Stock Up, Stock Down on 20 WWE and AEW Stars
It’s an interesting time for pro wrestling fans, as most companies are gearing up for their next set of pay-per-view events. Following WrestleMania 37, WWE is reshuffling in preparation for Backlash and their new storylines. Meanwhile, All Elite Wrestling is reintroducing some familiar faces and building up some new stars with Double or Nothing coming at the end of May.
There’s a certain conclusiveness to WrestleMania season because it acts as a finale to many of the plot points from the following year. As such, WWE starts to tidy up loose ends and plant new seeds as superstars who won at The Showcase of the Immortals head into new roles. On the other hand, competitors who lost at the event also move into different angles in hopes of regaining some momentum.
Conversely, one could consider Double or Nothing AEW’s flagship event because it was the company’s first pay-per-view after its inception in 2019. As such, it is starting to ramp up its biggest storylines and establish new challengers for its champions.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 20 AEW and WWE stars whose stock is up or down heading into May.
Main Event Uso
1 OF 10
Stock Up – Jey Uso
Jey Uso had a breakout year as a singles competitor in 2020, and he is continuing to trend upward following WrestleMania. On a special edition of SmackDown, The Tribal Chief’s right-hand man won the seventh Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. At The Show of Shows, the San Francisco native played a big part in the closing match of Night 2 as he helped Roman Reigns retain his title.
On the following episode of SmackDown, Main Event Uso lived up to that name when he took on Cesaro in the last match of the night. Interestingly, The Swiss Cyborg won the match via disqualification when Seth Rollins attacked, protecting Uso from taking the pin.
Stock Down – John Morrison
It’s hard to understand what’s going on with John Morrison right now. When the former Impact world champion returned to WWE in 2019, it seemed like the company could propel him up to the top of the card. Instead, The Prince of Parkour has been floundering in a tag team with his longtime friend, The Miz.
While some fans may enjoy them as a comedy act, it seems like this pairing has outlasted its usefulness. This week on Raw, Morrison appeared worried about the state of their friendship after their loss to Damian Priest and Bad Bunny at WrestleMania. It’s unclear if this is the first hint of dissension among the duo, but hopefully, it means he will strike out on his own soon.
The New WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion
2 OF 10
Stock Up – Bianca Belair
On Night 1 of WrestleMania 37, Bianca Belair secured the biggest win of her career when she defeated Sasha Banks for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship in the main event. In the process, The EST of WWE made history as one of the first Black women to headline the company’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, and she gained her first title in the process.
Belair is the top babyface in the women’s division and her promo work continues to improve. Her match with Banks proved that her jaw-dropping athleticism and vulnerability will make her a star to watch in 2021 and beyond.
Stock Down – Asuka
It has been a rough few months for the former Raw women’s champion as she hasn’t had a significant win since last year. To add insult to injury, Shayna Baszler inadvertently knocked her tooth out on the Feb. 22 episode of Raw.
So, it wasn’t that surprising that the Japanese star dropped her title to Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania. It’s a shame that her reign as champion went so poorly and there wasn’t much upside to her fourth appearance on The Grandest Stage of Them All. If anyone in the company could use a reset this year, it’s The Empress of Tomorrow.
The Almighty Era
3 OF 10
Stock Up – Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was a dominant United States champion for 175 days. Anyone could make the case that he is one of the most protected superstars on the roster, but his WWE title win on the March 1 episode of Raw still came as a shock to most of us.
The Almighty defeated Drew McIntyre in the opening match of WrestleMania 37 to retain the WWE Championship. If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that it’s unwise to underestimate Lashley. Without a strong contender in sight, he could hold the title well into the fall for SummerSlam.
Stock Down – Riddle
Speaking of the WWE United States Championship, Riddle unceremoniously dropped the title to Sheamus at WrestleMania. The former MMA fighter held the gold for less than two months after he pinned John Morrison in a triple threat match at Elimination Chamber.
Riddle never actually defeated Lashley for the belt, and the WWE champion mercilessly beat him down in the opening match of the Raw after Mania. In fact, The King of Bros has taken several beatings recently, making it hard to predict his trajectory. His on-screen character isn’t really working either, because he usually just comes off as a rambling dope.
Cesaro Steps out
4 OF 10
Stock Up – Cesaro
Last weekend, Cesaro finally got his WrestleMania moment when he delivered an incredible performance in his win against Seth Rollins. It’s hard to believe this was his first one-on-one match at the event, but he deserved a meaningful victory on a big stage.
The Swiss Cyborg is one of the most versatile and talented in-ring competitors on the roster and a fan favorite among hardcore WWE viewers. It seems like this could finally lead to a WWE title program as the athletic six-footer stepped up to challenge Roman Reigns on this week’s episode of SmackDown.
Stock Down – Bayley
It is a travesty that Bayley didn’t have a match at WrestleMania 37. The longest-reigning SmackDown women’s champion was undeniably one of the MVPs of the pandemic era and thrived in empty arenas.
As such, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked the San Jose native No. 1 on the 2020 Women’s 100 list. The Role Model appeared in several segments at The Granddaddy of Them All, where she continued to showcase her entertaining character work. But she has still taken a huge step back following an impressive year. Hopefully, Bayley will work her way back into the title picture and become a fixture on SmackDown again.
Roman Reigns’ Island of Relevancy
5 OF 10
Stock Up – Roman Reigns
No one has done more than Roman Reigns recently to make the WWE Universal Championship relevant. At the moment, it is arguably more prominent than the company’s main world title, and that’s thanks in large part to the emergence of The Tribal Chief.
Reigns is doing the best work of his career in his new villainous role. The second-generation star is so comfortable in this persona that we have to wonder why he didn’t turn heel sooner. At WrestleMania 37, he appeared in the main event for the fifth time, putting in a four-way tie for the third most appearances.
Even more, he arrogantly stacked both challengers on top of each other and pinned them both to retain his title. Love him or hate, Reigns is the biggest WWE star of this generation, and his current career-defining run will put him on many year-end lists in December.
Stock Down – “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt is legitimately one of the most creative and fascinating figures in the wrestling industry. The Eater of Worlds is a masterful storyteller and a phenomenal talker, but for some reason, WWE always finds a way to stifle him.
The Fiend is the latest example of how Wyatt will reinvent himself and the company will inevitably turn him into a toothless threat. Spending months building to his return at WrestleMania just for him to lose to Randy Orton again didn’t do anything for him, and it’s hard to imagine the two-time universal champion will be able to salvage this storyline with Alexa Bliss. If anyone can it’s Wyatt, but it’s admittedly difficult to get excited about his current predicament.
Kris Statlander Is Back
6 OF 10
Stock Up – Kris Statlander
Kris Statlander was one of the brightest additions to AEW’s women’s division in November 2019. It seemed like she was destined to become champion after she went on a dominant run heading into the following year.
Unfortunately, The World’s Greatest Alien suffered an ACL injury that kept her off television for most of 2020. Nevertheless, her surprise return in the Arcade Anarchy match on the Apr. 14 episode of Dynamite was one of the highlights of the night. This week, Statlander made quick work of Amber Nova in her first match since June, and she looks prepared to make her way back up the women’s power rankings.
Stock Down – Orange Cassidy
Orange Cassidy is one of the most popular members of the AEW roster. His non-verbal character work has made him a potential crossover star since his breakout year in 2020, so it feels like he should be in line for a bigger role on Dynamite.
The King of Sloth Style is entertaining as a part of plotlines with the Best Friends, but he should at least be in the AEW TNT Championship picture right now. Cassidy outshines everyone else in the smaller storylines he appears in, and the company has to take advantage of his popularity sooner rather than later.
Tony Khan recently licensed “Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies as Cassidy’s entrance theme. Hopefully, that is a sign that there are plans for him, but for now, it feels like he is languishing in the midcard.
The Emergence of Tay Conti
7 OF 10
Stock Up – Tay Conti
Tay Conti has been a breath of fresh air for AEW since her debut in the Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner has steadily improved with the company, and her journey to her upcoming title match has been inspiring to watch.
In January, Conti unsuccessfully challenged Serena Deeb for the NWA World Women’s Championship in a hidden gem on Dynamite. The 25-year-old also competed in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament, but she lost in the first round to Nyla Rose.
Conti avenged her loss to The Native Beast in a rematch on the Mar. 24 episode Dynamite and went on to become No. 1 on the women’s ranking with a record of 10 wins and two losses.
Stock Down – Serena Deeb
Serena Deeb has been a revelation for AEW as the reigning NWA world women’s champion. However, a nagging knee injury recently forced her to undergo surgery, keeping her out of action for the time being.
On the Feb. 17 edition of Dynamite, Riho ousted Deeb from the Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament. The Japanese prodigy’s return match was fantastic, and both competitors performed well, but it was the last time fans saw the 15-year veteran on AEW programming. Hopefully, Thunder Rosa’s recent mention of the Virginia native is a positive sign that she will be back soon.
Jade Cargill’s Star Power
8 OF 10
Stock Up – Jade Cargill
Jade Cargill continues to raise her profile on Dynamite. The Florida native is undefeated, and she will eventually climb up to the top of the women’s ranking.
Cargill has a well-defined character and boasts an impeccable physique. In addition, her powerful and brash in-ring style is captivating, and her vignettes are well produced. AEW has done a great job positioning her as a new star, and she has a magnetic presence every time she is on screen.
The 28-year-old may not challenge for the AEW Women’s World Championship any time soon, but she could make her pay-per-view debut at Double or Nothing next month.
Stock Down – Cody Rhodes
As AEW TNT champion, Cody Rhodes was the face of Dynamite. His open challenge made for some great television matches, and he was arguably the most popular babyface in the company when live crowds were available.
However, The American Nightmare has been through the wringer lately. Scorpio Sky thrust him from the top of the ladder as he literally grabbed the brass ring at Revolution. Penta El Zero M agitated the shoulder injury Rhodes sustained in February, and yet another friend, QT Marshall, betrayed him.
Although we all assume he will eventually get his revenge, it feels like Rhodes has been a bit lost since he dropped the TNT title to Darby Allin. The Georgia native has been in search of the next big storyline since and it doesn’t seem like a feud with Marshall is it either.
Darby Allin’s Indomitable Will
9 OF 10
Stock Up – Darby Allin
Darby Allin has been on a tear as AEW’s reigning TNT champion. This year, the punk rock daredevil has continued to build a legacy of strong television matches around the secondary title.
His recent match with Matt Hardy in the main event of this week’s episode of Dynamite was just the latest illustration of how well Allin works as a gutsy underdog. Even more, The Invisible Man’s death-defying stunts helped to make Sting’s debut at Revolution a success. The face of TNT is currently one of the hottest stars in AEW, and the man who defeats him will have to pry the belt from his cold, dead hands.
Stock Down – Brian Cage
Brian Cage is a striking figure with an unmistakable build. He looks like what any casual fan would expect a pro wrestler to look like dialed up to 100.
With that said, it seems like Cage is running in place at the moment. His alliance with Team Taz appears to be on the rocks as he has openly disagreed with his mouthpiece on recent episodes of Dynamite. It doesn’t help that all the other members of the stable have become more interesting than him. The Swolverine could definitely use a character shift or a change of scenery soon.
Kenny Omega’s Quest for Championship Gold
10 OF 10
Stock Up – Kenny Omega
Winning the AEW World Championship and turning heel has been just the jolt Kenny Omega needed. The Best Bout Machine is at the top of his game and has his sights set on Impact’s top prize.
In a week, Omega will challenge Rich Swann for the Impact World Championship at Rebellion. This cross-promotional event has been a masterclass on how to promote a main event match, and it has effectively extended The Cleaner’s reach in the wrestling industry. To that end, he appeared in three shows during WrestleMania week, which is audacious for the flagbearer of a company outside of WWE.
If the aim is to take over the world of wrestling and create an alternative to WWE, Omega is succeeding—and he’s just getting started.
Stock Down – Miro
The Bulgarian Brute formerly known as Rusev was one of AEW’s most anticipated signings in 2020. Many hardcore WWE fans saw his potential to be a world champion, and it was disappointing that he never reached those heights.
As a member of AEW’s roster, Miro has the opportunity to prove his worth to the wrestling industry again. However, it’s time for him to move on from his storyline with Kip Sabian. The Arcade Anarchy match was much more entertaining than expected, but like Orange Cassidy, The Best Man seems destined for bigger moments.
To be fair, his promo on the last episode of Dynamite seems to suggest that he intends to pursue championship gold with or without Sabian. But it’s hard to understand why this has lasted so long. If Miro ventures out as a singles competitor, look for his stock to quickly rise again.