Hello and welcome to The Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, list my Top 10 and Bottom 3 Main Roster stars and Top 3 NXT stars of the WWE every month. And what a month it’s been! Crazy going-ons with the likes of Hogan and Snuka as well as the passing of Piper; a dark cloud is setting on wrestling’s past. Gladly, wrestling’s present has been pretty good! Summerslam, ridiculously a four hour show, was a fun event and NXT is soaring to crazy new heights touring the country and soon the UK. So let’s recap August 2015!
10. Stardust & King Barrett
They just barely made it onto “The Good” because of all of the fun I had watching them (for what, two weeks?) outweighs the sudden dissolution of this promising duo. I was never too much into the “mad king” gimmick for Barrett but it just clicked with Stardust who dubbed him the Cosmic King and adorned him with new ridiculous attire. Backstage promos seemed to show that the two could be a really fun team so it’s a shame Barrett had to leave for the UK straight after Summerslam to shoot some terrible action movie. I doubt it, but let’s hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of these two as a unit.
09. The Wyatt Family
The Raw after Summerslam was definitely full of surprises and The Wyatt Family were at the forefront of that. After a rather disappointing build to the PPV they came swinging out of the gates the following night with the introduction of Braun Strowman. What was so fantastic about this debut was that we never saw it coming. Could the new member be Jack Swagger? Adam Rose? Is Erick Rowan due back? Maybe someone from NXT? How about someone we’ve never seen before who makes Roman look tiny? Yeah, that’ll do it.
08. Dudley Boyz
Staying on surprises, just when the rumours of a Dudley Boyz reunion had died down they hit the scene and they hit it hard, right in their home city. We were all eager for Wyatts VS Dudleyz but honestly this is far better use of them right now; pitting them against The New Day who are far and above any other contender in the tag team division. With the crowd starting to get behind them a returning incredibly-over team was needed and the Dudley Boyz were a perfect fit. It’s surreal to see them returning to the WWE in a way but not at all unwelcome. WASSUP.
07. John Cena
As I said last month I wasn’t all that interested in seeing Cena take on Rollins but the go home show contract signing was one of Cena’s best-cut promos in years. It was a believable rant on how Rollins is a terrible champion by comparison. The two put on an above average bout at Summerslam (although the two have been great all year so this was expected) and whilst the ending could have been better the result was perfect. There’s no way in hell Cena as both US and World Heavyweight champion was going to be interesting so putting him back in the hunt was the right move.
06. The Undertaker
The Undertaker is another character I was anxious about the direction of but, like many, I came around to it. The brawl at the end of July was fantastic and a good start to a build that sold me on not only Lesnar/Taker 2 but an inevitable third match down the line. Undertaker’s intentions were clear but his methods were questionable, which I found interesting. He’s just about walking the fine line of tweeners; not quite heel enough for all the casuals to get upset but clearly not the returning hero to us who watch closely. I’m one of the few people who liked the ending of their Summerslam and it sets up to a finale nicely.
05. Cesaro/Kevin Owens
Don’t make me pick. Since Owens debut he’s been an exciting addition to the roster. Sure, a Cesaro feud is a step-down but so is just about everything after going against Cena three times. His losses don’t even matter that much because of the riveting TV he’s been creating with Cesaro who now seems to be fully established as an Ambrose-level lower-main-event star. The two were second billing at last month’s pay-per-view and lived up to the hype. They then put on an equally exciting match on the last episode of Raw of the month and it sees like Owen’s two wins are good ammunition to make up for those previous losses. He’s the guy Cesaro, “the Professional”, just can’t beat. I’m incredibly into it and you should be too.
04. Sasha Banks
Last month I happily proclaimed “The Women’s Division” as my #1 on the main roster out of jubilation and excitement of what I thought was to come. Like many, I had the wool pulled over my eyes. When the smoke, and our heads, cleared what was left were three arbitrary teams having average matches every week with little to no storyline. Even now as this is beginning to get corrected at least a little bit, it’s still rocky territory. Still, Sasha has been one of the crowning jewels of this entire experience. She hasn’t lost an ounce of charisma and it’s only going to grow with more mic and ring time, which hopefully will be helped by the “we want Sasha” chants at Summerslam.
03. Seth Rollins
You know what every good heel needs? A God damn statue. And Rollins has one… or he would, if not for that pesky Sting. Rollins has been no slouch this month in continuing his storyline with Cena and him coming away with both belts, both he got by dusty wins, was an excellent image. As ever, his character is evolving and starting to butt heads with his former mentors hinting at a future face turn but for now he’s going into Night of Champions with two title matches. If this doesn’t show you what the WWE think of him, and his work rate, then consider the fact he’s going up against Sting in one of these. Rollins is the man.
02. Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman
Let’s thank our lucky stars for three things. First of all, whatever the circumstances, Lesnar’s match with Undertaker wasn’t a mess like their previous fight at Wrestlemania XXX. Secondly, the finish managed to keep Lesnar pretty strong and yet still carry on the storyline with a big, flashing question mark in the air. Thirdly, let’s all thank Paul Heyman for being Paul Heyman. Just when you think someone can’t get any better they outdo themselves. Every week leading into this, and even out of it, Heyman has used that mic in his hand to create a truly special moment.
Brock hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels either. His face turn has been going incredibly well and he knows had to add all the little touches to make it A+. His cocky, dorky smile is a thing of beauty as a crowd chants “Suplex City” or asks him to pick up someone’s lifeless body for one more F-5. These two will go down as one of the best pairings in wrestling history, without a doubt. The only thing that makes it better is that they’re both clearly enjoying every minute.
01. The New Day
Speaking of enjoying the gimmick! Occasionally, I’m glad to be wrong and this is one of those times. Last month I cautiously said I thought The New Day would be best used to build some new face teams before getting the Tag Team Titles back themselves but every week they were one of, if not the, most entertaining part of Raw and showed that they deserved and needed those belts back ASAP.
This lead right up to the four-way tag match (which was a hell of a lot of fun) and beyond as the next night on Raw Xavier played the slide-trombone whilst Kofi and Big E serenaded New York. That’s the type of sentence I only get to write when I’m talking about wrestling. Whether they’re given the time to switch it up every night or they just take it I’m not sure but they’re doing wonders for keeping the show interesting and this goes doubly so for their feud with the Dudley Boyz who apparently don’t respect tables. Again… only in wrestling. And The New Day are making me love wrestling. AAAAYYYYY WE WANT SOME NEW DAAAAAYY.
Sting actually almost made it into the Top 10 because I’m reasonably interested in the possibility of him holding the WWE title. But at the same time, where can that program go? Will he be part-time? Does it mean he’s dropping to someone like Taker or Cena? I suppose I’m anxious. That and his promo on Raw, as good as it was, was kind of awkward when he opened with how good Triple H is. I get that he’s trying to get into Rollins’ head but there’s better ways to do it rather than “I respect Triple H”. For cheating in your fluster cluck of a Mania match? Okay. Sure. I don’t get it.
I could copy and paste in what I said about Sheamus last month and you wouldn’t even notice. It honestly takes me half a second to remember who has the Money in the Bank briefcase sometimes and it really, really shouldn’t. His matches against Orton have been fine, honestly. It’s just his lack of character and presence. The title picture is stacked right now and there’s so many better choices than Sheamus succeeding with a cash-in.
01. The Lucha Dragons
I want to like them, I really do. Or rather, I want to like Kalisto. He looks like he has serious potential sometimes then he goes and throws it out of the window with a bunch of flippy-shit moves that don’t connect. At the very least he has some energy. For months now Sin Cara has been the most half-assed entertainer I’ve ever witnessed. The tag team division is in dire need of teams and these guys, and Los Matadores, are not it.
03. Bull Dempsey
I wasn’t exactly happy with the “fat guy” gimmick Bull Dempsey suddenly adopted seemingly overnight because meanwhile Owens, of a similar build, was claiming the WWE in the name of Steen. Honestly however, the video packages warmed me to it pretty quickly. They were utterly hilarious on many levels, not least the student-film-esque quality. Bull in a silly face gimmick fills a bit of a gap on the NXT roster and so far it seems as though he fits into that role well.
02. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
I was so ready to scream my lungs out if ‘Zo and Cass hit the main roster this month that I failed to see something important. Plus, the Dudleyz was just as good of a choice. No, these two guys are leading a fantastic new movement in NXT. First it was women, now it appears to be tag teams. The go-home show of NXT showed no less than nine teams in some capacity which is pure insanity. There at the top, however, sits one of the most over teams in WWE right now. These guys are only going to get better with so much competition and vice versa so I welcome our new tag team division overlords.
I’ll let you guys in on a little secret. When I write these articles I let YouTube randomly play superstar music to me. Bayley’s theme suddenly came on and I smiled from ear-to-ear remembering all of those feelings from the past weekend when she finally got her hands on the NXT Women’s Championship in not just one of the best matches of the year but also one of the best story resolutions.
Bayley VS Sasha was one of those matches that at first it seemed obvious where things were going but everything was so perfectly told and sold that I was worried we would have a swerve on our hands or, God forbid, some kind of unplanned finish. It goes to show just how well these girls know their craft that they got out of that totally fine and I’m super excited to see Bayley with this belt, spreading even more joy than she already does. She’s a unique character and one that NXT/WWE really needs right now but Takeover Brooklyn proved she can also be one of the best in-ring workers in the company.
You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw 18 hours after it’s aired, how much he loves Finn Bálor and, occasionally, candy.