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Ranking for Villanova’s basketball team for 1st time in history during season

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Find out by taking the Philly fans quiz.

Even if the Sixers’ plan to sacrifice this season and snare the top pick in the NBA draft succeeds, it’s unlikely it will lead to a parade. Only one No. 1 pick in the past 25 years has won a title with the team that drafted him.

Eric Fisher turns over his column this week to Achilles Heel, who offers poignant memories of the Ultimate Warrior, who died Tuesday just 3 days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: Battling it out in Philly

Posted by Achilles Heel On December - 16 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThis is quite a week for wrestling in Philadelphia. On Monday, Roman Reigns won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – more on that later in Heel Turns – and WWE chairman Vince McMahon made his first on-air appearance in more than a year. On Friday and Saturday, the Philadelphia state belongs to Ring of Honor.

Ring of Honor comes to 2300 Arena on Friday (8:30 p.m.) for the Final Battle ’15 pay-per-view. If you want to see Final Battle, it’s a good thing it’s available on pay-per-view. As the Greek God of Wrestling writes this column, only standing room tickets were still available. Ring of Honor sticks around Saturday (6 p.m.) for a television taping.

The main event for Final Battle is Jay Lethal defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against AJ Styles. Lethal has been involved in some terrific matches this year. Styles has been one of the most sought-after stars on the independent circuit since leaving TNA. Despite being sidelined recently by back issues, Styles says he will be ready for Final Battle.

Roderick Strong, who won the Ring of Honor World Television Championship from Lethal, defends that title against Bobby Fish. Kyle O’Reilly, who teamed with Fish to win the tag team titles, battles Adam Cole.

The Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship will be on the line, with The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Michael Bennett) defending the titles against War Machine (Raymond Rowe and Hanson). The tag team title match may not be as highly anticipated as the triple-threat tag team No. 1 contenders match, which features Jay and Mark Briscoe, the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and the All Night Express (Rhett Titus and Kenny King).

The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, the former tag team champions, will team up with Chris Sabin to face ACH, Matt Sydal and Alex Shelley, who was revealed as the masked man who cost Daniels and Kazarian the tag team championship.

Other matches Friday are Michael Elgin vs. Moose, Dalton Castle vs. Silas young and, in a YouTube exclusive, Cheeseburger vs. Brutal Bob.

Ring of Honor almost always delivers with its major events. Final Battle doesn’t appear as if it will be an exception.

*****

SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: Ring of Honor has announced some matches for its Saturday show, being billed as the Final Battle Aftermath TV taping, at 2300 Arena. Adam Cole battles Michael Elgin in a revival of one of 2014’s top rivalries.

Other matches include Mark Briscoe vs. Adam Page, a four-way match featuring Jay Briscoe, Dalton Castle, Moose and Matt Sydal, and a tag team match between RPG Vice (Rocky Romero and Beretta) and the All Night Express (Rhett Titus and Kenny King).

A pair of women’s matches will also grace the card. Mandy Leon and Sumie Sakai team up to face Deonna Purrazzo and Hania the Huntress. There will also be a four corner survival match featuring Taeler Hendrix, Kelly Klein, Kimber Lee and Veda Scott. Kimber Lee, who will be making her Women of Honor debut, recently became CHIKARA’s Grand Champion.

*****

REIGNS BEGINS HIS REIGN: What a difference a year can make. Last January, Philly fans booed vociferously when Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble. This past Monday, the Wells Fargo crowd erupted when Reigns defeated Sheamus to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

When Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank title opportunity to defeat Reigns at Survivor Series after he had won a tournament to earn the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Achilles Heel explained how WWE was trying to build sympathy for Reigns in order to generate a positive reaction when he eventually wins the title.

WWE upped the ante by having Reigns confronted by HHH after losing to Reigns at TLC, with plenty of interference by the League of Nations, and then doubled down Monday by having WWE chairman Vince McMahon play the antagonist role. McMahon delivered a kick below the belt midway through RAW, but received a Superman punch in return during the main event.

In the same build in which he was booed nearly 11 months earlier, Reigns was cheered as he won the WWE World Championship.

*****

TLC REVIEW: Despite a lack of build for many of the matches, TLC turned out to be a pretty good event. The tables, ladders and chairs match between Roman Reigns and Sheamus was a worthy main event.

The most spectacular match at TLC was the opening ladder match for the tag team titles. New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) retained the titles in an insane match with Jimmy and Jey Uso and the Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara and Kalisto). Even the outstanding writing of the Greek God of Wrestling couldn’t do justice to the awesome maneuvers executed by the participants in this match.

There was a title change at TLC, with Dean Ambrose defeating Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship in a fine match. Owens’ loss makes more sense after Reigns won the WWE World Championship on RAW. Owens could be a challenger for Reigns.

The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman) won a hard-hitting tables elimination match against Devon and Bubba Ray Dudley, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno at TLC, and then won an even better brawl Monday on RAW. In a chairs match, Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger managed to make the fans care even though Del Rio was a lock to retain the United States Championship.

In a Divas Championship match, Charlotte, with Ric Flair in her corner, defeated Paige to retain her title. Even Rusev and Ryback managed to draw the fans into their match.

*****

HOT CROWDS: Both TLC and RAW benefited from hot crowds. What else would you expect from Boston and Philadelphia?

*****

LONDON CALLING: Finn Balor successfully defended the NXT Championship against Samoa Joe on Wednesday at NXT Takeover: London, the latest excellent special event from NXT.

As expected, Balor and Joe were tremendous together. Bayley defeated challenger Nia Jax by guillotine submission in a well-executed David vs. Goliath match for the NXT Women’s Championship. Dash and Dawson, a terrific team, successfully defended the NXT Tag Team Championship against Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady in yet another good match.

In a bit of a surprise, Baron Corbin defeated Apollo Crews. Corbin had to stretch himself out in this match, which was much longer than a typical Corbin match. Asuka continued to impress while defeating Emma in an entertaining opening match.

As is almost always the case with NXT, the focus was on wrestling, and the wrestlers delivered.

*****

CAGE OF DEATH SURVIVOR: Matt Tremont retained the Combat Zone Wrestling World Championship last Saturday in a cage of death match with AR Fox, Masada and Devon Moore at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. The tag team and CZW Wired championships changed hands, Sami Callihan made a triumphant return and the Gulak brothers defeated the Beaver Boys.

*****

IMPACT COMES TO BETHLEHEM: Plenty of good seats remain for TNA’s five-night standing at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center from Jan. 5-9. Achilles Heel’s assistants were able to pull up Row D seats in a ring side section for the Jan. 5 show, which will be TNA’s debut on Pop TV and will feature the semifinals and finals of the World Title Series tournament. For the Jan. 6 show, my assistants found Row B seats. By the way, the seats in both these ringside sections were $10 apiece.

*****

SLAMMY TIME: The Slammy Awards, usually an extremely entertaining show, take place next Monday on RAW.

Heel Turns: TLC could be (hard-)hit or miss

Posted by Achilles Heel On December - 12 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelTables? Check.

Ladders? Check.

Chairs? Check.

It took WWE too long to get the card together for Sunday’s TLC, but it finally put together a logical card for this event. One match of each stipulation, capped off by a tables, ladders and chairs match between Sheamus and Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The Greek God of Wrestling expects Sheamus to retain the title. Somehow, someway Reigns will be thwarted. It wouldn’t make sense to have Sheamus lose the title so quickly after forming the League of Nations. As I wrote in the previous edition of Heel Turns, it also makes sense to have Reigns lose out on the title several times, preferably through nefarious means, in order to build anticipation for his eventual title-winning triumph. (For you simpletons out there, nefarious means extremely wicked or villainous. You’re welcome.)

The ladders match is a triple threat Tag Team Championship match. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston, with Xavier Woods outside) defends the titles against Jimmy and Jey Uso and the Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara and Kalisto). Everyone in the match except Big E is known for high-flying maneuvers. New Day should retain, but, with so many heels expected to retain their titles, we could see an upset and a title change, possibly without a member of New Day getting pinned.

The chairs match features United States champion Alberto Del Rio defending the title against Jack Swagger. (If you combine Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio, do you get Jack Del Rio, the Raiders head coach?) An appearance by Zeb Colter, who was basically fired by Del Rio this past week, could add some spice to this matchup, but Del Rio should retain.

The tables match is an 8-man elimination tables match, meaning at least four people – and likely more – should be going through tables. On one side is the Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman). On the other side is a team consisting of wrestlers who rose to fame in ECW: Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley, Tommy Dreamer and the returning Rhyno. The Wyatts should win, but Achilles Heel has a feeling the good guys are going to win this one.

Two of the most intriguing matchups don’t involve stipulations. Kevin Owens defends the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. This should be a tremendous battle between two brawlers.

The other intriguing match features Charlotte defending the Divas Championship against Paige. Charlotte, who seems to be making a heel turns, will have her father, Ric Flair, in her corner. Paige seemed to receive a babyface reaction when she interrupted Charlotte and her father during Miz TV on this past Monday’s RAW. Paige slapped Ric Flair, which adds intrigue to this match. The crowd’s reaction in Boston should be interesting.

There hasn’t been enough time to build the issue between Ryback and Rusev. The only angle between these two brutes must involve Lana. Achilles Heel thinks that’s the only way Rusev and Ryback can get the crowd interested, especially on a card filled with tables, ladders and chairs, is for Lana to get involved.

TLC doesn’t appear to be a great card, but there should be plenty of hard-hitting action. The most interesting matchups to the Greek God of Wrestling are the two title bouts without stipulations: Owens vs. Ambrose and Charlotte vs. Paige. Hopefully, those two matches are good and the stipulations add excitement to the other matches.

*****

RAW IN PHILLY: RAW will be at Wells Fargo Center on Monday, the night after TLC. The first steps toward the Royal Rumble and, possibly, WrestleMania 32 should be taken Monday night in Philly. If the Bills defeat the Eagles, Achilles Heel expects to hear a LeSean McCoy reference or two, and maybe even a McCoy jersey.

In the unlikely chance that you get close enough to the Greek God of Wrestling on Monday, please don’t approach him. Just being in the same building should be enough for you. There is no need to should to me, and you should not try to touch me under any circumstances.

*****

YOU SOLD OUT: The only tickets remaining for Ring of Honor’s Final Battle on Fri., Dec. 18 (8:30 p.m.) at 2300 Arena are standing room only. All the seats have been sold out. The show will also be available on pay-per-view. On the other hand, tickets are available in almost every section for the television taping the following day.

The main event for Final Battle features Jay Lethal defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against AJ Styles (assuming Styles’ back is OK).

There also will be a Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship match, with The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Michael Bennett) defending the titles against War Machine (Raymond Rowe and Hanson). In a tag team No. 1 contenders triple threat match, Jay and Mark Briscoe battle the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and the All Night Express (Rhett Titus and Kenny King). The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian), the former tag team champions, will team with Chris Sabin to face ACH, Matt Sydal and Alex Shelley, who was revealed as the masked man who cost them Daniels and Kazarian the tag team championship.

Other matches include Roderick Strong defending the Ring of Honor World Tevelvision Championship against Bobby Fish; Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly; Michael Elgin vs. Moose; and Dalton Castle vs. Silas Young.

*****

NXT TAKES OVER LONDON: NXT is in the midst of events in the United Kingdom, a tour that will culminate in NXT Takeover: London, which will be broadcast live on WWE Network next Wednesday (3 p.m.). The pre-show, which will include WWE Hall of Famer Lita, will begin a half-hour earlier.

In the main event, Finn Balor defends the NXT Championship against Samoa Joe. The Greek God of Wrestling expects this to be an incredible match.

The other matches are: Bayley defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Nia Jax; Dash and Dawson defend the NXT Tag Team Championship against Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady; Apollo Crews battles Baron Corbin; and Asuka should absolutely destroy Emma.

*****

CHANGE OF PLANS: TNA, which had finished taping its World Title Series Tournament, will instead present the semifinals live on Jan. 5 during its debut on Pop TV. That show will be held on the first of five nights of tapings at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center. Matt Hardy will face Eric young in one semifinal. Bobby Lashley will battle Ethan Carter III in the other semifinal. The remaining Impact Wrestling shows on Destination America will be filled with old taped matches.

*****

DOUBLEHEADER? CHIKARA opens 2016 on Jan. 30 (2 p.m.) with Days of the Phoenix at The Wrestle Factory. What is interesting is CHIKARA also has 5 Senses listed for Jan. 30 (7 p.m.) at the Wrestle Factory. CHIKARA has a similar scheduling arrangement on March 1 in Gibsonville, N.C., with The New Batch in the afternoon and The Secret of Ooze in the evening.

*****

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: Achilles Heel offers a rare apology to Combat Zone Wrestling for not writing his column in time to properly promote Dojo Wars and Cage of Death XVII in Voorhees on Saturday. A select few of you might have an hour to get over there, but, for most of my loyal readers, by the time you read this, it will be too late.

*****

BREAKUP TIME: As Achilles Heel has been saying almost since the beginning, the strange pairing of Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter didn’t work. With Del Rio joining the League of Nations, the pairing made even less sense. Having Del Rio get annoyed after tripping over Colter’s motorized scooter is weak, but splitting these two up is the right move for Del Rio.

*****

NXT TO DALLAS: WWE has announced that there will be an NXT live event in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on April 1 as part of WrestleMania weekend. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be Saturday, WrestleMania 32 will be Sunday and RAW will be held that Monday.

And, no, Kay Bailey Hutchison wasn’t Judy Grable’s tag team partner. She’s a former U.S. Senator from Texas.

*****

POLITICS TRUMPS FAME: The Greek God of Wrestling never lies, so you know this item is true. I was joking with a friend a few days ago that perhaps Donald Trump should be removed from the WWE Hall of Fame for his comments about Muslims. I was, of course, joking. But some moron(s) actually started a petition to get Trump removed from the WWE Hall of Fame.

 

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