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WWE Stock Report: Johnny Gargano is going nowhere fast

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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 Usos ambushing the Raw locker room, Bray Wyatt snapping on a cameraman, and a Miracle on 34th Street Fight, a lot of fortunes were changed.

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

Stock Down #3: Lacey Evans

Lacey is going back to basics in WWE, and that apparently includes posting dumb and bad shit on her social media. Needless to say, this is a very bad way to start off WWE’s latest attempt to push her, which many fans were already skeptical of to begin with.

Stock Down #2: Dexter Lumis & Johnny Gargano

Lumis lost a bunch of money against The Miz in a mediocre ladder match that the Raw audience was mostly dead for until the final big spots of the fight.

One thing that stood out to me in this match is how Johnny Gargano is going nowhere fast in WWE. He was ringside for Lumis in this match, yet The Miz easily neutralized Gargano all by himself late in the fight.

The Miz/Lumis story has largely taken Johnny Wrestling out of the ring and turned him into a mouthpiece for Dexter. It reminds me of those rumors last year about Vince McMahon wanting to use Adam Cole as a manager on the main roster. Gargano has not won a match on TV since early October, and he hasn’t wrestled a match on PPV since his return to WWE in August. What’s going on here?

Stock Down #1: Emma, Tegan Nox, Shayna Baszler, Sonya Deville, and Liv Morgan

WWE has done pretty well in recent years with using gauntlet matches to get a babyface over by surviving for the better part of an hour. When a gauntlet match instead only goes 25 minutes or so, it usually means a lot of wrestlers are going to look bad when they get pinned so quickly. That’s exactly what happened last night (Dec. 23) on SmackDown.

Emma started the match off and was pinned by Xia Li in less than two minutes. I don’t believe Li has won a match on TV since February, so this was a terrible way for Emma to go out.

Tegan Nox was then pinned by Li even faster than Emma was. It looked like Nox and Li began a feud one week ago when Xia attacked her in disguise, but after watching Li take care of Tegan in a little over one minute, the message given to fans is that Nox is a nobody.

Sonya Deville had the lucky draw of facing one-armed Raquel Rodriguez after the babyface already competed in two previous matches. That advantage didn’t do much for Sonya, as she only lasted about two and a half minutes before losing.

Shayna Baszler was a surprise final entrant in the match, getting to fight Raquel at her most vulnerable point in the match. It didn’t matter one bit, as Baszler was rolled up and lost in less than a minute, bringing back memories of her terrible booking under Vince McMahon.

Liv Morgan put up a very good fight against Rodriguez and certainly came off better than the rest of these losers. But at the end of the day, she is a former women’s champion who was one-and-done in a gauntlet match against an opponent who only had one good arm. If anything, it reinforces the notion that Morgan was a fluke champion and never at the level of other titleholders like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley, Bayley, Asuka, and so forth.

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

Stock Up #3: Rhea Ripley

Ripley challenged Akira Tozawa to a match on this week’s (Dec. 19) Raw and then beat him, perhaps increasing the probability of more intergender matches in WWE down the line.

Stock Up #2: Raquel Rodriguez

Xia Li did very well for herself in the women’s gauntlet match on SmackDown, but Raquel Rodriguez was the big star of the match. She defeated four different women with only one good arm. At this point, she and Ronda Rousey sit atop the SmackDown women’s division, and there’s a giant gap between them and everyone else.

Stock Up #1: Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn has had a lot of fun moments over the last several months while working his way into The Bloodline, but he served up a serious promo on this week’s SmackDown and it was terrific. It’s just your latest reminder that Sami is great at everything WWE asks him to do. Sami feels like he’s just as important a player in next week’s tag team match as Roman Reigns and John Cena are.

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

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