AllWrestling Weekly Power Poll 1/23: It’s Boss Time
The go-home shows from the Royal Rumble are in the books, and it’s apparent who is hot and who is not in the WWE this week.
In a bit of a departure from our recent power polls, we’ll briefly go over the Superstars who had to be disappointed coming out of RAW and SmackDown the past few days. Without a doubt, new United States Champion Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura head that list. Not only has their match received little if any promotion going into the event, but they didn’t even make TV this week. Finally, WWE announced their match will now take place on the Royal Rumble Kickoff Show. Ouch. That’s a clear statement from WWE that both guys don’t move the meter much in their eyes.
Continuing on the SmackDown side, it’s beginning to look like almost a guaranteed lock Tag Team Champs Sheamus and Cesaro will lose their belts to The Miz and Shane this weekend in what may be the only title change of the show. By having The Bar totally destroy The Co-Besties, it sells the seemingly insurmountable odds they have to win which almost assuredly means that is what will happen on the pay-per-view show. Also, Mustafa Ali had a bit of setback in his push this week. Though he turned in an incredible promo, he got bulldozed by Samoa Joe again this week.
On the RAW side, The Revival not only lost yet another tag team title match to Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, but they were then shown up by Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder after the match. When Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson ambushed Hawkins, the guest referee for the match, Ryder, who made a big deal on social media about being held off TV all of 2018, came out and cleared the ring of The Revival. It’s beginning to look like hopes Wilder and Dawson get a title reign soon may be unrevivable. Also, rising acts that had strong momentum up until a few weeks ago like Riott Squad, Ember Moon and Elias keep either missing TV or getting booked poorly. It’s tough to read where they stand right now.
Now, on to the big winners of the week with our weekly power poll:
They Didn’t Quite Make the List
AJ Styles – Make no mistake, the Phenomenal One and WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan could quite possibly steal the show Sunday. It’s just Bryan is operating at such a high level with his mic work these days that Styles has been overshadowed slightly in their current feud. Perhaps to his credit, the former champ has played second fiddle to Bryan to help sell the strength of his new heel persona. AJ is still one of the best in the business, but he’s being booked in a supporting role right now.
Alexa Bliss – Other than the former RAW Women’s Champ herself, the biggest winners with the announcement that The Goddess is returning to the ring are the WWE Universe and RAW creative team. When Bliss went down, the lack of depth in the RAW Women’s Division heel stable got exposed. Nia Jax languished in her attempt to pick up the slack and no other credible threats to RAW Women’s Champ “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey emerged. RAW had to book not one, but two faces – Natalya and Sasha Banks – against The Rowdy One to keep things interesting. Here’s hoping Bliss’ return to the Women’s Royal Rumble match goes off without any injury setbacks because she’s one of the company’s best and her absence has been felt.
Bayley – Sure, The Hugger just provided backup for her bestie, Sasha Banks, in their victory over Rousey and Natalya on Monday, but it was good to see her in a main event again. It’s easy to forget Bayley set the bar for women’s faces in NXT and turned in match of the year candidates in the past in feuds with Banks. Don’t take the bait. She’s still great. A victim of extremely weak booking for most of 2018, Bayley appears to finally have some good things coming her way. This feud with Sasha and Ronda seems like a great launching pad for The Boss N Hug Connection to claim the Women’s Tag Team belts at Elimination Chamber.
Charlotte Flair – The Queen got a bit of rough treatment from the Wichita Falls crowd, being shouted down by all the Becky Lynch fans. However, she executed perfectly in her role as a looming threat on the outside looking in on the title picture. With the announcement she’s part of the Royal Rumble field, Flair will obviously be at the center of rumors and fan scenarios in regards to how the WWE will set up the complicated dynamic between her, Lynch and Rousey for WrestleMania. Though many fans have stated a preference to see Lynch and Rousey go one-on-one, there’s so many rumblings that Flair will be part of the picture that it seems inevitable it will be a triple-threat. One of the more interesting theories right now is that Flair and Lynch experience a simultaneous elimination in the rumble match this weekend and they both will get a shot at Rousey. Keep your eyes glued to the happenings in Phoenix to see how this plays out.
Top 10 List (In Reverse Order)
10. Zach Ryder & Curt Hawkins – With the way Ryder came to the dominant rescue on Monday and the recent opportunities for disgruntled talent since the AEW announcement, the Long Island Iced-Z and Hawkins seem like they may be primed to make some waves in the RAW Tag Team division. It’s always been puzzling to me that a guy like Ryder seems to be forever buried in the WWE because he has plenty of followers online. Now, he might get a bit more of a regular role on TV that he didn’t see all of 2018.
9. Heavy Machinery – Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight got to make their main roster in-ring debut on Monday, and as anticipated it was a squash match with little difficulty against The Ascension. With perhaps Nikki Cross being the only exception, none of the announced NXT callups have made as much impact so far as Dozovic and Knight. Given the weak state of the RAW Tag Team division, Heavy Machiner could easily ascend the ranks to the title picture in short order if that’s the way WWE decides to go.
8. Andrade – El Idolo had his chances of a third straight victory over Rey Mysterio dashed by interference from Samoa Joe, but his arrow is clearly pointing up by being put in a main event. Given the rumors of his discontent and warning free agents from joining the WWE, Andrade may finally get a chance to assume the role of frequent main event player that many assumed he would have when he was promoted from NXT. Look for him to have a nice run in the Men’s Royal Rumble match, but probably come up a little short to Seth Rollins or Drew McIntyre.
7. Mandy Rose – God’s Greatest Creation finally took the ring against former SmackDown Women’s Champ Naomi after weeks of tormenting her and got the victory. If there’s any doubt Vince McMahon believes in her and WWE will push her, consider that in the past few weeks she’s received more TV time than anyone else in the SmackDown Women’s Division outside of current Women’s Champion Asuka and the hottest act in the company, Becky Lynch. Don’t be surprised if Rose puts in a strong showing in the Women’s Royal Rumble match.
6. WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan – Few Superstars get to openly defy Vince McMahon in promo segments involving the chairman. Bryan continued to pour on the heat this week as the Eco Warrior/Social Activist heel who hates everyone in the arena for being the consumerist pigs that they are. The fact that Bryan took a shot at the entire Baby Boomer generation for being nothing but “takers” added some bonus gas to his incendiary promo against Styles this week. He hit all the marks as the cowardly baddie who uses every cheap trick in the book to get his way. This time, he used Vince as a human shield to eventually deliver the knees to Styles. That he’s only midway up the list this week speaks to the strength of performances this week.
5. Drew McIntyre – With the way RAW was booked this week, it makes it hard to think that the Men’s Royal Rumble won’t come down to the Scottish Terminator and The Architect. Though everyone is assuming based on the rumors that Rollins will get the nod, it would not be that big of a swerve for the WWE to have McIntyre emerge victorious and set up a Monster versus Monster showdown with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. That is assuming since The Demon King will not be appearing in Phoenix this weekend that Finn Balor will not unseat Lesnar. Personally, I think a McIntyre-Lesnar matchup might be more interesting to watch and it could set up Balor and Rollins to chase the belt this summer.
4. Seth Rollins – Monday Night Rollins continued this week as few Superstars in the company have been booked as strongly as The Architect to start the year. All the backstage reports so far point to Seth being the big winner at Chase Field this Sunday. However, he scored a big win on RAW, so that might mean McIntyre gets the win Sunday. Either way, these two and Balor carry the hopes for finally giving us a fighting Universal Champion on the Red Brand. We’ve seen Rollins-Lesnar in the not too distant past, so revisiting that might not be what some want. Yet, Seth might deserve the reward after being put in the position to have to carry the show in 2018 with the abundance of injuries RAW suffered.
3. SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka – The champ looked both vicious and dangerous as she briefly got the upper hand on Becky Lynch with the sneak attack during Charlotte Flair’s promo. You almost have to feel sorry for Asuka, though. The vocal fan support for Lynch in Wichita Falls made it difficult for Asuka to even speak during the segment. Given that’s not her strong suit, it may not have been a bad thing. Though I’m betting WWE decides not to cut her title reign so short, Asuka probably never envisioned when she was promoted from NXT with a dominant undefeated streak that she’d be so overshadowed as a champion when she finally got her opportunity.
2. Becky Lynch – Perhaps a better ranking may be 1A and 1B this week. I gave Banks the nod because she was actually in a match, but Lynch has to be loving the tremendous support she’s receiving. So far in 2019, Lynch has shown up John Cena, who then sold her as a face of the company, closed a show with a victory over Charlotte and Carmella to earn a title opportunity at the Royal Rumble and opened the show with dominant promos each of the past two weeks. It’s a simple fact. No other Superstar in the WWE has been booked as dominantly, and nobody else is hearing their name echoing through arenas as loudly as The Man. Asuka got the jump on Lynch initially, but The Man quickly rebounded and looked more impressive in the ensuing brawl that spilled outside the ring and backstage. My guess is she will not win the SmackDown Women’s Championship this weekend, but it won’t be a clean loss, either.
1. Sasha Banks – When The Boss got Natalya to tap out to the Bank Statement during the main event on Monday Night RAW, it officially handed RAW Women’s Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey her first loss of any sort within the WWE. On the strength of that feat alone Banks gets the top ranking this week. However, Banks continues to show with her mic skills that few talents in all of the WWE shine as brightly as she does when the spotlight is on her. If this doesn’t prove that RAW’s usage of Banks for most of 2018 wasn’t borderline criminally negligent, I don’t know what does.
I’m not sure if the WWE expected the amount of pushback Rousey has received in her feuds with Lynch, Charlotte and Banks, but yet again a majority of the support online has swung for Banks in this feud. However, I think it’s far more likely Rousey retains and Banks goes on to win the tag belts with Bayley at Elimination Chamber. The only scenario that makes sense for The Boss to win the title this weekend is that the rumors about FOX executives desiring Rousey switch over to SmackDown are true, and that’s a path for The Rowdy One to make the move. If that’s the case, then Rousey could be a last-minute entrant into the Royal Rumble and win it. It would technically be an easier way to set up a triple-threat match with Lynch and Flair, but I just don’t think that’s the way WWE is going to go.
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