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WWE Stock Report: The WrestleMania pre-show is ready for Asuka

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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 Kofi Kingston running the gauntlet again, the Miz responding to Shane McMahon, and Ronda Rousey’s husband being banned from Raw, a lot of fortunes were changed.

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

Stock Down #3: Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe is supposed to be a badass killer who even top stars like Brock Lesnar should be careful to avoid. But it’s hard to take Joe seriously as that guy when he can’t even get the job done late in a Gauntlet match with an exhausted opponent who was just laid out and motionless after being slammed through a table by Rowan. The United States champion has now been pinned in consecutive weeks and needs to turn it around before WrestleMania. With that in mind, Rey Mysterio’s son Dominic should probably keep his distance from Joe.

Stock Down #2: Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman’s WrestleMania storyline revolves around some Saturday Night Live guys. The Monster sounded completely ridiculous on Raw when actually said that he’s “so angry, that I’m gonna enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.” Strowman’s explanation is that a Battle Royal maximizes the number of hapless fools who can Get These Hands. But the truth of the matter is that declaring for a filler Battle Royal implies that Braun is nothing close to a top guy right now, which is a pretty big drop off for a superstar who was arguably the hottest act in the company a little over one year ago.

Stock Down #1: Asuka

This was yet another week where the SmackDown women’s champion was irrelevant on the road to WrestleMania. WWE actually waited until after SmackDown was over to reveal how Asuka’s opponent at WrestleMania will be determined, so even that announcement wasn’t important enough to make television. Asuka is mostly a victim of the fact that none of the remaining women on the SmackDown roster have been presented at her level now that Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are no longer on her radar. Given these circumstances, it’s very conceivable that The Empress of Tomorrow could end up on the WrestleMania pre-show this year. So on the one hand this is strongly related to how WWE has booked the other women on Tuesday nights, yet it’s still hard to conclude that Asuka would be such an afterthought at WrestleMania if Vince McMahon believed she was a very important superstar.

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

Stock Up #3: Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre took advantage of a beast-sized distraction and pinned Seth Rollins on Raw this week (Mar. 18). The Scottish Psychopath has now taken out all three members of The Shield over the last two weeks and is clearly being set up for a featured match against Roman Reigns at the biggest show of the year.

Stock Up #2: The IIconics

The IIconics obnoxiously called out the Women’s tag champs for dodging them, but then they backed up their words by defeating Sasha Banks and Bayley when they finally did show up on the blue brand this week (Mar. 19). With their inclusion in this chase for the Women’s tag titles at WrestleMania, it sure looks like the IIconics have succeeded in finding a better spot than a pre-show Battle Royal.

Stock Up #1: Baron Corbin

Kurt Angle announced that Baron Corbin will be his opponent for his farewell match at WrestleMania 35. On the surface, it appears this will be the most important match of Corbin’s career. WWE still has time to change this decision, especially given how poorly received it’s been by so many fans. Corbin’s loss against Apollo Crews later on Raw left me scratching my head even more, as I’m not sure how that’s supposed to get people to view Corbin as a major threat to Kurt at WrestleMania. This was a mixed bag of booking for the Lone Wolf, but at the end of the day he has a high profile singles match at WrestleMania while several other notable stars (Balor, Andrade, Nakamura, Ali, Riott, Owens) have yet to land an opponent on the big stage.

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