Apron Work Podcast’s NXT Power Rankings (7/31/18)

Ciampa gives himself 8 stars AND we give him the top spot!

by: Mike Respass

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Since NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, there has been a lot going on in NXT between great matches, excellent storytelling and jockeying for position of championships. No person has done a better job of all three of those than our first ever number one ranked sports entertainer, Tommaso Ciampa!

ciampa-is-champion[ photo courtesy of WWE.com ]
Rankings are based on the opinion of the author towards members of the NXT roster’s value using the on-screen product of the weekly episodes of NXT and the NXT TakeOver events.
1. Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa has been quite possibly the best thing going in wrestling and the fact that he continued to bring it to the table against Aleister Black like he had been against Johnny Gargano makes him an easy choice at number one. By hook or by crook, Ciampa is the new NXT Champion and if the last few months have been any indication, he will certainly not let any of us forget about it any time soon.
2. The Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong)
A dominant force since day one, The Undisputed ERA have shown their power is in numbers with the help of Adam Cole (BayBay!). They lost the titles temporarily to Moustache Mountain at a non-NXT event so that did not affect their ranking as much as it helped when they regained those titles on an episode of NXT. If it wasn’t for the roll that Ciampa has been on, the NXT Tag Team Champions could have made a real case for the number one spot.
3. Aleister Black
Dropping from what would have likely been the top spot in the power rankings, Black lost that spot and his NXT Championship all in one match against Ciampa. A convincing win over Lars Sullivan as the champion in Chicago did enough to keep him in the top three but obviously, the loss to Ciampa did more damage than good for his overall ranking.
4. Shayna Baszler
The NXT Women’s Champion has been a force to be reckoned with since she won the title and continued to prove why against Nikki Cross at TakeOver. The former Four Horsewoman of MMA world will be sitting at the number four position waiting for the next woman up to try to take her spot and her championship, although we wouldn’t bet against her.
5. Adam Cole (BayBay!)
Rounding out the top five is Cole with his NXT North American Championship. Being an integral part of defeating Ricochet and Moustache Mountain in a six-man tag team match, Cole has since won two throw away matches to help him look stronger as a champion. The real test will be when he eventually faces off one-on-one with Ricochet for his title, presumably at the next TakeOver.
6. Kairi Sane
The rubber match is now set between Baszler and Kairi Sane after she defeated Cross and Candice LeRae in a triple threat number one contender’s match for the NXT Women’s Title. Before losing to Baszler in their last matchup, Sane had defeated her in the finals of the Mae Young Classic last year and this will be her time to prove that she can beat Baszler again but until she can do that, she sits ranked at number six.
7. Ricochet
With the NXT North American Championship in his sights, Ricochet is using an impressive victory over Velveteen Dream at the last TakeOver and his run-ins with The Undisputed ERA to make a case to take on Cole and his case for the seventh spot in our rankings. Though Cole has not agreed to the match at this point, we don’t see Ricochet letting up any time soon and expect this mega match to happen.
8. Johnny Gargano
Gargano has had an interesting month and a half to say the least. After losing his TakeOver match to Ciampa, he has gone on to beat EC3 in very dominant fashion and then he unintentionally assisted Ciampa in beating Black for the NXT Championship. This will give the fans even more reason to get behind the eighth-ranked Gargano to hope that he finally wins his first NXT Championship against his ex-partner and nemesis.
9. War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe)
Although their on-screen time has been limited to only one match since TakeOver, War Raiders have been hyped multiple times over the past month as the dominant force that they are. Hanson and Rowe made an appearance this past week in confronting The Undisputed ERA which would be them staking their claim as a contender for the NXT Tag Team Championships and it was enough to keep them in at number nine.
10. Lacey Evans
The past few weeks of NXT has been a real eye-opener for the abilities of Lacey Evans and it has launched her into the top 10. Following a lose to LeRae, Evans has had a huge win over Dakota Kai and squashed Tenilla Price in two mostly dominant performances that were capped off with The Woman’s Right. She has solidified herself as the second best heel in the NXT Women’s division behind Baszler and will have her time in that top spot sooner or later.
Just Missed The Cut
Velveteen Dream
It was hard to follow up on the amazing match that Velveteen Dream had at TakeOver with Ricochet and with only one victory over Chris Dijak, the Dream did not do enough to warrant top 10 status.
The Mighty (Nick Miller & Shane Thorne)
Nick Miller and Shane Thorne were unable to ride their momentum of stolen victories into much of anything since TakeOver and that is why they narrowly missed cracking the top 10.
Bianca Belair
An injury that kept Bianca Belair out of action, which included dropping out of the #1 contender’s match for the NXT Women’s Championship, has also kept her out of the top 10.

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