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SmackDown kicks off 2017 with Ambrose vs. Miz for the Intercontinental title

Tuesday’s Rude Awakening sees the first major SmackDown match of the year, and what it takes to take down Braun Strowman.

We publish a whole lot of content here at Cageside Seats. We’re also [looks around and whispers so the bosses can’t hear] not the only place producing wrestling content on the internet. So, as a service to you on the weekdays, we’ll be producing a wrestling newsletter, "Rude Awakening." Well, it will be a newsletter eventually: for now, it’ll just be part of your experience here at Cageside, collecting the news, recaps, and social moments from the greater wrestling universe daily so you won’t fall behind, with a newsletter format to come.

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Dean Ambrose never did get a truly fair fight against AJ Styles after losing the WWE World Championship to him, but both parties have moved on from that: Styles has the returning (and demanding) John Cena to deal with, while Ambrose has The Miz, who made sure not just to interfere in Dean’s life but also to make sure to aggravate his girlfriend and fellow SmackDown Live employee, Renee Young, as well. Miz didn’t mean for things to get this far, at least not at first: he just wanted to make fun of Ambrose, giving him a Participation Award during a Miz TV segment, but that evolved into an Intercontinental Championship match and Miz eventually keeping Ambrose from getting back into the ring during a No. 1 Contender match for the WWE World title. Now, the two are set to face off for the IC strap once more to help kick off SmackDown’s first episode of 2017.

Before the brand split, this easily could have been seen as a downgrade for Ambrose. However, Miz has done such a wonderful job of putting over the Intercontinental Championship and making it feel as important as it should that Ambrose going back for a belt he’s won before not only makes sense, but is fitting. Ambrose knows he’s not in a position to go for the WWE World Championship again just yet, not when Cena is around to just show up and demand a match for it. Ambrose is in a spot, though, where he would happily beat on Miz’s face repeatedly just because, and a belt he loves and cares about just also happens to be on the line: remember, Ambrose’s run for the IC title was heavily built around the idea that he wanted to bring prestige back to it and join the ranks of the many famed wrestlers who had worn it. Now he gets a chance at that again at the same time he can get his revenge on Miz. Two birds with one unstable stone.

So, we’ve got Miz vs. Ambrose vying for the IC title on SmackDown this Tuesday, in what is likely to be one of a few matches for the belt. There are quite a few directions WWE could go with this feud — including bringing Maryse and Renee Young even further into focus — and that’s good news for all involved, including the championship itself.

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