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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Bray Wyatt has long been popular in WWE, but they’ve started and stopped his push to the top so many times that it’s become hard to take his threats seriously. Even if his promos were well-executed and logical, the result was often losing, or a win that changed nothing despite his promises. Now, though, after the main event of Elimination Chamber, Bray is WWE World Champion, and the way he became as much, and the timing of it all, helps make him and his title all the more meaningful.
Bray didn’t just win the WWE World Championship because the gimmick of the Elimination Chamber match allowed him to pick off the weakest competitor at the end. No, Bray survived a John Cena onslaught that included an Attitude Adjustment, then hit Cena with his own finisher, Sister Abigail, to pin the man who entered the match as WWE champ. That by itself would have been significant: Wyatt didn’t cheat to pin Cena, he didn’t get an assist from others that diminished the accomplishment. He just happened to be the one who finally got Cena to stay on the mat for three, and he did it clean, and by doing so guaranteed us a new champ.
Wyatt was left with AJ Styles, who he also pinned clean: that means Wyatt pinned the two most significant stars on SmackDown en route to his first WWE title. And it came at a time when the Wyatts have been reformed not once, but twice: not only is Randy Orton here and seemingly made the Wyatts seem stronger than ever, but Luke Harper was banished from the group for not being strong enough to keep up. Now, at least two of them will likely clash at WrestleMania, and if we’re lucky, Harper will be added to the mix to allow the full version of this story we’re being told to play out. Whether that happens isn’t what matters this morning, though: today, Bray Wyatt is the most fearsome and successful he’s ever been in WWE. And while it might seem late for some, the way he got here helped erase much of the wrongs of the past.
- It’s important to note that Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton isn’t official for WrestleMania 33 just yet. WWE wants to use the time between now and Mania to continue to build to this match.
- What we do know is that Orton defeated Luke Harper, but that doesn’t necessarily means it’s the end of Harper’s story: he still has a score to settle with his former master, Bray Wyatt.
- Here’s the full recap for Elimination Chamber.
- Monday’s Rumor Roundup has possibilities for Nikki Bella and Maryse, where Tamina is expected to wrestle, and more.
- Wyatt wasn’t the only major title swap of the evening, as Naomi shocked everyone by pinning Alexa Bliss despite the Pixie Hoss’ best efforts to bend the rules in her favor.
- The Nikki Bella/Natalya feud isn’t yet over, as a match that was meant to show Nikki could hang move for move with the Hart Dungeon graduate ended in a double countout and a brawl.
- American Alpha retained the SmackDown Tag Team titles in an uneven match that mostly showed the current tag division has no one to threaten their reign.
- It wasn’t the worst or most pointless match of the night, though. That went to Dolph Ziggler’s defeat at the hands of Apollo Crews and Kalisto, which ended with Ziggler trying to break Crews’ ankle with a chair and the crowd loving every moment of it. That was, uh, not the intended reaction.
- We also saw Becky Lynch defeat Mickie James in the opener, but it doesn’t seem as if this — or Alexa vs. Naomi — is over just yet. The real question is just what WWE does about these intertwined stories at Mania.
- You can catch Elimination Chamber’s highlights in this handy WWE video.
- Josh Matthews thinks he’s the best play-by-play announcer in the world, a claim so outrageous that even his own coworker called him out on it.
- Bret Hart or Kim Kardashian, who wore it better?
- Here are all 23 of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WrestleMania Stunners, ranked.
- Elimination Chamber has already come and gone, but here’s the rest of what you should be watching in this week in wrestling.