Stock Up, Stock Down on These 8 WWE and AEW Stars

Stock Up, Stock Down on These 8 WWE and AEW Stars

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    TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 04: Will Ospreay enters the ring during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling~Wrestle Kingdom 18 in Tokyo Dome on January 04, 2024 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

    Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

    The year 2024 has been an exciting one for both WWE and All Elite Wrestling.

    WrestleMania 40 and The Rock’s return to pro wrestling was a rousing success as Cody Rhodes finally finished the story and helped to usher in a new era. WWE’s latest foray into the international market at Backlash France also proved that the product is hotter than it has been in a long time.

    Meanwhile, AEW took a gamble by airing the backstage footage from All In London and using Tony Khan in a physical angle for the first time. Both decisions came with their fair share of criticism, but The New Elite has become the unpredictable spark Dynamite needed.

    The results may be up for debate. Still, Khan has also delivered two outstanding pay-per-views to start the year and crowned the company’s first Black world champion. Even the most vocal critics of the top two entities in the industry would probably have to agree there is something for everyone right now.

    Let’s track how these eight stars’ stock has risen or dropped after the first quarter of 2024.

Solo Sikoa: Stock Up

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    After Cody Rhodes dethroned Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40, many fans wondered what his impending absence would mean for The Bloodline.

    Solo Sikoa has been surprisingly convincing as its de facto leader. So far, the latest iteration of the stable with Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa has been entertaining enough to keep us guessing until The Tribal Chief returns.

    In the meantime, it’s hard to deny the 31-year-old has grown into his new role. The Bloodline isn’t as engaging without Reigns, but Sikoa’s tension with Paul Heyman evokes some of the same energy his segment brought to SmackDown.

Andrade: Stock Down

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    Andrade became an exciting addition to the WWE roster after he returned during the men’s Royal Rumble match in January.

    However, the company hasn’t done much of note with the Mexican over the past few months. That’s a shame because the former luchador gained so much positive buzz toward the end of 2023 due to his return to CMLL and excellent matches in AEW’s Continental Classic.

    At WrestleMania 40, the 34-year-old teamed up with Rey Mysterio to take on Dominik Mysterio and Santos Escobar in a fun but forgettable tag match.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t seen him since he moved to SmackDown during this year’s draft.

Jack Perry: Stock Up

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    It was unclear how the fans would respond to Jack Perry after his suspension, but he has been tremendous since returning to AEW at Dynasty.

    The newest member of The Elite has improved so much as a character and talker following his brief excursion to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He already excelled in the ring, but he added some of the missing intangibles during his time away.

    The biggest criticism of Perry’s heel work in 2023 was that he often didn’t feel believable and his wooden delivery left much to be desired.

    Now, the 26-year-old has a noticeable chip on his shoulder and legitimate heat thanks to his inclusion in a top storyline with Tony Khan and the EVPs.

Konosuke Takeshita: Stock Down

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    AEW should do more with Konosuke Takeshita, and it’s hard to understand why the company hasn’t capitalized on his potential.

    The Japanese wrestler should have moved on to a meaningful angle after his upset win over Kenny Omega at All Out last September. Instead, he didn’t participate in the Continental Classic and languished in The Don Callis Family for the remainder of the year.

    Nevertheless, the 28-year-old started 2024 strong with a phenomenal contest against Will Ospreay and a brief winning streak. His No. 1 contender’s match versus Swerve Strickland from the March 27 episode of Dynamite was also exceptional, but AEW has to utilize him better this year.

Bianca Belair: Stock Up

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    Bianca Belair made history as the first Black woman to become the No. 1 overall pick in the WWE draft.

    The WWE 2K24 cover star also finally vanquished Damage CTRL at Backlash and won the women’s tag titles for the first time in her career. This accolade makes her a triple-crown champion and puts her on pace to shine in this year’s Queen of the Ring tournament.

    Her alliance with Naomi and Jade Cargill has also quickly grown into a popular act with the potential to develop into a long-term storyline. It’s only a matter of time before she re-enters the WWE women’s title picture later this year.

The Acclaimed: Stock Down

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    The Acclaimed are in such a strange place following their loss to Bullet Club Gold at AEW Dynasty.

    The duo still garner a loud reaction at live shows, and their work as a tag team is sadly underrated. However, their time as a trio with Billy Gunn has grown stale, and Max Caster has become a polarizing figure online.

    After such a feel-good win at All In London, their stint with the AEW World Trios Championship was underwhelming. Honestly, it may be time for the pair to return to their roots and remind fans how good they are as a tandem.

    It would also be a treat to see Anthony Bowens in more singles matches.

Swerve Strickland: Stock Up

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    Swerve Strickland capped off an impressive run in 2023 with the biggest win of his career.

    His feud with Adam Page may go down as one of the company’s greatest rivalries. Their last encounter in the Triple Threat match at Revolution left the door open for another showdown later this year.

    In his absence, Strickland achieved his goal of becoming the first Black AEW world champion when he defeated Samoa Joe at Dynasty. His transition into a bona fide main eventer has made him more visible than ever and given him the stage to deliver his best work to date.

Will Ospreay: Stock Up

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    It’s incredible to see how seamlessly Will Ospreay acclimated himself to the AEW’s weekly programming and blossomed into a fantastic television wrestler.

    His run with the company is off to a promising start as he continues to prove he’s not just a gifted in-ring performer. On the contrary, the British star has delivered some fiery promos and produced an outstanding story with Bryan Danielson.

    Of course, his top-notch TV and pay-per-view matches have also been worth the price of admission. Ospreay vs. Danielson from AEW Dynasty will likely land on several year-end lists as a match-of-the-year candidate.

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