Weekly Pro Wrestling Rankings October 12
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. AJ Styles
For many months, AJ Styles has been one of the most consistently spectacular performers in the professional wrestling world, but that genius creativity and staunch work ethic in the ring has been stymied by WWE's creative decisions. This past week at the WWE Super Show-Down in Australia, Styles got to place a definitive exclamation mark on his WWE run with a tremendous performance and victory over Samoa Joe. With Daniel Bryan earning a championship match against Styles on the same show, fans nostalgic for their old matches in Ring of Honor and fans excited about seeing them facing off for the first time under the WWE umbrella have created a wave of momentum for Styles that hopefully, WWE will look to ride. He certainly deserves it.
2. Austin Aries
Stepping into the ring this Sunday at Impact Wrestling's Bound for Glory event here on FITE, Aries bounces up the rankings by once again doing a masterful job of putting all eyes on him as he prepares for his Impact World Championship defense against Johnny Impact. Whether it be promotional interviews or Twitter wars or an entertaining six-man tag team bout on Impact TV, Aries has done an incredible job of whipping up controversy and in this case, controversy creates cash. Whether he retains the title or not this Sunday in NYC, Aries has already succeeded in making everyone pay attention. That's what true stars do.
3. Kurt Angle
Despite having disappeared from WWE TV after being sent home on "vacation", Kurt Angle had been training hard for his return match in the company. This past week on Raw, he returned, winning a Battle Royal while disguised under a mask. In doing so, the gold medalist not only qualified for the WWE World Cup tournament but also embarrassed his replacement as GM, Baron Corbin. Fans have been pushing for Angle to be back in the ring since the day WWE inducted him into their Hall of Fame and the countdown is on for his latest return bout, as well as the eventual showdown with Corbin. Angle's unmasking on Monday Night Raw got a huge reaction and so will his next entrance into the squared circle.
4. Johnny Impact
John Hennigan uses many ring names as he crosses the globe and competes in professional wrestling, but the one thing he always makes is an Impact. For the second year in a row, he finds himself as the Impact World Championship challenger in the main event of Bound for Glory. Over the last week, Impact has been increasingly angry and passionate in defending his wife against comments made by Aries. This brings an extra dimension of intensity to an already hyped Impact title bout. With a lot of eyeballs on him, Hennigan is not just looking to be named Johnny Champion, he's looking for retribution.
5. Jay Lethal
Coming off Ring of Honor's Death Before Dishonor event on FITE, Lethal continues to ride the momentum of his excellent performances as he heads into this weekend's Glory by Honor event in Baltimore. With Silas Young set as his challenger, it will be an old-fashioned throwback with the grit of Young attempting to overpower Lethal's finesse in the ring, attempting to wrest the ROH World Championship for himself. Lethal has made a great argument over the past year that he's perhaps the best in-ring wrestler in the world and at Glory by Honor, he looks to add yet another checking to his list of accomplishments. If he does, moving upward in the FITE rankings is guaranteed.
6. Shawn Michaels
He would never come back he said. He would never wrestle again, he wrote in his second autobiography. The itch had been scratched, he declared. Shawn Michaels. HBK. The Showstopper. Mr. Wrestlemania. That chapter had concluded in his life. Except, it hasn't. After being attacked and destroyed by The Undertaker and Kane, the WWE Hall of Famer declared that he and Triple H would return as DX to face the Brothers of Destruction in a tag team bout. Suddenly, Christmas morning was alive for professional wrestling fans. Michaels had cautioned in the past that if he ever returned to the ring, he couldn't be what he once was, but at the end of the day, half of HBK is still greater than most professional wrestlers could ever dream of being. The anticipation station has opened for the return of a legend and always, speculation has begun for what Michaels could do coming out of that match. After all, the itch has returned….
On a week where he is scheduled to be inducted into the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame, The Monster Abyss refuses to be satiated with just that accolade. At OVW 1000, which is available right now on FITE, The Monster entered the Grand Tournament and shocked the world by upending Justin Smooth in the finals to capture the championship. Whether it was the might of the Hurricane or the young fiery performance of Smooth, the entire city of Louisville had to kneel before the might of Abyss. Never ever satiated, one wonders if a Black Hole Slam will be spotted at Bound for Glory….
It is not often that FITE ranks tag teams in the rankings, but at Bound for Glory, LAX steps into a Concrete Jungle match, where the turnbuckles and ring mats will be removed, creating the perfect backdrop for guerilla warfare in the Big Apple. Santana and Ortiz have been overachieving since they debuted for Impact and this weekend, in their hometown, all that momentum brings them to war against Hernandez and Homicide. There will be blood. There will be mayhem. They will be legends carved in concrete. LAX has never had a chance to look more powerful over the course of their careers. This is the moment all pro wrestlers dream of. To be the stars in the center of the spotlight. Victorious or not in NYC, they have stolen the spotlight.
Tessa Blanchard is pro wrestling royalty, the heir apparent to not just Tully Blanchard Enterprises but the step-daughter of the legendary Magnum T.A. Since coming to Impact, Blanchard has taken all the talk of her potential and struck it down with vicious fury and anger, striking a new path for herself as the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion. There are no longer whispers about what she could be or who she is connected to. Instead, there is just respect and awe for someone who has enforced her will inside the ring. When she steps into the ring against Taya at Bound for Glory on FITE, while all the promotion has been about the newlywed potentially winning her first Knockouts title, don't doubt Blanchard, who has built herself into a dangerous wrestling machine.
The momentum for the National Wrestling Alliance's 70th Anniversary event on FITE next week continues to grow with every new talent and match set to collide in Nashville, but one man remains above the fray - Cody. The NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion has not been distracted by the fact he steps into a Two out of Three Fall bout against Nick Aldis. He hasn't been thrown off by Willie Mack's pursuit of the belt. Instead, he has been the calm in the storm, putting in the world and being the same type of definitive champion that his father was when Dusty Rhodes held the championship decades before. There is no better way to honor his father, but beyond that, there is no better way to remind the world that Cody is no mere stepping stone.
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.