Weekly Pro Wrestling Rankings July 5
July 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.
2. Jay LethalWhen Ring of Honor presented Best in the World on FITE last week, Jay Lethal wasn't even involved in the ROH World Championship main event. He was set to face KUSHIDA, continuing his retribution tour. Lethal scored that win, but the biggest win came the next day at a ROH TV taping in Fairfax, Virginia where Lethal stunned the world and captured the victory in a Four Way, becoming ROH World Champion for the second time in his career. The victory changed the entire paradigm of ROH as a promotion and catapults Lethal into a top position in the FITE rankings. As ROH heads to Nashville for another big broadcast on FITE, the entire face of the company will change, rebuilt around its new nucleus, a Champion who earned him way back from the brink of oblivion.
3. AJ StylesThe reigning and defending WWE Champion circled the globe over the last week to promote WWE's massive event in Australia this October before headlining events in Thailand and Japan. He then returned to the airwaves on Smackdown Live with a memorable defeat of Aiden English. With Extreme Rules just weeks away, Styles' showdown with Rusev has become a major focal point of the show, foreshadowing what looks to be an incredibly entertaining first-time encounter for the championship. Styles is the machine that makes Smackdown run smoothly.
4. Mark Briscoe & Jay BriscoeThe forefathers of Ring of Honor in many ways, Mark and Jay Briscoe march to the beat of their own weathered, brutal drum. With an incredible encounter against The Young Bucks at ROH's Best in the World event on FITE, Delaware's favorite sons proved once again that they don't make a statement when they step into the ring, they make a nuclear exclamation. As ROH ramps up its scheduled for the summer, the Briscoes remain the gatekeepers of the ROH World Tag Team Championship, prepared to leave a path of destruction in their wake. In a world where every theme has been turned into a theme park, the Briscoes remain steadfast in their vision of being throwback, badass brawlers.
5. Roman ReignsRoman Reigns took part in two matches and a lengthy opening segment on this past week's Monday Night Raw, showing yet again the strong investment WWE has made into "The Big Dog." Whether it was setting the stage for his showdown with Bobby Lashley at Extreme Rules, going toe to toe with Drew McIntyre or helping to repair the credibility of The Revival, Roman is the river that everything flows through on Raw. Add in strong performances at all of the Raw live events over the past week and it's easy to see why Reigns is Superman-Punching his way into the imaginations of fans worldwide, whether they like him or not.
7. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)Whether it be continuously creating a new breed of fans with their YouTube series, setting records with sales of their Funko dolls in Hot Topic stores, or weaving masterpieces like their match against The Briscoes at ROH's Best in the World event on FITE, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson are the leaders in today's pro wrestling revolution. They change the parameters of what works in pro wrestling, they push the art-form to the next level and they bring forth waves of new energy and audience members. It's impossible not to be impressed and jealous with the kingdom they have built for themselves, brick by brick, superkick by superkick.
8. Johnny GarganoThis week, Johnny Gargano scored an impressive victory over rising star EC3 on WWE NXT's weekly series, but what has captured the attention of Johnny Wrestling's fans worldwide is the actions of NXT's biggest hero during the bout. Descending into the type of antics that he usually stands steadfast against in his battles with Tommaso Ciampa, Gargano appeared to be dipping into the dark side, obviously broken by his recent loss to Ciampa at Takeover: Chicago. This type of slow, emotional story is the type of strategy that can blow back on all involved, but Gargano is so versatile at everything he does that, like a conductor, he is instead taking the audience down before he rises them back up as they live vicariously through his journey to redemption.
10. Buddy MurphyFor months, WWE has worked to retool and revitalize their 205 Live series. Meanwhile, Buddy Murphy was toiling in the WWE NXT system. When the two were put together like chocolate and peanut butter, an explosion of creativity and work ethic brought each side to a new level. This past week, Murphy's incredibly excellent no disqualification war against Mustafa Ali brought incredible action and high-flying feats that shattered the idea that 205 Live was the brand fans could skip. Murphy is part of a new breed of Cruiserweights, an army of great athletes tired of being overlooked who are willing to leave their hearts and souls out there in the ring, physically pushing themselves to the forefront. This week's statement is only the prologue of Murphy's WWE story.
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 .