We're in the thick of WrestleMania season, with just a few weeks separating us from all of the festivities in New Orleans. With Fastlane and Elimination Chamber in the books, the world title matches for both Raw and SmackDown are locked in and the focus turns to putting the finishing touches on the rivalries, matches and overall card that will make WrestleMania 34 special.
In weathering the many storms of the past two months, AJ Styles has stepped through the other side in returning to a familiar place in the ESPN WWE Power Rankings -- No. 1. That's not to say he's run away with it by any means; no, Styles retakes the top spot in the midst of what became the tightest rankings votes in the history of this system. Two different sets of ties, including a three-way tie, could not be broken, and Styles just barely outpaced Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, his two closest challengers.
Everyone's excited about WrestleMania season, and a lot of people would put Styles vs. Nakamura at or near the top of their "most anticipated matches" list.
There's still a little ways to go before we reach New Orleans, but this top 10 goes a long way in telling the story of where Raw and SmackDown sit just over three weeks out from WrestleMania 34.
Rankings are based upon the perceived value of a superstar to the on-screen product of WWE, which is determined by the voting of a panel of WWE on ESPN contributors. Number in parentheses ( ) indicates first-place votes.
Coming off a big win in the Six-Pack challenge at Fastlane, in which he retained his WWE championship, Styles can finally turn his focus toward what will be on one of the headlining matches of WrestleMania 34. Styles continues to prove that he's the best in-ring performer in the WWE and his match with Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated matches of the night -- and it's that way for a reason. (Sean Coyle)
As the build toward Reigns vs. Lesnar II continues, Reigns has unleashed two of the finest promos of his career on the past two episodes of Monday Night Raw. He was fiery, honest and the delivery was spectacularly natural. Those who were hesitant to accept another Reigns/Lesnar championship match at WrestleMania should take a step back and realize that this is the best thing that's happened for Reigns' character in a long time. (Coyle)
Strowman's issue isn't that he is the biggest, baddest performer on the planet, because he is, and it works. Since No Mercy last year, Strowman just can't seem to find a seamless path to a one-on-one world championship match. Dominant as he is, Strowman just isn't the guy at the moment. But perhaps gold of a different kind is his best path forward, and after winning the tag team battle royal on Raw he'll either face The Bar as a one-person tag-team champ or, even better, pair up with Elias to walk out of WrestleMania as Raw tag team champions. (Matt Wilansky)
Asuka was already on fire, but after a series of meaningful matches with Nia Jax and calling out Charlotte Flair at Fastlane, she's reached a new peak. Asuka vs. Flair feels like a big WrestleMania match. (Peter Rosenberg)
The Miz is the straw that stirs the drink on Monday Night Raw, and the show would not be the same without him. There's enough history and in-ring ability between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins to make for a solid WrestleMania match. When you add The Miz and his Intercontinental championship to that equation, you have something potentially magical on your hands. Miz is never going to be the guy driving the technical scores on a 5-star match, but he's improved a great deal over the years. His personality is unmatched, and the psychology he'll bring into this triple threat should be the secret ingredient. (Tim Fiorvanti)
Lesnar doesn't show up often, but a lot of fans still care. Is there a better way to show his value than that? Each week he doesn't appear on Raw can only help Reigns and their championship match at WrestleMania. (Andrew Feldman)
This is a high ranking for a guy with neither a title nor a match at Wrestlemania to his name, I know, but frankly, what Cena is doing right now is the No. 1 story I am tuning in for every week right now. That won't change between now and New Orleans. (Rosenberg)
This might seem like hyperbole, but the Asuka vs. Flair showdown at WrestleMania 34 could arguably be the biggest match in the history of women's professional wrestling. Daunting as that challenge is, this duo is capable of having the caliber of match that would justify the hype -- and if they pull it off, it could change their careers and the careers of many others for a long time to come. (KC Joyner)
As great as Nakamura was in NXT, success at that level does not guarantee success on the WWE main roster. That question mark should no longer the case for Nakamura, as he and A.J. Styles are on the brink of putting together a show-stealing match that will justify prominent placement on the WrestleMania 34 card. (Joyner)
Face it, for the last few months we haven't been entirely sure which direction everything was going in regarding Owens, Zayn, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. And let's face it, even after Tuesday's attack on McMahon, we still probably don't know for sure. What we do know is that we're going to get an amazing WrestleMania match between two of the top performers the WWE has to offer. (Feldman)