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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

The Chicago Cubs overcame several obstacles and setbacks to win Game 7 over the Indians, 8-7, in 10 innings, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit and capturing their first World Series title since 1908.

By acquiring running back Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins, the Eagles are raising expectations, indicating that they believe they are capable of a run to the Super Bowl.

The Sixers have become a national joke, but I fail to find the humor. The organization should be embarrassed by the putrid product it puts out on the floor. Instead, GM Sam Hinkie is patting himself on the back for the new-and-improved Tanking 2.0.

Archive for October, 2018

Heel Turns: Shocking news about Reigns

Posted by Achilles Heel On October - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

This was supposed to be a week to feature the elevation of women’s wrestling. WWE’s Evolution, an all-women’s event, takes place Sunday. Unfortunately, the women have been pushed off the front page, so to speak, but the shocking news about Roman Reigns.

Reigns, who held the WWE Universal Championship, revealed Monday that he is battling leukemia.

Reigns also revealed that this isn’t his first bout with leukemia. He said that he was first diagnosed with leukemia 11 years, but put the cancer into remission in relatively quick fashion.

The news was shocking. There have been champions who have relinquished their titles before, but not for this reason. Shawn Michaels gave up the title when he “lost his smile;” Batista gave up a championship at Wells Fargo Center in 1996 due to injury; Daniel Bryan was stripped of the WWE Championship due to a neck injury and gave up the Intercontinental Championship one year later due to career-threatening concussion-related issues; and Edge gave up the World Heavyweight Championship due to his career-ending neck injury.

The Edge and Bryan situations seem closest to what is happening with Reigns. Bryan’s career was in serious jeopardy, and Edge’s career was over. But having your career in jeopardy isn’t the same thing as having your life in jeopardy.

In Reigns’ emotional speech at the start of Monday’s Raw, he insisted this wasn’t a retirement speech. He insisted that he will be coming back to regain the WWE Universal Championship.

The Greek God of Wrestling sends his thoughts and prayers to Reigns as he battles this deadly disease in the hope that his statement comes true.

*****

EVOLUTION IS HISTORY: In a normal week, WWE’s “Evolution,” an all-women’s pay-per-view on Sunday (7 p.m.) at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island would have been the biggest story. It’s not an exaggeration to refer to Evolution as a historic event.

There are two women’s championship matches. Ronda Rousey defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Nikki Bella. There’s no reason for Bella, even with help from sister Brie, to win the championship.

The other women’s title match, Becky Lynch defending the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair, should be the best match on the card. Their match is a “last woman standing match,” which means it should be given plenty of time. There are several ways WWE could go with this match. With fans continuing to cheer Lynch after her heel turn, Charlotte could turn heel in this match to capture the title. Another possibility is that Charlotte wins, only to have Lynch attack her again after the match, making Lynch look like a sore loser in an attempt to cement her heel credentials.

There is a six-woman tag team match, with Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya meeting The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan). The old guard should win this match, but Achilles Heel wouldn’t be surprised if Riott pulled off the upset, pushing her into title contention for the Raw Women’s Championship.

Speaking of contenders, there will be a battle royal, with the winner getting a future women’s championship match. Participants include Asuka, Naomi, Nia Jax, Carmella, Ember Moon, Maria Kanellis and Zelina Vega, as well as past stars such as Alundra Blayze, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Ivory and Molly Holly.

Unfortunately, an injury has knocked Alexa Bliss out of a tag team match against WWE legends Trish Stratus and Lita, leaving Mickie James and Alicia Fox as the opponents. Stratus and Lita should have a triumphant return.

NXT Women’s champion Kairi Sane defends her title against former champion Shayna Baszler. These two met in the finals of the first Mae Young Classic, so it’s fitting that the finals of this year’s Mae Young Classic, with Toni Storm facing Io Shirai, will also take place at Evolution.

The first half hour of Evolution will also be available on Twitter. If you want to see history being made, check out WWE’s Evolution this Sunday.

*****

SHE DESERVES IT: The Greek God of Wrestling has consistently offered praise for WWE trainer Sara Amato, better known by her ring name: Sara Del Rey. I have heaped praise on Amato for her role in dramatically improving the quality of women’s wrestling in WWE; therefore, it’s nice to see WWE give her some public recognition on its Web site with a video entitled “Meet the driving force behind WWE’s Women’s Evolution.”

*****

ALDIS REGAINS TITLE: As expected, Nick Aldis regained the NWA Heavyweight Championship from Cody Rhodes in a two-out-of-three-falls match at the NWA’s 70th Anniversary on Sunday. The show, however, was plagued by technical issues, particularly with relation to the audio.

*****

IMPACT CAPTURES TITLE: Johnny Impact captured the Impact Wrestling World Championship at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view, defeating Austin Aries in the main event. Impact has already defended his title on Impact Wrestling, but how many people are watching it? With the move to 10 p.m. on Pop TV, fewer than 100,000 people were watching, according to The Wrestling Observer.

*****

AMBROSE TURNS HEEL: Achilles Heel was waiting for Dean Ambrose to turn heel. On the night that Roman Reigns revealed he had leukemia, it would be dastardly for Ambrose to turn on his Shield brothers. So when the main event was announced as Ambrose and Seth Rollins challenging Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler for the Raw Tag Team Championships, the opportunity was perfect for Ambrose to turn on Rollins.

But then Ambrose and Rollins won the tag team titles. It was a sentimental ending to a show that opened with Reigns’ emotional speech.

And then it happened. Ambrose attacked Rollins. And then he attacked him again. And again. It was a beautifully executed heel turn, adding a surprising element even for those of us who were expecting it.

                                 *****                               

CROWN JEWEL IN SAUDI ARABIA: WWE has decided to keep “Crown Jewel” in Saudi Arabia despite controversy surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who writes for the Washington Post. After initial denials, Saudi Arabia has admitted Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, although significant questions remain surrounding the circumstances of his death.

Crown Jewel, which takes place Friday (noon). features a battle between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship vacated by Roman Reigns. With Lesnar transitioning back to UFC, Strowman seems like the logical choice to capture the crown.

Shawn Michaels is coming out of retirement to reform Degeneration X with Triple H. Their opponents are Undertaker and Kane, with this match being set up by the attack by the Brothers of Destruction after Triple H defeated Undertaker at Super Showdown in Australia.

The match that could steal the show is the WWE Championship match, with AJ Styles defending against Daniel Bryan. The Greek God of Wrestling thinks the audience reaction to this match would be better in the United States.

There is also an eight-man World Cup Tournament. There are reports that John Cena will pull out of the tournament. That still leaves Seth Rollins, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz in a star-studded tournament. At his age, I don’t know that Angle can effectively wrestle three matches in one night. Rollins is the logical winner, but Dean Ambrose may get involved and cost him the match. That leaves Orton, Hardy and Mysterio as the most logical winners, although the tournament is wide open.

Crown Jewel also features a return match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship, with Cesaro and Sheamus defending against The New Day.

*****

GAME OF TAG: With Dean Ambrose turning heel, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Raw Tag Team Championship. Will the feuding Ambrose and Seth Rollins be forced to defend the titles or will the titles be vacated. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler could regain the titles, but Achilles Heel would love to see The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) back in the picture. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) capture the titles.

*****

HONOR IN PHILLY: Ring of Honor’s final show of 2015 will take place at 2300 Arena on Dec. 15 (6 p.m.). Tickets are on sale for the show, which comes one day after Final Battle in New York.

*****

MJF RETAINS: Maxwell Jacob Friedman successfully defended the Combat Zone Wrestling Heavyweight Championship against David Starr at “Better than our Best,” but Eddie Blackwater was not successful, losing the CZW Wired Television Championship to Jordan Oliver.

Oliver will defend his newly won title against Andrew Everett at “Night of Infamy” on Sat., Nov. 10 at the Colossal Sports Academy at The Coliseum in Voorhees. CZW legend Masada will also appear at Night of Infamy.

*****

HATFIELD DEFENDS: Dasher Hatfield, who became interim Grand Champion after Mark Angelosetti, his partner in The Throwbacks, broke his fibula during a first-round match King of Trios, will defend the title again Saturday (Oct. 27) against Sloan Caprice at La Loteria Letal at The Wrestle Factory (3 p.m.). There also will be a tag team tournament with randomly selected partners.

Boomer Hatfield, Dasher’s son, will be in action on Sun., Oct. 7 at Hour of Power at the Wrestle Factory. Boomer will face Sloan Caprice. In other announced matches, Thief Ang will battle Volgar, and Officer Warren Barksdale faces Frantik. Six days later, CHIKARA returns to The Wrestle Factory for the wonderfully titled “Piano Lessons Can be Murder.”

*****

GARGANO TURNS: Johnny Gargano has been revealed as the individual who attacked Aleister Black. It makes sense in terms of the story line, but Achilles Heel isn’t convinced that Gargano will be a good heel.

*****

SLATER DIES: Condolences to the friends and family of Dick Slater, who died last week. Slater was a top heel in the Southern territories and had a short stint in WWE.

*****

GRAND NIGHT: The 1,000th episode of Smackdown was a fun night. Among the former wrestlers returning, special mention goes to the Evolution reunion and Edge, who hosted “The Cutting Edge” with Becky Lynch. And let’s not forget Rey Mysterio, who defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to earn a spot in the World Cup Tournament.

London calling

Posted by Eric Fisher On October - 25 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Get ready for breakfast with the Eagles – or brunch, if you prefer to wait until halftime – this Sunday (9:30 a.m.) when the Eagles meet the Jaguars in London in a battle of struggling teams.

The Jaguars (3-4), who beat the Patriots the second week of the season, have lost three straight games. The Eagles (3-4) have lost three of their past four games.

The biggest problem for the Jaguars is their offense. Without running back Leonard Fournette, they’ve only scored 28 points during their three-game losing streak. With the exception of the romp over the Giants, the Eagles have scored between 17 and 23 points every game this season. That should be more than enough points against the Jaguars, but the Jaguars may be as good defensively as any team the Eagles have faced this season.

The question is how much the opponent matters. The Eagles would tell you that they have been their own worst enemy this season. After each loss we hear laments of self-inflicted wounds and poor execution.

Perhaps the question isn’t whether the Eagles can beat the Jaguars. Maybe the question is whether the Eagles can avoid beating themselves.

Here are 10 questions to consider prior to and during Sunday’s game.

Why is this game important?

The Eagles don’t want to fall any further behind in the NFC East. If the surprising Redskins defeat the Giants on Sunday, they would improve to 5-2. If the Redskins win and the Eagles lose on Sunday, the Birds would almost certainly have to sweep the Redskins in order to reach the playoffs by winning the NFC East. From a psychological perspective, the Eagles have a bye after Sunday. They definitely don’t want to enter the bye on a two-game losing streak, with losses in four of their previous five games.

Which team has homefield advantage at Wembley Stadium?

The Eagles, not surprisingly, may have more fans at Wembley than the Jaguars. Eagles Nation travels well. But this is the Jaguars’ sixth time playing in London. They’ve won their last three games in London, so they should feel right at home. More importantly, they are more accustomed to the routine of the London trip than the Eagles.

How much will Derek Barnett’s injury hurt the Eagles?

Barnett, who had season-ending shoulder surgery, hasn’t quite been the same since suffering the injury during the Eagles’ overtime loss to the Titans. But he was the team’s best defensive end during the first portion of the season. Rookie Josh Sweat should get some playing time in Barnett’s absence.

Which team has the better pass rush?

The Jaguars rank 20th in the NFL in sacks, but many of the players are the same ones who were part of a unit that registered 55 sacks last season. Veteran Calais Campbell is good against both the pass and run, but the real danger for the Eagles is the speed of Yannick Ngakoue and Malik Jackson. Dante Fowler may never live up to being picked third overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he is a good pass rusher coming off the bench. The problem for the Eagles is that offensive tackles Lane Johnson (ankle) and Jason Peters (quadriceps, biceps) have been battling injuries. Injuries might prevent them from having the mobility to handle the Jaguars’ speed on the outside. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ pass rush has been inconsistent. The loss of Barnett doesn’t help.

Can the Eagles run against the Jaguars to slow down their pass rush?

They can try, but nose tackle Marcell Dareus occupies the middle, Campbell contains at defensive end, and linebackers Myles Jack and Telvin Smith are extremely fast. The Eagles didn’t run the ball well against the Panthers, averaging 2.4 yards per carry. It will be another difficult challenge against the Jaguars.

Does the Jaguars defense have a vulnerable spot?

The Jaguars have only allowed six passing touchdowns in seven games. The Eagles catch a break with cornerback A.J. Bouye not making the trip due to a calf injury sustained Wednesday during practice, but Jalen Ramsey is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. If the Eagles have an advantage, it’s tight end Zach Ertz against the Jaguars’ safeties. Ertz is on a record-setting pace, with 57 receptions for 618 yards.

What’s up with Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles?

During last Sunday’s loss to the Texans, Bortles was benched in favor of Cody Kessler after losing two fumbles and not doing much positive as the Jaguars fell into a 20-0 hole. Bortles is prone to turnovers, which should be welcome news to an Eagles defense that hasn’t forced many turnovers. This week Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said, “I can turn on the tape this week of our opponent and see that Colin Kaepernick deserves a job.” Ouch! But Bortles can run out of the pocket and pick up yardage. If the Eagles don’t generate a consistent pass rush, Bortles will have time to make good decisions and spread the ball around the field.

Is there a wild card in this game?

The Jaguars traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Browns for Carlos Hyde, who was the Browns’ leading rusher. Hyde is expected to play his first game for the Jaguars on Sunday. He’s not Leonard Fournette, but, if he can be effective on the ground, it may keep the Eagles’ pass rush off Bortles.

Why do Eagles cornerbacks keep biting on double moves?

If you know the answer to this question, please email it to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Have we ever reached the 10th question without asking about Carson Wentz?

No. Wentz hasn’t been himself on third down and in the red zone, but he’s still been pretty good this season. The Jaguars are a tough opponent for any quarterback, although the Cowboys lit them up for 40 points two weeks ago. Wentz is extremely comfortable throwing to Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz, but the rest of the receivers either aren’t getting open or Wentz doesn’t have the confident to throw to them in traffic.

Prediction: If the Eagles can get into the 20s, they should win this game. If the defense can rattle Blake Bortles, this could turn into a laugher. On the other hand, if Carlos Hyde provides a dimension the Jaguars have been missing and their quick defenders generate a consistent pass rush, it could be a long trip home across the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t have a good feeling about this one. Jaguars 20, Eagles 16

Harper hits 1st home run as Phillie