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 Bobby Lashley destroying Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander in a handicap match, Natalya requiring surgery for an ankle injury, and Mansoor teaming up with Mustafa Ali for the first time, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Damian Priest & Shinsuke Nakamura
Priest and Nakamura each pinned the mid-card champions on their respective brands this week. Priest took out Sheamus in a singles bout on Raw (July 26) to earn a future match for the United States championship. Nakamura pinned Apollo Crews on SmackDown (July 30) in a six man tag team match filled with wrestlers gunning for the Intercontinental title, which likely puts him at the front of the pack for title contention.
Stock Up #2: Reggie
Fresh off winning the 24/7 championship, WWE has put a stronger focus on Reginald. Now going by the name Reggie and admitting he’s not French, he’s defending the jobber gold in actual matches on Raw and SmackDown and getting a fancy entrance to go along with it. There’s only so far one can go with the 24/7 title, but this is the sort of showcase Reggie needs for now that can lead him to bigger things down the road.
Stock Up #1: Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair
The SmackDown women’s roster has been in rough shape now that Bayley is sidelined with a long-term injury. With Carmella failing twice in recent championship matches, there really wasn’t a credible opponent left on the roster to challenge Bianca Belair next.
That changed last night when Sasha Banks returned to WWE and turned her back on Belair in the main event segment. Belair now has an obvious SummerSlam challenger, and Sasha has immediately returned to a top spot in the promotion.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Finn Bálor
WWE heavily teased that Bálor was going to face Roman Reigns for the Universal championship at SummerSlam. Instead, Finn was attacked by Baron Corbin during the contract signing, and babyface John Cena stole the title match by signing his name on Finn’s contract. Cena proved that the words “EARN IT” on his titantron are hypocritical, and it means that Bálor is now demoted to a match with Corbin and on the outside looking in at SummerSlam.
Bálor will likely be next in line for a Universal title match in September once the part-timers disappear. But this angle was a misfire, and Finn looked like a pushover due to Corbin and Cena’s antics.
Stock Down #2: Keith Lee
I didn’t include Keith Lee in last week’s Stock Down column despite his lopsided loss simply because of the fact that he was finally back on WWE television, and that was a good sign for him. He fought Karrion Kross this week on Raw in a match that both guys pretty much needed to win given their terrible booking the week before. Kross won the match after forcing Lee to tap out.
Lee hasn’t looked good in either match since he returned to WWE, leading some fans to speculate that he is trying to conform to Vince McMahon’s idea of how a big man should wrestle, rather than being himself. Whatever the explanation, the limitless one is clearly not receiving the same push that he had in WWE prior to his extended absence, and his work in the ring isn’t forcing the issue. Perhaps Lee will tell us more about his situation in the next week or two.
Stock Down #1: Nikki A.S.H.
Nikki lost a non-title match against Charlotte Flair on Raw. After the match, the Raw women’s champion grabbed the mic and said, “I showed myself that I almost could have won.”
I guess this is supposed to fit in with Nikki’s “almost a superhero” shtick, but the phrasing makes her sound like an undeserving champion. A champion should always expect to win, because the idea is that they’re the best the roster has to offer. When the champion is instead proud that she proved she can be competitive with the challenger, it’s telling the world that she’s a pretender and likely won’t be holding that title for long.
Flair laid A.S.H. out after the promo, to really hammer home the idea that Nikki isn’t on her level.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?