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Chris Jericho Talks WWE Attitude Era and Bray Wyatt

October 23, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho is currently making the rounds promoting his latest autobiography and continues to be one of the most quotable wrestlers in regards to media. Jericho hit on a few interesting topics in a recent interview including some fascinating insight into a legendary era.

The WWE Attitude Era has taken on a life of its own in recent years. It is portrayed by the WWE as their golden years and fans of that era often ask for it to come back. Jericho is a guy that was a big part of the Attitude Era, jumping to the WWE while the era was at its hottest. Which is why it will probably surprise you to hear that Jericho prefers this current era over the Attitude Era.

“When you think of another time like ECW or the Attitude Era, it’s like, “Ah, those were the good old days.” But having actually lived through it, there was a lot of great stuff, but there was a lot of stuff that sucked, too. Mae Young gave birth to a hand in the Attitude Era. Is that really what you want to remember about wrestling? I thought that was one of the dumbest things.
There were a lot of great characters and a lot of great wresting, so I think you always look back fondly. I live in the now and I think the product is the best it’s ever been because it’s now.

It’s where we’re at in 2014, and I always look to the future. There were good moments in the past and there were bad moments. There’s going to be good moments in the future and bad moments, but I think it’s always best to look forward if you want to continue to improve yourself and the product, and improve what people are seeing.”

I couldn’t agree more with Jericho. I think the Attitude Era is highly overrated, especially when you look back at some of the ridiculous gimmicks and angles that took place during that time period. Jericho has said in other interviews that the new era is superior to the Attitude Era and while I think that is a bit of an overstatement, I certainly see his point.

Jericho is also a guy who has been around the WWE block a few times. This experience gives Jericho a unique perspective when it comes to picking talent. According to Jericho, being a successful WWE superstar is a lot more than just being a great worker.

“Personality and character, they’re the only things I care about. Honestly, I don’t really pay any attention to wrestling skills because they don’t matter. There are a lot of similarities between music and wrestling, because they’re all about connecting with the crowd. What kind of charisma you have. What kind of personality you have. They’re so much more important than whether you can do a shredding guitar solo or a triple-jump moonsault.

It’s show business through and through, so when you look at a guy like Bray Wyatt, I loved his character. He can work and he’s a good wrestler and all that sort of stuff, but it’s the character that really makes it, and if you see something like that that’s so different and so unique and riveting, it’s a no-brainer. That’s what I love about the business, the characters and showmanship elements.”

Jericho is very high on Bray Wyatt yet unfortunately it appears Wyatt has somewhat disconnected from the WWE Universe. I have always found Wyatt’s character a bit one-dimensional so I’ll have to disagree a bit on Y2J’s analysis of young Bray. Yet the criteria he lists behind a successful superstar seems spot on.

Check out the rest of the interview over at Rolling Stone for some fun road stories and more from the former undisputed champion.

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10 Andre the Giant Stories You (May or) May Not Know

October 22, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Andre the Giant Jerry Lawler Midget StoryAndre the Giant has turned into a mythical character in pro wrestling folklore and urban legend since his passing. Many stories have floated around the Internet and bars on the Giant and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 10 of Andre stories you may or may not have heard before.

Andre has always been a fun topic in interviews with peers who worked with him or traveled with the big man. We have all heard the stories about Andre’s drinking. They are legendary. I even heard a recount of Andre eating multiple hamburgers in one sitting from my dad who was a bartender in NYC in the 70s. But there are others that are just as interesting whether it be fights, backstage gossip, tales from the ring, or even some crazy anecdotes.

I could have came up with a list of over 20 but I narrowed it down to ten for a few reasons. Some stories are so outlandish that while they may be true they are hard to source. I stuck with stories that had sources whether from books or shoot interviews, etc. I also tried to keep them interesting to wrestling fans and mix them up with some you may have heard and others you haven’t. So here you go. If you thought you knew everything about Andre the Giant, well you might, but hopefully you learn a thing or two from this list.

Andre the Giant called Kamala racist names during a match and paid for it - Kamala has told this story in several interviews lately. Kamala and the Giant had a big rivalry in the early 80s which started with them matching up in territories and ended in the WWE. They made a lot of money together and while that is generally something wrestlers bonded over, Andre was not a fan of Kamala. Andre was in a bad mood and in their first match used a derogatory racist remark towards Kamala. You can probably guess what it was. Kamala was not happy about it and let the Giant know about it.

“Andre wasn’t the friendly guy that he appeared to be. He was real temperamental and had a nasty attitude. When I first started working with him, he called me a (derogatory) name in the ring and I beat him up. After that, I never had another problem with him. A lot of (top guys had problems with Andre too). He would just go out and mop the floor with people. He treated (wrestlers) nasty, and the fans too. Andre would do it just about every night. Guys would watch through the curtain to see what he was going to do.”

Kamala expanded on it when he was interviewed by Steve Austin a few months ago. Kamala told Austin that he and Andre were fine after that and that it was Andre who was responsible for bringing him to the WWE.

Andre the Giant called Bad News Brown/Allen the same racist name and almost paid for it - Well sadly it appears that Andre liked to drop the N-bomb back in his day. It also appears that some of those wrestlers didn’t like it and weren’t intimidated by the Giant’s size. Bad News Brown was one of them and on a tour of Japan, he had about enough of the Giant’s “humor.”

Bad News has told this story in interviews and as the story goes, Andre the comedian was in the back of the bus during a Japan tour telling racist jokes. Andre was loud enough, likely intentional, for Brown to hear it. Brown had enough and ordered the bus drive to stop the bus. Bad News got up and told Andre to step outside. As the story goes Andre refused to step outside knowing how much of a bad dude Bad News was. Hulk Hogan and a few others apparently settled things down and Andre apologized to Brown the next day.

Yet Andre would have his revenge years later.

Andre the Giant defecated on Bad News Brown during a match in Mexico - Andre’s health was deteriorating yet the Giant continued wrestling well past the point he should have retired. Andre and Bad News were on opposing sides of a six-man tag team match in Mexico at this point in Andre’s career and well, things got a little out of hand in old Mexico in 1992. Oliver Hurley wrote about this in his book Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches and I also heard this story first hand from the late Bam Bam Bigelow who was also in the match.

Andre had allegedly had stomach cramps and diarrhea all day prior to the match. Here is the rest of the excerpt from Hurley’s book.

“Midway through the bout, he faced off against Bad News Brown Andre was dictating what would happen in the ring, known in the trade as calling the spots. As he threw Bad News into the corner, he muttered to him, ‘Big ass, boss.’ (Andre called everyone ‘boss’.) This verbal shorthand told BNB to remain slumped in the corner as Andre was about to hit him with one of his trademark moves, in which he would turn his back to his opponent, grab hold of the ropes and – there’s no delicate way to put this – thrust his enormous arse into his adversary, supposedly crushing him in the corner.

The combination of the collision and the copious volume of booze he had taken on board meant that, as soon as Andre hit Bad News, he lost any control he once had over his bowels. Liquid faeces dribbled out of his wrestling singlet and all over Bad News Brown’s chest. Bad News fell out of the ring and, resisting the urge to throw up, pelted back to the dressing room. His tag team partners continued the contest without him, once they’d finished laughing at his predicament. As Bad News passed fans on his way backstage, they shouted, ‘Wow, what is that smell?’ having presumably never been confronted by a wrestler covered in diarrhoea before.

Bad News jumped straight into the showers, while still wearing his wrestling trunks and boots, in a bid to clean himself up. But despite having been shat upon by a giant, he remained remarkably sanguine about the incident. ‘I felt sorry for the guy,’ he later said. ‘He was just sick, that’s all.’ The match proved to be one of Andre’s last prior to his death at the age of 46 on 27 January 1993 from congestive heart failure, which was caused by his untreated acromegaly, the glandular disease that resulted in his enormous size.”

Andre the Giant was once recruited by the Washington Redskins in 1976 - The first time I heard this story I called bull. Yet I was able to actually find a story with someone from the Redskins who corroborated the story as fact. Sports Illustrated reported on this in 1982 with confirmation from Redskins Public Relations Director Joe Blair.

Andre’s wrestling colleague George “the Animal” Steele, a former football coach recalls a conversation he had with Vince McMahon, Sr. about the idea of Andre playing for the Redskins. Steele told the story a few years back on a podcast interview.

“And in one of those early conversations, the Washington Redskins wanted to sign Andre the Giant to play football,” Steele said. “And they wanted to sign him to play as a linebacker on field goals and extra points, to stand up and kind of wave like a giant. And it would be great publicity for them and us.

“And because I was a football coach and had played a little bit, Vince Sr. says Jim what do you think about this idea? I says I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. First of all, if you take Andre the Giant – as big and strong as he is – and stuck him in front of me, with his hands in the air waving or something, I’d take his knee out.

“I said first of all, I think you’re making a mockery of the game. And he’s outstretched, he can’t protect himself, I’d cripple him. And I said every guy in the NFL would do that. He has no business doing that. I don’t know if you know that or not, but they had made the offer, and it almost went to signing, and that’s why they didn’t do it. Because it wasn’t the right thing to do for Andre, for wrestling, and really for football.”

For the record another fact you may not have known along the same lines is that the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to recruit Bruno Sammartino.

Andre’s last pro wrestling television appearance in the United States was for WCW - The ultimate betrayal took place in 1992 as Andre was winding down his career. Andre was not on good terms with the WWE. One story I heard is that Andre was very angry at Vince McMahon for being pressured to wrestle at SummerSlam. Remember, Andre came out on crutches at SummerSlam. Whether it was revenge or opportunity, Andre wound up appearing in WCW.

WCW had a big special in 1992 celebrating 20 years of wrestling on TBS. Ted Turner reportedly wanted the special to be a big deal. It was so big that they wound up getting Andre the Giant to appear. Andre didn’t do much here as a matter of a fact it was kind of sad. Andre was on two canes, said a few words on the red carpet, and was later seen in the “VIP room.”

Vince McMahon was apparently very hurt by this appearance. Shane McMahon talked about it in the book Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life. Shane said that his father called Andre and told him that he was deeply hurt by the appearance. Andre allegedly apologized to Vince, not realizing how deeply he hurt him. Shane also said that it upset him that TBS showed Andre on crutches.

Ironic since Vince had no problem putting Andre on television with crutches at SummerSlam 1991. Keep in mind that the Andre book was a WWE project.

Andre the Giant originally turned down WrestleMania 3 - This is another story I read in a few places but didn’t believe it until I saw it in print. According to the story told in Sex, Lies, and Headlocks Vince had to beg Andre to come back to the WWE.

The story goes that Vince called Andre while the Giant was making the Princess Bride movie. Andre told Vince to save his airfare because he didn’t want to wrestle anymore. According to the story, Vince felt that Andre was in a deep depression when he came back because Andre felt that he was ready to die.

Andre had back surgery scheduled in Europe. Vince allegedly persuaded Andre to come back and rehabilitate in his house to get ready for WrestleMania 3. Of course as we all know Andre eventually acquiesced to the boss and took part in arguably the most memorable match in WWE history against Hulk Hogan.

And speaking of Hulk Hogan…

Andre the Giant did not like to work with Hulk Hogan during their 1980 WWE feud - Hulk Hogan wrote about this in his book so take it for it’s worth. However, I did hear stories outside of Hogan’s book about Andre not being a fan of Hulk’s. Here is how Hulk recounted his early memories of working with the Giant.

” Hulk was going around telling people in the locker room that Andre was his hero and that he wanted to surpass him didn’t really get him into good graces with The Giant either.

Andre heard about what Hogan would say about him to the boys in the back and Andre took it as a direct threat.

So whenever they had to wrestle each other, Andre would work very stiff with Hogan and try to end his career but make it look like an accident.

Hulk refused to snitch on Andre however and complain to the head office.

Hulk Hogan would tried to talk to Andre but Andre refused to even speak with him.

Whenever Hulk had to wrestle Andre, Hulk was so scared of him that whenever he would be driving to the building, he would pull his car over and puke because he was so nervous and terrified.

Andre gained respect for Hogan however because no matter how many times Andre would whip beat on Hogan, Hogan never quit and he would never complain about it to the front office.”

Hulk has also claimed that Andre died two days after WrestleMania 3 so take this story for what it’s worth.

Andre the Giant almost drowned Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdoch - Ric Flair told the story  in his book of a night of partying that went very wrong for Murdoch and Mulligan. According to Flair, one of the Texans tried to sucker punch the Giant and wound up getting water boarded for it. The incident occurred at Murdoch’s birthday party. Andre grabbed them both, dragged them to the beach, and repeatedly dunked their heads in the water almost drowning them.

Andre the Giant fired the Freebirds from the WWE in 1984 - This is a fun story as told by Bret Hart in an interview about Andre’s life. Remember the incredibly short stint in the WWE by the Freebirds in 1984? I do and always wondered why it ended so fast. According to Hart, it was all due to Andre the Giant.

In 1984, the Freebirds – Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy-were recruited by the company, largely because they fit into the rock ’n’ roll image owner Vince McMahon was trying to cultivate.  “One time, the Freebirds were so drunk, they couldn’t get out of the plane,” Hart claims. “They got to the building at 9 or 9:30, in the middle of a show, and Andre was pissed off by their lack of professionalism.  While they were getting dressed, he told them, ‘You guys are fired.’”

When the Freebirds protested that Andre was ineligible to make personnel decisions, he allegedly countered, “We’ll see tomorrow if you’re gone or I’m gone.”

“The next day,” Hart continues, “the Freebirds were gone.  So I guess Andre could fire you.”

Jerry Lawler killed Andre the Giant’s career according to Vince McMahon, Sr. - The King actually tells this story in his autobiography and WWE.com actually did a story about it on their website. Back in the 1970s and early 80s, Vince used to book Andre out to territories on one condition. The Giant could not lose. Lawler booked Andre for a few dates and wound up beating him…by count out in Louisville. Lawler sent legendary pro wrestling photographer Bill Apter the pictures of the match and Apter wound up publishing the pictures with a story (see more pictures here) about Lawler beating Andre and Vince was furious!

“It comes out with this big headline: ‘The night a midget beat Andre the Giant,’ ” Jerry “The King” Lawler remembered with a laugh. “At that time, nobody beat Andre the Giant, but the story made it look like I pinned Andre.”

According to WWE.com, the magazine caused such outrage in the sports-entertainment industry that Mr. McMahon’s father, Vincent J. McMahon, brought it up as a serious point of contention in that year’s National Wrestling Alliance convention. McMahon was so irate that both Apter and Lawler nearly lost the ability to promote Andre, but things got smoothed over in a future issue.

“To rectify things, we came out with another cover that said: ‘Andre the Giant: Wrestling’s Only Undefeated Superstar,’ ” Apter explained.”

Lawler wrote in his book that Vince went crazy about it at an N.W.A. meeting. “Not only did someone beat Andre the Giant, a midget beat Andre the Giant!” Lawler said Vince’s face was turning red as he went off on the article. Lawler also writes that Terry Funk had a good time ribbing Vince about it and yelled out from the back, “Well who was the little bastard that beat Andre the Giant, Vince?”

According to Lawler, Vince called Apter and told him that the story “had killed Andre the Giant’s career.” The magazine later published an article touting Andre as the world’s only undefeated wrestling star to make peace with Vince.

ill Dundee’s version of the night. Dundee allegedly said that Lawler asked Andre what he wanted to do and Andre replied, “What do you wanna do boss?” Lawler replied, “Well I’d like to beat you.” Andre agreed and they came up with a finish where it took 30 guys to beat down Andre in order for Lawler to get the win. Dundee claimed that Lawler pinned Andre but enough witnesses say that it was only a count out win.

Regardless, it killed the Giant’s career according to Vince McMahon.

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Odd Timing For Randy Orton WWE Babyface Turn

October 21, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

We all knew it was coming. The Viper and Seth Rollins have been teasing tension for weeks. Yet nobody thought less than a week before Hell in a Cell and with a hot Dean Ambrose on fire that this would be the week the WWE would turn Orton.

In case you missed it, Rollins turned on Orton this past Monday on RAW. Orton and Rollins teased the issue throughout the show. Finally after the main-event Rollins hit Orton with a curbstomp to solidify the turn and kick Orton out of the Authority, well seemingly anyway. It wasn’t the turn that surprised me, it was the timing.

I just don’t see the logic in turning Orton right now. Is he suddenly over with the fans? Did the fans demand a change? If so I must be living under a rock because I haven’t seen it. Are they weak on babyfaces? Is business way down? Did Orton demand it? I just don’t get it…at least right now anyway.

For starters they have a big show on Sunday. Now you go into Sunday with fans more interested in seeing a match that isn’t even advertised. The match is Orton vs. Rollins and the fastest we will get that is TLC, barring a RAW giveaway. It makes Ambrose vs. Rollins seem insignificant as well as the entire show. Sure the match should be great, probably a match of the year candidate, but to casual fans it an obstacle to the payoff they want to see.

Speaking of Ambrose, what does this do to his push? Ambrose has been pushed hard since Roman Reigns went down as the number two babyface. He is hot and something new and the fans seem to like him. Does anyone think that Orton is taking a backseat to Ambrose? This is an obvious sign that the company has little confidence in Ambrose as the number two banana on Cena’s side.

And speaking of Roman Reigns, what does this do to the heir apparent? The plans have been to push Reigns as the next heir apparent to John Cena’s throne. Does Orton take a backseat to Reigns? He should if Reigns is the future but I am not so confident that the WWE brass will allow it. Orton has always been protected at the expense of others, and this could do some real damage to Reigns moving forward.

I would not be surprised to see some kind of a Reigns heel turn when he comes back. I could easily see a feud with him and Ambrose, playing off of the real-life story of Ambrose taking Reigns’ spot while he was out. Now that would make sense and at least even up the sides a bit. Without a Reigns turn, you have a heel side headlined by Rollins and Rusev and a very part-time Brock Lesnar at this point. Take Brock out of it and you have problems.

Finally, where does this leave Daniel Bryan when he returns? Granted, his return is undetermined at this point and you can’t plan for something that you don’t know is coming. Yet at some point he will come back and he will likely be super over when he comes back (absence makes a fan’s heart grow fonder). So now you are talking about Orton, Cena, Ambrose, and Reigns jockeying for position against a heel roster of Rollins and Rusev? Excuse me if I temper my excitement.

Again I don’t think anyone cares one way or the other about what side of the ring Orton stands on. I just think the timing is poor and it opens up a lot of questions, most which have predictable answers that won’t sit happy with most fans.

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Chris Jericho Talks Dean Ambrose, WWE Run, and Vince McMahon

October 20, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho may gone from WWE rings but he has not left the WWE Universe. The former undisputed champion is making the media rounds promoting his new book and has some interesting thoughts on his feud with Bray Wyatt, Vince McMahon, and more.

Jericho was a recent guest on Turnbuckle Weekly with Chuck Carroll. He made a great appearance as usual in promotion of his new book “The Best In The World At What I Have No Idea”. Jericho was asked about his recent run in the WWE as well as past relationships with key WWE personnel and offered up some interesting insight as expected.

Jericho was asked about earning Vince McMahon’s respect and had this to say about the boss man.

“Once you gain that respect from Vince he expects it and wants that feedback. He’s surrounded by a lot of ‘yes men’ that don’t want to get into debates. When I’m questioning him, it’s never disrespectfully. I never say this is a stupid idea or you’re an idiot or a moron, because that’s not the way you get things done. I will say, “Vince, I think we can do this better” or “what is it you want from this, because I don’t understand it?” Or sometimes, it’s just blatantly “no, this is the way we’re doing it because I’m the boss and you’re not” and you have to accept that and respect that as well.

Things aren’t always rosy with the boss. Jericho and McMahon have been at odds several times over the course of his long WWE run.

Yes, there is a lot of confrontations with Vince, but that’s because there’s a mutual respect. And some of them get out of control,” he said. “It’s only because both of us respect each other, trust each other, and believe each other. It doesn’t mean I’m always going to like the things he does or the things he wants to do. And it doesn’t mean that he’s going to like the things that I do and the way that I act and react to things either.

Jericho appeared on my good buddy Brian Fritz’s Between the Ropes podcast recently as well. Jericho offered up some great analysis on his recent WWE run.

The Bray Wyatt cage match in Baltimore and then the Randy Orton – Night of Champions match in Nashville I thought were two…whatever a five star match is. Two really really really good matches that I would put on my list of all-time favorites. And that was good to know because as the years go by, I feel just as good as I ever did. When I go back I’m mentally prepared and I think I still work up to a level I set for myself. But when you go out there and actually do some of those things and actually get the feedback from the live audience that you know you can get and from the critics. The fact that my last match was the best match on the pay-per-view against Randy Orton, I take great pride in that. And if I never work again, I know I’ll always have that. It’s still cool to contribute at the highest level and the day — and Brian, I’m not exaggerating about this — the day I feel I can’t compete at the highest level I set for myself and can’t steal the show, I will not do it again. Throw it on the record, I’m the one guy who can say that. I’m sure Shawn Michaels could say that too. You will not see me in the ring again as a parody of myself or anything other than the absolute best and can go toe-to-toe with anybody else on the roster.

Finally, a veteran like Jericho knows good talent when he sees it. He told Brian about an up and coming WWE star that he thinks is the best bet to be WWE’s franchise player of the future.

I saw Dean when he first started and there was something different about him. He has that Jeff Hardy ‘X’ factor. There’s just something about him that you can’t push on somebody. You can teach them how to take a bump, give them a look, give them wins but certain guys have a certain something about them that you know is going to take them to the next level no matter what. Dean definitely has that and in my opinion – I’m not the god of everything but I have a pretty good track record of picking guys – I think he’s the closest that they have right now to being the next face of the WWE. I don’t think that’s as important now with the Network and less emphasis on pay-per-views and that sort of thing. But as far as a guy who can come in there as the top babyface, I think Dean’s your best best right now.
Don’t let Roman Reigns hear that.

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Fantasy Football Week 7 Sleepers

October 17, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

If you strictly follow the experts you are missing out on some serious fantasy football studs. It’s easy to play the guys ranked 1-20 but you are missing out on some big impact players. That is why I am here to give you some sleepers you can plug into your lineup and make your competition look foolish.

Last week was probably my worst in predicting sleepers. My Malcom Floyd pick was a nice hit as he had a big game against the Raiders as predicted. Bishop Sanke should have had a bigger game but he was vulture by Jackie Battle. Tony Romo had an 18 point game which was better than expected in Seattle. Chris Ivory’s one point was embarrassing for both he and I. Austin Davis looked good early but the 49ers played much better as the game went on than I expected. I love Mike Evans going forward as I do Jordan Reed.

As always I will base my sleepers on ESPN’s expert rankings for Week 7. I’ll do my best to make up this week for Ivory’s one point debacle. Here are how my sleeper picks did for Week 6.

Tony Romo 18
Austin Davis 13
Malcom Floyd 16
Chris Ivory 1
Bishop Sanke 6
Mike Evans 11
Jordan Reed 9

Quarterbacks

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals - If there is one theme I love to look for in a sleeper it is the revenge game. The revenge game is often overlooked by the experts yet there are plenty of sleepers that fly under the radar in these situations (go see what Steve Smith did to the Panthers earlier this season). Palmer is one of them. Palmer is getting his first crack at his former team, the Oakland Raiders. While Palmer’s breakup with the Raiders wasn’t as messy as his breakup with the Bengals, there are still hard feelings here. I can guarantee you that the team will want to make sure that Palmer makes a statement and you are crazy not to get on that bandwagon and play him this week if you can. Palmer is ranked 11 on ESPN which is a little low in my opinion.

Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns - Brian Hoyer is ranked 18 this week by ESPN’s experts. The Jaguars are ranked 27th against fantasy QBs and up until last week have given up one touchdown per game. Hoyer has thrown at least 1 TD in every game this season. The Jags have a 12-1 TD to Interception ratio against QBs. The numbers don’t lie. This is a great spot for Hoyer and I would be shocked if he put up less than 2 TDs in Jacksonville.

Running Backs

Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions – Like Palmer, Bush has a revenge game ahead of him on Sunday. Reggie will be hosting his old team, the New Orleans Saints. Bush has not played the Saints in a regular season game since leaving the team in 2011. Again like the Palmer situation, you better believe that the Lions will do everything they can to give Bush opportunities to score. That and the fact that the Saints have been absolutely terrible on the road make for a big day from the former Saint’s draft pick. Bush is #22 which may be fair but I think he will wind up in the top 15 this week.

Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens - This is a gut feeling here. Pierce is the 38th ranked RB this week so I am digging deep for a RB sleeper. Like Hoyer, this one is a numbers game and the Falcons are the worst defense against fantasy RBs. The big question is who do you trust in Baltimore? I think Pierce gets some short yardage work in the red zone and racks up double digits on single digit carries.

Wide  Receivers

James Jones, Oakland Raiders - Jones is not even ranked in the top 50 this week among ESPN experts. He has a great matchup against an Arizona Cardinals defense that is not nearly as good against wide receivers as it is against running backs. The Cardinals give up almost 28 points per game to FF wide receivers. I know that Andre Holmes is the hot pick right now among Oakland receivers but I think it is Jones that is the beneficiary of this enticing matchup Sunday.

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars - Shorts is a tough one because he always has potential yet the experts are always worried about him finishing games and rightfully so. I am willing to take that chance this week. Shorts has a ton of upside here against the Browns. Shorts put up a TD and 63 yards last year against this Browns D. He had a strong week last week going over 100 yards and the Browns have given up 5 TDs to wide receivers in five games. I love him this week and the good news here is that you m,ay be able to pluck him right off of the wire in 10 team leagues. Shorts is ranked 41 on this week’s ESPN board and that is just flat out ridiculous.

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts - I have to admit that I was surprised to see Allen ranked 13th among tight ends this week. The Colts are playing the worst defense against tight ends this week in the Cincinnati Bengals. Allen has 4 TDs in six games and is turning into a favorite red zone target for Andrew Luck. The Bengals have given up three TDs to tight ends in just the last two weeks alone. A hot Andrew Luck and a generous defense to TEs make for a big Dwayne Allen day.

Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams - I am going to give you a second tight end I really like this week. Jared Cook. We have heard his name as a sleeper TE for the last three seasons and every season we are disappointed. This season is different and Austin Davis loves him. Don’t let the Seahawks scare you here. They have given up seven, yes seven TDs to tight ends in five games which makes them the most generous team to TEs in fantasy football. On top of that, Cook put up a TD in their last game against the Seahawks. I love him this week as a sleeper. Cook comes in at 14 on this week’s ESPN board.

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Stone Cold Steve Austin Shoots Down WWE Comeback Rumors

October 17, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Internet went crazy last week with comments made by Stone Cold Steve Austin about a return. Many interpreted those comments made by Austin on his podcast to a return to the pro wrestling ring, specifically WrestleMania 31. While that may still be possible down the line, Austin is quick to temper your expectations for 31.

Austin commented on those rumors on a recent Steve Austin Podcast. Austin took calls and a caller asked him flat out about the comeback rumors. Austin was flattered by the comments but was quick to clarify his statements. Austin said that while he did say he was training for a comeback, he was referring to training for a comeback at Gold’s Gym. Austin said he was training at a hole-in-the-wall gym to get ready to get back to Gold’s. Austin said that he was getting in shape for a big project he has coming up in February. Austin also said that he has no desires to take bumps and has no time to train for a match.

But wait, that wasn’t all he said. Austin threw in a little teaser about the comeback wrestling fans have been waiting for. Austin was asked by the same caller about wrestling Brock Lesnar. Austin mentioned that if he were to come back (to the ring) that Brock Lesnar would be looking up at the lights for a 1-2-3 and he’d drop him on that stack of dimes he calls a neck. Austin cut the quick promo in Stone Cold fashion and while he was having fun with it, it was sure a fun teaser to a program that could be a lot of fun.

Austin has never shut the door
on a return to the wrestling ring. Austin has said several times that if everything aligned itself perfectly that he’d consider it.

“I’d consider anything if the perfect situation or opportunity arose and it would be more than a million-dollar question. I don’t want to sit here and promote a match, sell a match or talk about making a comeback. The dirt sheets, or whatever you call them, and I talk to Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller all the time and they’re nice guys and I would consider them friends. I see Dave at almost every MMA fight, but I don’t want to stir any pots or hint or tease anything.

People get their panties in a wad and say, “Stone Cold, either do it or not.” So, anything can happen, but I’m not going to endorse, promote, sell or tease anything in regards to a match.”

There was a rough plan last year at WrestleMania 30 for a Steve Austin vs. Triple H match would have tied into a feud with Trips and Stephanie feuding with Vince McMahon over control of the company. Obviously that never happened and while I can’t imagine Austin coming back for that, he must have been warm to it for the plan to be on the books. There were also lots of rumors about Austin wrestling CM Punk at WrestleMania 29 due to promos shot by Paul Heyman’s production company for WWE 2K13. Of course none of those matches ever came to fruition and it would appear that talks never got serious for either bout.

The Brock Lesnar match is interesting. Paul Heyman teased it on Austin’s podcast and did a very good job of selling Austin on it in under three minutes. WrestleMania 32 will be in Dallas at Texas Stadium in 2016. There are already reports that the WWE is gearing up for something big on that show in hopes of setting some kind of attendance record. I can’t think of anything bigger than Austin coming back for one last match.

Regarding a Brock vs. Austin match in 2016, I can’t think of anything bigger the WWE could put together for 32. That said, Brock’s contract is set to expire around WrestleMania 31 so he may or may not even be an option. I have heard rumblings of another Austin vs. Rock match but I think that is just pure guesswork as opposed to a plan. Depending upon where someone like Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, or even Seth Rollins are at that stage of the game I think you could always consider them, although they would have to be in a much better spot than they are today. I suppose CM Punk could always be a dark horse but I think you have a better chance of seeing Austin back in a WWE ring than Punk at this point.

The door may not be shut but I think 32 is it for Austin. He’ll be 51 heading into Texas Stadium and while he still looks to be in tremendous shape, I can’t see him trying to come back past 51.

Hey, there is always the Royal Rumble. Austin already told Vince last year if he is looking for a guy than to give him a call. It’s better than nothing!

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10 Planned WWE Title Changes That Never Happened

October 15, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Booking the WWE world championship is never easy and even the best laid plans can hit some pitfalls. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 10 guys who while planned to win the WWE world title, failed to secure the gold around their waists.

Winners and losers may be predetermined in the WWE but not all ideas come together as planned. Back in different eras, Vince McMahon Sr. and Jr. would identify their future WWE world champion months, sometimes even years ahead of time. Yet for a multitude of reasons those plans shifted between the pencil and the bell. Here is a list of 10 planned WWE world championship title changes that never happened as scheduled.

Bill Watts defeating Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF championship in 1965 - The idea behind this blog came from this recent revelation on the Jim Ross podcast. Ross interviewed Watts and Watts claimed that he was scheduled to beat Bruno Sammartino for the title in what would have been 1965. Watts and Bruno had a red hot feud during this time period. Watts claims the office changed plans when he got in hot water for hitting a fan in a riot. Watts said that Vince Sr. told him to get out of the territory to avoid any legal heat. I had never heard this story before and it seems a bit hard to believe knowing how popular Bruno was at the time. Also, Bruno didn’t drop the belt for another six years. That leads me to think that there was never a plan for Bruno to drop the title. To that point, I see no incentive for Bill to make that up 50 years later. So who knows?

Batista defeating Randy Orton 2014 – You need to look no further than just a few months back for a case of a planned title change getting nixed by the WWE. The plan coming into 2014 was to bring Batista back with a big push, including a run with the WWE world title. The plan would have had Batista defeat Randy Orton at WrestleMania 30. Enter the YES Movement! A couple of circumstances dictated a change. CM Punk walking out and the media attention garnered by a Yes chant at the Michigan State vs. Ohio State basketball game forced the WWE’s hand. The WWE changed course and it was Daniel Bryan who left New Orleans with the WWE world title.

Eddie Guerrero defeating Batista in 2002 – Eddie’s story is a tragedy but one little known tidbit about this tragedy is that Eddie was booked to win the WWE world heavyweight title. The booking had Eddie penciled in to defeat Batista at the next SmackDown tapings, making him a two-time world champion. Batista actually wrote about this in his book as he was supposed to drop the title in a Triple Threat Match vs. Eddie and Randy Orton. Sadly Eddie never knew about this planned championship run.

Lex Luger defeating Yokozuna 1994 – There are actually two rumors surrounding Luger and Yoko. One is that Lex was supposed to win the title at WrestleMania 10. Luger has denied that rumor and said he knew in advance that he wasn’t winning. The second is that the Lex Express was supposed to leave SummerSlam with the title. That is true according to Luger. Luger revealed in an interview that Vince changed his mind after several of his peers threatened to walk out. Remember, this was the era of the Clique so that is quite possible. Most believe that Vince felt Luger wasn’t getting over at the level he hoped, thus plans changed. Regardless, it does appear that there was indeed a plan in place to put the WWE title around the waist of the Total Package.

Ted Dibiase defeating Randy Savage to win the WWE championship in 1988 - This one isn’t much of a secret as DiBiase and many others have talked about these plans on shoot interviews and podcasts. The original plans for WrestleMania 4 were to have DiBiase win and Savage chase him for the title throughout the summer. Hulk Hogan was leaving to film No Holds Barred and the thought was that Savage as the babyface on top chasing would sustain attendance. Nobody is quite clear on why plans change although some blame the Honkytonk Man. Savage was originally booked to beat HTM on the Main Event NBC special for the intercontinental title. HTM refused to do the job which brought Vince McMahon and the other bookers back to the drawing board. It is highly likely that if Savage won the I-C title as planned, DiBiase would have won the WWF title as originally planned. Regardless, I think things turned out for the best here with Savage winning and starting a year-long build to one of the most anticipated WrestleMania headliners in history.

Alberto Del Rio defeating Edge 2011 – Alberto was the flavor of the month leading into WrestleMania 27. Del Rio won the Royal Rumble and was the hottest heel in the company. Numerous reports indicated that he was a favorite of Vince McMahon. Del Rio was booked to win the WWE world heavyweight title at Mania 27 by defeating Edge. The creative team changed that decision because it is alleged that they thought it was too predictable. Unfortunately I don’t believe Del Rio never recovered the momentum he had going into Mania 27 for a variety of reasons.

Bret Hart defeating Hulk Hogan 1993 – This tale has become legendary although Hogan has denied in several interviews. Unfortunately what Hulk can’t deny is that many, including Dave Meltzer saw posters advertising the match for SummerSlam 1993 only to have the match mysteriously disappear off of the books. If you remember, Hulk defeated Yokozuna at WrestleMania 9 and lost it rather quickly (although today that would be an eternity) at King of the Ring. According to Bret, the plan was for Hogan to drop the belt to Bret at SummerSlam but refused feeling that Bret was too small. Vince reacted with the quick switch at K.O.R. and Hulk took off.

Booker T defeating Triple H 2002 – The stage was set and the plan was for Booker T to beat the Game for the WWE world heavyweight title at WrestleMania 19. While I have never seen this confirmed anywhere, one story accuses Trips of lobbying the office to change a planned finish which would have seen Hunter drop the belt to Booker at Mania 19. It worked and allegedly the title change was squashed. Another theory is that once the WWE signed Goldberg they changed plans thinking ahead to a Triple H vs. Goldberg feud so who knows.

Vader defeating Shawn Michaels 1996 – From several things I have heard and read, this title change was planned on two different occasions. The first was SummerSlam. According to rumors, Shawn Michaels just outright refused to drop the title fearing he would not get it back. Remember with Sid and Undertaker in the picture, that was probably a valid concern. The other planned title change was rumored to take place at Survivor Series. Shawn also got that one nixed and the match turned into Sid vs. Shawn which turned into a title change anyway. Vader never confirmed the details but has confirmed in interviews that he was promised a WWE title win twice when he signed with the company.

Steve Austin defeating Bret Hart 1998 - I was reluctant to go with this one yet I saw this rumored in a number of different places so I caution you that it may be an urban legend. However, there does appear to be some kind of working plan going into WrestleMania 14 for a Austin vs. Bret title change. According to what I have read and heard, the plan was for Bret Hart to go into Mania with the WWE title and return the favor from 13 to Austin by putting him over for the title. Now of course as you know plans drastically changed when a) Austin broke his neck and b) more importantly, Bret left to go to WCW at the end of 1997. This was probably on the books at some point but I have to think that plans played out much better in everyone’s favor with the actual booking of the 14 main-event with Mike Tyson.

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WWE Make Changes To Hell In A Cell 2014 Card

October 14, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

With two weeks to go the WWE are reshuffling the Hell in a Cell card deck. The planned card has been moved around allowing for more promotion and the usual indecisive booking we are used to seeing from WWE creative.

As evident on Monday Night RAW this week, plans have changed for the upcoming WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. A scheduled card featuring John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose in a NHB contract on a pole match was switched around with WWE fans getting 1/3 of the main-event early, allowing the WWE to focus on promoting scheduled matches fans can count on seeing.

Dean Ambrose defeated John Cena on Monday night to win the match and advance to a Hell in a Cell main-event against rival Seth Rollins. The match was originally scheduled to take place at H.I.A.C. with the winner meeting Rollins later that night while the loser would meet Randy Orton in a separate Hell in a Cell match. Now that those matches are locked in, the WWE can focus promotional efforts in those directions.

Dave Meltzer explained the recent changes on his F4WOnline.com podcast. Meltzer reported that giving the Cena vs. Ambrose match away early was a last-minute decision. Meltzer reported that the change was made to allow the WWE to promote scheduled matches as opposed to promoting a card with no locked in main-event. Meltzer also reports that the pole stipulation added to Cena vs. Ambrose was made to avoid either guy taking an actual pin.

Meltzer also speculated that TLC could see a Four-Way main-event with Seth Rollins vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton with the winner getting a WWE world championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Plans are currently in place to book Cena vs. Lesnar at the Rumble. My hunch and this is purely a guess is that with Ambrose’s momentum, plans could change with Ambrose going into the Rumble to challenge Lesnar and Cena wrestling Rollins at the Rumble in a singles match.

I thought from the beginning that they should have went with a Rollins vs. Ambrose Hell in a Cell headliner. I think it gives both guys a boost with the perception that they are headliners and it’s a match that could deliver far better than any of the other options. It will be a real test in my opinion of how over both of these guys truly are. It’s hard to judge by social media reaction as that is where their fan base is. A strong number could go a long way in determining how Ambrose and Rollins are booked going into 2015 and beyond.

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TNA Reportedly Make A Play For CM Punk

October 14, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are not ready to roll over and play dead yet. With no TV deal in place past 2014, the company recently made a bold move. A move was made that could have majorly shaken up the pro wrestling landscape.

According to a new report in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, TNA made a play to bring back CM Punk. Dave Meltzer reports that TNA were hoping to bring Punk in and use him as a chip in closing a television deal.

For whatever this is worth, TNA, through an intermediary who is friends with C.M. Punk, made a play for him just like they did for Alberto Del Rio several weeks back. The idea pitched was a huge deal to be the top star of the company and money similar to Hogan, with the idea he could be their flagship guy and if he signed now, could help them broker a stronger television deal.

Meltzer reports that Punk declined the offer and has no interest in returning to pro wrestling whatsoever. The timing of the move comes a few months before TNA’s extension with Spike TV is scheduled to run out. You have to give TNA some credit for going for it, yet I can’t seriously believe that they thought they had a real shot.

This isn’t the first move that TNA has made recently at an ex-WWE superstar. TNA reportedly reached out to Alberto Del Rio immediately after his contract was terminated with the WWE. Del Rio reportedly turned down their offer as well. I don’t know if these are desperation moves, moves simply for public relation purposes, or some kind of delusional strategy on the part of Dixie and company.

What is interesting to me is that they let Sting and Hulk Hogan walk due to money issues, yet were willing to spend even more money on Punk. Meltzer reports that Punk’s deal was for more money than Hulk which would have likely made him the highest-paid star in TNA history. I’d also assume that Del Rio’s figure was somewhere in Hulk’s range. TNA could have kept Hulk and used him in these television negotiations, yet expenses were cut. Hogan could have quite possibly got a better deal to return to WWE anyway, but they didn’t even make a serious play according to reports.

I speculated months ago that TNA could make a run at Punk. I thought that TNA or even ROH could make a deal with Punk which gave him ownership in the company as part of the deal. It would have been a one-of-a-kind deal in 2014, although points in a territory were common place back in the territory deals in regards to wrestler deals. I envisioned a scenario where Punk would be a player-owner, similar to what Paul Heyman wanted (booker-owner) but that isn’t happening.

I am not sure what TNA felt they could offer Punk that he couldn’t have gotten if he stayed in the WWE. A better schedule for sure, but the pay couldn’t have been comparable. Plus, Punk is astute and well aware of TNA’s television troubles. Imagine the egg on Punk’s face if he did agree to a deal with TNA and they couldn’t reach a television deal for 2015.

It’s hard to rationalize what TNA’s real motive was here. Why would a company make a high-dollar offer to someone like Punk with no deal in place? I would think that their time would be better suited trying to get a deal done as opposed to chasing an elusive prize they had virtually zero shot of signing.

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Kurt Angle Reportedly Turns Down WWE Return

October 13, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Kurt Angle is currently the hottest free agent in pro wrestling. Angle has talked openly about a return to the WWE yet numerous reports have indicated that the E were not interested. That may not be the case after all according to a new report.

Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com broke a story over the weekend regarding Angle and the WWE. According to Johnson’s sources it was the WWE that wanted Angle back and Angle who turned them down. Johnson reports that Angle wants a part-time deal yet the WWE offered a full-time (on the condition he can pass a physical) deal which Angle turned down. Deal or no deal, this does indicate that Vince McMahon has softened his stance on Angle returning.

This is big news on a few levels. One, it had been reported elsewhere that McMahon did not want Angle back. Those reports actually quoted Vince as telling sources that he didn’t want “an Olympic hero dying on his watch.” According to Johnson’s report, Vince must be convinced that Angle has turned his life around and those past skeletons are buried deep in a closet.

That said, it is ironic that the WWE would only extend Kurt Angle a full-time deal. At Angle’s age and injury history, there is no way that the company could seriously think that Angle’s body could survive a full-time schedule. Regarding Angle’s recovery, it also shows a gross lack of sensitivity to his struggles as a full-time schedule would surely end badly for Angle. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this situation.

I can understand the WWE being hesitant about offering a part-time deal. What is the point of investing television time into someone who isn’t going on the road? However, I think limiting Angle to television is perfectly fine in this day and age of the WWE Network. The house shows are important, but not as important. Angle could even go on the road as a special referee, M.C., etc.

Dave Meltzer gave his spin on this on his most recent F4Wonline.com podcast. Meltzer believes that if they did indeed give him the ultimatum of going full-time or no deal that they may have been doing it to save face, knowing that he could never survive a full time schedule. Meltzer doesn’t even know if he can go part-time at this stage in his career.

I think that Vince or Triple H need to close this deal immediately. Angle is still one of the best performers in the business. Even outside of the ring the man is an asset. He has more personality than 90% of the WWE characters. He is recognizable and yes he is still an Olympic hero. With all of the problems of star-power depth, the WWE would get an instant star back that could make an impact immediately.

At the same time it is a business. Vince McMahon nor Triple H are dumb guys. They see the writing on the wall. Angle is a free agent with only one serious bidder in TNA Wrestling. That serious bidder has no television deal as things stand today when 2014 comes to a close. There is not a whole lot of leverage that Angle has here. I can see why they’d play hardball but at the end of the day bringing Kurt Angle helps everyone.

Angle would fit in perfectly in the WWE. He could have programs with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, and even John Cena that would not only tear the house down, but possibly bring some more fans back into the fold. There is a ton of potential here and with few options heading into 2015, part-time or not, Angle would be a welcome addition back to the WWE in my opinion.

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Fantasy Football Week 6 Sleepers

October 11, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

It’s easy to tell fantasy football players to start Matt Forte or Aaron Rodgers but you aren’t going to find them on your bench or waiver wire. That is why I look at the sleepers. They may get no respect from ESPN but I am here to give them their props and recommend some savvy starts.

Unfortunately due to scheduling I had to take a break from the sleepers last week and wasn’t able to get a blog in on time. However, I have done fairly well the first few weeks with my sleepers. They haven’t all been hits but there haven’t been many misses. Of course it’s impossible to account for injuries so barring unforeseen circumstances, here are several sleepers that you need to give some serious consideration to starting this week if you need help.

The theme of this week’s sleeper list is reputation. A lot of guys are being devalued simply due to the reputation of defenses. However, a closer look at the numbers will tell you that these defenses are more bark than bite and those reputations open up some valuable opportunities for you. For consistency I am comparing my sleeper ranks to the overall ESPN rankings of Week 6.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys – Romo is the 15th ranked QB by ESPN this week and I think that is ridiculous. Don’t be scared by this Seattle Seahawks defense. It’s good but it is not nearly as good as its reputation, especially against Tony Romo. Romo has played very well historically against the Seahawks. As a matter of a fact, Romo has thrown at least 1 TD in every game against the Seahawks. Going back further he has scored over 23 fantasy points in his last 3 of 4 games against the Seahawks. The Seahawks are ranked a mere 22nd against fantasy QBs. Kirk Cousins was even able to throw 2 TDs against this D. The attention paid to DeMarco Murray should open up all kinds of opportunity for the Cowboys QB on Sunday.

Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams – Even more ridiculous than Romo’s 15th spot is ESPN ranking Davis as the 20th best QB this week. That is just insane! Austin Davis is a guy who probably isn’t on your fantasy radar yet he should be. This kid has put up over 50 FF points over the last two weeks thanks to a struggling running game and disrespectful defenses. This week they play a San Francisco 49ers defense that like the Seahawks, are highly overrated. Thanks to an inept Nick Foles, the 49ers are ranked 4th against FF QBs but that number is misleading. They gave up 7 passing TDs the first three weeks and have struggled on the road. Davis is going to need to put this team on his shoulders Monday thanks to an injured Zac Stacy and I expect big numbers on Monday.

Running Backs

Bishop Sanke, Tennessee Titans – Sanke is the 27th ranked RB this week on the ESPN board. He is being highly undervalued in my opinion but it is not without merit. The lack of commitment to Sanke has hurt expectations but this week should be different. Shonn Greene is hurt and even better, they play the very sliceable Jacksonville Jaguars defense. The Titans have to give Sanke more carries this week and while the Jags don’t give up rushing TDs, they give up a ton of yardage.

Chris Ivory, New York Jets – This is a tough call. Ivory is the 23rd ranked RB this week and while I understand it, I think there is bigtime sleeper potential here. The idea that the Jets will need to throw to keep up is highly logical. However, the Broncos have a very poor rushing defense. They are 27th against RBs and have given up at least 1 TD in each of their last three games. The Broncos have had one road game thus far and I think that is going to come into play here. I think the Jets are going to surprise the Broncos and a guy like Ivory is the type of RB who can really punish this defense through four quarters. The Broncos don’t give up a lot of yards but they do give up TDs and for a red zone guy like Ivory, that’s all you need to know.

Wide Receivers

Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers – I am reaching really, really high here as Floyd comes in as the 48th ranked WR this week. I am basing this a lot on player history. Floyd has owned the Raiders scoring 3 TD in 4 games including a 213 yard bonanza. I am not as convinced as most that the Chargers are going to trust Brandon Oliver. I think they keep it in the air and look for Floyd in the red zone. Floyd has been fairly dependable as a WR2/3 and for a guy ranked 48th, he should highly exceed expectations.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Evans is another longshot here but that is the point of a sleeper isn’t it? Evans ranks 49th on the ESPN rankings and boy do I think there is some big value here. The Baltimore Ravens are living off of a reputation here that is undeserved. Are they are a great defense overall? Absolutely but against WRs, they have been eaten up alive. They are stingy on TDs but they do give up yards which overall has totaled up as an average of 23.2 points per game given up to WRs. With Vincent Jackson hurt and a hot Mike Glennon at the helm, I think Evans surprises a lot of fantasy players on Sunday.

Tight Ends

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins – Reed ranks 11th this week among TE projections. As of today he is questionable although the majority of reports indicate he will play. There is certainly reason to be conservative because Reed hasn’t played since the first week. However, Reed is playing an Arizona Cardinals team that have been decimated by tight ends. The big question here is whether you expect Reed to finish the game. If you do, you have to roll him out against this generous defense.

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New WWE WrestleMania 31 Card Rumors

October 10, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WrestleMania 31 rumor mill is back in action after a big report in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to the report, the WWE have a few ideas in place for the big event, one of them being a match you probably didn’t see coming.

Dave Meltzer has the latest report and offers speculation on the WrestleMania 31 card. Meltzer says that the WWE are confident that they have their top matches in place. While nothing is 100% confirmed, Meltzer speculates on three that could be coming to your WWE Network in March for the price of $9.99.

The biggest surprise is his speculation on a return to Mania of The Rock. The Rock’s appearances this week have gotten people talking, but it is his taped segment on SmackDown that caught Meltzer’s attention. Meltzer speculates that The Rock could wind up wrestling Triple H at the 2015 event. Meltzer is just as surprised about his own revelation as you probably are reading it here.

I did see the segment that will air this Friday on SmackDown 15 and I am not so sure that I agree with Dave. Dave’s logic is that they wouldn’t have been teasing the match if there wasn’t something to it. However, the takeaway I came away with from that segment is that they were teasing it for WrestleMania 32 in Texas Stadium. Triple H kept referring to 100,000 people and a big stadium. Why they would tease it this far in advance is anyone’s guess. I could also be over-thinking it here, but Triple H mentioned a large crowd several times which leads me to think it is more than coincidence.

The idea most of us had heard about for the last three years was for a Rock vs. Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania. The match continues to get delayed and after Rock suffered serious injuries against John Cena at 29, I am starting to think that he has no interest in a match that physical. The money is certainly on Lesnar vs. Rock and not Rock vs. Hunter. I think the angles and build up would be fun but I just don’t know how many people are clamoring to see that match one more time.

To that point, Meltzer speculates that the WWE may make a big play to get Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the ring at WrestleMania 32 in Texas. That would certainly make sense, especially when you have such a big stadium to fill. There were numerous reports that indicated the WWE made a play to get him last year for a match with Triple H. The year before we all heard about the Punk vs. Austin Mania rumors. I would think at Austin’s age it is Texas Stadium or never for the Texas Rattlesnake.

Brock Lesnar is still penciled in to be wrestling Roman Reigns in a WWE championship defense. I wouldn’t count on it. I am watching a changing of the guard right now and that change is Reigns to Ambrose. I think by the time we get to Mania that the WWE will have no choice but to swap Ambrose into this spot. He is hot and unless things change he is only going to get hotter. I would be shocked if Amrbose isn’t winning the Royal Rumble and going to WrestleMania.

John Cena has two interesting options according to Meltzer. Hulk Hogan is politicking hard for a Cena match, although I don’t see it happening. I think Hulk has had too many back surgeries and is too old to be placed in that spot. Rusev is the other option and it’s hard to disagree with that one. I could see some swapping here with Rusev vs. Reigns and Cena wrestling someone else but the Rusev match could be pretty big if they can keep him hot until Mania.

Meltzer also reports that there was a plan in place to go with Batista vs. Triple H although he speculates that the plan is dead. I wouldn’t be so sure. I could see them going in this direction with Rock vs. Hunter booked for next year. Meltzer reports that the Batista vs. Hunter match and series would lead to Batista’s retirement. I could easily see that with Batista transitioning to Hollywood full-time.

Where this leaves Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins is a big question. I would imagine if Lesnar does hold the belt through Mania that Rollins would be Reigns’ first challenger. I couldn’t see them beating Reigns that fast which begs the question, what is the plan for Rollins and the briefcase?

And what about Sting? Sting doesn’t appear to be in the plans right now. My hunch is that it all depends on The Undertaker. If Undertaker doesn’t come back I could see Sting working with one of the younger guys like a Bray Wyatt. I think Sting vs. John Cena could be intriguing for a few different reasons. Other than those possibilities I am not sure what you do with him besides maybe Randy Orton or even Sheamus.

It looks like Mania has potential but I still think the big one is 2016 in Texas with 31 being something of an appetizer.

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