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 a great match between Cesaro and Rey Mysterio, Bray Wyatt revealing a horrifying secret, and Becky Lynch’s contract signing with Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley finally stepped away from the mirror and back into a Raw ring, where he debuted a new look and proceeded to squash Apollo Crews. Will this be the start of an enduring push for Rawley, or is it just a one week spotlight before Vince McMahon loses interest? That question can’t be answered yet, but for now it’s at least a bump up for Mojo to finally get back in the ring and also the win column.
Stock Up #2: Nikki Cross
Nikki Cross defeated Dana Brooke, Naomi, and Natalya in a fatal 4-way match on Raw this week (May 13). This initially seemed like a strange bit of booking considering that Cross was not part of the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, unlike her three opponents. But the situation made a lot more sense when it was revealed later in the week that Alexa Bliss was not medically cleared to compete, and so Nikki Cross will replace her in the ladder match. It’s certainly possible that Nikki Cross will go right back to doing nothing on TV once the PPV match is done with, but this at least gives her a foot in the door to showing the decision makers backstage that she deserves more TV time going forward.
Stock Up #1: Sami Zayn
Zayn gained a sweet measure of revenge this week on Braun Strowman, who nearly committed dumpster homicide on him one week earlier on Raw. Zayn got some help from a few other heels on Raw to defeat Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere match, taking Braun’s spot in the upcoming men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Sami also Wild-Carded his way into the main event segment of SmackDown for the second consecutive week, assisting his buddy Kevin Owens by attacking Kofi Kingston. The Wild Card rule is a bit of a confusing mess, but it has at least provided upper card credibility for Sami Zayn.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Ricochet
This is your weekly reminder that Vince McMahon loves Baron Corbin. Ricochet was pinned on Raw for the second time over the last four episodes, this time cleanly by Corbin. This might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but as losses in meaningless television matches accumulate, it increases the probability that a fresh face like Ricochet goes from “potential star” to “just another guy”.
WWE could have picked another babyface to be the fall guy for Corbin here, yet they seem married to the idea that the Money in the Bank participants must all fight each other in the weeks leading up to the ladder match. So Corbin beat Ricochet and is probably headed to a Universal championship match with Seth Rollins in the near future. But hey, at least Ricochet got to stand tall on a ladder after Wild-Carding over to SmackDown the next night.
Stock Down #2: Braun Strowman
Remember when Braun Strowman was supposed to fight Brock Lesnar for the Universal championship at Royal Rumble 2019, only to be replaced by Finn Balor at the last second? That’s basically what happened to Strowman again this week on Raw, as he was booted from the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match in favor of Sami Zayn. Dave Meltzer says there is a longer story in play here, so perhaps fans of Strowman shouldn’t panic just yet, but it’s hard to believe WWE has a ton of faith in this guy in a top spot when they keep pulling him from these important matches.
Stock Down #1: Lars Sullivan
Now that Lars Sullivan is getting a sustained push on the main roster, it was inevitable that his history of bigoted remarks would receive increased public scrutiny. That’s exactly what happened this week when pressure from sponsors reportedly motivated WWE to take action. They decided to fine Sullivan 100,000 dollars and send him to sensitivity training.
Will this influence Sullivan’s push going forward? Considering there may have been a plan for him to feud with John Cena earlier this year at WrestleMania, it seems clear Vince McMahon thinks that Lars is a star. McMahon will probably try to get through this situation without changing his plans for Sullivan, but now that the first major fallout from his remarks has occurred, it at least introduces some uncertainty regarding Lars’ future push.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?