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Pro wrestling news, opinions, interviews, lists and more from former WWE creative team member Kevin Eck

WWE Power Rankings: May 28, 2016

The Eck Factor's ranking of the Top 20 WWE Superstars based on their overall impact, momentum and positioning on the card for the week ending May 28 (last week's ranking in parentheses):


The WWE World Heavyweight Champion successfully retained his title with a hard-fought victory over AJ Styles in an Extreme Rules Match at the Extreme Rules event. After the match, Reigns' friend-turned-enemy Seth Rollins attacked him from behind and hit a Pedigree on him. The next night on Raw, it was announced that Reigns' next title defense would be against Rollins at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view next month.


The Lunatic Fringe's victory over Chris Jericho in the first-ever Asylum Match at Extreme Rules was anything but ticky-tack. In fact, Ambrose really stuck it to him. See what I did there? On Raw, Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. On SmackDown, Ambrose engaged in a war of words (and a little bit of physicality) with fellow MITB participants Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Alberto Del Rio.

3. SETH ROLLINS (unranked)

The Architect returned after a lengthy absence with designs on regaining the WWE World Heavyweight Title that he never lost. Rollins sent a message to current champion Roman Reigns by attacking him after his match at Extreme Rules. On Raw, Rollins learned that he would get a title shot against Reigns at the Money in the Bank event. On both Raw and SmackDown, Rollins made it clear to the WWE Universe that he doesn't want nor need them on his bandwagon.


KO failed to win the Intercontinental Title in a show-stealing Fatal 4-Way Match at Extreme Rules, but he notched a big victory over AJ Styles on Raw to gain a spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. On SmackDown, Owens had a verbal/physical exchange with Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn and Alberto Del Rio, who all are also in the MITB match.

5. AJ STYLES (2)

The Phenomenal One came extremely close (pun intended) to defeating Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title in an Extreme Rules Match at the Extreme Rules event before falling just short. Things got worse for Styles the next night on Raw, as he had a falling out with pals Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and then lost to Kevin Owens in a Money in the Bank qualifying match.


With her father, Ric Flair, banned from ringside, the WWE Women's Champion defeated Natalya in a Submission Match at Extreme Rules thanks to an assist from Dana Brooke. On Raw, Charlotte created a furor by cutting a scathing promo on her father in which she told him she no longer needed him. On SmackDown, Charlotte interfered in the match between Natalya and Brooke, causing Brooke to lose by disqualification. After the match, Natalya put Charlotte in The Sharpshooter, but Brooke made the save, and Charlotte and Brooke proceeded to double-team Natalya.

7. NEW DAY (6)

Big E and Xavier Woods successfully defended their WWE World Tag Team Title against The Vaudevillains at Extreme Rules thank to outside interference by Kofi Kingston. New Day then defeated The Social Outcasts in six-man tag action on both Raw and Main Event.


Y2J came out on the losing end of a physically "tacks-ing" encounter against Dean Ambrose in an Asylum Match at Extreme Rules. See what I did there? Jericho did not waste any time licking his wounds, however, as he defeated Apollo Crews in a Money in the Bank qualifying match on Raw.

9. THE MIZ (10)

The resourceful Intercontinental Champion defied the odds by successfully defending his title against Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a Fatal 4-Way Match at Extreme Rules. Miz was defeated by Cesaro in a Money in the Bank qualifying match on Raw, but Miz bounced back to beat Cesaro in an Intercontinental Title bout on SmackDown.

10. SAMI ZAYN (9)

Zayn did not win the Fatal 4-Way Match for the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules, but he did score an impressive victory over Sheamus on Raw to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. On SmackDown, Zayn verbally and physically sparred with fellow MITB match participants Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio.

11. CESARO (11)

The Swiss Superman dropped the fall to The Miz in the Fatal 4-Way Match for the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules, but he gained a measure of revenge by defeating Miz in a Money in the Bank qualifying match on Raw. Miz got the last laugh, however, as he successfully defended his title against Cesaro on SmackDown.


The Club defeated The Usos in a Tornado Match at Extreme Rules. On Raw, Gallows and Anderson parted ways with AJ Styles in less-than-amicable fashion.

13. RUSEV (14)

The Bulgarian Brute became a two-time United States Champion when he defeated Kalisto at Extreme Rules. In the title rematch on SmacKDown, Rusev once again beat the former champion.

14. NATALYA (8)

Interference by Dana Brooke led to Natalya losing to WWE Women's Champion Charlotte in a Submission Match at Extreme Rules. Natalya defeated Brooke by disqualification on SmackDown due to Charlotte's interference. After the match, Natalya put Charlotte in The Sharpshooter, but she eventually succumbed to the double-team attack of Charlotte and Brooke. On Superstars, Natalya defeated Summer Rae.


The Lone Wolf defeated Dolph Ziggler in a No-Disqualification Match at Extreme Rules. Corbin also beat Jack Swagger on Main Event.

16. THE USOS (12)

Jimmy and Jey lost to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in a Tornado Match at Extreme Rules.


Big Cass engaged in a war of words with The Dudley Boyz on the Extreme Rules Kickoff Show and then manhandled both of them. On Raw, Amore returned after suffering a concussion at Payback on May 1 to accompany Big Cass to the ring. Cass went on to defeat Bubba Ray Dudley. On SmackDown, Amore and Cass traded barbs with The Dudleys, which led to a match between the two teams being booked for this coming Monday's Raw.


Del Rio defeated Zack Ryder on SmackDown to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.


The Showoff lost to Baron Corbin in a No-Disqualification Match at Extreme Rules, and then was defeated by Dean Ambrose in a Money in the Bank qualifying match on Raw.

20. KALISTO (19)

The luchador lost the United States Title to Rusev at Extreme Rules. Kalisto failed to regain the championship from Rusev on SmackDown.

Dropped out of the rankings: The Vaudevillains (18)

* - Big Cass was ranked as a singles competitor last week

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WWE Pulls New John Cena T-Shirt After 'Cease and Desist' Tweet from Pabst Blue Ribbon

John Cena's new t-shirt has been pulled by WWE just one day after it went on sale, according to a report by

The shirt was inspired by the familiar logo of Pabst Blue Ribbon, which didn't sit well with the beer company. PBR took to Twitter on Friday to tell WWE to "cease and desist."

WWE said they will no longer sell the shirt, even though they believe they legally could continue to.

"As a content creator, WWE respects trademarks and intellectual property, and therefore will not proceed selling the merchandise, despite it being an original design clearly within fair use," a WWE representative told Pro Wrestling Sheet.

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WWE SmackDown Review: Cesaro Challenges The Miz for the Intercontinental Title

The top story: Intercontinental Champion The Miz successfully defended his title against Cesaro.

Also newsworthy: United States Champion Rusev successfully defended his title against Kalisto. ... Alberto Del Rio defeated Zack Ryder in a Money in the Bank qualifying match.

Here's a segment-by-segment look at the show:

Segment One:Dean Ambrose In-Ring Interview w/Michael Cole (Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio)

The gist: Ambrose talked about his win over Chris Jericho in the Asylum Match at Extreme Rules. Cole asked Ambrose what lengths he would go to to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Before Ambrose could answer, Owens came out. As Owens walked down the aisle, he told Cole to be out of the ring by the time he gets there. Cole left. Owens said he will win the MITB Ladder Match just like he would've won the ladder match at WrestleMania if ... Before Owens could complete his thought, Zayn came out. Zayn figured Owens was going to blame him for not winning at WrestleMania since Owens believes Zayn is the cause of all of his problems. Zayn said he isn't going to allow Owens to distract him because all of his focus is going to be on the MITB contract. Zayn said Owens won't distract him and neither will Ambrose. Del Rio came out. He said that he's been Mr. Money in the Bank and cashed in to become champion and he will do so again. Zayn told Del Rio that he has to beat Zack Ryder first to qualify for the match. Suddenly, Owens attacked Zayn from behind. Ambrose then attacked Owens. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick on Owens, but Owens moved and Zayn nearly hit Ambrose. Ambrose went for Dirty Deeds on Zayn, but Zayn slipped out.

Analysis: Not the most compelling opening segment I've ever seen, but it was serviceable as far as establishing who the MITB match competitors are.

Segments Two and Three: Zack Ryder Inset Promo // Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio > Money in the Bank Qualifying Match

The gist: Ryder talked about finally getting his WrestleMania moment after 10 years and said he will beat the odds again in the MITB match. He said he's not supposed to be here but he deserves to be here.

Result: Del Rio over via submission

Analysis: I was really hoping Ryder would win this match. Del Rio is talented, but as a character, he's deader than Kelsey's nuts. His presence in the MITB match does not make it a better attraction. Ryder, conversely, has been somewhat rejuvenated the past couple months. He would've been a nice addition as the underdog once again trying to pull off the huge upset. I'm glad that WWE is finally doing something with Ryder, but they should be doing more.

Segment Four: Enzo Amore and Big Cass - The Dudley Boyz Promo // Rusev (w/Lana) Backstage Interview

The gist: Enzo did his shtick but was interrupted by The Dudleys, who came out to the stage. Big Cass said they would beat down The Dudleys right now. The Dudleys said they wanted the match. They started to walk down the aisle, but then stopped and said the match wasn't happening tonight; it would take place Monday on Raw. Cass did the "sawft" bit.

The gist: Rusev said he will crush Kalisto the mosquito so that he'll never be able to fly again.

Analysis: It's sad to say, but The Dudleys don't come across as much of a threat to Enzo and Cass since we've already seen Cass manhandle both of them by himself. I don't know why WWE would even bother promoting the match. ... Rusev on the mic amuses me. It sounds like he's dropping his accent to some degree.

Segments Five and Six: Kalisto vs. United States Champion Rusev (w/Lana) > Title Match (Titus O'Neil) // Highlights Package: The Charlotte - Ric Flair Story

Result: Rusev over via submission

Aftermath: Rusev continued to assault Kalisto until O'Neil made the save. O'Neil challenged Rusev to put the title on the line against him right now. Rusev declined.

Analysis: The match was decent, although the outcome was never really in doubt. A title program between Rusev and O'Neil is at least something different. I'm glad that O'Neil is being given an opportunity after his push was derailed by an excessive 60-day suspension. However, I thought it made O'Neil look heelish by asking for a title shot that he did nothing to earn from a champion who just had a competitive match. As a babyface, wouldn't O'Neil want to beat a champion who was 100 percent? ... The Charlotte-Flair package included sound bites from other WWE stars talking about Charlotte's scathing promo on her father. I thought that was a nice touch and made the angle feel important. However, I wouldn't have included Ambrose in the package. I don't think his character would care at all about what happened between Charlotte and Flair.

Segment Seven: Natalya vs. Dana Brooke (Charlotte on Commentary) // AJ Styles Backstage Interview

Result: Natalya over via disqualification (Charlotte interfered)

Aftermath: Charlotte attacked Natalya, but Natalya turned it around and put The Sharpshooter on her. Brooke tried to make the save, but Natalya briefly went on the offensive against both of them. Eventually, Charlotte and Brooke overpowered Natalya and tossed her out of the ring.

The gist: Styles said he has had to prove that he belongs in WWE. He said he wants respect. After losing to Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, he said he has lost some pride and some friends. He said he came very close to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title, but he failed and he has to live with that. When asked what's next for him, Styles said he's going to have to think of something.

Analysis: The match lasted less than a minute, and I was surprised at how weak Brooke was made to look. She was seemingly about to submit to The Sharpshooter when Charlotte saved her. I'm not sure what this segment accomplished. On a side note, I thought it was really odd that heel announcer Jerry Lawler strongly criticized Charlotte for her mistreatment of her father. Let the babyface announcers do that. To get more heat on Charlotte and sympathy for Ric Flair, Lawler should've been praising her and saying that everything she said about Flair is true. ... I liked Styles' promo. His reaction to failing to win the title was believable, and he came across disappointed without being whiny. I especially liked his closing line. It conveyed that he's going to have to do something big to get back on track.

Segment Eight: Golden Truth vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango

Result: Breeze and Fandango over via pinfall (Fandango pinned Truth)

Analysis: Full disclosure: I fast-forwarded to the finish. I just can't pretend to care about this never-ending, meaningless Golden Truth story line.

Segment Nine: Backstage Vignette w/Golden Truth, Tyler Breeze and Fandango // Seth Rollins Promo

The gist: Goldust gave a dejected Truth a pep talk. Breeze and Fandango walked by and laughed at them and called them losers. Goldust convinced Truth to continue trying to make their team a success. ... Much like he did on Raw, Rollins asked the crowd if they missed him. Some of the people responded in the affirmative. Rollins said that the feeling wasn't mutual. He did his campy evil laugh and left.

Analysis: Was I the only one rooting for Golden Truth to agree to go their separate ways? ... I was not looking forward to one of Rollins' long, monotone promos, and he kept this to about a minute or so. "Thank you, Seth! Thank you, Seth!" 

Segments Ten and Eleven: Cesaro vs. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (w/Maryse) > Title Match

Result: Miz over via pinfall (after ramming Cesaro shoulder first into an exposed turnbuckle)

Analysis: This was a good match. I didn't expect a title change, but I'm not wild about Cesaro getting pinned, even if he was given the out of having a bad shoulder and Miz heeling the victory by using the exposed turnbuckle. I'm not usually a big fan of inconclusive finishes, but I'd have preferred Miz use Maryse to win by countout or disqualification, and then have Cesaro lay out Miz after the match. 

Final thoughts: Even with two title matches on the show, this was a missable episode. Having the star power of Roman Reigns and/or the entertainment value of New Day would've helped.

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