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 introduction of the Dirty Dawgs, Sonya Deville’s return to WWE television, and Alexa Bliss demanding that Randy Orton burn her to a crisp, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Bianca Belair
Bianca Belair’s name has been in the losers’ column on three consecutive episodes of SmackDown. Two of these bouts were tag team matches, and it can easily be argued that Belair was protected in those defeats. But being pushed as a winner is better than being protected in defeat, especially if the idea is to convince fans that Belair is a favorite to win the upcoming Royal Rumble match on Jan. 31. There are four episodes of SmackDown left for Belair to turn things around.
Stock Down #2: Natalya
Natalya spends most of her time in WWE losing, like in November when was failing opportunity after opportunity to qualify for the women’s Survivor Series team. But then she picked up a win out of nowhere over Bayley in early December, which raised some eyebrows. It turns out that Natalya’s win over Bayley meant nothing for her future booking; she has gone right back to losing, and is now putting over the Riott Squad in multiple recent tag team matches. Hey, someone’s got to do the job.
Stock Down #1: Jeff Hardy
It’s tough to get over as a babyface when you tap out all the time. Jeff Hardy has tapped out to The Hurt Lock on four consecutive episodes of Raw. That’s what I expect to see from low card wrestlers like Akira Tozawa or Ricochet, rather than someone with Jeff Hardy’s established record of success and popularity in WWE.
Now let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Keith Lee
Keith Lee defeated Sheamus to earn a shot at Drew McIntyre and the WWE championship on next week’s (Jan. 4) episode of Raw. There were some alarming recent reports that Lee was ordered by Vince McMahon to receive additional training, and while there are lingering concerns about how his style in the ring is being affected, it’s unlikely he would be placed in this championship match if McMahon was down on him.
Stock Up #2: Shayna Baszler
After spending a good chunk of the past six weeks being pinned by Lana and then losing the women’s tag team titles, Baszler really needed to kick someone’s ass and remind the world that she is a very dangerous fighter. That’s pretty much what happened on this week’s (Dec. 28) episode of Raw, when she single-handedly took out both Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose.
Stock Up #1: Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews has struggled to find television time and remain relevant ever since he was drafted to SmackDown in October. That changed on last night’s (Jan. 1) episode, where Crews pinned Sami Zayn and named himself as the first challenger for Big E’s Intercontinental championship. Crews showed a ton of personality in his backstage promo with Big E, so even if he comes up short in the title match as expected, he is trying his best to maximize his minutes and prove that he deserves a bigger spotlight.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?