Tuesday, January 15, 2013
WWE Power Rankings: Del Rio, Cena rise
By Jon Robinson
CM Punk and The Rock maintain their spots, while John Cena rises after a strong "Raw" showing.
What a difference a week makes. Since ESPN’s first WWE Power Rankings, we’ve seen a new World Heavyweight Champion, a new Divas Champion, Eve Torres quit the company, Ric Flair pass the figure-four torch to The Miz, Dolph Ziggler’s shockingly white (I'm talking Sheamus pale!) backside debut inside a steel cage and Mick Foley announced as the first inductee into WWE’s 2013 Hall of Fame.
We also saw a fun night of memories, matches and mayhem on the 20th anniversary show of "Raw," with flashbacks triggering reminders of Edge and Lita’s wedding (complete with Kane tombstoning the priest) and Stone Cold showing Mike Tyson his signature style of sign language.
It’s the induction of Mick Foley that I’d like to focus on for a second, though, as this is a guy who was not only thrown off the Hell in a Cell roof for your enjoyment, but he also rolled on thumbtacks, flew into barbed wire and was speared through a flaming table just to leave his mark on the business.
But Foley is more than just a walking medical chart of bruises and broken bones, as he also provided some of the funniest and most honest moments I can remember throughout all my years watching WWE, and it’s because of these rare glimpses inside the mask that Foley stands out as truly one of the great ones (top 50 all-time).
WWE Power Rankings: Jan. 15, 2013
The buildup between Rock and Punk has been so mesmerizing, it makes me wish they were saving this match for Wrestlemania. Punk's intensity paired with The Rock's unequaled mike work and charisma is starting to blow this feud off the charts.
So wait, The Rock gets to swear and say whatever he wants, but the rest of the roster is still stuck in this quasi-PG world? All you have to do is listen to the crowd reaction and you can hear people itching for a return to edgier content. Hopefully that edge remains in the ring, even when Rock returns to Hollywood.
He struts to the squared circle with five stars on his trunks, because match after match, this kid delivers the goods. It'd be a fun storyline twist if he won the Royal Rumble and beat the WWE champ at Mania and then cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and beat the World Heavyweight champ to walk away with both belts to close the pay-per-view. You want to build a new star? That's how you do it on the biggest stage of all.
Alberto Del Rio
Maybe it's just me, but Ricardo Rodriguez is the real star and really helps make Del Rio. Don't get me wrong, Del Rio's match against Big Show was one of his best showings in a long time, but what Rodriguez adds as ring announcer/flunky/facial expressionist extraordinaire is pure genius.
Scouting report: If John Cena hits you with two flying shoulder tackles, the last thing you want to do is throw a wild right-handed haymaker. You think someone would have figured this out by now. Great match against Ziggler, but no way Superman/Cena should have kicked out of that sick DDT off the ropes.
Went into full beast mode against The Shield and has the brute strength to really leave an impression at the upcoming Royal Rumble.
I love how they made the U.S. Champion anti-American. That's classic heel business right there, and if booked right, Cesaro has the look and skills to start drawing big money as fans clamor for the day somebody finally shuts him up.
It seemed like Ric Flair was really going all out to help make The Miz big-time on "Raw" last night, trading "woos!" in the middle of the ring and even letting Miz use his trademark figure-four. Only question now is whether that rub equals relevance.
The Shield Dean Ambrose Roman Reigns
Love their music, love their look, love their potential, but enough with the random beatdowns. Get these guys into some matches. Make them the tag-team champs and bring back Freebird rules.
Not only is Foley finally (yes, finally!) headed to the Hall, but we had a fun little Rock 'n' Sock reunion backstage. Crazy to think how many hysterical moments these two have created in WWE together, especially considering their legendary I Quit match is one of the most brutal encounters I've ever seen. If you want to know why superstars no longer take steel chairs to the head, go back and give Royal Rumble 1999 another look.