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AW Week In Review
AllWrestling Weekly Power Poll 1/10: It's The Man's Show Now
Thursday, January 10, 2019
With the Royal Rumble just a little more than two weeks away, a lot was settled in the week that was WWE wrestling on RAW and SmackDown Live. Though reviews of RAW were mixed and ratings on SmackDown remained down, there were some strong performances on both shows this week as WWE seems to be really pushing a few of its biggest stars entering 2019.
In my opinion, SmackDown ratings were adversely affected by President Trump's address to the nation, which not only pulled eyes away to the broadcast networks but also the cable news networks, and didn't reflect the strength of the show which was stacked this week. RAW had some similar matchups, but added a few wrinkles with Sasha Banks emerging as a top contender for the RAW Women's Championship and the Seth Rollins-Bobby Lashley feud permeating the entire show.
A couple themes seem apparent, WWE is strongly booking Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins as it appears those are two Superstars who are looked at as the ones who will be the standard bearers for the company this year, along with anticipated top industry stars like Ronda Rousey, Daniel Bryan and
. So without further ado, let's look at the WWE's top performers this week in AllWrestling.Com's weekly power poll:
They Didn't Quite Make The List
Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush
- Though this partnership with Rush advocating for The Almighty One got off to a rough start, Rush is starting to really sink his teeth into the talker role and Lashley was greatly aided by working with a top of the line Superstar like Rollins this week. I'm not sure if this rivalry can remain as physical throughout the entire show like this week's performance, but it was a nice surprise to start this RAW with a backstage brawl between Lashley and Rollins rather than the stock, talking-head promo intros that had become almost automatic. Hopefully, WWE can capitalize on this showing and start getting more out of Lashley, who has been a pretty big disappointment in his return to the promotion so far.
RAW Tag Team Champs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
- The Glorious Ones showcased Gable's tremendous athleticism which gave the old-time, powerhouse combo of Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson fits. Don't get me wrong. I don't ever question the ring work with Roode and Gable. I still don't think they have successfully checked the box of why should we care about them with their work on the mic. Roode made fans care about him at NXT because he was a tremendous heel. I still think he's better as such, but this was a fun match and entertaining.
- On the other side of that match, Wilder & Dawson are thriving in the role of heels (who most fans are getting behind and want to see as champs) that keep getting screwed out of the titles each week.
After the first title match between these two teams ended with the referee mistakenly counting a pin against a man that legally wasn't tagged in, this one ends because the ref didn't see a foot on the ropes. For those of you on social media, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder are really embracing Twitter as a way to engage fans and are a fun follow. Hopefully, WWE eventually gives us the payoff and puts the belts on these two as champs because they are proving each week they are the best tag team on RAW right now.
The Miz & Shane McMahon
- Though I'm not a fan of the storyline, it can't be ignored that "The Best Tag Team in the World" will now get a title shot at Royal Rumble against SmackDown Champs Sheamus & Cesaro. This is obviously an angle the Blue Brand is invested in and will either lead to a title reign for these two guys at some point or possibly sets up Miz against Shane at WrestleMania. Either way, it bears watching and will likely factor prominently in programming for the next few months.
Top 10 List (Reverse Order)
10. The Usos
- Jimmy & Jey Uso should be enjoying the billing of being the top tag team in all of the WWE because they bring an intense battle every time they go to the ring. Their match this week against The Bar is one of the best matches on either show so far in 2019. The hard-hitting action gave fans anxiously awaiting the triple-threat main event match for the women's division a great lead-in to the main course of the show. Unfortunately, the romance angle with Mandy Rose distracted Jimmy when Jey needed to make a tag and The Usos got screwed out of their title opportunity. I know some people are tired of seeing The Usos-The Bar-New Day group having matches all the time, but fans are never cheated when these guys get together.
9. SmackDown Tag Team Champs The Bar
- Sheamus & Cesaro may not be for everyone, but they always seem to put on a hell of a show whomever they take the ring against. They have established themselves on both brands as tremendous ring workers in the tag division and they are great in their role as heel champs. They teamed up with The Usos to beat the heck out of each other in a fast-paced, hard-hitting match that was executed well. Then, the Celtic Warrior and Swiss Cyborg were pitch perfect in their treatment of babyface Miz asking for a title shot at the Rumble, laying him out with a Brogue Kick before accepting and celebrating on all four sides of the ring with Sheamus stepping on Miz's stomach.
8. Charlotte Flair
- Sure, The Queen didn't win the triple threat or a title shot against
at the Royal Rumble, but she helped put on the best match of either show so far in 2019. The best performers in the company shine even when they aren't the winner. Flair continues to make other Superstars look great by testing them to their limits with her tremendous athleticism and wide arsenal of ring moves. It may not be in the cards for her to be getting the big push from the WWE right now, but she's never outside the title picture because she's valuable in helping sell the other talent as well. She did her job well.
- Critics write off The Staten Island Princess (ironic because she's really from Boston) as just a pretty face in skimpy outfits who plays up the eye candy angle. However, anyone who watched the triple threat with Becky Lynch and Charlotte had to appreciate that it was the great theater it became because Mella kept up with the other much more acclaimed Superstars in the match. She got Charlotte in a Code of Silence and laid out Charlotte and Becky a few times with vicious Superkicks and strikes. This might have been one of Mella's best matches of her main roster career.
6. Andrade "Cien" Almas
- This week was monumental for El Idolo as he got a clean win on Rey Mysterio in a tag match while looking incredibly impressive in doing so. Almas and Samoa Joe turned in a great technical show against Mysterio and Mustafa Ali in what would normally be considered just a throwaway tag match. Almas has worked against some of the very best in the company over the past few months, but almost always got booked to lose. This time, he hit the Hammerlock DDT on Mysterio and got a big victory. He and Mysterio are tremendous together. Hopefully, this gives Almas some momentum for bigger and better things in 2019.
5. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
- The Champ pulled double duty this week, opening the show in a losing effort with Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre in a tag match against John Cena, Finn Balor and Rollins before closing RAW in the main event of a Falls Count Anywhere successful title defense against Rollins. This time, Ambrose and Rollins pulled off a much more successful match than what happened at TLC. Whether it was the slight recalibration of making Rollins more intense or adding Lashley and Rush into the mix, this was a match much more deserving the billing of being main event than what the former Shield Bros. had pulled off in weeks prior.
4. Seth Rollins
- One thing you couldn't miss this week if you watched all of RAW, it was Monday Night Rollins in full effect. He opened the show brawling backstage with Lashley, then flew through the air to assault The Almighty One on the entrance ramp, teamed up with the returning Cena and Balor to defeat the heels in the opening match, gave an intense promo with Triple H demanding a title opportunity and then delivered an entertaining main event against Ambrose. From the way he's being booked, Rollins certainly seems like the one being groomed to finally take the Universal Championship away from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. One can only hope it's put on a full-time roster member soon.
3. Sasha Banks
- Finally, this is The Boss that I love. From her sassy promo which delivered the line of the week for the WWE Universe on social media - "B**ch, what line?" - to her defeating Nia Jax to get a title shot at Royal Rumble, Banks finally was booked like one of the premier stars on the Red Brand, which she absolutely is. Whether WWE chooses to leave Banks a babyface so she and Bayley can likely become the first women's tag team division champs later this year or turn her heel, it doesn't matter. The Boss and RAW Women's Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey are big enough Superstars to sustain a tremendous match, even if it defies the traditional heel-face dynamic. The athleticism and agility both Banks and Rousey can muster should make it one hell of a show at Chase Bank Field in Phoenix come Rumble time.
2. WWE Champion "The New" Daniel Bryan
- I have never quite seen a promo like the one the company's premier heel delivered on Tuesday (out among fans in a concession area, no interviewer, walking throughout the arena) but it continues to sell the character brimming with intensity, outrage and ferocity that will put the reincarnated "Real"
to the test in Phoenix. I'm not sure if Bryan has ever been better. Though his title defense against R Truth wasn't overly long, it was an exhibition of his tenacity while still allowing Truth to be sold as a credible threat. After the match, the ambush from Styles continued to sell a different version of the former champ as well. At most times, a run like this would be a runaway freight train that draws all the attention. However, Bryan is operating during the time of The Man, who continued to dominate this week.
1. Becky Lynch
- The image of Lynch flexing her well-toned arms and shoulders while pointing to the crowd and yelling "This Is My Show Now" as the women's triple threat main event match went to commercial was perhaps the WWE's most powerful visual since the grinning, bloodied Lynch raised her arms in defiance among the crowd and took a curtain call during her RAW Invasion angle in November. Not only were fans screaming for Lynch during SmackDown in Jacksonville, they noticeably screamed for her during "A Moment of Bliss" on RAW when Rousey was starting to do her sales pitch for Banks to get a title shot.
Though Charlotte and Carmella were impressive in pushing The Man until the end, I don't think the WWE could've booked the end of that match any differently without inciting a riot in the arena and living rooms throughout the WWE Universe. Fans love them some Becky right now, and giving her a one-on-one shot against
for the title she "never really lost" was the only way to go. Afterward, Lynch continued her pitch perfect "they screw me at every turn" cry by pointing out that right after TLC automatic rematch clauses were canceled, thus making her work harder than usual to get a rematch. Lynch just seems to be operating on a whole other level than any other Superstar in the company at this moment in time.
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