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WWE Stock Report: MVP has thrived more than most wrestlers in the empty arena era

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 Akira Tozawa losing the 24/7 title, Bayley & Sasha Banks paying tribute to themselves, and Jeff Hardy breaking a glass bottle over the head of a bartender, a lot of fortunes were changed.

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

Stock Down #3: Ruby Riott

Ruby Riott is a loser who continues to lose, this week failing to defeat Peyton Royce on Raw.

To be fair, it at least looks like there is a plan to reunite Riott with her former stablemate Liv Morgan, so this isn’t necessarily the case where a jobber is doing jobs with zero hope for something better coming in the near future. Sorry, Ricochet.

Riott and Morgan are both struggling to win lately, so fans of Riott are holding onto hope that the idea here is they will eventually join together and find more success. The “find more success” part of that equation is far from a lock, though. Considering how poorly Riott has been booked throughout 2020, it’s understandable why pessimism abounds.

Stock Down #2: Otis

Otis has not appeared on the last three episodes of SmackDown. Wild guessing leads me to think this is related to WWE’s recent outbreak of COVID-19, rather than creative having nothing for the guy.

However, when his recent absence is combined with Dolph Ziggler’s trade to Raw, Otis feels like an afterthought right now. He has no rival on SmackDown, and will need to quickly develop a new story upon returning, whenever that is. I doubt Otis will show up to a Wyatt swamp fight to cash in the Money in the Bank contract on another babyface at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show. It’s just not clear at all where Otis is headed over the next couple months.

Stock Down #1: Shayna Baszler

Some rumors are more believable than others, and the rumor mill this week is buzzing with the notion that Vince McMahon has completely soured on Shayna Baszler, which explains why she hasn’t been on television since mid-May.

Baszler’s booking illustrates how broken WWE’s developmental system is. As my colleague Sean Rueter explained it to me, it’s like a baseball team grooming an ace or a clean-up hitter in the minors for years and then the big league manager refuses to put them in the rotation or line-up. That’s a clear sign of dysfunction within the organization. One reason why WWE fails to create new stars is because all the time and effort spent on these characters in NXT too often has no bearing on how they will be presented on the main roster. That is not how an effective developmental system works.

The end result is that Baszler is in a terrible spot right now, and her NXT run feels like a big waste of time.

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

Stock Up #3: Big Show

It sucks to be a tag team wrestler in WWE, for the most part, because at some point your team is going to be fed to a singles wrestler in a handicap match. That’s what happened this week when Angel Garza and Andrade lost a handicap match against Big Show. Afterwards, he destroyed Andrade even more by giving him the knockout punch.

Big Show is being pushed right now in a feud with Randy Orton, in what I presume will lead to a match at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. When times are tough, Vince McMahon loves to fall back on big dudes and past stars, and that’s good news for the Big Show.

Stock Up #2: MVP

MVP has been one of the MVPs of WWE’s empty arena era, perhaps second only to Asuka. He consistently delivers interesting promos on the mic and has helped stars like Bobby Lashley and Brendan Vink Apollo Crews rise up the card, while also utilizing his VIP Lounge talking segments to enhance other stories along the way.

This week (June 29) on Raw, MVP actually defeated Apollo Crews, the United States champion, in a non-title match. One week ago, I was pretty sure that Crews would be dropping that title to Lashley some time soon, but perhaps he’ll be dropping it to MVP instead. I’m not really sure where this is going, but either way, MVP looks to remain an important fixture on Raw going forward.

If you asked me 3.5 months ago which wrestler would benefit the most from empty arena shows in WWE, I never would have guessed the answer might be MVP.

Stock Up #1: Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle debuted a couple weeks ago on SmackDown by defeating the Intercontinental champion, AJ Styles, and this week (July 3) he beat John Morrison in a fantastic match. Not only did Riddle win, but he overcame the distracting presence of two other heels (King Corbin & The Miz) in the process.

It’s clear that Matt Riddle is getting a big babyface push right now, and it doesn’t look like recent allegations of misconduct will slow that down.

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

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