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Goal by Flyers in 3 playoff losses to Penguins

The Greek God of Wrestling says the most intriguing element of Impact Wrestling’s Bound for Glory might be the appearance of Alberto El Patron, who isn’t scheduled to wrestle. Achilles Heel also praises WWE’s plans for the 25th anniversary of Raw, updates the Survivor Series teams and tells you where Jimmy Jacobs will make his in-ring return.

Carson Wentz and the first-team offense produced two touchdowns before leaving after the first quarter, earlier than expected, during Thursday’s 38-31 victory over the Dolphins in a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Hector Neris (pictured) may be the third reliever to try the closer’s role if 39-year-old Joaquin Benoit, who replaced Jeanmar Gomez, can’t get the job done better than he did during Sunday’s 6-4 loss to the Nationals. Eric Fisher also points out that the gamble on Clay Buchholz didn’t pay off, Aaron Nola is off to a good start and several Phillies hitters are off to poor starts.

Archive for the ‘Top 10’ Category

Best of WrestleMania

Posted by Eric Fisher On April - 4 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

WrestleMania XXXIII (I’m a traditionalist; I like the Roman numerals) was a memorable show, but did any matches from that card deserve to be on my list of the best WrestleMania matches in history?

Last year’s WrestleMania will be remembered for Undertaker seemingly retiring after his loss to Roman Reigns, but, honestly, the match itself wasn’t particularly memorable. You couldn’t ask for much more than you got from Brock Lesnar regaining the WWE Universal Championship from Goldberg, but that match was far from a masterpiece. Fans will remember Matt and Jeff Hardy returning to WWE and winning the Raw Tag Team Championship in a ladder match, as well as John Cena proposing to Nikki Bella after they defeated The Miz and Maryse, but neither match deserves to be anywhere close to honorable mention, let alone on the list of the top WrestleMania matches in history.

This list is updated every year, with one match added for each year of WrestleMania’s existence. The list is subjective, so sometimes matches move up and down the list. Matches toward the bottom of the list have moved on and off the list. For example, when no match from WrestleMania XXXI was deemed worth of making the list (several made honorable mention) last year, the Chris Jericho-Christian match from WrestleMania X, which had been pushed into the honorable mention category the previous year, returned to the list.

After no matches from WrestleMania XXXI made the list, one match from WrestleMania XXXII, a triple threat match for the Women’s Championship involving Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bayley, made this list. Similarly, one match from WrestleMania XXXIII was added to the list. In a bit of a disappointment, neither the Kevin Owens-Jericho match for the United States Championship nor the “non-sanctioned match between Triple H and Seth Rollins made this list. The match that made it at No. 34 was AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon. Styles and McMahon told a terrific story, with Styles prevailing in an action-packed match.

The Styles-McMahon match might not be on the list for long, though. It’s quite possible that more than one match from WrestleMania XXXIV makes this list next year. Styles is defending the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. It will almost be disappointing if that “dream match” doesn’t make this list next year.

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship could also make next year’s list. Another prime candidate for this list is the grudge tag team match between the team of Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon and the team of Sami Zayn and Owens. Bryan, Zayn and Owens are terrific in the ring, and McMahon knows how to build drama in a match. There also should be a lot of emotion in the tag team match pitting Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey, making her WWE in-ring debut, against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. With Angle and Triple H only wrestling occasionally, and with Rousey making her debut and Stephanie not exactly a smooth technician, this match is unlikely to make next year’s list, but who knows? The emotional component might make this a great match.

A more likely candidate for next year’s list is Miz defending the Intercontinental Championship in a triple threat match with Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Balor and Rollins are outstanding wrestlers, and Miz has learned how to play the role of sneaky heel to near-perfection. Charlotte Flair could also make this list for the second straight year when she defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Asuka, who is undefeated in WWE and NXT. And don’t forget about the WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament final between Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali.

Please keep in mind that this list is subjective. It could change from month to month, week to week or even day to day. But it would surprising if at least two matches from WrestleMania XXXIV don’t make next year’s list.

As for this year, in one man’s opinion, these are the top 34 WrestleMania matches of all-time:


(WrestleMania number and site in italics)

34. AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon (XXXIII, Orlando) This probably won’t be Styles’ only appearance on this list for very long

33. Chris Jericho vs. Christian (X, New York) An undercard match that mixes terrific technical wrestling with wonderful storytelling

32. Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart (VIII, Indianapolis) A wonderful Intercontinental Championship match between friends, with Piper (now a good guy) fighting his bad-guy demons as well as fighting Hart

31. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker (XXX, New Orleans) The historic match in which Lesnar ends Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak at 21 matches, stunning wrestling fans all over the world. Paul Heyman’s facial expressions and encouragement of Lesnar are classic.

30. Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (XXXII, Dallas) The first women’s match to make the list, this triple threat match — with Charlotte retaining the title — was excellent

29. Hulk Hogan/Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff (I, N.Y.) The match that launched the WrestleMania rocket ship. Without the success of this match, WrestleMania may have been a one-year venture.

28. Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (VIILos Angeles) A terrific “retirement” match with an emotional post-match surprise

27. Edge vs. Mick Foley (XXII, Chicago) Edge helps Foley attain his “WrestleMania moment” (below) with this fantastic hardcore match

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26. Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (VIII, Indianapolis) The build-up to this WWF Championship match, with Flair implying he had a prior relationship with Savage’s girlfriend, Miss Elizabeth, was pure gold. Manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and executive assistant Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig added immensely to the story-telling, and Flair and Savage delivered in the ring.

25. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (XVII, Houston) A match that sometimes gets overlooked because of the other great matches on the same card. A wrestling clinic.

24. Edge vs. Undertaker (XXIV, Orlando) An excellent match between two of the best. Undertaker improves his unblemished WrestleMania record to 16-0 and captures the World Heavyweight Championship.

23. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (XVIII, Toronto) The emotion in this match is absolutely incredible. The crowd makes this match, but Hogan and Rock deserve tons of credit for adjusting to the crowd’s reaction and turning this into a memorable match.

22. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (XXX, New Orleans) A tremendous opening match to WrestleMania XXX, and it needed to be in order to follow an entertaining segment featuring three icons — The Rock, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin — in the ring together. Bryan and Triple H are excellent. Stephanie McMahon’s reactions ringside enhance the match.

21. Money In the Bank Ladder Match (XXI, Los Angeles) This ranks at the top of the MITB WrestleMania matches because, as the first one, it was so innovative

20. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (VI, Toronto) An exciting face vs. face WWF Championship match in which Hogan passes the torch to the Warrior

19. The Rock vs. Steve Austin (XVII, Houston) A terrific WWF Championship match featuring a surprising ending. This is the best of the Austin-Rock WrestleMania encounters, all of which were very good.

18. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (XIX, Seattle) An often-overlooked match because no title was on the line and it is on the same card as Angle vs. Lesnar and Steve Austin vs. The Rock (which turns out to be Austin’s final match)

17. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (XIX, Seattle) Two former NCAA wrestling champions battle it out in this tremendous WWE Championship match. Angle is an Olympic gold medalist. Lesnar later won the Ultimate Fighting heavyweight championship.

16. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H (XXN.Y.This WWE Championship match may have ranked higher except the feel-good moment of seeing Benoit finally win the world title is spoiled by the knowledge that Benoit kills himself and his family a few years later.

15. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (XXIV, Orlando) Flair’s retirement match (left). An incredibly emotional match that might bring a tear to your eye.

14. Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.) Punk and Undertaker put on a dramatic match that convinced fans Punk could win, causing them to pop for many of the near-falls before Undertaker improved his WrestleMania record to 21-0

13. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (XII, Anaheim) What do you do with two of the best wrestlers of all-time? Give them an hour to entertain the fans on your biggest show of the year. An excellent iron man match between two real-life rivals for the WWF Championship.

12. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (X, N.Y.) Michaels and Ramon brought ladder matches to the masses with this dramatic confrontation

11. Undertaker vs. Triple H (XXVII, Atlanta) The Undertaker takes a brutal beating from HHH, but still pulls out the victory to extend his WrestleMania winning streak to 19-0

10. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (X, N.Y.) The Hart brothers put on a wrestling clinic in the opening match of WrestleMania X. Perfect execution, with younger brother Owen pulling off the upset of Bret, who won the world title later that night.

9. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (XXX, New Orleans) Daniel Bryan captures the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Randy Orton in a triple threat match that hits all the right notes as the ultimate underdog overcomes incredible odds to win the coveted championship

8. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (IIIPontiacMich.) The match that arguably sold the most tickets in wrestling history. Not a technical masterpiece, but the magnitude of this WWF Championship match earns it a top-10 ranking.

7. Undertaker vs. Triple H (XXVIII, Miami) The Undertaker survives Hell in a Cell, extending his WrestleMania winning streak to 20-0. Shawn Michaels does a tremendous job as guest referee. Seriously.

6. TLC (XVII, Houston) Edge and Christian, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley brought the house down with this innovative Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the Tag Team Championship. (You thought TLC stood for Tender Loving Care?)

5. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXVI, GlendaleAz.) Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak vs. Michaels’ career (Michaels loses and retires)

4. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (XXI, Los Angeles) A tremendous example of story-telling in the ring. An amazing match.

3. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXV, Houston) An outstanding match featuring two of the all-time best. Fantastic series of big moves, near-falls toward the end.

2. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (IIIPontiacMich.) An all-time classic for the Intercontinental title that still holds up after all these years.

1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (XIII, Chicago) An outstanding brawl featuring a perfectly executed double heel/face (bad guy/good guy) turn. By the end of this match, the fans are vociferously booing Hart and wildly cheering for Austin. Hart and Austin use their actions to tell a story, which is what professional wrestling is all about.

Honorable mention: 20-man Battle Royal featuring NFL players (II, Chicago); the British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine/Brutus Beefcake (II, Chicago); Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage (V, Atlantic City); Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (XI, Hartford); Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (XIV, Boston); Triangle Ladder Match (XVI, Anaheim); Undertaker vs. HHH (XVII, Houston); Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (XX, N.Y.); Randy Orton/Batista/Ric Flair vs. The Rock/Mick Foley (XX, N.Y.); Randy Orton vs. Undertaker (XXI, Los Angeles); John Cena vs. HHH (XXII, Chicago); Undertaker vs. Batista (XXIII, Pontiac, Mich.), Edge vs. Chris Jericho (XXVI, Glendale, Ariz.); Randy Orton vs. C.M Punk (XXVII, Atlanta); Rock vs. John Cena (XXVIII, Miami); C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho (XXVIII, Miami); John Cena vs. The Rock (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.); Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.); Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (XXXI, Santa Clara); Triple H vs. Sting (XXXI, Santa Clara); Intercontinental Championship ladder match (XXXI, Santa Clara); Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Los Matadores vs. Usos (XXXI, Santa Clara); Chris Jericho vs. A.J. Styles (XXXII, Dallas); Intercontinental Championship ladder match (XXXII, Dallas); Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon (XXXII, Dallas); Austin Aries vs. Neville (XXXIII, Orlando).

Tournament runs

Posted by Ron Opher On April - 2 - 2018 3 COMMENTS

With its third national championship, Villanova earned another spot on PhillyPhanatics.com’s top 10 list of men’s college basketball postseason runs by local teams. How high does this year’s championship run rank? Check out the list (below).

10.(tie) 1988, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2001 Temple (NCAA Elite Eight) – John Chaney’s teams often knocked at the door, but never made it to the Final Four;  1981, 2004 St. Joseph’s (NCAA Elite Eight) – The 1981 Hawks team, coached by Jimmy Lynam, shocked the nation by how far it went.  Phil Martelli’s 2004 St. Joe’s team shocked the nation by going undefeated in the regular season, but fell one win short of the Final Four at the hands of Eddie Sutton’s Oklahoma State Cowboys; 2013 La Salle (NCAA Sweet Sixteen) – La Salle was a bubble team that had to win a “play-in” game to claim the #13 seed, but ended up being a Sweet 16 team before losing to Wichita State in the tournament’s second week;

9.(tie) 1956, 1958 Temple; 1961 St. Joseph’s (NCAA Final Four) – we’ll admit we were not born yet at that time, and the tournament field was smaller back then, but to make it to the “National Semifinal” (as that round was called) was a significant achievement.

8. 2009 Villanova (NCAA Final Four) – Jay Wright set the bar high for the Wildcats in 2009, and they delivered Villanova’s first-ever 30-win season, falling to North Carolina on the tournament’s final Saturday.

7. 1979 Penn (NCAA Final Four) – the furthest an Ivy League team has gone in the NCAA tournament, Bob Weinhauer’s Quakers were seeded #9 out of 10 teams in the East Regional, beat Iona in a play-in game, stunned top seed North Carolina at the Greensboro Coliseum 72-71, beat Syracuse and then improbably wore white when defeating St. John’s (the #10 seed) to get to Salt Lake City before being dismantled by Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team.

6. 1971 Villanova (NCAA runner-up) – This memorable run (which ended as did most teams’ runs of that era – with a loss to UCLA in the final game) was tainted by later revelations that star forward Howard Porter had signed a pro contract with the ABA during his senior season at Villanova.  Not only was Porter stripped of his tournament Most Outstanding Player award, Villanova had to forfeit wins going back to December of 1970 when Porter signed the contract, and return $72,000 of NCAA tournament proceeds.

5. 1938 Temple (NIT champs) – The NIT was the pre-eminent tournament in its early days, and predated the NCAA tournament, which began in 1939.

4. (tie) 1954 La Salle (NCAA champs), 1952 La Salle (NIT champs) – One of each for the Explorers, in the day when the NCAA and NIT competed for teams with postseason invitations.  Yes, Tom Gola was that great a player – they did later name La Salle’s arena after him, after all.

3. 2018 Villanova (NCAA champs) – The Wildcats won all of their NCAA Tournament games by at least 12 points. But the lack of any drama to compare to Kris’ Jenkins’ buzzer-beater in the 2016 national championship game, leaves this championship run a shade behind the 2016 championship team.

2. 2016 Villanova (NCAA champs) – Villanova won four games by double digits, including a record-setting 95-51 win over Oklahoma in the Final Four, beat top-ranked Kansas in the Elite 8, and capped off magnificent run with Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer in dramatic 77-74 triumph over North Carolina in championship game.

1.  1985 Villanova (NCAA champs) – Only 6 years after Penn’s improbable run, Villanova, which did have more firepower but also was a low seed (#8), rode their Cinderella story all the way to the championship.  Villanova went on a run which included victories over Dayton on Dayton’s home court, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Memphis State and finally over Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas, 66-64, in last NCAA game played without a shot clock.

Honorable Mention – NIT appearances of note:

1969 Temple (NIT champs)
1994 Villanova (NIT champs)
1965 Villanova (NIT runner-up)
1967 La Salle (NIT runner-up)
1996 St. Joseph’s (NIT runner-up)
2005 St. Joseph’s (NIT runner-up)


 

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