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Who's Hot, Who's Not In WWE: Roman Reigns, Paige, Finn Balor And More

November 30, 2017
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.

Who's Hot

Roman Reigns: Not only is "The Big Dog" the new Intercontinental Champion, but he's also been getting a mostly favorable crowd reaction as of late, which has to make Vince McMahon absolutely giddy. Reigns even got a "You deserve it" chant from the fans on the Nov. 27 episode of "Raw" when he talked about winning the championship. Wisely, WWE has made it clear to the audience that Reigns is still a member of The Shield even though he's a singles champion. Next up for Reigns is a title program with Samoa Joe, which will be must-see.

Elias: In the biggest match of his career -- an Intercontinental Title bout against Reigns on "Raw" Nov. 27 -- Elias rose to the occasion and delivered a strong performance. He was given a lot of offense against WWE's top guy before doing the honors, which shows that the powers that be in WWE see something in him. With an entertaining gimmick, a good look and solid in-ring skills, the guitar-playing drifter has a bright future. And that's the name of that tune (JBL would be so proud of that dated reference).

Paige: After an absence of nearly a year and a half and a series of well-publicized personal issues, Paige returned to WWE TV Nov. 20 and has immediately given the women's division on "Raw" a shot in the arm. As the leader of Absolution -- a heel trio consisting of Paige and NXT callups Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville -- Paige is showing confidence on the mic and already is coming across as the biggest female star on the show.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: The Kevin and Sami Show -- or is it the Sami and Kevin Show? -- is the most compelling and entertaining act on "SmackDown Live" right now. Owens has been a top-of-the-card guy since his debut on the main roster in 2015, so this is nothing new for him, but Zayn has really benefited from being aligned with his real-life best friend and is killing it as Owens' "guardian angel." The great thing about these two is that they're not trying to be cool heels; they're as slimy as they come and the fans love to hate them.

Who's Not

Finn Balor: After Balor tapped out to Samoa Joe on the Nov. 20 episode of "Raw" -- his second clean loss on "Raw" in five weeks -- he was relegated to being a pawn in the Braun Stroman-Kane feud Nov. 27. In a match that lasted less than three minutes, Kane used a chair on Balor to get disqualified and then continued to assault Balor with the chair after the match until Strowman made the save. Balor clearly is the odd man out on "Raw" at the moment. Hopefully the situation is only temporary for the talented star. 

Shinsuke Nakamura: The former New Japan Pro-Wrestling star was in this section in my previous "Who's Hot, Who's Not In WWE" article Oct. 5, and he's even less hot now. In fact, Nakamura is Ray Lloyd-level cold (Google it, kids). During an angle on the Nov. 14 episode of "SmackDown Live," Nakamura was manhandled by Strowman like he was James Ellsworth, and then at the "Survivor Series" pay-per-view Nov. 19, he was the first man eliminated (by Strowman). During the past two episodes of "SmackDown Live," Nakamura wasn't even on the show (he wrestled in the dark match on both occasions). How did it come to this for such a gifted, enigmatic performer?

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin: It seemed like these two were being groomed for a title program with "SmackDown" Tag Team Champions Jimmy and Jey Uso after defeating New Day on the Oct. 24 "SmackDown Live" and beating the Usos by countout in a title match on the Nov. 7 episode. But then Gable and Benjamin lost to New Day on this week's show. If the plan is still to go to the Usos vs. Gable and Benjamin, then that result doesn't make any sense. It's definitely too soon to go back to Usos vs. New Day. Perhaps WWE is planning a three-way match. Either way, Gable and Benjamin have taken a step back.

Goldust: When Goldust turned heel in May and returned to his original incarnation of the character in a series of vignettes, it appeared he was going to get a bit of a push, but WWE didn't follow through. Then he was inserted into the Balor-Bray Wyatt program for a few weeks in September, but it turned out to be another missed opportunity to do something meaningful with him. Goldust hasn't even been on WWE TV since losing to Balor on "Raw" Sept. 25. Yes, Goldust is 48, but he's in fantastic shape, is as good as ever in the ring and plays his character extremely well. He deserves one more run. Here's a thought: Balor isn't busy these days, so why not program him with Goldust? I think Goldust vs. Balor's Demon persona would be compelling.