WWE Stock Watch: Analyzing Which Stars Are Moving Up or Down (April 11)
The landscape of the WWE is changing.
Major stars like The Undertaker, Triple H and The Rock are gone for the time being, another major star (Brock Lesnar) returned to try to fill that void and a number of new superstars have debuted on the main roster in recent weeks.
If someone wants to make a move up the WWE ladder, then now is the time to do it.
With WrestleMania 28 well behind us, there will be a new focus on up-and-coming stars, fresh faces and some never-before-seen feuds.
That will result in superstars going one of two ways: Up or down.
Let's take a look at who's doing what with this week's WWE Stock Watch.
Note: This week's rankings take into account last Friday's SmackDown, this Monday's Raw and last night's live SmackDown.
5. Stock Down: CM Punk
Chris Jericho is doing a great job of making life miserable for CM Punk.
Y2J once again laid a vicious beatdown on Punk on this week's Raw, this time hitting Punk with two Codebreakers and giving him yet another beer bath.
I don't know what's worse, though: That or the fact that Punk lost yet another WWE Championship match to Mark Henry.
For the second straight week, Punk lost his title match against Henry but kept his title. On next week's Raw, however, Punk will have to defend his WWE Championship against Henry for the third straight week.
It's a No DQ/Countout match this time around, though, which certainly doesn't bode well for Punk.
5. Stock Up: Brodus Clay
I had to rub my eyes and make sure I wasn't seeing things on Monday's Raw.
Did Brodus Clay compete in a legitimate match rather than a squash? Yes, I believe he did.
"The Funkasaurus" teamed up with Santino Marella, and the duo got the victory over the team of Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. Oh yeah, Clay dominated Ziggler at the end of the bout to get the pin, too.
This was a big week for Clay because he now has an actual storyline, an actual feud and got an actual match.
Too bad it took three months to do so.
4. Stock Down: John Cena
Life has been one big struggle for John Cena ever since he lost to The Rock at WrestleMania 28.
After getting hit with that big F5 from Brock Lesnar at the end of last week's Raw, it was a similar sight at the conclusion of this week's show when Lesnar hit Cena with a low blow and then planted him with another F5.
That came after a show-opening brawl in which Lesnar busted Cena's lip open with a stiff shot to the face.
For those keeping score, Cena is now down 0-2 to Lesnar.
While this may all be leading to Cena overcoming the odds, Lesnar undoubtedly has his number for the time being.
4. Stock Up: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar might have made an even bigger splash on this week's Raw than he did upon his return.
At the start of the show, Lesnar got the best of John Cena when he busted Cena open with that right hook, and at the conclusion of it, he once again bested Cena with a low blow and F5.
Throughout Raw, it was also revealed that Lesnar will be working as a heel who was brought back to the WWE by John Laurinaitis.
Not bad for one show, huh?
Not only does Lesnar continue to get the advantage on Cena, but he's got another huge advantage by having the support of Raw's new general manager.
3. Stock Down: Cody Rhodes
The booking of Cody Rhodes continues to baffle me.
On last week's Smackdown, Rhodes had a post-match attack attempt thwarted by The Big Show, he then lost to R-Truth (really?) on Raw after interference from Show, and on last night's Smackdown, he was once again embarrassed by Show, who showed the world one of Rhodes' old "Dashing" grooming tips.
Quite simply, Rhodes has looked like an absolute loser over the course of the last two weeks, and I don't think that's really doing anyone any favors.
I get that the WWE might be pushing Rhodes down in order to build him back up, but looking like a douchebag every week rarely helps anybody.
3. Stock Up: Ryback
It's pretty clear that the WWE has big plans for Ryback.
For the second straight week on Smackdown, he squashed a random jobber, and this week, he did it with just two moves.
The match itself wasn't what has Ryback's stock up, though. It was the fact that all the legends were watching the bout in the back as if Ryback is a big deal.
You want someone to seem like a big deal, then you treat them like one, and that's exactly what the WWE seems to be doing with Ryback.
Ryback's got the creative team behind him, so if he can continue to get the fans behind him, then the sky truly is the limit for the former Nexus member.
2. Stock Down: Dolph Ziggler
What the hell is going on with Dolph Ziggler?
I really wish someone had the answer to that question because, for the life of me, I can't figure it out.
Ziggler lost yet another match on this week's Raw when he was dismantled by Brodus Clay in that tag team match that also featured Jack Swagger and Santino Marella.
I mean, why have Ziggler take that pin, much less in the way he took it?
It's almost as if Ziggler's incredible abilities as a bumper and seller are putting him in situations where that's all he does.
What a shame.
2. Stock Up: Alberto Del Rio
All that Alberto Del Rio has done his since his return last Monday is make an impact.
He beat Sheamus in the main event of last week's Smackdown to earn himself a future World Heavyweight title shot, and he followed that up with an easy squash match victory over Zack Ryder on Monday's Raw.
Sure, ADR's team took the loss on last night's live Smackdown, but he didn't take the pin after fleeing through the crowd to avoid all of the legends.
Del Rio now has gotten two big wins since returning, and he's in line for a World Heavyweight Championship match at some point down the road.
Any which way you slice it, ADR is in a great position considering it's been less than two weeks since he came back from injury.
1. Stock Down: Zack Ryder
Something's gotta be going on with Zack Ryder.
Back in December 2011, he was rising up the card at lightning quick speed. But here we are in April, and he's booked about as badly as anyone on the main roster.
Ryder has looked like a big goofball over the last several weeks, but that was never more obvious than it was on this week's Raw when he lost to Alberto Del Rio in about two minutes.
Really? Why have Ryder do that job instead of some random lower card worker?
While I'm not sure if Ryder has backstage heat or anything like that, it seems pretty clear to me that there is some reason behind his huge demotion over the last few months.
1. Stock Up: Mark Henry
More so than just about any other WWE superstar, Mark Henry is on the rise.
He dismantled R-Truth in that handicap match on last week's Smackdown and followed that up with yet another victory over WWE Champion CM Punk on Monday's Raw.
While Henry's two wins over Punk came by count out and DQ, respectively, the creative team has shown a lot of faith in him by having beat Punk twice and continue to squash most of the rest of his opponents.
Plus, Henry has earned himself a third WWE title shot on next week's Raw.
Just a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure that we'd ever see Henry rise back to the main event scene, but he's on a serious roll lately and has reestablished himself as one of the top heels in the entire WWE.
Note: As part of the new WWE blog, I'll be asking all of the B/R wrestling readers for questions for a new mailbag that I will post on Fridays. It will be a slideshow featuring 10-20 questions and answers on a wide range of topics. You can submit questions either through Formspring or Twitter, and the best ones will be answered in the B/R mailbag.