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WWE Stock Report: Finn Balor’s Intercontinental championship reign was pointless

Some places do power rankings. Here at Cageside, we do a stock report.

In this weekly series, we identify three Superstars (or groups of Superstars) who are on their way up, and three that are moving in the opposite direction. After a busy week that included Fastlane 2019 and all of its fallout, a lot of fortunes were changed.

With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:

Stock Down #3: Chad Gable & Bobby Roode

Chad Gable and Bobby Roode were the fall guys for The Revival in a Raw tag team championship triple threat match at Fastlane, and then they did the job for Ricochet and Aleister Black the following night (Mar. 11) on Raw. Gable and Roode aren’t necessarily in a bad spot, but it’s starting to look more like their WrestleMania plans could include a filler Battle Royal.

Stock Down #2: Finn Balor

There is a rumor that Finn Balor dropped the Intercontinental Championship on Raw because there are bigger plans for him at WrestleMania 35. I’m not buying it. Keep in mind that Balor had to pin Lio Rush (rather than the actual champ, Bobby Lashley) in order to win the title last month at Elimination Chamber. Lashley then pinned Balor in a 6-man tag on the Mar. 4 episode of Raw, and he pinned Balor again one week later to win the title back. If WWE has bigger WrestleMania plans for Balor than a mid-card title match, that means it’s probably a match with a part-timer like Undertaker or John Cena. But if Balor can’t even pin Bobby Lashley, why would he be worthy of a match against a legend? I don’t see how this booking sets up Balor for something more important at WrestleMania. He instead looks like a guy who wasn’t good enough to hold a mid-card title for long.

Stock Down #1: Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura

Rusev and Nakamura fought each other on PPV pre-shows in November and January, and they spent Fastlane losing together as a team on a PPV pre-show in March. Losing on Sundays is nothing new for Handsome Rusev. For Shinsuke Nakamura, it’s hard to consider this booking anything but a massive disappointment when looking back on where he was positioned one year ago as the winner of the men’s Royal Rumble match and fighting for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 34. When Rusev and Nakamura began to team up, it looked like this might be an effective way to salvage something from two stars who were struggling to gain traction as singles wrestlers, but their booking as a tag team is just more of the same.

Now let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:

Stock Up #3: AJ Styles & Randy Orton

There’s no doubt that Orton and Styles can deliver in the ring, but this week (Mar. 12) on SmackDown they got on the mic and provided a compelling story for their match at WrestleMania 35. Orton called out Styles’ bogus catchphrase about SmackDown being the House that AJ Styles Built, asserting that The Viper was wrestling stars like the Undertaker at WrestleMania in the mid 2000’s while AJ was getting a tan with Dixie Carter in Florida. Styles mocked the RKO as a knockoff Diamond Cutter, implied that Orton wasn’t good enough to succeed outside WWE, and pointed out that all those indie wrestlers who Orton looks down upon have taken over WWE. The story between Styles and Orton desperately needed to be much more than just “two dudes who usually have good matches will have another good match at WresteMania”, and so this week’s segment was a success.

Stock Up #2: Shane McMahon

It’s WrestleMania season, which means it’s time for Shane McMahon to be presented as a bigger deal than most full-time wrestlers on the roster. The boy wonder finally turned on The Miz at Fastlane in front of the A-Lister’s hometown audience, and also put his hands on Mr. Miz before finishing Miz off with a laughably bad roll-through into a triangle choke. This week’s angle has quickly turned Shane McMahon into one of the most despicable heels in WWE.

Stock Up #1: Drew McIntyre

It’s clear that the Scottish Psychopath will be heavily pushed on Raw over the next month. McIntyre used his devastating Claymore Kick to wipe out both Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, establishing himself as a viable opponent for the Big Dog at WrestleMania 35.

There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?

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