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 the return of the Usos, the return of Sheamus, and superstars beginning to declare for the 2020 Royal Rumble match, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Otis
Otis has a lot on his plate right now besides just ham. He has his own storyline with Mandy Rose, he’s super over whenever his shirt comes off, and this week (Jan. 3) on SmackDown he picked up a singles win over Drew Gulak. I’m not wishing a breakup for Heavy Machinery any time soon, but it’s clear that Otis is the star of the team, and he could thrive in a singles role right now if WWE decides to pursue that option.
Stock Up #2: Aleister Black
Aleister Black picked up another win over Buddy Murphy on this week’s (Dec. 30) episode of Raw. Given Black’s undefeated record in singles matches on the main roster, and how wide open the booking for WrestleMania season appears to be, the foundation could be set for a massive push for Black. WWE desperately needs new top stars right now, so they should not play this one conservatively. Brock Lesnar is returning to Raw in a couple days, presumably looking for new challengers, so the opportunity is there for WWE to aggressively move Black up the card.
Stock Up #1: Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens
Samoa Joe saved Kevin Owens from another beatdown at the hands of Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain. Joe kicked ass like only Joe can, and his alliance with Owens is immediately the best thing going on Raw right now.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Ricochet
Ricochet should be a big deal, but he’s not. This week he merely served as a tune-up for Andrade, with Andrade set to defend his United States championship on next week’s Raw against an actual threat, Rey Mysterio. There are plenty of superstars on the roster who could have taken the fall for Andrade this week as he gets ready for Mysterio, but the bottom line is that it’s tough to fill out three hours of Raw with jobber matches. Ricochet and Andrade reliably delivered a good match that filled up a good chunk of television time. The unfortunate end result is that Ricochet takes needless losses like this that establish him as behind both Rey Mysterio and Humberto Carrillo in the chase for mid card gold. It reinforces for the audience that Ricochet is not a big star.
According to CageMatch, Ricochet wrestled in far more televised matches in WWE than any other superstar in 2019. And it’s probably because three hours is always too long for Raw, and Ricochet is well-suited to filling that time with consistently above average matches. Contrast this overexposure with his former teammate Aleister Black, who mostly trapped himself in a closet and away from a wrestling ring for the latter half of 2019. It’s easy to see that Black currently feels special and fresh, while overexposure has turned Ricochet into just another guy on the roster. Most superstars in WWE have to deal with overexposure to some degree, but it has hurt Ricochet more than anyone else.
Stock Down #2: Liv Morgan
Lots of WWE superstars returned this week on television. And while John Morrison’s backstage cameo was rather underwhelming, Liv Morgan is the only superstar who is worse off as a result of her return appearance. Morgan’s return was teased for several weeks, with the idea being that she had to destroy her old image and embrace her real self. It was open to interpretation, but considering Raw’s lack of depth in the women’s division, the door seemed wide open for Morgan to return with significant impact.
Instead what we got was Morgan crashing Lana and Bobby Lashley’s wedding to reveal that she was previously in love with Lana, and the whole thing quickly devolved into a trashy Jerry Springer type brawl. It’s hard to see how Morgan goes from re-debuting this way in one of the worst segments in recent Raw history, to suddenly being a prominent star in the women’s division.
Stock Down #1: Sasha Banks
Bayley is the SmackDown women’s champ and Sasha Banks is her sidekick, therefore it always felt inevitable that Lacey Evans would score a big win over Banks on her way to earning a title match with the champ. And we may very well get that result next week when Banks and Evans have a singles match. But this week on SmackDown, Sasha Banks was shockingly pinned by Dana Brooke in a tag team match. Brooke has been a jobber for her entire WWE career, so this one came out of nowhere. It’s good news for Brooke, but just a terrible booking sign for The Boss.
I feel like a fool for ever thinking Sasha had a chance to dethrone Becky Lynch as Raw women’s champion back in September and October. Banks is arguably the most talented woman on the WWE roster, but her booking leaves a lot to be desired.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?