The Wrap Up: Jan 16-22


Hello, fellow Cagesiders. Another week gone, another week full of useless, pointless wrestling news. None of this matters! NONE OF IT! But goddamn if it's not a pleasant distraction to this dumpster fire we call life. Also, shoutsout to Geno and his Chicago Bears for getting the chance to watch Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lose in the playoffs.


Alright, onto the boots and panties...



One time I had this job. It was a decent job at first, I guess, but eventually I grew to not really like it. Mostly because I showed up to work and they had me doing pointless tasks or nothing at all. But I stuck around. Then the bosses started firing people. Like, a LOT of people. And when asked why they were firing SO. MANY. PEOPLE. the bosses said, "budget cuts." Which is, whatever, you know, hashtag capitalism. What made it weird, though, is the company was making a lot of money. Like, more than ever. But budget cuts was the reason even if no one believed it.

Anyway, like I said, I didn't really like the job anymore and since they were firing folks because they apparently couldn't pay them, I thought I'd offer them a kindness and said, "Hey! Y'all wanna save money, I don't wanna be here anymore, let's solve two problems with one solution: I know I'm under contract but I wanna quit." Win/win, right?

Well, if you're Mustafa Ali and WWE, YOU'RE FUCKING WRONG.

Ali asked his his release and the most recent reports are WWE will not grant it. The logic here is baffling. On one hand, WWE obviously doesn't know what to do with Ali. They've proven that time and time again. On the other hand, they don't want to lose him? It's like that toddler who isn't playing with one of his toys and another kid walks up and picks it up only to have the toddler get all pissy and take it away from him.

There are rumors any idea was pitched for him which he didn't like which led to an argument. Which wouldn't fucking surprise me, because he has been criminally underused for most of his WWE run including the most recent RETRIBUTION angle which was hot dogshit. And even so, Ali managed to get something out of it. Him correcting Charly Caruso on the pronunciation of his name and cooly demanding respect be put on it is just some choice heel work. And as other Cagesiders have pointed out, he can also play a whitehot babyface. DAT SIZE DOE. He's a decently sized man which means he doesn't give Vince all the boners musclemen historically have given him.

My hope is Ali sandbags the shit out of everything they give him until they finally do release him.

  • In a "is it a work or shoot," it was reported Cody Rhodes wasn't under an AEW contract which led to all sorts of talk of him showing up at the Royal Rumble after it was also reported WWE wasn't averse to opening the Forbidden Door. Instead, Cody came out on Dynamite and cut a fire ass promo and now we have a WrestleMania X-style unification ladder match between him and Sammy Guevara.


  • Lita almost wrestled Britt Baker. That would have been kinda dope, yeah? Or not? I dunno, I don't feel strongly either way. Convince me it'd be awesome or it would have sucked.
  • Speaking of the AEW women's division, Kairi Sane might show up. Now THAT would be dope af, no need to convince me of that one.
  • Sheamus is bad luck. Speaking of bad luck and the Irish, remember when Sheamus' finisher was a reference to drinking too much whiskey and not being able to get a boner? The PG Era was weirdly inconsistent.


Finn Balor stands as an example. Here is a guy who was at the center of the HOTTEST angle in wrestling in the mid-2010s, the Bullet Club. Good look, GREAT fucking wrestler so combined with his popularity, he was an obvious choice for WWE to sign. Here we are, seven years later and Balor has been relegated to the "Jeff Hardy role" where he will simply be used to put over other talent and make them look good.

For every Stone Cold, for every Rock, for every Cena, there's a Balor or an Ali or hell, even a Cody Rhodes. WWE is NOT the guaranteed star-making machine some paint it out to be. Hell, I'd argue they didn't even MAKE Austin OR The Rock, but simply allowed them to cultivate and figure out their characters. WWE was at a point where they were willing to try anything not to just beat WCW but to survive.

Balor was a ready-made star... hell, he was ALREADY a star now he's a glorified JTTS. It reminds me of Bam Bam Bigelow. This was a near-400 lbs man who could do cartwheels with FIRE TATTOOED ON HIS FUCKING SKULL and WWE managed to not make him a star. Granted, he got Kliq'd pretty hard, but you'd think he'd eventually rise to the top. But nah, Vince knows best and so if he doesn't think you will make money, well goddamn you ain't gonna make money.

So we'll see The Demon jobbing to Bron Breakker at Survivor Series, I'm sure.


Seriously, y'all fucked THIS up? Also, that dong outline is gnarly.

  • Speaking of ol' Jeffrey Nero Hardy, him and brother Matt have signed up for some indie dates in March. I'm not sure the exact details of his WWE release, but I hope and hope and hope Jeff is doing well and taking care of himself. That's all I gotta say about that.
  • The Elimination Chamber is happening in Saudi Arabia this year. There was some talk they'd change the name, because, y'know, human rights and the last thing WWE wants to do is draw attention to the fact they're in bed with country accused of and known for killing journalists and criminalizing homosexuality and suppressing women's rights and... well, how much time ya got?
  • Sami Zayne has re-signed with WWE. I have the same opinion of this I had when Kevin Owens re-signed which is good for them, I hope he gets fucking paid. However, it sucks because I really don't fuck with WWE right now which means I won't be seeing Zayne wrestle.
  • I don't give a fuck about Summer Rae, but her troll job is top notch.


    WALTER has been wrecking shop over in NXT UK for a while now so it was only a matter of time he showed up stateside to show the more casual stateside fan what he's all about. Unfortunately, those fans will never see WALTER. Instead, they get GUNTHER.

    In fact, they almost got Gunther Stark. Which, up until two weeks ago, was mostly about a Nazi and NOT about a WWE Superstar.

    More that middle result than the top or bottom, for sure. Anyway, beyond the idiocy of changing a wrestler's name FOR NO REASON, it's baffling how no one thought to Google the name JUST IN CASE. I guess that really isn't needed when you have dumbass names like Bron Breakker like anyone else on the fucking planet would ever be named that but Gunther Stark is more decidedly ordinary.

    I saw a lot of Gunther from Friends jokes and memes on WRESTLING TWITTER­™ and this situation does remind me of Friends but in a different way. It's the epsiode where Joey decides to adopt a stage name since Tribbiani doesn't have that sizzle and pop he's looking for. And so Joey being short for Joseph, Chandler jokingly suggests Joseph Stalin much to Joey's delight. He later finds out about everyone's favorite Russian dictator and is surprised Chandler, as smart as he was, didn't know his history.

    I'm not saying this original Gunther Stark piece of shit was as notable as Stalin, but a SIMPLE Google search would have revealed that, YES, there was a Nazi with that name and this Nazi was a military commander and well-known enough to show up in search results.

    Some folks were complaining, "Oh, so you can't have a traditional German name because chances are there was some Nazi with the same name blah blah blah." Look, there's a difference between some Joe Fritzblow who was alive in 1940 and was down with Hitler who no one remembers because he was a fucking nobody and someone who actively participated in the Nazi war effort and was of some repute. I wish we knew the name of every single Nazi ever alive so I could either piss on their graves or punch them in their dicksucker but we just don't have the technology for that yet.

    So until then, just fucking Google it.
    • ROH IS BACK, BAY BAY~! There was some hesitancy when ROH announced they would go on "hiatus" and come back for the traditional WM-weekend Supercard of Honor show. Final Battle 2021 certainly seemed like a funeral at times. But ROH has kept itself in the news with Jonathan Gresham defending the ROH World Title at several different shows plus an ROH faction invading Impact. They did, in fact, announce Supercard of Honor a couple weeks back and now we have a main event. Gresham was originally supposed to challenge for the ROH title against champ Bandido but the masked man caught that shit and instead Gresham defeated Jay Lethal for the belt. April 1, we get the unification bout.
    • Roman Reigns is the longest reigning Universal Champion. That's kewl.
    • Rumors are WWE isn't happy with NXT 2.0 so far. Man, these motherfuckers really are that stupid, aren't they? Look, I don't expect a John Cena-shirt wearing 7yo kid to have the same appreciation for ring psychology as me, but I also understand Raw and Smackdown try to cater to a more "general" audience. NXT used to be the pro wrestling fix for that segment of the WWE audience. Now it's just another show that feels like the other two except with folks most people don't recognize.

    Alright, little babies, that's about it for me. I may seem more angry at WWE this week than normal but that's really because they were on some boolchit this week. Anyway, I'll see you next Sunday unless the good Lord calls me home or I eat too much fried chicken and slip into a KFComa.

    The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.