Stock Up, Stock Down for WWE and AEW's Most Notable Stars

Erik BeastonJune 17, 2022

Stock Up, Stock Down for WWE and AEW's Most Notable Stars

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    The ever-changing landscape of professional wrestling in 2022 has left several top names across WWE and All Elite Wrestling with stock that is either trending upward or down.

    Some of that can be attributed to injuries opening opportunities for others, and some of it is simply due to being in the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time.

    Whatever the case may be, there are some stars surging as the heart of the summer months approach and others who are trending downward, thanks to a number of variables that may have little to do with their own work.

Stock Up: Riddle

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    Riddle will challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Friday night on SmackDown, which is a sentence few would have imagined saying just a year ago.

    Seizing the opportunity to team with Randy Orton and evolving his game into that of a genuine star for wrestling's most prominent promotion, The Original Bro has consistently seen his stock rise over the last 12 months, culminating in the current singles push that has him on the brink of superstardom.

    That Orton suffered a back injury, forcing his departure from television and leaving Riddle on his own has only served to catapult him to new highs, despite expectations of the opposite. Fans are totally rooting for him as he battles The Usos and Sami Zayn en route to his career-making encounter with The Tribal Chief.

    Injuries to other top stars, increased television exposure across the main roster as one of the company's workhorses, and the opportunity to perform alongside the undisputed top dog in the industry have helped fuel fan support.

    How he performs in the match against Reigns, and how (or if) WWE protects him in the booking of it, will determine if his stock remains up.

Stock Down: 'Hangman' Adam Page

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    "Hangman" Adam Page is, arguably, the best and most well-rounded character in all of AEW.

    His work with the promotion has captivated fans, leading to an emotional world title victory last November. A pair of five-star classics against Bryan Danielson kicked off his reign and had it looking like the master of the Buckshot Lariat might be poised to rank as the best to carry the big gold belt in company history.

    Then came a decided lack of focus from creative.

    Instead of making Page the centerpiece of the company, other stars overshadowed him. Management seemingly focused on everyone but Hangman, who saw his dream scenario turn into disappointment and dissatisfaction. By the time CM Punk stepped up to challenge him, it was clear his days as champion were numbered.

    And they were.

    Instead of a magical run that would have established the Virginian as one of the industry's top stars, his reign is remembered for the subpar booking that diminished his show-stealing efforts.

    That he has followed up his loss to Punk by declining to talk about it, seemingly shrugging it off and turning his attention to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship of New Japan Pro-Wrestling has only helped emphasize his removal from the top of the company he championed as late as two months ago.

    His stock is down, no matter who might try to spin it any other way. That's an indictment on those in power and a major disappointment for one of the most talented figures in the industry.

Stock Up: Seth Rollins

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    It is almost unfathomable that a multi-time world champion such as Seth Rollins could see his stock rise any more than it already has, but no one has been as consistently responsible for the sheer volume of bangers over the last 12 months as The Visionary.

    Arguably the best wrestler in the world at this point, his excellence between the ropes was most recently on display at Hell in a Cell, when he and Cody Rhodes delivered a five-star classic despite the latter having suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

    Even before then, dating back a year, the self-proclaimed revolutionary tore the house down with Edge in a trio of Match of the Year candidates. In the lead-in to WrestleMania 38, he did not even have an announced opponent but somehow managed to become the centerpiece of brand, working with the likes of Bobby Lashley and Kevin Owens in show-stealing bouts.

    Then there was the superb mind-screw of a feud with Roman Reigns, in which he gleefully toyed with his former Shield teammate and nearly dethroned The Head of the Table at the Royal Rumble in January.

    Everything Rollins has touched since the start of 2021 has turned to gold. Simply slapping the 'MVP' label on him would be too easy. He's not valuable. He is invaluable.

    Rollins has hit a level in which he could easily drop the heel shtick tomorrow and become the company's best babyface if he wanted to. His work as the lead heel on Monday nights, though, has been so brilliant that it is difficult to imagine him dropping the obnoxious laugh, disingenuous words and gaudy wardrobe to assume the role of a good guy.

    Rollins is on the roll of a lifetime. He has achieved Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart status in which every time he sets foot inside the squared circle, fans know they are about to witness the best match on the card. He is going to set the bar incredibly high for everyone else to try and eclipse.

    The Visionary is the best of WWE in 2022, both from a character and in-ring standpoint, and that makes his stock higher than anyone else's on this list.

Stock Down: Drew McIntyre

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    Drew McIntyre's stock is not down because of anything he's done. He is great, a former world champion with a penchant for physicality who probably should be wearing gold right now.

    And the fact that he is not sporting the WWE or Universal Championship weighs heavily on his current stock.

    McIntyre has repeatedly seen his singles push start and stop. From the moment he was drafted to SmackDown, it was clear he would oppose Roman Reigns and be the guy to present the toughest test to The Tribal Chief.

    He has yet to do so, though, thanks to booking decisions that have kept him firmly in the midcard instead of main events. Every time it looks like he might be building momentum, there is a detour that takes him off into a disappointing direction.

    Case in point, the feud with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss that left him very much a WrestleMania 38 afterthought while Reigns headlined the two-night PPV against Brock Lesnar.

    Even when he emerged from The Showcase of the Immortals and joined RK-Bro for a massive six-man tag match against Reigns and The Usos at WrestleMania Backlash, McIntyre soon found himself back out of the title picture and appears en route to a feud with Sheamus and The Brawling Brutes based on his activity on the June 10 episode of SmackDown.

    The creative inconsistency is a problem and has been ever since the Scot dropped the WWE title to The Miz at Elimination Chamber in February 2021.

    Yes, he is perpetually over. Yes, he is among the best wrestlers on the roster; but fans have to have a reason to care beyond those two qualities before they become tired of investing in him and move onto someone else.

    He has earned better than that. Until the changes are made, though, his stock will trend downward, if only because he is capable of so much more and has repeatedly proved it.

Stock Up: Jon Moxley

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    Jon Moxley's stock was already trending upward in 2022, thanks to his inclusion in William Regal's Blackpool Combat Club.

    The faction utilized Moxley, Bryan Danielson and Wheeler Yuta as the world-class ass-kickers they are and had fans even more behind the former world champion than they already were.

    Then CM Punk suffered a foot injury that forced the company to crown an interim world champion and Moxley, by way of the strength of victories on his record, was catapulted into the title picture. A victory over Kyle O'Reilly cashed his ticket to Forbidden Door and a date with Hiroshi Tanahashi to help crown the placeholder champion.

    Just like that, Moxley is back on top. Justifiably so, too.

    Moxley is a main event star regardless of where he is on the card. He has built up equity with the audience, is perpetually over, and can step in the ring with opponents of any style or background and have a great match. That he has name value and recognition only strengthens the case for his inclusion.

    The perfector of The Paradigm Shift is likely to knock off Tanahashi on June 26 and become the first two-time world champion in AEW history. Not only does that etch his name in the history books, but it also heightens the profile of Blackpool Combat Club and puts Moxley on a collision course with Punk for a dream match when the industry icon returns from the sideline.

    Reinvigorated creatively, and back at the top of the card where someone of his stature belongs, expect Moxley to make as much (if not more) of this reign than his first and remind both Tony Khan and the AEW fans why he should never leave the main event scene.