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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Hideo Itami has already made his way to the main roster of WWE once. He debuted at WrestleMania 31 in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and was set to be in the main-event scene of NXT before a shoulder injury cut both of those runs short. This was all the way back in May of 2015: he wouldn’t return to the ring until June of 2016, made an appearance at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II to kick Austin Aries in the face, and then suffered a neck injury at a house show in October that took him out of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and off television. Now, Itami is reportedly healthy and cleared to return to action, but once again, it’s a very different NXT that he’s returning to.
That might be reason to just skip a return to NXT at all, and just have Itami debut on the main roster. SmackDown is probably the place to do it, since they could do a better job of avoiding losing him in the shuffle and utilize this time where he’s healthy to get him back on track. Itami could go back to NXT, but for what? He’s not in the same position as Bobby Roode or Eric Young or Austin Aries, who were brought in to help the kids in developmental. Itami was brought in around the same time as Finn Balor and Kevin Owens and more, and with the same idea in mind: getting them familiar with the WWE style, bringing some attention to NXT, then moving them to the main roster for the next stage of their career.
All of those wrestlers have already moved up, and Itami was the first of them to do so in any way before injury struck. Moving ahead with the original plan might make the most sense. Otherwise, what is there for him to do at NXT right now? Roode is NXT Champion, and will presumably face Shinsuke Nakamura at the next TakeOver. With Tye Dillinger still in NXT, it seems as if he’s being groomed for another shot at Roode and the NXT title after that. NXT as a whole needs to move toward focusing on its developmental pieces more, too, so giving Itami the kind of TV time he deserves at NXT does seem to run counter to that.
Just hope that WWE doesn’t decide Itami should just go to 205 Live and the cruiserweight division on RAW. There are already enough wrestlers there who aren’t being properly utilized, and Itami could help beef up a SmackDown roster in need of faces.
- Tuesday’s Rumor Roundup includes Hulk Hogan, why Roman Reigns entered at number 30 in the Rumble, and more.
- It was a packed episode of RAW, as they’re trying to keep up the momentum of the Royal Rumble while they transition to Fastlane.
- The live crowd got a treat after the show, as Brock Lesnar made an off-air appearance.
- Chris Jericho put Tom Brady on The List because Jericho believes that he’s the only true GOAT.
- Speaking of Jericho, it’s his fault that Goldberg and Kevin Owens are fighting for the Universal Championship at Fastlane.
- That’s the preamble to Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania 33, as Goldberg accepted the challenge on Monday.
- Jericho and Owens were on the same page long enough to screw Sami Zayn out of the United States Championship, though.
- WWE is advertising Emmalina’s debut for next week, but we’ll all believe that when we see it.
- Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but there was a DQ finish in a RAW Tag Team Championship match.
- Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman is now official for Fastlane, presumably because Braun has already destroyed every local talent in Milwaukee.
- WWE confirmed that Seth Rollins has a torn MCL, and that his WrestleMania status is “in serious doubt.”
- We can’t end on that bummer of an update, so here are wrestling fans having fun with Lady Gaga’s entrance to the Super Bowl 51 halftime show.