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WWE Stock Report: Shinsuke Nakamura’s performance in the gauntlet match changes everything

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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 the Dirty Dawgs winning the SmackDown tag titles, Angel Garza losing the 24/7 title, and Legends Night on 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: Shayna Baszler

I thought Baszler was on the rise after last week’s dominance over the Sexy Muscle Friends, but Shayna couldn’t overcome the downward pull of 50/50 booking. Dana Brooke pinned her on this week’s (Jan. 4) Raw, and then Mandy Rose joined Brooke in beating up Baszler after the match.

Stock Down #2: Elias & Jaxson Ryker

It’s not ideal to have a similar gimmick to another wrestler and then be established as the inferior version of that gimmick. That’s essentially what has been happening with AJ Styles and Elias over the last two weeks. They are both heels who have recently been joined by intimidating bodyguards, but it’s been made very clear over the last two weeks that Styles is a much better wrestler than Elias, and Omos is a much more effective bodyguard than Ryker.

Stock Down #1: Sami Zayn

Zayn is having a rough go of it right now. After losing the Intercontinental championship to Big E to finish out 2020, Zayn was pinned by Apollo Crews the following week, and then he was defeated in less than 20 seconds by Rey Mysterio on this week’s (Jan. 8) episode of SmackDown. Given Apollo’s strong showing in a title match against Big E, it’s not a guarantee that Zayn is even in line for a championship rematch against Big E.

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

Stock Up #3: Drew McIntyre

It’s one thing to hold the WWE championship for a while and run through upper card heels on pay-per-view. But you know you’re a long-term main event act in WWE when you become a go-to guy for top pay-per-view matches against the part-timers like Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Undertaker, etc.

After successfully defending the WWE championship against Keith Lee on Raw, Drew McIntyre was booked into a WWE championship match against the returning Goldberg at Royal Rumble 2021. McIntyre already has a win over Brock Lesnar, and now he has a chance to add Goldberg to the list of part-time main eventers who he has conquered. WWE isn’t crazy enough to actually book Goldberg to win this match, right?

Stock Up #2: Adam Pearce

Five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce won a gauntlet match on SmackDown. As a result, he is currently scheduled to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal championship at Royal Rumble 2021. To say this came out of nowhere would be an understatement.

Stock Up #1: Shinsuke Nakamura

It was Seth Rollins in 2018. It was Kofi Kingston in 2019. Will it be Shinsuke Nakamura in 2021?

Rollins and Kingston both received huge pushes in those years following a memorable performance in a gauntlet match. The most intriguing story coming out of the latest gauntlet match is that Shinsuke Nakamura can easily become a big deal in WWE once again. There are so many possibilities for where he can go from here, including an obvious babyface run, as indicated by his handshake with Daniel Bryan. In the short-term, he gets a match with Jey Uso next week. Looking ahead, will Nakamura now be a significant player at Royal Rumble 2021? What about WrestleMania 37?

It’s not a lock that this is going to lead to a big push for Shinsuke. But considering he couldn’t even last three minutes in the ring with Otis less than a month ago, this is a huge step up for the King of Strong Style.

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