is forced to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship inside the Elimination Chamber against five other men. If he does, Cena could get another crack at the title.
Randy Orton can breathe a little easier, but only for a few weeks. After all, Batista, Brock Lesnar and perhaps others are all lining up do take on the champion.