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WWE Power Rankings: Darren Young’s Stock On The Rise (23 July 2016)

Check out the final WWE Power Rankings before the Brand Split takes effect! What NXT superstar got ranked without even stepping in the ring?

The WWE Draft has officially happened, and WWE Battleground will come to us in just over twenty-four hours. This week’s RealSport Power Rankings show how some have come out of the draft, and where they’re headed. RealSport’s Weekly Power Rankings have been put together with opinions from several writers within RealSport based on the performance and storylines going on within WWE.

Panel: Patches Chance, Gur Samuel, Toby Durant, Liam Shone, Thomas Clapham, Max Hickman


1. Dean Ambrose (Last Week: 1)

PC = 1, GS = 1, TD = 1, LS = 1, TC = 1, MH = 1

The Lunatic Fringe has had one hell of a week, to say the least. He got rolling on Monday Night Raw as he defended the WWE Championship against former SHIELD brethren Seth Rollins. Despite a chaotic and confusing finish, in the end a double pin resulted in a draw and Dean Ambrose retained his title. Less than 24 hours later, he found himself defending the WWE Championship once again, but this time Ambrose finished with a resounding victory to retain his championship and head into Battleground with momentum on his side. On top of all of that, Ambrose was the #1 Draft Pick by SmackDown.


2. Seth Rollins (Last Week: 2)

PC = 2, GS = 2, TD = 2, LS = 2, TC = 2, MH = 2

Seth Rollins had a good week, but it could’ve been a great week. On Raw, while he was initially announced as the new WWE Champion by Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, clarification from the referee left Rollins back where he started as the match was ruled a draw. He didn’t finish Tuesday well, as he lost the first main event of SmackDown Live to Dean Ambrose, but Seth was the #1 Overall Pick as he was drafted to Monday Night Raw. Now, he has his eyes on Battleground and finally regaining the WWE Championship.


3. John Cena (Last Week: 3)

PC = 4, GS = 3, TD = 3, LS = 4, TC = 3, MH = 4

John Cena had a rough time on Monday as he was part of a huge 12-Man Tag Match with all of his partners and opponents at Battleground, and a few others. He ultimately came up short on Monday, as AJ Styles picked up the win by pinning Enzo Amore, but Cena got some revenge on SmackDown Live. He had a decent position in the draft as he was picked #7 Overall and found himself on the new SmackDown roster. He also went one on one with The Club’s Karl Anderson. Despite some attempted shenanigans from AJ and Gallows, Anderson fell victim to an AA and Cena picked up the win heading into Battleground.


4. AJ Styles (Last Week: 5)

PC = 3, GS = 4, TD = 4, LS = 3, TC = 4, MH = 3

As for the leader of The Club, he narrowly misses topping Cena in the rankings this week. Things aren’t going so smoothly for him, as the draft has separated AJ Styles from his insurance policy. AJ was drafted to SmackDown, while Gallows & Anderson are headed to Raw. AJ picked up a big win in the tag match on Monday after hitting a Styles Clash on Enzo Amore, but will the fractured remnants of The Club be able to hold together at Battleground? Or will everything explode at the hands of Cena, Enzo, & Cass?


5. Charlotte (Last Week: 17)

PC = 6, GS = 5, TD = 7, LS = 5, TC = 5, MH = 6

With Battleground looming, Charlotte was able to go from several off weeks to give herself a ton of momentum heading into a tag match against Sasha Banks and a partner of her choice. Charlotte and Dana Brooke took on Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch on Raw. The match ended in a disqualification thanks to interference by Natalya, but Charlotte got the last laugh as she laid a beating on Sasha after the match. On SmackDown, Charlotte and Dana had the lucky fortune of a handicap match against Sasha. The numbers were too much, as Charlotte picked up an easy win with Natural Selection.


6. Sami Zayn (Last Week: 6)

PC = 5, GS = 7, TD = 5, LS = 7, TC = 7, MH = 5

Sami Zayn is still focused on getting another crack at Kevin Owens at Battleground, but this week left him in the driver’s seat going forward. Zayn teamed up with Cesaro to take on Owens and Chris Jericho on Raw, and ended up getting the win after rolling up Jericho. He brawled again with Owens on SmackDown, though he ended up causing them to both suffer a chokeslam at the hands of Kane. Most key however, Zayn was drafted at #11 Overall. That’s seven spots higher than Kevin Owens.


7. Kevin Owens (Last Week: 4)

PC = 8, GS = 8, TD = 6, LS = 6, TC = 8, MH = 7

The Prizefighter might be able to take care of Sami Zayn this Sunday, but it definitely wasn’t a successful week for him. Owens falls down to #7 after a loss on Raw to Sami Zayn and Cesaro. On top of that, Owens was set to take on Kane on SmackDown Live. Before he could even get the match started, Zayn attacked him on the ramp. As the two brawled in the ring, Kane hit both of them with a chokeslam. Pile on the fact that he was drafted at only #18 Overall, seven spots lower than Sami Zayn, and you know Kevin Owens will be fuming going into Sunday.


8. Rusev (Last Week: 7)

PC = 9, GS = 6, TD = 8, LS = 8, TC = 9, MH = 8

With a United States Title defense coming up against Zack Ryder, Rusev spent the majority of the week in mashed together tag matches. On Raw, he teamed with Sheamus against Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler. In the end, Rusev proved how deadly he is. He locked The Accolade onto Dolph, and the submission victory was in the bag. On Tuesday, he teamed against Miz to take on Darren Young and Zack Ryder. Young made Miz tap to the Crossface Chickenwing, but by avoiding the fall Rusev holds strong in the rankings going into Battleground.


9. Bray Wyatt (Last Week: 8)

PC = 10, GS = 9, TD = 9, LS = 9, TC = 11, MH = 9

With the separation of Braun Strowman during the draft, Bray Wyatt takes his place alone in the rankings this week, after The Wyatt Family was ranked #8 last week following a triumphant confrontation at their compound against The New Day. The Wyatt Family took part in the massive 12-man tag match on Raw, and left with a victory. On top of that, Bray went one on one with Xavier Woods on SmackDown. Woods put up a fight, but Bray froze him with the fear-inducing spider walk, and hit Sister Abigail for a dominant win. How will Bray set himself apart as he loses a member of his family to the draft?


10. Sasha Banks (Last Week: 14)

PC = 7, GS = 15, TD = 11, LS = 13, TC = 6, MH = 12

Sasha Banks has been rolling in recent weeks and making strong arguments for being the next contender for the WWE Women’s Championship. She climbs up the rankings a bit this week, but ends up below Women’s Champion Charlotte thanks to a couple of bad nights. Sasha was involved in a tag match on Raw that ended up concluding with a disqualification, and she was ambushed after the match. On SmackDown, she lost to Charlotte and Dana Brooke in a handicap match. Can she find a partner in time for Battleground, or will it be just another 2-on-1 assault?


11. Enzo Amore & Big Cass (Last Week: 10)

PC = 11, GS = 13, TD = 13, LS = 10, TC = 13, MH = 11

Despite being pinned by AJ Styles after a Styles Clash in the massive tag match on Monday, Enzo & Cass only drop one spot in this week’s rankings. While neither competed on SmackDown, John Cena did come out on top against Karl Anderson and Enzo & Cass were able to neutralize attempted interference by AJ Styles and Luke Gallows. The duo was also drafted #20 Overall to SmackDown, a respectable position for a very young tag team. Can they roll into Battleground and take a victory on the road to The New Era?


12. Darren Young (Last Week: 15)

PC = 12, GS = 14, TD = 15, LS = 11, TC = 10, MH = 10


We’re gonna Make Darren Young Great Again! Ignoring the part where Darren Young was never great, ol’ Backlund made the case along with Young this week. To begin, he found himself in singles action for the first time since his recent return when he took on Alberto Del Rio on Raw. While it wasn’t a commanding win, Darren Young managed to get a quick pin to claim a victory over the former World Champion. He kept rolling on Raw, as he went up against The Miz & Rusev. Not only did Young win, he made The Miz tap out to the Crossface Chickenwing. Can Darren Young make lightning strike again and take the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground?


13. The New Day (Last Week: 12)

PC = 13, GS = 10, TD = 10, LS = 14, TC = 12, MH = 17

The WWE Tag Team Champions just broke the record and became the longest reigning champs in history, but their days could be numbered if this week was any indication. After coming up short at The Compound last week, they also came up short in the 12-Man Tag Match on Raw. Then Xavier Woods fell to Bray Wyatt on SmackDown. While The New Day did get drafted high to Raw and will have the benefit of Bray & Rowan going to SmackDown, they may not be able to survive Battleground if they’re not careful.


14. The Miz (Last Week: 13)

PC = 15, GS = 12, TD = 12, LS = 15, TC = 17, MH = 18

The Intercontinental Champion might have an upset in his future, as Darren Young made the A-Lister’s week a living hell two nights in a row. On Raw, The Miz was at ringside during Young’s match and attempted to cause a distraction, but ended up helping Darren get a quick pin over Alberto Del Rio. The two squared off as part of a tag match on SmackDown, and The Miz ended up tapping out to the Crossface Chickenwing. If he does that on Sunday, he won’t be the Intercontinental Champion anymore.


15. Cesaro (Last Week: 9)

PC = 16, GS = 19, TD = 17, LS = 12, TC = 14, MH = 13

The Swiss Superman’s stock plummeted this week, and he was not happy about it. While he did get a win on Raw along with Sami Zayn as the duo defeated Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, Cesaro couldn’t keep it up on SmackDown. He went up against Chris Jericho, and ended up losing to the veteran after being hit with a stiff Codebreaker. On top of that, Cesaro fell in the draft and ended up selected at #28 Overall to Raw. He voiced his disappointment in an interview after in both his low ranking, and going to Raw rather than SmackDown.


16. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (Last Week: 11)

PC = 14, GS = 17, TD = 14, LS = 18, TC = 16, MH = 15

Will Battleground be the last hoorah for The Club? Gallows & Anderson have had an up and down week, to say the least. They picked up a win on Raw along several others in a large tag match, but Karl Anderson lost to John Cena on SmackDown. Worst of all, they were both drafted to Monday Night Raw, while AJ Styles was sent to SmackDown. What’s next for this team? Could there be a new leader of The Club, or will they carve their own path?


17. Becky Lynch (Last Week: Unranked)

PC = 19, GS = 11, TD = 16, LS = 20, TC = 15, MH = 14

Becky Lynch decided to spend the week trying to remind people that not only does she exist, but she has a singles match at Battleground against Natalya. She teamed with Sasha Banks on Raw, but the match ended with a disqualification when Natalya attacked her during the match. On SmackDown, Becky got revenge as she attacked Natalya before Nattie’s match could start. Becky got taken #14 in the draft, but she’ll need a win to truly have a fresh start.


18. Finn Balor (Last Week: Unranked)

PC = N/A, GS = 16, TD = 20, LS = 19, TC = 18, MH = 16

You know you’ve sent shockwaves throughout the WWE Universe if you find yourself on power rankings before you even step foot in a ring on the main roster. The former NXT Champion was expected by many to be picked up from NXT during the draft, but none foresaw him going #5 Overall. Balor was drafted to Raw even before Brock Lesnar or John Cena were selected. Will “The Demon” show up at Battleground to make his presence known?

19. Zack Ryder (Last Week: 16)

PC = 17, GS = N/A, TD = 18, LS = 16, TC = N/A, MH = 19

Zack Ryder is looking for a new beginning as he challenges Rusev for the United States Championship at Battleground. He fell on SmackDown as Rusev made Ryder’s partner Dolph Ziggler tap out during a tag team match. However, Ryder won on SmackDown as Darren Young made The Miz tap. Now, Ryder also has news that his NXT-teammate in The Hype Bros, Mojo Rawley, was drafted to SmackDown. Will we see a Hype Bros reunion in the near future?

20. Natalya (Last Week: Unranked)

PC = 18, GS = N/A, TD = 19, LS = 17, TC = 20, MH = N/A

The final name in this week’s rankings is, just barely, The Queen of Harts. Natalya has developed a brand new attitude and aggressiveness in recent weeks that hasn’t been seen from her in the past. She got the better of Becky Lynch on Raw, but couldn’t do the same on SmackDown. Can Nattie pick up a win on the rising Becky Lynch at Battleground?


Also receiving votes: Alberto Del Rio, Neville, Dana Brooke, Randy Orton

Patches Chance

Yo, Patches Chance here. I'm the Content Editor for the WWE section here at RealSport. In my past, I majored in English Literature at the University of Houston. I'm a former referee with the Doomsday Wrestling promotion. I've been an avid fan for over fifteen years and have written about wrestling for over a decade. I'm also a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have been a featured columnist for WhatTheBuc. Edge will always be my favorite, but Shinsuke Nakamura is the best thing in wrestling today.

WWE Power Rankings: Darren Young’s Stock On The Rise (23 July 2016)

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