This week’s episode of SmackDown Live saw General Manager Daniel Bryan unveil the first ever “Top 10 Superstars List.” To remind you, here is that list:
10. Tye Dillinger
9. Randy Orton
8. Becky Lynch
7. The Usos
6. The New Day
5. Bobby Roode
3. Shinsuke Nakamura
1. AJ Styles
As noted previously here, that list is full of babyfaces, which is confusing considering the original stated criteria for voting on the list, those said to be voting on it, and the ultimate goal of the list upon its completion. That goal, according to WWE, is that it would guide Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon in their decision making regarding future opportunities for wrestlers on the blue brand.
That’s why it’s confusing that on the very same show said list was revealed, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, whose names are noticeably absent, had a number one contender match where they fought until Styles got involved and there was no finish. Bryan, seeing this, chose to give both a title shot at the upcoming Fastlane pay-per-view (PPV) on March 11 in Ohio.
Just a couple days later, McMahon hopped on Twitter to reveal the previously announced Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin match scheduled for next week’s SmackDown will now see the winner added to the Fastlane main event, making it a Fatal 4-Way for the WWE championship.
If you haven’t already scrolled back up to check again, no, neither Ziggler nor Corbin are on the Top 10 Superstars List.
McMahon offered no explanation for his action, simply stating he was going to make the triple threat “a bit more interesting” by turning it into the aforementioned Fatal 4-Way.
This just further serves to make the list that much more confusing. Dillinger, Lynch, and Naomi, who are on the list, weren’t even on SmackDown this week; Nakamura snagged a couple of seconds of TV time, just long enough to tell Styles he was going to beat him for the title at WrestleMania 34; The New Day told some jokes backstage about Corey Graves catching hands from Booker T.
Meanwhile, based on recent television, Ruby Riott and the Bludgeon Brothers appear the closest to title shots for the SmackDown women’s and tag team titles. Neither are on the list.
Next week’s show has at least some intrigue if only to see just what the hell they’re doing with this utterly confusing list gimmick.
That is if they’re doing anything with it at all.