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2012 Power Rankings

WWE.com, in conjunction with the Academy of Wrestling Arts & Sciences (AWAS), ranks the top 25 Superstars in WWE each week with Power Rankings. The rankings are based on victories, quality of opponents, momentum and overall in-ring dominance, as well as intangibles. Here are the overall rankings for 2012.

25

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara face Primo & Epico in a WWE Tag Team Title No. 1 Contenders' Tournament Match while The Prime Time Players watch from the entrance ramp.

The high-flying tandem of Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara round out the rankings for 2012, as the pair continually found themselves in the hunt for the Tag Team Titles. Bursting onto the scene earlier in the year, the duo cooled off a bit at the other end of the calendar thanks to attacks by The Shield.

24

Layla

Layla takes on WWE Divas Champion Eve.

Thanks to a lengthy run as Divas Champion, Layla finds herself safely inside the top 25 for 2012. Despite losing her coveted title to Eve at WWE Night of Champions, the lovely and dangerous Diva has kept herself in the title picture and looks ahead to a fresh start in 2013.

23

Team Rhodes Scholars

An inside look at how Team Rhodes Scholars earned their WWE Tag Team Championship Match against Team Hell No.

The combined might of intellectual Superstars Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes has proven to be a success in the WWE tag team ranks. As a unit, Team Rhodes Scholars have breathed down the necks of Tag Team Champions Team Hell No for months, and Sandow & Rhodes (and Cody's mustache, of course) have made their impact felt in a relatively short amount of time together.

22

Eve

The Divas of WWE go one-on-one.

Let us tell you all about Eve. The Divas Champion is as beautiful as she is devious, and it's been her willingness to stretch the rules and use her influence (remember the politics she played backstage on SmackDown in General Manager Booker T's administration?) that has gotten her to the top of the Divas division.

21

Chris Jericho

Raw: Chris Jericho returns to WWE after weeks of cryptic "1-2-2012" videos

Despite losses at four pay-per-views over the course of 2012, Chris Jericho made enough noise to land on the year's overall Power Rankings. Which is ironic, considering the initial silence with which Jericho arrived on Monday Night Raw in January. But the legendary lion of a Superstar made an indisputable impact on the WWE Universe, and he's earned his spot on the list.

20

R-Truth

In a rematch from Survivor Series, R-Truth looks to dish out some punishment to the United States Champion, Antonio Cesaro.

Despite falling short in a valiant effort at WWE TLC against Antonio Cesaro with the United States Title on the line, R-Truth put together an impressive 2012. Though he didn't end the year with championship gold around his waist, The Rapping Superstar can list a lengthy reign as Tag Team Champion along with Kofi Kingston on his yearly resume. 

19

Brodus Clay

The Funkasaurus exploded onto the scene in 2012, dancing his way through a dominant run that saw Brodus Clay drop opponents at a truly impressive rate. Clay hit a snag in the third quarter of the year, but Funk's back on a roll as the year comes to an end.

18

The Miz

The Miz tells Paul Heyman that he quits CM Punk's Survivor Series team.

It's been an up and down year for The Awesome One, as The Miz saw his Intercontinental Championship go by the wayside thanks to a loss on the Oct. 17 episode of WWE Main Event to current titleholder Kofi Kingston. But a last quarter resurgence has elevated The Miz back into the thick of things in WWE, and places him in the No. 18 spot on this year's rankings.

17

Mark Henry

The World's Strongest Man entered 2012 with a chip on his shoulder, as he lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Big Show at WWE TLC 2011. That chip quickly turned into wrath, and Mark Henry made sure everyone else felt his pain. While No. 17 on the rankings is nothing to scoff at, who knows how high the massive Superstar would have ranked, if not for an injury.

16

Santino Marella

WWE.com Exclusive: Santino Marella talks about winning the U.S. Championship on Raw SuperShow

It was a great year for The Milan Miracle, starting with a big battle royal victory and a hard-fought battle at WWE Elimination Chamber. But the highlight of Santino's 2012 was his memorable reign as United States Champion. Though he lost that title to Antonio Cesaro at SummerSlam, Santino wore the championship gold with pride and he earned his spot at No. 16 on the rankings.

15

Triple H

Raw: Triple H agrees to face Undertaker at WrestleMania in a Hell in a Cell Match

On the surface, it may seem strange that a Superstar with an 0-2 record in the ring this year cracks the top 15. But think about the two matches that Triple H subjected himself to: The Game faced the legendary Deadman at WrestleMania in Hell in a Cell and he went toe-to-toe with a ferocious Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. As longtime friend HBK said on Twitter before the bell rang on Triple H-Lesnar, "This match is gonna be about more than winning or losing, but about surviving.” And despite his loss, The Game is most definitely a survivor.

14

Alberto Del Rio

Alberto Del Rio sends a message to Randy Orton via Zack Ryder.

Alberto Del Rio may have fallen short in his quest to fulfill his "destiny" in 2012, but you can't say he didn't try. Perennially in the hunt for championship gold, The Mexican Aristocrat engaged in a series of epic battles against The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus. Along the way, Del Rio racked up some impressive wins, proving that, even without a title on his waist, he is worthy of being in the top 15 for the year.

13

The Undertaker

The Brothers of Destruction reunite on the 1,000th episode of Raw to fight off their attackers.

Few Superstars can compete in just one match all year and still end up on the Power Rankings. But The Undertaker is in a class all his own, his Hell in a Cell victory over Triple H at WrestleMania will go down as one of the greatest matches of all time. Extending The Streak to an unfathomable 20-0, The Phenom further cemented his place in history. Throw in an unforgettable appearance at Raw 1,000, and it's only fitting The Deadman clocks in at No. 13.

12

Antonio Cesaro

WWE Main Event takes a special look at Antonio Cesaro.

United States Champion Antonio Cesaro emerged on the WWE scene in 2012 and immediately made his presence felt. The Swiss Superman captured United States Championship gold at SummerSlam with a victory over fan favorite Santino Marella, and he hasn't looked back since. Love him or hate him, what's indisputable is the fact Cesaro is a force to be reckoned with, as demonstrated by his frequent, mind-boggling feats of strength performed nightly inside the squared circle.

11

Dolph Ziggler

Kofi Kingston & Dolph Ziggler go one-on-one.

It's only fitting Mr. Money in the Bank slots in at No. 11 on the rankings — hovering just outside the coveted top 10. Seemingly on the precipice of greatness all year long, The Showoff hasn't cashed in yet, but he has strung together some memorable matches. Unquestionably one of the most gifted athletes on the WWE roster, the sky is the limit for Ziggler.

10

Randy Orton

Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio participate in a brutal 2-out-of-3 Falls Match on Raw.

WWE's Apex Predator rounds out the top 10 Superstars of 2012, racking up an impressive number of victories over the past 12 months. One of WWE's most popular Superstars, Randy Orton is always in the discussion when it comes to the title hunt. Though he did not claim championship gold in 2012, The Viper is as dangerous as ever — just ask Alberto Del Rio, who felt Orton's venom on numerous occasions.

9

Kofi Kingston

Take a look inside Kofi Kingston's childhood and WWE career.

The high-flying Kofi Kingston has had one heck of a year. A fan-favorite reign with R-Truth as Tag Team Champions was just the beginning for "The Wildcat," as Kingston ends 2012 with the Intercontinental Title wrapped securely around his waist. Defending the championship gold on numerous occasions, Kingston has proven he's a worthy titleholder, and he's earned the No. 9 slot on the rankings.

8

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar returns to Raw and attacks John Cena.

On April 2, 2012, Brock Lesnar set the WWE Universe on fire. When the familiar, screeching opening guitar strain of "Here Comes the Pain" blared through the speaker system at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena on the April 2 episode of Raw SuperShow, the building came unglued. Brock was back, and he had his sights set squarely on John Cena. Despite a loss to the Cenation leader at WWE Extreme Rules, Lesnar rebounded with a titanic victory over Triple H in one of the year's most brutal bouts.

7

The Rock

The Rock talks about his WrestleMania match with John Cena and gives a promise to the WWE Universe.

All it takes is one. The Rock returned to WWE with his sights set squarely on John Cena, and when the two finally met on The Grandest Stage of Them All, all the hype and expectations were met. When the dust settled on the "Once in a Lifetime" showdown between The Great One and Cena, The Rock emerged victorious, earning him the No. 7 spot on this year's overall rankings.

6

Ryback

Ryback domination is featured on WWE Main Event.

Talk about making an impact. When Ryback made his debut on the April 6 episode of SmackDown, the WWE Universe got its first taste of the utter destruction that the monstrous Superstar is capable of. Plowing through opponents — two at a time! — on a regular basis, Ryback's sheer power has been on display since day one. Now as 2012 draws to a close, Ryback seems as dominant as ever, and his full attention has turned to CM Punk and his coveted WWE Championship. 

5

Big Show

WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No both take on World Heavyweight Champion Big Show in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match.

The World's Largest Athlete entered 2012 on a down note, having just lost his World Heavyweight Title in shocking fashion to Daniel Bryan. But Big Show has turned it all around, defeating the seemingly unbeatable Sheamus at WWE Hell in a Cell to lay claim to the World Title once again. Successful defenses of that title against The Celtic Warrior at Survivor Series and WWE TLC have cemented Big Show's place in the top 5 on this year's rankings.
4

Team Hell No

Daniel Bryan & Kane play "The Newly Tag Game."

What began as an inauspicious partnership has blossomed into one of the most dynamic tag teams of all time. In singles competition, both Kane and Daniel Bryan have racked up impressive years (Bryan held the World Title in the early part of 2012), but together, the goat-faced Superstar and The Big Red Monster have embarked on a classic reign as Tag Team Champions. Despite their constant (and often hilarious) bickering, Team Hell No continues to win, and so have secured their No. 4 spot on the rankings.
3

John Cena

CM Punk has nowhere to escape during his main event match against John Cena.

While the Cenation may not agree with their leader clocking in anywhere other than the top spot in 2012, there is no shame in earning the No. 3 ranking on this year's list. John Cena has been called the face of WWE by many , and he's earned that distinction through hustle, loyalty and respect. In 2012, Cena lived up to his motto and did everything he could to keep fighting the good fight. A monumental victory over Brock Lesnar at WWE Extreme Rules may have been offset a bit by a WrestleMania loss to The Rock, but there's no denying Cena is always a formidable contender for the WWE Title.
2

Sheamus

Sheamus and Big Show have one final face to face encounter before their World Heavyweight Championship Match at Hell in a Cell.

The Celtic Warrior spent more weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Power Rankings than any other Superstar in 2012. So how come Sheamus didn't earn this year's top spot? Three straight loses to current World Heavyweight Champion Big Show bumped the former titleholder down to No. 2, but that certainly doesn't take anything away from the astounding year Sheamus put together. Now that the WWE Universe can look back at Sheamus' time as champion, the one question we can ask: was Sheamus the most dominant World Champion of all time? Running through opponents on a weekly basis and always living up to his reputation as a fighting champion, The Celtic Warrior has a whole lot to be proud of in 2012, not the least of which is ranking in the two-spot on this list.
1

CM Punk

With the help of Paul Heyman, WWE Champion CM Punk updates the WWE Universe on his condition following knee surgery and even challenges anyone to strip him of his title.

As the WWE Champion is wont to say, it's all about respect. And after reviewing an entire year's worth of matches, rivalries and Superstars, the Academy has come to a consensus: CM Punk is No. 1, and he deserves respect for his now year-plus title reign. Successfully defending his illustrious title against the likes of Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan, and continually surviving encounters with the monstrous Ryback and John Cena, The Voice of the Voiceless has proven he's worth his weight in championship gold. Sure, Punk has a big mouth. But he backs it up inside the squared circle, and despite being sidelined by a knee injury, The Voice of the Voiceless ends his year just as he began it — with the WWE Title around his waist. 

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