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Games in December against NFC opponents for Eagles

Sixers rookie guard Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, leaves Saturday’s 95-93 victory over the Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League with a left ankle sprain, but isn’t expected to miss significant time due to the injury.

By pledging his game checks to organizations that help students in under-served communities complete their education, Eagles defensive end Chris Long is making more of a difference than he could ever make on the field.

Ben Simmons, the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, breaks a bone in his right foot during the final day of Sixers training camp. It’s uncertain whether Simmons will need surgery to repair the injury.

Archive for the ‘Heel Turns’ Category

Heel Turns: Fast Lane part of journey

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 10 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

The problem with WWE’s Fast Lane, which takes place Sunday night (WWE Network, 7 p.m., kickoff show at 5 p.m.) is that it’s just a step toward WrestleMania.

Fast Lane is headlined by Daniel Bryan defending the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens. The main angle of this match is that Owens, who just returned from a lengthy absence due to injury, is replacing Kofi Kingston as the challenger.

The purpose of this match, like most of Fast Lane, seems to be to set up matches for WrestleMania. That means that the significance of most of what happens at Fast Lane will be how it builds toward WrestleMania rather than the outcomes of Sunday night’s matches.

Fast Lane is part of the journey. WrestleMania is the destination.

That doesn’t mean Fast Lane can’t be a good show. The journey is half the fun.

Expect Kofi Kingston to get involved in the match between Bryan and Owens. The Greek God of Wrestling isn’t sold on Owens being a fan favorite. Somehow this match will have to lead to a championship opportunity for Kingston at WrestleMania

The top women’s match, pitting Charlotte Flair against Becky Lynch, also is part of the build toward WrestleMania. If Lynch defeats Flair, she will be added to the WrestleMania match between Ronda Rousey and Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship. Lynch, of course, already earned the right to be in this match with her Royal Rumble victory, but she’s being forced to qualify a second time after Vince McMahon, as he did with Kingston, replaced her in the WrestleMania match. Rousey may get involved in the finish, but it’s difficult to believe that Lynch won’t emerge victorious.

One match that’s could be more of a conclusion than a means to an end is the Shield reunion. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, who is leaving WWE when his contract expires, are reuniting for what is billed as the final time as they battle Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin. With Rollins slated to challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania, this could be a “feel good” final reunion for The Shield.

There are four other championship matches at Fast Lane. Asuka should successfully defend the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Mandy Rose. Achilles Heel hopes Rose makes a good showing in defeat, but the key is how this match will build to Asuka’s title defense at WrestleMania. The same is true for Bayley and Sasha Banks defending the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship against Tamina and Nia Jax. It’s too early for Banks and Bayley to lose the titles, so this has to lead to a development, possibly involving Jax in an inter-gender match, for WrestleMania.

Jimmy and Jey Uso defend the Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The Miz and Shane McMahon. The Usos should prevail, which would be a step toward the inevitable Miz-McMahon split. The Raw Tag Team Championship will also be on the line, with the Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) defending the titles in a triple threat match against Aleister Black and Ricochet and former championship Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. If given enough time, this match could be tremendous.

The kickoff show contains two matches with a lot of potential. Rey Mysterio meets Andrade in a rematch of a terrific match that took place on Smackdown. Another Smackdown match on the kickoff show pits The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev.

Fast Lane could be a terrific event. Every match, with the possible exception of Asuka vs. Rose, has the potential to be terrific. It should be a fun show to watch as the build to WrestleMania heats up.

*****

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: A plethora of titles will be on the line Friday during Ring of Honor’s 17th Anniversary show in Las Vegas. In the main event, Jay Lethal will defend the Ring of Honor World Championship against Matt Taven.

Jay and Mark Briscoe will defending the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship against Brody King and PCO of Villain Enterprises. Jeff Cobb will defend the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against Shane Taylor. Mayu Iwatani will defend the Women of Honor World Championship against Kelly Klein.

In non-title matches, Marty Scurll meets Kenny King, Bandido faces Rush, Silas Young battles Jonathan Gresham, and The Kingdom’s Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan square off with Lifeblood’s Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams.

It will be interesting to see the fans’ reaction. This is Ring of Honor’s first major show without some of the stars – Cody Rhodes, Matt and Nick Jackson – from the past few years. The anniversary show should feature exciting action in the ring, but the star power is definitely reduced.

*****

JOE CHAMPION: Not that he is seeking my approval, but the Greek God of Wrestling congratulates Samoa Joe for winning the United States Championship from R-Truth in a fatal four-way match on Smackdown that also involved Rey Myterio and Andrade. This is Joe’s first title in WWE. He has traveled a long journey before capturing his first WWE title, and it probably will be difficult to take that title away from Joe.

*****

JOURNEY INTERRUPTED: Like Samoa Joe, Tommaso Ciampa has taken a long road to get to WWE. Unfortunately, shortly after his arrival in WWE, Ciampa has been sidelined indefinitely by a neck injury that required neck fusion surgery. Ciampa returned from reconstructive knee surgery to become, arguably, NXT’s best performer last year. Achilles Heel wishes Ciampa a similar recovery and outcome after his latest surgery.

It will be interesting to see how NXT handles the now-vacant NXT Championship. It will also be interesting to see how WWE handles Johnny Gargano, who entered WWE aligned with Ciampa.

*****

IMPACT DEFENSE: Johnny Impact is scheduled to defend the Impact Wrestling World Championship against Brian Cage next Friday. The Greek God of Wrestling detests spoilers, so he won’t say any more about this match.

*****

FAREWELL TO BUNDY: King Kong Bundy, a huge star, literally and figuratively, during the 1980s and ‘90s, died at age 61. Bundy (Christopher Pallies), who was from Atlantic City and learned the ropes at The Monster Factory in Paulsboro, N.J., headlined WrestleMania 2 by challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship in a steel cage match.

Described as a walking condominium by Gorilla Monsoon, Bundy was a main event-level star as WWE developed into the world’s biggest wrestling promotion. The Greek God of Wrestling remembers first seeing Bundy wrestle – with hair – as Chris Canyon.

If there weren’t so much news this week, more space would be devoted to Bundy’s career. Achilles Heel sends his condolences to Bundy’s family and friends.

*****

FAREWELL TO DESTROYER: Dick Beyer, better known as “The Destroyer,” died last week at age 88. Beyer achieved his greatest fame wrestling under a mask as “The Destroyer.” In addition to being a big name during wrestling’s territory days, especially on the West Coast, Beyer was a huge star in Japan. Achilles Heel sends his condolences to Beyer’s family and friends.

*****

COMBAT READY: Mance Warner became Combat Zone Wrestling world heavyweight champion at Cage of Death 20 when Maxwell Jacob Friedman vacated the title. Friedman (MJF) returns to tried to regain the title from Warner on April 13 at Best of the Best 18, which also features (of course) the Best of the Best tournament.

*****

CHIKARA DOUBLEHEADER: CHIKARA’s Young Lions Cup XV on Saturday is going to be a doubleheader, with one show at 3 p.m. and a second show at 7 p.m. In the first stage, Mr. Touchdown Mark Angelosetti will battle Chris Dickinson, Lucas Calhoun will meet Volgar, and Missile Assault Man faces Rory Gulak. For a limited time, a ticket bought in advance will be good for both shows. Later, tickets will have to be bought separately for each show.

*****

ROSS LEAVING WWE: Jim Ross, the greatest broadcaster in professional wrestling history, is leaving WWE at the end of the month. All Elite Wrestling would add to its credibility if it could sign Ross to be its top broadcaster.

By the way, AEW has announced that its second event – Double or Noting on May 25 is its first – will be Fight for the Fallen on July 13 in Jacksonville, Fla. The Khan family, AEW’s chief financial backer, owns the Jacksonville Jaguars.

*****

HARPER RETURNS: Luke Harper wrestled for the first time since having wrist surgery last fall. Harper defeated Mojo Rawley at a house show in Rochester, N.Y. Achilles Heel has been a long-time fan of Harper. With Erick Rowan, how former Wyatt Family and Bludgeon Brother teammate, serving as Daniel Bryan’s enforcer, the Greek God of Wrestling hopes that Harper gets his long-deserved push as a singles wrestler.

Heel Turns: Reigns makes remarkable return

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 2 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

WWE presented one of its all-time best surprises last Monday when Roman Reigns returned to Raw. Even better, Reigns announced that his leukemia is once again in remission.

Reigns announced in October that his leukemia had returned. That was a surprise to wrestling fans, who hadn’t known that Reigns had leukemia when he was 22 years old. Reigns relinquished the WWE Universal Championship that he had pursued for so long. But Reigns’ career wasn’t the most importance concern.

That’s why Monday’s emotional return was so awesome. The fans were happy to see Reigns back in WWE. But they were even happier to see him healthy.

The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t like spoilers, but, since the match has already been advertised, I’ll tell you that Reigns is returning to the ring in the near future. That match should be set up Monday at Raw at Wells Fargo Center.

That’s right. Reigns will be appearing at Raw in Philly this Monday. Batista is also supposed to be at Raw. Achilles Heel isn’t a shill for WWE, but seeing Reigns should be enough incentive to buy a ticket for Raw.

It will be interesting to see how WWE uses Reigns. It appears they will ease him in with tag team matches. But will he be involved with the WrestleMania storyline between Shield teammate Seth Rollins and WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar? That remains to be seen. All that matters right now is that Roman Reigns is back.

*****

KINGSTON BUMPED: It was a bad week for Kofi Kingston. First, Vince McMahon replaces Kingston with Kevin Owens in the WWE Championship match at Fast Lane. And then Kingston gets bumped out of the lead item in Heel Turns by Roman Reigns.

This edition of Heel Turns was supposed to begin with a tribute to Kingston. After persevering in WWE for 11 years, Kingston earned himself a place in the spotlight with tremendous performances during a gauntlet match on Smackdown and during an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. Fans were chanting “Kofi! Kofi!” after he was the last man eliminated in the Elimination Chamber, and they chanted his name two nights later after Shane McMahon announced that Kingston would receive a one-on-one shot at Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at Fast Lane.

But Vince McMahon took away the shot at the WWE Championship at Fast Lane, and Reigns’ remarkable return knocked Kingston out of the premier spot in Heel Turns.

*****

FAST LANE SHAPING UP: In addition to the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and challenger Kevin Owens, Fast Lane on Sun., March 10 will include Smackdown Women’s champion Asuka will defend her title against Mandy Rose, Jimmy and Jey Uso will defend the Smackdown Tag Team Championship against former champions Shane McMahon and The Miz, and new WWE Women’s Tag Team champions Sasha Banks and Bayley will defend their titles against Nia Jax and Tamina. As Achilles Heel suggested earlier, expect more matches to be added this week on Raw, including one involving Roman Reigns.

*****

ON THE RISE: Four wrestlers have joined WWE after experience a ton of success in NXT. Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Ricochet and Aleister Black have been making an impact on Raw and Smackdown the past two weeks, often teaming together. It will be interesting to see if the success of these four men will carry over from NXT to WWE.

*****

WWE IN ATLANTIC CITY: If you’re reading this on Saturday, you may still have an opportunity to get to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City for tonight’s WWE live event (7:30 p.m.). The two announced matches are Finn Balor defending the Intercontinental Championship against former champion Bobby Lashley, Sasha Banks and Bayley defending the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match against The Riott Squad and Nia Jax and Tamina, and Braun Strowman battling Baron Corbin in a no-disqualification match. Also scheduled to appear are Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre, Raw Tag Team champions The Revival, former Raw Tag Team champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, Natalya and Alexa Bliss.

*****

CZW TRIFECTA: Another big event tonight in New Jersey is Combat Zone Wrestling’s Trifecta Elimination at Colossal Sports Academy at The Coliseum in Voorhees. The nine-person tournament consists of three triple-threat matches, with the winners to meet in another three-way match to determine who will join CZW’s “Best of the Best” tournament. There also will be a Tag Team championship match, with The Rep defending against House of Gangone. Jordynne Grace will defend the WSU Spirit Championship against Kris Statlander.

*****

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Jay Lethal will headline Ring of Honor’s 17th Anniversary show on Fri., March 15, by defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Matt Taven. Jay and Mark Briscoe will defending the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship against Brody King and PCO of Villain Enterprises. Mayu Iwatani will defending the Women of Honor World Championship against Kelly Klein. In non-title matches, Marty Scurll meets Kenny King, and Bandido faces Rush.

*****

RAYNE BACK TO IMPACT: Madison Rayne has left Ring of Honor in order to return to Impact Wrestling, where she is a multi-time Knockouts champion.

*****

BATISTA RETURNS: Batista made his return on Raw, attacking Ric Flair before Flair could head out to the ring for his 70th birthday celebration. This is apparently building toward a match between Triple H and Batista at WrestleMania. Batista is a big movie star now, so this match will generate a lot of attention, but the Greek God of Wrestling isn’t enamored with a match between Triple H and Batista, two wrestlers far past their primes.

*****

McMAHON FEUD? Vince McMahon has made two major changes in championship matches, replacing Kofi Kingston with Kevin Owens in the WWE Championship match at Fast Lane, and replacing Becky Lynch with Charlotte as the challenger in the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. Could this be leading to Shane and Stephanie McMahon rebelling against their father’s authoritarian ways?

*****

CHIKARA DOUBLEHEADER: CHIKARA’s Young Lions Cup on March 16 is going to be a doubleheader, with one show at 3 p.m. and a second show at 7 p.m. In the first stage, MR. Touchdown Mark Angelosetti will battle Chris Dickinson, Lucas Calhoun will meet Volgar, and Missile Assault Man faces Rory Gulak. For a time, a ticket bought in advance will be good for both shows. Later, tickets will have to be bought separately for each show.

*****

FAREWELL: We close out Heel Turns with news of releases from WWE. Tye Dillinger and Hideo Itami, whom Achilles Heel told you about previously, were granted their releases. WWE also released T.J. Perkins, who won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament from 205 Live. A more major loss may be agent Arn Anderson, who was released from WWE. Anderson has a wonderful mind for professional wrestling.

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Harper hits 1st home run as Phillie