Weekly Pro Wrestling Rankings March 1
March 1, 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. Roman Reigns
This past weekend solidified the fact that Roman Reigns will be going to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, challenging Universal champion Brock Lesnar. Reigns not only walked out of the Elimination Chamber bout, once again emerging the victor at a major WWE PPV event, but for the first time in a long, long time, appears to have finally, possibly, at long last, started to turn the tide of the fans that have been jeering him. On Monday, Reigns cut a passionate promo from the heart about his loyalty to professional wrestling and the long lineage of his family in that world. Reigns used that passion to produce one of his best in-ring interviews in a long time, comparing the time he puts in for World Wrestling Entertainment to the schedule Lesnar has for the company. The promo hit a nerve and it worked. Professional wrestling is about many things, including getting the audience enraptured with you and your story, something as important as any physical performance in the ring. Reigns hit a homerun in every aspect of his game this past week. Thus, he returns to the top of the FITE rankings.
While Roman Reigns may have emerged the victor in the Elimination Chamber PPV this past Sunday in Las Vegas, the actual Chamber match may as well have been subtitled ‘The Braun Strowman Show.' WWE's marauding monster was the nucleus of the Chamber in many ways, using the unique format of the match to showcase him as the company's powerhouse. Strowman eliminated five of the seven competitors in the match before falling to Reigns after a great back and forth sequence coming to life right out of a comic book battle between two superheroes. Braun is a franchise unto himself within World Wrestling Entertainment. It's just a matter of time before he sits upon the throne as the centerpiece of the company. While that may not happen this year, his performance this week is enough to bring him to the highest point he's seen yet in the FITE rankings.
3. John Cena
Within the confines of the story that he is desperate to find his road to Wrestlemania, John Cena has once again interjected himself into the center of World Wrestling Entertainment. Whether it was getting the loudest reaction of anything on Monday Night Raw by invoking the possibility of his oft-delayed dream match showdown against and the Undertaker or changing the face of the Fastlane PPV main event by becoming a competitor in that Six Way bout for the WWE championship, Cena was the maestro that changed the flow of what fans expected this week. Inside the squared circle, Cena continued to bring it with excellent performances at both the Elimination Chamber and Smackdown Live. Although portrayed as if his dream run in WWE is coming to an end, there's still a lot of passion left in his work, a lot of work ethic left in his tank and this week showed that he can still change the course of mighty rivers within professional wrestling if given the platform.
4. Alexa Bliss
There will ever only be one first winner of the Women's Elimination Chamber and that winner will be forever bliss. Alexa Bliss not only retained her Raw Women's championship this past Sunday in Sin City, but she was the victor of what was easily, bell to bell, the most entertaining in-ring contest on the entire broadcast. The entire match was built around the challengers wanting to get their hands on Bliss, but in the end, she outsmarted them all as alliances splintered. Her promo after the match, where she feigned an emotional, thankful outpouring, only to reveal that she was in fact trolling the audience, was a thing of beauty as well. As the build to WrestleMania continues, Bliss is the one to watch. It takes a great villain to make a great storyline, as stories only work if the heroes have someone worthwhile to conquer. Bliss is certainly far more than worthwhile.
5. Seth Rollins
Rollins continues to excel following the end of his Tag Team championship run with Jason Jordan. This past week, he was a featured competitor, putting in yet another lengthy performance inside the Elimination Chamber. Then, Rollins kicked off a new storyline for himself, heading into WrestleMania with an impressive performance in his non-title win over the Intercontinental Champion The Miz. That victory also sparked a new chapter in Rollins' rivalry with former foe Finn Balor that will only grow in the weeks to come. "The Architect" continues to scale the heights of work ethic within professional wrestling as he blazes his path to New Orleans, greatness in mind.
The Empress of Tomorrow is one step closer to her first Wrestlemania after a victory over Nia Jax in a hard-hitting, competitive bout at the WWE Elimination Chamber PPV. As her storyline continues to tease which championship will she choose to compete for in New Orleans, Asuka has remained the most consistently presented competitor on the Raw brand, competing in an entertaining six-woman tag team bout this past Monday. Asuka's work in the ring continues to excel as she was involved in perhaps Jax's best match to date in WWE. While it appears Alexa Bliss is in her sights, no matter who she steps into the ring with, Asuka's goodwill with the audience makes it a legitimate Wrestlemania attraction.
7. AJ Styles
Even with a hard-fought loss to John Cena, great live event reviews in matches against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and now the additional pressure of now defending the WWE championship at Fastlane against five competitors, Styles remains the man for the Smackdown Live brand. His work ethic is excellence personified. He is the straw that stirs WWE's drink on Tuesdays and there's a reason for that. He picked the right nickname – "The Phenomenal One." The next seven days will be designed to create additional interest in the Fastlane PPV main event and should Styles shoulder the responsibility of that, certainly he'll be leaping even farther upward on the FITE rankings.
8. The Miz
The WWE Intercontinental champion is equal parts great performer and Rodney Dangerfield. In the ring, he continues to whip up a series of strong performances but within the storylines, he gets no respect. Miz had a good showing at the Elimination Chamber on Sunday. He was then tasked with having two good back to back matches with Seth Rollins and Finn Balor on Monday Night Raw in Anaheim. Whenever WWE invests that much TV time into you, it's because the company trusts you to carry the load. Miz does that and more and as the challengers swarm him like Zombies to a championship gold-wearing Rick Grimes, Miz will continue to carry that load. It's what great wrestlers do, respect or not.
There are two types of performers in the world of professional wrestling. Those who perform their on-screen character and those who make the audience feel it. It's the difference between High School drama and Broadway caliber performances. Nia Jax has always had the physical gifts but at times, her intensity has turned on and off. This past Sunday at the WWE Elimination Chamber event, from the second she walked out in front of the audience to the post-loss violence of spearing Asuka through a barricade into the timekeeper's area, fans believed in every act, every physical move, every maneuver that Jax brought to the table. It was in many ways her finest performance in professional wrestling to date and even in losing, she came out all the better. That's the type of appearance all great pro wrestlers aspire to – and the type not all get to have. The best part is that Jax is still just scratching the surface. Expect many more appearances from her in the FITE rankings.
10. Ronda Rousey
It seems completely ridiculous that someone who has yet to have her first official WWE bout is already represented in the FITE rankings, but well, welcome to professional wrestling. In her contract signing at the Elimination Chamber event, the former UFC Bantamweight champion put Triple H through a table, electrified the Las Vegas audience with the "Rousey Look" and took a brutal slap from Stephanie McMahon. The next night, she demanded an apology that saw McMahon give her fakest, most groveling apology ever before Triple H struck Kurt Angle and left him laying for causing the entire mess. Already in the thick of things, Rousey brings attention to pro wrestling and that's the name of this game. Welcome to pro wrestling, indeed!
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.