WWE Power Rankings for 1/20/2014, Pre-WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Edition
We're less than a week from WWE Royal Rumble 2014, and there are still a number of questions yet to be answered. Who, if anyone, will get a Tag Team title shot? Will Daniel Bryan face Bray Wyatt? Will Bryan be medically cleared for the Rumble at all? Will Dean Ambrose have to defend the near-invisible United States title?
With just six days until one of the most important pay-per-views on the WWE calendar, who can set themselves apart this week?
First, here's how the rankings work.
Holding a championship, being No. 1 contender or having a Money in the Bank briefcase counts for much of a wrestler's ranking. Wins and losses account for much of the week-to-week movement. "Getting the better" of someone—like beating someone down—as well as "getting got," counts as well, though not as much as wins and losses.
Only the top 10 wrestlers are ranked, and every other wrestler is unranked. Wrestlers on the "Watch List" were considered for top-10 status but ultimately were nixed. They too are unranked, and their listing is in no particular order.
Generally speaking, the rankings do not break kayfabe, though any major non-storyline information (serious injury, WWE Wellness Policy violations, legitimate hirings, firings and contract information, etc.) may be included. No spoilers are included unless WWE itself acknowledges them.
Remember to check out last week's rankings here.
On to this week's rankings.
In Memory of Mae Young
What can be said about Mae Young that has not already been said? Mae Young became a legend in pro wrestling and has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. A fitting capstone to a long career that spanned more than three-quarters of a century.
Even in her old age, Mae Young was never shy about getting in on the action. Perhaps the most memorable of her WWE appearances was being powerbombed off the TitanTron stage and through a table by Bubba Ray Dudley. It's perhaps one of the more lasting images of the Attitude Era, and a moment that helped endear her to an entire generation of fans.
Thank you, Mae Young, for a lifetime of dedication to professional wrestling. You will be missed.
Big Show followed up a week where he got the best of Brock Lesnar with a week where he squashed Jack Swagger and punched pout Zeb Colter. Big Show must really like Dusty Rhodes, because he seemed to have no issues hitting Zeb with the KO Punch. There was no moral dilemma there. Big Show needs an impressive week to jump into the top 10.
The Wyatt Family
The Wyatt Family had a terrible week. They lost twice to The Usos just on Raw and then were idle on SmackDown. More importantly, Daniel Bryan forsook the Wyatts and beat the daylights of Bray Wyatt in a cage. Where do The Wyatts go from here?
New Age Outlaws
After walking out on their match with CM Punk on Raw, costing Punk the victory, they defeated the WWE Tag Team champions on SmackDown. Now, they may be in line for a title shot at the Royal Rumble. Can they capitalize?
Kofi Kingston defeated WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton via pin. It doesn't get much better than that. He'll have to capitalize on one of the biggest wins of his career or that victory will ring hollow.
10. Daniel Bryan
Previous Rank: N/A (Wyatts ranked No. 9 lats week)
Daniel Bryan is back on his own, and boy, was the Raw crowd happy about that. Bryan was part of what was arguably one of the greatest moments in Raw history. There is perhaps no one wrestler since Stone Cold to consistently elicit this kind of reaction from a crowd.
Bryan will have to rebuild his ranking after taking two losses to The Usos on Raw and having never won a match as a member of The Wyatts. Now, though, we get word he has a concussion. WWE has confirmed it but has been mum on the severity. We'll have to see if Bryan can be cleared before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
9. AJ Lee
Previous Rank: 10
Movement: Up 1
AJ Lee made history this past week. She became the longest-reigning WWE Divas champion in history. WWE, however, contradicted the date listed in last week's rankings. Technically, Maryse held the WWE Divas title for 216 days, winning her title at a SmackDown taping (on a Tuesday). WWE, though, is recognizing her reign as beginning on the date that SmackDown aired, meaning Maryse, in WWE's eyes, only reigned 212 days.
Regardless, AJ still passed that mark, and her reign now stands at 217 days and counting. She also got a team win over the Funkadactyls on Raw. All in all, a good week for AJ Lee.
8. The Shield
Previous Rank: 7
Movement: Down 1
The Shield drops one spot this week, really, because the Usos jumped the heel faction. Otherwise, the trio got a win over CM Punk and (technically) the New Age Outlaws when Road Dogg and Billy Gunn walked out of the match.
Not a terribly impressive win, but they took care of business. Can The Shield make an impact this week or in the Royal Rumble match?
7. The Brothers Rhodes
Previous Rank: 6
Movement: Down 1
The Rhodeses had a decent week, winning once and losing once. But the loss hurt more than the win helped. They defeated RybAxel on Raw (no surprise there). But losing to the New Age Outlaws, albeit with a distraction from Vickie Guerrero, was a blow.
Now, they may have to defend the titles against Road Dogg and Billy Gunn at the Royal Rumble. The Rhodeses need to get back to their winning ways this week and build some momentum heading onto the pay-per-view.
6. The Usos
Previous Rank: Unranked
Movement: Outta Nowhere!
The Usos may have just had their best week in a long time. The defeated the Wyatts (Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan) twice in one show, once in a steel cage. Then, they followed up with a solid win over The Real Americans.
If any team has earned a WWE Tag Team Championship opportunity, it's The Usos. Will they get that chance, though? The New Age Outlaws defeated the Rhodeses on SmackDown, so The Usos may have to wait for their shot, if they get one at all.
5. CM Punk
Previous Rank: 4
Movement: Down 1
CM Punk had a bad week. First, the New Age Outlaws walked out on him in a match with The Shield, costing him a loss after getting speared by Roman Reigns. Then, he called out the NAO and The Shield on SmackDown. That ended with Kane offering him an olive branch, which Punk rejected. Kane then proceeded to chokeslam Punk.
It does not appear CM Punk will be getting a crack at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after rejecting the overtures of The Authority. What's next for CM Punk?
4. Brock Lesnar
Previous Rank: 3
Movement: Down 1
Brock Lesnar did not appear at all on WWE TV this past week, so there isn't really much to say about him. His mouthpiece, Paul Heyman, did trade verbal jabs with Big Show on SmackDown, but nothing else occurred with Lesnar.
If indeed he is the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, we should start to see more of him soon.
3. Big E Langston
Previous Rank: 5
Movement: Up 2
Big E Langston moves up a couple of spots based more on what Brock Lesnar and CM Punk did (or didn't do) this past week. Outside of a win over Fandango on SmackDown, Big E had a quiet week.
As the Intercontinental champion, he has won consistently and looked impressive doing it. Will he have to defend his title? If so, who will he face?
2. Randy Orton
Previous Rank: 1
Movement: Down 1
Randy Orton took an inexcusable loss this past week. There was no funny business, no mass interference. He just lost via pinfall to Kofi Kingston. You read that right—he got pinned clean by Kofi Kingston.
Heading into his match with John Cena at the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton has to rebound. He could channel the loss and use it as fuel to fire his anger, or he could overthink the loss and let it distract him.
If Orton wants to have any chance against Cena, he'll have to put this loss behind him and focus on his upcoming title match. Can he?
1. John Cena
Previous Rank: 2
Movement: Up 1
John Cena reclaims the No. 1 spot for the first time in a while. For many, he has to be considered the favorite in his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match with Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Cena is poised to capture his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which would be his fifteenth world title reign. Cena fans can start talking about the possibility that he could surpass Ric Flair's 16 (it's actually 21) world title reigns.
Can Cena defeat Randy Orton this Sunday, or will Orton escape with a win once again?