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 return of Xia Li, Maryse attacking Beth Phoenix with a brick, and Johnny Knoxville zapping Sami Zayn, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Viking Raiders
The SmackDown tag division needs a new babyface team to step up and challenge the Usos, so that means it’s time to push the Viking Raiders. After winning a Fatal 4-Way match last week to earn a future title match, Erik and Ivar beat Los Lotharios on this week’s (Jan. 21) episode.
Stock Up #2: Chad Gable
Chad Gable will always be at a disadvantage in main roster WWE due to his size, which means he has to kill it on the mic and in the ring to have a chance at a sustained push. His work in the ring has never been questioned, but on this week’s (Jan. 17) Raw, his charisma shined through on the mic during a graduation ceremony. The way he insulted the Oklahoma audience’s lack of intelligence while adding in some funny moments (like not knowing Otis’ last name) was reminiscent of Kurt Angle circa 2000, which is very high praise. More of this, please!
Stock Up #1: Kevin Owens
On this week’s Raw, Kevin Owens became the first wrestler to pin Damian Priest in a singles match on the main roster. This could have been a much bigger deal in the moment if WWE paid more attention to their own match results over the last year. Owens might be in line for a United States championship match after defeating Priest in non-title action.
Owens then appeared on SmackDown later in the week looking for revenge on Roman Reigns and the Usos for screwing him out the Universal title one year ago. Owens teamed up with his best friend Seth Rollins and helped get the Usos banned from Reigns’ Universal title match against Rollins at Royal Rumble.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Liv Morgan
Morgan has been pinned on two consecutive episodes of Raw to put over Doudrop as a credible challenger for Becky Lynch’s Raw women’s championship. This week’s pin was a bit awkward, as she had to lay on the mat for a while after taking a finishing move, because Doudrop forgot to tag herself into the match before making the first pin attempt.
One of the consequences of this booking is that it takes the steam out of the idea that Morgan is a threat to win the Rumble match itself, though that should have been apparent after she twice failed to defeat Lynch for the title.
Stock Down #2: Ricochet
The SmackDown roster is desperate for help on the babyface side right now, which should theoretically mean more opportunities for Ricochet. But this poor sap can’t catch a break, because he’s still doing jobs nearly every week. He has lost twice to Sheamus over the last two episodes of SmackDown, with this week’s loss occurring in just a little over three minutes.
As far as I can tell, the last time Ricochet won a match on Raw, SmackDown, or pay-per-view was in an early August 2021 tag team match (he did pin a few people in a Gauntlet match last month, but Sami Zayn was technically the winner of that match). This guy is a giant loser and will apparently continue to be one going forward, despite SmackDown’s glaring roster and depth issues.
Stock Down #1: Finn Balor
Finn Balor was absent from three consecutive episodes of Raw prior to this week’s return. His return didn’t exactly light the world on fire, as he lost a match against Austin Theory and was then beat up by Theory after the match.
Unlike Ricochet, Balor is a guy who has received enough of a spotlight in the past that he should be seen as a serious contender to win the Royal Rumble match. This match says otherwise, as it reinforces the notion that Finn will never be a top star in WWE. It’s not too surprising to see new rumors popping up about Balor’s underwhelming role and status in the eyes of Vince McMahon.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?