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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WWE, come on now. You can’t allude to a battle of beef, a major hoss fight at Mania, and then take it away from us like this. Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal has been rumored — and promoted off of WWE television — for months now, and suddenly, as Tuesday’s Rumor Roundup points out, there are whispers it might not be happening after all. Big Show and Shaq have both been working out and sharing their progress, with Show now under 400 pounds and looking the best he has since his WCW days. Even John Cena got involved in promoting the upcoming match. To not have this kind of spectacle at WrestleMania 33 after all that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Spectacle is what WrestleMania is all about. It should wrap up stories and feature your key performers and help push WWE into its next cycle of programming, but it’s also about making moments. And a spectacle like a hoss fight between Big Show and Shaquille O’Neal is definitely a moment people will remember. This isn’t some random celebrity who isn’t believable as a force in a wrestling ring. Shaq is 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds, a charismatic personality, actor, rapper, wrestling fan, and most importantly, athlete: he’s precisely the kind of non-wrestler WWE should be targeting for something like this, because you can believe someone who is somehow taller than Big Show and plenty beefy themselves would be a threat.
If the match is maybe not happening because they can’t seem to put an entertaining match idea together, then that makes sense. If it’s being cut for time so that full-time performers — such as, say, anyone from SmackDown’s Women’s Division, or Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental strap — then that’s disappointing in one sense but also for the best given the work those performers have put in this year. If WWE is considering bumping this so they can give The Rock two flamethrowers and even more time to waste, or if they’re doing it for whatever self-congratulatory wanking segment they’ve come up with for this year’s show, or whatever other thing is objectively worse than two historically enormous slabs of meat throwing each other around in a ring, well, then it’s okay to be angry instead of just disappointed. Hopefully this is a rumor that doesn’t come to pass, though, and we’ll get to see Show attempt to chokeslam someone taller than he is.
- Speaking of beef, this week’s RAW featured Braun Strowman vs. Big Show as the main event.
- If you missed it, or just want to relive it: Braun Strowman managed to kip up in that match, and this after trying to roll out of a wrist lock then arm drag a 383-pound seven-footer.
- The Rock was at RAW on Monday. Well, sort of. He showed up before it went live to fire up the crowd, and then Vince McMahon fired him. Then he appeared after RAW went off the air, and called CM Punk from the ring. Punk didn’t answer, though. Well, not his phone, anyway.
- Seth Rollins is back on RAW next week, sort of! There will be a sit-down interview with him as WWE attempts to keep the injured superstar on the minds of fans.
- Charlotte demanded that Bayley relinquish the RAW Women’s Championship, and while Stephanie McMahon attempted to shame Bayley into doing so, it didn’t happen.
- So, instead, Charlotte vs. Bayley will happen at Fastlane, where nothing sinister will happen to rob Bayley of her title before WrestleMania 33 nope no chance of that happening.
- Roman Reigns had a very good spear that you can watch on repeat.
- The retro Best and Worst of RAW is up to 5/5/1997 and features the full force of the Hart Foundation and also way too much Ahmed Johnson.
- Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the Best and Worst of Nitro, which is a week ahead of the retro RAW recaps at the moment and features “Sting” “talking”.
- The New Day will be the hosts of WrestleMania 33, which should work out well so long as they don’t have to eat some legend’s finisher.
- Payback’s location and date were revealed on Monday, and it will be a RAW-exclusive pay-per-view.
- Diamond Dallas Page will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, and he should give anyone who made it take this long to happen a Diamond Cutter.
- Here’s WWE’s touching tribute to the recently passed George “The Animal” Steele.