I thought Payback way over delivered based on my expectations. The match quality was strong throughout and any time Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss pick up big wins, JC is a happy man.
- Braun Strowman (Last Week – 1)
ROOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRR! The Roman Empire came crashing down at the hands of the Monster Among Men at Payback, and Braun Strowman finally got his big singles win we have all been waiting for.
- Alexa Bliss (Last Week – 4)
Little Miss Bliss became the new RAW Women’s champion at Payback and I was very happy with that outcome! Alexa has already made a big mark in the division and now she has the title to prove it. She followed up her win with yet another victory on RAW after a coronation ceremony that I thoroughly enjoyed. My “best newcomer” from last year is quickly cementing herself as one of the top stars in all of WWE.
- Kevin Owens (Last Week – 3)
The new face of America became the former face of America at Payback when he surprisingly lost his championship to Chris Jericho. In his rematch on SmackDown Live Owens retained his championship and seemingly eliminated Chris Jericho from the equation with a vicious beat down. I was ready to drop Owens way down this list but he looked great by the end of SmackDown and holds onto his third spot in a tumultuous week.
- AJ Styles (Last Week – 2)
The face that runs the blue place was not in action this week, but remains the #1 contender for the US title. Styles is still a stud.
- Jinder Mahal (Last Week – 6)
Yeah this is real. He is no longer hindered and has broken into my top 5 this week. Jinder continues to look great picking up another singles win over Sami Zayn and looks poised to become the WWE champion at Backlash.
- The Miz (Last Week – 7)
The Miz is the new #1 contender for the Intercontinental championship. But, it is how we got there that has me fired up. RAW was once again built around The Miz, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor without Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, or Braun Strowman appearing on TV. And the show was well done and I do not think suffered too bad, which is an amazing feat considering it is over three hours long. Back to The Miz, he continues to raise his game and I think he will become a 7-time IC champ soon.
- Bray Wyatt (Last Week – 9)
The patriarch of the Wyatt Family defeated Randy Orton in the House of Horrors match at Payback. Bray is now officially a RAW superstar as he interrupted GM Kurt Angle and then later cost Finn Balor his match in the main event. Bray has now put Randy Orton in the rearview and needs to hit a home run to regain the momentum he lost at WrestleMania.
- Dean Ambrose (Last Week – 10)
The Intercontinental champion was mysteriously absent from Payback on Sunday, but returned to RAW on Monday to set up a triple threat #1 contender match for his championship. Ambrose continued his goofy ways, but I really enjoyed his backstage interviews with Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. He is right too, he does hold the top title on RAW right now.
- The Hardy Boyz (Last Week – 11)
Team Extreme was victorious at Payback versus Sheamus & Cesaro but they paid for it after the match. This feud has picked up big time and I am really excited as The Hardyz continue to leak more and more of their Broken characters.
- Randy Orton (Last Week – 5)
The viper lost the House of Horrors match to Bray Wyatt at Payback with the help of Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers. Orton was absent from SmackDown and falls way down after a poor week.
- Chris Jericho (Last Week – 14)
DRINK IT IN MAAAAAAAN! Chris Jericho won the United States Championship by defeating his former best friend Kevin Owens at Payback in the shocker of the night. But during his SmackDown debut Jericho lost the title to Kevin Owens and is likely “injured” for the foreseeable future after a major beat down.
- Roman Reigns (Last Week – 8)
Roman Reigns came up short against Braun Strowman at Payback and took a beating throughout. Reigns did get a little revenge backstage after the PPV not allowing Braun to finish the job.
- Finn Balor (Last Week – Not Ranked)
The leader of the Balor Club finally had some lengthy screen time on RAW. Balor was part of the main story on this week’s show and nearly became the #1 contender for the Intercontinental championship until Bray Wyatt showed up. A Balor-Wyatt feud has WrestleMania type potential, but we are getting it now. I hope they do not screw this one up.
- Seth Rollins (Last Week – Not Ranked)
I have not been impressed with the “King Slayer” since WrestleMania because I think his character sucks as a babyface. But, the triple threat main event on RAW this week reminded me why Seth Rollins is an elite player; he is one of the best in the ring. I hope the momentum from this match can carry Rollins into shaping an interesting persona once again.
- Sheamus & Cesaro (Last Week – 17)
Shesaro lost at Payback, but then had a great heel turn after the match as they attacked the Hardy Boyz. On Monday, the duo finished the turn in a promo and disowned the WWE Universe. I like this decision by WWE despite Cesaro being so wildly popular. This team is great together in the ring and a heel turn keeps their characters fresh.
- Becky Lynch (Last Week – Not Ranked)
Becky Balboa returned to relevance this week as she finally appears to be part of the big women’s storyline on SmackDown Live. I love this episode being built around Becky because she has been vastly underutilized since WrestleMania and now is a good time to make good use of her talent.
- Neville (Last Week – 13)
The King of the Cruiserweights looked vulnerable for the first time in a big match at Payback. Austin Aries looked to be close to beating the King, but Neville grabbed the ref to cause the disqualification. Neville continued his dastardly ways on RAW as he continued to use TJ Perkins to beat down Austin Aries and his bad knee.
- Charlotte (Last Week – 12)
The queen lost a numbers game to the new faction of Natalya, Carmella, Tamina and James Ellsworth on SmackDown Live along with this next superstar. . .
- Naomi (Last Week – 16)
Naomi was not just feeling the glow this week, but also a lot of pain. Her match with Charlotte seems to be put on hold until they can deal with “The Welcoming Committee.”
- The Welcoming Committee
With a lot of big names not appearing or doing much on TV this week a spot opened up here at the bottom of the rankings. I do not love this group quite yet, but SmackDown is finding creative ways to use their entire division and make it mean something.
Fell from Rankings: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Breezango, The Usos, Baron Corbin
Video of the week: