McGuire’s Mondays: Overthink Monday – WWE Clash at the Castle edition

By Colin McGuire, Staffer

Scheduling premium live events for Saturdays sure do change things if you have a Monday column. In is a full extra day to think, rethink, and overthink whatever happened during that three-to-four hour block of pro wrestling. Out is the shoot-from-the-hip, immediate reaction that is typically deemed useless by the time Raw kicks off only a handful of hours after something like this publishes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is probably still up for debate.

Either way, we are 48 hours removed from WWE’s Clash at the Castle. And a lot happened (or didn’t happen) that deserves some attention. So, here’s an Overthink Mondays – Clash at the Castle edition. Because someone needs to console those Glasgow fans in earnest after spending all that money just to see their hero be the victim of another screw job. And speaking of that …


No wonder it took the guy so long to re-sign with the company that continuously books him to lose in his neck of the woods in high profile title matches. I kid (or do I?), but there is something to be said for giving a babyface a crowd-pleasing win every once in a while without having to make sure a 93-month story precedes the payoff. Oddly, the decision to keep the belt away from McIntyre made me think that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or, well, that applies to the end results, at least.

Consider: If Vince McMahon was still at the helm of the operation, chances are McIntyre still would have walked away empty-handed because of Vince’s infamous rule to make people look like losers in front of their brethren in their hometowns. Now, with Paul Levesque leading the way, Drew is still a loser, but for a different reason – the vaunted “long-term storytelling” that a section of pro wrestling fans love to both mock and invest in simultaneously. Great. So, when Clash at the Castle 2031 returns to Glasgow, McIntyre can finally pay this loss off by beating a CM Punk that’s had four operations on each of his biceps and triceps by then.

It’s frustrating. Even Cody Rhodes’ victory at WrestleMania, finishing his story against Roman Reigns, fell a little flat for me. By that point, the outcome was so predictable that the juice behind the payoff was never going to measure up to if he pulled off the win a year prior. There’s taking your time with a story and then there’s taking your time with a story for taking time’s sake and under Levesque, I’m starting to think the latter is more prevalent than some of us previously thought. It’s a shame, too, because the roof would have popped off the OVO Hydro had Drew finished this chapter of his saga.


I wrote this a few weeks ago in my live Smackdown review elsewhere: Jade Cargill seems unhappy. I don’t know what it is. And perhaps my read on people I’ll never personally know on any level is (shockingly!) off, but anymore, when she’s out there with Bianca Belair, even as they were the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions … something didn’t/doesn’t feel right about her. Forget the rope botch from Saturday – those ropes clearly woke up and chose violence Saturday morning, so let’s not get carried away with that misstep – and let’s say a prayer of thanks for Shayna Baszler, who metaphorically (or, perhaps, in reality) said, “That’s enough,” and grabbed a choke hold on Cargill to settle things down after a series of miscues; the former AEW TBS Champion doesn’t seem content in her role with WWE.

Maybe it’s because she’s probably a better heel and WWE is forcing her as a babyface. Maybe it’s because she feels marginalized as only one-half of a tag team. Maybe it’s because the booking days of her being a dominant force appear to be gone for good. Whatever it is, I think we’re growing dangerously close to the conversations that start with something along the lines of, “Did WWE fumble Jade Cargill?” Yes, I hate that phrase, too, so my sincerest apologies for using it, but you get the point. From the Levesque comment that noted how she needed more training a bunch of months ago, to the delay in finally seeing her step into a WWE ring that wasn’t hosting the Royal Rumble, Cargill feels out of place. And her demeanor only furthers that narrative.

Now that she’s not a tag champ with Belair, what’s next? Her tag team felt like it was thrown together as a means to get Cargill ring time without asking her to do too much. Does the loss over the weekend mean that’s it for the former champs? We all know WWE would probably like to have Belair back near the top of the card as a singles wrestler; if that happens, where does Cargill go? These are uncertain times for the star; here’s hoping she comes out of it on the other side for the better.


Yeah, I don’t know about the Cody run as Undisputed WWE Champion. Don’t get me wrong. He still has the crowds, the kids love him, the gates are still record-breaking … the list goes on and on. By most every measurable metric, it’s working. I can’t dispute that. But I can’t get up for any of these programs he’s been working since WrestleMania. Logan Paul did an admirable job. AJ Styles is one of the best wrestlers of his generation and he’s on one of his better runs in WWE currently, especially after all the miles on his body. But something isn’t clicking for me.

The finish to Saturday’s “I Quit” match only cemented that feeling. I suppose if a pissed off, hulked-up dude was wielding a set of steps over my head as I was handcuffed to a ring rope, I’d quit, too, but the conclusion to the Cody/Styles match left something to be desired for me. Even worse is the tease that Solo Sikoa might be next in line for a shot at Cody’s title, which at this point, feels humorous because Sikoa is something like 1-839,217 in singles matches since beating John Cena in Saudi Arabia last year. Even after Cody presumably gets through him, if Randy Orton is the one waiting for Cody at SummerSlam in Cleveland …

… meh?

I’m rooting for all of it to work, but if you start with Roman Reigns, who built so much equity in both that belt and his status as the company’s top guy and then work your way back down through the card, I guess everything is going to feel like it’s lacking in some way, shape or form. Both the Tribal Chief and The Final Boss can’t come back soon enough.


Piper Niven, thanks for playing. See you next year around this time?

After losing to Bayley on Saturday, it’s hard not to wonder what’s next for Chelsea Green’s firecracker. WWE oftentimes likes to build up a star or two for a specific show taking place in a specific part of the world (Mansoor!), but then, after the circus has left town and moves on to the next city, said star is back to watching the weekly TV shows from behind the curtain (Mansoor!). Will Piper Niven face that same fate now that she was brought out for the big spot in her home country?

I hope not. If nothing else, Niven showed that she could hold her own against one of WWE’s biggest stars, both in the ring and on the mic. Adding Green to that mix only made the proceedings that much more fun … why not run it back at Money In The Bank? Even if Niven loses, a second title match could solidify her as a player near the top of the women’s card on Smackdown. Plus, booking a rematch this quickly would help her cause when it comes to bucking the perception that she was just someone used for a handful of weeks as an attraction tied more to geolocation than to actual story.

If this really is a new era, do right by Niven, Triple H. She did right by you this weekend.


I can’t be the only one to see this and wonder about it: With these international PLEs taking place on Saturday – and showcasing a mere five or six matches – while the Smackdown from the day/night before emanates from the same locale, are we getting segments and/or matches the night before on Smackdown that would typically be thrown onto the PLE under a different leadership group? Case in point: Solo Sikoa vs. Kevin Owens felt like it could have belonged on a PLE card, but instead, we had it as Smackdown’s main event. The same could even be said for the Grayson Walker Effect that ostensibly set up the next tag title match for Theory and Waller last Friday on Smackdown, too.

These are things that I can’t help but think would be on the actual PLE under a different regime. In some ways, relegating the segments to Fridays should help everything involved – it presumably raises the profile of the Smackdown episode all while keeping the PLE to a runtime under six hours – but for some reason, the move has only downgraded what we see develop on Smackdown. Owens vs. Sikoa, for instance, is the best example of that. On a PLE, the match would feel big. On a Smackdown it just felt … blah.

That’s a problem for someone like Sikoa, who is in need of a spark as the leader of The Bloodline Wolfpack 2.0. How can he gain the credibility he needs if he’s relegated to wrestling a match with two commercial breaks splitting up the action the night before The Main Attraction? I understand wanting to cut down the matches on the PLEs because things most definitely got out of hand during the latter days of the McMahon era, but has Levesque and his regime overcorrected the issue? In other words, maybe we don’t need a 17-minute mid-card match in favor of keeping the number of bouts on any given PLE under six?

Or, then again, maybe I’m just overthinking things. It is an Overthink Monday, after all.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Jade Cargill being allowed to leave AEW was bashed here (by the usual “OMG EVERYTHING AEW IS BAD!” sad people) and elsewhere, but again, she never felt “good enough” in the ring to a lot of wrestling fans, myself included.
    I do believe she tried her ass off in AEW, and tried when she first got to WWE, but either she’s frustrated because she just can’t “get it”, and knows it, or her ego grew too much and caused her to believe a pretty belt in a pro wrestling company actually means she’s really good.
    I hope it works out for her, but I hate to say I told you so……

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