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 Survivor Series 2023, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Brawling Brutes
The apparent breakup of the Brawling Brutes continued on SmackDown, this time with Ridge Holland blatantly walking out on BUTCH during a tag team match against Pretty Deadly. It’s hard to see these fellas lasting together much longer without some intervention from Sheamus.
Stock Down #2: Carlito
Carlito was scheduled to have his first one-on-one WWE PPV / PLE match in over a decade at Survivor Series, but he was removed from the card the night before the show with an injury angle on SmackDown. That’s not cool.
Stock Down #1: Street Profits
The Street Profits failed to win the WWE tag team titles against The Judgment Day on SmackDown. The worst part about this outcome for Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins is that it wasn’t the kind of losing effort that was intended to impress the TV audience.
When you exclude the mid-match commercial break, the match only took up about 6.5 minutes of the televised portion of the SmackDown broadcast. That’s just not enough TV time to put on the kind of match where the loser looks strong. Later in the show, Finn Balor referred to this title defense as a “nice little warm-up,” which also dismisses the idea that the Profits were much of a threat.
The commentators emphasized that Bobby Lashley won’t accept continual failures from the Street Profits, even though interference played a role in this loss. It appears that whatever story WWE creative has in mind for Lashley and B-Fab right now includes a theme that the Street Profits can’t win when it counts the most.
Now let’s see whose stock increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Santos Escobar
Escobar’s heel push continued in a big way this week. First he took out Carlito and injured him ahead of Survivor Series. Santos then defeated Dragon Lee on the PLE, without the need for any new henchmen to help him out.
Stock Up #2: Randy Orton
Randy Orton returned to a WWE ring for the first time in 18 months at Survivor Series, delivering multiple RKOs en route to victory in the men’s War Games match. Randy should ease right back into a main event level position from here and can plug in whatever hole WWE needs him to fill on Raw or SmackDown, as a babyface or a heel.
Stock Up #1: CM Punk
Pro wrestling is better with CM Punk in it, and WWE pulled off a hell of a surprise at Survivor Series with Punk’s return to the promotion after nearly a decade away. CM didn’t do much while he was out there, but it was perhaps still the most incredible moment of the year in wrestling given the long history of bad blood between WWE and Punk.
Punk’s star should shine brighter than it ever did in AEW now that the WWE machine is behind him again. Punk already has a feud with Seth Rollins waiting right there for him, and WWE should also be making plans to book a match between CM Punk and Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman). That’s definitely the kind of fight that can main event WrestleMania 40, and I’d say it should now be the favorite over a rematch of Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes. That’s assuming Punk doesn’t get himself fired over the next few months with more backstage fights, of course.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think changed the most this week?