THE SPECIALISTS DEPTH PERCEPTION: Champion Power Rankings and a Depth Chart of Their Contenders
Sep 14, 2008 - 4:49:28 PM
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By Jonathan Bain, PWTorch Specialist
DEPTH PERCEPTION: Champion Power Rankings and a Depth Chart of Their Contenders
By Jonathan Bain, PWTorch Specialist
Welcome to Week Five of the Depth Perception! There's a lot to discuss this week, the Championship Scramble Matches at Unforgiven provided some surprises and two new Champions, also we've already seen matches announced for No Mercy involving Championships but I'll get into those properly in this week's Championship Rankings!
New World Heavyweight Champion – Chris Jericho
As much as I really like C.M. Punk and was enjoying his Championship reign, I am extremely happy to see Chris Jericho as the new World Heavyweight Champion because it means that now I can write about his excellent work here on the Depth Perception!
Jericho's night didn’t start out well at Unforgiven when he lost to rival, Shawn Michaels in an "unsanctioned" match. The referee stopped the match as Jericho was knocked out cold by Michaels. It was a fantastic, intense match and Jericho showed the effects on his body the next night on Raw.
After being left unconscious by HBK, who continued to beat Jericho down after the match had finished, Jericho was named as C.M. Punk's replacement in the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble match, as Punk had been attacked earlier in the night. Jericho came out as the final entrant in the match and even though his body was battered, managed to sneakily get the final pinfall on Kane after Batista had done the damage to him. On Raw, Jericho opened the show with a very good promo and showed his wounds from the night before.
Mike Adamle placed Jericho in the main event against Batista, which the new Champion didn't appreciate. Batista would dominate Jericho in the opening moments of the match but Adamle changed it to a handicap match, with JBL being Jericho's partner to take on Batista. With the help of JBL and Lance Cade, Jericho managed to steal the win. It was announced that Chris Jericho will defend his World Heavyweight Championship against C.M. Punk in a Steel Cage on the next episode of Raw.
This was a really hard week to dissect because yes, Jericho won the Heavyweight title in the main event of Unforgiven, but he also was beaten unconscious by Shawn Michaels and lost to him earlier in that same show. Then on Raw, his promo was good and he won in the main event, but it wasn't exactly a strong-looking win. He has an excuse because of his injured body but for this week he's going to be behind a few other Champions because they had extremely strong weeks.
I did have a hard time deciding where to place Jericho but I had to consider that he lost to HBK and also the manner in which he won his matches, I do expect to see him move up next week if he can beat C.M. Punk though.
C.M. Punk: C.M. Punk had a bad week-end, he was attacked by Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes and Manu at Unforgiven and suffered a "concussion", leaving him unable to defend his World Heavyweight Championship in the Scramble match. He lost his title without even being involved in the match, which is a shame because I thought he deserved a better way for his first World Championship reign to end. He wasn’t on Raw so he could sell the concussion angle but will face Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship in a steel cage next week on Raw.
Shawn Michaels: Shawn Michaels wasn’t on Raw this week but he did defeat Chris Jericho in an unsanctioned match at Unforgiven. Later in the night, Shawn was interviewed backstage by Todd Grisham and HBK said that for Jericho, "the worst is definitely yet to come", which could mean we'll be seeing Michaels Vs. Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship very soon, if Jericho retains against C.M. Punk on Raw that is.
Randy Orton: Orton is hanging around the Championship picture because of his rivalry with C.M. Punk, obviously Orton won't be having a title match soon because of his injury but he's making a lot of waves with his comments about C.M. Punk and Chris Jericho. His slap of DiBiase was a really good moment and he had a good week in taking out Punk.
Batista: At Unforgiven, Batista had the World Championship won in the Scramble match with just seconds remaining but Chris Jericho managed to get a sneaky pin in the dying seconds to win the gold. On Raw, Batista had a brief backstage promo with JBL where The Animal made fun of JBL's loss to Charlie "CHL" Haas earlier in the night. Then in the main event, Batista was wrestling Chris Jericho, well I say wrestling but what I really mean is beating the hell out of him, when Mike Adamle made the match a handicap match, JBL and Chris Jericho Vs. Batista. Batista got distracted by Lance Cade so that JBL could hit the Clothesline from Hell on him, leaving Jericho to get an opportunistic pin on Batista. After the match, Batista beat up Cade and JBL. Same old story for Batista, getting so close to becoming Champion only to lose, it looks like he'll be feuding with JBL for the moment but Batista's never out of the title picture for long.
WWE Champion - Triple H
Triple H was the only Champion to enter a Championship Scramble match at Unforgiven with his title and leave with it still in tact. In his promo on Smackdown he made sure to hammer this fact home and started to put himself over when Jeff Hardy interrupted. They went on to cut very personal promos on each other. Triple H eventually admitted that he does sincerely respect Jeff Hardy and told him he hoped he would win the Fatal-4-Way match to become number one contender. This promo exchange was really intense and entertaining. The Game spent the rest of his time throughout the show stirring trouble up between the men in the main event Fatal-4-Way. Triple H had a good week, he looks great for being the only Champion to survive the Championship Scramble concept and his promo with Jeff was really good. He wasn't involved in a match on Smackdown, and it's that inactivity that will cause him to drop one space to the new ECW Champion, Matt Hardy, who had a very successful week.
Jeff Hardy: Jeff Hardy became the official number one contender on Smackdown this week when he won the Fatal-4-Way, which featured Shelton Benjamin, MVP and The Brian Kendrick. Jeff had a good showing at Unforgiven in the Championship Scramble match, being just seconds away from becoming the WWE Champion when Triple H managed to capture the last pinfall with literally a second to spare. In the opening segment of Smackdown, Jeff interrupted Triple H and they told each other how they respect each other, although it didn’t seem they were both being sincere. Things got personal but eventually Triple H said he did respect Jeff. I really liked Jeff's comments about not having the right people to support him like The Game did in the promo and he showed great intensity and fire here. Jeff looked good in winning the Fatal-4-Way with the Swanton Bomb on The Brian Kendrick but then he was attacked by Vladimir Kozlov to close the show. A pretty good week for Jeff, he was extremely close to becoming WWE Champion at Unforgiven, he cut a good promo on Triple H and he became the number one contender for the WWE Championship at No Mercy. Being attacked by Kozlov doesn’t make him look weak because he had been through a gruelling Fatal-4-Way match.
Vladimir Kozlov: Kozlov made a big statement at the end of Smackdown by attacking Jeff Hardy and earlier in the night he had an impressive win over Scotty Goldman and Funaki in a handicap match. He demanded better competition and has chosen Jeff Hardy as his target. This could lead to some sort of WWE Championship match for Kozlov in the near future, so we'll wait and see where this goes. It will be interesting to see if he also targets Triple H.
New ECW Champion - Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy had a great week, winning the ECW Championship at Unforgiven in the Championship Scramble match by pinning the Miz and then pinning Mike Knox in ECW's tag team main event, which saw Matt Hardy and Finlay taking on Mark Henry and Mike Knox. Matt opened ECW on Tuesday with a promo thanking both his fans and his detractors for motivating him. The former Champion, Mark Henry came to the ring with Tony Atlas to interrupt Matt and demanded a rematch. He attacked Hardy, who managed to fight back and hit Atlas with a Twist of Fate. Later, Matt pinned Mike Knox in the tag team match after a Twist of Fate. Really good stuff for Hardy, winning his first main Heavyweight title and the win on ECW was good for him too with a clean pin over Knox. Matt could do with a pinfall victory over Mark Henry to fully validate his title win with any doubters but he's had a strong week and he used the Championship Scramble rules to good effect, breaking up pinfalls in the final minute of the match.
Mark Henry: Mark Henry lost his ECW Championship despite not being pinned at Unforgiven in the Championship Scramble. He demanded a rematch Tuesday night on ECW and tried to attack Matt Hardy but was eventually sent over the top rope by the new Champion. In the main event of ECW, Mark Henry's team lost when his partner, Mike Knox was pinned by Matt Hardy. A pretty bad week for Henry, but there are some things that protect him from looking too bad. He wasn't pinned to lose his title and the Championship Scramble concept was put over for weeks as being a great disadvantage to the Champion. Also, he wasn’t the one who was pinned in the tag match and he was booked to look pretty dominant in that match. Not a good week for him, but not as bad as it could have been.
Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella
I loved Santino's promo on Raw and his continuation of the Honk-a-meter. I was surprised to see Santino get a roll-up victory over Snitsky, less than 60 seconds into their match. Santino was dominated for the majority of the very short match but he still got a win over the much larger man in Snitsky. Now, I know Snitsky hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire but I was shocked to see him to lose to Santino in a minute. I think the win, lucky or not, is great for Santino, he could brag about this for a few weeks. On the Depth Perception rankings this week, Santino will actually move down despite winning and the reason is that other Champions had very strong weeks. It's unlucky because I thought that win was quite a big deal for him.
Kofi Kingston: Kofi teamed with Cryme Tyme on Raw but was defeated by Rhodes, DiBiase and Manu when Manu pinned Shad. Kofi seems to be done with Santino but I wouldn't be surprised to see him continue their rivalry soon. Kofi could do with a big win next week.
Snitsky: After losing to Santino on Raw, Snitsky watched Santino and Beth Phoenix' celebratory kiss with a strange look on his face. Who knows where this is going, I don't even want to speculate right now but we'll see…
United States Champion – Shelton Benjamin
The Gold Standard didn't come out of Unforgiven with the WWE Championship but he did come out of the match as the only man who wasn't pinned, so not too bad for him even though he didn't win. Shelton's first appearance on Smackdown was a backstage segment where he was putting himself over to Eve. Triple H interrupted Shelton and stirred up some tension between him and Jeff Hardy. Before the main event, Shelton Benjamin's entrance was preceded by a pre-taped promo where he put himself over, this has been happening for a few weeks now and I like it a lot and I'm glad they're continuing to do it. Shelton failed to win the number one contendership Fatal-4-Way and towards the end of the match he appeared to have been beaten by The Brian Kendrick before Jeff Hardy broke up that cover. With that said, Shelton was booked pretty well in that match and also in the Championship Scramble at Unforgiven, but he did wrestle two matches this week and didn't win either of them so he'll have to move down with so many other Champions getting good wins. It's a shame because he was booked so strong lately but I'm sure he'll bounce back.
The Brian Kendrick: Kendrick was pinned three times in the Championship Scramble at Unforgiven, but he also managed to pin Jeff Hardy in the match. A lot of people will remember those three pinfalls and then Kendrick also took the pinfall loss in the Fatal-4-Way on Smackdown when Jeff Hardy covered him following a Swanton Bomb. However, Kendrick did hit Shelton with The Kendrick and had him beaten until Jeff hit his finisher on them. It wouldn't be surprising to see Kendrick be placed into a rivalry with Shelton for that the U.S. Championship now that his hunt for the WWE Championship seems to be over for the moment.
World Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase
Rhodes and DiBiase had a busy week, they defeated their rivals, Cryme Tyme at Unforgiven to retain their Championships, they debuted a new member of their faction in "Manu", son of Afa The Wild Samoan, they helped Randy Orton to attack C.M. Punk backstage on Sunday night to take him out of the Championship Scramble and then on Raw they teamed with Manu to defeat Cryme Tyme and Kofi Kingston when Manu pinned Shad! Not only did they do all of that, but they also interrupted Randy Orton's promo on Raw, taking offence with his claim that he took out C.M. Punk by himself the previous night at the Pay-Per-View. Manu, Rhodes and DiBiase all got to show off their promo skills on Orton but DiBiase would take a slap to the face from The Legend Killer before he quickly left the ring. These guys had a great week, they're really benefiting from their involvement with Randy Orton and they got two wins over Cryme Tyme in a week. They looked confident in standing up to Orton and the slap, while embarrassing for Ted DiBiase, set them up to be aggressive in their match. I had a really, REALLY, tough time deciding whether or not they should be above Triple H this week because of how much they got done, but decided on given them the third place spot just because they used slightly underhand tactics at Unforgiven to win with DiBiase reversing JTG's roll-up on Rhodes and then Manu being the one to get the pin on Raw. It's extremely minor details but it was very close between them and Triple H for that second place spot.
Cryme Tyme: Not a good week at all for Cryme Tyme, they lost twice to the Tag Team Champions, including in a Pay-Per-View Championship match. They have the really small argument about the interference from DiBiase on that reversed roll-up but I don't think it's a big enough excuse. Without any other challengers though on Raw, we might see them continue to challenge Rhodes and DiBiase but it will be tough to get the momentum back.
WWE Tag Team Champions Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder
It would seem that Hawkins and Ryder are destined to forever be the bottom ranked Champions on the Depth Perception, as if they're not getting beat up by Big Show or Undertaker, they're losing matches or being embarrassed in some other way. I think it's time to just give Carlito and Primo the titles and try again another time with Hawkins and Ryder.
Carlito and Primo Colon: Primo debuted on Smackdown after having a match on Raw a couple weeks ago and teamed with his brother, Carlito to defeat the WWE Tag Team Champions, Hawkins and Ryder. I'm actually very interested in this tag team of Carlito and Primo, I think they've got a great chance to be something special on Smackdown and its good for Carlito to have this fresh start in a tag team with his brother. A win over the tag champs is great; we'll see where they go with this in the coming weeks.
Women's Champion Beth Phoenix
Beth had a really good week, on Raw, she successfully defended her Women's Championship against the woman she won it from at SummerSlam, Mickie James. Beth looked really strong in her impressive win over Mickie, I wouldn't say it was a total squash but it was close to being one. The Glamazon accompanied Santino Marella later in the night for his match against Snitsky.
The decisive win over Mickie was good for Beth Phoenix after suffereing two losses in the past two weeks. I had another tough decision with this positioning on the rankings because Michelle McCool had a good week as well and she and Beth were battling for the rank of fifth but I think that Beth's win was just more impressive than Michelle's wins this week.
Candice Michelle: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announced that Candice would get a title shot at No Mercy against the winner of Beth Phoenix Vs. Mickie James on Raw. Beth would go on to win that match, with Candice watching at ringside. After the match, she had a stare down with The Glamazon. I'd like to see an in-ring promo from Candice and Beth next week to get some more heat on their No Mercy match.
Diva's Champion – Michelle McCool
Finally! Michelle McCool had a good week and can move up the Depth Perception rankings! She had a good win at Unforgiven over Maryse to retain her title and then her team won on Smackdown when Brie Bella pinned Victoria. It would have been better for Michelle to get the pin for her team as she's the Champion and it would have highlighted her as the main Diva on Smackdown, but she took a step to the side for the up and coming Brie Bella this week. It's a small detail and it doesn't affect Michelle much, she still had her best week so far since the Depth Perception started and she'll move up at last.
Maryse: After weeks of wins, Maryse's momentum was stopped by Michelle McCool at Unforgiven and then on Smackdown in a six-Diva tag team match, Maryse teamed with Natalya and Victoria in a losing effort against Michelle McCool, Brie Bella and Maria when Brie pinned Victoria. Losing clean to Michelle at the Pay-Per-View could spell the end for Maryse's Championship chase but we'll see what happens next week.
Brie Bella: Another win for Brie Bella, she goes 3-0 since making her Smackdown debut and she looked pretty good in the ring this week. She got the pinfall for her team when she pinned Victoria for the third week running. Brie's going under the ring mid-match gimmick is strange and I'd like to be given a reason why she does it but at least it's something that makes her different and she's got a nice win streak going over Victoria.
Championship Rankings Week Five
Rank 1. ECW Champion Matt Hardy (N/A)
Rank 2. WWE Champion Triple H (Down 1 position)
Rank 3. World Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase (Up 1 position)
Rank 4. World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho (N/A)
Rank 5. Women's Champion Beth Phoenix (Up 2 positions)
Rank 6. Diva's Champion Michelle McCool (Up 2 positions)
Rank 7. Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella (Down 2 positions)
Rank 8. United States Champion Shelton Benjamin (Down 6 positions)
Rank 9. WWE Tag Team Champions Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder (No Change)
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