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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Randy Orton claimed he is the servant of Bray Wyatt, so even though Orton won the Royal Rumble and could challenge for the WWE World Championship at WrestleMania 33, he says he will not — that’s because Wyatt is currently holding that title after winning it at Elimination Chamber then successfully defending it on the following SmackDown. This was intriguing enough on its own as a reason to tune in next week, but then SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan heaped even more curiosity on top of it by making a number one contender Battle Royal for next week’s episode of the Tuesday show. There are a few directions WWE could go with this, but the one that springs to mind as the most fascinating, the one that makes this rivalry much less Orton vs. Wyatt 2.0, is to move towards a triple threat for WWE’s top title at WrestleMania.
The man to make it work that way? Luke Harper. He attacked Bray before Wyatt’s triple threat against AJ Styles and John Cena, and clearly isn’t finished serving revenge to the master who betrayed him and cast him aside. Harper and Orton have issues with each other as well — that’s where all of this came from, as Orton joined the Wyatts and then usurped the position of the Family’s second-in-command. Having Harper win the Battle Royal, then having Orton change his position and declare he wants to use his Royal Rumble privileges after all basically out of spite, could help bridge the month-and-a-half of television that exists between today and Mania 33 in April.
It’s simple: Orton and Harper don’t get along. Bray and Harper no longer get along, but they used to, and it’s easy to see a way they once more could. Weeks of mind games, singles matches, backstage brawls, promos, and all leading to a WrestleMania match where we’re pretty sure it’s basically a 2-on-1 against Harper, the lone face in this scenario. “Pretty sure” instead of absolutely sure, because it’s easy to envision a scenario where no one quite trusts Orton at his word, and everything then breaks down into an every-man-for-himself triple threat where all that matters is the WWE World Championship. It’s a much better use of Harper than anything else they might have planned for him, and given they keep putting him in situations where crowds can get behind Harper, this might just be where they’re going.
- SmackDown’s Elimination Chamber fallout episode was a winner, and not just because of what transpired after the main event.
- Wednesday’s Rumor Roundup includes some post-WrestleMania whispers on John Cena, as well as information on Naomi’s injury.
- Emmalina is no more, and Emma is coming back, and it’s reportedly because WWE wasn’t happy with the way the character was portrayed. Just bring back Evil Emma and everything will be forgiven.
- Mick Foley thinks SmackDown wouldn’t be quite so beloved if they had to fill three hours, but here’s the thing, Mick: it’s how RAW chooses to fill its three hours that is more of a problem than it being three hours. How come RAW can’t feature its entire women’s division, or make anyone care about the cruiserweights, or showcase anyone in the main event outside of four wrestlers even though they have this burdensome abundance of time to fill?
- Brock Lesnar has retired from UFC, so his suspension has been frozen in case he decides to return one day.
- Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins spent Valentine’s Day together in whatever clinic this was.
- Goldberg, seriously, stop tweeting at Kevin Owens.
- Here’s Geno Mrosko on the brilliance of the Festival of Friendship segment.
- Kelly Kelly was backstage at RAW teasing a WrestleMania appearance.
- Nikki Bella and Natalya didn’t wrap up their feud at Elimination Chamber, which seemed kind of annoying, but now that we’ve moved things along to a Falls Count Anywhere match between the two, Sunday’s finish is retroactively okay by me.
- Speaking of Nikki Bella, ESPN has an interview up with her on topics ranging from her Mexican heritage, her future as an aunt, and, of course, her wrestling career.
- Vice Sports has a feature on Bray Wyatt, who is not just another bad guy.
- Vince McMahon still is super picky about proper terminology.