Posts tagged wrestling
First Black Champ - I'm Black, So I Think Kofi Gonna Lose Every Night

We back! First episode of May and on Mother's Day! It's Black Champ talk as usual. Kofi's on a run we called and we speculate his possible next contender could be after KO and who it better not fawking be no matter what. And since we have more information, we talk in greater info and perspective about Lio Rush's backstage heat and what it could mean. We also talk about who he may need to talk to during this time and why. The ratings may be down, but who or what is really to blame? We answer that unpack a lot more on this week's #FirstBlackChampPod! Tell your mom we said hi!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ruthless Aggression - Wild Card, Bitches!

The Mad Titan does it again. Is the 'Wild Card' rule in WWE pointless or good for RAW and Smackdown? Then, we jump right into the week in wrestling in 2003!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 519
Smackdown 194

Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertONeill31

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

The WWE Top 25: April Edition
WWE

WWE

One-third of the year 2019 has already come and gone. That means it’s time for the April edition of The WWE Top 25!

You know the rules by now around here. But just in case you don’t and you’re new around here, here’s a breakdown on the matter.

As I mentioned, we’re a third of the way through the year. Crazy, right? The cumulative Top 25 is starting to really separate itself from the rest of the pack (I went over this on Thursday on Twitter, actually. If you want to see, click this here link).

We’re going to go through things as we typically do here. But there’s an addition to this post now. Given the fact that there’s just one woman in the cumulative WWE Top 25 right now, I’ve decided to post the WOMEN’S Top 25 as well. Women’s wrestling is an incredibly hot topic of discussion all the time, of course, and so I figured that it would be fair to showcase the women of WWE right now and where they currently stand amongst each other. So that will be down past the April Top 25, right before the cumulative WWE Top 25.


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (APRIL)

1. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
2. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Oney Lorcan (205 Live, 4/16, ****)
4. Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 4/23, ****)
5. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (Raw, 4/22, ****)
6. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong (NXT, 4/24, ***¾)
7. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Live, 4/30, ***¾)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane (NXT, 4/17, ***¾)
9. Andrade vs. Finn Balor (Raw, 4/15, ***½)
10. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn (Raw, 4/8, ***½)

TOP 10 MATCHES (APRIL)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
3. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
4. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
5. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
6. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¼)
7. Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch (WrestleMania, 4/7, ****)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****)
9. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Harper (Worlds Collide, 4/14, ****)
10. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 3/19, ****½)
4. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20, ****¼)
5. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
9. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/22, ****¼)
10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 2/12, ****¼)

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
3. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26, ****¾)
4. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
5. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
6. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
7. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
8. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
10. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)


WWE TOP 25 (APRIL)

1. Ricochet (37.625)
2. Aleister Black (31.375)
3. Kofi Kingston (31)
4. Finn Balor (22.75)
5. Baron Corbin (20.5)
6. Drew McIntyre (20)
T7. The War/Viking Raiders (19.125)
9. Cesaro (19)
10. Bayley (18.25)
11. Shinsuke Nakamura (16.25)
12. The Velveteen Dream (16.125)
T13. The Revival, Seth Rollins (16)
16. Kairi Sane (15.25)
17. Daniel Bryan (15)
18. AJ Styles (14.5)
19. Andrade (14)
T20. The Usos (13.5)
22. Roman Reigns (13.25)
23. Mustafa Ali (13)
T24. Johnny Gargano, Rusev, Sheamus (12.75)

The compilers really stood out this month. Ricochet and Aleister Black may have performed well as always, but they were certainly aided by just how much they worked this month. Ricochet wrestled in nine matches and built up a big lead, and continued his stay at the top of the list. The two of them were followed by the group of Kofi Kingston, Finn Balor and… yes, you read it right: Baron Corbin.

Corbin was another case of being a compiler, and at some point, whether we like it or not, he was going to find his way up to the top in one of these monthly lists at some point. Nevertheless, he’s put in decent work and was able to bounce up. That’s just how it goes sometimes here.

The highest-ranked woman in the rankings once again was Bayley. While she might not be tagging with her best friend anymore (who’s gone at the moment anyways) The Hugger is still putting in serious work. She had some terrific matches, if you couldn’t tell by how she was featured in two of the best TV matches of the month. She’s really having an extremely great 2019, and should certainly be recognized for her efforts. The only other woman to make the cut? Kairi Sane, who got a main roster bump. She’s going to probably need to do some heavy lifting if she wants to pick up ground in the cumulative edition, but she’s certainly in a very good spot right now.

Tag teams kind of ruled the day here, as well. A slew of them were featured in this list. The Revival, The War Raiders, The Bar and The Usos were all in the mix this month. I suppose if you count Aleister and Ricochet, they count too, as do Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Who says tag team wrestling is a dying art?

We had a tie for the final spots between Rusev, Sheamus and Johnny Gargano. And man, it was close. A difference of just 0.5 points separated these three from the others who just missed, who by the way were… another tag team: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.

Now, let’s talk about the women, shall we?


WOMEN’S TOP 25 (2019)

1. Bayley (50.25)
2. Sasha Banks (34.5)
3. Becky Lynch (32)
4. Nia Jax (29.25)
5. Charlotte Flair (26.5)
6. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
7. Bianca Belair (25)
8. Asuka (24.5)
9. Mandy Rose (22.25)
T10. Kairi Sane, Sarah Logan (20)
12. Nikki Cross (19.75)
13. Tamina (19.5)
T14. Io Shirai, Shayna Baszler (18.5)
16. Peyton Royce (17.75)
17. Sonya Deville (17)
T18. Naomi, Ruby Riott (16.75)
T20. Carmella, Liv Morgan (16.5)
22. Natalya (16)
23. Billie Kay (14.75)
24. Toni Storm (14.5)
25. Alexa Bliss (13)

So… bit of a significant gap, huh?

There’s a lot that plays into that. For one, Bayley has worked 18 matches that have made tap this year. Second place in that department is Sasha Banks, who’s worked 14. Sasha, of course, hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania. Going down the ladder, third place among the women in that department is Ronda Rousey. Rousey hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania, and we don’t know the next time that she’s going to wrestle either. Tied for fourth are Billie Kay, Ruby Riott and Peyton Royce. And, well, you see where they are with their workload this year.

Becky Lynch has worked 11 matches this year, which is tied with Nia Jax and Sarah Logan. Becky has the highest score, but she’s had a lot of variability. Nia is the same way, but Jax has another problem facing her: An injury that’s going to doubt keep her on the shelf for a very long time. Logan has competed just a few times this month, but also hasn’t been seen since The Riott Squad’s last hurrah on the Shield Last Chapter WWE Network special. She, like many others among the women this year, has had a LOT of variance, though not all of it is her fault.

When you consider these factors, it’s no surprise that Bayley finds herself where she is. She has a four-match advantage over second place, and we don’t know the next time Banks will compete. The superstar in third won’t be working again this year, it seems, and the middle of the pack are well behind the pace and have had too much variance. Bayley, meanwhile, has made the absolute most out of anything. She’s having a superb year, and it ought to be recognized as such.

I know that there’s some bias here, but if you oppose that thought, as you look at this, ask yourself who’s made the most out of their opportunities? I can make the case for Charlotte Flair for that department. However, Charlotte has wrestled just nine times this year. And she would’ve needed to have a ridiculous output each time. Because of some TV matches on Raw, that probably precluded her from doing so.

Anyhow, the rest of the Top 25 is interesting, is it not? Everyone is within only a couple of points of each other. Some opportunities that may await these ladies could result in some tremendous showcases. I’m particularly fascinated to see what happens next. Money in the Bank could be a big shift for a lot of these ladies in one direction or another. It could result in some fun movement in the month of May. A majority of this Top 25 will be competing at the event in fact, as well as a couple others who don’t find themselves here. Watch the space for Alexa Bliss also, as they may be about to go full throttle with her very soon. Also, look for Kairi Sane to go up the board, as she’s currently tied for 10th and about to get some main roster growth.

Plus, the group of NXTers all look to have big TV matches coming their way. If they hit on them, that could catapult them up the list. Bianca, for instance, could work her way near the Top 5, and Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai could touch the Top 10 if they get the ball and run with it.

Stay tuned!

Anyways, let’s get to the cumulative Top 25 now, shall we?


WWE TOP 25 (2019)

25. Dean Ambrose
Points: 37.75 | Last Month: 11
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: 6 Tag, Shield’s Last Chapter

Au revoir to Dean Ambrose, who finishes his WWE career at 25th in the WWE Top 25. You likely won’t see him come near this chart again, so relish this moment! Dean competed in just one aired match this month, a six-man tag with his Shield mates against Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. It was quite a way for him to go out, and he had a very good showing this year, having been in the Top 25 for the entirety of the year. Godspeed, Dean, and best of luck in the death matches that likely now await you.

24. Dash Wilder
Points: 38.75 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 16 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet, Raw 4/1

At some point or another, Dash Wilder and his tag team partner were going to get into the WWE Top 25. And as they continue to work nearly every week of the year, that now holds true. Dash gets in at 24th after a pretty solid month of April that saw he and his partner gain 16 points. Given that they’re going to now be feuding with The Usos, I’d expect them to continue to ascend up the ladder here in these rankings, as well as The Usos, really, as those two teams are definitely capable of making magic happen in the ring.

23. Shinsuke Nakamura
Points: 39 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania 4/7

While he’s gained (and perhaps earned) a reputation for coasting, Shinsuke Nakamura is in the midst of a rock solid 2019. Nakamura’s entered the WWE Top 25 after a strong April, earning 16.25 points in the process. That was good for 9th place in the April rankings, so needless to say he’s making a strong pitch to be among the best of the best right now. Nak is playing a very good role on SmackDown in the mid-card, and that might be where we see him stay going forward. If that’s the case, expect him to continue to be a player in this spot.

T21. Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson
Points: 39.25 | Last Month: N/A (Both)
Matches in 2019: 20 (Corbin) / 17 (Dawson)

Ah, the case of Baron Corbin. Corbin is regularly panned for not being too great, and based on match ratings that I’ve given him… it’s hard to disagree with that notion. Just six of the matches that I’ve graded of his got ***½ or above, one of them being the Royal Rumble match, of course. And half of them were given ** or less.

But, when you work 20 matches on the year, it’s going to eventually become hard to deny you a spot here. So, he’s finally made his way into the mix. Whether or not he accelerates that jump will be dependent on his workload and how well he does going forward.

As for Scott Dawson? He’s ahead of Dash Wilder just because of the match at the Royal Rumble. No, seriously. That’s it. That’s the reason for the discrepancy.

20. Adam Cole
Points: 39.5 | Last Month: 19
Matches in 2019: 9 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Johnny Gargano, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY 4/6

Adam Cole made a nine-point jump from where he was last month… and fell down one spot in the rankings. Cold world? Cold world. Cole had a great showing in the ⅔ Falls Match against Johnny Gargano in the main event of TakeOver: New York. That match gave him nine points, but that was all that he did this month. Perhaps May will be a bit kinder to Adam Cole (bay bay) but he unfortunately is the victim of workload, or in his case, a lack thereof.

19. Cedric Alexander
Points: 40.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Oney Lorcan, 205 Live, 4/16

Cedric Alexander takes a bit of a slide this month after working just two matches in the month of April. He gained seven points, but still managed to slip behind some other wrestlers who worked a bit more than him. Ceddy should be able to see that workload increase on the Raw brand, but it also depends on how they use him and if they do at all. He worked a fun match with Cesaro two weeks ago, but wasn’t mentioned or heard from on this past week’s episode. So, we truly don’t know what lies ahead for him. But he’s still having a very, very good year.

18. Mustafa Ali
Points: 42.375 | Last Month: 21
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, SmackDown Live, 4/16

After earning 13 points in the month of April, TAFKA Mustafa Ali leaps up three spots to the 18th spot in the WWE Top 25. Ali had quite a few solid outings in TV matches in April, getting plenty of opportunities along the way. He worked five matches, with four of them getting at least three stars. That kind of output will certainly help him out going forward, as he could be a steady riser as long as the work comes his way. He’ll be in the MITB Ladder Match, which should serve as a very good spot for him to dazzle in the middle of May.

17. Bobby Lashley
Points: 43.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, WrestleMania, 4/7

Lashley had a solid month of April, but fell five spots down to 17th. The All Mighty has put together a very good 2019 campaign so far, but certainly could use a bit more workload to help him out. 15 matches puts him around the top of the leaderboard in that category, but there are still quite a few people who’ve beaten him out. With more work, he could very well ascend up the charts after the month of May. But right now, he’s not booked for MITB. So we shall see what happens with him going forward.

16. Tyler Bate
Points: 44.25 | Last Month: 9
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Trent Seven vs. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews, NXT UK, 4/24

Tyler Bate had been a bit of a workhorse through the first three months of the year. But after seeing his workload cut down by more than a couple of pegs, he’s fallen out of the Top 10 down to 16th. Granted, it’s still a very comfy spot to be in, but it’s certainly not Top 10 or hovering around it as he’s done most of the year. He’s still been one of the brightest spots of the NXT UK brand, and that should still remain true as the year progresses. Especially since he continues to get in good work in all the Worlds Collide events, too.

15. Sheamus
Points: 45.5 | Last Month: 16
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

It’s a wonder if we’ve seen the last of The Celtic Warrior in WWE. Sheamus’ injuries have mounted up and he hasn’t competed since after WrestleMania. The move for his tag team partner over to Raw might be an indication of what’s to come. If that’s indeed the case, it’s an unfortunate end to one of the strongest runs in recent memory. Sheamus finished this month at 15th after a strong showing, going up one spot from 16th last month.

14. The Velveteen Dream
Points: 48.125 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Matt Riddle, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Everything that The Velveteen Dream touches these days turns to gold. Dream worked two matches in the month of April and they were among the best of the entire month. His match with Matt Riddle at TakeOver: New York was an incredible showing for both superstars, and it’s really hard, honestly, to pick just who shined the most. Then, Dream decided to have a banger of a North American Championship defense against Buddy Murphy on NXT TV, which proved to be the best TV match of the month of April. It’s a shame that Dream doesn’t get to wrestle more, but at this point, he’s appointment television every time he does. And while he’s 14th in the WWE Top 25, he’s easily among the elite right now.

13. Samoa Joe
Points: 48.5 | Last Month: 10
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Raw, 4/22

Samoa Joe’s strong 2019 continued with another standout showing in the month of April. The incumbent United States Champion may not have had a stellar WrestleMania match -- he squashed Rey Mysterio in just a few minutes -- but still compiled enough points to sit 13th. That’s 3 spots down from 10th, but a strong month of May could catapult him right back into the Top 10. He might not be the worker he once was, but the man is still getting it done right now.

12. Seth Rollins
Points: 49 | Last Month: 15
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania, 4/7

The new Universal Champion takes a three spot bump up to 12th in this month’s WWE Top 25. Seth Rollins hasn’t hit his extra gear yet in 2019, but we imagine that will soon change. Now that he’s got the workload of a champ, and seems to be healthy again, Rollins should be able to get back in the Top 10 in no time at this rate. Rollins is just a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, and could very well eclipse it with merely one match as long as it hits. Given this prior history, there’s no reason he can’t jump up to that level. It wouldn’t surprise many if he got back into that position quickly.

11. Cesaro
Points: 49.25 | Last Month: 20
Matches in 2019: 17 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

Cesaro is a big mover in this month’s Top 25, as The Swiss Cyborg jumps up all the way to 11th. He was merely a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, missing out by a hair or two. Away from Sheamus on Raw now, we’ll see if a new landscape and environment can help Cesaro wrestle his way into the Top 10. There’s no denying that he’s one of the best on the planet when he’s on. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him as a singles competitor, and expect him to remind everybody of what he can do. His tag efforts with Sheamus certainly helped supplant him in this spot, and there may be nowhere to go but up from here.

10. Rey Mysterio
Points: 49.875 | Last Month: 7
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Raw, 4/22

Rey Mysterio nearly dropped out of the Top 10 this month, but managed to hang on for dear life after this past week’s Raw. Mysterio was likely aided by the fact that the aforementioned Cesaro AND Seth Rollins didn’t compete. Otherwise, he may have fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time all year. Mysterio has proven to be among the greatest again this year, and April was no different. While his Mania match was short, Mysterio still made the most of his other in-ring opportunities. He dazzled in a Triple Threat Match featuring AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, and looks to still be feuding with Joe over the US Title. That match could very well help both of them, so keep your eye on Rey as the month of May progresses.

9. Bayley
Points: 50.25 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 18 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Charlotte Flair, SmackDown Live, 4/23

We’ve gone over this already… but Bayley is very clearly the workhorse of the women’s division this year. It’s completely and totally obvious that they see a lot in her, as she’s worked more matches than anybody in the entire division. She’s made the most of just about every opportunity that she’s had. Shifting back to a singles competitor hasn’t seen her miss a beat yet. She worked three singles matches this month, and all of them got 3 stars or better, including a 4-star banger against Charlotte Flair on SmackDown Live two weeks ago. We’ve already gone over this… but Bayley certainly deserves your respect this year.

8. Johnny Gargano
Points: 54.875 | Last Month: 6
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Adam Cole, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Johnny Gargano dropped down to 8th place this month. But, despite the small drop, he’s very clearly still among the elite. Gargano finally became NXT Champion in a dazzling match against Adam Cole at TakeOver. He competed in a match against Roderick Strong on NXT TV, a match that likely helped keep him in the Top 10 this month. The problem hasn’t ever really been workload for him, because he excels in just about every single match he’s had this year. Seth Rollins is the only other superstar in the Top 25 who hasn’t had a match between 2-2 ¾ stars this year. Pretty good company to be in, we’d say.

7. Andrade
Points: 56.625 | Last Month: 5
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, Raw, 4/15

Andrade has stayed in the Top 10 despite a relatively “quiet” month of April. He fell down to 7th, but is still obviously one of the best that the company has to offer. He may very well be gaining more steam as Money in the Bank approaches. And that event could serve as a total launching pad for him going forward. As long as he keeps getting opportunities, it’s likely that he’s going to make the most of all of them. You can’t help but be in awe of him every time he’s in the ring, and so far, the math would agree that he’s one of the best of the best.

6. Drew McIntyre
Points: 58.5 | Last Month: 8
Matches in 2019: 21 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Baron Corbin, The Miz, Raw, 4/22

The last two months for Drew McIntyre have been torrid to say the least. After finishing 8th last month, Drew has ascended up to 6th in this month’s WWE Top 25. He fell just 0.25 points shy of the 5th spot, as he’s certainly getting the job done while called upon. Quantity may certainly be helping him out a bunch, as he’s had 21 matches in 2019, fourth-most in the entire company. But he’s definitely had the ball rolling for a bit, and with the focus still on him, that shouldn’t change for a while.

5. Kofi Kingston
Points: 58.75 | Last Month: 23
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania, 4/7

Kofi Kingston’s rise up to 5th from 23rd was mostly due to his shining performance at WrestleMania. He and Daniel Bryan produced what is the only five-star match of the entire year so far in my humble opinion. The incumbent WWE Champion has always been a very solid worker, but 2019 is looking particularly great for him. Now entrenched in a feud with Kevin Owens, Kingston should see his standing stay pretty steady going forward as the top dog on the blue brand.

4. Daniel Bryan
Points: 61.375 | Last Month: 4
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Kofi Kingston, WrestleMania, 4/7

Daniel Bryan worked just one match this month… and still managed to stay steady at the 4th position in the WWE Top 25. Bryan’s five-star bout with the aforementioned Kofi Kingston earned he and Kingston 15 points, as they stand as the only recipients of that honor to this point in the year. Bryan’s been banged up, but with him reportedly being cleared, he should be able to get back in the ring soon enough. When he does, expect him to continually remind you why he is one of the best of all time and the greatest of this generation.

3. Finn Balor
Points: 74.75 | Last Month: 3
Matches in 2019: 23 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Andrade, Raw, 4/15

A shift in brands hasn’t deterred Finn Balor at all. Balor is at 3rd once again in this month’s WWE Top 25 after another consistent effort in April. Finn, like everyone else, will need to pick up a lot of ground on #1 and #2 here. But he also has a 13+ point edge on 4th place. And that standing probably won’t change, unless someone below him goes on an absolutely torrid run themselves. So Finn is still very comfortable here, and the Intercontinental Champion likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

2. Aleister Black
Points: 90.125 | Last Month: 2
Matches in 2019: 24 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Ricochet vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Aleister Black sits #2 yet again in this month’s WWE Top 25. That heavy workload that he and Ricochet were on for a while seems to be slowing down significantly. But that didn’t stop him from still remaining at 2nd in this month’s edition of the rankings. Black had a great match against The War Raiders with his tag team partner at TakeOver: New York, which absolutely helped his cause. So did, you know, working every single WWE event that weekend. As we said, that workload will be slowing down. And I’m not sure if he’s going to be caught. But Black should still be able to excel in the spots that he’s in.

1. Ricochet
Points: 108 | Last Month: 1
Matches in 2019: 27 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Aleister Black vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Yet again, The One and Only is THE #1 in the WWE Top 25. Ricochet’s workload was still very heavy this month, working nine matches throughout April across all three brands. He’s likely done working a rather ridiculous pace, but obviously he has a heavy edge on everyone else in that department. Either there’s going to be some kind of curve, or Ricochet will just continue to lap the entire field. What will happen? Your guess is as good as mine. I certainly didn’t expect this after he worked ONE match in January, but he’s just doing extraordinary things right now. He’s certainly deserving of this spot, and no one seems to be particularly close from ripping it away from him.

This Week in WWE: Money in the Bank becomes much, much clearer
Raw logo.png

Robert O’Neill: We open Raw with a bang as Alexa Bliss is here to tell us who will be in the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank matches!

Chris Novak: So the men’s participants wind up being Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Ricochet. Allow me to take a little issue here. On one hand, I understand why these guys are in. On the other hand, I have no idea why these guys are in. Ricochet is fine. He’s the least of my gripes here. He’ll do some awesome aerial acrobatics that will make everyone’s heads turn. And I guess I understand Drew being in it as well, as they’re intent on heating him up. But can we please move on at some point?

Every other division seems to be intent on trying to move on from the past except upper card on Raw. I don’t get why some of the new blood on the show couldn’t be in this match. Which begs the question of why a lot of these guys stayed on Raw in the first place. It’s not that I think the match is going to be bad, because it’s not. It’s just the fact that I think they could’ve been better served by putting some fresher names in this match.

Anyways we got a tag team match afterwards. It was fine. The babyfaces won. Good stuff here, I suppose. Good stuff. But again, my rant still holds true.

Robert O’Neill: I think your rant really summed it up for me. We don’t need Braun/Corbin/Drew still around the top. Let others be in it and shine. You can elevate them even if they don’t win. The tag match was pretty enjoyable though.

Chris Novak: The Usos are out next. They’re facing The Good Brothers, who are now apparently on Raw I guess? The Shakeup ended two weeks ago, guys. Don’t know why this movement is still continuing here. The Usos won the match, which lasted about 10 minutes. Naturally, it was pretty good.

Robert O’Neill: Well, that was fun. It’s two good tag teams. Perhaps The Good Brothers can be used more or perhaps they can realign with AJ Styles again at some point or something. I don’t know. They’re leaving soon apparently.

Chris Novak: Afterwards they played a video of Dash and Dawson shaving each other’s backs in the bathroom. Okay? I guess? I have no idea what the point of this all is, but sure? This is going to lead to good matches at least, but this is a weird way to contrive all of that.

Robert O’Neill: There are so many directions they can take, and this is the one they choose. That’s wild.

Chris Novak: MizTV with Bobby Lashley and not, conspicuous by his absence, Lio Rush. Hey, remember how 10+ years ago these two were on the same brand? Weird, but true! For some reason, Bobby Lashley was talking about himself in 3rd person. Lashley made fun of Miz’s dad, and that spins itself into a match.

This was a quick one. Shane McMahon interfered on more than one occasion and Miz lost. Shane got in a beatdown after the match and choked Miz out. I guess we’re intent on keeping this feud going. Sure. Sure… sure.

Robert O’Neill: Shane is feuding with two future hall of famers at the same time in Miz and Roman. HIS POWER.

Chris Novak: The Viking Raiders pretty much squashed Gran Metalik and Kalisto. They’re not surprisingly getting over right now because they’re gigantic ass kickers. I want more out of these guys going forward, and hopefully they proceed with that.

Robert O’Neill: That’s fine with me. Keep building them up.

Chris Novak: Our second edition of A Moment of Bliss of the night goes down, as we find out who the Raw Women’s MITB competitors are. They are NATALYA... DANA BROOKE… NAOMI… and, of course, ALEXA BLISS.

Such is life right now with Raw. I can understand and rationalize every pick here. Dana might be a wild card here, but it’s cool, I suppose, that they’re giving her a PPV check and an opportunity. Ideally you would’ve liked to have seen Ruby Riott be in it, but I’d rather they flesh her out again as she’s probably going to be on her own.

Alexa and Naomi get in some verbal jousts after AMOB, and that leads to a match. The match was… completely fine and inoffensive. Naomi beat Alexa, which is the norm, pretty much, as she pretty much has owned her from Day 1 (one of the only to do so). My only advice for Bliss after this match? Invest in Nikes! They won’t let you down like your Converses did.

Robert O’Neill: I’m fine with the participants. I think it could make someone like Dana look good but the winner should probably be someone like Bayley. The match was fine.

Chris Novak: Another WILD ass Firefly Fun House vignette aired in between here. And I mean wild. This stuff is just hilarious and is, arguably, the best part of Raw. Whatever that says about the brand right now… well, yeah.

Robert O’Neill: I’m sold. These are awesome.

Chris Novak: Rey Mysterio got interviewed backstage by Chuck Caruso. His son Dominick is here too! Mysterio said he’s ready to get back up after being knocked down the past few weeks.

Becky Lynch got into a war of words with Lacey Evans. Long story short, Becky wants to go double duty because this eventually led to a big pull-apart brawl between the two of them. Which, to be honest, was one of the highlights of the show. Loved this segment, quite frankly.

Robert O’Neill: This was great. Becky brought the fire and shied away from some of the other stuff she’s been doing on the mic lately. Really looking forward to this match.  

Chris Novak: The Revival lost to Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder again. Rob is probably mad about this.

Robert O’Neill: I’m mad because it’s stupid. They have a good tag division now and they’re gonna keep having the belts on the comedy act. I don’t get it.

Chris Novak: Sami Zayn cut another one of his promos, dragging the fans. I wonder what this is eventually going to lead to. At some point, I mean, as entertaining as it is, SOMEONE has to interrupt him and inject themselves into this, right?

Robert O’Neill: I would imagine, but I have no idea who!

Chris Novak: Rey Mysterio defeated Samoa Joe, which means he’ll probably get another United States Championship opportunity. Probably at MITB, since they’re both not booked for it. Or it’ll happen next week or something! Who knows? Who’s to say?

Robert O’Neill: It’s neat that they’re bringing Dominic back in the fold, though. That was clearly the direction during Wrestlemania if Rey didn’t get hurt. This match was pretty good for two old guys who aren’t quite what they used to be.

Chris Novak: AJ Styles and Seth Rollins are here to sign the contract for their MITB Universal Championship match. As far as contract signings go, this was pretty run of the mill. Brawl at the end of it and all. I’m still predicting Styles is going to turn at some point in this feud, and this interaction did nothing to change my position on that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: This was a… fine show that was bogged down just by some weird decision making. The choices to keep certain wrestlers on this brand and not send them for others seems to be hurting this brand right now. They could certainly use some more depth and some repositioning for some people. All in all though, this show was… fine. C+ worthy, as there were no real standout matches or anything, but it wasn’t the worst show either.

Robert O’Neill: This is the first Raw in a while that I didn’t enjoy. Some of the matches were good, but the segments were kinda bad and pointless. There’s nowhere to go but up on the road to Money in the Bank, and it wasn’t as bad as some Raws from last fall, so I’ll give it a C.

Smackdown Live logo.png

Chris Novak: The road to Money in the Bank continues in Columbus. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley for the first time EVER in WWE proper is set to happen tonight, which should no doubt be a lot of fun.

Robert O’Neill: But first, Kofi Kingston is here! He’s in seemingly high spirits despite Kevin Owens turning on him last week.

Chris Novak: Some (looks at J.R.) might critique that but it fits him, no? It fits the gimmick? I don’t mind it. Kofi’s here with Michael Cole, who’s interviewing him in the ring. Cole being here to portray a level of seriousness is a good move.

Robert O’Neill: Kofi and Cole are talking about Kofi finally winning the title, but now he has a big target on his back, and Kevin Owens came at him. Kofi said if Owens wanted to challenge him, all he had to do is ask. Kofi would have given him the opportunity. Owens is out now and says it’s great that he got his moment, but moments are fleeting. But Xavier Woods comes out from behind and attacks Owens!

Chris Novak: An effective segment to be sure here. I feel like they could’ve done this a while back and still been fine? But better late than never, I suppose. I suspect we’ll get Owens vs. Woods later on in the show.

It’s now time for Becky Lynch vs. Bayley. This should be a doozy. Hey, surprisingly enough this match was really good. Becky got the win over Bayley after she maneuvered her way out of the Elbow Drop, and then put Bayley in the Dis-Arm-Her. Becky and Bayley then both got attacked by Charlotte Flair afterwards. All in all, terrific couple segments here between the match and the post-match beatdown. You have to set up the post-Becky Lynch life on SDL, and you get the sense that that’s exactly what’s going to be the case here.

Robert O’Neill: Yup. I’m sure plenty of people are mad about Bayley losing to Becky and Charlotte in back to back weeks, but in the big picture, they’re positioning her to be in a big program over the summer and that’s good news for us all.

Chris Novak: Another Aleister Black vignette aired. Not sure where all this is going but, we’ll see!

The Hardys are here, but not for good reason. Jeff is on crutches and they’re addressing their future as Tag Team Champions. It seems inevitable that they’re going to drop them, but we’ll see what happens.

Sure enough, that’s what happened. They’re blaming Jeff’s injury on Lars Sullivan. Which, like Lars or not, is a smart and savvy move for them to give him heat and gain sympathy for The Hardys. Lars then comes on out afterwards, and Matt’s ready to fight him. Lars throws Matt out of the ring, Lars goes after Jeff but Lars beats Matt up as he looked to save his brother. Jeff still wanted to fight, even as he hopped on crutches. R-Truth then came in with a chair to the back, but Lars was unaffected. Truth kept fighting on but he was planted down as well.

Robert O’Neill: Asuka and Kairi defeat a couple jobbers as Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are on commentary. That got the job done, because The IIconics are very entertaining.

Chris Novak: The IIconics are hilarious. End of story.

Mandy and Sonya banter backstage about who should be in MITB between the two of them. Eventually, Sonya tells Mandy that it should be her, so she’s going to be in the match. Hey, that’s fine with me.

Big Dog’s coming and he’s coming up next. But first, we learn that Finn Balor, Ali, Andrade and Randy Orton are going to be in the men’s MITB Ladder Match. Before the night’s over, we’re going to get Finn and Ali vs. Orton and Andrade in a tag match. Sounds very, VERY good to me to be honest.

Robert O’Neill: Roman is here to explain himself. Naturally, Shane McMahon comes out! And while Shane would love to fight Roman tonight, he’s not going to do that. Instead The B Team will both be taking on Roman and Elias will be the “special guest referee enforcer”. Alright then! Away we go.

Chris Novak: That match was super overbooked fun nonsense. Reigns won after hitting Curtis Axel with the Spear. Bit of a throwback type match, as I’d probably predict that type of thing to happen more in the year 2000 than now. Reigns looked REALLY sharp in this one, and I have to give it up to Axel and Dallas for playing their roles well here. Good stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Strong Bruce Prichard vibes on that one. All hail.

It’s time for the main event!

Chris Novak: Ali and Finn won after Ali got the pin. Match was really fun! Though that’s not surprising. A couple blows were traded after the matchup. Really looking forward to the SmackDown side of MITB, to be perfectly honest. Really digging this match on the whole, aside from the Baron and Braun factor. But that’s to be expected, really.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, the MITB match should be a real hoot like usual. After the match, we see the final two Women’s MITB participants get revealed: Ember Moon and Carmella.

Chris Novak: The KO Show with Xavier Woods is next. Well it IS with Xavier Woods but… an ACTION FIGURE of Xavier Woods. An action figure of Big E also made an appearance. Eventually, Kofi came out and beat the holy hell out of Owens on the outside. But Owens eventually got the upper hand momentarily, before Kingston threw him over the announce table. Owens scurried away and Kingston, still in the ring, taunted him. A real good show of fire on his behalf here.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Well, Smackdown was good again! It wasn’t great like it has been, but it was very good. Everything served a purpose and the road to MITB is looking good. Excited for next week. B

Chris Novak: Good show, not a great show. Going to give this a B as well. They did all they needed to do here to keep my attention. All I can ask for really.

Ruthless Aggression - Superstar Shake-up

It's time to shake things up a bit! Pierce Rob and Chris chime in on the Superstar Shake-up and look at how each brand stands going into the new TV deals.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 516
Smackdown 192

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Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

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The WWE Top 25: March

Welcome, FINALLY, to the March edition of the WWE Top 25!

The month of March saw quite a lot of action go down in the Federation. All the brands brought big hit after big hit as we had been barreling along on the road to WrestleMania. As a result, this past month’s WWE Top 25 has seen quite the shakeup, including a NEW #1.

Before we reveal the cumulative Top 25, we’ll be going about this process just like we did the February one. So, first up, we’ll reveal the Top 10 TV matches in March, the Top 10 matches for March, the cumulative Top 10 TV matches for 2019, the cumulative Top 10 matches for 2019, the March Top 25 and then, finally, the cumulative Top 25.

So let’s get off to the races, shall we?


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (March)

1. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
2. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
3. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
4. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
5. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
6. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (SmackDown Live, 3/5, ****)
7. Akira Tozawa vs. Cedric Alexander (205 Live, 3/5, ****)
8. Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel (NXT, 3/6, ****)
9. Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks (NXT UK, Falls Count Anywhere, 3/6, ***¾)
10. Moustache Mountain vs. The Street Profits (NXT, 3/6, ***¾)

TOP 10 MATCHES (March)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
4. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
5. Samoa Joe vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. The Usos vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¼)
9. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (SmackDown Live, 3/5, ****)
10. Akira Tozawa vs. Cedric Alexander (205 Live, 3/5, ****)

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
4. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20, ****¼)
5. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 2/3 Falls, 1/22, ****¼)
9. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy ORton vs. AJ Styles (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 2/12, ****¼)
10. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6, ****)

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Kevin Owens (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
2. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26, ****¾)
3. Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
4. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
5. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
6. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
7. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
8. Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
9. Moustache Mountain vs. James Drake and Zack Gibson (TakeOver: Blackpool, 1/12, ****½)
10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (Elimination Chamber, Elimination Chamber Match, 2/17, ****¼)


THE WWE TOP 25 (MARCH)

1. Ricochet (40)
2. Aleister Black (37)
3. Daniel Bryan (23.125)
4. Cedric Alexander (19.5)
5. Drew McIntyre (17.75)
6. Samoa Joe (16.25)
7. Kevin Owens (15.375)
8. Mustafa Ali (14.875)
9. Bobby Lashley (14.25)
T10. Cesaro, Sheamus (12.75)
12. Tony Nese (12.25)
T13. Dean Ambrose, Rowan (11.75)
T15. Andrade, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio (11.5)
T18. Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura (11.25)
T20. Oney Lorcan, Seth Rollins, Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake (10.75)
24. Tyler Bate (10.5)
25. Finn Balor (10.25)

For the first time this year, there are no women in a monthly Top 25. The month was a bit weak for the women’s side, something that will hopefully change going forward. But even those who worked a lot of matches this month didn’t quite have the quality of matches they were having last month. That isn’t a fault to them, but it is a fascinating point to be sure, considering we’re en route to the biggest women’s match of all time next month at WrestleMania. Hopefully, for their sake, things improve next month. And frankly, it probably should.

Anyhow, you will notice that the top two wrestlers here were way, WAY ahead of the pace. That’s because Ricochet and Aleister Black were used SO MUCH on three different brands. So it goes for them, and so they lead the pack this month as 1 and 2 respectively. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, and it will be interesting to me to see what happens next month. I’m not expecting that workload to be as heavy again this coming month as it was last, but they’re certainly great performers.

It shouldn’t be too surprising to see that Daniel Bryan is getting more and more traction now. Arguably the best wrestler in the world, Bryan has been on an absolute tear of late and should only see his progression continue to trend upward as the year goes on.

Someone you should maybe keep your eye on going forward now? Tony Nese. Nese had an excellent month of March and could very well become Cruiserweight Champion at WrestleMania. Should he do that, we’ll see if he can pick up from Buddy Murphy’s excellence and keep the ball rolling on 205 Live.

Anyhow, it’s time to reveal the NEW Top 25 with March out of the way.


THE WWE TOP 25 (THROUGH MARCH)

25. Jeff Hardy
Last Month: 11 | Points: 25.5

Jeff Hardy takes a bit of a tumble after a solid finish last month. But, Hardy still managed to sneak right into the 25th spot. His workload was significantly lessened this month and that, in all likelihood, is part of why this tumble happened, to be sure. Now, what will come for him in April? That’s yet to be seen. There will likely be a lot of reshuffling going around this month, so we shall see if he can maintain his mainstay status in the WWE Top 25 after April comes and goes.

24. Tony Nese
Last Month: N/A | Points: 26.25

Here’s someone we might want to pay attention to going forward. Tony Nese, the new Cruiserweight Champion, makes his first appearance in the Top 25 after an outstanding month of March. His showing was topped off with an absolute banger against Cedric Alexander in the #1 Contender’s Tournament Final on 205 Live. Now that Nese won the championship from Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania, big things could come Nese’s way and he could very well make an ascension.

WWE

WWE

23. Kofi Kingston
Last Month: 14 | Points: 27.75

The NEW WWE Champion finished 23rd in the month of March, but don’t expect that to stay the same going forward. Kofi Kingston certainly has earned his stripes and will no doubt be a continuous mainstay in this Top 25 now that he has the coveted title. And after that showing against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, he got off to an incredible start in April that may put him in Top 10 territory.

22. Nia Jax
Last Month: 9 | Points: 28.25

Nia Jax took quite the fall after finishing ninth last month, but Jax still managed to stay within the Top 25. It will be interesting to see where she and the other women, quite frankly, fall in this Top 25 going forward. The women’s division on both shows is likely to go through a serious reshuffling period and time will tell to see how things shake out. Nonetheless, three months in and Jax still remains as one of three women to be featured in every month’s Top 25 so far.

21. Mustafa Ali
Last Month: N/A | Points: 29.375

Mustafa Ali makes his return to the Top 25 after being out with an injury in the month of February. He was part of my then-pick for MOTY last month at Fastlane, in the Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between he, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens. He’s got ample opportunity to make some moves next month with things opening up for him and the rest of the SmackDown Live crew. So we’ll see what happens with the man now known as just ‘Ali.’

20. Cesaro
Last Month: N/A | Points: 30.25

Cesaro makes his way back into the Top 25 after being out of it in January. Cesaro was part of some solid tag efforts and the Gauntlet Match that helped bring Kofi Kingston to WrestleMania. And for those performances, he slides on his way up. Cesaro will be a hard name to project going forward, as the SmackDown tag division is quite loaded and not everybody gets their reps. Perhaps things will be clearer after WrestleMania and after the Superstar Shakeup for the man known as The Swiss Cyborg.

19. Adam Cole
Last Month: 18 | Points: 30.5

Adam Cole hangs around in the WWE Top 25 this month, falling just one spot to 19th. Cole had a remarkable showing in the 5-way match that helped him earn his NXT Championship opportunity against Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: New York. By now you probably know that result, and you can probably project a better finish for him in April. But it’s pretty clear that big things await Cole in April and beyond if this past month was any indication.

T17. Bayley, The Velveteen Dream
Last Month: 5 (Bayley) / 11 (Dream) | Points: 32

Our first time of the month features a pair of, well, polar opposites in Bayley and The Velveteen Dream. Bayley was a bit of a victim of circumstance, as she had just one less match than her tag team partner, Sasha Banks, going into the month of April. She still shined and has been quite the revelation this year. And the hope going forward for her is that she continues to get that shine as the year 2019 progresses.

Dream, meanwhile, was a product of less workload, as well. Dream competed in the epic 5-way match that Adam Cole won, but there wasn’t much left on the board for him. Like other NXT-ers, he certainly has now run into this problem more than once, and will likely continue to do so, just because of how the brand works. But obviously, Dream remains at the top of his game and has the merit to prove it.

16. Sheamus
Last Month: 20 | Points: 32.75

Like his tag team partner Cesaro, Sheamus finds himself in the Top 25, and has moved up all the way to 16th after finishing 20th last month. Sheamus still has the workload edge over his tag team partner Cesaro, as you will notice that the two finished with the same score in the month of March. Those early matches are helping his cause to say the very least, as he’s certainly proving to be a case where quantity is aiding him in a big way.

15. Seth Rollins
Last Month: 16 | Points: 33

Seth Rollins finally returned to action this past month, and Rollins was able to ascend up one spot to 15th. Rollins made his work count this past month and should be primed for an even better April, now that he has conquered the beast and become the WWE Universal Champion. So expect to see Rollins right around where he was in January, and not so much in the middle of the pack now.

14. Sasha Banks
Last Month: 8 | Points: 33.5

Sasha Banks held a slight advantage over her tag team partner Bayley. As a result of that, Banks has arrived here at 14th. She took a dip from the 8th spot in the poll, and a lot of that has to simply do with the quality of the matches she was in. But, she still is obviously one of the best in-ring talents in WWE right now. So she should continue to be in good shape as the month of April progresses.

T12. Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander
Last Month: 23 (Lashley) / N/A (Cedric) | Points: 33.75

We’ve got our second tie in this month’s Top 25. One side features someone who’s been a mainstay, and the other features a newcomer to the poll this month.

Bobby Lashley moved all the way up to 12th thanks in large part to workload and the quality of his work. He was very solid, competing in a great six-man tag with Drew Mac and Baron Corbin against The Shield at Fastlane. His work against Finn Balor in the match that won him the Intercontinental Championship again was also quite good, and set the table for this big move up 11 spots from last month’s finish at 23rd. What’s to come is yet to be seen in April, but Lashley has certainly been consistently good so far in 2019.

Thanks to a strong run in the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament, Cedric Alexander soars into the Top 25. And he’s all the way up at 12th after his run to the finals of the tournament. He was ultimately disposed of by the eventual new champ in Tony Nese, but indisputably had the best match of the tourney against Nese and a really great match against Akira Tozawa as well. There’s no telling if he’ll be off the island yet, but if he is, expect Cedric to be a mainstay here, because he certainly has the talent to deliver in big spots.

WWE

WWE

11. Dean Ambrose
Last Month: 15 | Points: 34.25

As he nears the end of his WWE career, Dean Ambrose has continued to hover around the same spot he’s been in all year. Ambrose finished the month of March ranked 11th in the WWE Top 25, just 1.25 points shy of the 10th spot in the rankings. Ambrose had some very solid outings this month, including the Shield reunion six-man tag at Fastlane. Dean certainly got a lot of flack going into 2019, but he’s certainly been very, very solid as he finishes up his near seven-year run with the company.

10. Samoa Joe
Last Month: 10 | Points: 35.5

Samoa Joe’s 2019 continues to be a strong success. And once again, Joe claims the 10th spot on the rankings. Joe became the United States Champion this past month and partook in some excellent contests on SmackDown Live and Fastlane. Joe’s first run as a champion in WWE doesn’t look like it’s going to end soon. And if his work this year is any indication, he’s going to continue to be a success story as he nears the twilight of his career.

9. Tyler Bate
Last Month: 7 | Points: 37.5

Falling two spots down to 7th is Tyler Bate. Bate had a good month of March, but certainly was not his strongest. He finished 24th in the overall rankings for March, just ahead of Finn Balor. If he collected more points, he likely would’ve finished higher than 9th. But there is of course no shame in being in this spot. He’s been getting a lot of singles opportunities on NXT UK and is still making the most of them from a consistency standpoint. I would reckon though that will have to step his game up in a big way in April, as others with more workload may overtake him soon if he does not.

8. Drew McIntyre
Last Month: 22 | Points: 38.5

Drew McIntyre was a big riser this month after falling all the way down to 22nd in February. McIntyre performed very well on Raw from an in-ring standpoint, and thus finds himself back in the Top 10 at 8th. His matches against the members of The Shield, both in six-man action and singles action, were more than enough for him to ascend up the ladder again. We shall see how things play out in April, as it looks like he had gotten hurt this past week on SmackDown. If that’s the case, Mac could very well fall down in the rankings yet again.

7. Rey Mysterio
Last Month: 6 | Points: 39.125

We are three months into the year 2019, and Rey Mysterio is still a Top 10 performer in WWE. Kinda crazy to say isn’t it? Rey, like Joe, partook in a lot of great SmackDown Live matches and had a hand in the US Championship Match at Fastlane that garnered a rather high rating of 4.25. He may have fallen down one spot from last month, but with a score of 39.125, he is still among the best of the best right now. While an injury may spur him for a little bit, there’s no denying that Mysterio is in the midst of a renaissance that is still trudging on to this moment.

WWE

WWE

6. Johnny Gargano
Last Month: 2 | Points: 42.125

Johnny Wrestling will likely find himself back in the Top 5 next month, but for right now, he’s just shy of the 5th spot in the rankings. Gargano partook in some main roster matches that helped boost his cause this month. While he did not partake in the sensational 5-way match that boosted his peers, he did wrestle in some awesome tag team matches in the Dusty Classic. We will likely see him ascend up the ladder after the month of April, but his status remains as one of the best talents around.

5. Andrade
Last Month: 3 | Points: 42.625

Andrade drops down to 5th from 3rd, but there’s no denying the year he’s having. Even with limited action, Andrade continues to excel in the spots that he’s given. He hasn’t had one dud yet and that will likely continue on as the year progresses. His highlights were much like Joe’s and Rey’s, as the three, along with R-Truth, were intertwined in the 4-ways and tag matches on SmackDown Live and at Fastlane. There are few better talents in the world better than Andrade, and he just continues to prove that week in and week out.

4. Daniel Bryan
Last Month: 11 | Points: 46.375

You should probably get used to this sight, folks. Daniel Bryan is finally in the Top 5 of the WWE Top 25 rankings. Bryan got into another gear in March, partaking in my current MOTY (with WrestleMania weekend not being accounted for quite yet) and quite a lot of other quality matches. There’s no other real way of saying that he’s the best of his generation and even in 2019, after all that’s been done, he just continues to prove exactly that.

3. Finn Balor
Last Month: 1 | Points: 52

For the first time all year, Finn Balor is not in the #1 spot. Balor drops down to 3rd after gaining just 10.25 points in the month of March. His workload was solid, but some of what he did just didn’t really hit as much as it did in January and February. Still, Balor has been one of the best TV workers all year and now that he’s Intercontinental Champion again, he should continue to have great performances and title defenses going forward.

2. Aleister Black
Last Month: 17
| Points: 58.75

WWE

WWE

Aleister Black finds himself up at #2 after a super heavy workload in March. Black made the most of that workload, gaining 37 points in the matches that he was involved in. He, like his tag team partner, competed on three different brands and that’s starting to really show in the amount of growth he’s had from last month, jumping up 15 spots to the 2nd spot in the rankings. He’s having a great year and while his workload is now likely going to decrease a bit, we should still see him among the top workers in the company in this rankings list.

1. Ricochet
Last Month: 4
| Points: 70.375

Greetings to your new #1 in the WWE Top 25: Ricochet! Ricochet made serious waves this past month, gaining FORTY points to jump Finn Balor and take his spot as the #1 wrestler in WWE. And it’s really hard to deny when you look at all that he did this month. He and Aleister Black got into the Dusty Classic Final and won. He performed marvelously in the 5-way match to determine Gargano’s opponent at TakeOver: New York. His matches on Raw and SmackDown Live have all hit for me. He’s being booked like a star because that’s exactly what he is. And right now, he has a humongous lead that will be hard to swipe from him if how things have gone are any indication.

Ruthless Aggression - WrestleMania 35 Prediction Show

It's the WrestleMania prediction show! Who will leave WrestleMania as both the RAW and Smackdown women's champion? Will Kofi-Mania run wild in NYC? Can Seth Rollins burn down the Beast? Will Triple H finally beat Batista or will he be forced to retire? Will Kurt Angle get a surprise opponent no one saw coming or can Baron Corbin shock the world? We preview one of the most thrilling cards in recent memory!

Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertONeill31

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Two NEW playlists from The Barber's Chair for WrestleMania week

35 years of WM themes
Apple: apple.co/2I3jotz
Spotify: spoti.fi/2uDDoen
Tidal: bit.ly/wrestlemaniathemes

Ruthless Aggression - Leaving Sacramento

It's the go-home shows before Wrestlemania XIX, featuring (maybe) the very first Rock concert! Plus, Charlotte Flair brings her own title into the Wrestlemania main event, Kofi-Mania WILL happen, and much more!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 513
Smackdown 189

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
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This Week in WWE: The Queen ascends back to her throne, and Kofimania is a GO!
Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: We’re less than two weeks from Wrestlemania, and excitement is getting higher and higher, especially with the confirmation that Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey WILL be your main event this year. But, we still have business to take care of before we get there, starting with Raw from Boston!

Chris Novak: I’m glad we got that out of the way. The discourse everywhere was getting tiresome. The women absolutely deserve this honor, and it’s about time. Hey, guess who’s gonna be there to see that historic main event… LIVE… your boys right here, that’s who!

Robert O’Neill: Ronda Rousey is opening the show. She’s taking credit for the women main eventing Wrestlemania (she’s not wrong) and she’s not pleased about having a Beat The Clock Challenge tonight. Becky/Charlotte/Ronda are each facing a member of the Riott Squad but, uh, it’s not… for anything.

Chris Novak: It’s to show superiority over the others int he match. I’m not really mad at it. It’s not like Becky and Charlotte have gotten a lot of TV work tonight. The point is probably to showcase Ronda as a dominant champion, since she’ll probably make mince meat of Sarah Logan.

Anyways, there’s BECKY LYNCH!

Becky says that she helped save Ronda’s title reign and no one cared about Rousey until The Man came around. Apart from how similar that sounds to everything she says, this was a very solid spurt and the Boston crowd is just over the MOON with Becky. Now… here comes CHARLOTTE FLAIR!

Charlotte says that she was handpicked to be the main event of WrestleMania and all the attention, essentially, deserves to be squarely on her. So, just about what you’d expect.

Robert O’Neill: We get right into the beat the clock matches and… there’s no real point to them! Ronda beats Sarah Logan in 1:25, Charlotte fails to beat Ruby Riott, and Becky defeats Liv Morgan quicker than 1:25 to get the victory. That was effective.

Chris Novak: Becky and Charlotte hadn’t worked any TV matches since January, they probably wanted to put Ronda over and then have Becky look better. I don’t mind any of this, though I’m sure there will be complainers.

Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor was set to face Bob Lashley and Lio Rush in a handicap match, but Lio said he couldn’t complete because Braun Strowman kicked his butt last week, and Bob’s partner would instead be Jinder Mahal. Whew.

Chris Novak: The stipulation in play here was that if Finn won, he’d get an Intercontinental Championship opportunity against Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania. After what was a short, fun little match, Finn prevailed by hitting the Coup de Grace on Jinder. They are driving home the narrative that Finn can beat everybody but Lashley. I wonder what he’ll have to do to do that…

Aleister Black and Ricochet are set to face The Revival in a non-title match. I’m never mad at this combination getting in-ring time. So, this should be fun!

Robert O’Neill: It WAS fun. Aleister and Ricochet won after a double Black Mass to 630 spot. I would imagine this is going to be the Wrestlemania Raw tag match.

Drew McIntyre is here and being corny and hokey and talking about Roman’s leukemia again. Why? Who is that for?

But Roman came down and beat the hell out of him and accepted his challenge for WrestleMania and told him not to talk about his family. But eventually McIntyre hit a low blow and a Claymore to leave Roman down in the middle of the ring

Chris Novak: Not so keen on the whole leukemia thing again, but the brawl certainly was great and I’m looking forward to seeing this at WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks is in BOSS-ton (you have no idea how much it irked me to write that out) and will face Natalya. Surely, this won’t go wrong like last week’s match did.

The match was good and fine. They had a run-in like last week. At least it happened in the later stages. Beth fended off both Nia and Tamina and slammed Tamina down with the Glam Slam. She then stepped on the Tag Title belt when Sasha tried to pull it away. Messages being sent!

Robert O’Neill: They’re doing what they can to get people to care about this match, and I appreciate them for it. Obviously they don’t have the most talented in-ring workers outside of Bayley and Sasha, so they’re working with what they’ve got.

Chris Novak: A Moment of Bliss, with Braun Strowman and, probably but not likely Michael Che and Colin Jost, is next. Bliss says she’s at a crossroads, as her reputation is depending on her keeping peace between Braun Strowman and Colin Jost and Michael Che. Braun came out, and Alexa ran down all the things that he’s done in the past. Then, live… from New York, via satellite, came Colin Jost and Michael Che.

I have to admit, this segment was pretty hilarious. Jost acted great as a shit heel (and him putting a Yankees hat on popped me) and Che trying to pick the pieces up for him while simultaneously getting him into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was hilarious. Colin, however, tried to get Che in the battle royal, too. Braun grew tired of the shtick, and eventually he asked Alexa if she could get them both in. Bliss teased that she couldn’t, but then decided to put them in anyway! So, we now have them all in the Andre. This segment, like I said, was pretty hilarious and great fun.

Baron Corbin is fighting Apollo Crews. Baron Corbin promptly beat Apollo Crews. Moving on…

Becky, Charlotte and Ronda will all be on SportsCenter tomorrow. That’s pretty neat.

Seth Rollins out here to talk about Mania. He says that everybody who was at an autograph session he did yesterday told him to beat Brock Lesnar. And Seth said that with his army of people behind him, they will burn… it… ah, here’s Paul Heyman to interrupt!

Heyman talks down on Seth and the fans for, what he thinks, is asking for thoughts and prayers. He continues to go on and on, and then Rollins goes up and Heyman cowers in fear. Rollins says he’s here to answer thoughts and prayers, not ask for them, and that he’s going to beat Lesnar.

Enjoyed this segment.

Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe is next. Here’s Joe, who does his shtick and says it’ll be a “cold day in the other side of the afterlife” before he lets him ride into the sunset. OH MY GOD, Joe headbutted Angle to start the match, which as everyone may, or may not know, is a STRONG callback to when Angle did the same thing to him in TNA in their first in-ring competition.

Angle gets a ‘shock’ win over Joe, after getting his shoulders on the mat while Joe had him in the Coquina Clutch. The match was… well, what it was. Poor Angle is so gassed, but that match was as good as you could get out of those two right now.

H-Man then comes out for a promo. He puts over the women first, naturally, and then has a letter from Batista that he’s got in his pocket (“I’m doing the job for the envelope,” he says, struggling to take it out of his jacket pocket). Triple H then makes a Spice Girls joke, references Deacon Batista and how he couldn’t beat John Cena, and gets to Batista wanting it to be Career vs. Career.

They’ve done quite a few Elias segments from New York tonight. I have only one word to say about them: BRUCE!

Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre in a Last Man Standing Match (which we’ll have to compartmentalize in the span of 10 minutes) is next! And this turned out to be an extremely fun brawl over the span of 10 minutes. Predictably, Drew McIntyre won. This more than served its purpose and they are really heating Mac up for Mania. As they no doubt should be.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I enjoyed Raw. It was an enjoyable watch. The matches were fun. Nothing bored me. The segments hit with me, and some of them were really funny. I’ll give it a B- for that reason. Solid show. They’ll turn up into overdrive next week, I’m sure, as we’re now just one Raw away from WrestleMania.

Smackdown.png

Robert O’Neill: The New Day are out to open the show, and they’re not pleased with how things have gone the past few months -- particularly last week -- there have been rumors that they might quit. They start to thank the fans, and fan the flames on those rumors, but they can’t make their decision until they get some answers from Vince McMahon. Vince’s music hits and he comes to the ring, but Daniel Bryan and Rowan are here to say that Vince is right and the New Day is wrong. Vince wants everyone to stop fighting though, and even though Kofi is still a B-plus player, he can be in the Wrestlemania match if New Day can win a tag team gauntlet tonight.

Chris Novak: Standout stuff here from all the usual suspects. They seem to be overdoing it a bit with the gauntlets but putting it in the hands of Big E and Xavier’s a nice touch.

Robert O’Neill; Charlotte Flair is out here, and before she can say anything, Asuka comes out.

Chris Novak: And, apparently, we’re about to get Charlotte-Asuka III for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Because this buildup to this match wasn’t wonky enough. We need another thing to add to the mess.

Robert O’Neill: So after an excellent 20 minute match, Charlotte locked in the figure eight and made Asuka submit and won the title. Whew, that’s out of nowhere. So the Wrestlemania main event is now for all the marbles. Honestly… I don’t hate it. I can see how other people do, but I think it’s fine.

Chris Novak: I… need to wait and see on this one… I’m not sure that I get all of this, but… we’ll see… but it was still an awesome match, yes. That much is certain.

Robert O’Neill: We’re gonna keep moving right along with Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles. Angle gets the ankle lock in right away, but Styles gets out of it. As both men are recovering, Randy Orton strikes for an RKO OUT OF NOWHERE on Styles and the match is thrown out. Angle hits Orton with a weak Angle Slam.

Chris Novak: That match was a mess but all of these have been. So, not like I was expecting anything different. Still really fun though!

Robert O’Neill: Miz is here! Let’s see what he has to say.

He’s mad at Shane still and wants their match at Wrestlemania to be Falls Count Anywhere. Shane makes his way out to the ring with an entourage and accepts Miz’s challenge. That match should be fun.

Chris Novak: FCA is the perfect type of plunder match for these two. Going to REALLY enjoy this one, I think. Another effective babyface segment for Miz here, by the way. He is killing it.

Robert O’Neill: Main event time! Can the New Day run the gauntlet?

Gallows and Anderson are the first team out, and Big E and Xavier make short work of them! Now Rusev and Nakamura are out. It takes a bit longer, but New Day overcome the pairing. Now here comes The Bar.

The Bar put The New Day through absolute hell, and after New Day gets the win, Cesaro and Sheamus put Big E through a table, and New Day looks to be in dire straits as The Usos come out.

But, The Usos get microphones. They respect the New Day and Kofi too much to fight, and forfeit! But there’s still one more team for the New Day to go through: Bryan and Rowan.

New Day have nothing left. Bryan and Rowan are toying with them.

But they get a burst of energy! And Big E traps Rowan under the announce table while Woods takes care of Bryan. New Day wins by countout! Kofi’s going to WrestleMania!

Chris Novak: Damn, that was legit awesome. I really, REALLY liked the fact that The Usos forfeited out of respect. Incredible wrinkle and made SO much sense given everything that’s transpired between those two teams over the past few years. Loved Bryan and Rowan’s tantrum, and loved how this ended with the countout victory. Job well done to everyone who produced this stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Kayla Braxton catches up with Vince and asks if Kofi is going to WrestleMania now, and Vince says that he is. Then the locker room empties out to celebrate with Kofi. Awesome.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I am taking a full on wait and see approach with the Charlotte stuff, because there is a lot to figure out. I can’t really immediately react to it, because it’s such a humongous decision being made that could literally change the entire complexion of everything in the women’s division. Whatever comes of it will be how I feel. As for the show itself, it was very good as always. Charlotte-Asuka was great and so was the gauntlet match. A- for me here, and could turn out to be a memorable, MEMORABLE show for a lot of reasons. Perhaps good, perhaps bad. Perhaps both.

First Black Champ - The Rock Been Reading

Young Landon is on the way, so we talked all we definitely know about Wrestlemania 35. Wrestlemania bout to be long AF and we could have seen some of this on In Your House, Velocity or Backlash. We also talk about New Day and how they are blurring the lines perfectly on Kofi's road to Wrestlemania on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Follow JR Bang on Twitter: @jrbang
Follow Cam Quotes on Twitter: @ImCamQuotes

Listen to the new bangers playlist from The Barber's Chair on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ruthless Aggression - Fastlane Preview

Pierce Chris and Rob predict Sunday's Fastlane PPV and talk about the week in wrestling. Plus Pierce gives his thoughts on MLW's latest show in Chicago, and in this week's trip back to the Ruthless Aggression Era, First Black Champ's JR Bang and Cam Quotes talk about Triple H's "People Like You" promo on Booker T from RAW 510.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 510
Smackdown 186

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage is available right now exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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First Black Champ - A Freak In The Fastlane

Fastlane is tonight and since the card became official last Tuesday Night we doing our predictions today! We also start the conversation on how we need to start keeping it real on how tough Ronda Rousey is and how her hands are pretty trash! Then we talk Nostalgia Sex and ask the question "Can a WWE Diva fall off so hard that you never want to have sex with her?" on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Follow Cam Quotes on Twitter: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang on Twitter: @jrbang


Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage is available right now exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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The 2019 WWE Top 25: February

Welcome, one and all, to the second edition of the WWE Top 25!

February is now done and dusted, and we’re continuing on the road to WrestleMania. There was plenty of in-ring action to go around, thanks to the usual spurts of WWE TV, as well as Halftime Heat and the Worlds Collide event. And after a loud shakeup, the new WWE Top 25 has some new faces joining the fray.

Before we begin, in case you’re in need of a refresher, here’s January’s WWE Top 25 post. And in case you’re a REALLY new face to the WWE Top 25, here’s my ‘Preseason’ edition that lays out the grading system.

Now, we’re in February, so we’re going to do things a little bit differently to start things off here. This post will be a little bit lengthier as a result. I’m going to lay out the following inside this post, in order:

  • The Top 10 TV matches for FEBRUARY ONLY

  • The Top 10 matches for FEBRUARY ONLY

  • The Top 10 TV matches for ALL of 2019, to this point

  • The Top 10 matches for ALL of 2019, to this point

  • The WWE Top 25 for FEBRUARY ONLY

  • The CUMULATIVE WWE Top 25, which will take center-stage of this post

So, let’s start this post off, shall we?


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (February)

1. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Gauntlet Match, SmackDown Live, 2/12) - ****¼
3. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6) - ****
4. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/11) - ****
5. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor/Ricochet (Raw, 2/18) - ***¾
6. Noam Dar vs. Tony Nese (No Disqualifications, 205 Live, 2/12) - ***¾
7. Adam Cole vs. Ricochet (NXT, 2/13) - ***¾
8. Aleister Black vs. Andrade (SmackDown Live, 2/19) - ***½
9. DIY vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/18) - ***½
10. Aleister Black vs. Roderick Strong (NXT, 2/20) - ***½


TOP 10 MATCHES (February)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber Match, Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****¼
2. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
3. Bryan vs. Kofi vs. Hardy vs. Joe vs. Styles vs. Orton (Gauntlet Match, SmackDown Live, 2/12) - ****¼
4. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6) - ****
5. Black/Ricochet/Dream vs. DIY/Adam Cole (Halftime Heat, 2/3) - ****
6. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/11) - ****
7. Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa (Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****
8. The Boss and Hug Connection vs. Fire and Desire vs. The IIconics vs. The Riott Squad vs. Carmella/Naomi vs. Nia Jax/Tamina (Elimination Chamber Match, Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****
9. Tyler Bate vs. The Velveteen Dream (Worlds Collide, 2/2) - ****
10. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor/Ricochet (Raw, 2/18) - ***¾


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) — ****¾
2. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
3. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (2/3 Falls, SmackDown Live, 1/22) — ****¼
4. Bryan vs. Kofi vs. Hardy vs. Joe vs. Styles vs. Orton (Gauntlet Match, SmackDown Live, 2/12) - ****¼
5. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6) - ****
6. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/11) - ****
7. Andrade/Samoa Joe vs. Mustafa Ali/Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/8) — ****
8. Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami (205 Live, 1/9) — ****
9. Bobby Lashley vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Raw, 1/14) — ****
10. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor vs. John Cena (Raw, 1/14) — ****


TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix) — ****¾
2. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) — ****¾
3. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
5. Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
6. Moustache Mountain vs. James Drake/Zach Gibson (TakeOver: Blackpool) — ****½
7. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber Match, Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****¼
8. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
9. Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders (TakeOver: Phoenix) — ****¼
10. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (2/3 Falls, SmackDown Live, 1/22) — ****


So, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to showcase the February Top 25. This will be done in a condensed matter, so as to not create too much havoc here. I’ll be doing this monthly, and will have a couple of blurbs below on my thoughts on what happened this month. Anyways, on to it here.

THE WWE TOP 25, FEBRUARY

1. The Velveteen Dream (19.5)
T2. Jeff Hardy, Ricochet (18.5)
4. Aleister Black (18)
5. Adam Cole (17.75)
6. Lio Rush (16.25)
7. Daniel Bryan (15.5)
8. Johnny Gargano (15.25)
9. Randy Orton (15)
10. Tyler Bate (14.75)
T11. Bayley, Finn Balor (14.25)
13. Humberto Carrillo (13.5)
T14. AJ Styles, Drew Gulak, Kofi Kingston, Samoa Joe (12)
T18. Sasha Banks, Tommaso Ciampa, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson (11)
T22. Nia Jax, Tony Nese (10.5)
24. Cedric Alexander (10.25)
25. Dominik Dijakvoic (8.25)

The Velveteen Dream got his first taste of championship gold to cap off an outstanding performance in the month of February. For Dream’s efforts this month, he became the top performer in the WWE Top 25 this month. Dream worked seven matches, more than anybody this month. He starred in the epic six-man tag on Halftime Heat, and then reached the finals of the Worlds Collide Tournament, a tourney that he won by defeating Tyler Bate in a sensational contest. Then, he capped it off by winning the NXT North American Championship away from Johnny Gargano in the second-best TV match of the month. A well-deserved honor for Dream, to be sure.

Maybe you’re a little surprised to see Jeff Hardy up there. I was a little bit too, but Hardy was part of some pretty great TV matches this month. He partook in the epic Gauntlet Match, was part of a great six-man tag post-Elimination Chamber and was in a fun match with his brother Matt Hardy against The Bar to close the month.

Hardy shares the honor of second place with none other than Ricochet. Remember when we were talking about match volume for him last month? Well, getting serious burn on Raw, SmackDown Live AND NXT will absolutely help The One and Only going forward. The same can be said about Aleister Black, who finished out the month at #4. Adam Cole got the nod at #5 after a heck of a run in Worlds Collide, a great performance in Halftime Heat, and partook in a great match with the aforementioned Ricochet on NXT TV.

Lio Rush was nothing if not consistent this month. Rush worked two really fun matches with Finn Balor, was involved in a tag match with Bobby Lashley against Finn and Ricochet, and was involved in the Handicap Match at Elimination Chamber where Finn won the IC Title.

Daniel Bryan’s ascent up these rankings should be fun to follow, as he was #7 this month. As we mentioned with Black and Ricochet, you shouldn’t be too surprised going forward if Johnny Gargano makes a big run. Randy Orton had essentially the same luxury as Jeff Hardy, but partook in one less match, which is why he found himself 9th. And Tyler Bate certainly had a great month between NXT UK showings and the Worlds Collide Event.

Going down the rest of the rungs here, we don’t find too many other surprises. But there was one shift at the end. Dominik Dijakovic kicked Mandy Rose out of the Top 25 after a tremendous match against Keith Lee on the final episode of NXT TV in February. Talk about coming down to the wire.


JUST MISSED THE CUT

Cesaro - 18 Points
Akira Tozawa - 17.25 Points
Lio Rush - 16.75 Points
AJ Styles, Sarah Logan - 15.75 Points
Liv Morgan, Trent Seven - 15.25 Points
Jordan Devlin, Mandy Rose, Nikki Cross - 15 Points

Now, the moment you’ve ALL been waiting for…

Presenting: The WWE Top 25, CUMULATIVE!


25. RANDY ORTON
Last Month:
NR | Points: 19
Notable Showing: Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Randy Orton isn’t working as much as he used to, but Orton made the most of every chance he got last month to get himself in the Top 25.

It started in a very solid singles match against Mustafa Ali at the beginning of the month. Then, Orton… okay, yes, he was in the Gauntlet Match for like, 30 seconds at most. But if you’re in a match, you get the points, so he earned 4.25 points for that effort. Then he was in the Elimination Chamber and had a very solid showing in what was a very good match. Orton rounded things out with a good showing in the six-man tag match on the penultimate SmackDown Live of February.

Orton should be a fascinating case going forward. Like we mentioned, he’s obviously not working as much as he used to. But, he did have a match every single week but one in February. So, will we see that kind of output in March? Perhaps we will, and if we do, we could see The Viper slither up the rungs.

T23. BECKY LYNCH, BOBBY LASHLEY
Last Month:
5th (Becky, -18) // 15th (Lashley, -8) | Points: 19.5
Notable Showing: vs. Finn/Ricochet w/ Lio Rush (Raw, 2/18)

We’ve got ourselves a tie at 23rd.

Becky Lynch has the unfortunate honor of having the biggest drop of anyone in the rankings. Considering she had no matches in the month of February though? It’s not too surprising that she took this pitfall. Given the scope, you should expect a steady rise back up the charts as time goes on for her.

Bobby Lashley, meanwhile, falls down to 23rd after sitting at 15th last month. Lashley’s best effort was in a tag team match with Lio Rush against the team of IC Champion Finn Balor and Ricochet. Other than that though, the cupboard ran pretty dry. His IC Championship Handicap Match was solid enough, but his six-man tag with Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin against Balor, Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman was a lengthy match that missed the mark.

But considering how things have gone for both of these two, I wouldn’t expect to see either of them tied in the same spot after March.

22. DREW MCINTYRE
Last Month:
9th (-13) | Points: 19.75
Notable Showing: vs. Dean Ambrose (No Disqualifications, Raw, 2/25)

2019 has been a mixed bag for Drew McIntyre, but his stock certainly took a downturn. After placing 9th in the January rankings, McIntyre stands 22nd in the rankings after the month of February.

His best performance certainly came in a No DQ match on the final episode of Raw in February. Before that though was a lot of not-so-good. Part of that is perhaps due with how stale the Raw upper-card has gotten over the past few months, but like with many other cases: I can only grade what I see in front of me. And he had four matches that were given two stars or less this month.

Drew Mac has a chance to right the ship and do better in March. By the looks of things, he may very well have that chance. There’s plenty of potential there for better, but he had the second biggest drop of anyone in the rankings, and he did so despite wrestling five matches this month. So “disappointing” is definitely the word for Drew’s February.

21. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Last Month:
NR | Points: 20.25
Notable Showing: vs. Velveteen Dream (Worlds Collide, 2/2)

Humberto Carrillo is becoming a bit of a cult favorite on 205 Live, and for good reason.

Carrillo has been shining for a bit now. He nearly made it into the Top 25 in January, but fell just a little short. But there was no denying him after his February. He performed very well in the Worlds Collide event, shining especially against the winner, Velveteen Dream. He had a good match against TJP, in what wound up being TJP’s final match with the company, and was in a fun tag on NXT with newcomer Stacey Ervin Jr. against the high-energy tag team known as The Street Profits.

Reading between the lines, a big run in the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament could be in the works for Carrillo. He’s starting off against the great Oney Lorcan, which could absolutely help his cause for March. He’s a rising star, and you should probably be paying lots of attention to if you already aren’t.

20. SHEAMUS
Last Month:
14th (-6) | Points: 20.5
Notable Showing: vs. DIY w/ Cesaro (SmackDown Live, 2/19)

While his teammate Cesaro is on the outside looking in this month, Sheamus remains inside the Top 25 after February has come and gone.

Sheamus worked two matches this month, and that’s all he needed to be in the mix. He did slip from 14th to 20th, but a light workload will certainly do that. The Bar definitely performed well in those tag matches, competing against DIY and The Hardy Boyz in some fun TV tags on SmackDown Live.

Everything in the SDL tag scene will become clearer after Fastlane comes and gone, most likely, so we’ll see what happens with Sheamus going forward. But for now, he stays in the mix despite the very light effort in February.

19. RONDA ROUSEY
Last Month:
8th (-11) | Points: 20.75
Notable Showing: vs. Ruby Riott (Raw, 2/18)

It wasn’t the best month for Ronda Rousey.

Despite wrestling five matches in the month of February, two behind the leader in Velveteen Dream, only one of them got a grade of three stars or better from me. She three matches that didn’t go no more than five minutes, dusting up all of Riott Squad in the process. That included a total dud against Ruby Riott at Elimination Chamber, a disappointment in just about every facet.

The two more than made up for it the following night on Raw, but Rousey ended with a whimper in a tag match against Riott Squad with Natalya by her side. The match really just did not hit with me, and as a result, Rousey slid way down to 19th after being 8th last month.

There’s zero telling of what’s to come as far as TV matches go for her this month. It doesn’t appear likely that she’ll be wrestling at Fastlane, so she’s going to have to show out and perform better in March to avoid slipping out entirely. There is plenty of competition behind her, but she’s certainly capable of much better. It wasn’t her fault entirely, but I can only judge what I see. And she had a disappointing month, and found herself just on the inside of the Top 20.

18. ADAM COLE
Last Month:
NR | Points: 21.5
Notable Showing: Halftime Heat Six-Man Tag (Halftime Heat, 2/3)

Much like his other peers from NXT who made their way on this list this month, the only thing stopping Adam Cole from showing up around here was Adam Cole.

Cole had a great month of February that started off in the Worlds Collide event. Cole had some great showings, including a match against Tyler Bate that caught my attention and many others. He also had a very good match against Keith Lee in that tournament that drew attention his way, as well.

Undisputed Era’s leader shined in the Halftime Heat spectacle and had a very good TV match against Ricochet. While he wasn’t pegged for primetime like is other peers, Cole should continue to be a focal point on NXT TV going forward. And hopefully enough to keep him in contention for this spot going forward.

17. ALEISTER BLACK
Last Month:
NR | Points: 21.75
Notable Showing: Halftime Heat Six-Man Tag (Halftime Heat, 2/3)

After a quiet January, Aleister Black has finessed his way into the Top 25.

Black was part of some very good NXT matches this month. He partook in the celebrated Halftime Heat encounter, and also fought Roderick Strong in what was a very good TV match on the penultimate episode of NXT TV in February.

Aleister also jumped into the fold on Raw and SmackDown and had some very good showings there, as well. His match against Andrade, in particular, was a stirring performance, as was his tag match with Ricochet against The Revival on Raw on February 25.

Black certainly has plenty of potential to make moves if this type of production continues. He had a terrific month of February and certainly deserves plenty of recognition for it.

16. SETH ROLLINS
Last Month:
4 (-12) | Points: 22.25
Notable Showing: N/A

Despite not working a single match in February, Seth Rollins still winds up in the rankings.

Rollins now sits 16th after a fabulous month of January that had him all the way up at 4th. But them’s are the breaks when you don’t work at all.

That will likely change come March, as it seems they’re holding him off a bit so that he’s ready to rock for WrestleMania. You should probably expect a better finish for him after March has come and gone as a result.

15. DEAN AMBROSE
Last Month:
7th (-8) | Points: 22.5
Notable Showing: vs. Drew McIntyre (No Disqualifications, Raw, 2/25)

It wasn’t the greatest month for Dean Ambrose, but he still managed to not lose too much ground.

After a Top 10 finish in January, Ambrose finished the month of February at 15th. This with his highest-graded match being 3.25, and it came on the final Monday of the month, no less, in a No DQ match against Drew McIntyre.

Given that it seems in the cards that Ambrose will be working with the same, usual suspects, it is a wonder what will happen to him after March. I’d project a slide here, but honestly, I didn’t expect him to be in the Top 10 and the Top 15 in the first two months of the year. So really, anything is possible as long as he gets the workload and no one behind him catches up to him.

14. KOFI KINGSTON
Last Month:
NR | Points: 22.75
Notable Showing: Gauntlet Match (SmackDown Live, 2/12)

Kofimania is the real deal, baby. Kofi Kingston’s February effort lands him 14th in the WWE Top 25.

Kingston wasn’t supposed to be here, and that means multiple things in this instance. Given how things transpired, it’s probably likely that his spot here would be Mustafa Ali’s. Remember: Ali was tied for 19th last month, having racked up 11.5 points. Given that Kingston picked up 12 points, 23.5 would’ve once again tied Ali with Samoa Joe for a Top 10 appearance.

But that’s purely a what-if. We deal with realities, and the reality was that Kingston had a tremendous showcase this month. Between the Gauntlet Match, the Elimination Chamber and the Six-Man Tag that he was involved in, Kingston showed out in a big way. His performance in the tag team match on the final SmackDown of February sealed up his spot inside the Top 15 and assured him that he’ll continue ticking onward as March approaches.

Given what’s on the horizon, it’s very possible that Kingston could land in the Top 10 very, very soon.

T11. DANIEL BRYAN, JEFF HARDY, THE VELVETEEN DREAM
Last Month:
NR- | Points: 23
Notable Showing:
Bryan - WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)
Hardy - Gauntlet Match (SmackDown Live, 2/12)
Dream - vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT, 2/20)

We have ourselves a three-way tie featuring some big, big stars. And for the second month in a row, we have a tie at the #11 position.

Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy and The Velveteen Dream are all knotted up at 23 points after the month of February. The biggest surprise here may very well be Jeff. It’s well known that Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler on the planet, and February was extremely kind to him in that regard. Bryan worked a lot more than he did in January, and showed out tremendously in each effort he had. Especially so in his segments with Kofi Kingston in the Elimination Chamber and the Gauntlet Match on SmackDown Live. These types of efforts are the norm, and it won’t be surprising if he makes it into the Top 10 after March.

Dream, meanwhile, was merely a victim of lack of opportunity in January. He shined in February, as we already mentioned. He gained serious ground with the seven matches he competed in, notably the one where he became the North American Champion. Velveteen won’t be short on opportunities as TakeOver: New York looms in the distance, so expect him to have a heavy presence here.

Jeff Hardy though? Jeff has been a great TV worker this year and is showing tremendous versatility. He was the second-best worker per #TheMath this past month, tied with Ricochet, as we already profiled. It’s really extraordinary when you put everything into perspective. But Hardy is having a tremendous renaissance in 2019. As long as good fortune continues to bless him, we’ll likely continue to see his name here going forward.

10. SAMOA JOE
Last Month:
19th (+9) | Points: 23.5
Notable Showing: WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Samoa Joe obviously isn’t the worker that he once was. But Joe is still doing well enough and participating enough to get himself Top 10 status after February.

Joe partook in three great matches this past month. He first showed out in the Gauntlet Match before Elimination Chamber. He certainly had a great effort in that, helping Kofi Kingston look like a million bucks. And while he was eliminated early on in the Elimination Chamber match that ensuing Sunday, Joe still received 4.25 points for that match, which helped lift him up in a big way.

What sealed up his spot was the six-man tag that took place two nights after Elimination Chamber. Joe and Co. received enough points to gain serious enough ground to sneak into the Top 10.

What comes next for Joe is yet to be seen. He doesn’t seem to have a Mania feud locked in, given that Mustafa Ali’s status is hanging int he balance, and others appear to be gaining traction. But Joe should likely be able to compete in his first-ever WrestleMania, so we should expect to see him get more opportunities in March as the road to ‘Mania marches on. And so far? You should expect him to make the most of them.

9. NIA JAX
Last Month:
11th (+2) | Points: 25
Notable Showing: Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Nia Jax? In The Top 10? She barely made it possible, but Jax snuck in to get in the mix.

Jax competed in three matches this month and her showings were good enough to put her in this spot. She helped lead her and Tamina to victory in a Triple Threat Tag before Elimination Chamber. Then, Jax competed inside the Elimination Chamber that ensuing Sunday. While she and her partner didn’t become the first-ever Women’s Tag Team Champions, Jax still received four points for the match, which very much helped her cause.

Her match against Bayley on the final Raw of February sealed up her fate. She and Bayley had a strong showing in that singles encounter, the usual for the two of them, as they have great chemistry with each other. Jax probably won’t be short on chances going forward, so she’ll likely be in this standing unless others storm ahead. Right now, she’s tied with Bayley for the second-most women’s matches in 2019 so far, so that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon.

8. SASHA BANKS
Last Month:
10 (+2) | Points: 26.25
Notable Showing: Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Sasha Banks took a two-spot increase after a pretty solid month at the office.

Despite the fact that she didn’t participate much in two of the three matches she worked this month, she still obviously received points for being part of two Raw tag team matches. Then there was, of course, her sparkling showing inside the Elimination Chamber, a match that she and her tag team partner Bayley won to become the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Banks may have seen herself go up even further had they handed her a match on Raw this past week. However, that honor went to her tag team partner. But it’s evident so far that she remains one of the best in-ring talents in WWE when she gets the opportunity to show it.

7. TYLER BATE
Last Month:
15th (+7) | Points: 27
Notable Showing: vs. Velveteen Dream (Worlds Collide, 2/2)

Jumping into the Top 10 this month is Tyler Bate.

After a great effort as a tag wrestler in January, Bate got a chance to showcase his singles skills in the Worlds Collide event on the first Saturday of February. Needless to say, Bate impressed and impressed a lot. He was responsible for two of the best matches of the entire tournament.

The final against Velveteen Dream was an enthralling contest, and his match with Adam Cole was also fantastic. Efforts against Cedric Alexander and Dominik Dijakovic sprinkled in helped to lift Bate up to this spot.

He did have a match on the final day of TV against Gentleman Jack Gallagher that, quite frankly, didn’t really hit with me. Had it hit with me though, Bate would’ve ascended into the Top 5, and it certainly would’ve been deserved. Now, going forward, it will be about producing hits rather than misses. And if he can do so, expect Bate to be a familiar face on these rankings, especially within the Top 10.

6. REY MYSTERIO
Last Month:
2nd (-4) | Points: 27.625
Notable Showing: vs. Andrade, R-Truth (SmackDown Live, 2/26)

Despite competing in only one match in February, Rey Mysterio stays in the Top 10.

Mysterio battled in a Triple Threat Match on the final episode of SmackDown Live of February. In that match he, Andrade and R-Truth fought over the United States Championship. The match was strong enough to allow Mysterio to stay within this high range and go down to 6th after being at 2nd in February.

There’s obviously no denying what Rey is capable of doing. Even at 44, he’s still among the best in the entire world at the rate that he’s going right now. He will obviously have to see a workload increase if he wants to avoid falling further down the chute. But even still, you have to take stock in just how impressive he is so far in 2019.

5. BAYLEY
Last Month:
11th (+6) | Points: 28.25
Notable Showing: Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

The Ace. Is. Back.

As I wrote last month, the perception around Bayley sunk way to the bottom over the last few years. But 2019 has been absolutely kind to her. She had a great January that was compounded by arguably an even better February, which has now propelled her all the way up to the #5 spot on the rankings. She was at 14.5 points last month and 14.25 this month, so we’re really splitting hairs here. But it’s evident to me that her confidence is back in a big way.

She practically got here all by herself, too. In her two tag matches prior to the Elimination Chamber Match, Bayley basically played it solo while Sasha Banks was taken out. She willed her way to a win over Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross, then fell on the sword in a Triple Threat Tag the following week. She and Sasha helped to make the first-ever Women’s Tag Team Titles Elimination Chamber Match a strong success, as did the fact that they went over in the match.

Bayley capped off her month with a very good showcase in a rare singles match against Nia Jax on the final Raw of February.

Not only is Bayley making her mark as a tag team wrestler, she’s also starting to shine yet again in singles competition. Thus far, the only woman who’s been in more matches than her (8) this year is Ronda Rousey (9). And frankly? Bayley hasn’t missed once yet. She earned a reputation as an ‘ace’ in NXT, and it seems like she’s found her confidence on the main roster. At this rate, she’s going to have a superb year and the first two months are a huge indication of that.

4. RICOCHET
Last Month:
18th (+14) | Points: 30.375
Notable Showing: Halftime Heat Six-Man Tag (Halftime Heat, 2/3)

It will be fascinating to see what happens going forward for Ricochet. His workload will probably have to increase for him to stay into the Top 25, but NXT can only provide him so much. That being said, if he can deliver (and the man has YET to not) in the minimal spots that he has, then he has a very steady chance of maintaining his spot in the Top 25 going forward.”

That passage came to us from last month’s edition of the WWE Top 25. At the time, Ricochet was 18th and got into the mix with only one TV match.

Well, suffice it to say, his workload increased by a bundle. Ricochet is up to 4th after a strong showing in the month of February. He finished as the second-best performer of the entire month and his output got him here at this standing.

He, like others who are now in the mix, was boosted by the Halftime Heat showing. Then, like his fellow contemporaries, he got a chance to work Raw and SmackDown Live. He unsurprisingly dazzled in just about every showing, helping to boost his profile in a big way. He had a pretty terrific match with Adam Cole on NXT TV, as well, to help put a bow on a great February.

Given that he’ll be participating in the Dusty Classic, Ricochet should see himself stay up near the top of these rankings after March. He’s only scratching the surface at this point as well too, and he could be in for an absolutely huge year if all goes well.

3. ANDRADE
Last Month:
2nd (-1) | Points: 31.125
Notable Showing: vs. Aleister Black (SmackDown Live, 2/19)

When you work two matches in the entire month of February, and still stand in the Top 3, it says a lot about what you’ve done.

Andrade sits #3 in the WWE Top 25 despite a very minimal workload. He competed in two matches in the final two weeks of the month, working against Aleister Black and then in a Triple Threat US Championship Match against Rey Mysterio and R-Truth. Those were shiny enough performances not to cause him to lose significant ground like some of his peers did.

Andrade’s monster January certainly helped to keep him in this spot. With the action beginning to churn up around him, and things starting to heat up behind him now, he’ll likely need a really strong March to stay in the Top 3. But that being said, there’s a reason why many consider him one of the greatest in-ring talents in the world today.

2. JOHNNY GARGANO
Last Month:
6th (+4) | Points: 34.125
Notable Showing: vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20)

This probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. As I predicted last month, the more that Johnny Gargano works, the more he’ll be able to rise in these rankings. And after a strong February, Gargano is all the way up to #2.

It began with Halftime Heat and concluded with an unsuccessful defense of his North American Championship. But Gargano’s match with Velveteen Dream was arguably the best TV match of the month and one of the best on NXT TV in recent memory.

Now that Gargano appears to be splitting time between Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT, March could very well be a big month for him. In addition to that, Gargano will be in the Dusty Classic, and could be in line for some very strong performances. While the #1 man on this list has a big lead, it wouldn’t surprise many if Gargano either catches him or usurps him by month’s end. That’s just the kind of talent he is, and that’s just the kind of talent he’ll continue to be.

1. FINN BALOR
Last Month:
1st (—) | Points: 41.75
Notable Showing: vs. Lashley & Lio Rush (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

The king stays the king.

Although he didn’t have any super-glowing performances like he did in January, Finn Balor did just enough to not only maintain his spot at the top of the WWE Top 25, but to widen his lead. Last month, he was a mere 3.375 points ahead of both Andrade and Rey Mysterio. But this month, Finn stands 7.625 points ahead of the man in second place, Johnny Gargano.

That will happen when you’re once again a workhorse. Finn worked six matches in February, second-most among all WWE superstars this month. He’s worked 12 total, two more than Tyler Bate and Drew McIntyre, who’ve each worked 10 so far this year. And it’ll especially happen when a majority of your matches are graded three stars or higher. I gave four of Finn’s six matches this month three stars or better.

At this rate, it doesn’t look like this train will stop anytime soon. Finn should continue to be one of the big workhorses of the Raw brand up to and through WrestleMania as Intercontinental Champion. Nobody really poses much of a threat at this juncture to him either, so you should firmly expect him to be at or near the top of this list, unless something drastic happens.