Stock Up, Stock Down on These 12 WWE and AEW Stars

Philip LindseyContributor IIApril 26, 2022

Stock Up, Stock Down on These 12 WWE and AEW Stars

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    After a strong first quarter, WWE and All Elite Wrestling are in a good position to highlight their newest stars and rehabilitate some of their established ones.

    WrestleMania Backlash and Double or Nothing are also right around the corner, so it's the perfect time to finish up some lingering plot lines and create new stories.

    In the meantime, let's take a look at wrestlers from both companies who are primed for bigger things and those who could use a change in direction.

    Roman Reigns still stands atop of the mountain for WWE, but three contenders could challenge him in the next few months. Meanwhile, a familiar duo continues to build their legacy in AEW's stacked tag team division.

    It may not be smooth sailing for everyone on this list, but there's plenty of time to turn things around.

    These are 12 AEW and WWE stars whose stock is up or down heading into May.

The Emergence of Theory

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    Stock Up: Theory

    As Vince McMahon's newest protege, Theory looks to have an eventful year ahead of him. The 24-year-old started appearing in backstage segments with the WWE chairman on the Raw after Survivor Series 2021 in November, which has quickly raised his profile.

    This relationship granted him a match with Pat McAfee at WrestleMania 38, and he recently defeated Finn Balor for the United States Championship and received a ringing endorsement from John Cena. That's more than enough to prove he's a Superstar worth keeping an eye on.


    Stock Down: Drew McIntyre

    During his initial run with WWE, Drew McIntrye experienced all the pressure that comes with being Mr. McMahon's chosen one. He has fared much better the second time, though, becoming a two-time world champion.

    Although it seems the Scot is still high in the pecking order, the 36-year-old has been floundering since he made the move to SmackDown. His feud with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss was uninspiring and his current run-around with Sami Zayn seems even more pointless.

    One would imagine the 2020 men's Royal Rumble winner will make his way back into the title picture later this year. However, it seems like he's in a holding pattern right now and it's driving down interest in him as a character.

Wardlow's Redemption

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    Stock Up: Wardlow

    Wardlow's popularity has been growing for months, but his star truly took off during MJF's feud with CM Punk. AEW told a great story with these two, which came to a satisfying conclusion at Revolution.

    In the process, Wardlow effectively turned on his boss and gained the overwhelming approval of the fans. Every week, the cheers for the 2022 Face of the Revolution ladder match winner grow louder and he's destined to face MJF at Double or Nothing. It could end with his most ferocious Powerbomb Symphony to date and we're dying to see it.


    Stock Down: PAC

    Where is PAC? We've rarely seen him in action since the Mar. 9 episode of AEW Dynamite. On the following Sunday, he joined Penta Oscuro and Erick Redbeard in a losing effort against The House of Black on The Buy In ahead of Revolution.

    These six men delivered an excellent match, but AEW should be doing so much more with someone as talented as PAC. During the company's first year, the English wrestler handed Kenny Omega a devastating loss and cemented himself as a fearsome competitor.

    Sadly, PAC seems rudderless now without a meaningful feud or title run in sight. His current status seems like the result of poor timing as COVID-19 kept him from traveling back to the US and Rey Fenix's injury likely hindered any plans for Death Triangle.

    However, there are still so many potentially strong matchups for him, especially with Forbidden Door coming up in June. It would be a shame if AEW missed out on them.

An Almighty Contender

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    Stock Up: Bobby Lashley

    Bobby Lashley has a legitimate claim to the WWE Championship because Brock Lesnar pinned him for the title at Elimination Chamber. Instead, The All Mighty left the match with a shoulder injury as The Beast Incarnate decimated the rest of the field.

    In April, Lashley returned to have a surprisingly entertaining match at WrestleMania. This led to a face turn when MVP turned on his client and aligned himself with Omos. Right now, the former MMA fighter has to be an early favorite to challenge Roman Reigns and bring the WWE title back to Raw.


    Stock Down: Shinsuke Nakamura

    After an uneventful reign as intercontinental champion, Shinsuke Nakamura lost the title to Sami Zayn on the Feb. 18 episode of SmackDown. Then, he went on to officially form a tag team with Rick Boogs and challenge The Usos for the tag titles.

    Unfortunately, Boogs sustained a serious injury at WrestleMania, leaving Nakamura adrift. On Apr. 15, it seemed like The King of Strong Style set his sights on Roman Reigns. Instead, The Bloodline humiliated him to end the show and he didn't return seeking revenge the following week.

    It's unclear what WWE has planned for The Artist, but it's hard to get optimistic given his time on the main roster.

Wheeler Yuta Earns Respect

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    Stock Up: Wheeler Yuta

    Wheeler Yuta is rapidly becoming the AEW breakout star of 2022. The 25-year-old gained attention when he stepped up to William Regal's challenge and earned his respect at St. Patrick's Day Slam.

    At Supercard of Honor, Yuta dethroned Josh Woods to become the new ROH Pure champion. In the following episode of Rampage, the former IWTV world champion competed in an incredible match with Jon Moxley and finally joined the Blackpool Combat Club.

    The clip from the encounter and the segment afterward drew 3.2 million views on AEW's YouTube channel. That interest translated to live shows, with Yuta chants routinely ringing out during his appearances now.


    Stock Down: Ruby Soho

    Ruby Soho came in hot at All Out as one of AEW's biggest free-agent signings of 2021. The Runaway enjoyed an excellent debut, earning a shot at Britt Baker at Grand Slam.

    The two competed in the main event of the company's highly publicized venture to New York City. It was arguably the most high-profile match of Soho's career. However, she still fell short of her goal to win championship gold on network television.

    In her first year with AEW, Soho also made it to the finals of the TBS Championship Tournament where she ran into another obstacle in Jade Cargill. Now, the response to her catchy theme song has grown softer. That's likely because the audience is just waiting for a reason to cheer again as the 31-year-old continues to search for her significant win.

6-Star FTR

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    Stock Up: FTR

    FTR are currently the hottest tag team in the world following a renewed push earlier this year. Jurassic Express are paving their own lane fighting champions, but Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood are quickly turning heads as a top babyface pairing.

    They stole the show at Supercard of Honor, delivering an acclaimed match with The Briscoes to win the ROH tag titles. Then, Wheeler and Harwood turned around and put on a banger with The Young Bucks on the next episode of AEW Dynamite.

    The AAA and ROH tag team champions put the industry on notice, and it has been a blast to watch them return to form.


    Stock Down: Andrade El Idolo

    Andrade El Idolo was an exciting addition to the AEW roster, but his stint with the company has been disappointing so far. The Mexican has shown glimpses of brilliance in the ring and his character work is steadily improving.

    However, it's difficult to invest in him because he often loses big matches. One could argue he's supposed to because he's a villain, but it's still a bit jarring.

    El Idolo needs an intriguing storyline to take part in and the right dance partner. Hopefully, something new is in the cards for him now that he has seemingly wrapped up his feud with Darby Allin.

Cody Rhodes' Homecoming

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    Stock Up: Cody Rhodes

    Cody Rhodes was the most talked-about man in professional wrestling during WrestleMania weekend as the first competitor to leave AEW for WWE. As of now, the move has worked out incredibly well for him.

    The American Nightmare managed to distill everything he built elsewhere into the top babyface on Raw. Despite the flagship series' shortcoming, he remains the most interesting character on the show.

    It's only a matter of time before his quest to become WWE champion puts him on a collision course with Roman Reigns.


    Stock Down: Finn Balor

    During his second run with NXT, Finn Balor reinvented himself as The Prince, a character akin to the founder of Bullet Club. This return to his roots was highly successful in the last days of the black-and-gold brand.

    It seemed like it would have been so simple to reintroduce this version of Balor on the main roster. Instead, WWE essentially acted like it never happened and diminished all the momentum he accrued as soon as he came back to SmackDown.