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Draft position for Flyers after moving up 11 spots in NHL Draft lottery

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.

There will be several wrestling events, including shows by Ring of Honor and CHIKARA at 2300 Arena, prior to the Royal Rumble next weekend in Philadelphia. In addition to previewing the busy wrestling weekend, the Greek God of Wrestling tells you where you can see Seth Rollins the morning of the Rumble, praises the choice of Randy Savage for the WWE Hall of Fame and tells you which former WWE star will participate in Wing Bowl.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions about our second Eagles-Cowboys week, the Phillies making some noise at the winter meetings and Walter Payton.

Archive for the ‘Heel Turns’ Category

Heel Turns: Will Payback pay off?

Posted by Achilles Heel On April - 29 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Sunday’s “Payback” on WWE Network highlights the importance of elevating championships. It can be argued that the two biggest matches on the card are the only two which don’t have a championship on the line.

Roman Reigns will attempt to get revenge against Braun Strowman, who is destroying everything in his path. “Everything” includes Reigns. A few weeks ago, Strowman gave Reigns a savage beating, pushing his stretcher off a loading dock and then tipping over an ambulance with Reigns inside.

Another revenge match at Payback pits Seth Rollins against Samoa Joe, the man who injured his knee in a vicious attack the night after the Royal Rumble. Once again, there’s no title on the line.

The WWE Universal Championship, the top title on RAW, won’t even be defended at what is supposed to be a Raw premier event. That makes it even stranger that Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose won’t be defending his title at Payback. The top two titles on Raw won’t be defended at Payback.

The top championship match feature WWE champion Randy Orton defending his title, the top one on Smackdown, against Bray Wyatt, who just shifted from Smackdown to Raw during the superstar shakeup. The Orton-Wyatt feud was part of an elaborate storyline on Smackdown that lasted more than six months. It culminated with Orton winning the title at WrestleMania 33. Sunday’s match, which is an as-yet-undefined House of Horrors match, is likely to end with interference by Wyatt’s next major opponent on Raw. Ambrose, conspicuous by his absence, could be the deciding factor – unless it’s Finn Balor or Chris Jericho.

Jericho is also challenging for a Smackdown title. Unlike the Orton-Wyatt feud, at least the Jericho-Kevin Owens feud was built on Raw. With Owens, who won the United States Championship from Jericho at Wrestlemania 33, taking the title with him to Smackdown, this is a second match for a Smackdown title on a Raw special event.

Believe it or not, there are some Raw titles being defended on this Raw special event. Matt and Jeff Hardy will defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against Sheamus and Cesaro. Raw Women’s champion Bayley will defend her title against Alexa Bliss. The Cruiserweight Championship will also be on the line, with Neville defending the title against Austin Aries in a rematch from Wrestlemania 33.

Will any of these titles change hands? The Cruiserweight Championship is the most likely to change hands, although the Greek God of Wrestling might not switch any of the championships this Sunday.

The Payback kickoff show will include Enzo and Big Cass battling Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The kickoff show also features Balor as a special guest on Miz TV.

This is an unusual Raw event because the top two titles on the card are exclusive to Smackdown. That makes it more likely that the Rollins-Joe and, in particular, the Reigns-Strowman match will be treated as the main events.

The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t know whose bright idea it was to not have Raw’s top two championships defended on a Raw special event, but, hopefully, it’s the last time this will happen.

*****

MAHAL RISES TOWARD TOP: The Greek God of Wrestling admits that he didn’t anticipate Jinder Mahal moving into a prime position after switching to Smackdown. Mahal, who has worked himself into tremendous shape, has earned a title shot at Extreme Rules on May 22. A cynic could say that Mahal’s elevation is an attempt to generate interest in WWE in India, the second-most populated country in the world, but it’s also a compliment to Mahal for taking the steps necessary to be re-signed by WWE and to earn a higher role on the roster.

*****

HAPPY RETURNS: When WWE released Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre, who formed two-thirds of 3MB, Achilles Heel criticized the release of McIntyre and predicted that he would return to WWE. McIntyre, who wrestled as Drew Galloway in TNA and independent organizations, is back as a major player in NXT. He and Mahal both deserve praise for reacting to their releases by stepping up their game. Both are arguably better off now than Heath Slater, the member of 3MB who was not released by WWE.

*****

RUSEV’S DEMANDS: Rusev, currently recovering from shoulder surgery, says he will not compete for Smackdown – he moved there in the superstar shake-up – unless he receive a title shot at Money in the Bank. Unless Money in the Bank is going to be a dual-brand event, which is possible because there should be a Raw Money in the Bank match and Smackdown Money in the Bank match, this doesn’t make complete sense. On the other hand, the Greek God of Wrestling is pleased to see the underutilized Rusev become part of the championship picture.

*****

LESNAR ON FIRE: WWE will be introducing a new pay-per-view: Great Balls of Fire. The event will take place on July 9 in Dallas. According to the announcement, Brock Lesnar, who has yet to defend the WWE Universal Championship he won from Goldberg at WrestleMania 33, will defend the title at Great Balls of Fire.

*****

WAR OF WORDS: Impact Wrestling featured the return of Matt Sydal, who defeated Trevor Lee. Global Force Wrestling Women’s champion Christina Von Eerie successfully defended her title, Ethan Carter III continued his potential heel turn and NFL players DeAngelo Williams and Gary Barnidge got involved in a match between Moose and Davey Richards.

But the storyline that won’t die is apparently the one between broadcasters Jeremy Borash and Josh Mathews. The latest development, for the few of you who care, is that Borash is suspended for punching Mathews at the end of the previous week’s show. This was the big angle that kicked off Thursday’s show. Achilles Heel will reiterate the point he’s made the past two weeks: nobody cares about a feud between broadcasters.

*****

WAR OF WORLDS: Tickets were nearly sold out for the War of the Worlds event, a joint promotion between Ring of Honor and New Japan Professional Wrestling, at 2300 Arena on Sun., May 14 before any matches were announced. The first two matches were announced this past week, with Marty Scurll defending the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against New Japan star KUSHIDA, and Cody Rhodes, who is rumored to be signing with Ring of Honor, taking on Frankie Kazarian. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Gedo, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto are among the Japanese stars schedule to appear at this event.

Scurll must first get past Ken Anderson at “Masters of the Craft” in Hopkins, Minn., tonight (Sat., April 29).

*****

CHIKARA’S 11th HOUR: Matches have been announced for CHIKARA’s “The Eleventh Hour” on Sat., May 6 (3 p.m.) at The Wrestle Factory in Philadelphia (4711 Wingate St.). Silver Ant will battle Frightmare, Juan Francisco de Coronado takes on Oleg the Usurper, Missile Assault Man tangles with the Proletariat Boar of Moldova (one of Achilles Heel’s favorite wrestling names), and there will be an “infinite gauntlet” match.

Heel Turns: The remarkable rise of The Miz

Posted by Achilles Heel On April - 22 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelLike a good professional wrestler, Heel Turns is always evolving. Heel Turns has been the best wrestling column on the Internet from the day the Greek God of Wrestling started it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better.

If you don’t keep moving forward, you’re going to become stale, so this week introduces a new twist to Heel Turns. On weeks when there isn’t a major event or issue, Achilles Heel will offer an evaluation of a specific wrestler. The first wrestler to find himself under the microscope is …. The Miz!

I picked The Miz as my first subject because I hated him. I don’t mean that I disliked him personally. I hated his character. But, as noted in the previous edition of Heel Turns, Miz has raised his game during the past year as much as anyone in WWE, resurrecting a career that seemed to have peaked with his successful WWE Championship defense against John Cena at WrestleMania XXVII.

Why did the Greek God of Wrestling detest Miz when he started? Because he was awful. As the host of Smackdown and then the host of the Diva Search competition, Miz was terrible. He had a bad haircut and stumbled over his lines. He had heat from the crowd, but not the good kind of heat. He had “go away” heat.

The Greek God of Wrestling felt the same way. Part of the reason for that feeling was that Miz hadn’t paid his dues. He was a reality TV star, first on MTV’s “The Real World,” and then on WWE’s “Tough Enough.” Miz was the runner-up to Daniel Puder on Tough Enough, but someone at WWE was, in hindsight, smart enough to sign Miz. Fans enamored with Puder, a legitimate tough guy, would have laughed at the suggestion that Miz would be a much better professional wrestler than Puder.

Miz became accustomed to being laughed at and disrespected. As I said, even though he spent time at Deep South Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling, there was the feeling that Miz got rushed to WWE long before he was ready.

Miz finally found success in a tag team with John Morrison. With Morrison carrying most of the action in the ring, but Miz doing more than simply being along for the ride, M&M were very successful for several years, winning the WWE tag team titles.

When Miz and Morrison split up, with Miz turning on Morrison, it was assumed that Morrison would be the bigger star. Wrong again. Miz won the tag team titles with Big Show and later won a Money in the Bank ladder match, a contract he cashed in against Randy Orton on Nov. 22, 2010, winning the WWE Championship from Orton after he had successfully defended the title against Wade Barrett.

Among Miz’s successful title defenses was one against Morrison. His title reign culminated in the WrestleMania victory over Cena, which was aided by interference from The Rock.

Memorable moments were few and far between for Miz after losing the title to Cena. He was terrific as Daniel Bryan’s “mentor” on the NXT Rookies show, infuriating “smart” fans who blanched at the idea of independent sensation Bryan Danielson, as he was known before coming to WWE, having the less-talented Miz as his mentor. He also won a few titles, but he was languishing until finding his movie star persona, which included Damien Sandow acting as his stunt double in a humorous angle.

Miz really hit his stride a little more than a year ago when Maryse, his real-life wife, returned and helped him win the Intercontinental Championship, ending Zack Ryder’s championship reign after one day. This began Miz’s rise back to prominence.

With Maryse at his side, Miz made “Miz TV” one of the better interview segments in WWE’s recent history. His in-ring performance also has improved. He had a series of terrific Intercontinental Championship matches with Dolph Ziggler.

Miz always had the attitude, but now he can back it up. As I wrote last week, getting Miz during the Superstar Shakeup was one of the best acquisitions for Raw.

At this point in his career, the surprise would be if Miz failed to become one of Raw’s top heels, not the other way around.

Miz has come a long way since he was an inexperienced, obnoxious punk kid who earned the ire of many people, including the Greek God of Wrestling, as a wrestler pushed onto the big stage before he was ready. Miz’s persistence and determination pushed him past the obstacles and made him a big star. He worked extremely hard to reach this level, and he deserves everything he has because he’s earned it.

And don’t be surprised if Miz hasn’t reached his ceiling. He may have another world championship in his future.

*****

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU: Impact Wrestling (formerly known as TNA) has merged with Global Force Wrestling (GFW), both in storyline and in “real life.” In the storyline, Karen Jarrett, co-owner of GFW with husband Jeff Jarrett, announced the merger. Achilles Heel is OK with Karen Jarrett making this announcement, but, as he’s stated in the past, he’s not a fan of Jarrett being a part of ongoing storylines.

This brings GFW champions to Impact Wrestling, which sets up obvious champion vs. champion matches. That’s a good storyline, although the company vs. company storyline should go away by the end of the summer if the promotion is to move forward.

*****

WRONG FOCUS: For the second straight edition of Heel Turns, the Greek God of Wrestling is going to take Impact Wrestling to task for highlighting a feud between broadcasters instead of its wrestlers. Impact featured Rosemary successfully defending the Knockouts Championship against ODB, Bobby Lashley defending the Impact World Heavyweight Championship against James Storm (with interference by Ethan Carter III) and a returning Low Ki winning the X Division Championship in a high-energy match, but the focus at the end of the show was on the broadcasters. Seriously.

Moments after Low Ki’s triumphant return, the spotlight shifted to broadcasters Jeremy Borash and Josh Mathews, whose team lost a “loser has to leave the broadcast booth” – or something like that – match the previous week to Team Borash. Mathews and Borash argued, with Borash knocking him out to end the show. The climax of the show should have Low Ki winning the X Division title in his return, not one broadcaster punching another..

*****

TOUGH BREAK: The Revival’s impressive start in WWE came to a screeching halt when Dash Wilder broke his jaw during an NXT house show match. It’s a shame for Wilder and Scott Dawson that as soon as they got to WWE, their tag team is sidelined. But this “old school” team should be ready to make an impact this summer.

*****

BLAST FROM PAST: Braun Strowman’s superplex of Big Show from the corner ropes, breaking the ring, was reminiscent of Brock Lesnar and Big Show breaking the ring on June 12, 2003, with a superplex from the corner. The ring collapsing was an awesome sight both times.

By the way, Strowman has been involved in memorable segments involving feats of strength several times this month. He is carving out his reputation as WWE’s resident monster.

*****

TANAHASHI JOINS WAR: Legendary Japanese wrestler Hiroshi Tanahashi is the latest name to be added to the War of the Worlds Tour, which stops at 2300 Arena on Sun., May 14. No matches have been announced yet, but the event, a joint promotion between Ring of Honor and New Japan Professional Wrestling, is nearly sold out. As of Saturday (April 22), only one section wasn’t sold out.

*****

MIDWEST SWING: Prior to the War of the Worlds Tour, Ring of Honor makes Midwest stops next weekend in Milwaukee and Hopkins, Minn., for “Unauthorized” and “Masters of the Craft,” respectively.

*****

PAYBACK TAKES SHAPE: The card for WWE’s “Payback” on April 30 on WWE Network seems set, but the event is a little unfocused. In Achilles Heel’s eyes, the card is unfocused. There isn’t a hierarchy of matches.

The top two titles on the line are the WWE Championship held by Randy Orton and the United States Championship held by Kevin Owens. Those are both Smackdown titles, yet Payback is supposed to be a Raw premier event. The challengers – Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship and Chris Jericho for the United States Championship – are both from Raw, but that doesn’t completely negate the Smackdown presence.

But are the Smackdown title matches the main events or are the matches between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, and Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe the main events? There also will be Raw title defenses, with Bayley defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss, and Matt and Jeff Hardy defending the Raw Tag Team Championship against Sheamus and Cesaro. Neville will defend the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Austin Aries in a rematch from WrestleMania 33.

The Greek God of Wrestling will have a complete preview of Payback in the next edition of Heel Turns.

*****

NEW IDENTITY: Last week I speculated that The Shining Stars may get a chance to shine on Smackdown. It appears they will get that opportunity.

The Shining Stars were presented as Primo and Epico Colon, playing off their wrestling heritage as part of the famous Puerto Rican Colon family rather than as stereotypes. The Colons were praised for their wrestling, and they backed it up with a win over former Smackdown tag team champions American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan).

 

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