WWE Stock Watch: Who's Rising/Falling Right Now?
Now that we've had a few days to digest what happened at WWE Payback 2013 and the following night's Raw, it's time to analyze whose stock is rising or falling.
It could very well be too early to tell with a number of wrestlers, but based on what we've all seen so far, there is a handful of clear-cut winners and losers on the roster.
I've selected three wrestlers for each category and based my selections on what we've seen on TV, disregarding any possible future spoilers from the Internet rumor mills.
First, those with falling stocks.
Falling: Wade Barrett
Has it seriously been three years since the formation of the original Nexus? For those who don't remember, Wade Barrett was the leader of that group.
Many thought that Barrett was a star in the making. But since John Cena buried the original iteration of the Nexus, Barrett just has not made the impact that many thought he would.
Most recently, Barrett has been in an on-again off-again feud with Miz, losing the WWE Intercontinental Championship to Miz at WrestleMania XXIX and then winning it back about 24 hours later.
That's about as big a moment Barrett has had in recent memory. And now that he has been thoroughly destroyed by Miz and Curtis Axel at Payback, he's probably going to be seen jobbing to bigger stars on Main Event for the time being.
Falling: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler just can't catch a break. It takes nine months for him to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, only to suffer a serious injury that kept him out of action for half of his two-month World Heavyweight title reign.
At Payback, he was soundly defeated by a ruthless Alberto del Rio. He took numerous shots to his head, and may well be out of action again.
When Ziggler cashed in, the roof blew off the building. That seems like a lifetime ago, and Ziggler may well not get his hands on gold again for a long time.
The wrestler whose stock is dropping the fastest needs no introduction, but he'll get one anyway. It's Ryback.
Ryback has never won a big match at a pay-per-view (as Ryback at least), and this past Sunday's loss is probably the most damaging.
Ryback won the lumberjack match against John Cena, but lost the tables match and the ambulance match. In fact, he was actually put through the roof of the ambulance via Attitude Adjustment, giving Cena the "payback" he wanted after Ryback speared Cena through the stage at Extreme Rules.
Until the Raw after WrestleMania XXIX, Ryback was a face and was getting huge pops in arena after arena. Those days are gone, and it may well be safe to say that Ryback is done as a top star after being destroyed by Cena.
And now, on to those with rising stocks...
Rising: Daniel Bryan
Is there anyone more over right now than Daniel Bryan? Week after week, the "Yes" and "No" chants are more and more deafening.
Fans young and old are lining up to see Daniel Bryan, and he puts on one hell of a show. He's been very popular as a member of Team Hell No, but the last few weeks, especially this past Sunday at Payback, have seen Bryan's popularity reach new heights.
He may not have won at Payback, nor on Monday when he was medically unable to continue in his match with Orton, but fans continue to go ballistic during his matches. Bryan seems destined for greatness sooner rather than later.
Rising: Curtis Axel
Curtis Axel has burst onto the WWE scene. This past Sunday, he scored a pinfall victory over Wade Barrett (Miz gave the big assist) and won the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
He's paired with Paul Heyman, giving him instant credibility. And now, he holds a prestigious title. Combine that with the fact that, as Curtis Axel, he is undefeated. Axel looks to be getting a big push, and it probably won't be too long before we see a more important title around Axel's waist.
Rising: Mark Henry
Five days ago, most people thought Mark Henry was about to retire. Obviously that isn't happening. Henry made an emotional retirement speech, only to deliver a World's Strongest Slam on John Cena as he ended the speech.
Mark Henry, in a matter of five minutes, went from being basically finished to WWE's top heel. There simply isn't anyone with a stock that rose as high and as fast as Henry's in the post-Payback WWE.