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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SmackDown advertised that we’d find out who would compete against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania for the WWE World Championship, but the Battle Royal that would determine this opponent finished in a draw. Well, in story line, anyway: it was very clear that AJ Styles hit the ground before Luke Harper did, meaning Harper should have won, and the question would be answered as expected. Instead, we got a sloppy finish where Harper hit second and everyone ran with the idea that they hit at the same time due to the lack of a working camera angle to prove otherwise, because controversy had been the actual plan from the start.
Sloppiness aside, the Battle Royal did its job, both in its finish and with other stories being told throughout the match. Wrestling is about suspension of disbelief pretty regularly, and given we’ll get to see AJ Styles vs. Luke Harper in an important one-on-one match that determines WrestleMania placement, we should be able to just roll with what WWE is telling us here. It’s even easier to do so given what else the match either enhanced and solidified in the lead-in to Mania: John Cena once again took down the Miz as he did at Elimination Chamber, and Miz — motivated by both these dual losses and Maryse’s recent issues with Cena’s girlfriend Nikki Bella — came back into the match to toss John out. While Cena has already stated Nikki’s business is her business, now her business is his business, too, and the foursome’s direction for Mania 33 seems set.
Baron Corbin and Intercontinental champ Dean Ambrose continued to ratchet up their tangible dislike for the other in this match. AJ Styles is now in a tough situation where he has to clear yet another hurdle put in front of him by the people running SmackDown, even though he still hasn’t received his one-on-one rematch for the WWE World Championship — like it or not, that likely means Shane McMahon is in his future. Even Dolph Ziggler and Apollo Crews managed to further their story here, and the possibility of Luke Harper facing Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania remains alive. Sure, Harper hit the ground second and we all have to pretend that’s not the case, but don’t let what amounts to misfired misdirection distract you from the successful stories being told.
- Here’s the full recap of a packed episode of SmackDown that heavily featured the women’s division in a noticeable way.
- Wednesday’s Rumor Roundup has the latest on Seth Rollins, as well as whispers about Naomi’s knee injury.
- Speaking of Naomi’s knee, the issue is severe enough that she was forced to relinquish the SmackDown Women’s Championship as she wouldn’t be able to defend it within the required 30 days.
- So, we got an impromptu title match for the right to be the first-ever two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, and thanks to a jab to the throat and a handful of trunks, it was Bliss who came away with the win.
- Maryse is tired of Nikki Bella crashing into her, even if it’s Natalya’s fault it keeps happening. So, she came at Nikki with a pipe during her Falls Count Anywhere match on Tuesday, and helped Natalya get the win.
- Braun Strowman isn’t exactly going to become John Cena, but he still had his Cena-esque moment in the ring on Monday.
- WWE got it all wrong with Bayley on RAW, taking the innocence away from the biggest babyface on that show.
- There’s more on how they screwed up the Bayley segment and what they could have done instead in this week’s Best and Worst of RAW at With Spandex.
- Austin Aries’ return to the ring won’t be a surprise, as WWE is now advertising it.
- 2K Games missed something in the editing room, as this embarrassing Jerry Lawler re-read on commentary remained in WWE 2K17.
- Here’s what NXT has in store for you this week.
- AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are teasing all of us with talk of a WrestleMania matchup. Maybe, uh, Shane and Daniel Bryan will decide Shinsuke will be their representative at Mania, yeah, let’s roll with that dream.
- ESPN has a story on Diamond Dallas Page and his recent slash overdue Hall of Fame induction announcement.