What's in a number? Plenty, if we're talking about quarterly earnings. Wall Street thumps its chest over its master estimators, and when a company is over or under the analysts' prognosticated amount, it's a big deal. Companies that miss are in a deeper funk than analysts expected. But for the companies who exceed those targets, it's a sign that things are going even better for them than the market thought. Follow those companies, because one welcome surprise often begets another.

Let's take a closer look at a few of the companies that humbled the Wall Street Wise this past week.

We'll start with World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE). Vince McMahon's empire earned $0.19 a share from continuing operations in its fiscal third quarter. The market was only looking for an $0.11-per-share showing. A busier slate of pay-per-view offerings and some refreshing success in international events drove the top and bottom lines higher.

Until recently, the WWE looked like it was up against the ropes. However, even video sales are picking up at the moment. It's a great sign that the medium's popularity is on the rise again.

Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick HouseValues (NASDAQ:SOLD) was another topper. The company earned $0.15 a share this past quarter, four cents ahead of expectations. However, the stock lived up to its ticker symbol when the company announced that earnings in 2006 would be coming in well below its earlier guidance.

HouseValues, a company that generates leads for Realtors from folks who fill out the online forms at its namesake site, is in the process of promoting its less intrusive and more consumer-friendly HomePages.com site to help offset weakness at its flagship site. Other online real estate specialists, such as Homestore.com (NASDAQ:HOMS) and Motley Fool Inside Value pick Cendant (NYSE:CD), are also rearranging their models to focus on what will work in the future.

Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) is the third company that we'll be taking a look at this week. "You're going to like the way you look," CEO George Zimmer says in the fine suit retailer's ads. Maybe he should amend that to "you're going to like the way we look." The company earned $0.60 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter. That was well above the $0.45 a share it had earned a year earlier, not to mention the $0.53 per stub that Wall Street was expecting. Not too shabby for a company that started out in Houston, so poor that it used a cigar box as a cash register.

Keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, it can be a rewarding experience for investors. It's the kind of surprise that market watchers relish in the Rule Breakers newsletter service, where the average selection has trounced the S&P 500's market return. Want in? Check out a 30-day trial subscription.

Either way, come back next Monday to learn about more stocks that blew the market away.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.