Greg DeMarco is back with your Power Rankings for the week–a week with two very big championship matches! Who had the best week?
Each week, I bring you my Power Rankings in Top 5 form. What can you measure with a “Power Ranking?” The answer is simple: power. Power here is defined as momentum, who got the big wins, and who is on an upward trajectory after this week. Each week is different, as the landscape of professional wrestling (and sports entertainment) can change in an instant. Thus, the weekly rankings will change with it.
NXT and New Japan featured two HUGE title changes. How will those impact the rankings?
Greg DeMarco’s Power Rankings: Week Ending 7/12/2020
5. Santos Escobar
It’s time to start looking more closely at the NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Santos Escobar. He’s well on this way to becoming the most important Cruiserweight Champion in this era of WWE, and is elevating that championship to a level where it can be considered a main event title on NXT.
This week? Well all he did was emerge victorious in a six-man tag team match along with Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza, then he beats the ultra talented Oney Lorcan on 205 Live. You heard that right, the NXT Cruiserweight Champion is actually active on 205 Live! He delivers a victory over a game-but-injured Lorcan, and continues his ascent up the ranks of WWE.
She’s the Raw Women’s Champion, and she’s coming off of a week where she impacted Raw AND NXT, where she helped thwart Bayley’s interference so Io Shirai can get her win over Sasha Banks. How does she follow that up this week?
She goes one-on-one with Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley on Raw, and she wins that! This time there was an assist from Kairi Sane, but that was made necessary due to the aforementioned Banks interfering on this one. Success in WWE is largely about waiting out the booking cycle, and then delivering when your number is called. Asuka’s number was called this spring/summer, and she is indeed delivering!
3. Adam Page & Kenny Omega
The AEW Tag Team Champions are criticized for “not being a true tag team.” But I am not 100% sure that’s a problem for them. They are putting their differences aside and accomplishing a ton together, becoming an established team and continuing to retain their titles. They successfully defended those belts two weeks in a row (both nights of Fyter Fest), this time beating Private Party in a match I personally expected the underdogs to win to provide the feel good moment for AEW.
They are winning, retaining, and moving forward. Their success can’t be ignored. 166 days and counting as champions, and I can see it staying that way through at least the end of the summer.
2. Keith Lee
NXT North American Champion Keith Lee became a double champion this week, beating Adam Cole on Wednesday night at Great American Bash Night 2, winning the NXT Championship. And as I shared on Sunday, even the biggest Adam Cole fan boy in the world (me) thinks it was the best idea possible.
Keith Lee winning the NXT Championship would have been enough to be #1 in most weeks. Just because he’s not #1 doesn’t mean it’s not a career highlight level of accomplishment. Keith Lee deserves all the praise, all the flowers, and all the love. He truly is limitless, and hopefully this isn’t the peak. I don’t think it is.
For EVIL, this may have been the best week of his entire career! And it gave him the credentials to surpass Keith Lee (who likely hasn’t peaked) and take #1 this week. In all truthfulness, I could have played the “tie” card this week, but where’s the fun in that? Have a take, Greg!
So what did EVIL do this week? Well let’s take a look:
- Defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the New Japan Cup. That’s not something that happens every week, so it’s a big deal.
- Jumped from Los Ingobernables de Japon to Bullet Club. So he went from one of the most popular factions of all time…to another. And he did so in the biggest way possible. What’s that? Well, here it’s Bullet Point #3!
- Beat his former leader Tetsuya Naito to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
Yep, like Keith Lee, he became a double champion this week. However, EVIL did so winning what many would call the most prestigious championship in the world. Even if you feel (like me) that WWE is the top of the business by sheer size and reach alone, that still makes New Japan #2. Regardless, EVIL now has a legitimate claim to be considered along the Top 5 wrestlers in the world today.
Who would you put in your Power Rankings? Sound off on Twitter @ChairshotGreg using the hashtag #UseYourHead!