With the stock market in bear territory and a lot of fear in financial media, sizzling hot stocks might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to the market right now. It might seem like these stocks are few and far between. But there are under-the-radar stocks in unexpected areas shaking off the doom and gloom, plying ahead, and posting red-hot gains in 2022.

Here are two of the best. These sizzling gains are great, but the market is forward-looking, so perhaps the more important questions are how have they bucked the trend of the bear market and can they keep it up going forward in the year ahead? Let's take a look at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Bowlero (BOWL 3.31%), which are both up 48% and 57% year to date, respectively.

Professional wrestlers grapple in the wrestling ring.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. WWE: The content machine 

You might wonder how World Wrestling Entertainment has managed to soar to a near 50% gain year to date at a time when many of the market's stalwarts are struggling. Simply put, in a world where there are a lot of companies that need content to put on their platforms, WWE has plenty of it to provide. The company is making a lot of money by dividing it up and providing it to the highest bidders. The traditional media giants have all launched streaming services, while tech behemoths like Apple and Amazon have increasingly entered the fray, and they are all competing for eyeballs. WWE moved on from maintaining its own streaming platform and is instead licensing out intellectual property (IP) to the likes of Comcast, Fox, and Disney. This helped propel the company to record earnings results in 2021. WWE just reported third-quarter results and record revenue of $304.6 million, an increase of 19% year over year. The company's performance has been so strong that it raised its full-year operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) guidance from $360 million to 375 million to $370 million to $385 million. That's an impressive move at a time when many companies are lowering guidance or pulling it. 

Meanwhile, WWE's marquee events like Money in the Bank, SummerSlam, and Extreme Rules all reported record viewership numbers and enjoyed year-over-year viewership increases of 17%, 20%, and 36%, respectively. WWE's Clash at the Castle event in the United Kingdom became the most-watched international event in the company's history. Recent broadcast deals such as Apple's deal with Major League Soccer ($2.5 billion for 10 years) show that demand for live sporting content is high and that platforms are willing to pay up to get the content that viewers want, so there's no reason to think that WWE stock can't keep riding this tailwind in the years ahead.

With a price-to-earnings multiple of 26 times forward earnings, shares of WWE aren't cheap, but this is a unique investment opportunity that is poised for plenty of growth ahead. That makes WWE's stock an interesting buy and one that should have the fuel to keep rising for years to come. 

2. Bowlero: The bowling empire

Let's move from the wrestling ring to the bowling alley, where Bowlero has reached "hot stock" status with a 55% gain so far in 2022. Bowlero came public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in 2021, and it is one of the shining success stories in this space. Why has Bowlero been so successful? It turns out that people still want to go bowling, and they want to do it at fun, premium locations like Bowlero's bowling entertainment centers. 

Bowlero is the largest operator of bowling alleys in the world, with over 300 locations in North America, and it is the owner of many of the brands you may be familiar with, such as AMF and Bowlmor Lanes. Bowlero also owns and operates the Professional Bowlers Association, the premier professional bowling league. Notably, Bowlero has built this bowling empire by acquiring other bowling alleys in a fragmented industry. In fact, Bowlero is about eight times larger than its nearest competitor. During the most recent quarter, Bowlero acquired four new bowling alleys, giving it 29 new additions for the year. Bowlero reports that there are about 3,500 independent bowling centers in the world, so there is plenty of blue sky ahead to keep making acquisitions. 

The strategy is working well, and this shows up in Bowlero's results; for the full fiscal year of 2022, Bowlero reported revenue of about $911.7 million, which was an eye-popping 130.7% increase versus the year before. Part of this huge increase is because its 2021 performance suffered from COVID restrictions on indoor events. However, Bowlero's revenue still increased by 31.4% versus pre-pandemic numbers. At the same time, Bowlero increased adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) by an even more astounding 332.7% for the full year and 81.9% versus pre-pandemic levels. Bowlero grows revenue and earnings by adding new bowling alleys to its portfolio and by increasing same-store sales at these alleys. Same-store sales are 19.4% higher than pre-pandemic numbers.

Bowlero is not yet profitable but is projected to trade at 22 times next year's earnings, so it isn't cheap.  But it doesn't seem overly expensive for a stock that is growing at this pace. As the company continues to expand and put new bowling alleys into its system, it seems reasonable that the stock can keep performing well going forward. 

These stocks can keep sizzling

These sizzling hot stocks are largely in the green, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, are down 22% and 34%, respectively, over the same time frame. The growth strategies that these companies use are working, and sometimes in the market, it can pay to go with the hot hand. While these stocks might not return 50% or more again next year, based on the momentum of both businesses, the WWE and Bowlero should continue to be winning investments for years to come.