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WWE Stock Report: Who’s up & down from WrestleMania 32 to 33 (Part IV: The Midcard)

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Welcome back to the WrestleMania Stock report, where we take a look at where wrestlers were on the card last year and see how they fared coming into WrestleMania. Since Mania is their biggest show and serves as the end of their “season,” it serves as a good time to take a look to track wrestler’s trajectories in WWE. Whose status has gone up? Who’s taken a drop? Let’s take a look.

Chris Jericho def. AJ Styles

Jericho

Both guys in this match had a fantastic year.

Jericho would continue his heel work, which would turn into one of the best years of his career. He eventually teamed up with Kevin Owens for what would be a fruitful friendship, despite the fact it was obvious KO was just using him the entire time.

During that time, Y2J started carrying around a list and putting people’s names on it that he didn’t like and it got super over. He got a pen and clipboard super over, as did the lame insult “Stupid idiot.”

Jericho defeated Roman Reigns in a 2 on 1 match (alongside Owens) to win the United States championship, the only WWE title he had never held. However, things came crashing down when he accepted a title challenge from Goldberg for Owens’ title, which KO wanted nothing to do with. During Jericho’s Festival of Friendship, Kevin Owens attacked his friend and put his head through a TV. Again, damn you, Kevin Owens.

This led to Jericho distracting Kevin Owens during that title match with Goldberg and costing his former best friend the win and his title. Now they will go one on one at WrestleMania for the United States title.

This time last year, he was only starting to get back into a groove. His match with AJ Styles was one on one but it didn’t feel as big as this one does. Jericho’s stock doesn’t move too much, but his great year definitely raised it.

Stock: Increased

Best Moment: Winning the title that eluded him

(My favorite “The List” moment is when he put James Ellsworth on it.)

Worst Moment: The Festival of Friendship. (Dammit, Owens.)


AJ Styles

I guess he had an OK year.

Alright, he had the best year.

The night after Mania last year, he won a 4-way to win the right to face Roman Reigns for the WWE title. They had a series of matches where AJ continued to look like a star, despite not taking the belt from Reigns.

What was next for him? Oh a feud with John Cena, where he beat Cena two matches in a row, which is something that hasn’t happened since... uh... OK, it’s been so long I can’t think of a time.

What’d he do after besting John Cena at SummerSlam? Oh, just won the WWE title from Dean Ambrose and held it through the Royal Rumble. Sure he lost 3 matches to James Ellsworth and that feels a bit dirty, but when he got a chance to get at Ellsworth without Ambrose mucking things up, he pretty much killed him.

At the Royal Rumble, Styles finally lost to John Cena. And he never got his one on one rematch. He got a chance to win the title back in the six man Elimination Chamber but came up short. He had a triple threat against champ Bray Wyatt and John Cena and came up short again, though he didn’t get pinned. He jumped through some hoops to win the right to face Wyatt at WrestleMania until Randy Orton revealed that he wasn’t serious about relinquishing that spot. So he had to fight Orton and came up short, which set him off.

The following week he attacked Shane McMahon, which earned him a match against Shane O’Mac this year. While he’s not currently champion, Shane McMahon serves as an attraction match and it means they see AJ as a big deal if he’s getting that match. Last year it went to Undertaker.

Stock: Huge increase

Best Moment: Beating John Cena two PPVs in a row. (I feel that’s a bigger accomplishment than actually winning the WWE title.)

Worst Moment: Losing to James Ellsworth. Three times.


Brock Lesnar def. Dean Ambrose

Brock Lesnar

Being a part timer, it’s rather quick to sum up Brock’s year. He defeated Ambrose at WrestleMania. He defeated Randy Orton by TKO at SummerSlam. And then he feuded with Goldberg, who he was squashed by at Survivor Series and who immediately eliminated him in the Royal Rumble.

This year, he will face Goldberg, who is currently Universal champion, in what is likely the main event of WrestleMania.

His year was also interesting outside the WWE, as he returned to UFC and defeated Mark Hunt in a heavyweight bout but then was suspended for 2 years (and subsequently retired) for failing multiple drug tests.

When it comes to stock, the changes for a guy like Lesnar are the same for a guy like Undertaker and a guy like Triple H: minimal. These guys are always looked at the same way: as a marquee match and the person working with them has an increase in stock because he’s working with them.

In this case, Brock went from working Dean Ambrose to a main event title match against Goldberg, a match that’s asked to get more eyes on the product than his match with Ambrose last year. That gives him a small increase this year.

Stock: Small increase

Best Moment: Dominating Randy Orton

Worst Moment: Getting squashed by Goldberg


Dean Ambrose

Ambrose is one of those guys who is asked for more outside Mania season than he is during it. If you were to chart his stock, I’d say it’s a bell curve, with him meaning more outside the marquee season that is WrestleMania. Take a look at his year.

After Mania, he had a feud with Jericho, where he’d beat Y2J two matches in a row, including the much panned Asylum match. (I’ll admit, I liked that match.) Then, he won the Money in the Bank and cashed it in on Seth Rollins immediately after the Architect won the title from Roman Reigns, winning the title.

He retained it against Seth one on one and in a Battleground Shield triple threat. This was right at the time of the brand split, allowing him to be the last duel branded champion for now. (And it was nice to see him be the only guy with the top prize, which means a bit more than holding one of the two top prizes.)

Ambrose retained the title against Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam before losing it to the Phenomenal AJ Styles at Backlash. Prior to a triple threat for AJ’s title at No Mercy involving Cena and Ambrose, Dean would beat the Face Who Runs the Place clean on SmackDown. He was unable to win the title at the PPV.

Dean would continue to target Styles, using his little buddy James Ellsworth to torment AJ. However, when he looked to take the title from AJ at TLC, Ellsworth cost Dean the match.

Ambrose’s time at the top of SmackDown would take a hiatus as Cena would return in a more full time role headed into WrestleMania. It looked like a big feud between Miz (and possibly Maryse) was building for the Lunatic Fringe (and maybe his real life girlfriend Renee Young). However, while Ambrose defeated Miz for the Intercontinental title, that feud did not take off.

Dean failed to win the title at the Elimination Chamber after Baron Corbin attacked him. This led to a vicious feud between him and the Lone Wolf, who will challenge Ambrose for his IC title at WrestleMania.

Just looking at the two Manias, Dean went from working with Lesnar, who is always a featured match, to defending a secondary title against Corbin. That’s definitely a drop, albeit not a big one. It’s still a one on one match on WrestleMania and those aren’t that common. However, if you look at his arch between the year, he held the top prize and worked with AJ Styles much of the year, not to mention defeated John Cena clean. They clearly lean on Dean throughout the year, but when Mania comes around, he didn’t factor in to the bigger plans.

Stock: Mild decrease

Best Moment: Defeating John Cena clean (which like with AJ, I think is bigger than winning the WWE title)

Worst Moment: The death of Mitch the potted plant


The Rock def. Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman)

So I’m not looking at the Rock since this was barely a match and he’s just a dude who shows up at WrestleMania for a long segment to light some crap on fire. But there’s Wyatt family to cover.

Braun Strowman

The members of the Wyatt family have done well for themselves this year, especially since they didn’t even have a place at WrestleMania last year outside putting over the Rock.

Bray was off television for awhile and the family with him. (Luke was hurt at the time.) When they came back, they feuded with the New Day, including an outdoor compound match, but weren’t able to win the titles.

Then Braun was drafted to Raw, which was the best thing to happen to him.

His look was changed up a bit and he was booked as a destroyer, squashing all who would come before him. Finally, he asked for competition when Sami Zayn would step up. While Strowman would fail to beat Zayn in a 10 minute match, he defeated him in a fun Falls Count Anywhere match.

A double spear from Goldberg and Roman Reigns pissed off the monster and he retaliated by attacking Roman during his title match with Kevin Owens. This led to a feud with Roman, which he would lose.

The big man is in the Andre, which seems a bit beneath him given his year, but he’s got to be the favorite to win it.

Stock: Increased

Best Moment: Getting drafted to Raw

Worst Moment: Becoming collateral damage in the Reigns/Undertaker feud


Erick Rowan

Rowan and the Family had the same trajectory before the draft. After the draft, even though it looked like Bray kicked him to the curb, he continued to help his mentor. However an injury has kept him out of action since, though he has had time to dig up some bodies. He supposedly is cleared to compete and we will probably see him soon.

Stock: Injured

Best Moment: Doing what he loves, digging up bodies

Worst Moment: Getting injured again


Bray Wyatt

Current WWE champion Bray Wyatt didn’t even have a match at WrestleMania last year. He was in a segment aimed to get the Rock over. Think about that for a moment.

After that, it looked like they might turn Bray and the family face. He teamed with Roman Reigns on a Raw soon after WrestleMania and it looked like the Family might face the League of Nations. However an injury kept Bray off TV for about a month and the face turn and that feud was derailed.

They returned as heels and feuded with the New Day, including that Compound match. The Family were unable to wrestle the titles from the champions.

Bray was drafted to SmackDown and targeted Randy Orton. Finally, after beating down Orton, the Viper opted to join the family (though that ended up being a long con). Alongside the Apex Predator, Bray won his first ever championship: a tag team championship.

With Luke Harper also back in the mix, they were the tag champions until losing them to American Alpha.

Luke Harper started trusting Randy less and less (and rightfully so) and left the family. But Orton still stood by Bray’s side.

At the Elimination Chamber, Bray Wyatt won the WWE title. Randy Orton, who had won the Rumble, at first said he wouldn’t challenge his master, but that was all a ruse. He was just waiting to get the keys to the cabin where Sister Abigail was buried... and burn it down.

Last year, I labeled Bray’s stock as a “steep drop.” Now, Bray will defend his WWE title against Randy Orton at WrestleMania Sunday. Not bad for a guy who was in the Rock segment last year.

Stock: Much increased

Best Moment: Winning the WWE title

Worst Moment: The betrayal by Randy Orton


Alright folks, onto the marquee match ups tomorrow to finish things off. Catch up with all the rest below.

Part I: The Pre Show

Part II: The Andre

Part III: The Undercard

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