Weekly Pro Wrestling Rankings April 5
April 5, 2018
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.
1. Brock Lesnar
"The Beast" often proclaims he is going to take his hapless victims to Suplex City, but this week, the WWE Universal champion is on a one-way ticket to WrestleMania City. While his championship match against Roman Reigns continues to be marketed as one of the most important WWE attractions of the year, the future of Brock Lesnar (or lack thereof) has been one of the most dissected topics of pro wrestling's fandom. Whether Lesnar is driving Reigns to the mat with a ferocious F5 or simply garnering attention based on the idea that he may very well exit World Wrestling Entertainment this weekend, the solar system that is WWE revolves around Lesnar. That is the type of might and power that drives the industry and brings Lesnar right back to the top of the FITE Rankings. Whether this is his last stand or not, Lesnar marches into WrestleMania as the most newsworthy and the most powerful personality in professional wrestling. Where he goes from there remains to be seen.
2. Roman Reigns
By the next edition of the FITE Rankings Roman Reigns may stand atop of WWE, having main evented WrestleMania yet again. It's entirely within the realm of reason that Reigns will have banished Brock Lesnar from WWE, capturing the Universal championship in the process, but whether he has accomplished that goal or not, his work continues to drive WWE's business. Reigns is a divisive personality, but his performances in the ring are without question. This past week, Reigns once again showcased his excellent speaking prowess, setting up a violent cliffhanger that preview his main event showdown against Lesnar in New Orleans. Loved, yet hated. A hero who is scorned by a portion of the audience he performs for, Reigns continues to stand within the maelstrom, all eyes on him. He's on the cusp of greatness yet again, keeping him in the secondary position in the FITE rankings.
Well, where was he? That seemed to be the most asked question of the week, as Undertaker did not follow the usual rules of engagement in professional wrestler. For weeks, John Cena has been calling the Phenom out, leading to the assumption that he would certainly respond to the challenge laid out before him. After all, it's not WrestleMania without The Undertaker, right? As the saying goes, silence is golden. Undertaker's silence has also been deafening in that his non-appearances have served to stoke the flames of fan interest and indeed, concern that he may not be appearing in New Orleans. It goes without saying that all pro wrestlers want to hold their audience in the palm of their hands. Amazingly, The Undertaker doesn't even need to appear to whip up fan interest and speculation. That is a superpower unlike anyone that has come before The Undertaker. Whether he marches down the aisle to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or not, The Undertaker remains one of the most discussion and debated personalities in professional wrestling. Now imagine the reaction if he does answer John Cena's call?
4. John Cena
The idea that John Cena has no path to WrestleMania without the Undertaker facing him is a goofy, dubious claim, to say the least. However, the fact that Cena has been able to conjure up an extreme amount of interest based on that claim as well as his call-out of The Undertaker just serves to remind viewers that Cena can say and do anything. His innate charisma and ability to convey just about anything in a way that hooked the audience makes Cena one of the all-time greats, and this week, keeps him the upper echelon of the FITE rankings.
5. AJ Styles
The reigning and defending WWE champion was back in full force this week, headlining Smackdown Live in a tag team bout against Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable. Showing no sign of the knee issue that had been hampering him, Styles took part in an entertaining tag bout that also served to enhance the issues between he and his partner and WrestleMania 34 challenger, Shinsuke Nakamura. With most observers under the belief the two will put together an incredible showing in New Orleans, Styles' placement in the FITE rankings is reinforced.
Whether it be an easy win over Mickie James during a tag team match on Raw or her intense faceoff with Charlotte Flair on Smackdown, Asuka brings a great zest to everything she does. Now, she stands on the precipice of the greatest stage she's ever competed on - WrestleMania. Asuka exudes a legitimate aura of greatness. Unless she and Charlotte prove to have a chemistry so caustic that it destroys everything in its path, they are all but guaranteed a classic match this Sunday in New Orleans. With an endless run of great performances, Asuka may soon rise back to the top of the FITE Rankings. The Empress of Tomorrow is ready to conquer the day.
Like all McMahons before her, Stephanie McMahon portrays a heck of a villain. That sneering arrogance was never more on display as it was during her face-off against Ronda Rousey this past Monday on Raw. McMahon chose her words carefully, letting them linger as she battered the former UFC Bantamweight champion with legitimate criticisms. As an antagonist, McMahon is untouched. Even the physicality at the end, McMahon chokeslamming the MMA star through a table to close the segment, came as a surprise. After all, who would have expected McMahon to get the better of Ronda physically? It that sort of twist and McMahon's condescending ability to incite anger towards her that lands her on the FITE rankings for the first time ever.
Nakamura has been playing psychological warfare with WWE champion AJ Styles, claiming that he lets his emotions get the better of him, a weakness that will allow Nakamura to capture the WWE championship at WrestleMania 34, adding a nice twist to the story of their showdown this weekend. Nakamura is one of the all-time greats, but his overall WWE performance has been underwhelming on the Smackdown roster. The next several days will tell the tale as to whether Nakamura can have a time capsule worthy performance at the biggest show of the year and if he can, whether that's enough to finally bring him all the WWE success that was predicted for him the second he signed with the company. The coming week will tell the tale.
9. Randy Orton
The current WWE United States champion is a man of few words and one impactful move, the RKO. He doesn't get involved in all the over the top pageantry and hype and there's good reason. As was seen on Smackdown, he only needs hit the ring and snap the RKO to remind everyone that all eyes should be on him. At Wrestlemania, they will be, his bold statement made.
With so much of the hype for the Smackdown Women's championship match at WrestleMania being based around the hype for Asuka's undefeated streak, Charlotte Flair returned from a week off due to injury the old-fashioned way - she let her work inside the ring do the talking for her. Whether it was her performance in the Mixed Match Challenge finals, foiling Carmella's attempts to cash in the Money in the Bank Briefcase or Flair's impressive Smackdown Live singles bout against Natalya, she reminded everyone that she's called The Queen for a reason, her excellent, fluid, masterful in-ring skills. That is something no hype, no hyperbole can match. Win or lose, Flair can hold her head high, knowing she has evolved into a true franchise performer.
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.