Pro Wrestling Rankings August 12 - BROCK LESNAR has claimed the top spot
World Wrestling Entertainment is heading into the second-biggest event of their calendar and once again, the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar showcased his might, beating Seth Rollins down again and again just days before their Summerslam showdown. With Lesnar looking like the unstoppable Goliath, he's now forced Seth Rollins into the role of David, but with Lesnar, things never seem to go as planned. Summerslam could prove to be yet another instance of The Beast strengthening his grasp on WWE's top slot or it may provide the backdrop for one of the biggest celebratory wins of the year…unless, of course, Lesnar nails a deadly F-5. Until then, Lesnar has claimed the top spot in the FITE Rankings.
All good things come to an end and for Jon Moxley, his undefeated streak in New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Climax came to a screeching halt at the hands of…Toru Yano? Believe it or not, even in pro wrestling, as unlikely as that reads, it's true. Moxley has since dropped another match to Jay White, but mathematically, remains in a top position for the tournament. As NJPW heads into the G1 Climax finals this weekend, airing live on FITE, Moxley remains the one to defeat. His path of destruction gives him incredible momentum, recent losses or not, and he's going to use that to slingshot, white-hot, into All Elite Wrestling's All Out, when he faces Kenny Omega in Chicago.
This weekend, Kofi Kingston either gets to put the demons of the past to death or he'll lose his WWE Championship to Randy Orton. It's as simple as that. Does Kingston get to stand up as the triumphant people's champion or does he find himself in a Quantum Leap, repeating the past but unable to change it. Summerslam, more than any other night, more than even Wrestlemania 35, is Kingston's moment of triumph or defeat. We'll see if he stands tall when the Endgame is complete. It will be RKO vs. SOS…Champion vs. Viper.
This Friday will be among the most important nights in the history of the ROH World Championship as it exists in the hands of Matt Taven. Since G1 Supercard, Taven has held onto the title, but has yet to have that one great definitive bout that lives up to the legacy and grace of ROH history. With Alex Shelley challenging at Summer Supercard live on FITE, Taven will undoubtedly be forced into a position where he'll have to defend against some of the best technical wrestling anyone can bring into the ring but also live up to and surpass his challenger. Win or lose, Taven could walk out of the ring with his importance, his legacy and his standing within ROH rising to the next plateau. He already sits on the throne as ROH Kingpin, but this should be the night where he truly grows into the role.
Someone is out to take down Roman Reigns, by any means possible. Quicker than you can say Veronica Mars, the mystery as to who attempted to squash Reigns under an interview set, then attempt to crush him in a hit and run incident has captured the audience's imagination. With the blame squarely placed on Rowan and Daniel Bryan, this weekend's Summerslam event will certainly continue this storyline, something that has placed Roman into the spotlight like never before. Even though he's not advertised to wrestle at one of WWE's biggest events of the year, fans are speculating as to where Big Dog fits into the puzzle that is Summerslam. That's a good thing. WWE has fans on the hook. We will see if they can reel them in.
The former X-Division Champion had taken a year off professional wrestling, only to walk back into Ring of Honor and immediately earn a World Championship match against Matt Taven at ROH's Summer Supercard on FITE from Toronto. This is, without question, the biggest singles bout of Shelley's career in years. Even whether he wins the Championship is secondary to the style of match and level of performance that Shelley brings to the ring. It's an entirely new generation of talents in Ring of Honor and this performance will give a true insight into whether Shelley's usually impeccable in-ring technique remains as stellar as ever and whether he has evolved with the level of competition. While Matt Taven hardly has an easy night ahead of himself, Shelley's future career trajectory may rely on how the FITE audience perceives this match after the bell rings.
Samoa Joe has held the most important championship belts in WWE NXT, Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling, but his main roster WWE journey has been haphazard creatively. In recent weeks, Joe has been given the opportunity to do what he does best – present himself as a badass hybrid fighter with a vicious streak and an angry, emotional penchant for interviews. Embroiled in the Roman Reigns storyline over the last week, the Samoan Submission Machine looks to be poised to be a star for the first time in a long time, perhaps even as a hero, for WWE. The sky has always been the limit for Samoa Joe. It seems like WWE has finally realized that.
When Natalya's challenge of Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch was first announced, there was hardly a ripple effect to the match being set in stone for Summerslam. Since then, however, we've seen Natalya get the bout turned into a submission match, playing directly into her family tree of acclaimed submission specialists and we've seen the daughter of the late Jim Neidhart bring out an edgy, aggressive side that we've rarely, if ever, seen come from the normally affable third-generation star. With the biggest match of her career set for Toronto, it's obvious that Natalya is taking this one personal and is coming into the ring with everything she has to offer. It's a good look for her and one that has everyone sitting up and paying attention.
The former ECW World Heavyweight Champion and FMW legend rarely makes appearances Stateside but at Joey Janela's Escape from Los Angeles this weekend, Tanaka will enter the battleground known as Game Changer Wrestling, facing Tony Deppen live on FITE. With historic battles against Mike Awesome under his belt., Tanaka brings an edge to combat sports that so few competitors do and anytime he performs in the United States, it's something to behold. FITE fans will be lucky enough to witness a battle with global implications this weekend.
The Young Bucks
Nick and Matt Jackson have been some of the most important and definitive independent wrestling personalities of the last decade. With the formation of All Elite Wrestling, all good things had to come to an end and on Friday August 9th, The Young Bucks bid farewell to independent wrestling at House of Glory's High Intensity 8 live on FITE. As The Bucks take on Private Party, they close the window on a chapter of their lives that saw them go from one of the most underrated tag team to one of the most influential in professional wrestling. Win, lose or draw, they will walk out with their heads held high, mission accomplished.
Every week here at FITE, we feature the Top Ten ranked personalities in the world of professional wrestling. Unlike other combat sports, pro wrestling cannot be measured in just wins and losses, especially when the drama and excitement of the genre is specifically based around not just the physical performance, but the excitement level created by its combatants. Thus, our top ten measures the most newsworthy performers in the business, who's momentum drives not just their own career paths but the promotions they compete for.
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.