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Ronda Rousey Says She Wants More WWE

April 15, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ronda Rousey got a taste of the WWE and she wants more! The UFC champion told WWE legend Roddy Piper that she had so much fun at WrestleMania 31, there is no way she is not getting back into a WWE ring.

Rousey made her first in-ring WWE appearance at WrestleMania 31 in a highly publicized angle with the Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. It had been widely circulated that the WWE have been interested in using Rousey for awhile, yet her UFC contract prevented her from showing up. With a blessing from Dana White, the WWE finally got their girl and it may be that blessing that winds up blowing up in White’s face.

Rousey was a guest on Roddy Piper’s PodcastOne.com podcast and talked extensively about her experience at WrestleMania 31. Rousey told Piper that the biggest problem is that she can’t wait to go back.

I hit the ground running,” Rousey said. “The first I ever wrestled was at Wrestlemania with an attendance record at Levi’s Stadium. I had a problem when I left. There’s no way I can’t not go back in there again. There’s no way. After experiencing that, there’s nothing like it.

The second I left I was already thinking, ‘How can I possibly go back?’ I didn’t even change [clothes] yet. I hadn’t even gotten out of my outfit yet.

Rousey is already rumored to be a part of the WrestleMania 32 main-event. Early speculation was that she’d either back up Rock vs. Triple H or tag with Rock against Hunter and Stephanie in a mixed-tag team match. Recent reports indicate that the WWE wants a Rousey vs. Stephanie singles match. Whatever the idea is, it would appear that Rousey is up for it and anything else.

Piper talked to Rousey about the angle and the benefits of working with someone like the Rock in that situation.

It’s a tricky thing having [The Rock]. He’s so good at putting people over. He holds the room so intensely, it’s hard to not be outshone by him,” said Rousey. “Triple H and The Rock could be one of the biggest rivalries of all-time. How can we make a situation where we ignore them? That’s a lot of pressure, to be captivating enough to ignore them.

Rousey also talked a bit about the spots in the angle with Stephanie and Triple H. Rousey told Piper that the hip-toss in particular did not go as planned.

That wasn’t even a throw I was planning. I made it up on the spot. I pulled it out of my ass. I don’t even know what that is,” said Rousey. “It was kind of awesome to see everything planned, and everything that doesn’t go according to plan.

She also told Piper that Stephanie wasn’t supposed to go down in their skirmish either. Rousey and Piper both agreed that the spontaneouity of it all made the moment even better.

I was nervous, in a way, when I knew [the appearance] was coming up,” Rousey said. “I was trying to look like I was cool but my heart and my chest were [pounding]. I was trying not to look obvious but I think I totally did.

Rousey and Piper also talked a bit about wrestling fans. Rousey literally stopped short of saying that wrestling fans were better than MMA fans. To put it in context, Rousey told Piper that wrestling fans understand that the WWE stars are just entertaining whereas MMA fans may take things she says to promote a fight too literally.

Sorry Dana but you have a problem on your hand. Your number one star is hooked and loved the rush of working in a stadium in front of 66,000+ people. Rousey did tell Piper that she won’t look ahead to future WWE dates until she fights Beth Correia on August 1. Rousey also told Piper that she had several movie commitments shortly thereafter.

I’d say there is a pretty good you’ll be seeing Rousey at WrestleMania 32 if she has her way. If she doesn’t, it could lead to an interesting showdown between White and his biggest UFC star.

Check out the entire podcast with Piper and Rousey. It’s a lot of fun and I can almost guarantee you that you’ll come out of it having a bigger appreciation for the UFC champ.

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

CM Punk Calls WWE Fake, Says UFC Fighter Is An Easy Job

April 14, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk is making some waves with some recent comments about his former trade. The former WWE champion who was once a big pro wrestling fan has now to come to despise it and is a lot less impressed with his former skill set than most of you are.

Punk did a lengthy Q&A with SI.com and whether it is the door officially closing on pro wrestling in his household due to his wife retiring, a million-dollar lawsuit, or pressure, he does not have any kind things to say about his pro wrestling career and the WWE. So for you wrestling fans if you think Punk is coming into the UFC and fighting for you, he is here to tell you that he isn’t.

What does it mean to be a good fake wrestler? That’s an identity crisis that I think I struggled with. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best, someone else picks who they want in the top spot.

It’s fake. People always get offended by that word. ‘No, we like to say it’s pre-determined.’ For whatever reason, people get angry at fake. Pre-determined eases the blow? It’s fake. At the end of the day it doesn’t really mean anything. So after a while, it was, ‘Let’s just really fight and see what happens.’ Now I get to.”

It’s interesting that Punk would go so far as to call it fake. It is what it is but for a guy that admittedly suffered countless concussions and injuries, you would think that fake would be a word that offended him. It certainly offends a lot of his former peers I can tell you that much. It’s not that anyone is trying to say it’s real, it is just that these guys and girls who do it for a living work hard and suffer through quite a lot to make it and sustain their spots. To demean it now that he and his wife are out is a little disappointing.

Backstage [in WWE] is so shark-infested and political. It’s almost comical. A lot of people are more interested in the backstage goings-on than what they see on television. A lot of ways it’s more fascinating. It’s a competition for sure.

You wonder, Did you really punch me in the face? You say it was an accident but I know you and I think you’re a prick and I’ve seen you do this to other people. Are you doing this to me? Did you kick me in the ribs as hard as you can? In MMA I know the other guy is going to try and kick me in the ribs as hard as he can. No, not maliciously. But I’ve been in the wrestling ring with plenty of guys where I’m wondering, Is he is trying hurt me? Is he mad because he is losing? I don’t have to deal with that bullsh*t any more. It’s a godsend.”

The guy is entitled to his opinion but he’s not real smart here. He is mocking the entire fan base that he is expected to bring with him to the UFC. He wasn’t signed to a UFC contract without one fight under his belt because they thought he’d be a champion. He was signed because he was expected to bring the pro wrestling fan base over with him. Coming out with so harshly against pro wrestling isn’t going to help.

Punk was also asked about other WWE stars getting into the UFC. “Half of them talk about it; none of them do it. They have their little comfortable safety net doing WWE stuff, I guess. I would much rather give it a shot than just talk about it.”

Punk not only angered WWE peers and fans but has probably made several of his UFC peers and many fans made as well when he called being a UFC fighter an “easy job.”

“[In WWE] you’re on the road pretty much every day of the year, at least when you’re in the position I was in. Fly into a town. Find a gym, work out. Go to the building. Stretch. Wrestle. Cool down. Drive to the next town. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now I’m just training. What an easy job, right? It’s way better for me. I was burnt out on traveling, so over it. People think I’m crazy, living in Chicago and driving to Milwaukee every day to train. That’s the easiest thing in the world! Ninety minutes from my front door and I can be in my own bed every night? It’s a different lifestyle and it’s done me wonders. Amazing. I love it.

The real tough sons of bitches are the guys who train as hard as I do and then have to go to their nine-to-five job. I’m fortunate enough to do this as a full-time job. So I get to train two or three times a day. Things are going to be okay for me.”

I have to hand it to Punk. He alienated two fan bases in one interview. That is quite an accomplishment in a day’s work. While I am sure referring to being a UFC fighter as an “easy job” was not meant as a slight against his peers, it will certainly be taken as such.

There is also something quite sad in the way a guy like Punk who used to love pro wrestling has grown to absolutely hate it and everything about it.

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

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Kentucky Derby 2015 Prep and Horse Racing Tidbits

April 10, 2015 By: Category: Sports

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2nd is a little over three weeks away. Many of the major Derby prep races have been run as of this writing. As most racing fans know, each race had a certain amount of Derby-qualifying points attached to it. The more important the prep race, the larger amount of points. The last major prep race, this Saturday’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR, gives 100 points to the victor, 40 to the place horse, 20 to the show finisher, and 10 to the fourth place horse.

In speaking of the Arkansas Derby, I will be discussing the race, and my thoughts on my top choices for the Kentucky Derby at this point. By the time the race gets here, my mind will likely have changed several times. I also will be discussing my views on things that are going on in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing. I hope my readers will enjoy the blog.

THE ARKANSAS DERBY:

The huge favorite for the Arkansas Derby, as well as as huge favorite for the Run for the Roses, is 2014 2YO Male Eclipse Award winner American Pharao. American Pharoah made his 3YO debut in the Grade II Rebel Stakes back in February of 2015. He was coming off a foot injury which caused him to scratch from the 2014 Breeders Cup Juvenile back in November. In the Rebel Stakes, on a muddy track, American Pharoah just destroyed the field, leading gate to wire. Some of the criticism that American Pharoah received was that he didn’t face a tough field, and it was “too easy.” I don’t know what the keyboard warriors expected.

Now, we will see what will happen in the Arkansas Derby. American Pharoah faces seven others ( http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/91157/arkansas-derby-next-step-for-american-pharoah). He is in post six. It will be interesting to see if someone goes out with American Pharoah to try to test him. After all, American Pharoah gets on that lead uncontested, and he is as good as gone. He really hasn’t been tested like he will be in the Kentucky Derby.

From looking at the field, I’m suspecting that Mr.Z is going to be on the lead, as he has early speed. It will be interesting to see if American Pharoah can try to rate (ration out or reserve his speed) off the pace. Both horses are owned by Zayat Stables, but as Mr. Z is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, I’m sure that Lukas will want to have a horse in the Derby. The rest of the field doesn’t impress me all that much, with the exception of Far Right. Far Right won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. He is definitely a threat to pull the upset. TheTruthOrElse added blinkers, and is a closer, so he might be a possibility for an exact or a trifecta. Other than that, I am going with American Pharoah for the win.

MY KENTUCKY DERBY TOP FIVE:

Now, I will move on to the top five horses who I like for the Kentucky Derby. As the race gets closer, I will do a weekly blog, expanding it to the Top Ten. For space purposes, I will be giving you a Top Five. My mind will change, so don’t hold me to this.

5. International Star.
Winner of the Louisiana Derby has the most points. I loved his gutsy performances. It will be interesting to see what will happen in a 20 horse field. Can he repeat it?

4. Mutaabij

This horse’s performance in the USE Derby in Dubai knocked me out. He had an amazing turn of foot. He got out of a little bit of trouble, and blew by that field. He also ran 1 3/16th miles in that race. He should not have a problem with the Derby distance.

3. Carpe Diem

I attended the Bluegrass Stakes, and was very impressed with Carpe Diem. Trainer Todd Pletcher has done a great job with this 3YO. I think he’s one to watch in the Derby. He is unbeaten as well.

2. American Pharoah

So far, American Pharaoh has not done anything wrong. He’s undefeated. We will see after the Arkansas Derby if he remains so. I do wonder, with Dortmund and Carpe Diem also wanting the lead, if American Pharoah can withstand that kind of pressure in the Derby.

1. Dortmund

Dortmund is undefeated in six starts. I have seen this horse win in all kinds of ways. He won races with Firing Line breathing down his neck. Dortmund has won when challenged in the stretch, and had to pull away. In the Santa Anita Derby, people wondered whether Dortmund could win from that #1 hole. That was no problem for Dortmund, as he just obliterated the field. That’s what I like to see in a Derby horse. For the keyboard warriors saying Dortmund is “too big” to win the Kentucky Derby, I really don’t think so.

OTHER RACING ISSUES:

BEHOLDER RETURNS TO RACING

Two time Eclipse Award winning Mare Beholder finally returns to the races this Friday, April 10, 2015. Right before the Breeders’ Cup races, Beholder was scratched due to an illness that caused a fever, and a very severe lung infection. She returned to training earlier this year , and after a few audibles, her trainer Richard Mandella supplemented her into the Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita Racetrack on Friday.

As a huge fan of Beholder’s, I am very excited. I can’t wait to see her on TV. I hope she wins, of course, but I do realize that she’s coming off a huge layoff. I hope she and jockey Gary Stevens have a great, but safe trip. I will be waiting to see her, as well as many other of my current favorite horses, in person at the Breeders’ Cup, when Keeneland hosts the event on Halloween weekend. That will be awesome.

LEAVE THE TRIPLE CROWN FORMAT ALONE

Now that we are heading for another Triple Crown season, the worn out ideas of trying to change the current format of the Crown keep popping up. To refresh your memories, the current format is the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby runs on the first Saturday in May, then two weeks later, the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, MD is run. Three weeks later, the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park in Ozone Park, NY. This format has been in place since 1948 when Citation won it. There was a 25 year drought before Secretariat won it. Now, that there’s a 37 year drought, people want to change the format.

I feel that winning Thoroughbred Racing’s Triple Crown for 3YOs is one of the hardest accomplishments in all of sports. It requires a 3YO horse, within a five week span, to win three different races on three different surfaces, and travel three different distances. The same horse is also asked to take on all comers as well, including horses that have skipped the Derby and/or Preakness. The horse has to overcome so much, and everything has to go right. However, I do not think that the current Triple Crown format should be changed.

I realize that the Triple Crown has not always been this format. When Gallant Fox won the 1930 Triple Crown, the Preakness was run before the Derby. The Kentucky Derby was not always 1 1/4 miles. I recognize all of that. I also understand from some of those who are calling for change, that with today’s horse, the Triple Crown might be “too hard.” Well, it’s supposed to be hard. I realize that the breed is weaker, but that’s not a reason to change the format. Today’s horse is bred for speed, not stamina.

In his post-2014 Belmont Stakes rant after California Chrome failed to make history as the 12th Triple Crown winner , besides calling the winner Tonalist’s connections “cowards,” minority owner Steve Coburn made a ridiculous suggestion. He felt that the only horses who should be running in the Triple Crown races should be just the horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby. First of all, where’s the competition in that? What does the Kentucky Derby have to overcome?

Also, there will be short fields, which will turn away serious handicappers. Handicappers don’t generally like short fields. Besides, if you look through racing history, plenty of horses who skipped the first two legs of the Crown have upset the Crown bid. A horse named Coastal upset Spectacular Bid’s attempt in 1979. Pass Catcher upset Canonero II in his bid for Triple Crown glory in the Belmont Stakes in 1971. So, Tonalist is not the first horse to skip the first two legs in the Triple Crown and upset the Crown bid, and he won’t be the last.

I just think the accomplishment is so rare because it is so hard. It should not be changed to make it easier. What I mean is, there shouldn’t be a Crown winner just to have one. The Triple Crown winner should be that one great horse who has earned it, and deserved it, not because rules were changed just so racing is so desperate to have a Triple Crown winner.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. All feedback is welcome.

Late game magic leads Flyers past Islanders

April 08, 2015 By: Category: NHL, Sports

Once again the Flyers came into Tuesday night’s game with the role of the spoiler. The Islanders needed just one point in the game to clinch a playoff spot. They were unable to do so, though, as the Flyers used some very late magic to come away with the 5-4 win.

The Flyers came out with the jump in this game as they spent the first few minutes with possession in the Islanders zone. A hit by Eric Boulton on Carlo Colaiacavo did not sit well with Ryan White. White and Boulton would drop the gloves and each get five minutes for fighting, but White would get an extra minor to put the Islanders on the man advantage. Nicklas Grossmann would also take a penalty to put the Flyers on a 5-on-3 disadvantage.

The Flyers were able to weather the storm and got a 5-on-3 power play chance of their own a little later in the first period. The team was unable to capitalize on the first power play, but did manage to get a goal on the second try. Mark Streit came into the offensive zone with the puck and sent a pass over to Claude Giroux, who fired a one-timer past goaltender Jaroslav Halak to put the Flyers up 1-0.

“We had a couple of good chances before I scored and the second goal Raffl did a good job going to the net and opening up the lane and I just tried to hit the net,” Giroux said.

Giroux would get his second of the game about five minutes later. The Flyers captain would tip the puck out of the defensive zone to Jakub Voracek, who then found Streit. Streit would once again find Giroux and the trio would pair up for another goal to put Philadelphia up 2-0.

The Islanders would get their first goal of the game on the power play in the second period. Ryan Strome carried the puck on the right side of the offensive zone. He sent a low shot towards the net that John Tavares redirected past goaltender Steve Mason to cut the Flyers lead to 2-1.

The Flyers pulled away a bit, scoring a little over a minute after Tavares’ goal. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was able to step around Kyle Okposo and make his way to the front of the net. Vincent Lecavalier saw the opening, sending the pass over to Bellemare who sent a one-timer past Halak to put the Flyers up by three goals.

“Vandy made a great play to Vinny and then I saw Vinny get the puck. I skated toward the net as hard as I could and they gave me a tap-in there. It was an open net,” Bellemare said.

Philadelphia would continue their scoring ways as Carlo Colaiacavo got just his second of the season about three minutes into the third period. Zac Rinaldo, skating toward the boards on the right side, made a no-look backhand pass into the slot for Colaiacavo. The defensemen was able to one-time it past Halak to give the Flyers a 4-1 lead.

A bit of a breakdown by the Flyers allowed the Islanders to get back into the game with three straight goals. Anders Lee got things started off with his 24th of the season. Mason stopped the original shot taken by Josh Bailey, but kicked the rebound to the middle of the ice where Lee was waiting. Lee would one-time the shot past Mason to cut the lead to 4-2.

Johnny Boychuck would be the next Islander to find the back of the net. After the Flyers iced the puck, Tavares would win the ensuing faceoff and send the puck over to Boychuck, whose shot found its way through traffic and behind Mason to bring the score to 4-3. Lee would follow up with second of the evening to tie the score. Tavares would win another faceoff and get the puck over to Lee who would make the deke and score with just 28 seconds left in the contest.

This was where the Flyers would get a little magic. With time running out, Sean Couturier pushed the puck ahead to Brayden Schenn. The winger would skate to the left circle of the offensive zone and put a shot on net that slipped through the pads of Halak and into the net with just two seconds left in the game to give the Flyers the 5-4 victory.

“You’re not thinking that one’s going in from where the position I was on the ice. You never know, I guess that’s what happens when you put pucks on net,” Schenn said. “Sometimes you get a lucky one and I’ll take those any day.”

The Flyers have just two games remaining in their season as they welcome in the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday evening. Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m.

Calling The Shots: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Cro Cop 2

April 08, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC will make its debut in Poland this Saturday with a Fight Pass card emanating from the Kraków Arena. The main event is a rematch from eight years ago as Mirko Cro Cop looks to avenge his most devastating loss against Gabriel Gonzaga. While this fight boasts no divisional relevance, the emotional storyline of the bout makes this an intriguing affair.

Mirko Cro Cop signed with the UFC in 2007 when the company was just starting to break into mainstream consciousness. Many believed he was the heavyweight attraction that would lead them to the promise land, and it seemed like a sure thing considering his résumé in PRIDE and winning that promotion’s Open Weight Grand Prix.

Cro Cop won his Octagon debut with ease. The consensus was that one more fight would seal the deal, leading to a monstrous pay-per-view showdown against the champion at the time, Randy Couture. Enter Gabriel Gonzaga, who was a step up in competition, but was still expected to fall victim to the Croatian.

Instead of accepting his role, Gabriel Gonzaga flipped the script with a shocking head kick that knocked out Cro Cop, prompting a violent fall to the canvas with his leg twisting upon impact. Gonzaga prevented what would have been one of the biggest money fights in MMA history and ended up challenging Couture instead before losing in the 4th round.

Cro Cop was a promoters dream. He possessed good takedown defense, coupled with fiercely accurate striking, which produced a plethora of highlight reels showing head kick knockouts. If you’re a professional wrestling fan, the way Cro Cop lost to Gonzaga would be equivalent to someone beating Steve Austin with his own signature maneuver, the Stone Cold Stunner.

It’s difficult to break down a rematch by referring to the previous encounter since it happened so long ago. The way Gonzaga won that fight was so spectacular, people forget that he dominated the entire bout. Cro Cop has never been the same since this fight as lackluster wins and devastating losses erased the Terminator-like aura he once had.

Gonzaga remained in the hunt after losing his title bid to Couture, but his last two losses to Stipe Miocic, and especially Matt Mitrone, have called into question whether or not his best days are behind him.

In a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Cro Cop said he believes he is a better fighter than Gonzaga and that “Things will be different this time.” This has sparked some excitement because this sounds like he’s motivated which in theory, means we could see the return of the Cro Cop that we used to know.

On fight night, Cro Cop’s plan of attack will not deviate from the norm. He is a striker at heart with some potency left in his attack. While he could catch Gonzaga, his physical decline will make him easier to takedown which plays heavily in the Brazilian’s favor.

If Gonzaga gets him down, he should be able to maintain top position and cause enough damage to call for a referee stoppage. While Gonzaga’s loss to Mitrone was scary and could be a sign of things to come, I don’t think he will play the same game this time around.

The Pick: Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO in the 3rd Round

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Flyers complete season sweep of rival Penguins

April 06, 2015 By: Category: NHL, Sports

The Flyers, already being eliminated from playoff contention, could only play spoiler when they took on the Penguins Saturday afternoon. They did just that by defeating Pittsburgh by a score of 4-1. The loss put the Penguins in a dangerous spot of also missing the playoffs.

The first period saw a lot of quality chances for the Penguins. Goaltender Steve Mason stood up to the test, making huge saves left and right. His biggest save of the afternoon came about six minutes into the first period. Mason made the original save on a shot by Nick Spaling, but gave up a rebound that found the stick of Craig Adams. Mason dove across the crease to rob Adams with the glove and kept the game scoreless.

The Penguins would get a lead in the first period, with their only goal of the game, on the power play. David Perron skated down the left-wing to create space in the offensive zone. He passed the puck to Brandon Sutter, who was by the goal line. Sutter found space underneath the stick of Mason and sent the puck just to the right of his pad to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

The Flyers would tie things up with a power play goal of their own in the period. Mark Streit held the puck at the blue line before sending a pass over to Jakub Voracek. Voracek sent a one-timer over the right shoulder of goaltender Thomas Greiss to tie the game at 1-1.

The Flyers were heavily outshot in the first period, 22-4, but were able to come out of the period with a tie score. While being outshot the rest of the game, Philadelphia was able to keep the momentum going into the second and third period.

A power play about halfway through the second saw the Flyers get their first lead of the game. Streit started with the puck at the blue line before sending a pass to Voracek. Voracek then sent it over to Brayden Schenn who deflected the puck on net. The puck sailed into the air and over Greiss and the Penguins defense before finding its way into the back of the net, giving the Flyers the 2-1 lead.

That would be all the scoring for the second period. The third period featured chances for both teams, but the Flyers would be the only team to capitalize on them. The first came off the stick of Ryan White.

White’s goal was the only one scored at even strength for the Flyers. White skated around the back of the net, passing the puck to Sean Couturier on his way around. Couturier came around the other side and sent a pass across to White who easily put it in the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season.

Sparks began to fly as the third period continued. The Flyers held the puck for a while after a delayed penalty on the ice. Chris Kunitz, the first Penguin to touch the puck, sent a shot on the empty net, after the whistle had blown. Claude Giroux did not take kindly to it as he flew across to ice to share that feeling with Kunitz. Voracek was also not pleased as he got himself involved as well. The ending of a semi-brawl saw Giroux off for roughing and Voracek with a ten-minute misconduct.

The Flyers would put the final nail in the coffin with about 10 seconds left in the contest, on yet another power play. Giroux started off by skating the puck into the offensive zone. He sent a pass over to Schenn, who then found Michael Del Zotto breaking towards the net. Del Zotto made no mistake, putting the puck in between the legs of Greiss to give the Flyers the 4-1 victory.

Mason made 46 saves in the effort, the second time he has done so this season. Voracek, with a goal and an assist, moved within two points of the NHL scoring lead. Del Zotto tied his career high in goals while adding to the six points he has over the last five games.

The Flyers return to home ice on Tuesday as they welcome in the New York Islanders. The game also signifies Fan Appreciation Night for the team. Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m.

Ronda Rousey Could Be Headlining WWE WrestleMania 32

March 30, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The worlds of WWE and the UFC have converged once again. This time these two juggernauts are spinning around the axis of Ronda Rousey. What’s next for the UFC champ after locking up the arm of the Billion Dollar Princess?

Rousey has been hanging around the WWE for several months now, so seeing Rousey at ringside cheering for her friends at WrestleMania 31 was expected. Seeing Rousey inside of the WWE ring judo-tossing one of the members of the Board of Directors was not. Where in the world is this going and how this story will end is what everyone is talking about today.

The latest reports coming out are that Rousey’s appearance inside of the ring at a WrestleMania will not be isolated to San Francisco. Most reports are putting Rousey back in a WrestleMania ring next year in Dallas, Texas at 32. While everything is just pure speculation at this point, Rousey headlining WrestleMania 32 would be Vince McMahon’s biggest coup since signing Mike Tyson in 1998.

Dave Meltzer reported on his F4WOnline.com podcast that Rousey is expected to be a part of WrestleMania 32. Dave reports that it is pure speculation right now but Rousey will either be in Rock’s corner vs. Triple H or teaming with Rock against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Just having Ronda on the show will be huge, but actually getting her in a wrestling ring is a great start in making WrestleMania 32 the biggest ever.

The plan going into next year is to make WrestleMania 32 the biggest Mania of all-time. I wasn’t sure how you did that a week ago with the current roster. Yet the picture is much clearer today with Ronda in the mix and Brock re-signed. The WWE will have a lot of seats to fill in Jerry World and the intrigue of seeing the most popular UFC star teaming with the most popular pro wrestling star certainly doesn’t hurt.

The wild card here has always been Dana White. The UFC president has been adamant against his fighters doing pro wrestling. Even undercard guys like Tom Lawlor can’t wrestle in a pro wrestling ring. Vince McMahon has tried to make deals with White in the past. The most well-known was back when Brock was UFC champion and he wanted to book Brock vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania. White shut that down and even invitation from Vince for White to “fight” McMahon at Mania. Why has the UFC president shifted his position all of the sudden?

I think it benefits everyone. The UFC is at a place now where there will be no confusion with fans seeing one of its biggest stars doing pro wrestling. The UFC is also coming off of a disappointing year. While 2015 has been great thus far for the company, there aren’t a whole lot of big fights left on the horizon. Anderson Silva and GSP are probably done, at least in 2015. He already saw the kind of money Brock drew with pro wrestling fans. Bringing those same fans back to watch Ronda is a stroke of genius on his part.

The UFC has to be getting something here. It can’t be purely money or this deal would have been done years ago. My first thought was CM Punk. Punk hates the WWE and he isn’t coming back. However, maybe White uses the WWE to promote Punk’s UFC debut? Maybe the WWE offer up footage for the UFC to use to promote Punk? My hunch and it is only a hunch, is that somehow this is paid off with Punk. I wouldn’t expect to see Punk on WWE television promoting his fight but you never know. Stranger things have happened but that one would be really strange.

At the end of the day Vince McMahon got his man and his woman. He re-signed Brock and was able to do the unthinkable and that is get Ronda Rousey in a WWE ring at WrestleMania. It’s a win-win for everyone and it will only get better as we get closed to WrestleMania 32.

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Results: Seth Rollins Cashes In, Ronda Rousey Appears

March 29, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins WrestleMania 31Expectations for WrestleMania 31 may have been low, yet the show will go down as one of the most exciting in recent years. This year’s event was packed with surprises ranging from surprise appearances and a new WWE world champion that wasn’t even scheduled in the match.

Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE world champion. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns fought a grueling match for about fifteen minutes. A bloody Brock and beaten Reigns were down when Rollins cashed in to make it a Triple Threat Match. Rollins came in and curb stomped Brock but wound up getting Rollins up for the F5. Reigns speared Brock as he held Rollins. Rollins popped up, hit a curb stomp on Reigns and pinned Reigns to win the title.

The booking was excellent and while many predicted Rollins would cash in, nobody predicted it would go down in this fashion. Quite honestly I never knew you could cash in the briefcase during the match. I think it was the right move at the right time. Putting Reigns over would have been a mistake. He was booed more than any other babyface tonight including John Cena. The crowd just isn’t buying him right now. It was also time to take the title off of Lesnar. I don’t know what would marketable match would be next for him if he steamrolled another opponent. Now the WWE can go with Rollins vs. Reigns through August and Rollins vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam for the title.

But that may not be the biggest surprise of the event. The biggest surprise was getting UFC Ronda Rousey in the ring for what appears to be the start of her pro wrestling career. Rousey got physical with both Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to set up what looks like to be a mixed-tag team match with Rousey and the Rock vs. Hunter and Stephanie. Rock came out as a surprise and interrupted a promo with the Authority. Stephanie slapped him and challenged him to hit a woman. He went to ringside and got a woman who “would hit a woman.” Steph told Ronda to get out of her ring, Ronda wound up putting an arm bar on Steph and stood tall with Rock. Rousey was great and the fans absolutely loved her. They were chanting her name before she even got into the ring.

It does appear that Rock and Rousey will tag up against Hunter and Stephanie next year at WrestleMania 32. The WWE were looking for something big for AT&T Stadium and the dream team of Rousey and Rock may do it. They are already generating a ton of mainstream media buzz. I have to hand it to the WWE. They have wanted Rousey for a while now and they pulled off quite a coup to get her. UFC president Dana White has been adamant against fighters doing pro wrestling for years, including prohibiting Brock wrestling Undertaker when Brock was UFC champion. Obviously he has acquiesced and my bet is that the compromise will be WWE promoting CM Punk’s UFC debut. I have no idea whether that is the case or not, but Dana had to get something big in return for Rousey wrestling on WrestleMania.

Triple H defeated Sting in a pretty fun match. It wasn’t the best match on the card and really hurt following what I thought was a fantastic Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins match. But Sting looked great, the fans ate it up, and we got some fun surprises here. The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac came out to help Triple H and were countered by the n.W.o. group of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. The match ended with Shawn Michaels coming out of nowhere to hit Sting with Sweet Chin Music. Triple H eventually got the pin after using the broken top of a sledgehammer. Everyone hugged after the match signifying the official end of the Monday Night War.

John Cena beat Rusev to win the US title. I am stunned by the decision here. I have no problem with Cena but I think Rusev should have remained unbeaten until he lost to the WWE champion. I think the WWE could have had something with Rusev against either Brock or the WWE champion and while those could still do business, it’s not the same. Rusev ran into Lana inadvertently at the end of the match. Lana was selling her ankle and Rusev yelled at her and walked out.

Undertaker beat Bray Wyatt. I’d say that Undertaker looked a lot better than last year. He moved much better and it was fun seeing him back in the ring. That said, the match was pretty mundane. That could be that I had already watched four hours of wrestling up to that point and just got out of what seemed like an hour-long segment with Rock and Rousey vs. the Authority. I should note that Undertaker was shown in the commercial promoting WrestleMania 32.

Other notes: Daniel Bryan won gold again at WrestleMania. Bryan won the intercontinental title in the Ladder Match. This was a real fun match and probably one of the better Mania openers. This was a pretty crazy match but it was Bryan and Dolph Ziggler who stole it in my opinion. Randy Orton pinned Seth Rollins in what I’d dare say was one of the best Mania matches on the card. I loved the match and it obviously sets up Orton challenging Rollins at some point coming off of the clean pin.

Overall I would call this one of the best Mania cards top to bottom in some time. The show had a ton of surprise and the pace was fast throughout the night. Five hours of wrestling is a lot of wrestling in one sitting but it really didn’t catch up until the Wyatt vs. Taker match at around 10 PM. I’d highly recommend checking out the show if you haven’t already. For a show with low expectations, this one could go down top to bottom as one of the all-time best in Mania history.

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 results and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match to win the  WWE World Heavyweight Title
John Cena defeated Rusev to win the WWE United States Title
Daniel Bryan defeated Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Stardust, and Bad News Barrett in a Ladder Match to win the WWE Intercontinental Title
Triple H defeated Sting
AJ Lee and Paige defeated The Bella Twins
Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins
The Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt
The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd  defeated The Usos, Los Matadores, and Big E and Kofi Kingston in a Fatal 4 Way to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles

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Brock Lesnar Re-Signs With WWE, Retires From MMA

March 24, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Vince McMahon got his man! WWE world champion Brock Lesnar has signed a new deal with the WWE which will keep him around after WrestleMania. The new deal has also shut down any chance we’ll see Brock in the UFC ever again.

The news came Tuesday night on ESPN Sportscenter. Brock appeared on the program to announce his future. It was there that Brock broke the news that made lots of pro wrestling fans very happy, while disappointing those interested in seeing a Lesnar vs. Frank Mir trilogy.

“Last night, old Vince McMahon put on the offer on the table that I couldn’t refuse. It really comes down to business and money and health and well being, I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve been in a bad position with my health. I’ve been in a bad position with my money. Now I’m in a great position with both and I’m happy. I love what I’m doing. I work part time with full time pay like everybody wants but you can’t have. Just me. So I’m happy.”

It was widely reported that Monday night was a self-imposed deadline for Vince McMahon to get a new deal with Brock done. Vince reportedly wanted to lock up Brock before he hit free agency but more importantly, before Brock walked into WrestleMania as a lame duck champion. The new deal opens up a lot of possibilities regarding the WrestleMania main-event.

Brock spoke more about his decision not to return to the UFC as opposed to why he re-signed with the WWE. Lesnar just felt he had nothing to prove and his heart was not in a return to the octagon.

“For the last two months I’ve been training, I’ve been training to get back in the Octagon. I felt physically great, but something lacked mentally,” Lesnar revealed. “That’s not good. I talked to (UFC president) Dana (White), I talked to (CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta), I talked to my wife, I talked to my friends. I had many sleepless nights on what to do. At the end of the day, it weighed heavily in my heart I was born to be an entertainer. I have fun doing it.

I could go back to the Octagon — what am I going to gain? I was the UFC heavyweight champion of the world. Due to my illness my career got cut short, and that’s God’s telling you it’s time to move on. As years went by it wore on me so much that the fighter inside of me didn’t want it to end that way. I didn’t want to leave the UFC on a losing streak. That’s just the competitive guy inside me.

You can’t force somebody to get into the cage and fight. That’s not the business,” Lesnar said. “That’s where I was. Was my heart and my head really into it? What are the reasons I want to get in there? Because I don’t like the way it ended or really what is it?”

“At the end of the day, I’m really happy where I’m at with the WWE.”

Lesnar is happy with his decision. “The older you get, the wiser you become and I didn’t want to be that guy that retired and came back. So there was a lot of different things that went through my mind. This was a long, heartfelt decision. You weigh out the pros, you weigh out the cons,” Lesnar said.

But what about Lesnar’s next contract negotiation? According to the WWE champ, that dance is over.

I’m officially closing the door on MMA,” Lesnar said. “It was hard. I re-signed last night with the WWE. We came to a conclusion last night. The offer on the table, I just could not refuse.”

This is a huge coup for the WWE. For starters, losing Brock to the UFC would have been a public relations disaster. With CM Punk and Brock going to the UFC, shareholders would have had a cause to be concerned. Two, the scene at WrestleMania could have been downright ugly. We already saw how that worked out at WrestleMania XX when the fans knew Brock was leaving. Third and I think most importantly, Brock is now available for WrestleMania 32. Vince McMahon has a lot of seats to fill in Dallas, TX. Having Brock on the roster opens up all kinds of possibilities for big matches with The Rock, Steve Austin, or even an Undertaker rematch. Without Brock, the WWE would have had a very difficult time booking something special in Texas next year. Quite frankly I think WrestleMania 32 was really the driving factor here.

WrestleMania 31 just got real interesting.

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CM Punk Talks Chances of WWE Return, Regrets, and More

March 23, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk may wish to put his WWE career behind him but it will always be a topic of conversation with the former WWE champ. Punk was recently asked about his WWE career and had some interesting reflections on the past and the future.

Punk is now removed from the WWE for over a year and training diligently for a career in the UFC. While Punk may prefer to focus on the future, his sudden departure from the WWE is still a fascinating topic. Punk recently stopped by Fox Sports Wisconsin for a Q & A that started with MMA questions but took a sharp left down the pro wrestling radio.

Punk on making the move to the UFC at this point in his life. “Because I’m not getting any younger. I’m the kind of guy that jumps at an opportunity. I’m sure you’re going to ask, and I understand all the criticism levied towards myself and UFC, but at the end of the day I’m the one getting in there, I’m the one putting my neck out on the line. If I fail, I fail in front of the entire world. To me that’s the juice, it’s all about the action. I’ve been thinking about doing it for a very, very, very long time. The opportunity presented itself, so I’d be a fool to say no.

I think it is interesting to look back at 2011 and the path Punk’s career took that summer. All of the rumors up to that point were that Punk was leaving the WWE when his contract expired. It is interesting to ponder whether Punk was seriously considering the move then. The MMA landscape was different and I am fairly certain he wouldn’t have gotten a UFC deal at that time. I am not sure if he has been asked but it is an interesting thought regarding whether he would have shifted to MMA in 2011 had he not stuck around.

Punk was then asked some WWE questions. Punk was asked whether he still watches the product. “None. I don’t watch wrestling anymore. I’ve tried to, but I have an aversion to it. You do something like that for however many years I did it, and it’s like a lifetime. I’ve seen enough.

The interviewer jokes, “So no NXT for you then?” Punk responds, ” No, no. I lived it.”

That is a very common answer I hear among former pro wrestlers who retired. Many don’t watch it anymore and why would they? It was their job and Punk has obviously lost his passion for it. He does mention that he’ll watch his wife’s matches when she recommends them.

Punk was asked whether the WWE was his dream job when he signed and he offers an interesting answer. “I signed in ’05. My dream job was always wrestling in Japan. I looked up to guys like Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen. I was huge All Japan Wrestling guy, so a guy like Kobashi. I loved Eddie Guerrero, because they were stars in a foreign land. There’s something about that that appealed to me. I liked the style a lot better than American wrestling, or WWF at the time. That was my dream job. That’s what I always wanted to do, was go over there, wrestle for four weeks, come home for two weeks, go there for five weeks, come home for one week. That was the dream. But the way things work, your goals change and your priorities change and I had already gotten to a level where I thought I needed to prove that I could draw money. And the only way to do that, because foreigners aren’t really given a chance in Japan, was to go to WWE.

What is interesting about that answer is that Punk was always using the WWE to get to Japan, or so he says. It certainly adds context to him leaving and being burnt out when that wasn’t necessarily his end goal. It does make you wonder though whether Punk would entertain a modified schedule working for a Japanese company. Of course the Japanese landscape was much different in 2005 and the timing wouldn’t have worked out for him if that was his goal.

Punk was then asked whether he regretted signing with the WWE. “Well, yeah, of course. Like I said, I don’t live my life with regrets. I don’t even think there’s really situations where I wish I would’ve handled myself a little bit differently. I wish I would’ve punched one or two people in the face. But, no, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Absolutely not.

Punk was asked about the chances of ever working in the WWE again? “Zero.

I would recommend reading the entire interview as Punk offers more insight into his WWE departure, highs and lows, UFC preparation, and more pro wrestling talk than he has engaged in anywhere else since the Colt Cabana podcast.

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