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Draft position for Flyers on Friday during 1st round of NHL Draft

In one year, Domonic Brown has gone from an all-star to a player the Phillies might have trouble giving away. Brown symbolizes the Phillies’ failure to develop players and their tendency to hold on to players too long.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on the NFL’s investigation into DeflateGate, two off-the-course golf stories that don’t add up and the best way to end Wing Bowl.

The Flyers are off to yet another bad start this season. Eric Fisher examines how concerned we should be about their poor start again this season. Eric also looks at Wayne Simmonds, one of the Flyers’ few bright spots.

Archive for the ‘Heel Turns’ Category

Heel Turns: Women climb ladder of success

Posted by Achilles Heel On June - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelBefore we get to Money in the Bank, stop complaining that the Greek God of Wrestling skipped last week. I would explain why I didn’t write Heel Turns last week … except I don’t owe you an explanation. Achilles Heel knows you rely on Heel Turns for the best analysis and information about professional wrestling, but, instead of complaining about me occasionally missing one week, you should be grateful that I share my wisdom with you almost every week of the year.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on to Money in the Bank, which takes place Sunday (8 p.m., WWE Network) in St. Louis. This year’s Money in the Bank is different. There have been two of the signature Money in the Bank ladder matches at this event before, but Sunday’s pay-per-view features the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

The women in WWE have come a long way since most of them were eye candy competing in bra-and-panties matches. Today’s WWE women wrestlers are athletes and entertainers. They are expected to compete in regular matches, generating a reaction with their moves and psychology rather than simply with their physical appearance.

But a Money in the Bank ladder match takes the physicality to an entirely new level. Ladder matches hurt. It’s that simple. The hope is to avoid serious injury.

The participants for Sunday’s women’s Money in the Bank ladder match are Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina and Carmella. The winner, which is the wrestler who retrieves the briefcase hanging high over the ring, will get an opportunity to challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at the time of their choice.

Who will win? Let’s start by saying that Tamina isn’t going to win. Although big and powerful, she is awkward in the ring and hasn’t demonstrated the personality to be champion. Carmella has the look and attitude, but the Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t think she has the wrestling acumen. What could happen is that Lana could attack Naomi at the end of their Smackdown Women’s Championship match Sunday, allowing Carmella, who would win Money in the Bank by sneaking in to grab the briefcase after other wrestlers did most of the damage, to cash in her championship opportunity right away.

Charlotte, Becky and Natalya are all viable candidates to win the ladder match. Expect Charlotte to execute some high-flying moves off the ladders. She has tremendous agility for someone her size. If Naomi retains her title against Lana, Natalya and Carmella make the most sense. This would be a nice reward for Natalya, who has been one of the anchors of the women’s division since long before the “Women’s Revolution” began.

Although a bit overshadowed by the historic nature of the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match, with the winner receiving a contract for a WWE Championship match at the time of his choosing, should be the best match on the card. With talents such as Kevin Owens, A.J. Styles, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggerl and Shinsuke Nakamura, this match is almost guaranteed to be terrific. Baron Corbin doesn’t have the same pedigree and experience as the other participants, but he is surprisingly agile, which will enhance his role as the powerful big man in this match.

The winner of the men’s ladder match depends, in part, upon whether Jinder Mahal is able to retain the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. The Greek God of Wrestling will get to that match next. If Mahal retains, however, it opens the door a crack for Zayn, the ultimate underdog, to win at Money in the Bank. Kevin Owens is in the United States champion, so it doesn’t make sense for him to win. Achilles Heel thinks Ziggler will cost Nakamura a chance to win, which would advance the storyline in their feud.

That leaves Styles, Corbin and Ziggler. Styles would be the best contender, but he doesn’t need the briefcase as much as Corbin or Ziggler. If Orton wins the WWE Championship, that increases Corbin’s chances to win. The Greek God of Wrestling is picking Styles, but this match is wide open, which is one reason it’s such an intriguing match.

The WWE Championship match also could go either way. Mahal winning the title was the right call, but he hasn’t done much to solidify his place as champion. His televised match with Mojo Rawley wasn’t very good. Rawley isn’t exactly Ricky Steamboat, but Mahal must have better matches if he is going to be more than a short-term champion. WWE has a tradition of having wrestlers lose in their hometowns – Styles was the most recent victim of hometown syndrome – but Orton is a much better champion than Mahal and should win the title back.

What happens after the WWE Championship match depends on what happens after Naomi defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Lana. This isn’t going to be a f-star match. In fact, we don’t even know if Lana can hold her own in a decent match. The possibility of Rusev returning to get involved in this match is a distinct possibility. This match may be to put over Rusev as a heel rather than a vehicle to elevate Lana as a wrestler.

With only five announced matches on the main card, Achilles Heel thinks we’ll see another match added. The question is whether it’s a men’s or women’s title match. Considering the Lana-Naomi match should be short, I predict the winner of the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match tries to take advantage of an injured Naomi, who is beaten down by Lana after their match, but Naomi turns in a valiant effort, battling through an extended match before dropping the title.

The New Day are challenging the The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. It’s too soon to take the belts off the Uso, so Jimmy and Jey should retain. The kickoff show (7 p.m.) match also is a tag team contest, with the Hype Bros (Rawley and the returning Zack Ryder) facing the Colons (Epico and Primo). The Greek God of Wrestling smells a heel turn here for Rawley.

There a many different possibilities at Money in the Bank, which is why it should be a historic, intriguing and entertaining event.

*****

PHILLY CONNECTION: The results of Money in the Bank should set the stage for Battleground, which will take place at Wells Fargo Center on July 23. As Mean Gene Okerlund used to say, “Get your tickets now. Don’t you dare miss it!”

*****

NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE: The Greek God of Wrestling didn’t write a formal followup to Extreme Rules (stop complaining!), but the big news was that Samoa Joe won the Five-man No. 1 Contender’s match. This creates a fascinating showdown with Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at “Great Balls of Fire” on July 9.

The buildup for this match began on Raw the night after Extreme Rules, with Joe putting Paul Heyman in the Kokina clutch. This past Monday, Joe and Lesnar started RAW with a physical brawl. The prospect of Samoa Joe, who many thought would never be hired by WWE, challenging for the WWE Universal Championship is reason enough to watch this match.

*****

EXTREME TITLE CHANGES: The Miz captured the Intercontinental Championship from Dan Ambrose at Extreme Rules. Another Extreme Rules title change came in the tag team division, with Sheamus and Cesaro defeat Matt and Jeff Hardy in a steel cage match. Alexa Bliss retained the Raw Women’s Championship in a kendo-stick-on-a-pole match with Bayley, which led to an interesting interview with Bayley on Raw this week, and Neville retained the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Austin Aries in a submission match.

*****

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY: Fans of the more technical style of wrestling should hurry to The Wrestling Factory on Sunday (1 p.m.) as CHIKARA presents the Johnny Kidd Invitational. This tournament, honoring legendary British wrestler Johnny Kidd, who is scheduled to be in attendance, is an eight-man, single-elimination event.

The first-round matchups include CHIKARA Grand Champion Juan Francisco Coronado against James Mason; Rory Gulak vs. Huckabee; Hallowicked vs. Matt Riddle; and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Mike Quackenbush. The last two first-round matches are worth the price of admission. Speaking of the price of admission, fathers get in free with a paying customer because Sunday is Father’s Day.

This is an amazing opportunity to see some of the world’s best technical wrestlers. Achilles Heel strongly recommends attending the Johnny Kidd Invitational.

*****

BEST IN SHOW: Ring of Honor presents its “Best in the World” pay-per-view Friday from Lowell, Mass. The main event features Christopher Daniels defending the Ring of honor World Championship against Cody Rhodes. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) will defend the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship against War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe).

The Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championship will also be on the line, with Bully Ray and Mark and Jay Briscoe defending against Dalton Castle and The Boys. Other matches include Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young, Hangman Page vs. Frankie Kazarian in a strap match, and The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Vinny Marseglia) vs. Ultimo Guerrero and El Terrible.

*****

HONOR IN PHILLY: Ring of Honor will return to Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena on Oct. 20 for a television taping.

*****

SLAMMIVERSARY: The card for Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary XV, which will take place July 2 at the Impact Zone in Orlando, is mostly set. In the main event, Impact Wrestling world champion Lashley and Global Force Wrestling champion Alberto El Patron will battle in a title unification match.

There also will be a unification bout between Impact Wresting Knockouts champion Rosemary and GFW women’s champion Sienna. A mixed tag team match between Eddie and Alisha Edwards and Davey Richards and Angelina Love will be a Full Metal Mayhem match.

In the match that has received perhaps the most promotion, broadcaster Jeremy Borash teams up with Joseph Park to face broadcaster Josh Mathews and Scott Steiner. The Greek God of Wrestling has been crystal clear about his feelings known about this match, so let’s move on.

Sonjay Dutt, who won the X Division Championship this past Thursday on Impact Wrestling from India, will defend the title against former champion Low-Ki in a two-out-of-three-falls match. Ethan Carter III battles James Storm in a strap match, and NFL running back DeAngelo Williams teams with Moose to face Chris Adonis and Eli Drake.

*****

READY FOR COMBAT: Six days after Slammiversary, Davey Richards will defend the Combat Zone Wrestling World Championship in a four-way match at CZW’s EVILution at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. Richards, who won the title from Lio Rush on May 30, will face Rush, former champion Joe Gacy and Shane Strickland.

Other matches include Maxwell Jacob Feinstein defending the CZW Wired Championship against Trevor Lee; A.R. Fox vs. Ace Romero; Conor Claxton vs. Ricky Shane Page; and Masada and the Storm of Entrails battling Matt Tremont and The Awakening in a Doors match.

*****

RACE MATTERS: The Greek God of Wrestling sends his sincere wishes for a complete recovery to all-time great Harley Race, who had surgery to repair fractures in both legs. The injuries were the result of a fall at Race’s home.

*****

REIGNS’ PLANS: WWE has been heavily promoting Roman Reigns’ announcement of his SummerSlam plans on Monday’s Raw. Will he challenge the winner of the Brock Lesnar-Samoa Joe match for the WWE Universal Championship? Or does he want to bring a wrestler out of retirement to be his SummerSlam opponent?

 

Heel Turns: WWE goes to extremes

Posted by Achilles Heel On June - 1 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThe success of Extreme Rules this Sunday (8 p.m.) on WWE Network depends on the main event. With five men involved in an Extreme Rules No. 1 contender’s match, that match should be given a lot of time. It also should be extremely good.

The combatants battling to be the No. 1 contender for the WWE Universal Championship are Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt. What makes this match so intriguing is that an argument could be made for almost any of the participants to win.

The least likely to win is Bray Wyatt. Given the other wrestlers involved, having Wyatt win and face Brock Lesnar doesn’t make much. Samoa Joe, however, would be an interesting physical matchup for Lesnar.

Having Balor win seems logical. Balor, the first WWE Universal champion, didn’t lose the title in the ring. He was forced to relinquish the title after injuring his shoulder in the championship match with Rollins. Reigns, who continues walk the line between babyface and heel, would also make sense as a challenger to Lesnar. Lesnar vs. Reigns would feature the two men who have defeated Undertaker at WrestleMania.

Rollins is also a viable option, but the Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t see that happening. The prediction here is that Reigns wins the match Sunday and becomes the No. 1 contender.

Matt and Jeff Hardy defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against Cesaro and Sheamus inside a steel cage. Achilles Heel senses a potential title change. Not as strongly as my feeling that Jinder Mahal would defeat Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, but not too far removed from that level.

Dean Ambrose defends the Intercontinental Championship against The Miz, with the stipulation being that Ambrose can lose the championship by disqualification. That seems to be the antithesis of extreme rules, doesn’t it? (If you don’t know what antithesis means, look it up. Achilles Heel doesn’t have time to teach English to all the nimrods reading this column.) A loss by disqualification would seem like a cheap way to do a title change, but it would fit well with Miz’s persona.

The Greek God of Wrestling expects Alexa Bliss to find a way to retain the Raw Women’s Championship in a Kendo Stick on a Pole match. He also expects Neville to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Austin Aries in a submission match, although, if Aries is going to win the title, he might as well do it now.

A late addition to Extreme Rules is a mixed tag team match featuring Rich Swann and Sasha Banks against Noam Dar and Alicia Fox.

The undercard can enhance Extreme Rules, but the main event is the key to whether this is remembered as a special event. Achilles Heel expects that the main event will deliver.

*****

PHILLY IS A BATTLEGROUND: Tickets are available for Battleground, a WWE Smackdown pay-per-view event coming to Wells Fargo Center on Sun., July 23. A little birdie told the Greek God of Wrestling that tickets for the Royal Rumble may be put on sale during Battleground.

*****

WOMEN CLIMBING THE LADDER: The Money in the Bank pay-per-view on June 18 will include a historic match. After an out-of-control brawl on Smackdown, general manager Shane McMahon declared that there will be a women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, with the winner getting a title opportunity against Smackdown Women’s champion Naomi. The five participants in this first-of-its-kind match will be Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Becky Lynch, Tamina and Carmella.

The traditional Money in the Bank Ladder match, with the winner receiving a title opportunity whenever he choose, will feature A.J. Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn. Styles seems to be the logical winner, although that could change if Randy Orton regains the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal at Money in the Bank.

Another new match announced this past week features the returning New Day challenging Jimmy and Jey Uso for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.

*****

IS RHODES THE BEST? The main event for Ring of Honor’s “Best in the World” pay-per-view on June 23 will pit Cody Rhodes against Ring of Honor World champion Christopher Daniels.

*****

FEEL THE POWER: CHIKARA will be at The Wrestle Factory in Philadelphia on Sunday for be an “Hour of Power” show. CHIKARA will return to The Wrestle Factory on Sat., June 10 for “Hide.” Announced matches include the CHIKARA debut of Michinoku Pro’s Kenbai against Kobald, Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Obariyon, and the Throwbacks vs. Hermit Crab and Cajun Crawdad.

*****

TOURNAMENT OF DEATH: Combat Zone Wrestling will present “Tournament of Death ‘16” on Sat., June 10 (3 p.m.) at the Ultraviolent Underground in Townsend, Del. First-round matches include a “Pains in the Glass” match between Rickey Shane Page, Jimmy Havoc and John Wayne Murdoch; a “light tubes and cinderblocks” match between Cannonball and G-Raver; a “Doorway to Death” match between Masada and Shlak; and a “Fans Bring the Weapons” match between Father Matthew Tremont and Mad Man Pondo.

*****

DUNNE DEAL: Pete Dunne, the new WWE United Kingdom champion, has the chance to be a big star. He has the “it” factor.

His match with Tyler Bate may have been the best of the night at NXT Takeover: Chicago. He had another good match Wednesday on NXT. Dunne will likely be featured on NXT’s upcoming European tour.

*****

POSITIVE SIGN: If you’re looking for some encouragement to watch Extreme Rules on Sunday, look no further than this week’s RAW. There were two terrific matches involving the participants in the fatal 5-way main event at Extreme Rules. Samoa Joe, Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor participated in an excellent triple threat match, with Joe prevailing. At the end of Raw, Roman Reigns defeated former Shield teammate Seth Rollins in a tremendous match.

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