11/7 LOP Wrestler Ranking Voting is open until one week from today (the 7th @ 11:59PM is the deadline).
Doctor's Orders: As the IWC Turns, Mark Henry maintains top spot in LOP Rankings (Poll Open for 11/7)
Oct 31, 2011 - 7:10:35 PM
Welcome, LOP Readers, to another edition of LOP Rankings. This week, you have me, Pringle, to take you through the most recent WWE rankings. And with Vengeance now firmly in the history books, there was potential for a surprise or two. It’ll be interesting to see where the IWC placed the Superstars after a somewhat controversial PPV and a stretch of dismal episodes of Monday Night Raw.
16 – Divas of Doom (Previously Unranked) – Making their way into the rankings for the first time are the multi-named divas pair, Beth Phoenix and Natalya. I’m a little surprised that this is the first we’ve seen of them. The IWC seem to be really high on them, and they’ve had the Divas Championship within their grasp for some time now. I think the fact that their booking has been tremendously inconsistent has something to do with their previous absences. Still, the two best the division has to offer have begun their journey up the rankings; hopefully their booking becomes a little steadier, allowing them to establish themselves as truly dominant Divas.
15 – Jack Swagger (Non-Mover) – Well, the former World Champion hasn’t exactly shone in the past two weeks, hence the reason he’s trapped where he is. He stands in 15th position for the second consecutive week, but it is worth noting that all the votes that came in for him where votes for his partnership with Dolph Ziggler. I shudder to think where the very talented Swagger would be if not for his partner! If he were given the opportunity, I’m sure he would set the place alight. He is capable of doing that, but the platform has deserted him. Swagger is a non-mover.
14 – Zack Ryder (Non-Mover) - After a late outbreak of votes, the fist pumping buffoon secured 14th spot yet again by winning 25% of the 10th place votes.
Again, Ryder is another IWC favourite who has suffered from poor booking. His appearances are sporadic and unpredictable. One week he’ll be on Raw, the next he won’t be, and then he’ll show up on Smackdown a week later. On the back of two huge victories against Ziggler, he eventually succumbed to an unfortunate defeat at the hands of the scheming champion at Vengeance, which means he failed to capture the US Title and the hearts of the voters. Like Swagger, Ryder stays put this week.
13 - The Big Show (Previously UR) – Following a bold return and a very impressive, ring-destroying performance at Vengeance, I expected him to come in higher. However, a low vote count worked against him, even though he was ranked by some as highly as 4th. It just goes to show how competitive the top ten is. Nonetheless, the big man has returned with a new lease of life and seems to going all out to aid the monster push of Mark Henry, for which he must be commended. He fought his best match in a while at last week’s PPV extravaganza, pushing Henry to the limited before the ring buckled along with their spines. Show claims 13th.
12 – Christian (Down from 10) – Another defeat to the ascending ‘Celtic Warrior’ Sheamus further emphasizes how far this former World Champion has fallen since his summer excursions with Orton. By tumbling another two places, Christian is not only sinking down our rankings, but he’s sliding downhill when it comes to the pecking order on Smackdown as well. He continues to perform as one of the most reliable workers in the business without reaping the rewards he otherwise deserves. For someone who seemingly losing every other week, Christian can count himself lucky that he made it even this far up the table. It’s 12th for Christian this week.
11 – Triple H (Up from 13) – Despite wrestling just one match – a losing effort at Vengeance - since his Night of Champions outing, ‘The Game’ has managed to push himself up two places this week. And his matches may be few and far between these days, but Triple H does, however, continue to command large portions of promo time, and remains a prominent figure on both Monday and Friday nights. Tie that in with the recent reconciliation with his Vengeance tag team partner, the IWC’s golden boy, CM Punk, and you have reasoning for his little jump closer to the top ten. The current COO definitely needs to increase his in-ring participation if he is to pierce the top ten any time soon.
Perhaps through the result-altering actions of one Kevin Nash, HHH can only find 11th place today.
10 – Air Boom (Up from 11) – The apparent saviours of the tag team division continue to creep up the rankings. The champions have impressed almost everyone they have performed in front of with their unexpectedly strong chemistry. Each week they are able to convince flocks of fans that they are a genuine team and not a flash-in-the-pan pairing. It’s been a solid reign thus far, and after a thoroughly enjoyable encounter with Ziggler and Swagger, AirBoom managed to extract a hard fought victory from their Vengeance title defence.
AirBoom keep battling on as a very welcome beam of light slicing through the darkness of the tag team division, and slot in at 10.
9 – Dolph Ziggler (Non-Mover) – To my surprise, because this guy never ceases to amaze with his ability to consistently deliver solid match after solid match, the US Champion is stranded a 9th. He’s been on the receiving end of a couple of losses in recent weeks courtesy of Zack Ryder and AirBoom. But, after pulling double-duty at Vengeance, Ziggler managed to emerge with his US Championship reign still intact after digging deep to claim a win over Ryder.
He was voted as highly as 1st by voters, but I think on this occasion the majority just couldn’t overlook consecutive defeats to Ryder, as well as his shortcomings in the Tag Team Championship match. Ziggler is on the cusp of something great and it is in sight. I think it’s just a matter of time.
8 – Randy Orton (Non-Mover) – Orton remains at 8 as yet another non-mover. At Vengeance, we saw the beginning of his recovery from straight PPV defeats to Mark Henry; with Orton leaving victorious from his match with Cody Rhodes. I think his placement this week is about right. Dropping down from the World Title scene may knock you down the order slightly in the short term, but Orton is freshening things up on Smackdown by feuding with his former Legacy protégé. The fans will appreciate that in time.
He may have beaten the Intercontinental Champion at Vengeance but I don’t think that program is near finished, and I’m sure we can expect to see those two simultaneously shoot further up the rankings as they attempt to settle their differences in the coming weeks.
7 – John Cena (Down from 5) – As Cena prepares to turn up the heat on his feud with ‘The Great One’; he won’t be looking back to fondly on the past month or so. This week sees the former WWE Champion slip to 7th, which isn’t all that shocking. His ongoing descent down the table can be attributed to yet another controversial PPV defeat. This time, he failed to regain the gold in a gimmick match some consider Cena’s area of expertise. Awesome Truth played a major role in his failings in that match, and Cena will be out for revenge as he backs away from the WWE Title scene – something that may help him halt the plummet and reverse the outcome.
The next time Cena competes on PPV, he will be teaming with The Rock. Regardless of the result, I think that will spark a Cena rankings revival. But for the time being, it’s 7th for the WWE poster boy.
6 – Awesome Truth (Down from 3) – This odd pairing is never far from the centre of the storm; which was undoubtedly the case at Vengeance. Before obliterating John Cena’s hopes of keeping Del Rio down for a ten count, they secured the win against HHH and CM Punk in tainted fashion, capping a very productive night at work. After all that, The Miz and R-Truth sit at a respectable 6th position today, but I’m sure they’d be upset by the news of their sizable drop from 3rd as they look towards a daunting month ahead. And let’s face it: things are looking ominous for the troublesome twosome. John Cena and The Rock await them at MSG, from where they’ll either leave New York City as true greats or awesome failures.
5 – Sheamus (Up from 6) – The ‘Celtic Warrior’ edges ever closer to returning to the main event picture. The rankings show pretty clear evidence that the voters agree with that previous sentence, because everyone and their dog is hopping aboard the ever-accelerating Sheamus bandwagon; and with good reason, too. It seems that with every passing minute, Sheamus grows in confidence. He’s enjoying wrestling some good matches with numerous opponents, and his feud with Christian can be considered a success. Another PPV victory over Captain Charisma in a solid match contributes to Sheamus making it up to 5th position on this occasion.
4 – CM Punk (Up from 7) - This is more like it for the “Cult of Personality”. The last edition with Priest saw IWC golden boy, Punk, slop to a startling 7th. Since then, he still hasn’t managed to recapture the scintillating form we saw from him a few months ago, but he has done enough in the past two weeks to keep his followers happy enough to assist his rise to 4th. Obviously, fans won’t be pinning much of the blame on Punk for the unjust defeat at Vengeance, but the overall performance in that contest doesn’t merit much praise whatsoever. Expect a sharp climb soon because the coming weeks contain the prospect of him inevitably jumping right back into the WWE Championship chase. He’ll get his one on one rematch with Del Rio, and I’m sure Punk’s army of supporters will have a lot more to shout about soon enough. However, they must settle for their boy peaking at 4th.
3 – Alberto Del Rio (Down from 2) – Mexico’s finest aristocrat slips one place to 3rd in the wake of a fortuitous win in the main event at Vengeance. His match with John Cena may have been fought in the middle of a collapsed ring, but the champion’s assault on the rankings resembles the decimated structure in no way. Del Rio has picked up a number of notable victories at recent tapings against Sheamus and John Morrison. Couple those with the huge title defence, and you have yourself someone worthy of claiming 3rd place. CM Punk is next in line for the arrogant champion; that alone holds the potential to stop Del Rio dead in his tracks. However, it’s also a great chance for Del Rio to lock horns with one of the best in the business, which can only be a good thing for all concerned parties.
After a disastrous first reign, Del Rio is finding his feet with his second. The rankings are beginning to show that.
2 – Cody Rhodes (Up from 4) – Remarkably, the second generation Superstar is flying high at 2nd. Since bringing back the classic style Intercontinental Championship belt, Rhodes’ stock has skyrocketed. In his mission to restore the honour and prestige to the famous title, he has already begun to turn things around. We’re still nowhere near the level of importance the title was at when Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior delivered an instant classic at Wrestlemania 6, but Rhodes is one man who can help elevate the championship to glorious heights once again. Already, the title has more credibility than it has had in years.
He, like one or two others, is man who rarely fails to put on a good show inside the ropes. Defeat to Orton at Vengeance is a small bump in the road, but it won’t keep him down; and it certainly didn’t stop the flow of votes pouring in for him. Rhodes does the unthinkable this week, and wins himself 2nd place.
1 – Mark Henry (Non-Mover) – Who else? The ‘World’s Strongest Man’ has barely put a foot wrong in months now, and his World Title reign is building some real momentum. He was able to escape from a testing match against Big Show with the championship still in his possession, proving that he will literally crush the ring in order to keep the gold he’s waited fifteen years for. His booking has been spot on, too, so the writers deserve rare credit there. But it is Henry who is making the waves that led him to the number 1 spot, which has become his very own. He is consistently delivering, whether it is in the ring or on the mic.
He may not have looked like the top Superstar after his brutal encounter with Big Show, but make no mistake about it – Mark Henry stands tall at the top of the rankings again this week. And I say long may it continue! The challenge for him now is staying relevant; he doesn’t want to commit the crime of becoming stale by utilising the same tactics week in, week out. For now, though, it is working for him.
The Road Ahead
Superstar to Watch – Sheamus
Sheamus can be proud of where he lies this week, but there’s even more to come from the white-skinned Irishman. He’s been on a great form as a face following a turn that originally snuck under the radar, to a certain extent. He has battled Christian in one of the more memorable feuds of 2011, becoming one of the most popular guys in the company in the process. The fans are really buying into Sheamus once more, and I think his second crack at the main event will prove to be so much more successful. So, you’ve got to believe that he’s next in line for a World Championship opportunity. I think Big Show has one more shot at Henry before they conclude their feud and move on to different projects, clearing the way for Sheamus to step up to the challenge.
Sheamus versus Henry for the strap makes most sense right now. Sheamus is on fire at the minute, whilst the brooding champion is in need of a new, worthy challenger. And if memory serves me correctly, there is some unfinished business to be settled between the two as we never really got a definitive winner from their feud earlier in the year. Both men have come far since they last crossed paths on PPV, and it’ll be a completely different ball game when the time comes for them to go to war over the gold. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had a run with the belt before Wrestlemania, because it’s either him or Mark Henry walking into Miami with the strap next year.
The only way is up for the 2-time WWE Champion. Look for Sheamus to break into the top 3 next time out. We’ve only just scratched the surface of this guy’s potential and Sheamus is on the road to superstardom.
And on that note, it’s time to wrap up this week’s edition of LOP Rankings. Thanks to you, Readers, for reading. I hope y’all enjoyed it. And thank you to the good doctor, Chad, for affording me the pleasure of writing for you on the Main Page today.
11/7 LOP Wrestler Ranking Voting is open until one week from today (the 7th @ 11:59PM is the deadline).