In less than a week, WWE Elimination Chamber 2014 will take place. The final pay-per-view before WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans is shaping up to be a big event.
In this week's rankings, some big movement has occurred as well. And after this Sunday, more movement is possible, if not likely. More on all this in a moment.
Also, congratulations to Lita, who has been announced at the latest inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame. She's truly a unique female wrestler who entertained us all with high-flying moves and big-time moments. If any Diva from the Attitude Era deserves induction, it's Lita (yes, Trish Stratus, too, but she's already been inducted).
Before we get into the rankings, here's how they 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. Being "over" with the fans is considered but not heavily weighted in the ranking decisions.
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, these 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 acknowledges them.
All WWE shows, televised or digitally distributed, as well as anything from WWE.com, the WWE App and any WWE or Superstar social media account that does not break kayfabe is taken into consideration.
Remember to check out last week's rankings here.
The Usos had a great week and might have earned themselves a shot at the New Age Outlaws' WWE Tag Team Championships. If so, they've leapfrogged the Rhodes Brothers, who keep retreating further from the title picture. This week, after Jey pinned Road Dogg in an eight-man tag match on SmackDown, we may see the Usos become the No. 1 contenders and get a match against Road Dogg and Billy Gunn at Elimination Chamber.
The Rhodes Brothers
Speaking of The Rhodes Brothers, Cody Rhodes and Goldust may be out of luck in getting another shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships. After losing in a steel cage on Raw previously, this week, they teamed with Rey Mysterio on Raw and lost to The Wyatt family. Then on SmackDown, they were on the winning team with The Usos in a victory over RybAxel and the New Age Outlaws. But The Usos were the stars of the match. Can The Rhodes Brothers get back into the title picture, or is their time in the sun over?
Christian, by all appearances, has to be considered the least likely wrestler to come out of the Elimination Chamber match with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. His week was mixed. He teamed with Sheamus and defeated the Real Americans on Raw. But on SmackDown, in a six-man tag match with Daniel Bryan and Sheamus against The Shield, Christian was accidentally Brogue Kicked by Sheamus, and he was pinned by Dean Ambrose. Will Christian let this bump in the road get to him, or will he keep his eye on the prize?
Brock Lesnar falls out of the top 10 after being idle since his victory at the Royal Rumble over Big Show. Now he isn't even claiming to be the self-proclaimed No. 1 contender. At this point, he likely won't be at Elimination Chamber, and where he goes from here is unclear. Another week of inactivity and The Beast Incarnate may not even make the Watch List.
Previous Rank: 4
Movement: Down 6
Since the Royal Rumble, Batista has not wrestled one single match. And even though he put a beating on Alberto Del Rio on Raw, he drops significantly. He still has just one scheduled match between now and WrestleMania XXX, since we'll see him face Del Rio at Elimination Chamber. Will he have any other matches between Sunday and WrestleMania?
His position could not be justified when, week after week, he appears but doesn't wrestle. He probably should have dropped a bit further last week, but others below him had bad weeks as well, keeping him in better position.
We'll need to see Batista compete in and win a match this week if he hopes to stay in the top 10. As WrestleMania XXX approaches, he'll probably improve his rankings again. But for now, he's nearly fallen out of the top 10.
Previous Rank: 7
Movement: Down 2
The New Age Outlaws did not have a great week. On Raw, Road Dogg tried to play a prank on Betty White by spiking her tea with eye drops, which is supposed to give people diarrhea. Instead, Betty White noticed and switched her tea with Billy Gunn's. Mr. Ass drank it and may or may not have later soiled himself while doing commentary during a tag team match.
Then on SmackDown, they teamed with RybAxel in an eight-man tag team match against The Usos and The Rhodes Brothers. Road Dogg was pinned by Jey Uso in a losing effort.
The big question is, whom will they face at Elimination Chamber for the WWE Tag Team Championships? Will it be The Rhodes? The Usos? The safe money would be The Usos after the loss on SmackDown. Can they retain their titles?
Previous Rank: 10
Movement: Up 2
The Wyatt Family is rounding into form for their huge matchup at Elimination Chamber against The Shield. With multiple victories this week, they are showing they're ready for The Shield.
On Raw, they defeated The Rhodes Brothers and Rey Mysterio and then stared down The Shield in a teaser for what we'll see in six days. Then, they defeated Los Matadores and Rey Mysterio on Main Event. Finally, they took their talents back to NXT, where Rowan and Harper destroyed Jason Jordan and Marcus Louis.
The members of The Shield had better watch out, because The Wyatt Family is ready to conquer WWE like they conquered NXT. The Wyatts are here. Is The Shield ready?
Previous Rank: 8
Movement: Up 1
The Shield looks ready to take on, and take down, the Wyatt Family this Sunday. On Raw, Dean Ambrose took a DQ loss to Mark Henry in a United States Championship match. Ambrose retained his title, but the match was just a prelude to the bigger story from Raw, which was the staredown they had with The Wyatts. The Wyatts came out to confront The Shield, but The Shield did not back down, and The Wyatts backed off.
Then on SmackDown, the trio defeated Sheamus, Christian and Daniel Bryan in a six-man tag team match. And they looked as impressive as ever in the win. The Shield has shown signs of dissension recently, so it's imperative the group doesn't let any potential personal issues get in the way.
If Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins can defeat The Wyatts, though, they will be poised to remain dominant for a long time.
Previous Rank: 5
Movement: Down 1
Sheamus has been on a roll since returning in the Royal Rumble match after a long absence. And he's been making up for lost time by hitting a lot of Brogue Kicks lately.
On Monday, all was well. He teamed with Christian in a win over RybAxel. But on SmackDown, the Brogue Kick betrayed the Celtic Warrior. Instead of kicking Dean Ambrose, he leveled his partner Christian, costing Christian, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan a loss in a six-man tag match against The Shield.
Can Sheamus recover from the loss and avoid issues with Christian heading into Elimination Chamber? And more importantly, will he end the week by winning his fourth world championship?
Previous Rank: 6
Movement: Up 1
Anyone who goes 3-0 in a given week is bound to move up, even if the competition isn't top quality. And that's exactly what Big E did this week.
On Main Event, Big E dispatched Drew McIntyre, and then in a second match, he took care of business against Jinder Mahal. Then on Superstars, he defeated Drew McIntyre again. Even though the wins were against members of 3MB, wins are wins. And Drew McIntyre is no slouch.
Big E will have to contend with Jack Swagger this Sunday in an Intercontinental Championship defense at Elimination Chamber. Can he hold onto the title and stave off the challenge of Swagger?
Previous Rank: Watch List
Movement: Into Top 10
The Real Americans started off their week much like they did many other weeks. That is, they took a loss to another tag team. On Raw, they lost to Sheamus and Christian, and it appeared their week would be like most other weeks they usually have.
Then came SmackDown. First, Jack Swagger defeated three other men (Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio) in a Fatal 4-Way match to become the No. 1 contender for Big E Langston's Intercontinental Championship. That alone might have been enough to get them into the top 10. But what Cesaro (it's now just Cesaro) did later would catapult The Real Americans to their highest rank ever in these rankings.
As Randy Orton continues to the gauntlet against his Elimination Chamber opponents, Cesaro was a name that most people could have felt reasonably confident they could circle as a win for Orton. Perhaps Orton took Cesaro for granted. Or perhaps Cesaro is just that good. At least on SmackDown, Cesaro was that good.
With no interference, no distractions and no excuses, Cesaro defeated WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton in the middle of the ring. It is potentially a career-making victory. Cesaro could end becoming a new star. And his prospects in the Elimination Chamber just went way up. People are talking about Cesaro, and you can bet his opponents will take notice.
This Sunday, The Real Americans could be holding the Intercontinental Championship and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Zeb Colter's stud athletes may well do him proud this Sunday.
Previous Rank: 2
Movement: Down 1
Daniel Bryan, heading into the Elimination Chamber match, hasn't quite been able to get his focus off of Kane. On Raw, he beat down Kane as the Big Red Monster announced he'd been placed on a one-week leave by The Authority for his past actions. Bryan got a measure of revenge, but he couldn't carry that momentum into SmackDown.
On Friday, he teamed with Sheamus and Christian in a loss to The Shield. While he wasn't the one pinned, the loss hurts. He's got to build some momentum heading into the Elimination Chamber match. He's the smallest competitor in the match, and his opponents are acutely aware he's full of energy and can devastate opponents in a flash. He'll be a target. Can he win the title against five bigger competitors who will undoubtedly be gunning for him?
Previous Rank: 1
Movement: Down 1
Randy Orton's week was terrible. On Raw, he lost cleanly to John Cena. Then, as mentioned in a previous slide, he lost cleanly to Cesaro. For a champion, this is almost as bad a week as you can have. The only consolation is that he's still WWE World Heavyweight champion, and he's still a heavy favorite to retain the title.
Orton has a tough task ahead. He's been in six Elimination Chamber matches in his career and won exactly zero of them. Tonight on Raw, he's got Sheamus one-on-one. Can Orton salvage the gauntlet with a win over a tough competitor?
Previous Rank: 3
Movement: Up 2
John Cena only appeared on Raw this week, but he made the most of the appearance. Cena was the third opponent of Randy Orton in an ongoing series of matches ordered by The Authority that has Orton competing against all five of his Elimination Chamber opponents. Cena took advantage of the opportunity and got a much-needed victory over the WWE World Heavyweight champion.
Cena is likely a safe bet to be the one to unseat Orton as WWE World Heavyweight champion and head into WrestleMania XXX to face Batista. He's got a history of winning tough matches and winning championships. And he's no stranger to winning in the Chamber, either. He's notched three Elimination Chamber wins, which is second all time and only trails Triple H's four wins.
Cena is already in rare territory, and every win he gets in big matches seems to be of the record-tying or record-breaking variety. A win here would give him a staggering 15th world title reign and a record-tying fourth Elimination Chamber win. Will we be seeing Cena hoist the title and point at the WrestleMania sign come Sunday night?