Weekly Pro Wrestling Rankings November 21
Bow down to the Queen. Charlotte Flair was a last-minute substitute against Ronda Rousey at the WWE Survivor Series and shocked the world by helping to create Rousey's best in-ring performance to date in a singles bout. With just three days to craft their match, the second-generation star and the Olympian put forth an effort that not only wowed the audience but felt more like a legitimate sports attraction as opposed to a fantasy world combat sport. The level of violence at the end, when a frustrated Flair had finally had enough and attacked the former UFC Bantamweight Champion with a kendo stick would have incited riots in the territory era of pro wrestling. Today, it was brutality that is rarely seen in the world of WWE and brought forth a fire and a swagger out of Flair that we have yet to see. A true battle was waged at Survivor Series, one that will ignite a war that will be long waged in the months and years to come. For being the lynchpin of that incredible moment, Flair rises to the throne, sitting at number one in the FITE rankings.
2. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar, for the first time in a long time, showed up to work at the 2018 WWE Survivor Series. For too long, Lesnar has been defined by "Suplex City", allowing him to maintain a comfort zone that allowed him to look like a bruising bully without putting in a hard-fought effort. Lesnar's bout against Daniel Bryan, however, forced the WWE Universal Champion out of that comfort zone and showcased him in the best performance Lesnar has brought to a wrestling ring in years. Lesnar scored the victory over Bryan, putting the exclamation point in Raw's dominance over Smackdown, but in doing so in such a strong fashion, he reminded everyone how great he is, when he wants to be and appears.
3. Daniel Bryan
Last week, Daniel Bryan captured the WWE Championship. This week, he captured the hearts of all true wrestling fans by taking the fight to Brock Lesnar in a physical bout that pushed Lesnar in a way that fans haven't seen in eons. Then, Bryan closed out the week by stomping all over the hearts of the fans by explaining his harder-edged direction as the audience that they moved on for the next thing while he was left behind to fight for the dream of returning to the ring. Firmly set at the top of the Smackdown brand and with a rivalry against AJ Styles leading him into the end of 2018, the last week has been a remarkable turnaround for one of the best performers in the world, who had been directionless at best in recent months. Pro wrestling can change on a dime and this week, Daniel Bryan was the living embodiment of pro wrestling.
4. Ronda Rousey
This past Sunday at the WWE Survivor Series, Ronda Rousey got a true taste of how brutal and grueling professional wrestling can truly be. While she has showcased her incredible athletic abilities since debuting at WrestleMania 34, Rousey has never been on the receiving end of a physical beating the likes of which she took at the hands of Charlotte Flair. Smashed inside a chair, her chest chopped into raw meat, kendo stick shots that split her welted skin and a bloody mouth were just some of the gifts Rousey was the recipient of during and after her showdown with Flair. It was the type of beating that made the viewer cringe but also garner great respect because the hard truth is this: Rousey doesn't need to put herself in harm's way at that level. She does because she truly has fallen in love with pro wrestling and for the few who still questioned or criticized, her work this week should silence them forever.
5. David Arquette
Much like Ronda Rousey, David Arquette did not need to take the level of punishment that he did at Joey Janela's L.A Confidential this past week on FITE. However, the amount of violence, bloodshed and controversy coming out of his Death Match with Nick Gage garnered headlines across the globe as media and fans alike questioned what in the world was going on. The FITE rankings are designed to look at the most newsworthy talents in professional wrestling on a given week and it's impossible to discount Arquette. Last week, we noted he was signing his own obituary by taking the bout against Gage, but the reality is Arquette performed at a far greater level than anyone could have expected and had it not been for a deep, legitimate gash in his neck, who knows how much crazier it would have gotten. Arquette apologized to pro wrestling and all concerned about him this week, but the reality is, he should be thanked for what he gifted pro wrestling instead – an insane memory that will live on forever for those who witnessed it.
6. Brian Cage
Since coming to Impact Wrestling, Brian Cage has performed like a real-life Terminator, taking down everything and everyone in his way. Cage has been undefeated in singles competition but this week, took his game to the next level with the announcement that he would be cashing in his X-Division championship to challenge Johnny Impact at the Impact Wrestling Homecoming event in Nashville, which will air on FITE. Cage is poised to change the entire DNA of the promotion with one match. That's what a Terminator does. It changes the course of history. Cage is well within reach of that goal.
While Strowman finished out the week with news leaking that he would be forced to undergo elbow surgery, he still demolished four out of five competitors on the Smackdown Team to ensure victory for Team Raw at the Survivor Series, all but guaranteeing him main event slots in the WWE TLC and Royal Rumble Pay-per-view events. As WWE begins to circle the bases and head for WrestleMania 35, Strowman will be the definitive monster that all will be measured against.
8. Randy Orton
The Legend Killer has grown into the cunning legend. Randy Orton continues to terrorize the WWE Smackdown ranks and this week, committed the horrible atrocity (by wrestling standards) of ripping apart and stealing the luchador mask of Rey Mysterio. Orton outclassed, defeated and emasculated the former WWE Champion, placing the third-generation star into the pole position of top villain by anyone's standards. Orton may indeed be working at the best level of his career and is so great at what he does, he might even be underutilized. That's as scary as his current characterization as the methodical, destructive villain.
9. Zack Sabre
FITE viewers watching Ring of Honor TV this week were in for a huge surprise with the announcement that technical wizard Zack Sabre Jr. would make his ROH debut against the incredible Jonathan Gresham at ROH Final Battle in NYC. FITE viewers will be able to stand witness to one of the most heavily debated and speculated topics – what would happen when The Octopus takes on ZSJ? Now that Sabre Jr. is making his way to ROH's battlefield, fantasy warfare is a thing of the past. The Final Countdown has begun….
10. Nick Aldis
Since purchasing the National Wrestling Alliance, Billy Corgan and Dave Lagana have been on a mission to revive the old school concepts of the NWA and bring them to a 21st century audience. To that means, Nick Aldis has been one of their greatest weapons, carrying the old school work ethic of the classic traveling NWA World Champion. This week on FITE, Aldis heads to Wrestlecade in Winston-Salem, NC. Tasked with defending the championship against former WWE World Champion Jack Swagger, Aldis is prepared to take yet another step forward in the path of redemption for the NWA.
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.