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 a Jeff Hardy swanton bomb gone wrong, Randy Orton trying to find The Fiend’s weakness, and a victory for SLAPJACK, a lot of fortunes were changed.
With that in mind, let’s see whose stock has increased the most this week:
Stock Up #3: Baron Corbin
King Corbin has two new henchmen in the form of Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler, and it’s already paid dividends with a win over Murphy. Seth Rollins is taking time off right now, which means there is an open spot for another heel to move up the card. The fact that Corbin once again has two lackeys by his side probably means he’ll be filling that void.
Stock Up #2: Roman Reigns
What else can be said about the greatness of heel Roman Reigns at this point? He had another stellar night on this week’s (Dec. 4) episode of SmackDown, demonstrating why Kevin Owens should fear him, while also making Jey Uso pay the consequences for his impulsiveness. And poor Kayla Braxton never had a chance when she tried to interview the Tribal Chief at the beginning of the show.
Stock Up #1: AJ Styles
AJ Styles prevailed in a Sudden Death triple threat match on this week’s (Nov. 30) Raw over Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. As a result of that win, the Phenomenal One earned a WWE championship match at TLC 2020. Styles has yet to lose a match since befriending his giant bodyguard Omos. He’s also showing off some smarts by trying to help Miz cash in the Money in the Bank contract on Drew McIntyre in the weeks leading up to TLC, because AJ knows Miz would be a much easier opponent to beat for the championship on that pay-per-view.
Now let’s see whose stock has decreased the most this week:
Stock Down #3: Shayna Baszler
In some WWE tag teams, one wrestler is often more protected in defeat than their partner. For example, if Heavy Machinery was booked to lose, Tucker likely took the pin instead of Otis. This can also happen when two singles wrestlers are suddenly put together in a tag team, with one team member clearly having a higher spot on the card than their partner; Nikki Cross was more likely to take the pins when she and Alexa Bliss lost their tag matches. If Drew McIntyre and Sheamus continue teaming up, Sheamus will be the obvious fall guy whenever they lose.
This brings me to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, the current Women’s tag team champions. When their alliance began, there wasn’t an obvious weak link on the team who would be there to take the pins. But Shayna Baszler has now been pinned in consecutive weeks during their tag matches, including once at the hands of Lana. It appears that WWE is more interested in protecting Jax than Baszler.
That’s a big mistake, because a singles championship feud between Asuka and Shayna Baszler is the best thing Raw can do for its women’s division as the calendar turns to 2021. Asuka vs. Baszler is a fresh match-up, and Baszler is one of the few women on Raw who actually pose a threat to Asuka. That should be the key feud coming out of the current Asuka/Lana vs. Jax/Baszler story, but it looks like WWE doesn’t mind weakening Baszler for the sake of enhancing Lana vs. Jax.
Stock Down #2: RECKONING
RECKONING finally had her debut match on the main roster…and she lost. She lost against Dana Brooke, and she lost her mask in the process. I guess there’s a scenario where this actually works out well for Mia Yim, if Mustafa Ali’s post-match frustration leads to her departure from RETRIBUTION. But for now she’s just the latest member of RETRIBUTION to start out as a loser.
Stock Down #1: Bayley
Bayley hasn’t won a match in over three months, going back to the end of August. In the aftermath of losing the SmackDown women’s championship to Sasha Banks, Bayley was the first woman eliminated (by Peyton Royce) at Survivor Series, and then she tapped out to Natalya on this week’s episode of SmackDown.
It looks like WWE is setting up a feud between Bayley and Bianca Belair. It’s tempting to think that the newer star needs that win more, but a win over Bayley isn’t going to do much for Belair if the former champ can’t even hang with Natalya and Royce.
There you have it, Cagesiders. Whose stock do you think has changed the most this week?