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Seasons since Tim Tebow played in an NFL game

The Greek god of wrestling implores fans to leave him alone the next few days during events in Trenton, Allentown and Philadelphia. Achilles Heel also rips TNA for its lack of effort in promoting Bound for Glory, tells you when CHIKARA is coming back to Philly and announces some new champions.

The Greek god of wrestling tells us how WWE is loading up November to attract new subscribers to WWE Network. Achilles Heel also focuses on movies and England, informing us why Randy Orton will be off TV for a few weeks, how the former Drew McIntyre is making a name for himself around the world and why wrestling fans should enjoy “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.”

The Sixers enter Thursday’s NBA Draft with the Nos. 3 and 10 picks and five second-round selections. Don’t expect them to remain in those positions. General manager Sam Hinkie made waves by wheeling and dealing at last year’s draft. Expect more of the same in this year’s draft.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: Elevating championships

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 24 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelOne of The Greek God of Wrestling’s major complaints with WWE is how it has devalued the Intercontinental and United States championships. Maybe I’m foolish to get my hopes up, but I have a feeling WWE may finally be restoring prestige to these titles.

The Intercontinental and U.S. championships have rich legacies. They were always secondary to the world titles, but these titles were treated with dignity and respect. In recent years, however, these championships have been relegated to second- or third-class status, with the men holding these championships often reduced to fodder for the WWE and World champions and those challenging for the more prestigious belts.

The promotion for WrestleMania 31 gives me hope that the Intercontinental and U.S. titles may once again be elevated to elite status. These championships are once again being treated as if they’re important.

The fact that John Cena is challenging for the U.S. title elevates that belt. If Cena, a perennial main event wrestler, wants to take the U.S. title from Rusev, then it must be important.

The Intercontinental Championship will be defended by Wade Barrett in a seven-man ladder match. The presence of Daniel Bryan, a huge fan favorite who won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, indicates the Intercontinental Championship is worth pursuing.

Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler, two extremely popular wrestlers, are also in the ladder match for the Intercontinental title. Their presence also enhances the Intercontinental Championship.

If Bryan wins the ladder match, which fills the void created when the annual Money in the Bank multi-wrestler ladder match was moved from WrestleMania to its own pay-per-view, the Intercontinental Championship immediately garner greater respect. If one of the other participants wins, the fact that they bested Bryan in this match raises their profile.

The Intercontinental and U.S. Championships were once important titles. The men who held these titles, such as Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Tito Santana, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Rick Rude, Barry Windham, Curt Hennig and Edge – just to name more than a few – were revered and respected.

The championships meant something. Winning the championships meant something.

Achilles Heel is hopeful the treatment of these titles leading up to WrestleMania is a sign that WWE is going to return to treating these titles as valued championships. In fact, as always, the Greek God of Wrestling has a helpful suggestion.

WWE should make the Intercontinental Championship the top title on RAW and the U.S. Championship the top title on Smackdown (or vice versa), in much the same way that each state had its champion during the old NWA territory days. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship, still the ultimate prize, wouldn’t be defended regularly on television, making the Intercontinental and U.S. title matches seem like major events.

*****

LESNAR RE-SIGNS: If you’re reading this Tuesday evening, shortly after I wrote it, the Greek God of Wrestling is bringing you some breaking news: Brock Lesnar told Michelle Beadle on SportsCenter that he has re-signed with WWE.

Lesnar was contemplating (considering, for those of you with a substandard education) a return to UFC. His decision to return to WWE adds additional intrigue to WrestleMania’s main event, which most had assumed would be won by Roman Reigns because of Lesnar’s assumed departure.

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TRAGEDY IN MEXICO: In a horrific incident, Perro Aguayo Jr. died Friday from injuries suffered during a tag team match in Tijuana, Mexico. Aguayo, 35, was one of the biggest stars in Mexican wrestling.

Aguayo Jr. was teaming with Manik against Rey Mysterio Jr. and Extreme Tiger. It’s unclear if he was injured falling onto the ropes in a setup for Mysterio’s 619 maneuver, from the ropes snapping back into his neck when Manik fell into position for the 619, or if he was injured prior to this sequence. What’s clear from the video is that Aguayo was unconscious on the ropes. As Mysterio went for the 619, he clearly realized Aguayo wasn’t OK and steered clear of his head as he swung his legs through the ropes.

The official cause of death was determined to be cervical spinal trauma. Regardless of the cause, the loss of a talented and charismatic performer such as Aguayo Jr. is a tragic loss. Achilles Heel sends out condolences to his family and friends.

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MAJOR ANGLE: Congratulations to Kurt Angle, who won TNA’s World Heavyweight Championship from Bobby Lashley in a match televised on Impact Wrestling last Friday. Injuries have slowed Angle in recent years, but he’s still an amazing performer.

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INTEREST BUILDING: The match Achilles Heel is most looking forward to at WrestleMania 31 is Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins. By the way, it seems as if Jon Stewart’s involvement in this angle has ended – at least for now.

Don’t forget to look for my complete WrestleMania 31 preview later this week on PhillyPhanatics.com.

*****

SAMOA JOE CHASES TITLE: WrestleMania has become a week-long extravaganza for the host city. In addition to the main event on Sunday and all the WrestleMania-related events, many independent organizations present shows for the congregation of wrestling fans.

At Ring of Honor’s Friday show in Redwood City, Calif., Samoa Joe, the longest-reigning Ring of Honor champion, challenge Jay Briscoe for the Ring of Honor World Championship. Jay Lethal, the longest-reigning World Television champion in Ring of Honor history defends his title against legendary Japanese wrestler Jushin “Thunder” Liger.

Other matches include reDRagon (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) defending the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship against The Kingdom (Mike Bennett, former Ring of Honor world champion Adam Cole), Michael Elgin squaring off with Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels battling Roderick Strong, and Jimmy Jacobs facing B.J. Whitmer.

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EVOLVING: EVOLVE is holding a three-day event at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in the days preceding WrestleMania 31. In Thursday’s main event, Drew Galloway defends the EVOLVE Championship against P.J. Black (Justin Gabriel in WWE). In the co-main event, Johnny Gargano defends the Dragon Gate USA title against A.R. Fox. In other matches, Drew Gulak battles Timothy Thatcher, Chris Hero takes on Ethan Page and there is a six-man tag team match pitting Ricochet, Rich Swann and Uhaa Nation against Caleb Konley, T.J. Perkins and Brian Cage.

On Friday afternoon, Galloway faces Uhaa Nation in a non-title match, Ricochet battles Black and Hero squares off the Biff Busick.

If both Galloway and Gargano keep their titles, they will face each other in Saturday’s main event. Austin Aries teams up with Roderick Strong to take on Ricochet and Uhaa Nation, Black faces Fox and there will be a four-way bout featuring Gulak, Busick, Perkins and Tommy End.

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KING OF INDIES: The Santa Clara Fairgrounds will also host the King of Indies tournament, a 16-wrestler tournament, on Friday and Saturday.

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AGAINST THE GRAIN: While multiple organizations try to ride the coattails of WrestleMania 31, CHIKARA is taking the opposite approach. CHIKARA is headed to the United Kingdom for four shows from April 3-6. On the final show of the tour, Icarus defends the Grand Championship against Hallowicked.

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NXT TOURNAMENT: NXT will hold a tournament on Thursday at the San Jose Convention Center as part of WrestleMania Axxess. The winner of the tournament, which includes Adrian Neville, Finn Balor, Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami, will receive a spot in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. It will be very interesting to see which wrestler WWE chooses to participate in its showcase event.

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HALL OF FAME: What would WrestleMania week be without the Hall of Fame ceremony? The Hall of Fame ceremony takes place in San Jose, and it will be televised live (8 p.m.) on WWE Network, with a condensed version to air on USA Network after RAW the night after WrestleMania.

The class of 2015 is headlined by “Macho Man” Randy Savage, an incredible performer who died of a heart attack several years ago. Savage will be inducted by former rival Hulk Hogan.

Other inductees include Kevin Nash, the Bushwackers, Rikishi, Larry Zbyszko (to be inducted by Bruno Sammartino), Japanese legend Tatsumi Fujinami, former women’s champion Alundra Blayze (Madusa Maceli) and Arnold Schwarzeneger (celebrity category).

 *****

COMING TO PHILLY: WWE stars Roman Reigns, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Paige and Sting – yes, Sting! – are scheduled to appear at the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia. Reigns and Paige will be there on May 7, Ziggler and Orton will appear on May 8 and Sting will appear on May 9.

Heel Turns: Time for WrestleMania buildup

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 14 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WrestleMania is special for many reasons. The huge crowds make the show feel special. There is often a special match or two. And there is usually a celebrity appearance.

Perhaps the biggest reason WrestleMania is special is the promotion of the event. Not only is there heavy hype for WWE’s Super Bowl, but there is enough time allowed to properly promote all the matches.

At WrestleMania, unlike many other pay-per-view events, the matches don’t feel thrown together at the last minute. Fans are given weeks – if not months – to become invested in the storylines. Consequently, almost every match feels as if it means something.

Let’s look at the buildup for some matches at WrestleMania 31, which takes place on March 29 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Main events always receive proper promotion. The focus this year is in building Roman Reigns into a legitimate contender for his bout with WWE World Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. WWE has to convince fans that Reigns is worthy of facing Reigns – and worthy of beating him – on wrestling’s biggest stage.

The resurrection of Reigns’ reputation was required after Philly fans booed when Reigns won the Royal Rumble, thus earning the title shot at WrestleMania. The first step was a face-to-face meeting with Lesnar in the studio during the snow-affected RAW the day after the Rumble. The next step was having Reigns defeat Daniel Bryan, the man most fans seemed to want to see win the Rumble and challenge Lesnar, at WWE Fastlane. Bryan then gave Reigns his seal of approval the following night on RAW.

The storyline since then, with a lot of help from Paul Heyman, has focused on the real-life situation in which people doubt that Reigns is worthy of headlining WrestleMania. As Reigns says, the more often people tell him he “can’t,” the more it drives him to prove that he “can.” On Smackdown this past week, Reigns erased Mark Henry’s doubts about whether he can defeat Lesnar. What WWE is really trying to do, of course, is convince the fans.

The seeds of the Sting-Triple H match were planted at Survivor Series, when Sting cost Team Authority the main event match, resulting in The Authority losing their authority, if you’ll pardon the expression. The promotion picked up during February, culminating in an in-ring confrontation at Fastlane. Achilles Heel has doubts about how good the match will be, but the seeds planted in November have built to the point that fans are clamoring for this match.

The match between Randy Orton and Seth Rollins hasn’t officially been announced yet, but the seeds for this match were planted last summer and fall when friction began to build between the pair while both were with The Authority. They both tried to top one another for a stretch, until Rollins curb-stomped Orton outside the ring, sidelining “The Viper” for a few months. Orton got his revenge on RAW, beating Rollins all over the arena to close out the show. All that remains is for Jon Stewart’s role to be clarified as this smoking hot feud plays out at WrestleMania.

The ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship has also received a good buildup. This started as a feud between Wade Barrett and challenger Dean Ambrose. Over the last few weeks, R-Truth, Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper and Stardust have been added to the Intercontinental title picture, with a six-man tag team match on Smackdown adding to the intrigue by teasing jealousy and dissension between Ambrose, Ziggler and Bryan.

The United States Championship match between John Cena and Rusev and the showdown between Bray Wyatt and Undertaker have been building since Fastlane, with Rusev’s Fastlane victory over Cena creating the need for Cena to seek revenge. The women’s tag team match between Nikki and Brie Bella and the team of Paige and A.J. Lee can be traced back to Paige and A.J. battling over the Divas Championship, which is now held by Nikki.

One of the cool ways to build toward the 2nd Annual Andrew The Giant Memorial Battle Royal is to add entrants each week. The Greek God of Wrestling is enjoying the inclusion of the under-utilized Curtis Axel in building toward the battle Royal. Mini-feuds between The Miz and Damien Mizdow and one between Ryback and Big Show and Kane – with the seeds being planted for a Kane-Big Show split planted at the end of the Royal Rumble – add to the intrigue. There should be six more names announced for the battle royal, including Seamus.

We still have two weeks of promotion to go before WrestleMania 31. With the proper time to build storylines and promote matches, WWE is always able to make WrestleMania feel special.

*****

LINEUP NEARLY COMPLETE: The WrestleMania 31 card appears nearly complete. The official announcement of the Randy Orton-Seth Rollins match and a multi-team tag team championship match might be the only additions to the current card.

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MYSTERIO GETS HARDCORE: Tommy Dreamer delivered with another surprise appearance during House of Hardcore VIII at the sold-out 2300 Arena (formerly known as the ECW Arena). The December show featured a surprise appearances by Bubba Ray Dudley and Alberto El Patron (formerly Alberto Del Rio). This time, Rey Mysterio arrived to defend Dreamer against the onslaught of Eric Young and Ethan Carter III and Young defeated Dreamer in a South Philly Street Fight.

Other results included The Dudleys defeating Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defeating Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, Matt Hardy beating Carlito and Lance Hoyt in a triple threat match, and Rhino defeating Eddie Kingston.

*****

BUCKS SEASON: As the Greek God of Wrestling pointed out last week, the Young Bucks were scheduled at both House of Hardcore VIII in Philly and Ring of Honor’s television taping in Baltimore on the same night (March 7). The Bucks pulled this off by appearing during the first hour of Ring of Honor’s show and then high-tailing it to Philly to appear at the end of the House of Hardcore show.

*****

DEJA VU: If you’re reading this on March 14, Combat Zone Wrestling presents Déjà vu tonight at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. In the main event Matt Tremont battles Stockade in a No Ropes Barbed Wire Match. Dave and Jake Crist defend the CZW tag team titles against Danny Havoc and Devon Moore. Former CZW world champion Drew Gulak squares off with Pepper Parks.

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SOONER OR LATER: With the additions of former University of Oklahoma stars Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray, the Eagles may have become Jim Ross’ favorite team.

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ADDED PHILLY SHOW: After the May 13 show involving Ring of Honor and New Japan talent at 2300 Arena sold out right away, Ring of Honor added a show with New Japan on May 12 at 2300 Arena.

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NXT COMING TO PHILLY? There have been rumors about NXT presenting shows at 2300 Arena. Nothing official has been announced.

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NXT IN CALIFORNIA: NXT may or may not be coming to Philadelphia. On the heels of its successful shows in Ohio earlier this month, NXT will present a card at the San Jose University Event Center on March 27 as part of the events leading up to WrestleMania 31.

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SPUD BECOMES STAR: This past Friday’s Impact Wrestling featured an intense main event between Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud. EC3 won the hair vs. hair match, but both men benefited from the match. Spud, who started out doing comedy, came across as a star in the underdog role. EC3, who deserves a ton of credit for wrestling through a biceps injury, came across as a tremendous heel. Maybe TNA finally is developing some of its own stars again instead of relying on former WWE wrestlers to carry the load.

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TITLE CHANGE: Eddie Edwards and Davy Richards are vacating the TNA tag team titles they recently won from Abyss and James Storm due to Edwards’ broken heel.

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ALBERTO INJURED: Alberto El Patron suffered a partially torn quadriceps injury. Expect him to be sidelined at least a few months. Achilles Heel wishes Alberto a complete and speedy recovery.

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SUMMERSLAM HOT TICKET: SummerSlam was a first-day sellout, with all tickets to Barclays Center on Aug. 23 being bought this morning (March 14).

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