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Points by Suns’ Devin Booker during 130-120 loss to Celtics

Gordon Glantz employs some old-school math to evaluate the Eagles’ quarterback situation. His conclusion is that the Eagles’ best realistic option is to bring back Nick Foles as the starter.

During Thursday’s unique dual induction ceremony into the Flyers Hall of Fame, Eric Lindros and John LeClair complemented each other perfectly, just as they did as members of the Legion of Doom.

After complaining about Heel Turns not appearing on PhillyPhanatics.com last week, the Greek God of Wrestling examines the fallout from the Royal Rumble. Achilles Heel also examines the lack of promotion for TNA’s Lockdown, upcoming events in Norristown and the 2300 Arena, and the promise of the upcoming NXT special on WWE Network.

Archive for the ‘Columns’ Category

Heel Turns: Philly hosts star-studded Raw

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThe road to WrestleMania 33 runs through Philadelphia. The final Raw before WrestleMania will be held Monday at a sold-out Wells Fargo Center.

Just six days before WrestleMania 33 takes place in Orlando, all of the big names from the Raw brand should be in Philly on Monday. That mean’s Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, with the final setup before their WrestleMania match for the WWE Universal Championship, which Goldberg won from Kevin Owens.

Triple H and Seth Rollins will be in Philly, with Rollins signing the “Hold Harmless Agreement” that will confirm their match for WrestleMania. The agreement basically means Rollins can’t hold Triple H responsible for any injuries he inflicts on Rollins during their “non-sanctioned” match at WrestleMania.

There should be further developments in the bitter feud between Owens and Chris Jericho, who will defend the United States Championship against Owens at WrestleMania. It’s also likely that Undertaker will be at Raw on Monday, adding to his storyline with Roman Reigns and, possibly, Braun Strowman.

Additional storylines should include the Raw Women’s Championship match, which, with Nia Jax added to the mix, is now a four-way match, as well as the possibility of getting a new general manager to replace Mick Foley.

Monday’s Raw will probably be centered around building angles for WrestleMania rather than terrific match, but this star-studded show should be a lot of fun.

Two more matches appeared to be added this past week. A.J. Styles, who has lived up to his “phenomenal” nickname, attacked Shane McMahon in spectacular fashion on Smackdown, smashing his head through a car window to express his anger for not having a match at WrestleMania. At the end of Smackdown, McMahon said he will face Styles at WrestleMania. Expect some stipulations to be added to this match.

*****

FAMILY FEUD: In what should be an interesting match, the Smackdown main event on Tuesday will pit WWE champion Bray Wyatt against former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper. It’s not clear if this will be for the WWE Championship or will be a non-title match. Expect Wyatt to try to entice Harper to have his back against Randy Orton at WrestleMania.

If the Greek God of Wrestling were booking this match, he would make it a non-title match. Orton would appear at some point, which would present Harper with the dilemma of whether to attack Orton, the man who took his place in the Wyatt Family, or attack Wyatt. I would have Harper attack Orton … and then attack and defeat Wyatt. This would keep Harper looking strong while adding to the Wyatt-Orton feud.

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TAG TEAM SWITCH: Jimmy and Jey Uso defeated American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) last week on Smackdown. The only way this makes sense to Achilles Heel is if Matt and Jeff Hardy are going to show up at WrestleMania and take the titles. Perhaps a match could be scheduled between the Uso and American Alpha. The Usos could attack Jordan and Gable backstage, taking them out of the match. The Usos could demand to be declared victorious due to forfeit, only to have the Hardys come out and challenge them for the titles.

*****

GIANT VOID: Achilles Heel is disappointed that more participants haven’t been announced for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This match is supposed to be prestigious, but this year it feels like an afterthought.

The only participants thus far are Big Show, Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley and Curt Hawkins. Given his feud with Crews and his recent confrontations with Rawley, Dolph Ziggler is likely to be added to the match. There’s a possibility of The New Day, who are serving as WrestleMania hosts, to be added. Luke Harper and Braun Strowman still don’t have matches for WrestleMania, and they would both be among the favorites if they were added. Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn would also be among the top contenders if they are added to the Battle Royal Field.

*****

ROSS’ WIFE DIES: Jan Ross, the wife of broadcasting legend Jim Ross, died Wednesday after a tragic accident. Jan Ross was riding her Vespa when she was hit from behind by a car. She suffered multiple skull fractures and surgeries to save her life were unsuccessful. The Greek God of Wrestling sends his condolence to Jim Ross and other family and friends. May you find the strength to get through this incredibly difficult time.

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SUPERCARD ON INTERNET: You no longer have to be in Lakeland, Fla., on Sat., April 1 to view Supercard of Honor XI (6 p.m.), headlined by the highly anticipated Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship ladder match between Matt and Jeff Hardy and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson). The event will be available as an Internet pay-per-view through rohwrestling.com.

Supercard of Honor XI also includes a Ring of Honor World Championship match between Christopher Daniels, who defeated Adam Cole to win the title at Ring of Honor’s 15th Anniversary show, and Dalton Castle. Cole will challenge Marty Scurll for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship in an heel vs. heel matchup. There also will be a bullrope match between Jay Lethal and Cody Rhodes.

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TAKING OVER ORLANDO: NXT will also hold a major event on Sat., April 1 (8 p.m.), the day before WrestleMania 33. NXT Takeover: Orlando will feature Bobby Roode defending the NXT Championship against former champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Asuka will defend the NXT Women’s Championship against Ember Moon, and The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) will defend the NXT Tag Team Championship in a triple-threat elimination match against The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) and DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa). Added to the card this past week was Aleister Black’s NXT debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas.

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WALL-TO-WALL WRESTLING: The WWN Live experience includes a series of shows in and around Orlando. The action kicks off Thursday at EVOLVE 80. Zack Sabre Jr. will defend the EVOLVE Championship against ACH. Other matches include Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle, Keith Lee vs. Ricochet, and Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi defending the EVOLVE Tag Team Championship against Michael Elgin and Donovan Dijak.

Also on March 30, Joey Janela’s Spring Break features some interesting matchups. Janela battles Marty Janetty, Riddle squares off with Dan “The Beast” Severn, and Combat Zone Wrestling’s Matt Tremont meets Eddie Kingston in what should be a physical match.

EVOLVE 81 on Friday (4 p.m.) features Sabre battling Michael Elgin in a non-title match, Keith Lee squaring off with Donovan Dijak, Galloway vs. Lio Rush, Yehi vs. Riddle, and Timothy Thatcher vs. ACH.

The culmination of the weekend, which includes more than what I’ve listed here, will be the WWN Supershow: Mercury Rising – EVOLVE vs. Progress. Galloway, Riddle, Yehi, Williams, Jon Davis and Parrow will complete in an elimination match to determine the first WWN champion. There will also be matches pitting EVOLVE vs. Progress.

*****

CHIKARA IN FLORIDA: CHIKARA also will have a presence in Orlando during WrestleMania weekend. CHIKARA will present “Turn Left” and “Bad Wolf” as part of the WWN Live Experience. During “Bad Wolf” on Sat., April 1, Zack Sabre Jr. will battle Max Smashmaster, and UltraMantis Black will face Juan Francisco De Coronado.

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WRONG MOVE: The Greek God of Wrestling is keeping an open mind on the changes at Impact Wrestling. However, he is disappointed that Karen Jarrett will apparently be playing a major role. Jarrett, the former wife of Kurt Angle and the current wife of promoter Jeff Jarrett, has a heel persona, but it seems to work better in a supporting role than as an authority figure. But I’m keeping an open mind.

*****

BEST PREVIEW IN TOWN: Check back at PhillyPhanatics.com for the world’s best WrestleMania 33 preview – (written, of course, by Achilles Heel) – and Eric Fisher’s list of the 33 best matches in WrestleMania history.

Green stood tall

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Fisher column logo2It always seemed strange that someone who so perfectly epitomized Philadelphia was named Dallas.

Dallas Green was blunt. He was tough. And he was passionate. He was Philadelphia.

Green, who guided the Phillies to the first World Series title in franchise history, died Wednesday at age 82. But Green didn’t guide the Phillies to the World Series title as much as he drove them to it.

The team Green took over in 1979 with a little less than one quarter of the season remaining had won three straight National League East titles, but hadn’t reached the World Series. Despite adding superstar Pete Rose through free agency, the Phillies were below .500 when Green took over.

Success wasn’t instantaneous. The Phillies finished fourth in the NL East in 1979 and were traveling a bumpy road toward another finish out of the playoffs in 1980 under Green’s stern leadership. Many of the veterans blanched at Green’s willingness to criticize them, both in the private confines of the locker room and the public forum of newspapers and other media. Green’s tactics generated scorn from, among others, fiery shortstop Larry Bowa, slugger Greg Luzinski and superb center fielder Garry Maddox.

But Green wasn’t at the helm to make friends. He ripped players for acting “too cool.” He implied they cared more about themselves than the team. He expressed concerns that they would quit.

The 6-foot-5-inch Green didn’t simply yell. He bellowed. His booming voice was impossible to confuse with anyone else’s voice. His messages were delivered loud and clear.

The players received the message. Or, as has been speculated, perhaps they rallied around the idea that they had a common enemy: Green.

They wanted to prove their manager wrong. They wanted to show him that they hadn’t quit. They wanted to show Green that they were winners.

The Phillies, of course won started a run in mid-August that elevated them to the NL East title. They won an epic 5-game National League Championship Series with the Astros, with the final four games of the series going extra innings.

There were so many heroes in the NLCS. Even if we limit our memories to Game 5, there are a plethora of heroes. The Phillies entered the eighth inning trailing, 5-2, with great Nolan Ryan on the mound for the Astros. After the Phillies loaded the bases and pushed one run across, chasing Ryan from the game, the Astros appeared to find a way out of the inning, recording two outs while allowing just one more run. But Del Unser’s 2-out single tied the game and Manny Trillo’s triple gave the Phillies a 7-5 lead.

Maddox flied out to center field to end the rally, but, after Tug McGraw coughed up the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, Maddox doubled home Unser with the winning run and series-clinching run in the 10th inning. Veteran starter Dick Ruthven retired the side in relief in the 10th inning to secure a trip to the World Series.

Trillo, who batted .381 and cut down a runner at the plate with a relay throw while playing his customary excellent defense, was named MVP. Luzinski’s 2-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 1 gave the Phillies the lead in a crucial 3-1 victory. Bowa batted .316. Rose batted .400. Pinch-hitters Unser and Greg Gross were a combined 5 for 9.

There were more heroes during the World Series triumph over the Royals. After a terrible NLCS, Mike Schmidt was named MVP of the World Series. McGraw earned a win and two saves. Catcher Bob Boone batted .412. Bowa batted .375. Unser went 3 for 6 with two RBI and scored two runs. Ace Steve Carlton continued his usual excellence while winning both of his starts.

Green wasn’t popular among his players, but he brought out the best in them. And that’s a manager’s job.

He also brought the Phillies their first championship in their 97-year existence. If it weren’t for the 2008 Phillies, we would still be clinging to the 1980 team as our one shining moment on the baseball stage. And we owe Green a huge debt for his huge role in making that happen.

Green was a baseball giant, literally and figuratively. He didn’t make much of an impact as a player after being drafted out of Delaware by his beloved Phillies. But he spent 62 years in professional baseball, 46 of them with the Phillies. He was a player, scout, farm director, manager and adviser with the Phillies.

After leaving the Phillies to become general manager of the Cubs, he reversed their fortunes and helped them win a division title. An important step in Green’s turnaround of the Cubs was stealing Bowa and future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg from the Phillies in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.

Green’s style never changed. He battled with Cubs ownership. He fought with tradition to get lights in Wrigley Field, even threatening to play games in another location. He stood up to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, which made his tenure as Yankees manager a short one.

My lone reporter experience with Green was in 1990 at a charity golf tournament. The setting was unusual because, as Green told me that day, he doesn’t play golf. He was there to help raise money for the medical expenses of his former Phillies teammate Chris Short, who was in a coma from which he would never recover. Green’s presence alone tells you a lot about the man.

Because Green wasn’t playing golf, we had time for a relaxed conversation about his thoughts on baseball-related issues and what he’d like to accomplish during the rest of his career (he was intrigued by running an expansion franchise). We were outside, but Green used his “inside” voice. It was a voice that commanded attention, but it wasn’t booming the way it would be in a baseball setting.

In hindsight, because I was in “reporter” mode, I don’t think I ever thanked Green for the joy he brought me by pushing the Phillies to win the 1980 World Series. And I was a spoiled Phillies fan. They had been winners for most of the years I had followed the team. There were generations of Phillies fans who had suffered through decades of losing seasons. They had suffered through the agony of 1964.

Green was a pitcher on the 1964 team that infamously blew a 6½-game lead with 12 games to go. He gave up five runs in relief during a 14-8 loss to the Milwaukee Braves that knocked the Phillies out of first place on Sept. 27, 1964.

Having played for the Phillies and worked in the organization, when the Phillies won the franchise’s first championship, Green knew how much it meant to the fans.

The World Series title also meant a lot to the players. For many of them, including Hall of Famers Schmidt and Carlton, it was their only World Series title.

Although many Phillies resented Green during his tenure as manager, they respected him and, as time passed by, even revered him. He made them better. He made them champions.

Phillies fans respected and revered Dallas Green the manager.

Those who knew him best respected and revered Dallas Green the man.

We lost a great man and a great manager on Wednesday.

 

Jenkins' 3-pointer wins national title