Pro Wrestling Rankings July 24 - JON MOXLEY remains undefeated
...If there's anyone who could walk out undefeated, it might very well be Jon Moxley.
Stop us if you recall reading this before – Jon Moxley remains undefeated in New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Climax, as not even the vaunted Tetsuya Naito could defeat the former WWE Champion. As Moxley continues to let loose in the ring and with some of the most passionate interviews seen in recent years, he continues to whip up incredible support and interest. With AEW All Out, GCW Bloodsport and more all on the table, a normal competitor would be spreading himself too thin, but Moxley isn't just any competitor, any wrestler, any brawler. He's Moxley - he isn't looking past the G1. He's put together one of the best win/loss records in years, has brought a newfound American audience to New Japan and is looking to walk into AEW on TNT having won the entire G1 Tournament. If there's anyone who could walk out undefeated, it might very well be Jon Moxley.
Just when you think you have all the answers, Brock Lesnar changes the questions. It appeared we were going to get just another Brock Lesnar run up to Summerslam. Some promos. Some appearances. Brock performs and then disappears, but once again, Lesnar changed the entire level of expectations. Appearing on this Monday's Raw, the WWE Universal Champion destroyed Seth Rollins in an incredibly violent scene that saw a slew of villains attack Rollins' would-be rescuers, leaving The BeastSlayer prone to being dropped out of an ambulance and hit with one final F-5 on a gurney. WWE likes to put smiles on people's face but this week, the old school pro wrestling commandment: make the villain as monstrous as possible, reared its ugly head. One again Brock Smash!
Once again, the WWE Champion provides some inspiring performances inside the ring, this week defeating a game WWE United States Champion in AJ Styles on Smackdown Live. On live events, Kingston continues to dazzle fans heading into Summerslam with victories over Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens, among others. As Kofi heads towards Randy Orton at Summerslam, the Viper continues to launch ghosts from the past at Kingston. Whether those demons empower the WWE titleholders or lead to his title reign's demise, only time can tell, but until the moment that bell rings, Kofi is the champion of the people and he continues to accentuate the positives his legacy will leave behind for generations to come.
The build to the Raw Women's Champion's title defense against Natalya at Summerslam continues to boil over as the rivalry gets more and more personal the closer it leads to the MegaCity, Toronto. Lynch remains one of WWE's most popular performers in the ring and at the merchandise stand, the nucleus of all things on the Raw side of WWE's touring live events, where she continues to put Lacey Evans in her place. The Man continues to reign.
Strange things are afoot for the great Roman Reigns. Whether it be sneak attacks from Samoa Joe or an entire interview set nearly decimating the heart and soul of Smackdown live on TV, WWE's decision to put the spotlight on Reigns this of all weeks doesn't come as a surprise, as he'll have a featured role in The Rock's Hobbs & Shaw film that will be released August 2nd With Summerslam and Smackdown on FOX on the horizon, all eyes are on the Big Dog as viewers attempt to resolve a number of cliffhangers.
The former Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard will hit rarified air this weekend in California, as she faces Sami Callihan in a rematch from their vaunted Slammiversary PPV main event. The winner will have the ability to challenge Impact Champion Brian Cage, placing Blanchard into the position of being the first-ever woman to challenge for the Impact World Championship. Never one to shy from a challenge, Blanchard is about to face her greatest one to date – and if she is successful, she'll have a chance to do something no one in the Blanchard family tree has been able to achieve – World Heavyweight Championship gold. The road to greatness begins this weekend. Buy stock in Tessa Blanchard Enterprises.
Of all the Executive Vice Presidents of All Elite Wrestling, if there is one who is taking the pressure and the potential of the company's debut on TNT personal, it's Cody. After all, his father, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes presided over the creative of the glory days of pro wrestling on Turner Broadcasting. Now, Cody gets a chance to do the same for WarnerMedia. This week, he put his money where his mouth is, announcing that he'll face Sammy Guevara on the first episode of AEW on TNT. Before he gets to walk the same hallowed ground as his father, Cody will step into the ring at All Out, likely against Shawn Spears. The American Nightmare is living the dream, indeed, on FITE and beyond.
It was announced this week on Smackdown Live that WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus would step back into the ring for a top notch, competitive singles bout for the first time since she retired in Toronto in 2006. Her opponent for Stratus' return in Toronto – Charlotte Flair. If there was one dream match that could make generations of WWE fans turn their heads in shock and excitement, this is the one. We've seen Stratus in the ring on occasion over the last 14 years, but never something at this level. What will Trish bring to the table? Already the speculation and excitement is rising, and it will continue to do so all the way to Summerslam.
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
A few weeks ago, it appeared the former IWGP Tag Team Champions could be heading back to New Japan, as their WWE run had stagnated one of the hardest hitting tag teams into obscurity with worthless creative direction. The pair had even turned down a massive offer to remain with the company. Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the Tokyo Dome -WWE made amends with the team and Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows regained their form in front of the camera. Reforming the "O.C." with AJ Styles was step one. Step two was being given an opportunity, one that snared the Magic Killers the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship. Now, WWE has a motivated Anderson and Gallows on their roster – something that should have existed all along, but didn't due to creative rot. Better later than never.
Joey Janela is the last maverick left in professional wrestling. A self-made star who rose from the alphabet soup of independent wrestlers toiling on across the country all the way to All Elite Wrestling, Janela has used a combination of smart marketing, over the top violence and pure sleaze to stand tall and exemplify the type of rebel spirit that used to run roughshod across pro wrestling. Whether it be getting into brawls at Blink-182 concerts or using social media to shoot verbal weapons of mass destruction at those unfortunate enough to be caught in his crosshairs, Janela has whipped up a maelstrom of insanity. With AEW preparing to hit international TV this October, Janela will leave the scene that set him up for stardom – and it's only appropriate that GCW's Farewell to the Bad Boy will air live on FITE from Asbury Park this September. With a path of destruction as long as long as the Jersey Shore behind him, the only thing promised is a future carved in blood and chaos.
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.