Kevin Eck is a former member of the WWE creative team and now blogs about pro wrestling for PressBox.
Here's a look who is trending upward and who is trending downward in WWE.
Kevin Owens: "SmackDown Live" continues to be "The Kevin Owens Show." In the build to his Hell in a Cell match with Shane McMahon at the "Hell in a Cell" pay-per-view Oct. 8, Owens is once again proving how talented and versatile of a performer he is. Owens has shown in the past that he can be a funny, entertaining heel, but this rivalry with Shane O'Mac has provided him with material he can really sink his teeth into, and he's done an outstanding job of generating heat by portraying a serious, remorseless heel.
Enzo Amore: Love him or hate, there's no denying Amore has given the cruiserweight division a much-needed shot in the arm. While Amore is easily the least-talented worker in the division, he's the best talker (by a lot) and most charismatic performer (by even more) among the 205-pounds-or-less contingent. For me, Amore has single-handedly been responsible for me keeping my finger off the fast-forward button during recent cruiserweight segments on "Raw." Because if I had a dime for every compelling cruiserweight segment on "Raw" before Amore arrived on the scene, I'd have. … well, not zero dimes, but definitely not enough to buy anything at the dollar store.
Mickie James: The six-time former women's champion in WWE has finally been given an opportunity to do something on "Raw" other than "the job." In her segments with Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss -- who will defend her title against James at the "TLC" pay-per-view Oct. 22 -- and Nia Jax the past two weeks, James, 38, showed she still is one of the best all-around female performers in the business.
The Miz: WWE's self-proclaimed A-lister has been a great foil for Roman Reigns recently, both in the ring and on the microphone. Miz deserves some of the credit for the crowd at "Raw" Oct. 2 largely getting behind Reigns instead of booing him as usual. For Miz to be given the coveted role of main antagonist to the soon-to-be-reunited Shield says a lot about WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon's faith in him as a performer and an attraction.
Shinsuke Nakamura: Nakamura's inclusion on the list pains me because he's incredibly talented and one of my favorite performers. But the truth is that the build to Nakamura's title match with WWE Champion Jinder Mahal at "Hell in a Cell" just hasn't been very compelling. In fact, it's been overshadowed on "SmackDown Live" not only by the Owens-Shane McMahon feud, but also the New Day-Usos program.
Baron Corbin: Corbin has gone from winning the Money in the Bank ladder match and facing John Cena at "SummerSlam" to unsuccessfully cashing in his MITB contract and putting over Tye Dillinger, all in a span of less than four months. The upset loss to Dillinger on "SmackDown Live" Oct. 3 plays into the storyline of Corbin squandering his opportunities, but if the payoff isn't Corbin winning the United States Title from AJ Styles at "Hell in a Cell," it doesn't bode well for the big man's immediate future.
Jason Jordan: Don't get me wrong -- I think Jordan is destined to become a major star in WWE. But right now, the WWE Universe doesn't seem to be all that invested in Kurt Angle's (kayfabe) son, despite his obvious in-ring ability. My belief is that Jordan's rather bland babyface character is by design and that he will really come into his own whenever the powers that be pull the trigger on his heel turn.
In my previous
"Who's Hot, Who's Not In WWE" article July 26
, Kanelis and his wife, Maria, were included in the "Who's Not" section after he lost to Sami Zayn at "Battleground" and dropped the fall in a tag match pitting him and Aiden English against Zayn and Dillinger on "SmackDown Live." Things have only gotten worse -- professionally speaking, that is -- for Kanellis. With his literal better half, Maria, taking a hiatus -- she announced Sept. 25 that she's 13 weeks pregnant with the couple's first child -- it appears Kanellis has been reduced to a glorified enhancement talent, as evidenced by his loss to Bobby Roode in less than two minutes on "SmackDown Live" Oct. 3.