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 night two of the WWE Draft, Goldberg doubling down on his homicidal plans, and Edge challenging Seth Rollins to a Hell in a Cell match in Saudi Arabia, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Austin Theory
Austin Theory has been drafted to Raw. Even though roster changes are not supposed to go into effect for a couple more weeks, he still showed up on this week’s (Oct. 4) episode to make a name for himself at Jeff Hardy’s expense. He walloped Jeff so hard that the Charismatic Enigma is now teasing the return of Willow the Wisp.
Stock Up #2: Finn Bálor
Balor’s week started off well enough when he was drafted away from SmackDown and its malfunctioning ring ropes. Things got even better for him when the bracket for the King of the Ring Tournament was finally revealed. Finn is damn near a lock to qualify for the finals on the SmackDown side given Sami Zayn is probably banned from going to Saudi Arabia with WWE. Finn has used The Demon gimmick before in Saudi Arabia, so he might just be the favorite to go all the way if the idea is to have him wrestle in the finals at Crown Jewel as The Demon King.
Stock Up #1: Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler has spent the last year losing plenty of matches via roll-up and being scared by a stupid doll, which has taken the edge off of her reputation as a badass. WWE is now attempting to undo that damage, as Baszler is going around snapping elbows every week on Raw. Her current victims include Nia Jax and Eva Marie. Doudrop and buried Dana Brooke are also on Shayna’s radar before she moves over to SmackDown on Oct. 22.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens’ role right now is to get beat up or humiliated every week on SmackDown by Happy Corbin and/or Madcap Moss. It happened for the fourth consecutive episode on last night’s (Oct. 8) show. KO’s permanent move to Raw via the draft can’t come fast enough.
Stock Down #2: Mansoor & Mustafa Ali
Some fans wanted to believe the first few losses that Mustafa Ali and Mansoor took as a team served their story well and were actually a good thing for them. But as the losses continue to pile up, it’s become clear these guys are just low card fodder who exist to put over the teams that actually matter in WWE.
Stock Down #1: Toni Storm & Liv Morgan
The Queen’s Crown Tournament kicked off during last night’s episode of SmackDown, and it’s already quite a mess.
Both babyfaces on the SmackDown side, Liv Morgan and Toni Storm, lost in first round action and are out of the tournament. That Storm is already losing in just her second singles match on the main roster is a bad sign for her “wild child of the 80’s” gimmick, particularly given how weak the field is in the tournament bracket.
The weak field is exemplified by Dana Brooke’s entry on the Raw side of the equation; Brooke hasn’t won a match since May. WWE couldn’t even find a fourth Raw woman to put on that side, so SmackDown wrestler Natalya is filling in. Elsewhere in the Raw field, are Shayna Baszler and Doudrop even allowed (or willing) to compete in Saudi Arabia given their sexual orientation? That’s where the tournament finals will be held, on Oct. 21 at Crown Jewel.
As for Liv Morgan, her loss is just the latest example of frustrating WWE booking decisions that drive her fans nuts. I’ve never really seen any strong evidence that WWE plans to push Morgan, so her loss against Carmella isn’t surprising. In nearly four years in WWE, Morgan has never wrestled in a singles match on the main card of a WWE PPV, and her TV matches are almost always kept short. Anybody who thinks she is heading for a big moment at Royal Rumble or WrestleMania is engaging in wishful thinking.
Last night’s tourney matches were also given practically no time. Storm lost in a little over two minutes, and Morgan lost in a little under two minutes. That’s roughly four total minutes of match time for what WWE wants you to believe are prestigious tournament fights. Yeah, okay pal.
WWE loves to hand out meaningless cups, belts, and trophies on their Saudi Arabia shows. Given how the Queen’s Crown Tournament has been presented thus far, it feels like the tournament is only here to serve that purpose. It also exposes just how weak the WWE’s women’s division is underneath the main event level.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?