WWE Stock Watch: Baron Corbin Continues to Roll

5 of 5

1. Rising: Rusev

Since it would be too easy to put Alexa Bliss, Jinder Mahal, or Breezango on this list, I decided to give some praise to Rusev and, by extension, SmackDown Live‘s creative team.

Ever since Rusev dropped the United States Championship to Roman Reigns, both he (and that title) seemed lost. But now that Rusev (and, yes, the same applies for Kevin Owens’s latest championship) is on SmackDown, the tide is turning in his favor.

Rusev is out with an injury, but he made his presence felt in a big way on Tuesday by calling out Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. He straight-up said that he disliked the leadership on SmackDown before threatening to head back to Raw if he is unable to obtain a championship match (nothing more was specified) at the Money In The Bank PPV.

Not only does this tease tension between Rusev and leadership, but it makes him seem like a legitimate player. Would a lower mid-carder really call out management, asking for a championship shot upon his return? The fans are able to buy into Rusev’s threat as being serious, too, which is important.

Next: Watch Out For These 'Swerves' At Payback

There’s no doubt that Rusev is a tremendous athlete, and his work on the mic as either a menacing heel or as a source of comedy relief (he’s probably better-suited as a face) is excellent. Rusev’s return can be a big deal if the WWE keeps reminding fans that he’s there and is a real threat, and this segment achieved that.