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WWE Stock Report: This is the Asuka we need

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 Big E chasing Apollo Crews in a golf cart, Samy Zayn getting physical with Kevin Owens, and former 24/7 champion Bad Bunny taken out with a guitar shot, a lot of fortunes were changed.

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

Stock Up #3: Tamina & Natalya

I don’t know what to tell you other than Tamina and Natalya continue being a dominant force on the road to WrestleMania 37. They didn’t wrestle this week (Mar. 19) on SmackDown, but they did beat the hell out of Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler.

Stock Up #2: Edge

Edge wrestled on SmackDown for the first time in a decade, scoring a win over Jey Uso. This win makes Edge the Special Enforcer for the Universal championship match at Fastlane between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. With less than a month to go until WrestleMania 37, the Rated R Superstar is going to be all over our television screens in the short term.

Stock Up #1: Asuka

Asuka’s current reign as Raw women’s champion has been treated as an afterthought for much of its 6+ month duration. Things have been especially rough for the Empress in 2021, where she was terrified and outclassed by spooky Alexa Bliss across multiple episodes of Raw in January, was rumored to drop her title to Lacey Evans at Elimination Chamber if pregnancy didn’t change those plans, and more recently had her teeth kicked out by Shayna Baszler.

But Asuka returned to Raw with a vengeance this week, tearing Shayna Baszler apart and fully intending to stomp Shayna’s teeth into the exposed steel buckle. This fired up and dangerous version of Asuka is the one we need on the road to WrestleMania 37, particularly with Rhea Ripley scheduled to appear on Raw, and questions suddenly popping up about Charlotte Flair’s status.

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

Stock Down #3: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin

The Hurt Business lost the tag titles to the New Day this week on Raw. It was a very good match, but Alexander and Benjamin needed a win after Braun Strowman had them beat all by himself in their previous title defense. Instead, their tag team championship reign ends without ever defending the titles on pay-per-view. Furthermore, the only wrestlers they’ve been able to pin in 2021 are Adam Pearce and Lucha House Party. Even worse, AJ Styles and Omos have already displaced them as the challengers for those belts at WrestleMania 37.

Stock Down #2: Elias & Jaxson Ryker

Jaxson Ryker returned to WWE television as part of Elias’ act only three months ago, but he’s already jobbing to Damian Priest in less than one minute on Raw. This week’s (Mar. 15) angle on Raw presented Elias and Ryker as essentially the crappier version of Miz and Morrison, who have had plenty of their own booking woes over the last year.

Stock Down #1: Braun Strowman

You know how sometimes a non-wrestler heel with a big mouth accidentally talks their way into a match against a wrestler? When the match finally happens, some outside actor has to get involved to bail the heel out, because there’s no way the heel can take down the actual wrestler on his own accord. We got a version of that earlier this year on SmackDown, when Paul Heyman talked his way into a match, and then Roman Reigns got directly involved to prevent the inevitable ass kicking. It was understandably not a situation that Heyman could escape on his own.

Similarly, Shane McMahon has spent the last few weeks talking his way into a match with Braun Strowman, and that match was set to go down on Raw. In theory, it should be an impossible situation for Shane to escape without any outside help, because Strowman is a consistent upper card star and former Universal champion, who very few men have been able to take down one-on-one. But instead of enlisting the services of Dabba-Kato or some other big man to help him out, Shane’s strategy boiled down to simply assuming he could take Strowman out all by himself, leaving Braun vulnerable to being doused with green slime.

And Shane’s bold plan actually worked! McMahon engaged in his own dirty tactics and was able to subdue the Monster, because he knew Braun was dumb enough to run around the ring and right into a camera strike.

Where this comparison to the more typical Heyman example doesn’t hold up is that WWE actually expects you to take 51-year-old Shane McMahon seriously as a wrestler, and as a man who can handle his own business in the ring. After all, he has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of AJ Styles and the Undertaker at WrestleMania, and has defeated Roman Reigns in Saudi Arabia. Therefore they probably don’t think this angle makes Strowman look bad. But they are wrong about that. You only have to recall how weak The Miz looked when he was embarrassed by Shane on a weekly basis (roughly two years ago) to see that being dominated by Shane McMahon makes a wrestler look terrible.

Braun Strowman is a big dummy who was beaten up and humiliated by Shane F’N McMahon, who confidently and correctly knew that he didn’t need any outside help to get the job done. Wow.

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

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