Writer's Note: In case you missed it, here's an explanation of what the LoP 100 is, as well as the first 60 names on the list, in two parts..
The LoP 100: Part 3 (#40-#11)
Sep 26, 2013 - 8:27:31 PM
LoP 100: Part 1
LoP 100: Part 2
Let's get on with the third part..
40. Rob Van Dam
Accomplishments: Won the TNA X-Division Title on October 14th (dropped the title on February 28th).. 12-11 record on TNA television.. 7-4 record on WWE television
Breakdown: A title won? Check. Success in both TNA and WWE? Check, although his record was barely over .500 in TNA (I guess having a title reign in TNA helps boost that a bit, though). RVD is in the unique position where he was able to wrestle for the two largest promotions in North America during a single grading period, and it's that kind of spotlight.. that kind of relevance.. that helped him here, as the mainstream wrestling fan got to see him do his thing whether they're a "WWE mark", a "TNA mark" or a viewer of both promotions. That's not something you can say about a lot of these guys. For example, John Cena is a huge name, but if you don't watch WWE, you just know of him. You didn't see anything he did. Same goes for AJ Styles. He's super well-known, but if you don't watch TNA, you can't properly gauge how well he did this year.
39. The Miz
Accomplishments: Came into the grading period as the WWE Intercontinental Champion (dropped the title on October 16th, 2012).. Won the WWE Intercontinental Title on April 7th (dropped the title on April 8th).. 40-24-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: All bias aside, I was really surprised when I saw his record for the grading period. It just seemed like he was on the losing end of matches more often than not, but not only was that untrue, it was really untrue. That's a really good televised record for a WWE midcard worker, and when you throw in two Intercontinental Title reigns, you have a very successful year, whether you like Miz or not.
38. Jay Briscoe
Accomplishments: Won the Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles (with Mark Briscoe) on December 16th, 2012 (dropping the titles on March 2nd, 2013).. Won the Ring Of Honor World Title on April 5th (vacated the title on July 3rd)
Breakdown: Teaming with his brother, Mark, Jay Briscoe had another successful year. That is to be expected, at this point. With a total of 17 Tag Team Title reigns all across the world, they're one of the most decorated teams to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. However, this year is when Jay shocked the world by stepping out as a singles star, winning the RoH World Title. Even the biggest Briscoes fan thought Jay's time in the main event would be brief and unsuccessful, and he'd go back to the tag ranks, but that one victory helped him rank a whole 58 spots higher than his brother here. His World Title reign ended in iffy fashion, swirling around controversial Twitter remarks and rumors that the brothers were possibly heading to WWE as their RoH contracts were expiring. When all was said and done, though, the rumor is that Jay's Twitter remarks probably cost him and his brother their WWE contracts, and now, we wait to see how things turn out for them as they continue on in RoH.
37. Samoa Joe
Accomplishments: Won the TNA Television Title on September 27th, 2012 (dropped the title on December 6th, 2012).. Came into the grading period as one-half (with Magnus) of the Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Tag Team Champions (dropped the titles on October 8th, 2012.. 24-18-2 record on TNA television
Breakdown: I still say that there isn't anyone in the history of TNA that the company has dropped the ball with more than Samoa Joe. His early days with the company helped to make him molten-hot with TNA fans, and even though he was a heel, more and more fans were beginning to cheer for him. The fans were dying for Joe to be elevated from the X-Division to the main event scene, and.. the company waited.. and waited.. and waited.. and waited.. and waited. By the time they did push him to the top of the company, his buzz had pretty much died down, and the crowd reaction was little more than lukewarm, as he had already been used to help put Kurt Angle over once Angle signed with the company. They could have had something special with Joe, but they blew it, and he has yet to recover, six whole years later. He had a pretty decent grading period, but that stench of "coulda/woulda/shoulda" continues to follow him. Not only to me, but in the minds of many of our panelists.
36. Big E Langston
Accomplishments: Won the NXT Title on December 6th (dropping the title on May 23rd).. 9-12-1 record on WWE television
Breakdown: He didn't wrestle his first televised match until seven-and-a-half months into the grading period, and things looked like they were going to be building towards something special for him, but his buzz and his push have really died off recently. He looked like a future WWE/World Title contender at one point, and that didn't happen as of yet. He looked prime for a face turn and a nice push because of it, and that didn't happen as of yet. He's kind of in a holding pattern these days, but he was still rewarded handsomely for his year by the LoP 100 voters.
35. Cody Rhodes
Accomplishments: 28-53-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: My goodness, that's a lot of losses on television and pay-per-view. To Cody's credit, though, he stayed relevant for a large portion of the grading period, even in losses. He was teaming with Damien Sandow, and they were feuding with Daniel Bryan and Kane for the Tag Team Titles for what seemed like months, and then he was a popular pick to win Money In The Bank. Even though he didn't win, many feel his stock was heading in the right direction with a face turn. The turn wasn't amounting to much as the grading period ended, but his current involvement in the company's top storyline might bode well for him in the coming months, and on next year's list.
34. Kazuchika Okada
Accomplishments: Current New Japan Pro Wrestling IWGP Heavyweight Champion (won the title on April 7th, 2013).. Won the New Japan Cup tournament
Breakdown: If you've paid attention to my columns, you'd know my fondness of this man's work. I have him as the second-best worker on the planet right now, behind only Daniel Bryan. He just works magic whenever he's in the ring, and he's an absolute joy to watch. This is his second reign at the top of New Japan, with his first reign ending shortly before the grading period began, but he's clearly the present and future of the promotion, at only 25 years of age (he turns 26 on November 8th). Unlike a lot of non-North American talents, though, Okada can supposedly speak English decently well already, as he has spent time working in America during his stint with TNA. He could easily translate to a successful player with WWE, but for the time being, he's helping to carry the promotion that a lot of people feel is the best in the world as far as the in-ring product is concerned.
33. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Accomplishments: Came into the grading period as the New Japan Pro Wrestling IWGP Heavyweight Champion (dropped the title on April 7th).. Ended the grading period as one-half (with Jushin Liger) of the CMLL World Tag Team Champions.. Won the CMLL Universal Championship Tournament
Breakdown: When you talk about New Japan and you discuss Kaz Okada, you automatically discuss Hiroshi Tanahashi, and vice versa. It's like the early days of WCW with Ric Flair and Sting, or the Attitude Era WWF with Steve Austin and The Rock, or even recent years WWE with John Cena and Randy Orton or CM Punk. Tanahashi's success while in Mexico helped to give him more accomplishments, but he and Okada are so closely linked that they're in back-to-back spots in nearly every set of rankings that mentioned them here in the LoP 100. They might as well have been a tag team that competed in nothing but tag matches with the way they're tied together. To keep the Flair/Sting thing going, while Okada is the young star, Tanahashi is the proven veteran star. He's a full 11 years older than Okada, and he has six IWGP Heavyweight Title reigns. He has shown, time and time again, that he still has plenty left in the tank, though, so he's not going anywhere.
32. AJ Styles
Accomplishments: 10-13-3 record on TNA television
Breakdown: You could argue that this was one of the worst years of AJ's career since joining TNA, and I probably wouldn't fight for the other side of that point. He has a total of 18 title reigns since being with the company, and none of them came during this grading period. He won the Bound For Glory Series, but that came after the grading period ended. On top of that, he even had a losing record on television and pay-per-view, although he started the grading period 1-8-1, so he picked things up quite nicely from mid-November on. With the Bound For Glory Series victory, and another shot at the TNA World Title at Bound For Glory (a shot that people feel will be a successful one for him), things will certainly pick up for him in next year's rankings.
31. Christopher Daniels
Accomplishments: Came into the grading period as one-half (with Kazarian) of the TNA Tag Team Champions (dropping the titles on October 14th).. 16-23-2 record on TNA television
Breakdown: As the motor that makes the Bad Influence tag team go, Daniels had another generally successful year. There was a Tag Team Title reign, and they stayed involved in the title picture even when they didn't have the belts in their possession. It's really to the point where I don't pay too much attention to the so-so records that a lot of these guys have. TNA, like WWE, doesn't have a great track record with pushing anyone other than those at the very top of the card. Everyone else is lucky to get a .500 winning clip, with all of the start-and-stop pushes they get, and Daniels is no exception to that.
30. Jack Swagger
Accomplishments: 21-19-4 record on WWE television
Breakdown: When you look at the record, it doesn't exactly jump out at you. It goes right back to what I just said, about WWE and TNA having their midcard guys be around .500 because they aren't sure on how to book them properly. However, there was a time when his record was 14-2-2, and making that even more amazing is the fact that those losses were his first two matches of the grading period. Yes, that's right.. after those two losses, he went 16 consecutive matches without a loss. That includes a victory in an Elimination Chamber, leading him to a World Title match at WrestleMania. Sure, he didn't win the title, but he had all the momentum in the world leading up to that match, and he gets rewarded for it here.
29. Brock Lesnar
Accomplishments: 3-1 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Well, he certainly wasn't around very much, but when he was around, he was a major focal point in WWE storylines, and he won three of his four very high profile matches. You really can't ask for much more out of a part-time performer such as Lesnar, in my opinion. I'm somewhat surprised that he hasn't been involved in the WWE Title picture, but there is certainly time to make that happen when he makes his return for his next round of matches, apparently rumored to begin during the Road To WrestleMania. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to see him in the WWE Title match at Mania.
28. The Rock
Accomplishments: Won the WWE Title on January 27th (dropped the title on April 7th).. 2-1 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Another part-timer, but this time, a part-timer that did compete for the WWE Title, winning it at the Royal Rumble. Everyone saw his WWE Title win coming from several miles (or nine months) away, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he added to his list of accomplishments, and was competing against the best of the best in doing so. That's impressive, whether you like Rock or not.
27. James Storm
Accomplishments: Currently one-half (with Gunner) of the TNA Tag Team Champions (won the titles on June 2nd, 2013).. Won the TNA Joker's Wild Tournament.. 26-13-1 record on TNA television
Breakdown: The "Cowboy" has had himself an impressive grading period, if you ask me. Yes, he moved down the card, going from constant World Title contender to being involved in the Tag Team Title picture (currently one-half of the champs), but his record is certainly better off for the move, as you can see. Facing "lesser" competition more often can be a nice boost to someone's year, and this is proof. Luckily for Storm, he's in a position with TNA and the TNA fans that he can be moved back into the main event scene at any point, and nobody would really get too worked up about it, so keep an eye out for that in the next year, unless you believe this makeshift team with Gunner is some sort of new, era-defining team for the promotion, in which case you're probably insane.
26. Chris Jericho
Accomplishments: 18-18-1 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Oh, look, it's a .500 record for someone that isn't at the top level of WWE or TNA. Go figure. As many people like to point out about Jericho's recent WWE stints, he's almost not even there to be competing for titles or anything. It's like he's there to help put people over. Facing younger talent, who could really benefit from defeating someone on Jericho's "level". When you think about it that way, it's almost a surprise to see that he's won as many matches as he did.
25. Kurt Angle
Accomplishments: 13-15-2 record on TNA television
Breakdown: He has certainly had his fair share of outside-the-ring issues this year, but that's not what we're here for. We're discussing his in-ring year, and even at this advanced stage of his career, Kurt is still one of the best workers alive, capable of delivering greatness and carrying younger talent to their best work. It wasn't his best year, as far as accomplishments go, but he still carries an aura, and being Kurt Angle still holds a lot of weight, especially in a promotion like TNA.
24. Kofi Kingston
Accomplishments: Won the WWE Intercontinental Title on October 16th (dropped the title on December 29th).. Won the WWE United States Title on April 15th (dropped the title on May 19th).. Came into the grading period as one-half (with R-Truth) of the WWE Tag Team Champions (dropping the titles on September 16th, 2012).. 35-38-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Oh, look, it's a .500 record for someone that isn't at the top level of WWE or TNA. Go figure. Kofi is the ultimate example of a WWE midcard worker that the Creative Team has no idea what to do with. I've done some research and some precise calculations, and I have determined that Kofi has been given 8,244 pushes in his WWE career, and of those pushes, he flirted with the main event scene 4,599 times. In those 4,599 main event flirtations, he reached the main event a whopping zero times. His in-ring work can excel, and the WWE Universe can be fully behind him, but the company just refuses to pull the trigger for one reason or another. As you can see, he has no problem in the midcard title scenes. In just a little over five years, he has accumulated a total of ten title reigns in the midcard and tag scenes. We may never see him as a main event player, but he's pretty much a sure thing when it comes to in-ring success on a lesser level, year in and year out.
23. Damien Sandow
Accomplishments: Won the World Title Money In The Bank Briefcase.. 36-51-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: 51 losses in a single year-long grading period is pretty crazy, considering there were 52 weeks in the period. Think about that for a moment. Every single week, you were essentially guaranteed to see Sandow lose a match on television or pay-per-view. Yet, even with that said, he is still in possession of the World Title Money In The Bank briefcase, meaning he could be the next World Champion any day now. That's nothing against him. That just showcases how flawed the company's booking of Money In The Bank is. Sandow certainly isn't the first briefcase holder to lose a bunch of matches before winning MITB, and then losing a bunch of matches after winning MITB, before finally cashing in out of nowhere to become the champion. Chances are, he won't be the last, either. Sandow gets plenty of love from the LoP 100 voters, though.
22. Wade Barrett
Accomplishments: Won the WWE Intercontinental Title on December 29th (dropped the title on April 7th).. Won the WWE Intercontinental Title on April 8th (dropped the title on June 16th).. 33-46-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: The record is really subpar, but he dropped a total of 16 consecutive matches at one point, which pretty much brings us back to that magical .500 record for non-main event talents in WWE and TNA. I hate having to repeat myself this often, but the stats keep popping up, and it's proving my point. Barrett seemed to spend half the year as a solid micard worker, receiving a solid midcard push, but he also seemed to spend the other half of the year not even being on television. I think he's way higher than he should be on the list, but of course, this definitely wasn't just my call.
21. Kevin Steen
Accomplishments: Came into the grading period as the Ring Of Honor World Champion (dropped the title on April 5th).. Came into the grading period as the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Champion (dropped the title on December 1st)
Breakdown: There was a time when it looked like Steen would be in contention for every top title in every indy promotion on the planet. Just having the RoH and PWG World Titles at the same time is amazing. RoH is the top indy promotion on one coast, and PWG is the top indy promotion on the other coast. Steen is in an unfortunately unique situation, though. He's a huge name on the indy scene, and is clearly successful, but unlike the "indy darlings" that came before him, I don't see a chance in hell of him getting a WWE contract. On looks alone, it would appear that he's in the same physical condition as a cell phone kiosk worker at your local mall, and he remains a grown man with subpar skin care. Vince McMahon wouldn't give Steen a second look, in my opinion, but maybe that's a good thing. That makes him more unique, and it helps him to stand out.
20. Mark Henry
Accomplishments: 22-8-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: This was a really strong year for ol' Mizark on multiple levels. For one, you can see his televised record, which is very strong, even though he didn't win any titles. However, the most important thing for him was the career renaissance that he saw after his phony retirement ceremony swerve on John Cena. That segment had people buying into him like never before, and he was already over and believable as a monster with the "Hall Of Pain" gimmick. It was a beautiful moment, momentarily derailed by the booking decision that everyone expected. Turns, injuries.. he had a year full of major moments, and now, we await his return to see what he has in store for us next.
19. AJ Lee
Accomplishments: Current WWE Divas Champion (won the title on June 16th, 2013).. 12-11-1 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Do I even need to point out the point about a near-.500 record anymore? A lot of the credit she's getting from the voters of the LoP 100 is for essentially becoming "bigger" than the Divas division. She was everywhere, becoming one of the biggest stars in all of wrestling, which is something you haven't been able to say about a female wrestler since Trish Stratus and Lita were in their primes. She just isn't physically big enough to be dominating in her matches, unlike women such as Beth Phoenix, Kharma or even Natalya have been. Who knows how long she continues to reign as the Divas Champion, but her time on-screen will be incredibly entertaining, no matter what she's doing.
18. Bobby Roode
Accomplishments: Won the TNA Tag Team Titles (with Austin Aries) on January 25th (dropped the titles on April 11th).. Won the TNA Heavyweight Champions Tournament.. 18-20-4 record on TNA television
Breakdown: Like his former tag partner James Storm, Roode went from being a main event player to working in the tag division for a large chunk of the grading period. If you just look at the list of accomplishments, perhaps Storm should have been ranked ahead of Roode, but I guess that's the difference between tagging with Gunner and tagging with Austin Aries when everyone has to sit back and think about everything they saw during the last year.
Accomplishments: 46-15-6 record on WWE television
Breakdown: From the beginning of the grading period until the end of 2012, he had a 24-3, as a lot of that was still during his "squash match" phase as the company built him up. From the start of 2013 until the end of the grading period, he still had a nice 22-12-3 record, but that doesn't take into account just how poorly the company mishandled him after they pushed him to the main event scene. Remember when it looked like Ryback was a near-guarantee to become the #2 face in the company, behind only John Cena? It was another relatively organic push, with Ryback being booked in those squashes to help crowds see what kind of monster he was. They bought into it, and he started getting over. It built and built, and he was getting red-hot reactions, and then.. he became a joke.. and then.. he became an even bigger joke. If there's anyone that can help Ryback return to relevance, it's Paul Heyman, so we'll see where their partnership leads.
16. Big Show
Accomplishments: Won the WWE World Title on October 28th (dropped the title on January 8th).. 33-24-3 record on WWE television
Breakdown: When it comes to any given year for Show, the running joke is that you'll probably see seven or eight turns, where he's a heel one week, randomly a face the following week, randomly a heel again a month later, and so on. Now, the running joke is going to be that, in any given year for show, you'll probably see seven or eight turns and another seven or eight storylines that involve him to cry on television. He's the best actor in wrestling, maybe ever, but that's a different story altogether. With a World Title reign during the grading period, it's easy to see why "The World's Largest Athlete" came in at such a high ranking this year.
15. Antonio Cesaro
Accomplishments: Won the WWE United States Title on August 19th, 2012 (dropped the title on April 15th).. 37-43-2 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Cesaro is one of the latest in a long, long line of WWE or TNA midcarders that people feel aren't getting the "proper" respect. This is a man that can "go" with anyone, as his size and strength combination make him a viable threat to anyone from Rey Mysterio to Big Show, and he has even been able to go to NXT and put on Match Of The Year candidates with Sami Zayn. I think WWE dropped the ball by not making Cesaro a "Paul Heyman Guy". English isn't Cesaro's first language, so getting someone like Heyman to handle his talking would/could/should make him a main eventer. As it is, we're just waiting to see if he ever reaches his potential. We've seen shades of brilliance to hold us down for now, at least.
14. Jeff Hardy
Accomplishments: Won the TNA World Title on October 14th (dropped the title on March 10th).. Won the TNA Bound For Glory Series.. 29-8-2 record on TNA television
Breakdown: That's an impressive record, but consider this.. he started the grading period with a 22-1 record. Yes, you read that right. He started with a 22-1 record, which means from March of this year until the end of the period, he only went 7-7-2, which obviously doesn't look all that impressive. 22-1, though, absolutely blows my mind. That's "Hulk Hogan in the late-80s" levels of winning. I fail to believe Hardy was drawing big money for TNA that would justify that much winning, like Hogan was for the WWF in his prime, like Ric Flair was for the NWA and WCW in his prime, or even like John Cena has been doing in recent years. Maybe TNA realized this, and that would explain the stumble to the finish that he had. It was still good enough for an extremely high ranking in the LoP 100, though.
Accomplishments: Won the WWE Tag Team Titles (with Daniel Bryan) on September 16th, 2012 (dropped the titles on May 19th).. 54-30-3 record on WWE television
Breakdown: Earlier, I mentioned a bit of a career renaissance for Mark Henry. Kane went through one, as well, with his Team Hell No run. It wasn't supposed to work as well as it did, but holy hell, Kane and Daniel Bryan were able to deliver magic to the wrestling audience when they were together. Kane was able to show more depth to his character, balancing "monster" with the comedic stylings that many (especially younger) fans didn't know he was capable of achieving. It led to a great reign as Tag Team Champions, and it led to Kane having a very impressive win-loss record. Can't ask for much more than that from a man who turned 46 earlier this year, and who people have been expecting to retire for several years now.
12. Austin Aries
Accomplishments: Came into the grading period as the TNA World Champion (dropped the title on October 14th).. Won the TNA Tag Team Titles (with Bobby Roode) on January 25th (dropped the titles on April 11th).. Won the TNA X-Division Title on June 20th (dropped the title on June 29th).. 20-21-4 record on TNA television
Breakdown: There's a Triple Crown year for you, and the fifth person in TNA history to achieve the Triple Crown of having at least one World, Tag and X-Division Title reign during their time with the company. Doing it in a single year is quite the added boost to the accomplishment. When you look at all of the things he accomplished, you would expect his record to be a lot better. He couldn't even reach the .500 mark. That says one of two things, depending on whether or not you're a huge TNA fan. If you're a huge TNA fan, you'd say that it shows how much TNA does respect his work, and that they don't even need to build him for a bit before giving him title matches. He's a big enough "name", is over enough, and is skilled enough to get those shots, even after a few consecutive losses. If you're not a huge TNA fan, you'd say that it shows how much of a joke TNA is, because they took one of their top workers, gave him a bunch of title reigns, but still continued to job him out left and right, giving him reigns that ended up being mostly irrelevant. There really is no in between here.
11. Roman Reigns
Accomplishments: Currently one-half (with Seth Rollins) of the WWE Tag Team Champions (won the titles on May 19th, 2013).. 23-6-1 record on WWE television
Breakdown: This is about as much of an "out of nowhere" success story as you're going to find. If you look at the three members of The Shield, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins already had large followings, with their fans predicting great things for them as soon as they were signed to WWE contracts. Reigns, on the other hand, was a relative unknown. People "in the know" were aware of his bloodline, knowing that he was a member of the famed Anoa'i Family Tree, but that was really it. As Leakee, he was raw and green in FCW and NXT, but nobody can claim they saw him back then and said he would go on to become a star. Fast forward to the here and now, and you have the most physically dominant member of The Shield, and the one that many fans feel will be the breakout star of the group when all is said and done, even with the built-in fan bases of the other two. I side with those people. Reigns is everything WWE could want in a top-tier guy, and in time, I think we'll see him get pushed to the top. For now, he continues to be on fire with the group's storylines, piling up victories and continuing to hold the Tag Team Titles with Rollins.
There you have it.. the first 90 names on the LoP 100. As I said, the final group of names will be revealed and discussed on LoP Radio. The show will be on Monday (September 30th, for those who aren't fans of looking at calendars) at 6:30pm EST, which will be a proper lead-in to Raw or Monday Night Football, depending on whatever it is you choose to watch on Monday nights these days. The show can be accessed at the following link..
LoP 100 on LoP Radio: The Top Ten