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Kurt Angle Talks New Deal, TNA, and Vince McMahon Conversation

October 01, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Kurt Angle is pro wrestling’s hottest free agent. The former WWE and TNA star is on the free market. Angle talked recently about his upcoming plans, talks with Vince McMahon, and more in an interesting interview.

The Olympic gold medalist hasn’t played his cards too close in that he has said on several occasions that he would like to close out his career in

the WWE. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be in the current plans as he remains unsigned. Yet according to Angle whether he signs or not, he has recently repaired a bridge with Vince McMahon.

“The only person that I really spoke my piece with, that I had a lot to do with in the past, and the problems I had and the way I left the company, I was able to speak my piece with Vince, and I’m happy with that. As long as Vince and I don’t have any issues, I’m okay with that. What I found out is that Triple H is pretty much running the show now. I didn’t know that, I really believed that Vince would always run the show until the day he died, but now they’re in a position as a publicly traded company where you’re not only answering to Vince and Triple H, you’re also answering to the shareholders.

So there’s a lot of decisions they have to make not just for themselves, but for the people that are invested in the company. So it’s a publicly traded company, and there’s people they have to answer to, but I know when I was there, Vince McMahon never had to answer to anyone. He made the final decision regardless, even when they started as a public company. Now things are a little tougher for them to make chancy decisions. The most important thing is that I got to speak to Vince, and speak my piece with him, and I’m happy with that.”

There is a part of me that has a bit of empathy for Kurt. Angle would obviously love to return to the WWE. As a fan I have no doubt in my mind that he can still bring a lot to the table. Yet his reputation and circumstances surrounding his last departure are such that Vince McMahon reportedly has major concerns about bringing Angle back. As a fan I’d love to see him but you certainly can’t blame Vince if he does pass.

Of course Angle isn’t the only free agent in wrestling. His former home TNA is shopping around Impact Wrestling. While there are reports that a deal is imminent, there are also reports that indicate TNA could be in big trouble if they can’t make a deal. Kurt was asked about this and who was communicating the situation to talent.

“Well at the TV’s we just did, Dixie Carter and ‘Big’ John Gaburick sat the talent down and eased their minds a little bit, because I think a lot of the talent were a little bit confused and nervous regarding what was going on. I had a private sit down with Dixie, she reassured me of what was going on, and what her plans were. It was a good meeting, it was a very positive meeting. She just knows that the next deal that they sign really has to help benefit TNA, in every regard.

When it comes down to it, it is about money, and it is also about how you can get promoted on that network. I won’t say that Spike did a bad job, but I will say that Spike could have done better. If it is going to be Spike, and I don’t know, because Dixie really wouldn’t say who it was, they’re going to have to do a better job. I know that that’s where TNA is right now. They’re in a period where they’re budgeting because they don’t have the money from the network to pay for the TV shows. I believe Panda Energy is funding the show right now, so yes, we’re going to have to do TV tapings in the same city 2 or 3 days at a time until we get to the point where we can go live again, and that will be when the TV deal is done.”

Finally, according to Kurt he has a deal. Angle told alternativenation.net that he has signed a deal and is very excited about his new contract. Unfortunately Angle wouldn’t reveal who the lucky suitor is.

“I went with the company that was going to really emphasize what I wanted, and that was a limited wrestling schedule. I would say no more than 40 dates a year, that’s what I wanted, that’s where I feel I am at in my career right now. That’s a lot of the reason, like I said, the company that I’m signing with is a company that really wanted to take care of me, both from a wrestling standpoint and a financial standpoint, and I’m very happy with it.”

Angle also reiterated that he won’t be doing anything until January. He said he won’t be cleared to wrestle until his knee is completely rehabilitated. That would seem to indicate a WWE deal is off of the table as he’d likely have to pass a physical to sign.

Check out the entire interview over at http://www.alternativenation.net/kurt-angle-interview/. It’s a great read.

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Stone Cold Steve Austin Possibly Returning To The WWE

September 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE fans are eagerly anticipating the return of one of its biggest stars. Stone Cold Steve Austin is rumored to be heading back and this news has led to all kinds of speculation regarding the future of the Texas Rattlesnake.

Dave Meltzer broke the news in recent Wrestling Observer Newsletters. While Meltzer isn’t guaranteeing anything, something is definitely in the works between Austin and the WWE.

“The company has told its distributors to go into heavy production of Austin merchandise, so expect him to return to television in some form, or for at least a renewed push of his merchandise.”

Nobody has been able to confirm or reveal anything specific regarding this news. The other interesting tidbit is that the WWE promoted Austin’s podcast on RAW a couple of weeks ago. What is interesting about that is they didn’t promote Chris Jericho’s who ironically had C.O.O. Triple H on for a fascinating two-part episode. The promotion of Austin’s podcast and the new merchandise are certainly not a coincidence.

So what would Steve Austin do in 2014 in the WWE? I think and this is all a guess, I think that Austin comes back as some kind of authority figure. I also think that this all could lead to a big one-off return at WrestleMania 31. There have been rumblings for a while now about Austin wrestling Brock Lesnar at Mania 31. I don’t think it is as crazy an idea as some people think.

I have blogged a few times on the odd relationship between Austin and the WWE. I always found it odd that the WWE haven’t used Austin in recent years other than Tough Enough. Austin is right up there with Hogan as one of the biggest stars in company history. Austin still has the gift of gab, looks great, and can certainly bring some element of entertainment to RAW. Yet for whatever reason he hasn’t been on RAW in years. I never understood it.

Whatever the issues were between he and the WWE it would appear that they are now resolved. I can’t think of a better time to see Austin back in the WWE. The company desperately needs a boost and Austin is the guy to give it to them. Whether this culminates into a match or is just some kind of promotional deal, I am just glad the Texas Rattlesnake is back. We all need him!

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New Randy Savage WWE Documentary Synopsis Released

September 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE are taking another shot at telling the story of the late Macho Man Randy Savage. The WWE will be releasing a brand new video documentary in November on the former champion. A new synopsis reveals some of the details of this highly anticipated set.

This will be the second home video released on the deserving WWE Hall of Fame wrestler in the last several years. The WWE released a DVD on the late champion in 2009 entitled the WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection. The DVD was not a documentary and served as nothing more than a collection of Savage matches and moments from both WWE and WCW. The new video release will instead focus on a 90 minute documentary chronicling Savage’s career. A new synopsis reveals more details about the upcoming release.

OOOOHH YEEAAAH!!! WWE Fans, you have waited long enough!

Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage captivated the sports-entertainment world for over a quarter century. His glistening wardrobe, often-imitated cadence and grandiose style was outshined only by his virtuoso performances in the ring. Macho Man, with his gorgeous leading lady Miss Elizabeth, embodied the raging 80s in WWE and later, compounded his success in WCW.

Now, the complete story of his incredible life can finally be told in Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story. In this 90-minute documentary, get brand new, exclusive commentary from family, friends and his contemporaries as they chronicle his ascent from young baseball phenom through all the pomp and circumstance of his incomparable career. Featuring Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart, Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, DDP, His Brother Lanny ‘The Genius’ Poffo and much more!”

This should certainly be an interesting documentary. Savage and the WWE had a falling out several years ago and there are plenty of urban legends as to why that was. One rumor was that the urban legend would be addressed on this release although I have not seen that confirmed anywhere. Keep in mind that this is a WWE DVD and without Savage around to rebut any inaccuracies, you will be getting their version of Macho Man history here. To the WWE’s credit the last documentary release they produced on Warrior was fair and balanced, yet the Warrior was around to participate in the production.

It will be interesting to see if this home video opens the door for a Hall of Fame induction. The Hall of Fame induction is way overdue as Savage remains the most obvious candidate not inducted into the WWE’s Hall. I would suspect that this home video will be a hot holiday item so maybe the WWE follows the momentum up with a Hall of Fame induction.

Savage tragically passed away in 2011 after suffering a heart attack while driving.

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Fantasy Football Week 4 Sleepers

September 26, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Now that the bye weeks have officially arrived, it is time to identify some sleepers to target either from the waiver wire or your own bench. There are some interesting and unlikely options available that prevent your team from suffering the bye week blues.

Once again I try to go for the not-so obvious players here. I like to find the sleepers that have great matchups, a proven history, and are real bargains you can either find off of the waiver wire, your bench, or in the bargain bin of weekly fantasy games. So with that said here are a few guys that you won’t see at the top of anyone’s Start/Sit list and that is a good thing if you are looking for some sneaky plays.

For consistency purposes I will once again use the ESPN consensus FF rankings as my baseline.

Let’s take a look at how my projected sleepers panned out last week.

I think I did much better last week with my sleeper picks. Now I’ll be the first to admit my tight end recommendations sucked! But, if you listened to my sleepers you wound up using two guys that wound up fifth overall in points at their position. To put Ryan Fitzpatrick’s week into perspective, he finished ahead of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and even Matt Ryan who had a monster game. Bradhsaw is a beast and is no longer a sleeper on anyone’s radar nor should he ever have been. Donald Brown certainly had the opportunity yet I think the Bills are a much better run defense than people give them credit for.

Geno Smith 18
Steve Smith 10
Donald Brown 8
Ryan Fitzpatrick 24 (Fifth overall)
DeSean Jackson 17 (Fifth overall)
Ahmad Bradshaw 13 (12th Overall)
Charles Clay 2
Zach Miller 1

Now that I have some accountability taken, let’s take a look at this week’s sleepers.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills – As long as ESPN continues to bury Fitzpatrick I’ll continue to exploit him as a sleeper. Fitzpatrick is ranked 15th behind Alex Smith and Cam Newton this week. Blasphemy! What is the intangible to this game? Revenge! Fitzpatrick is playing his old team and I love revenge game sleepers (see DeSean Jackson last week). The Bills rank 21st against fantasy QBs (tied for 18th in TDs given up) and were lit up last week at home. They have given up 21, 14, and 18 points a game. I think the situation makes for a beautiful game by Fitzpatrick.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys – Romo is currently ranked #12 in the consensus rankings. Are you kidding me? I can’t think of a better matchup for Romo than the New Orleans Saints at home. The Saints defense is overrated, the Cowboys know Rob Ryan’s tendencies, and the Cowboys will have to score to keep up with New Orleans. Romo averages over 20 points a game against the Saints although to be fair his last game was a clunker in 2013 (the game before that he put up 36.8 points). The Saints are currently ranked 18th against fantasy QBs but have only given up 4 TDs in three games, shutting out the Vikings last week.

Running Backs

Chris Ivory, New York Jets – This is a gut call here. The Detroit Lions have a real good defense this year. I think the loss of Stephen Tulloch could change that. His totals have decreased weekly which bothered me but I do think there that had something to do with defenses and game situations. Calvin Johnson is hurt which means that the Lions could struggle in the air, thus could be a game where the Jets shove the run down their throats. I like Ivory a little bit on Sunday but much better than his 20 ranking.

Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons – I never thought the day would come where S Jax is a sleeper but it’s here. Jackson is ranked #23 which I think is way too low for the former standout RB. I am going on a few things here. One, player history. Jackson averages over 18 points per game against the Vikings. It was light years ago but Jackson even put up 40.6 points in one game. Two, I think the Falcons are going to roll over the Vikings. I think the Falcons are going to keep it on the ground and give Jax some work. Three, I think the Falcons will get some turnovers and start drives in great positions. Four, the Vikes have given up a TD to RBs in each of their last two games.

Wide Receivers

Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys – I am going for a real deep sleeper here. Williams had bust-out potential coming into this year’s draft and has been fairly consistent with the exception of a putrid week 2. I’d like to think that Romo has gotten some of his mojo back and the Cowboys will be airing it out a bit on Sunday. One thing you have to love is that the Saints do not play well on the road. On the road, the Saints have given up a TD in each game and come in ranked 25th overall against WRs. I look for Williams to have a game much better than his 29 ranking.

Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers – This is it Keenan Allen. This is the week you must deliver because the excuse of great defenses doesn’t hold water in week 4. The Chargers play a Jacksonville Jaguars team that is ranked 21st against WRs and ranked as the worst overall against fantasy QBs. Those numbers are a little deceiving as they had one good game and two real bad ones in my opinion. The Jags will be traveling across the country to San Diego to play a Chargers team that is red hot. Allen has been held down by some real good defenses but this week he gets a Jags team that was just torched in Indy for almost 400 yards and four TDs by Andrew Luck. Allen comes in at 17 this week and I think he puts up top ten numbers.

Stevie Johnson, San Francisco 49ers – I had high expectations coming into the season for Johnson. I actually took him with my last pick in the draft. It took a week but he is finally coming around. He has a juicy matchup this week against the overall 30th ranked team against fantasy WRs in the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Johnson put up double digits for the first time last week against an Arizona Cardinals team which isn’t that bad. The Eagles have done a terrific of job of sleeping on QBs early in games this season, thus giving up big numbers to WRs on a consistent basis. I see no reason why that changes this week and Johnson is exactly the kind of receiver that can burn Philly. I think Johnson also burns his 46th overall ranking this week right down to the ground.

Tight Ends

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers – Miller is the 13th ranked TE on this week’s ESPN board and I think that is way too low for this matchup. Miller has had a slow start and the Steelers offense has been inconsistent. But, the Steelers get a Tampa Bay team that is ranked 18th against TEs and 18th against QBs. Lance Moore is supposed to return to the lineup which take some coverage away from Miller and could open up some red zone opportunities. Call it a hunch but I see Miller having a nice day in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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Dana White Blasts Gina Carano For Failed UFC Deal

September 25, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

After telling fans the biggest WMMA Super Fight in history was all but ready to go, Dana White has once again let another one slip away. Gina Carano isn’t coming to the UFC after all and the UFC president isn’t happy about it.

Here we have another case of Dana White teasing fans with a Super Fight that was never going to happen. Whether it was Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre, Silva vs. Jon Jones, and now Gina Carano vs. Ronda Rousey, the big super fights continue to elude the UFC and MMA fans.

Rumors were in the air that a Carano vs. Rousey fight was all but signed and ready to take place on the same card with Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier. Over the last several months White has guaranteed that Carano would be coming to the UFC. White was telling reporters three weeks ago that the deal was done with the exception of one snag! Let’s take a look at some of White’s teases over the last few months.

She’s going to come back when she wants to sign,” Dana was asked about Ronda vs. Gina he replied “I’d do Ronda and Gina.” – April 9, 2014

Yeah it’s complicated, but I think we’re close,” White said. “I think we’re close.” – August 23, 2014

There’s just one more little thing (in the negotiations),” White said. “It’s close, but it’ll be done (before the end of the year).” – September 1, 2014

It’s even more complicated today and it appears that the fight is close…to never taking place. White has now taken to the offensive and is blasting Carano’s management team and Carano for failing to make a deal because you know, it is always everyone else’s fault when the UFC can’t make a deal. White vented to FoxSports.com and revealed that negotiations are no longer taking place.

The hardest human being we’ve ever dealt with and I didn’t see it coming,” White said about trying to sign Carano. “I don’t know, we’ll see how these things play out. Just incredibly difficult. We’ve dealt with (Brock) Lesnar, Tito (Ortiz), Chuck (Liddell) was f–king king of the world, Ronda Rousey, we’ve pretty much done deals with everyone on Earth and she is the hardest f–king athlete we have ever dealt with.

It is typical Dana White to play the victim card. At some point the UFC president and the organization need to take responsibility for failing to pull off these super fights. I think it is pretty clear that the fighters realize the leverage they have in negotiating these fights and the UFC isn’t willing to ante up. White is the first person to blast boxing for not making Pac vs. Mayweather. White on the other hand has failed to close the deal on several big fights.

White isn’t ready yet to throw Gina completely under the bus. White is putting all of the blame squarely at the feet of her management.

The problem is she allows herself to be handled by these Hollywood f–king idiots. It’s absolutely crazy. We’ve had all the biggest superstars in the world.

If you didn’t know any better you’d think that Dana was talking about negotiating with Fedor.

You have also had all of the biggest superstars in the world who probably didn’t have the means to have the representation that Carano has. How is it that Carano’s “f-cking idiot” managers can’t make a deal with the UFC but can make deals with billion dollar movie studios? Carano just signed for two movies and has become a real action player in Hollywood yet her managers are the idiots while he is left with no super fight.

White does him no favors when he tells fans and media that negotiations or close or guarantees a fight that isn’t signed. White is giving all of the leverage away at that point. I think fans have caught on but he really needs to keep his mouth shut on super fights until they are signed.

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Rumored WWE Hell in a Cell 2014 Card and Matches

September 25, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Early indications following WWE Night of Champions is that Hell in a Cell would see a Triple Threat match in the main-event. A new report indicates a different direction and a card that makes little to no sense coming out of N.O.C.

Dave Meltzer broke the story on his latest F4WOnline.com podcast. Meltzer reports something of a tournament-style card to headline Hell in a Cell. According to the Meltz, John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose will likely open up the special event. The winner of the match would then wrestle Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell later that night while the loser would wrestle Randy Orton in a different Hell in a Cell match.

Come again?

My reaction is probably the same as yours. That card makes very little sense to me. Now it should be noted that Meltzer reports that this card is not finalized, yet these are the current plans on the books. I can only hope that someone has enough sense to change the card otherwise you are looking at another can-miss event which is becoming more of the norm for the WWE in 2014.

Meltzer also reported that Brock Lesnar would not be on the card, thus no WWE championship match. This appears to be a company choice as there were several reports out a few weeks back that indicated the WWE could book Lesnar for additional dates outside of his current limited agreement. The finish to Cena vs. Lesnar at N.O.C. makes even less sense with Lesnar off of the show and this current card on the books.

I think the WWE are going to be playing with some fire if they go through with the Ambrose vs. Cena match. Ambrose has a ton of heat right now with a lot of momentum going in his direction. Cena will get booed unmercifully against Ambrose at this point. Furthermore, the logical finish here is Cena going over since he is scheduled to remain in WWE title contention. So they aren’t going to book Cena to lose unless they have a change of plans and put Ambrose in that spot. Which coincidentally I think they should do, but can’t imagine them doing.

Poor Randy Orton. Randy Orton is now the loser’s winner. This makes no sense to me at all. The only scenario I can come up with that makes any sense would be to book a tag team match with Ambrose and Cena vs. Orton and Rollins in a Hell in a Cell Match. Otherwise I can’t comprehend how any of this makes sense, especially with Brock getting the night off.

I understand that the WWE has their hands tied due to injuries and Lesnar’s schedule (although they can reportedly add dates). That’s understandable. That doesn’t defend throwing a card together that makes very little sense. I have to think they can do better than that.

I think going with an Ambrose vs. Rollins Hell in a Cell headliner right off the bat with the MITB contract at stake is probably the best scenario. For starters you are now giving fans the perception that Rollins and Ambrose are main-event players. Two, it puts a heavy importance on their feud. Three, it gives Rollins and Ambrose the time needed to deliver an all-time classic and I have no doubt in my mind that they would. It’s a much better investment in the future than what is currently in planning.

Regardless, we should know by Monday night which direction the company will go at Hell in a Cell. Let’s just hope that the weekend allows for some more creativity and a logical resolution come Monday night.

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Ranking Brock Lesnar’s WWE Matches 2012-14

September 24, 2014 By: Category: lists, slider, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Brock Lesnar has been unleashed nine times since returning to the WWE at Extreme Rules 2012. Now that the sample size has increased, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the former UFC champion’s body of work and see where his matches rank. Today we countdown the best of Brock’s second tour of duty!

I have to say that I think Brock has far exceeded any in-ring expectations placed on him since returning. Many presumed that Brock would “dog” it and go through the motions to get his pay day. That has not been the case at all. Brock has wrestled every match like it was his last and has put together one of the most impressive string of bouts ever seen from a guy who missed a decade in a WWE ring.

I thought it would be fun to look back at Brock’s current run and rank his top matches. As always, this list is subjective and it is simply a matter of my opinion. My tastes likely vary from yours so we won’t agree on everything. If you think I missed out on one, let me know and leave me a comment.

With that said, let’s take a look at the best from the beast incarnate starting at the top.

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena No Holds Barred Match (Extreme Rules 2012) - Two plus years later and this match still holds up today. I would dare say that this may be Cena’s greatest WWE match. I don’t know if it was the hype, the intrigue, or just the excitement of seeing Brock back but this worked on every level. The match played out exactly as you’d expect a match between a former UFC fighter against an experienced WWE wrestler. It was one of the most brutal matches of either man’s careers and blew away Brock’s other eight matches. I know Cena won and I know that tarnished the match for some, but for me it doesn’t get any better than this 2012 classic.

Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk No DQ Match (SummerSlam 2013) - I don’t think that this match gets the due it deserves. I even went back and forth briefly after watching it again as to whether this was number one or the Extreme Rules match. The match told a great story and Punk and Brock clicked immediately. Punk going submission for submission with Brock was something different as Punk (unlike Cena and Hunter) had a repertoire of submission moves he was known for. I am not a big Punk fan but he was fantastic here. The WWE talent reportedly gave these two a standing ovation when they got to the back, which was well deserved.

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H NHB Match (WrestleMania 29) - This was a lot like the Undertaker match in that they worked a slower, more physical style but it was more entertaining in my opinion. They spent the early part of the match outside of the ring. Lesnar dominated the mid part of the match. Lesnar knocked Shawn Michaels off the apron with an elbow at one point. Michaels came back at him and took an F5. Brock kicked out of a Pedigree right after. Hunter brought the sledgehammer in the ring. Lesnar F5’d him and Hunter kicked out. Lesnar had a bloody lip at this point. Brock looked jacked by the way. The match had a similar psychology to The Undertaker vs. Triple H matches with Brock playing the part of Trips. Triple H finally regained the advantage and slammed a chair into Lesnar’s arm twice. Triple H got the kimura. Heyman tried to interfere but got kicked by Michaels. Brock finally powered his way out but wound up taking a DDT into the steel steps. Hunter nailed Brock in the head with the sledgehammer. Trips followed up with a Pedigree onto the steps for the three count.

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (Night of Champions 2014) - This was a fun match that probably isn’t getting as much credit as it should. They played off of their SummerSlam match with Cena getting more offense in than previously. Why this changed who knows? It wasn’t quite the back and forth match that their Extreme Rules match was but it was entertaining nonetheless. Seth Rollins attacked Cena giving Brock the DQ win. The fans were into it, I was into it, and this was a real fun match.

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (SummerSlam 2012) - This was Lesnar’s second match back and didn’t have nearly the anticipation that the first one did. It was more or less a glorified squash although Hunter certainly got his offense in. I just don’t think fans cared about seeing Hunter as a babyface at that point against Brock. Hunter played up Brock’s previous injuries and worked on Brock’s stomach but the match was all about Brock breaking Hunter’s arm. Lesnar gets his first win here and even got to kick out of the pedigree to boot.

Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show (Royal Rumble 2014) - There wasn’t a whole lot to this match. This one was a good old fashioned squash match. The match was wrestled in the same dominant way that the Lesnar vs. Cena match was wrestled except this one was shorter and to the point. This is exactly how it should have been and the match was short enough that fans were into it from start to finish. It’s probably Lesnar’s least memorable match but one of his most entertaining in my opinion.

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H Steel Cage Match (Extreme Rules 2013) - Hunter brutalized Lesnar’s knee with the chair. The announcers certainly went out of their way to give Lesnar sympathy, setting up the babyface turn. Heyman came into the cage at one point and was pedigreed. Hunter pedigreed Brock immediately thereafter who kicked out at 2 ½ for a near finish. Hunter got his hands on a sledgehammer and went to use it before Heyman gave Triple H a low blow. Lesnar wound up using the sledgehammer on Triple H and KO’ing him. Lesnar than F5’d Triple H and pinned him. It wasn’t a bad match but highly disappointing in regards to how it was built up. It was promoted as an “old school” cage match which to me meant blood and brutality. Was it brutal? Maybe, but it certainly wasn’t bloody.

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 30) - The end of the streak! Brock worked the leg for most of the match to the dismay of a bored Superdome. The match had a slow, methodical, old school pace. Taker later kicked out of the F5 and Lesnar broke Hell’s Gate twice. Nobody in the crowd believed Lesnar was winning. The match didn’t have the same emotion from the crowd as the last several Taker Mania matches which made the finish here even more memorable. Lesnar pinned Taker after reversing a tombstone attempt into a third F5 and the crowd was stunned silent. The reaction from the crowd however was one of the best reactions I have ever seen in modern day wrestling.

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (SummerSlam 2014) - It is hard to rank a one-sided 20 minute+ squash match higher than any of the other matches on this list. I certainly can appreciate what they were trying to do but let’s face it. In hindsight the match was a waste of time and made no sense. This was a different match. The booking of Lesnar was brilliant and the match will probably age better than you think. I just can’t imagine Lesnar having any more matches on this run as dull as this one. It was certainly intense yet not very entertaining at all.

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Blake Bortles Or Teddy Bridgewater On the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

September 23, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Fantasy Football’s week 4 waiver wire offers up yet another opportunity and dilemma. Two starting QBs will hit the wire this week and whether you have a QB on bye or need a boost, both are appealing. But which of these two rookies do you hedge your bets on?

The waiver wire is a funny thing. It’s easy to tell you to go out and get this guy because he is a starter. Yet what casual players don’t realize is that when you are investing a pick, a spot, or money on a player you are also giving up a pick, a spot, and bidding money on another. That is why you need to choose your wire picks carefully, especially when you have two guys available at the same position.

Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles could make your life easier or tougher depending upon how badly you need a QB. If you need one, you will be going after one of these two guys. If you don’t, you may take a shot if you want to gamble. I can’t see any scenario where you would take either of these two guys as a starter in a 10-man league. You may have no other choice in deeper leagues. So which do you grab?

Blake Bortles was the third pick in the draft and is regarded by many as a future star in the NFL. He has all of the tools to make for a great franchise QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bortles has been named the starter the rest of the way by the Jags. There is absolutely zero threat to Bortles losing his job in Jacksonville barring an injury.

Teddy Bridgewater slipped a bit in the draft and fell to the Minnesota Vikings with the second pick in the draft. Bridgewater comes from a pro-style offense and is arguably more NFL-ready than Bortles. His mobility and footwork are fantastic and can be a killer if the Vikings utilize the read option. I don’t believe that Bridgewater’s job is as secure as Bortles once Cassel is back from injury.

Bortles has much better talent around him than Bridgwater does. Bortles has a highly underrated group of young wide receivers around him while Bridgewater has Cordarrelle Patterson and nothing else. I would argue that Bridgewater has a much better line yet neither team has any real threat of a running attack (assuming Adrian Peterson doesn’t return). The line in Jacksonville presents a rough situation for Bortles.

While I think Bortles is more talented than Bridgewater, I think Bridgewater is going to put up better fantasy stays. You could see already that Norv Turner has implemented a very run-friendly playbook for Bridgewater. Bridgewater immediately came in and was executing designed runs. My hunch is that Norv will employ a heavy playbook of runs and read options for Bridgewater throughout the season, allowing him the offseason to develop more into a pocket passer.

As far as the schedules go I think that Bridgewater has the easier schedule for the next eight weeks or so while Bortles schedule is a lot tougher throughout the season. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Those rough outings could turn into a lot of garbage time points for Bortles while Bridgewater puts up more conservative numbers.

Again I wouldn’t expect either guy to come in and turn around your fantasy woes. However, I love Bortles upside here. I think Bridgewater will have some big games but teams are going to wise up fast to his run propensity. Bortles on the other hand has a much better receiver corps and is bound to put up a ton of garbage time points this season. I’d highly recommend Bortles over Bridgewater if you are split between the two on the wire.

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WWE Night of Champions 2014 Results and Recap

September 21, 2014 By: Category: slider, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Night of Champions 2014 delivered one of the most entertaining special events in recent months. An unpredictable rematch between John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE world championship and the return of Dean Ambrose highlighted a card which featured very good-great matches from start to finish.

This main-event was a real tough one to predict. The rumor mill swung back and forth almost daily on who was going over. The way the angle played out on the go-home RAW led me to believe that Lesnar was going over. Regardless, it was one of the most unpredictable championship matches the WWE has booked in quite some time.

Brock Lesnar retained the WWE world title via disqualification over John Cena. The match had a real big-time feel to it. Cena took Lesnar off of his feet early with a clothesline and hit the A.A. within the first two minutes of the match. Lesnar quickly recovered. Lesnar hit his first German suplex shortly thereafter. Lesnar went for the kimura several times, all were broken by Cena grabbing the ropes. The announcers pointed out that Lesnar didn’t even attempt a submission at SummerSlam and engineered a new strategy for this match. Cena would hit a flurry of punches from time to time only to be thwarted by Lesnar. Cena hit another A.A. and Lesnar kicked out but followed it up with an STF. The fans were into this match from start to finish. Lesnar reversed the STF into a kimura. Cena again hit another A.A. into an STF. Seth Rollins wound up running in and breaking up the STF. Rollins teased that he was going to cash in his Money in the Bank. He hit a Curb Stomp on Lesnar and before the bell rang he was attacked by Cena. The announcers teased that Lesnar was going to tap to the STF and that Rollins would have beaten Lesnar.

This match was a hundred times more entertaining than their previous bout. Lesnar still dominated at times but Cena fought back and made it more competitive. I really don’t get the finish. I am not sure what the point of having Rollins run in and attack Cena. Logically, shouldn’t he have waited for Cena to win and then attack him? I am not sure where this goes next. Does Cena, Rollins, and Lesnar have a Triple Threat Match at Hell in a Cell? If Cena is paired with Rollins than who gets Lesnar? How does Lesnar react to Rollins? Is this the start of a babyface turn for Brock? RAW will certainly be interesting Monday.

The biggest piece of news going into the show was the absence of Roman Reigns. Reigns underwent emergency surgery over the weekend to treat an incarcerated hernia. The operation could keep Reigns out of action for up to three months, although early prognostications are in the 4-6 week range. Regardless, Reigns was not available for Night of Champions.

Dean Ambrose returned to take on Seth Rollins. With Reigns on the D.L., Seth Rollins issued an open challenge to anyone in the locker room. Dean Ambrose showed up in a taxicab. Ambrose and Rollins brawled. Ambrose chased Rollins into the crowd. Triple H and Stephanie sent security out to break up the match. Ambrose couldn’t be stopped and chased Rollins to the other side of the arena. Ambrose grabbed a chair and went after Rollins with it. Security tackled him and restrained him at that point on Triple H’s orders.

This was fantastic! The scene of Ambrose being hauled away in restraints reminded me of Stone Cold Steve Austin. I think there is a huge opportunity here for Ambrose to step into Reigns spot. As I pointed out in an earlier blog, I’d be real scared if I were Reigns. There is a real good shot that his spot is in jeopardy now that Ambrose is back.

I don’t think I have written about a U.S. title match in years but I had to comment on Sheamus vs. Cesaro. This may have been the best United States title match I have seen in years on a WWE PPV, maybe the best of the decade. These guys had great chemistry and wrestled a match that resembled something closer to a WWE championship main-event. Sheamus won with the Brogue Kick. I know some people will criticize Cesaro losing but the announcers did a real nice job of putting over how hard he fought Sheamus as opposed to goofing on him. You can say what you want about this title but Sheamus has done a tremendous job of adding some credibility to this belt. This could be the result of the WWE losing Reigns and needing to bump someone up to his babyface spot. Regardless, a few more matches like this and you will have a true #2 championship in the WWE as opposed to a low-mid carder belt.

Full WWE Night of Champions 2014 results and winners…
Brock Lesnar retained the WWE title defeating John Cena via DQ
AJ Lee defeated Paige and Nikki Bella to regain the WWE Divas title
Randy Orton defeated Chris Jericho
Rusev defeated Mark Henry via submission
Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns by forfeit (see above)
The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler to regain the WWE intercontinental championship
Sheamus defeated Cesaro to retain the U.S. title
Stardust defeated the Usos to win the WWE tag team championship

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Brock Lesnar Must Retain At WWE Night Of Champions 2014

September 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Night of Champions is several hours away and fans are in a panic. What if Brock Lesnar loses? What if we are subjected to seeing John Cena leave as WWE champion? I join you in your concern and it is imperative moving forward that Lesnar retain the belt at WWE N.O.C.

I don’t think I am making any kind of startling revelation here. But there is serious cause for concern that Lesnar will be leaving the PPV tonight without the WWE world championship. I left RAW feeling that Cena had a good shot of winning and Seth Rollins was cashing in, leaving Brock as the odd man out. That just cannot happen!

Brock is the first true superstar that the WWE has had carry the title (other than The Rock’s brief reign) in several years. Brock is a true difference maker. All you need to do is look at the ratings patterns on RAW episodes that feature the Beast Incarnate. The audience pattern is predictable. Brock brings the numbers and the people fall off when he is done. There aren’t any real difference makers like that left in the business today.

The WWE has not even scraped the surface on the opportunities they can reward themselves with while Lesnar reigns supreme. Brock was the biggest draw in UFC history for a reason. It wasn’t because he was such a great UFC fighter. He has “it.” There are still hundreds of thousands of those UFC fans that tune in to check out what Brock is doing in a WWE ring. Those people aren’t sticking around if Lesnar isn’t.

The company finally has a guy as the face of their company that they can market to an alienated fan base. The older teenagers and men 20-30 who used to watch WWE wrestling have generally tuned out a long time ago. The WWE is just not that cool anymore and the characters don’t speak to them. Lesnar speaks to them! These teenagers can walk around with a Brock t-shirt or get together and watch Brock wrestle with interest. Nobody else has touched that demographic in years.

There is a lot more left with Lesnar as WWE champion to accomplish than Cena. Cena is old news and while I appreciate his place in the company, what do you have for him past this that would interest anyone? The Seth Rollins feud is nice to talk about but quite frankly I think they need to rehabilitate Rollins first before that happens. Rusev could be fun but it’s too soon. Reigns isn’t turning and we are all hoping to never see a Cena vs. Bray Wyatt or Randy Orton match anytime soon. There is nobody ready.

Brock has made the WWE fun again. I go out of my way to watch Lesnar and Paul Heyman anytime they walk out on RAW. There is just something about Brock running in place on that ramp that gets you excited to see what he is going to do. He is a monster and I mean that in a good way. Dean Ambrose is probably the closest to that but he has a long way to go until that is automatic. Nobody can bring to the table what Lesnar does.

Lesnar’s dominating win over Cena at SummerSlam has historic ramifications. What was the match even for if Lesnar loses one month later to Cena? Nobody can explain to me what the point of having Cena dominated at SummerSlam was if he comes back with no change in character and beats Lesnar. To make that match count, Lesnar needs to go over Cena two in a row. He doesn’t need to dominate him, but he needs to win or at minimum retain the title.

My pleas will have fallen on deaf ears and who knows what the crack creative team is thinking going into Night of Champions. I just feel that there is a lot of potential left in Brock as WWE world champion and not capitalizing on it would be one of the most disappointing blunders this company has made in a long time.

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Roman Reigns Out Indefinitely, Off Night Of Champions

September 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE babyface side just got a lot thinner. Roman Reigns will not only be missing WWE Night of Champions but will be missing some ring time over the next few weeks. Reigns underwent emergency surgery and has been placed on the D.L.

News broke Saturday that Reigns had emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia. The surgery will keep him on the shelf for a minimum of 4-6 weeks and up to three months. WWE.com has a brief interview up on their website with Reigns’ surgeon Dr. Chris Amann.

I was in contact with both Roman and the surgeon who performed the operation in Nashville [Saturday]. Roman had developed acute abdominal pain in his hotel room [Friday] night after his match,” Dr. Amann told WWE.com. “This wasn’t related to a specific injury that occurred in the ring. Roman has had a pre-existing hernia for some time, which unfortunately had become acutely painful, which led to him going to the emergency room in Nashville. He was found to have a large hernia that was unable to be reduced, which means pushed back into the abdominal cavity. As a result, it was necessary to perform an emergent operation to open up the hernia sac and try and push it back into the abdominal cavity.”

“At the time of the surgery, surgeons found a loop of small intestine was caught in the hernia sac, which would account for the pain and discomfort that Roman was having earlier in the evening,” Dr. Amann explained. “The surgeons released the hernia sac so the intestine could be pushed back into the abdominal cavity. Once they were satisfied blood supply had returned to the intestine after releasing the hernia, they went ahead and completed the procedure. A mesh was placed over where the hernia had occurred to prevent future occurrences.”

Now that the surgery has gone well, the clear next thought was when will the WWE Universe be able to see the powerhouse back in action.

“Roman has been transferred to the recovery room and is doing quite well. The plan is to keep him overnight, give him IV antibiotics to prevent infection and make sure the intestinal function returns to normal before discharging him from the hospital. If everything goes well, that should be [Sunday],” Dr. Amann said. “Most of the time, the recovery time for something like this in terms of returning to physical activity is between four and six weeks. This was a pretty significant hernia, so it will probably be closer to six weeks.”
WWE.com also asked Dr. Amann to elaborate on how this hernia differs from sports hernias, which sports fans know often lands top athletes on the injured list.

“This is a completely different type of hernia than sports hernia,” Dr. Amann said. “A sports hernia usually refers to a tear in the lower abdominal wall that attaches to the ligaments. That type of tear typically occurs from repeated activity or sports. Roman had what’s called an inguinal hernia. It can sometimes come from sports, but sometimes people are born with these. It is treated differently than a sports hernia.

The injury was something that Reigns has been reportedly carrying around with him that got worse over the weekend. Dave Meltzer on his latest F4Wonline.com podcast reports that Reigns will not be rushed back into competition. Meltzer reports that sending him back into the ring too early or even training would ruin the recovery and put him right back where he was.

Obviously Reigns will not be wrestling Seth Rollins at N.O.C. Nothing has been confirmed at this point regarding a new match for Rollins. Dean Ambrose makes the most sense as a replacement. Ambrose is away filming a movie and his movie is scheduled to wrap on Sunday. However, if the movie runs over the schedule he may not be available for the match. It is possible that Rollins doesn’t wrestle but I would bet he wrestles someone, even a Kofi Kingston.

This is a complete guess but I’d throw Batista out there as a wild card. Meltzer speculated the same thing on his podcast. Everything I have been hearing is that he is on his way back. I think it’d be a great way to solidify his babyface turn. Plus, if Lesnar wins you have your next challenger in Batista. It’s not a classic by any means but Lesnar vs. Batista could carry them for a few weeks until Reigns and maybe even Bryan returns.

Losing Reigns is a huge blow to the company that has seen the babyface roster greatly depleted over the last several months. If you go back to early this year the company has lost CM Punk, Daniel Bryan due to injury, Reigns due to injury, and Ambrose temporarily although he should be back shortly. It would not surprise me to see Sheamus get a bigger push due to necessity.

I hate to talk about someone benefitting from this but it’s a reality in pro wrestling. Dean Ambrose is the next man up and Ambrose could take as much advantage of this as Bryan did when Punk’s spot opened up. Reigns has clearly been positioned higher than Ambrose on the cards. If Ambrose can continue the momentum he had before he left over the next several weeks, the WWE may have no choice but to bump him up over Reigns or make him equal. It is up to Ambrose at this point to grab that bull by the horns and take it.

If I were Reigns I’d be worried. No matter what anyone tells him, his spot is in trouble. Ambrose is great and it would not shock me to see him blow up over the next few weeks. The only thing Reigns can do is step up his game when he returns which I imagine is something he’s going to do.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers

September 19, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

We are back for Week 3 and players are already starting to panic. One of the strangest weeks I can ever remember is finally put to rest and it is time to look ahead at this week’s sleepers and there are a few that should be on your radar.

Once again I try to go for the not-so obvious players here. I like to find the sleepers that have great matchups, a proven history, and are real bargains you can either find off of the waiver wire, your bench, or in the bargain bin of weekly fantasy games. So with that said here are a few guys that you won’t see at the top of anyone’s Start/Sit list and that is a good thing if you are looking for some sneaky plays.

For consistency purposes I will once again use the ESPN consensus FF rankings as my baseline.

Let’s take a look at how my projected sleepers panned out last week.

I could sit here and make excuses but I was fairly average on my predictions. I loved Josh McCown last week and he certainly lived up to expectations. Ryan Matthews left the game early but he was on pace to deliver a double-digit game, possibly on the higher end with the way the Chargers owned the Seahawks D. Allen Hurns got hurt and unfortunately dropped a big pass before he left the game. Unfortunately Fitzpatrick was the casualty of a great running game. As for Cooks, I should have known that the Saints are terrible on the road.

Chris Ivory 10
Ryan Matthews 5
Josh McCown 19
Ryan Fitzpatrick 13
Allen Hurns 1
Brandin Cooks 4
Jared Cook 4

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans – I am going to go to the well with Fitzy one more week. Fitzpatrick is ranked #24 by the ESPN gurus which I think is a bit of an overreaction to last week. Here is what you need to know about the matchup. He plays the Giants and they stink! Their defense is ranked 18th against the QB but that is highly inflated thanks to the inept Drew Stanton. I do think the Giants offense is back and I think the Texans are going to need to throw to keep up. Plus, the Giants gave up 29 points to Matt Stafford in week 1. They aren’t that bad but they aren’t as good as the 6 they gave up against the Cards. I love Fitz to have 16+ this week in standard scoring leagues.

Geno Smith, New York Jets – Geno is a guy you really need to start looking at if you need QB help or play in a 2 QB league.  The guy is putting up consistent numbers and looks much better thus far after two weeks than he did last season. This week Geno comes in at #20 which I think is way too low. The Bears defense is not very good. They are ranked 22nd against QBs and have given up two big games to fairly average QBs in Kaepernick and Manuel. The Bears will also be playing on the road going cross country from playing in San Francisco last week to New York. The one thing that the Bears do have going for them is Jay Cutler and the Jets are going to need points to stay in this one. I look for a 17-20 point game out of Geno.

Running Backs

Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts – The 26th ranked RB deserves a lot more love this week. Bradshaw when healthy is a beast and guess what? He’s healthy! He is tearing it up and even as the number 2 RB he is putting up great numbers. He is ranked eighth among all RBs thus far. How in the world is he still ranked in the high 20s by experts? He is facing the 31st ranked team against the run in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have a lot of work to do and there is a very good chance that the Colts will get up early and run for two quarters. It’s a division game so they won’t want to get cute. I love Bradshaw to put up top 10 or maybe even top 5 numbers this week.

Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers – Don Brown comes in at #33 on the consensus rankings list, a little low in my opinion. The Chargers looked great in week 2 and while week 1 was not as pretty, their running game was impressive. Quite honestly this offensive line has been one of the most underrated in the NFL in regards to run blocking going back to mid-last season. I love Brown behind this line and I think that the Bills are a great opponent for him. The Bills were lit up in Week 1 against Matt Forte yet played tight last week against the run. I think they are somewhere in the middle and I love Brown to put up about 60 yards and a TD which isn’t too shabby for #33.

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins – Jackson comes in at a bargain with a 25 ranking by the ESPN boys. I think the revenge factor is being highly overlooked here. Plus, the Eagles defense is not very good…as usual. The Redskins will need to score to stay in the game and throwing is their only means of doing so. Jackson is bound to get at least 1 TD. Jackson always played well for the birds against rival opponents. The Eagles are now his rival, the Eagles players are still wondering why he isn’t in Eagle green, and I think Jackson takes advantage of the situation and goes off in a big way on Sunday.

Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens – Smith comes in at #30 and I think he could put up top 15 numbers. Smith is quietly having a real nice season as a WR2/3 in Baltimore thus far. What I like here is what wide receivers have been able to do playing the other side of the field away from Joe Haden. Haden is likely to cover Torrey Smith which will leave a rookie CB on Smith. Smith could have a field day with this kid and the Ravens are going to want to keep the momentum of the Pittsburgh steamroll going. Smith is number three in targets among all WRs this season. The Ravens also have a few extra days to prepare. I love Smith thanks to all of the above.

Tight Ends

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins – Clay comes in at #15 which is fairly respectable although I think he could be a top eight this week. Clay gets a juicy matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs who are hardly the demolishing defense they were last year. The Chiefs are 27th against the TE and more importantly, have given up three TDs to tight ends already this season. Granted two went to Julius Thomas but Delanie Walker also nabbed one in Week 1. I think Clay is underrated and the Dolphins offense is struggling. With a shaky running back situation I think Tannehill looks to his tight end to exploit this favorable matchup.

Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks – I am going to go real deep here on a sleeper play. Miller is the 23rd ranked tight end by ESPN experts this week. They may be right but there are some things going his way although to be fair this is a big reach. One and most importantly, is a terrible defense against tight ends. The Denver Broncos cannot stop tight ends. They have given up double digit points to TEs each week thus far, including a TD in week 1. The Seahawks need to get back on track and they need to take advantage of this matchup. Playing at home also bodes well for Miller.

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