As a child I used to watch wrestling in Texas with my grandfather, dreaming of the day I would be a champion. Last year at Wrestlemania 21, in the most purchased pay-per-view in history, I lost the championship to John Cena. This Sunday at Wrestlemania 22, I have a chance to win a championship back from Chris Benoit.
Now I know it may be crazy to handicap a pro wrestling event, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with our product, I will put it in terms that people from Wall Street can understand.
One of the premier matchups at Wrestlemania 22 is Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels. Shawn is a lot like Google (GOOG) - Get Report, a real highflier who is willing to take a bunch of risks. Google has no forward guidance for the stock, so it is really a stock that is hard to put a valuation on. Most highfliers have a lot of downside risk; Google is a stock that I couldn't stomach to own. However, just like Shawn, it is fun to watch.
Vince, a co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) - Get Report, is an American success story like McDonald's (WWE) - Get Report. McDonald's is a company that, like Vince, has had to reinvent itself a few times, but it is working. McDonald's has $4.34 billion in operating cash flow and over $4 billion in cash. With a market multiple of around 16, this is a proven company and a stock I would want to own.
My prediction: Shawn may fly higher on Sunday, but I am staying with the proven global company. I take McDonald's over Google any day.
The Undertaker is undefeated in 13 Wresltemania matches. Like
he's a stock you want to own. Goldman just had blowout earnings; with fixed-income, equities and mergers all going strong simultaneously, this is one of the best companies in the world to own. The only thing more ridiculous than the low P/E multiple of around 10 is the ridiculously low estimate for future numbers. The analysts were wrong before, and they are wrong now. It's hard to even talk about Goldman's numbers, because they read like something out of the sports page, but just like Undertaker they are real.
Undertaker's opponent is Mark Henry, who is legitimately the world's strongest man. However, just like
, Henry has too big a hill to climb. GM is going bust. Even if it manages to pay off its health care and pension benefits, it will have no money left over for R&D. GM has dug itself a hole, and it will not be able to climb out of it.
Prediction: GM is a former strongman that has met its match; I go with Goldman (and the Undertaker) any day of the week.
The underdog story of Wrestlemania 22 is Rey Mysterio. Just like
he has been written off. Krispy Kreme is a story of a great product with bad decision-making by prior management. Krispy Kreme is a true international growth story, just like Rey could be. However, without financials until the end of April, it is a shot in the dark.
Rey's opponent is Kurt Angle, anOlympic gold medalist. Kurt is like
, a true blue-chip American. Wal-Mart is the real 500-pound gorilla. With a potential bank charter looming, Wal-Mart could be a huge growth story again. Either way, it is a great buy right here. Wal-Mart is greatly expanding its presence in China, where future growth will be high. Wal-Mart has a track record of nothing but success; that success will continue.
As much as the fans like Krispy Kreme, don't bet on it just yet. I have to go with the proven success story, Wal-Mart.
Two newcomers to Wrestlemania are Bobby Lashley and Fit Finley. Bobby is made for wrestling, a former national champion and genetic freak. Nothing has changed in wrestling or finance. Big guys with athletic ability still draw money, and companies that drill for oil will make a lot of money. Bobby is a lot like
Patterson-UTI, a land driller, is one of my favorite stocks, because, unlike in 1974, 1989, or 1991, oil prices are moving not because of supply constraints but rather due to increased demand. That has not and will not change for the foreseeable future. Patterson-UTI has no debt, and its rig utilization is continuing to rise. With a multiple of less than 10, and a long-term growth rate predicted around 45%, this is a stock to buy. Just like Bobby Lashley, this is a stock with a great future.
Fit Finley is a former all-time great who has just returned to prominence, similar to
. Going forward it will be tough to produce enough ethanol to meet demand, with MTBE in fuel being phased out and with government-mandated ethanol production levels increasing. Farmers are going to start making money, and they will spend it on Deere products. Deere has had a good run, just like Fit, but it still has plenty of legs left.
Finally, the character portrayed by yours truly: JBL. JBL is a lot like
-- been around forever and finally making big money. Like all oil companies, ExxonMobil is having a hard time increasing production. However, at current levels, Exxon Mobil is undervalued and a bargain.
JBL's opponent is Chris Benoit, also a former world champion. Chris is Mr. Consistency, like
. American Tower is just a plain old-fashioned, well-positioned company. With the rise in data transmissions and the potential of wireless Internet infrastructure, American Tower is in a position to make a ton of money off of its towers. I think this stock has a tremendous future.
It's my article, so, of course, I am going with myself. However, both stocks are buys here.
If things go my way this weekend, I do believe I will be the first wrestling champion to ever write for
Remember, being poor is bad, staying that way is stupid.
At the time of publication Layfield was long ExxonMobil, Deere, American Tower, Wal-Marter and Patterson-UTI although holdings can change at any time. A former All-American offensive lineman at Abilene Christian University, John Layfield played professional football for the then-Los Angeles Raiders and later in the World League. After wrestling in Japan, Mexico and Europe, Layfield arrived in the WWE in the mid-1990's. A former WWE champion, JBL was a featured wrester at WrestleMania 21 and can also be seen on
Friday Night SmackDown!
on UPN. Outside of the ring, JBL is a self-taught investor who was recruited to write a personal finance book,
Have More Money Now
, which was released in the summer of 2003. He has appeared on finance shows on CNN and Fox News Network. He is co-chairman of the Smackdown Your Vote! Campaign and he has joined both the USO and Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) for tours through Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries. He regularly visits the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda naval hospital to meet with wounded troops.