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 RK-Bro winning a Quiz Bowl, Natalya beating Aliyah in a “dungeon-style” match, and Lita landing a moonsault on Becky Lynch, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens doesn’t wrestle in Saudi Arabia, so he lost an Elimination Chamber qualifying match to Austin Theory on the Jan. 31 episode of Raw. He rebounded from that defeat by winning two matches on this week’s (Feb. 7) episode. First he pinned Theory in a rematch, and then he won a tag team match against RK-Bro in the main event.
There’s a storyline brewing about Adam Pearce not being sure if he can fit KO onto the stupendous WrestleMania card. This defies logic a bit considering WrestleMania is a two night event, but it indicates that WWE likely has a plan in place for KO over the next two months.
Stock Up #2: Naomi
Naomi didn’t beat Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship in this week’s (Feb. 11) main event, but she couldn’t have done a better job of showing WWE’s decision-makers why they should push her. Naomi and Flair simply tore the house down for roughly 20 minutes. This was the best match of Naomi’s career, and it’s the only time I can recall WWE giving her this much time in a singles match. Naomi is now booked in a
pay-per-view premium live event match in a tag team alongside Ronda Rousey.
Will this lead to meaningful feuds for Naomi opposite the top stars in the women’s division? It’s hard to know for sure, and it’s still likely an uphill battle, but Naomi did everything possible to prove she belongs in the spotlight.
Stock Up #1: Happy Corbin
WWE commentators made a very big deal out of Happy Corbin’s undefeated record since adopting his new moniker. If I was a betting man, I’d put money on Corbin remaining undefeated until he puts over Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 38. Even if that’s not the direction, it looks like Happy will continue his hot streak against mid and low card jabronis (like Cesaro) for the foreseeable future.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Big E & Kofi Kingston
Here is something WWE commentator Corey Graves said about Big E on last night’s SmackDown:
“I was privy to witness all of Big E’s WWE championship reign on Monday night Raw, but I have to be honest with you, it’s as though there’s a certain level of comfort that E shows when he’s in the ring competing alongside Kofi Kingston.”
Given recent rumors about the reason behind Big E’s demotion from the singles upper card scene, it’s easy to interpret those words as WWE’s way of informing the fans that Big E didn’t belong in his previous spot as the WWE champion and top babyface on Raw. I guess Big E just wasn’t as comfortable brushing shoulders with Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, and Seth Rollins as he is mixing it up with Angel and Humberto. That’s what WWE wants you to think.
New Day Big E & Kofi Kingston lost against Los Lotharios this week on SmackDown. I suppose someone has to put over the relatively new act, so who better to do it than a pair of former WWE champions who are apparently quite comfortable losing in the mid-card?
Stock Down #2: Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan lost a match against Doudrop this week on Raw to help establish Doudrop as a threat to win the Elimination Chamber match. Prior to the match, there was a somewhat awkward pre-taped promo where Morgan admitted that her losses to Becky Lynch almost broke her. It feels like a long time ago when fans actually had a reason to think Morgan could win the Raw women’s championship.
Stock Down #1: Damian Priest
WWE still doesn’t seem to know where they want to go with Damian Priest’s struggling new gimmick. Losses are becoming a regular thing now, and he was thrown out of the Royal Rumble match like a nobody two weeks ago. He was pinned by AJ Styles on this week’s Raw, and the fan response to Priest was quiet.
AJ now gets a United States title match with Damian next week. It would be strange for AJ to lose considering he’s booked in a WWE Championship Elimination Chamber in Saudi Arabia later that week, so if Priest is going to retain the gold, he might have to resort to causing another unpopular disqualification or count out finish.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?