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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Undertaker and Roman Reigns are likely facing off at WrestleMania 33. The Royal Rumble match hinted at as much, and putting Reigns up against Braun Strowman at Fastlane, the pay-per-view before Mania, only furthered that idea, as it gave Reigns the most significant challenge the RAW roster could provide leading up to a match against The Dead Man. On this week’s RAW, rumor is Undertaker is showing up to make a feud with Reigns official. The fact this is happening on Monday instead of on Sunday at Fastlane is puzzling, though, especially given what we know of these characters and the work WWE had put in to this point already.
Braun Strowman is supposed to be an unstoppable force, one who even manhandled Roman Reigns with ease in the lead-in to Fastlane. Now, though, we’ve seen Reigns defeat the top heel challenger on RAW’s roster clean, and did so during a B-show in between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. That’s short-sighted, especially when Taker easily could have interfered in the match, costing Reigns a victory or forcing a disqualification, leaving the question of Roman vs. Strowman unanswered while giving Reigns a clear, purposeful direction for Mania. It wouldn’t have been out of character for Taker, either, given the months he spent punching Brock Lesnar in the dick just a couple of feuds ago, and the fact he owes Roman for throwing him out of the Rumble match from behind.
Instead, we likely get Undertaker showing up after the moment that would have made the most sense for him to do so. Strowman now has a loss to Reigns well before a major event like SummerSlam where it would have been most effective once revisited. Reigns is so overprotected that RAW can’t even bother implying that Strowman might have had a chance to defeat him any longer than they already have, so instead they just let Reigns try all his big moves a second time and succeed on those attempts. The Mania match is set either way, but the shortsighted way they got to it by having Strowman take an L now due to hubris isn’t going to do any of these three any favors. Mick Foley wonders why SmackDown gets love RAW does not: illogical payoffs like this one are a good place to start finding the answers.
- Sorry, Kevin Owens’ fans. Goldberg defeated him even faster than he took out Brock Lesnar, with a little help from Chris Jericho.
- Goldberg then celebrated his Universal Championship victory with a Make A Wish kid.
- Here’s Goldberg’s first promo as Universal champ.
- Elsewhere on the Fastlane card, Samoa Joe’s pay-per-view debut went well, as he got Sami Zayn to pass out in the Coquina Clutch despite Zayn’s best efforts to fight off the imposing Joe.
- By the way, Samoa Joe has a big fan in the Rock, who says that someday we’ll refer to Joe as “WWE World Champ.”
- The Club retained their titles against Enzo and Cass with what I like to think of as some Revival-esque rule-bending more so than any explicit cheating.
- Sasha Banks finally beat Nia Jax, but in a way that worked for both competitors. Banks saw an opening while Jax casually strolled around the ring dishing out punishment, so now she scored a win while Jax has an excuse to trade in deliberate pacing for nonstop punishment.
- Neville defeated Jack Gallagher to retain the Cruiserweight Championship in what very well might have been the match of the night.
- Geno Mrosko has the full reaction to Fastlane, which was a middling episode of RAW for the most part. The section on how WWE is screwing up Bayley’s character is required reading.
- There is much more than just Fastlane to watch this week in wrestling.
- Shaq says he’s back to talking to WWE about wrestling Big Show at Mania, which might be why Rusev got tossed around so much on Sunday.
- Lita made a surprise return to the ring on the indies and had a Twist of Fate queued up for nearly everyone she saw.
- Dana Brooke wasn’t just briefly on Fastlane, but she also competed in the Arnold Classic, and there is video.