Cain A. Knight
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 Carmella’s first match since May, The Fiend choking out Randy Orton, and Pat Buck having his suit ripped off by Drew McIntyre & Sheamus, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Roman Reigns & Paul Heyman
Another week, another episode of SmackDown where Roman Reigns continues to shine in his heel role. The Tribal Chief’s message to Kevin Owens’ family was just chilling. Paul Heyman asserted himself a bit this week too, reminding Reigns to not allow Owens to dictate the terms of engagement.
Stock Up #2: Bobby Lashley
Pop quiz: Who was Bobby Lashley’s opponent earlier this year at WrestleMania 36?
While you’re busy mulling that question over and hopefully not using resources on the internet to find the answer, I’ll point out that Bobby Lashley has not lost a singles match ever since he came up short against Drew McIntyre at Backlash 2020 in June. That means Lashley’s dominant run has now lasted for half of a year. We were treated to more of the same on this week’s (Dec. 7) Raw when he forced Jeff Hardy to tap out to the Hurt Lock.
So what’s the endgame here? This booking is not an accident. WWE is protecting Lashley for someone, even if they don’t necessarily have that someone picked out yet. And no, I’m really doubtful that Lashley’s strong run has been designed just so he’ll put over a goofball running around with Bronuts.
One year ago, Bobby made it clear that he wanted a piece of Brock Lesnar in 2020, and he reiterated that goal in June. The Lesnar match has not come to fruition yet, but this is the sort of push that definitely puts it on the table for 2021.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the answer is Aleister Black. Bobby Lashley not only faced Aleister Black in one of the most forgettable matches on the WrestleMania 36 card, but he actually lost against him too. My goodness, how times have changed.
Stock Up #1: Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander’s inflated ego is becoming hard to contain. He’s defeated both members of the New Day in singles matches and will have one more chance to take their tag team gold at TLC 2020. Alexander’s confidence is through the roof ever since joining The Hurt Business. He knows that he is a hot commodity, and that Shelton Benjamin is the only thing holding him back. It couldn’t be any more obvious at this point that Cedric made a much smarter decision than his former friend Ricochet when it came to joining MVP’s stable.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: RETRIBUTION
RECKONING was pinned once again by Dana Brooke on Raw, this time in a mixed tag team match. Mustafa Ali berated both RECKONING and SLAPJACK afterwards.
Every now and then there is some glimmer of light that maybe something can be salvaged from this group. But then they are booked like jobbers on Raw, and it’s a reminder that nobody is good enough to save this wreck, not even Mustafa Ali.
Stock Down #2: Shayna Baszler
Baszler was pinned for the third consecutive episode of Raw. This time she was pinned in a singles match against Asuka, making it seem like WWE isn’t planning for Baszler to chase Asuka for the Raw women’s championship in the short-term.
They booked a distraction finish here, so it’s not like Baszler was simply outclassed in the ring. However, Baszler was distracted for so long (nearly 40 seconds) that she had time to walk around all four sides of the ring while watching Nia Jax and Lana brawl outside. Any wrestler who chooses to ignore Asuka for that long in the middle of a match just looks like a dope.
Stock Down #1: Big E
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Big E to win the Royal Rumble match. First and foremost, you shouldn’t hold your breath because the Rumble match is more than a month away, and you will die if you hold your breath for that long. But secondly, Big E’s booking doesn’t indicate that WWE has anything significant planned for the guy.
This week (Dec. 11) on SmackDown, commentary played up how Big E’s match against Sami Zayn was a huge deal, and Big E needed to capitalize on this opportunity to show the world that he can thrive without his New Day allies by his side. Big E responded to that narrative by chasing Sami Zayn under the ring and getting counted out.
The finish was designed to get over Zayn’s clever cowardly tactics. In that sense it was effective, but it made Big E look like a fool in the process. Even worse, this was a match that Big E had to win in order to earn a shot at the Intercontinental championship, and he failed. In other words, this doesn’t look like an angle to get heat on the heel so that it can be even more satisfying when Big E takes his championship at TLC 2020. Some other babyface will presumably have to fill those shoes, because Big E failed to earn that title match.
Royal Rumble 2021 will be here before you know it. The clock is working against Big E. Booking like this suggests that pushing him is not a priority right now, despite Paul Heyman’s hype and the current Royal Rumble betting odds.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?