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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Something SmackDown Live has done well since the brand split is to blur the lines between its mid-card and main event. It hasn’t diluted the main event scene so much as helped bolster the mid-card: the Intercontinental Championship and those feuding for it got real time to shine, performers like Dean Ambrose went from WWE World Championship matches to IC bouts, and guys like Baron Corbin who started out in the mid found their way into the main when necessary. All of it was believable given how well those performers (and the titles) were treated week-to-week.
RAW has recently been able to achieve a similar effect with Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, not showing up for promos, segments, or anything. RAW can showcase their mid-card more, and devote more time to stories featuring talents we already consider main event performers such as Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and Samoa Joe. Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns are feuding about the Universal Championship, sort of, in the sense that their feud spawned out of an earlier spat surrounding it, and the winner might eventually get to face Lesnar for the belt. That feud is about more than that, though, as these two hate each other and won’t stop until the other is destroyed. And we get time to make that both obvious and enjoyable.
The Intercontinental Championship was the focus of RAW’s main event on Monday, with Balor, Miz, and Rollins vying to become the number one contender. That’s a former Universal Champion and two former WWE champs going for the belt held by someone who is also a former WWE champ. That match split off into three separate feuds — Miz vs. Ambrose for the strap, Balor vs. Wyatt for demon supremacy, and Rollins vs. Joe continuing their feud — and we managed all of that while also building on the RAW Tag Team Championship feud and showcasing the entire RAW women’s division in an extended opening promo and follow-up tag match.
Brock Lesnar being around isn’t a bad thing, but his absence is a boon to these times in between the major events. RAW has time to play with the rest of their performers, time to build them up and tell stories we care about, and to spend time telling those stories without necessarily attaching a championship to them. That’s all good news, and even though the payoff for some of it will inevitably be a match against Brock, the vanishing act makes sense in the present.
- The Miz won the aforementioned triple threat main with some help from interference by Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt, but to give him a little bit of credit, it’s not like he had lost earlier in the super competitive match.
- RAW wasn’t perfect, but it was the reset that the brand needed following the Superstar Shakeup.
- WWE announced that Braun Strowman suffered a torn rotator cuff in his match against Roman Reigns, but [spoilers ahead?] that’s likely meant to just be to build toward an ambulance match between the two down the road.
- This one Cagesider used the Godzilla effect to explain Braun Strowman.
- And this Cagesider explained how the Roman Reigns rage has gone too far.
- Braun Strowman’s father was apparently the Babe Ruth of slow-pitch softball.
- Kevin Owens explained how he lost the United States Championship to Chris Jericho at Payback. It all makes so much sense now!
- Let’s overanalyze Chris Jericho’s schedule.
- This Tyler Breeze cosplayer refused to break character, even when Cesaro showed up at his house.
- Billy Corgan was pushed out of Impact, but he’s reportedly back in the wrestling business with the purchase of the NWA.
- Paste matched Game of Thrones characters with their pro wrestling archetypes.
- ESPN’s latest entry on the rules of getting over involves the need for wrestlers to have an identifiable weakness.