Pro Wrestling Rankings Jan-25: Balor stands tall against any competition
For the second week in a row, The Demon stands tall against all competition. With his WWE Universal Championship challenge of Brock Lesnar this Sunday the Royal Rumble, WWE did a masterful job of showing that Balor can stand tall against any competition, facing him off in a competitive bout with the brute might of Braun Strowman on Monday Night Raw. Even with Lesnar stationed at ringside, Balor was able to ward off interference and take Lesnar down, showing the world that he may just be the miracle that shocks the world in Phoenix, Arizona. While Lesnar attacked and laid out Balor with an F5, the storytelling was perfect in making the audience believe in the former New Japan star.
This week Balor remains the most newsworthy competitor of the week. Whether he is able to put together an amazing performance with Lesnar and come out strong will tell the tale as to whether the FITE rankings will be presided over by The Demon three weeks in a row….
In just a few short weeks, the reigning and defending WWE Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey has expertly created momentum for her title defense against Sasha Banks at the Royal Rumble. With very few segments together, the two have done an incredible job at building the drama between them.
This week, Rousey believably came across as one would expect her to in UFC, looking to fight and assault her challenger before their tag match on Monday Night Raw. Rousey has stated in the past that her dream WWE match was with Sasha Banks and she has milked the moment for all it's worth, taking a bout that could have been cold and instead, made it one of the most compelling women's bouts on the card.
WrestleMania may be in her future, but nothing seems larger than Rousey vs. Banks. That's a massive victory before they even step inside the squared circle.
WWE made all sorts of references to David vs. Goliath this week, but the reality is that Finn Balor is actually Jack trying to make it to the top of the beanstalk and the Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar is a maniacal giant, trying to swat him away.
Lesnar has been routinely criticized here for not appearing regularly on WWE programming, which prevents him from consistently being ranked by FITE. The reality is, however, when he does appear, he creates aftershocks with the slightest of ease.
This week, he was embarrassed by Finn Balor, only to get the final shot in that ended the battle. Whether he will be able to repeat that feat this Sunday will be the difference between Brock disappearing or Brock hitting the top of the FITE rankings as WrestleMania season officially kicks into swing.
As Ring of Honor inches ever closer to the G1 Supercard, the ROH World Champion has a long weekend ahead of him.
With three ROH events from the Lone Star State broadcasting on FITE this weekend, Lethal will have his attention split in two directions. He'll be facing the formidable Vinnie Marseglia in singles competition but also tagging with Jonathan Gresham as he and The Octopus try to earn their way into this April's Crockett Cup tournament with a Tag Wars tournament victory.
The flagbearer for ROH will carry the banner into Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, live on FITE.
SETH ROLLINS & THE YOUNG BUCKS
With a shocking pinfall victory over Drew McIntyre this past Monday on Raw, the "Architect" staked his claim for victory in the 30-Man Royal Rumble bout.
Rollins has consistently been one of the best performers and talked for WWE's red brand and if there was a strong favorite for one of the most unpredictable matches of the years, it's Rollins. With Dean Ambrose, Bobby Lashley and now Drew McIntyre aiming for revenge, Rollins is also a marked man. Whether he can survive and strive has been one of the most speculated stories of the week.
Charlotte Flair has been one of the top female performers of the last few years, but one thing she hasn't done yet is compete in a Royal Rumble match.
A year ago, she was the champion. This year, she's a hungry challenger looking to chew her way through 29 other competitors in order to return to the WrestleMania pedestal and her championship crown. With so much attention on Becky Lynch of late, Flair will have the chance to compete for upwards of 60 minutes and steal the show this Sunday in Phoenix.
Could she make history as the first daughter of a Rumble winner to go on to win a Rumble? As they say, diamonds are forever….
Since walking into Ring of Honor, Jeff Cobb has crushed all competition and captured to the promotion's World Television Championship. This weekend, Cobb will step into multiple Proving Ground matches, where if his opponent can score a victory over the former Olympic athlete, they will then be granted an immediate World Television Championship title bout.
Cobb has been the king of dominating all opponents since debuting for ROH last year, but with three bouts in three days live on FITE, will the law of averages come back to bite Cobb? Or, will everyone be taking a "Tour of the Islands" as Cobb's undefeated streak grows?
If there is one competitor who carries on the flame of old school professional wrestling brawlers, it's Tommy Dreamer, who has lost blood, sweat, tears and body parts across the globe in battles with Mick Foley, Raven, Terry Funk and many, many others.
This weekend at the first-ever Bruiser Brody Cup event in Philadelphia, Dreamer steps back into the City of Brotherly Love, but this time will be facing an extreme field of competition in order to prove once and for all that he carries the spirit of hardcore wrestling.
Whether it be Sami Callihan, Matt Tremont, Stockade or a host of other sinister characters standing in Dreamer's way, he has a long night of brawling and fighting ahead of him, live on FITE.
If there is one personality who has come to define their home promotion, it's Becky Lynch, who has become synonymous with WWE's Smackdown brand.
Lynch has garnered so much momentum in recent weeks, that it's easy to forget that "The Man" is actually the competitor challenging Asuka for the Smackdown Women's Championship this Sunday in Phoenix at The Royal Rumble.
Lynch continues to wave her magic wand of charisma everywhere she goes and it's not out of the realm of possibility that when she steps out before the assembled masses at Chase Field, that she will receive one of the biggest reactions of the night. Lynch is a force of nature, the culmination of work ethic and timing coming together. Like a natural disaster, Lynch's might be impossible to escape, and all signs are she's going to engulf everyone in her wake all the way to WrestleMania. That all begins Sunday.
The Monster Among Men returned to action this past Monday in an entertaining match against Finn Balor. That was great news in and of itself, as it meant Strowman was finally cleared to return to wrestle by WWE.
More importantly, the segment setting that match up featured Strowman threatening Brock Lesnar's future, which means that Lesnar is still in Strowman's path of destruction and quite possibly, Strowman will be a surprise entrant in the 30-Man Royal Rumble match. If that proves to be the case, it's going to be a long night for the other competitors but an exciting one for Strowman's massive fan base. 2019 is off to a monstrous start.
By: Mike Johnson
Every week here at FITE, we feature the Top Ten ranked personalities in the world of professional wrestling. Unlike other combat sports, pro wrestling cannot be measured in just wins and losses, especially when the drama and excitement of the genre is specifically based around not just the physical performance, but the excitement level created by its combatants. Thus, our top ten measures the most newsworthy performers in the business, who's momentum drives not just their own career paths but the promotions they compete for.
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.