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 Fastlane 2021 and all of its fallout, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Jeff Hardy
On this week’s (Mar. 22) episode of Raw, Jeff Hardy was merely a stepping stone for The Miz, who defeated him as a tune-up for a celebrity match against Bad Bunny at WrestleMania 37. What’s worse for Hardy is that he requested that John Morrison leave the ringside area at the beginning of the match in order to have a fair fight, and Miz beat him anyway, despite the fact that Miz rarely ever wins clean.
Hardy’s spot in the main event of Elimination Chamber 2021 always seemed a bit dubious considering he’s been a lower card guy on Raw for months now. With WWE going a long way to develop the WrestleMania 37 card throughout the week, Jeff Hardy is currently on the outside looking in, and there isn’t much time for that to change.
Stock Down #2: RETRIBUTION
RETRIBUTION finally imploded this week at Fastlane, and it resulted in their leader Mustafa Ali being put down by T-BAR and MACE.
On an individual level, there is upside here for these wrestlers to finally get away from this terrible gimmick that was always doomed from the start. But the fact that the group’s breakup angle was bumped to a pay-per-view pre-show in order to make room for an Elias squash match on the main card shows just how poorly this group was regarded. All of these wrestlers now have the taint of a failed gimmick on their shoulders, and that will be difficult to overcome.
Stock Down #1: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
The former tag champs lost in a handicap match on Raw this week, continuing their downward spiral, and reiterating just how bad things are in the Raw tag team division.
The most insulting part of this whole thing is that WWE champion Bobby Lashley recognized how inept Benjamin and Alexander are right now, and decided that the 24/7 title jobbers are actually more capable of helping him deal with Drew McIntyre. Ouch, that’s got to hurt.
Now let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Cesaro
Cesaro’s push has endured for over two months now, but something about it still feels hard to believe. Once Shinsuke Nakamura was booked to face Seth Rollins at Fastlane, it became apparent that the feud between Rollins and Cesaro was heading to WrestleMania. Their match was made official on last night’s (Mar. 26) episode of SmackDown, with Cesaro returning to attack Rollins and swing him once again.
For years, it’s felt like Cesaro would never get a singles match at WrestleMania against a superstar of Rollins’ magnitude. Take a look at how Cesaro has been used at WrestleMania ever since his last big spotlight on the card, when he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30:
- WrestleMania 31: Cesaro wrestled twice on the pre-show
- WrestleMania 32: Cesaro did not wrestle on the card
- WrestleMania 33: The Bar fought in a Fatal 4-way match for the Raw tag titles
- WrestleMania 34: The Bar lost the Raw tag titles to Some Kid
- WrestleMania 35: The Bar fought in a Fatal 4-way match for the SmackDown tag titles
- WrestleMania 36: Cesaro wrestled on the pre-show
The bottom line is that it’s been either pre-show duty or a group tag team match for Cesaro on the last six WrestleMania events. So this upcoming match against Rollins is a big step up for The Swiss Superman, regardless of whether he wins or loses.
Stock Up #2: Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley’s long-awaited Raw arrival saw her immediately booked into a women’s championship match against Asuka on the biggest wrestling card of the year. A lot of unforeseen circumstances involving Lacey Evans, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka made this situation possible, and now Ripley has an opportunity to thrive in the spotlight.
Stock Up #1: Daniel Bryan, Edge, and Roman Reigns
Daniel Bryan was screwed over by Edge at Fastlane right after he actually forced Universal champion Roman Reigns to tap out. Edge is now back as a conniving heel, which is the role that originally turned him into a main event star in WWE circa 2006. Babyface Daniel Bryan has been added to the WrestleMania main event in a triple threat match, bringing back great memories from 2014. And Roman Reigns continues being the center of the WWE Universe. This has all worked out incredibly well.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?