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Parenza Power Rankings (January 2018) by Victor Parenza

January Power Rankings

Welcome once again to my monthly WWE power rankings. January was quite the month, culminating at the Royal Rumble. For the most part Smackdown is still going strong ever since KO’s headbutt. Raw is hit or miss; as usual. NXT is top-notch as always, and 205 Live may finally (fingers crossed) be headed in the correct direction.

Criteria:

1. It will be based exclusively for the listed month.

2. And on how much I enjoyed their promos, segments, and/or matches of that particular month.

3. It could also be purely speculative.

1. Shinsuke Nakamura

nakamura

Last month: N/R

It definitely was a long-shot, but the King of Strong Style won the Royal Rumble- and took out Roman Reigns for the win. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. The fact they immediately announced that he was facing AJ Styles makes me so happy. It gives so much more importance to this dream match that was first teased back in June. It made it seem like a “no brainer” to the WWE Universe, thus making them take note that, Hey there really wasn’t any decision to make, this is the only guy I want to face.

2. AJ Styles

aj image.jpg

Last month: 1

Speaking of “that guy,” Styles is number two, after being my number one the last two months. Obviously, the Nakamura win was history-making thus giving him the slight edge this month. Is it WrestleMania yet?

3. Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa

johnny ciampa.jpg

Last month:

Gargano- 5

Ciampa- N/R

Last month I fantasy-booked Ciampa coming back at Takeover to beat down Gargano. I won’t pat myself on the back, but I will tell you that I’m really looking forward to this feud. They showed great chemistry when they faced one-on-one back in the CWC, and now it’s a blood feud on top of that!

4. 205 Live

205 Live

Last month: N/R

I won’t give up on the purple brand. I tried to be optimistic about the “Enzo experiment,” obviously we no longer have to worry about that. So, with an opening up like that, it leads to major opportunity.

I was really curious as to who the new GM would be. I didn’t even consider the newly signed “Spud” so I was pleasantly surprised. I thought he did an excellent job Tuesday night and looked to fit right in as a figurehead. I think he did some of that in Impact, but I will be honest, I haven’t watched Impact in a long time.

The announcement of the 16-man tournament to crown the new champ at WrestleMania is huge. Firstly, the fact they would save that for Mania is a big deal. Sure, it will probably be pre-show, but as Aries and Neville proved last year, you can still rock the house on the pre-show. And it will be a big moment for whoever they have winning. Secondly, this gives the whole show a bit more of the CWC feel to it, and that was obviously successful the first time around. It essence it makes these matches have a tangible prize at the end of the tunnel, instead of just letting them bounce around for 8 minutes as sideshow freaks.

Lastly, I’m glad they aren’t showing the bracket (or haven’t from what I’ve seen). We don’t know what guys from NXT are being used until the next week announcement at the end of each show. Last week they announced Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong for this coming week…

5. Roderick Strong

roderick-strong-nxt-debut

Last month: N/R

Strong and Hideo hooked up a few times in ROH with stellar results. I’m beyond stoked to see this match on next week’s 205. I’m sure Roddy won’t win, (due to his other storyline on NXT) but the match could be a match of the year if given proper time. You may think I’m crazy, but I don’t care. Strong also gets a shot at the UK title after defeating Tyler Bate…

6. Pete Dunne

PD

Last month: 9

Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne? YES PLEASE. I’m sure this match will be a match of the year contender. Dunne didn’t do much else in WWE this month, but he did have a match against Austin Aries in the UK that got rave reviews. I’m not at all surprised.

7. Aleister Black

Black

Last month: N/R

Black got the big win over Adam Cole at Takeover. It was honestly a match that could have gone either way from a booking standpoint. All signs are pointing to Black challenging for the NXT title WrestleMania weekend.

8. Finn Balor

balor club

Last month: N/R

Balor has regained some of his lost momentum from prior to his injury. His reuniting with Gallows and Anderson seems to have made the internet happy. They got the “rub” from DX at Raw 25, and he lasted the longest in the Rumble this year. Things are definitely changing for the better. (Here’s a fun fact: this is the first time Finn has made my power rankings. I’ve hated his booking since his return, up until this point.)

9. Smackdown Tag Division

Uso

Last month: 6

It hasn’t really mattered what combination of teams that get thrown out there, they usually deliver, if not from an in-ring perspective, definitely from an angle/character development standpoint. Please take notes Raw.

10. Sami/Kevin

SZKO

Last month: 4

Although the duo formerly known as “Steenerico” as lost a bit of momentum in my eyes, they still have helped to anchor the show. I’m interested to see where they go moving forward once they’re done with AJ. Could they make a run at the tag titles? It would just make the division that much better.

Falling out of the top 10:

Samoa Joe- An untimely injury knocks Joe off this month. I’ve yet to find a diagnosis of his injury, so I’m hoping that means it’s not too serious.

Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon- At the beginning of the month Bryan was seemingly the heel in this feud. Uh why? Regardless, the last few weeks it’s seemed that this angle is all but dropped. I have no idea what is going on here.

Undisputed Era- The only reason these guys fell out is because so much good stuff happened this month.

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