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Receptions by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz during Sunday’s loss, setting franchise record

Jimmie Johnson is shooting for his second straight championship and his seventh overall, which would tie the all-time record. But NASCAR has introduced a new format for qualifying for the Chase, putting a premium on victories, and for the Chase itself. Will the new format help or hurt Johnson? Who will be his top challengers? And will Danica Patrick’s feud with Richard Petty escalate or fizzle out? Eric Fisher tries to answer these and other questions.

Gordon Glantz isn’t certain what Chip Kelly will do as he reduces the roster, but he knows which players he would keep if he were in charge of determining the Eagles’ final 53-man roster.

Although he doesn’t recall playing sports very often with his father, Eric Fisher has fond memories of watching sports with his Dad, who passed away this past Saturday.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: Philly goes hardcore

Posted by Achilles Heel On November - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelOn a week in which WWE Network featured shows focusing on ECW, it’s only fitting that Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore comes to the 2300 Arena, formerly the ECW Arena, for Saturday’s House of Hardcore VII.

There should be plenty of action, if not the same level of mayhem that occurred during ECW shows. The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) take on the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)  in a marquee tag team matchup. If you like tag team wrestling, former TNA champions The Wolves (Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards) will battle Harry Smith and Lance Archer.

If you’re nostalgic for ECW, Tommy Dreamer will have an Old School Extreme Rules match against Ethan Carter III. Beulah McGillicutty, a former ECW regular and now Dreamer’s wife, will be in Dreamer’s corner, allegedly for the last time.

Austin Aries’ open challenge was accepted by Drew Galloway, who has enjoyed tremendous success on the independent scene after being released by WWE (as Drew McIntyre) earlier this year. In a match that might attract CHIKARA fans, Eddie Kingston battles Jigsaw. Christian York takes on Brian Myers.

There definitely is a TNA flavor to the event. With TNA not having any scheduled events until late January in the United Kingdom, the Hardys, the Wolves, Aries and Carter all are trying to stay busy. TNA knockouts Gail Kim, Thea Trinidad and Velvet Sky are also advertised as being at the show.

Dreamer & Co. want it to seem like old times – with a fresh batch of talent – at the old ECW arena this Saturday (7 p.m.). If you can’t get to the arena, Saturday’s show will be House of Hardcore’s first Internet pay-per view.

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SURVIVOR TEAMS: It appears the teams are set for the traditional elimination-style main event at Survivor Series on Sun., Nov. 23. Team Cena includes John Cena, Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Sheamus and, apparently, Ryback. Team Authority consists of Seth Rollins, Kane, Rusev, Mark Henry and Luke Harper.

There should be some friction between Henry and Rusev, who were feuding this fall. With the exception of Rollins and Ziggler, both teams feature large powerhouse wrestlers. But Rusev and Harper are both fairly agile for large men.

Other matches announced for Survivor Series are Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt, and A.J. Lee defending the Divas Championship against Nikki Bella. WWE needs to announce a few more matches soon. A traditional elimination-style Survivor Series match could involve tag teams or Divas.

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SURVIVOR GAMES: In last week’s Heel Turns, the Greek god of wrestling noted that he likes the buildup to the main event of Survivor Series. The competition to get wrestlers to join Team Cena despite the pressure from The Authority was fun to watch.

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END OF THE LINE? Wednesday’s Impact Wrestling is the last episode TNA has taped. Unless TNA finds a place to tape shows, not to mention a TV network to air the show, this will be the last live Impact Wrestling for a while. Achilles Heel hopes this isn’t the end for TNA.

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TAG TEAM FRENZY: Ring of Honor will kick off TAG WARS 2014 on Nov. 22 in Baltimore. The Young Bucks will face Matt Sydal and ACH in what should be an action-paced match. In another first-round match, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian will face B.j. Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs. Another first-round match pits Mark and Jay Bristoe and Jay Lethan and J. Diesel.

In addition, Adam Cole takes on Brian Kendrick in an interesting fight. Cedric Alexander and Tommaso Ciampa will battle in a no-disqualification bout.

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CHIKARA IN NEW ENGLAND: CHIKARA presents events Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in Massachusetts and Connecticut before returning to Philadelphia on Dec. 6 for “Tomorrow Never Dies” at the 2300 Arena, the former ECW Arena.

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WRESTLEMANIA TICKETS: WrestleMania tickets go on sale to the public this Saturday. WrestleMania XXXI will be held at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, Calif.

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ROSS IS THE BOSS: Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, which is presenting New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestling Kingdom live on Jan. 4, announced that legendary broadcaster Jim Ross will broadcast the event. Thinking that an announcer, even one as great as Ross, will bring in an audience is a risky move, but the Greek god of wrestling approves of the move.

Heel Turns: Network’s November nuggets

Posted by Achilles Heel On November - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The time difference from the United Kingdom, where WWE is touring this week, has affected the Greek god of wrestling’s timing a bit, an issue perhaps exacerbated by some late nights at the pubs.

And don’t let anyone tell you there aren’t any pretty women in England. I’m guessing those who spread that lie simply aren’t able to attract the cream of the crop as well as Achilles Heel.

All right, let’s get to the wrestling. The biggest story continues to be the free offer for WWE Network during November. In addition to the free broadcast of Survivor Series, WWE is loading up November with special programming.

Last Monday, following RAW, Rusev defeated Sheamus for the United States Championship in a match broadcast exclusively on WWE Network. Achilles Heel, of course, has been touting Rusev as a potential United States champion since early in the summer. Rusev has stepped up his game since the early summer, improving his in-ring performance.

This upcoming week WWE Network will feature “ECW Exposed,” a live show featuring Paul Heyman and Joey Styles. Heyman and Styles will answer questions and tell stories about ECW. The show is linked to an increased availability of ECW content on WWE Network. Borrowing an old ECW pay-per-view name, call it a November to Remember.

As of this moment, WWE has yet to announce that it is using any of the suggestions I made for WWE Network in last week’s Heel Turns, but, if the people who run WWE are as smart as I know they are, expect those changes to be implemented in the future.

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ORTON’S ABSENCE: Seth Rollins’ curb stomp of Randy Orton on the steel steps on RAW last Monday is a convenient way to keep Orton off the show while he begins filming “The Condemned 2,” which start filming this Tuesday. Orton has previously starred in “12 Rounds 2” and was terrific in the underappreciated “That’s What I Am,” a more serious movie than most of WWE’s other offerings.

Rollins’ actions should keep Orton out of Survivor Series – or at least from being an official participant in a match. An Orton appearance, perhaps costing The Authority a victory in the main event, isn’t out of the question.

It should be noted that Orton was taken out of the picture, if you’ll pardon the pun, before committing to either The Authority’s or John Cena’s Survivor Series team. That maintains Orton’s position as a loner. He wants to work with The Authority, but doesn’t like Rollins. Yet he’s not ready to join Cena, his longtime rival, as a full-fledged babyface.

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SURVIVOR GAMES: Achilles Heel likes the buildup to the main event of Survivor Series. Having Cena and The Authority trying to put together the best teams makes the match seem more important. The importance of the match also received a boost when Vince McMahon, in a surprise return on the most recent RAW, said The Authority’s control will be on the line in the match.

The debate between Triple H and Stephanie McMahon concerning whether or not to ask Randy Orton to join the Authority team added to the drama. The same is true of their attempt to court Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler, who has joined Team Cena, and their scouting of the returning Ryback. The two announced members of the Authority team are Seth Rollins and Kane.

Assembling teams used to be part of the fun leading up to the traditional Survivor Series elimination matches. Expect the intrigue to continue as both sides attempt to add members.

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DIMINISHING IMPACT? As the Greek god of wrestling noted in last week’s Heel Turns, the only tour dates listed on TNA’s Web site are Jan. 29-31 in Scotland and England. TNA has taped Impact Wrestling through Nov. 19. That means that, unless TNA has secret plans to tape television shows somewhere, there won’t be any new editions of Impact in a few weeks.

Spike TV has a movie scheduled for Wed., Nov. 25, in Impact’s time slot. There have been rumblings of the airing of “Best of Impact Wrestling” specials. In other words, re-runs. That’s not a promising sign for TNA’s future on Spike – or its future as a viable wrestling organization.

*****

GALLOWAY RISING: When WWE made some roster cuts earlier this year, in part to appease stockholders disappointed by WWE’s failure to meet expectations for subscribers to WWE Network, the Greek god of wrestling said the person WWE would most regret releasing was Drew McIntyre. I even suggested a storyline to resurrect McIntyre’s reputation after his stint with the comedy team of 3MB.

McIntyre, now known as Drew Galloway, has been following a pattern similar to A.J. Styles when he left TNA. Galloway has excelled on the independent scene.

On Thursday, at a sold-out show in Glasgow, McIntyre defeated former friend Jack Jester to win the Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) Heavyweight Championship. Galloway is also the champion of EVOLVE wrestling, a title he won from Chris Hero in August.

Galloway is only 29 years old. It should only be a matter of time until Galloway/McIntyre returns to WWE as a main event player.

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ANDRE THE (GENTLE) GIANT: Maybe it’s because I’m in England as I write this, but Heel Turns seems to have taken a United Kingdom twist, with the last two items mentioning TNA’s United Kingdom Tour and the success of Drew Galloway. I’ll continue the United Kingdom them with this item about Andre the Giant.

On the flight “over the pond,” as they say here, when I wasn’t dealing with flirting flight attendants in first class, I read “As You Wish: The Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.” The book is written by Cary Elwes, an English actor who got his big career break playing Westley in this magical movie. (Elwes may also be familiar to fans for his wonderful portrayal of art thief Pierre Despereaux on “Psych,” formerly seen on USA Network.)

In his book, Elwes provides insightful thoughts about Andre, who was perfectly cast as Fezzik, the – what else? – giant. There are, of course, stories about Andre’s legendary appetite for food and liquor. But Elwes also provides sweet recollections of Andre the person.

An example: “He was a generous-hearted and sweet a person as I ever hope to meet. The kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, a shirt big enough for four or five people. … This massive icon of a man taught me a lot about appreciating the small things in life and about living in the moment, and I am more than grateful to have known him … I feel honored.”

For wrestling fans, “As You Wish” is worth buying simply for Elwes’ memories of Andre.

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NIGHT OF INFAMY: Again, the time difference has me thrown off a bit, but, hopefully, some of you will read Heel Turns in time to get to Combat Zone Wrestling’s “Night of Infamy” on Saturday night at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.

Preceded by an afternoon event (4 p.m.) presented by Women Superstars Uncensored, (WCU), CZW’s Night of Infamy (7:30 p.m.) features new champion Sozio defending the CZW World Heavyweight Championship against BLK Jeez. Tag team champions 014K defend the titles against Buxx Belmar and “Speedball” Mike Bailey. Shane Strickland defends the CZW Wired Championship against Devon Moore in a Panes of Glass match – or should that be pains of glass match?

There also will be a six-man scramble match to determine the No. 1 contender for the Wired title. Former CZW world champion Drew Gulak will also be in action against David Starr.

Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable, unopened canned and boxed food for WWMR’s Camp Out for Hunger.

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ABSENT CHAMPION: Doesn’t WWE have to address Brock Lesnar’s failure to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Isn’t he required to defend the title at least once a month?

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