WWE Stock Watch: Analyzing Who's Up and Who's Down After Raw (April 18)
All it takes is one episode of Monday Night Raw or Friday Night Smackdown to see what the creative team's mindset is.
A superstar squashes a random jobber? He's probably in line for a push.
A superstar who recently held a title loses in two minutes? He's headed for a slide down the card.
We've seen all sorts of things like these happen since WrestleMania 28, with some wrestlers clearly moving in the right direction and some wrestlers clearly not.
So, which ones are headed north, and which ones are headed south?
Let's take a look with this week's WWE Stock Watch.
Note: These rankings usually take into account this week's Raw and the previous week's Smackdown, but due to last week's Smackdown airing on Tuesday, this week's Stock Watch will only reflect what happened on this Monday's Raw.
5. Stock Down: David Otunga
A week after losing to John Cena in the Raw main event, David Otunga was back at it again on this week's show, this time losing to Santino Marella in a United States Championship Match.
I feel like these two have faced off about 25 times over the last month or two, and none of their matches have been very good. But Otunga was especially bad this week.
He badly botched a hip toss, looked completely lost when going for a pin attempt and even had John Laurinaitis take a shot at his poor in-ring skills in a backstage segment.
Otunga is getting all the opportunities in the world, but his recent losses might be an indication that his strides as a character and his chiseled physique are being overshadowed by very obvious struggles inside the ring.
5. Stock Up: Santino Marella
Santino Marella may primarily be a comedy character, but he continues to hold onto the United States title after successfully defending it again on this week's Raw.
Sure, his victory came against David Otunga, but it was a win, nonetheless.
Santino has now defended his the US Championship against Otunga, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger recently, and he's managed to walk away with the belt every time.
While the WWE could have completely ruined the belt with Santino, he's definitely a fighting champion who defends his belt as much as just about any titleholder in the company.
4. Stock Down: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler lost again?
Of course, he did. "The Showoff" has been booked like absolute crap over the last couple of months, and he tasted defeat yet again on Monday's Raw.
Jack Swagger interfered in Ziggler's match against Brodus Clay and caused him to lose by DQ, which is just the latest loss in a long line of losses for Ziggler.
There isn't a more talented wrestler on the roster who is being booked worse than Ziggler right now.
He hasn't had a real feud in months (unless you count this thing he's got going on with Clay), and his TV time continues to diminish every week.
Come on, WWE. Surely you can fine a better way to use this guy.
4. Stock Up: Lord Tensai
After getting easy squash victories in his first two matches, Lord Tensai finally had an actual match on this week's Raw.
Oh, and it just so happened to be the main event Extreme Rules match against John Cena.
Although Tensai needed the help of David Otunga and Sakamoto to get the win in the match, he still beat the face of the company in the main event of its flagship show.
It says a lot about the WWE's plans and hopes for Lord Tensai to put him over Cena just three weeks after his debut.
I thought Tensai looked a little sloppy and still am not crazy about his gimmick, but he's clearly got the support of Creative, and that's all that matters for him.
3. Stock Down: John Cena
John Cena's post-WrestleMania slump continues.
After getting leveled with two F5s on the prior two episodes of Raw, Cena faced Lord Tensai in this week's main event...and lost.
That means that the last three Raws have ended with another superstar getting the best of Cena. A very rare sight.
I'm sure that all these bad things are happening to Cena just so that he can eventually "rise above hate," but at least for now, he is struggling to get out of this post-Mania funk.
Cena haters everywhere are probably loving it.
3. Stock Up: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar didn't appear on this Raw in person, but that didn't matter. He was still able to make a huge impact anyway.
The WWE put together a phenomenal video package, featuring highlights of Lesnar's amateur wrestling, pro wrestling and UFC careers as well as commentary from Lesnar himself.
Lesnar addressed a number of topics, such as why he was back in the WWE, what his beef with John Cena is and why he believes there has never been another WWE superstar (excuse me, I meant ass kicker) like him.
The video was extremely well done, and it made Lesnar come off like an absolute badass without him even actually being at Raw.
If I were Cena watching that video, I'd probably legitimately be a little scared.
2. Stock Down: Epico and Primo
We've seen some recent Twitter rants from the WWE Tag Team Champions, who have been complaining about their lack of TV time.
I just don't think that what happened on Monday's Raw is exactly what they had in mind.
Epico and Primo had a non-title tag team match against The Big Show and The Great Khali, and they were essentially squashed by the two giant superstars in a match that only lasted a few minutes.
Wanna know why tag team wrestling in the WWE is dead? This is why.
No one is gonna give a crap about the tag team division if its champions lose to the guy who continues to kill careers and another guy who can hardly walk, let alone wrestle.
Horrible booking, WWE. Horrible booking.
2. Stock Up: Daniel Bryan
Man, how awesome was Daniel Bryan on Monday?
As if this amazing backstage segment wasn't enough, Bryan also picked up a victory over Kofi Kingston after making Kingston tap to the newly renamed Yes Lock.
The crowd absolutely loved Bryan's "Yes" catchphrase, and anyone who think it's going anywhere anytime soon is sorely mistaken.
The WWE is milking this "Yes" craze for everything it's worth, and it's working.
Bryan had a great promo and a good match on Monday's Raw, he continues to be over like rover and was about as entertaining as ever on this week's Raw.
1. Stock Down: Zack Ryder
Remember when Zack Ryder mattered? Yeah, well, those days are long gone.
Ryder was scheduled for a match against Kane on this week's Raw, and instead of the WWE using this opportunity to, you know, actually have Ryder beat the man who broke his back, they had Kane destroy him before the match even started.
One question: Why?
Ryder has been booked so terribly as of late that you would have to come up with an entirely new word to describe just how bad it's been.
He's become nothing more than a jobber again, and it's an absolute shame, especially considering that the dude basically got over on his own.
1. Stock Up: CM Punk
CM Punk had a rough two-week stretch that saw him lose two WWE Championship matches to Mark Henry, but he made up for those losses on this week's Raw.
In the third match of their series, Punk beat Henry after hitting a big top rope elbow drop with a chair on the World's Strongest Man.
With the victory, Punk accomplished two things: He snapped his losing streak and held onto his coveted WWE Championship.
It was also revealed on Monday's Raw that Punk would face Chris Jericho in an Extreme Rules Match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in less than two weeks.
Where's Extreme Rules being held? Punk's hometown of Chicago.
It's good to be Punk right now.