Welcome to part 3 of the yearly WWE Stock Report, looking at status of the WWE competitors over the last season. While WWE doesn't have any break, since WrestleMania is the conclusion of many of the major angles during the year, it acts as the season finale. So we'll take a look at everybody who was active this time last year and see how they fared over this last season.
Today, we are going to finish up the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, focusing on the men who made it further in the match and who were a little more prominent than most of the guys we covered last week
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Young’s year was tied to his Prime Time Players run. The team got their first tag team title win over the New Day early this summer at Elimination Chamber. They lost them back to the New Day at SummerSlam. After losing the titles, the PTP faded away quickly. They were used a couple times in tag team matches to help build Brawn Strowman and the Wyatts. Since then, while O’Neil has done things on his own, Young has been absent. There was rumor of injury towards the end of the year but he denied it. He is back in the Andre this WrestleMania.
Best Moment: Winning the tag team championships
Worst Moment: Disappearing towards the end of 2015
Titus and Darren were on the same course the first half of this season. He was used in some singles capacity later on in 2015 and even competed in the tournament for the vacated world title. (He was eliminated first round by Kevin Owens.) He stumbled upon Stardust’s cosmic lair a couple of times, but the did not lead to either a team nor any real feud between the two of them outside of a couple throwaway matches.
On the Raw post-show following Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech, O’Neil grabbed Vince McMahon on stage as Vince was about to walk off. Titus was then suspended for three months and, while it was then reduced to two, he will miss WrestleMania this year because of it
Best Moment: Winning the tag team titles
Worst Moment: Touching Vince McMahon
Leading into WrestleMania last year, Swagger had hit a bit of a low and was primarily losing when he was used. Most of this season did not see any improvement for Swagger. When Alberto Del Rio returned to WWE and was paired with Zeb Colter in the failed Mex-America gimmick, Swagger tried get Zeb to remember who he was (racist?). This lead to a chairs match with Del Rio at TLC, which he lost.
At Tribute to the Troops he finally, after about a thousand tries, defeated Rusev. It earned its own post on Cageside. He won a tag team match with Mark Henry at the Royal Rumble Kick Off show to qualify for the Rumble but much like Henry, was eliminated immediately in the Royal Rumble match.
He did make it to the Finals of the UpUpDownDown Madden tournament but ended up getting destroyed by Seth Rollins.
Swagger finds himself back in the Andre Battle Royal again this year.
Best Moment: Finally… finally… beating Rusev
Worst Moment: Trying to encourage Zeb Colbert to get back to his racist ways
This time last year, Rowan’s singles push looked to have failed. Big Red Rowan was not going to be a thing.
After Mania, going into the summer, he and Luke Harper reunited and were making waves in the tag division as the Reapers, but unfortunately, a bicep injury kept him out of action until late 2015.
He returned to join the Wyatt Family, who had been fully reformed. The Family feuded with the Undertaker and Kane, a feud that they lost, and then the ECW Originals in a feud that they won. As a unit, they eliminated Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble, despite the fact all of of them asides from Bray were already eliminated. At Fast Lane, they lost to the random, ragtag trio of Ryback, Kane, and Big Show.
For Rowan, being part of the family is better for him than running solo.
Stock: Minor increase
Best Moment: Actually getting a pin in a tag match on Raw against the ECW guys.
Worst Moment: His injury derailing a promising Reapers run
After WrestleMania last year, Goldust ended up undergoing shoulder surgery and was out until Survivor Series. He returned on a pre-show elimination 5 on 5 where his team was victorious. From there, he had no real feuds and would win some/lose some.
As of late, he tried to get R Truth to tag with him. After being too obsessive about it, Truth finally snapped and told him off. Feeling bad, Truth then tried to get the team to happen and Goldust denied him. Likely these two will be a tag team eventually, but for now they are in the Andre.
Stock: Mild increase
Best Moment: Returning and beating his brother’s team in a 5 on 5 elimination match
For a such a long standing veteran of the business, Kane is one of the busiest men WWE. It was that way coming into WrestleMania last year. The season prior to this one, he had three main event PPV matches (though 2 of them were multi-man).
This year, after Mania 31, he continued on in his role as Corporate Kane, bickering with Seth Rollins but ultimately backing him up as a man loyal to the Authority. While Kane wasn’t in any main event matches this season, he interfered in the first three WWE PPV main events (Extreme Rules, Payback, Elimination Chamber). The only PPV match he participated in early on was the multi-man Money in the Bank match, which Sheamus would win.
Kane was attacked by Brock Lesnar and was kept off TV through the summer. He would return at Night of Champions to attack Seth Rollins after Rollins successfully defeated Sting to retain the WWE title. (This also prevented Sheamus cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase.) He would have a title match against Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell, though it was not the main event. He also teamed with the Undertaker to defeat the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series. He would defeat the Wyatt Family again at Fast Lane, this time with the less impressive team of Ryback and Big Show.
While Kane had a prominent year and he will always have a place in WWE as long as he wants it, the character has dropped since he is no longer associated with the main event picture. He is back in the Andre Battle Royal.
Stock: Somewhat dropped
Best Moment: Becoming the "World’s Best Direct of Operations." Congrats, Kane! (Honorable mention to being able to stomp a broken leg to fix it.)
Worst Moment: Getting destroyed by Brock Lesnar and then having Seth Rollins deliver more damage after he was already down.
Coming into last year, the Big Guy was meandering in the midcard division. Coming out of WrestleMania, he seemed to be on an upswing. He feuded with Bray Wyatt at Payback, though he lost the match. Then at Elimination Chamber in May, he won the Intercontinental Title which he would hold into September. (An injury kept him out of action for about a month during his reign.)
He would lose the title to Kevin Owens and unfortunately found his stock sliding back down. However, after being part of a thrown together team that defeated the Wyatts at Fast Lane, he would bail on his team the next night in the obligatory rematch, turning rudo in the process.
Since then, he has been more aggressive in the ring and playing up his size. This has lead to an US Title feud against smaller man Kalisto at WrestleMania. While Ryback hasn’t had a huge increase, he has gone from a multi-man match to a singles title match at WrestleMania and that is significant.
Best Moment: Winning the Intercontinental Title
Worst Moment: Kevin Owens mocking the Big Guy's love of The Secret.
The Andre last year served as the official break between the Miz and his stunt double Damien Mizdow, a pairing that did wonders for both men. The men would have a follow up singles feud where Miz would win 2 out of 3 and retaining the rights to his brand.
Miz disappeared for a bit to film Santa’s Little Helper and then returned to be inserted into an Intercontinental title feud with Ryback and the Big Show. He would fail to win the IC title.
He didn’t have any specific feuds for much of 2015, but was always featured in his MizTV segment to help get over whatever feud or character WWE needed at the time and he was always excellent doing it. MizTV and the Miz were used to help introduce the world to AJ Styles and he was inserted into the Jericho/AJ feud briefly.
He was also used in MizTV segment with Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Neville (who has since been injured) leading up to his involvement in the multi-man IC title ladder match this coming Sunday.
While Miz may not have climbed really high on the card, he is a valuable member of the roster. Given the constant featuring of MizTV and the fact if Miz isn't filming a movie, he's always doing something on WWE TV, I'd say his stock is slightly increased this year.
Stock: Mild Increase
Best Moment: His MizTV segment where he introduced AJ Styles
Worst Moment: Losing a tooth due to AJ Styles’ forearm
Last year, I had Damien Sandow as one of the steepest stock increases. But now he’s plummeted back down to Earth.
After splitting with the Miz and losing their subsequent feud, WWE had absolutely no idea what to do with him. He came out and cut a pretty good promo about how he’s going to be himself, but then started obnoxiously imitating Curtis Axel.This turned into a pretty entertaining Mega Powers cosplay, but the reveal of Hulk Hogan’s racist rants derailed that pretty quickly.
He’s done absolutely nothing this year asides from being part of a four tag team pre-show match at the Royal Rumble. The crowd was really hot for him but he did not win.
Best Moment: His runner up at the Andre Battle Royal
Worst Moment: When he just started repeating people like a 5 year old in the ring
The Big Show
To many people’s dismay this time last year, Big Show won the Andre. Personally, I was OK thinking it was maybe a gold watch for a possible retirement but since he has stuck around, retrospectively it’s irritating.
None the less, Big Show went ahead to feud with Roman Reigns after this, losing a feud that included a really entertaining Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules. He would take some time off before coming back to feud with Ryback for the IC title, another feud he would lose. They built him back up by putting him over Cesaro a few times so Show could then lose to Brock Lesnar at Live at MSG. At the end of 2015/beginning of 2016, he feuded with the Wyatt Family and would even get a tag win over them at Fast Lane alongside Kane and Ryback. He also recently traded count out wins with Kevin Owens in a 2 part series.
Big Show is back in the Andre in order to defend his win from last year. Much like Kane, Show will always have a spot in WWE, but having since been separated from the Authority, he has been used less on WWE.
Also, the dude wasn’t lying when he said on the Stone Cold Podcast that he loses a lot.
Stock: Mild decrease
Best Moment: His Last Man Standing match with Roman Reigns
Worst Moment: Losing… a ton
- 9/21(43%) of them have increased stocks. That includes Ryder, who probably would have had a stagnant stock if Neville didn't get hurt.
- Of those 9 people, only 4 are not in the Andre again this year (Miz, Ryder, Sin Cara, and Ryback) meaning even most of those those with increased stocks stayed in the Andre.
- If you add in the members from the tag match who were also in the Andre, only the New Day had increased stocks, so the percentage does not improve. (12/30 - 40%)
- Ryback and Sin Cara probably have the biggest increases. Though, if Kalisto is going to be primarily a singles wrestler, there's a good chance Sin Cara's status will fall back down.
- 12/21 (57%) have either lowered or unchanged stocks. Take the fact that most increases are slight, it seems like most of those in the Andre last year did not have good fortunes. (Though for the men at the twilight of their careers such as Mark Henry, Big Show, and Kane, that's as upsetting compared to the younger guys.)
- 17/21 (81%) of the exclusive participants in last year's Andre are either already booked for the Andre or not booked on the card. Asides from Titus O'Neil (who is suspended) and maybe Alex Riley because he is mainly NXT, all of those not announced for it will probably find themselves in it again this year.
- The Matadors, who I didn't include in the 21 because they were part of the tag team match, are not on the WrestleMania card either.
- Asides from Kidd, Cesaro, & Hideo Itami, no one else in the Andre last year is out with an injury that we are aware of.