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 WrestleMania 36 and all of its fallout, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Drew McIntyre
WWE decided to go all the way with Drew McIntyre, pushing him to a WWE championship win over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36. McIntyre is tasked with being the champ at a difficult time when there will be no butts in seats, but getting a win over Lesnar is still a big deal. Drew’s reign began with a victory over Big Show that aired on Raw this week (Apr. 6).
Stock Up #2: Bray Wyatt
Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House match against John Cena turned out to be a wonderfully creative deconstruction of Cena’s career, and it helped remove the stench of The Fiend being fed to Goldberg at Super ShowDown.
This week’s (Apr. 10) episode of SmackDown put Wyatt back on track to reclaiming the Universal championship. Considering that WWE never bothered to explain why Braun Strowman replaced Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 36, it’s a pretty good bet that the gold is returning to Wyatt in short order.
Stock Up #1: Undertaker
Many people wrote off the Undertaker’s career after witnessing some rough matches in Saudi Arabia over the last couple of years. But those bad memories were erased at WrestleMania 36 during his Boneyard match against AJ Styles, which received the most praise out of any match on the card.
WWE produced a cinematic fight where Undertaker looked like a total badass, talking trash and beating the hell out of The O.C. (and some druids) all by himself. His hybrid presentation as a mix between the Dead Man and Biker Taker worked extremely well, and this is the style of match that could possibly add a few years on to his career.
Undertaker physically dominated Styles throughout the entire feud going all the way back to Super ShowDown and Elimination Chamber. He may be an old man near the end of his career, but in kayfabe, the Undertaker is still better than the overwhelming majority of the roster.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Rhea Ripley
It seemed logical that Rhea Ripley and Shayna Baszler should both win their matches at WrestleMania 36. But this is Vince McMahon we’re talking about. He was never going to let both of his top female stars (and last year’s main event at WrestleMania 35) come up short at WrestleMania 36.
In fact, he wouldn’t even let one of them take the loss. Ripley brazenly challenged Flair to come for her gold at WrestleMania 36, and then Ripley failed to back up her tough talk. Flair is the new NXT champion and will be a prominent figure on that brand going forward. Meanwhile Ripley could have some visa issues that introduce some uncertainty regarding her ability to work in the United State in the short-term.
Stock Down #2: Shayna Baszler
Unlike Ripley, Baszler was clearly a main roster call-up rather than an NXT wrestler getting a one-off WrestleMania match. And even though WWE booked Baszler like an unbeatable monster leading up to the big show, the bottom line is that she fell on her face in the actual championship match against Becky Lynch.
It’s clear that the feud will continue. But if Vince McMahon was fully behind Baszler, she would have won at WrestleMania. Even if she takes the title from Lynch on one of the next pay-per-view events, she will always go down as the loser in a relatively quick match at WrestleMania 36.
Most people don’t remember who wins on the pay-per-view after WrestleMania. Triple H went over Randy Orton at WrestleMania 25, Sheamus at WrestleMania 26, and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 29. Those three guys essentially got their win back from Triple H on the next pay-per-view, but those follow-up matches are not remembered nearly as well, if at all. The same thing applies to Fandango and Chris Jericho. Most people remember that Fandango beat Jericho at WrestleMania 29, but don’t remember that Jericho got his win back one month later. That’s because the pay-per-view after WrestleMania doesn’t matter...you lost at WrestleMania!
Even if Shayna Baszler beats Becky Lynch next month or the month after that, she lost at WrestleMania, in her first one-on-one match on WWE pay-per-view.
Stock Down #1: Goldberg
After dropping the Universal championship at WrestleMania 36, it sounds like we won’t see Goldberg back in a WWE ring any time soon. And I say good riddance, because his presence greatly detracts from the quality of WWE’s product.
It would be one thing if WWE could stick to using him as an occasional nostalgic attraction to squash the Dolph Zigglers of the world, because there’s some fun to be had there. But Vince McMahon can’t help himself, and there’s always the risk that Goldberg gets a run with a top championship, even if that’s not the original plan.
The Fiend dominated everyone in WWE for roughly six months and became one of the hottest acts in the company, only to be fed to Goldberg in a very quick defeat in Saudi Arabia at Super ShowDown 2020. That’s the kind of crazy booking that can happen when WWE brings in Goldberg. And the big payoff was a terrible two minute match between Goldberg and Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 36. Even in a taped environment, WWE made the correct decision that Goldberg should be kept to a two minute match, because that’s how limited and useless he is once the bell rings.
In a world where WWE uses Brock Lesnar as the big attraction who squashes dudes in mere minutes and is usually in the championship picture, adding Goldberg to the mix to do something similar, but execute it less competently, makes the product worse and is just asking for trouble. Hopefully Goldberg will stay away from the ring for a very long time.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?