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.
* * *
When RAW and SmackDown split into separate brands, there was a clear star power disparity. RAW picked up most of the already established wrestlers in WWE, while SmackDown grabbed a few major talents like John Cena, Becky Lynch, and AJ Styles, with most of the rest of the roster filled with younger wrestlers, misused wrestlers, and those who simply hadn’t received a full opportunity yet. Even at the time, this wasn’t necessarily a negative: SmackDown and RAW both had clear goals in mind, and SmackDown’s was to be a show of opportunity. With Cena leaving to film a movie, though, and his list of opponents only so large given everything he does is such a huge deal at this stage of his career, there was a real void that SmackDown needed to fill. And Shinsuke Nakamura fills it.
The blue brand could not have been any less subtle about their intentions when they had Nakamura interrupt the Miz while Miz, dressed as Cena, was explaining that Cena was going away from SmackDown for a lengthy time. Nakamura is on WWE’s main roster, and was immediately presented as a main event talent by having him show up in front of a post-Mania crowd that would lose themselves in his entrance and the event itself, and during a segment where a former (and maybe future) WWE World Champion was making fun of WWE’s most significant wrestler, Cena.
Combine this with AJ Styles making the case for his staying on SmackDown, Randy Orton now the WWE World Champion, and Miz moving himself back to main event status with his post-draft performance, and Shinsuke Nakamura has plenty of significant talent to strut his stuff against. Maybe SmackDown will be able to pick up Sami Zayn in next week’s Superstar Shakeup, giving us another opportunity to watch those two work their magic in a WWE ring. And that’s not even counting the inevitable showdown of Cena and Nakamura, which is the kind of match that would main event any show in the world.
Yeah, SmackDown is the place for Nakamura. And that will make SmackDown must-watch for plenty of fans worldwide.
- SmackDown’s post-Mania episode was full of its own fun and debuts.
- Tye Dillinger debuted the moment Curt Hawkins said the number “10” so maybe people on WWE television just weren’t saying that number enough.
- We had the return of Erick Rowan to the Wyatt Family, but Luke Harper has not yet returned. And considering he kicked Rowan in the face to save Randy Orton during a tag match, he’s probably not coming back, either.
- You can watch Nakamura’s debut over and over again if you’d like to spend your Wednesday that way. Hey, no judgment here.
- Wednesday’s rumors are very Brock Lesnar-centric, and involve both his schedule and now that of the Universal Championship.
- Champions might be able to switch brands during the Superstar Shakeup, but honestly, no one knows for sure. Shane McMahon on a live mic is not always the most coherent thing going.
- If you don’t stop encouraging Matt Hardy to be BROKEN, he very well might break.
- Naomi successfully defended the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss, and it’s fair to wonder if the latter is on her way to RAW next week. Perhaps with one of RAW’s notable women superstars coming over in return?
- Austin Aries earned another chance at Neville’s Cruiserweight title, and this time he should really make sure not to get thumbed in the eye.
- One Cagesider has five ideas for trades at the Superstar Shakeup.
- John Cena’s next movie will keep him out until June, and that’s assuming he shows right back up after filming.
- AJ Lee’s book is out, it’s great, and it’s not entirely about wrestling, either.
- Mick Foley says he’s done talking about WWE while he’s out, but he’s not fooling anyone. He’ll be writing Facebook posts annoyed at one thing or another in no time.
- The Rock did commentary over The Scorpion King and it’s a whole lot of fun.
- Not everyone is impressed with Asuka’s heel turn at NXT TakeOver: Orlando.