Weekly Pro Wrestling Rankings September 27
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.
For a star who is said to be at the end of his career, waiting for his much-deserved enshrinement into every Hall of Fame imaginable, The Undertaker is still WWE's equivalent of Godzilla invading Japan. When he appears, there are shockwave for weeks and weeks. As he approaches what is said to be his final battle against Triple H, the long-retired Shawn Michaels and even his "brother" Kane have been pulled into the vortex of the black hole that will be the WWE Super Show-Down event in Australia. Undertaker's appearances on Raw have kept everyone guessing and everyone speculating as to what could be next. Without physically lifting one finger, the Undertaker has everyone looking up with rapt attention. That's a true master of his craft.
2. Cody Rhodes
The National Wrestling Alliance's new flag-bearer continues to make waves. While he will be leading Bullet Club into battle against CHAOS in a ten-man tag, headlining the Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor event that will air on FITE, the son of Dusty Rhodes has also made it clear that he revolution he has helped ignite is nowhere near over. Cody declared that come January, he will be a free agent and also strongly hinted that "All In 2" could very well be announced at any time. With title defenses against Willie Mack and Nick Aldis, both of which will be seen on FITE in the weeks to come, Cody has taken the NWA and made it his own, all while conducting the attention of a global audience waiting to see what his next major move will be.
3. Samoa Joe
It's everyone's greatest fear - a home invasion. This past week on WWE Smackdown Live, Samoa Joe was supposed to be signing a contract for his rematch with WWE Champion AJ Styles. Instead, he shocked the world by appearing at the Styles' family home. In a world where it seems every villain secretly wants to be cheered, Samoa Joe stands like a monument to what a true antagonist in professional wrestling is supposed to be. Dangerous. Sneering. Evil. The fact he's an incredible in-ring performer only brings a different dimension but Joe exemplifies the obstacle every hero must face. He's equal parts modern desperado and throwback tough guy...and as long-time observers now, WWE has yet to scratch the surface on Samoa Joe.
4. Jay Lethal
The reigning and defending ROH World Champion Jay Lethal has been in perhaps the best groove of his career, exuding the aura of a classic old-time champion while competing in some of the most dramatic, emotional matches of his career. Fresh off his Iron Man Classic against Jonathan Gresham, Lethal steps into ROH's Death Before Dishonor event on FITE, facing Will Ospreay. With a match that pits Ospreay's incredible aerial acumen against Lethal's versatility and in-ring excellence, it's a futuristic bout that is grounded by the pursuit of the championship and the drive to see who the best is. In ROH, that's Jay Lethal.
5. Brock Lesnar
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. The WWE Hell in A Cell PPV looked to finally provide the answer to whether Braun Strowman would ascend to the WWE Universal Championship, but instead, like Jaws, Lesnar rose out of the ocean and snatched the title, the match and the glory from Strowman and Roman Reigns alike. With a new title bout set to headline the WWE Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, Lesnar reminded everyone that even if they think he's departed professional wrestling, even if they think they know which way the story is supposed to go, he can still arrive with all the force of a megaton bomb and send all thoughts, hopes, expectations and dreams careening off course. That's a newsmaker personified.
6. Dean Ambrose
Where do the loyalties of Dean Ambrose lie? That was the question World Wrestling Entertainment wants its audience to answer this week and they provided a lot of reasons for the fans to question whether The Shield's allegiance to each other is as strong as it appears. With almost an entire three-hour broadcast built around the battle for the soul of "The Lunatic Fringe", WWE finally placed some much-deserved attention on the former WWE Champion for the first time since he returned from a triceps injury. Now, the audience is going to wonder what his next move is and whether his choice to remain loyal to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins is simply a red herring before a violent change of the guard is in Ambrose's future. Well played, WWE.
7. Tessa Blanchard
Since arriving in Impact Wrestling, Tessa Blanchard has, like a lightning strike, attacked like a flash, rising to the top of the promotion. Over the last several weeks, she has been the highlight of Impact TV, leading into a title defense against Faby Apache. Victorious against the Mexican superstar, Blanchard's message was clear. When it comes to the female competitors in Impact, she is the sun that everything revolves around. As she heads into Bound for Glory next month on FITE, all eyes on Blanchard and her performance.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi
For what was seemingly forever, Hiroshi Tanahashi was the Ace in New Japan Pro Wrestling, signifying that he was the best competitor in the promotion. This past week, at Destruction in Kobe, he once again entered into battle with long-time nemesis Kazuchika Okada and finally scored a major victory that changed the balance of power leading into the final quarter of 2018, the Wrestle Kingdom event this January and even the ROH-New Japan G1 Supershow at Madison Square Garden. Tanahashi is old faithful. You know what to expect and it's usually greatness.
The reigning Impact Champion has a showdown with Johnny Impact at Bound for Glory next month on FITE, live from New York City, but before they stand face to face, Aries continues to excel with great matches across the wrestling cosmos while also setting Moose and Killer Kross into motion as his henchmen. Aries' continued schemes and battles in Impact Wrestling has exemplified the turnaround the promotion is in the midst of and his next big moment is in his sights.
10. Will Ospreay
From Great Britain to Australia to Japan and now back with Ring of Honor in the United States, Will Ospreay channels the energy of the audiences he performs before and translates it into some of the most unique, original, awe-inspiring high-flying offense in the history of professional wrestling. By accepting Jay Lethal's open challenge for this week's Death Before Dishonor, Ospreay is not only in position to have one of the best matches of his life, but to potentially shock the world with a ROH title win. The level of excitement and anticipation for Ospreay stepping in the ring this week, live on FITE, is unlike anything of late for Ring of Honor, or even other promotions. Look to the skies, you may see a new era dawning.
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.