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Consecutive 3-pointers missed by Temple during 60-57 loss to Miami in NIT semifinals

The Greek god of wrestling is enjoying Randy Orton’s excellent series of matches against his challengers at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Achilles Heel also tells us who emerged from CZW’s 15th anniversary show as champion, provides a complete (as of now) lineup for Ring of Honor’s 12th anniversary show and explains how extreme weather overpowered Extreme Rising.

Everyone has an opinion about whom the Eagles should select with the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft. Eric Fisher says nobody knows who will succeed and who will be a bust. But everyone knows the draft is crucial to a team’s success.

Gordon Glantz employs some old-school math to evaluate the Eagles’ quarterback situation. His conclusion is that the Eagles’ best realistic option is to bring back Nick Foles as the starter.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: Philly gets Hardcore

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThe Greek God of Wrestling is going to put WWE on the backburner this week. I’m going to concentrate on the independent promotions instead.

Why? Achilles Heel doesn’t owe you an explanation. You don’t get to choose the content for Heel Turns, the best wrestling column on the Internet.

To be pleasant, I’ll give you a reason anyway. WWE is going to dominate the discussion leading up to WrestleMania 31. This was the final opportunity to devote a column mostly to the independent promotions. For those who can’t go without their WWE fix, there are a few notes at the end of this column.

Philly gets hardcore once again Saturday when Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore VIII comes to 2300 Arena (formerly known as the ECW Arena).

The last House of Hardcore show at 2300 Arena drew rave reviews, which may be why all the reserved seats for Saturday’s show are sold. As of Friday morning, general admission seats still remain, so, as “Mean” Gene Okerlund used to say, “Get your tickets now! Don’t you dare miss it!”

For those who can’t get to 2300 Arena, the show is also available on Internet pay-per-view. For more details, go to the House of Hardcore Web site. (As the Greek God of Wrestling has warned before, go to houseofhardcore.net, NOT .com – unless you’re looking for a very different experience.)

Saturday’s show is highlighted by a pair of tag team matches that should deliver fantastic action. Team 3D (Bubba Ray and D-Von) battles Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian). In the other tag team match, the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), who are making quite a reputation for themselves while appearing as a special attraction for numerous organizations, will square off with two of TNA’s best, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode.

The spirit of ECW will be alive and well as TNA’s Eric Young and Tommy Dreamer take part in a South Philly Street Fight. Matt Hardy, Carlito and Lance Hoyt will engage in a Three-Way Dance. In a match added this past week, Rhino will face Eddie Kingston in what should be a very physical match.

Others scheduled to appear include Mikey Whipwreck, Velvet Sky, Tone Nese and Matt Striker. The pre-show meet-and-greet includes the former WWE Divas known as Kelly Kelly – an Achilles Heel favorite – and Melina; Magnum T.A.; Mike Rotundo; Lanny Poffo; and former referee Earl Hebner.

Dreamer’s last show at 2300 Arena set the bar extremely high. It will be interesting to see if House of Hardcore VIII can approach the standard set by the previous show.

*****

HONOR IN BALTIMORE: If you want to venture further South than 2300 Arena, Ring of Honor is having a television taping at the William J. Myers Pavilion in Baltimore on Saturday (6 p.m.).

Samoa Joe, the longest reigning world champion in Ring of Honor history, returns to face Kyle O’Reilly, one half of the tag team champions. Mark Briscoe, filling in for the injured Tommaso Ciampa, will battle A.J. Styles. Moose, who defeated Briscoe this past Sunday at Ring of Honor’s 13th Anniversary show, squares off with Caprice Coleman.

There will be an autograph signing event from 5-6 p.m., with Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles and the Young Bucks scheduled to appear.

*****

YOUNG BUCKS DOUBLEHEADER? Saturday will be a busy night for the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson). They are scheduled to sign autographs and wrestle at Ring of Honor’s television taping in Baltimore, and then face Austin Aries and Bobby Roode at Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore VIII at 2300 Arena.

The Young Bucks are lucky the snowstorm that hit the Mid-Atlantic on Thursday didn’t arrive 24-36 hours later.

*****

WWE IN ALLENTOWN: While going through this weekend’s shows, let’s sneak in a quick WWE note. WWE will be at Allentown’s PPL Arena on Sunday (3 p.m.).

*****

CAROLINA ON THEIR MIND: CHIKARA also avoided the worst of the inclement weather. CHIKARA is in North Carolina this weekend for shows on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday in “Out on a Limb” in Gibsonville, Devastation Corporation defends the tag team championships against The Osirian Portal, Icarus teams up with “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti to battle Frightmare and Silver Ant, and Chuck Taylor takes on Trevor Lee.

At “Altar Egos” in Norfolk on Sunday, Icarus defends the Grand Championship against Nokken, Hallowicked faces Oleg the Usurper, and UltraMantis Black battles Volgar. This is CHIKARA’s final show before embarking on a four-show tour of the United Kingdom the first week of April.

*****

CHIKARA EASTON DATES: CHIKARA will return to Easton for two marquee events. CHIKARA’s anniversary show is on May 24. CHIKARA will return to Easton during Labor Day weekend (Sept. 4-6) for King of Trios.

*****

TNA’S DESTINATION: TNA will tape more episodes of Impact Wrestling from March 13-16 at Universal Studios in Orlando. It’s difficult to preview the tapings without giving away the results of matches which have already been taped but haven’t been on TV yet. If you’re reading this on Friday, tonight’s Impact Wrestling features Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode and Eric Young battling in a No. 1 contender’s match for a shot at Bobby Lashley’s world title, Taryn Terrell defending the Knockouts Championship against Awesome Kong, and Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards try to recapture the tag team titles from James Storm and Abyss.

*****

YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN: Combat Zone Wrestling returns to Flyers Skate Zone next Saturday (March 14) for “Déjà vu.” Danny Havoc and Devon Moore will challenge Dave and Jake Crist for the tag team titles they retained against The Young Bucks, Matt Tremont will battle Stockade in a No Ropes Barbed Wire match,  and Sozio will face Eric Corvis.

*****

BUILDING TOWARD WRESTLEMANIA: Kane and Big Show have been added to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31. The budding tension between Kane and Big Show, which the Greek God of Wrestling told you about before it started to happen, could boil over at WrestleMania.

Luke Harper and, apparently, Stardust, have been added to the Intercontinental Championship equation. Wade Barrett will defend the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania in a multi-wrestler ladder match.

Achilles Heel loves the slow build the matches at WrestleMania receive. I’ll probably have more on this next week.

*****

IT SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES: WWE Network took me on a trip down memory lane this past week, reminding the Greek God of Wrestling of some of the best and worst of professional wrestling’s past.

On the positive side, I caught an episode of TNT, a campy WWE talk show hosted by Vince McMahon. (Achilles Heel suggested WWE put TNT on its network, and the WWE complied with one week.)

The TNT episode was prior to the first WrestleMania. The guests included the trip of Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton Jr., tag team champions Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham and Intercontinental champion Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. But the segment that stood out was the opening one with Andre the Giant.

After McMahon said several times that some have suggested Andre had a yellow streak because he refused to put anything of his own up against the $15,000 Bobby Heenan put for the Body Slam Challenge with Big John Studd at WrestleMania, Andre gets up and angrily grabs McMahon by the shirt collar before walking out on the interview. That segment beautifully built to the WrestleMania match, with the jovial gentle giant, who wouldn’t turn heel for another two years, flashing anger and intensity.

*****

IT SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES II: Then there was the bad side of memory lane. The Clash of Champions: Fall Brawl from 1991 was a reminder of a down period in WCW. Ric Flair had left the company, but that wasn’t the only problem with WCW.

The Clash opened with a “Georgia Brawl,” which was basically a battle royal. Almost everyone had a gimmick. One of the more ridiculous and unnecessary gimmick were the name changes associated wrestlers who joined The (Alexandra) York Foundation. Terry Taylor became Terrence Taylor, Bobby Eaton became Sir Robert Eaton, Tommy Rich became Thomas Rich, etc. If you still don’t believe me, I cite as evidence Firebreaker Chip, who gimmick was that he was a firefighter. The Greek God of Wrestling rests his case. The highlight of the Georgia Brawl was a brawl outside the ring between Stunning Steve Austin and Barry (one of the few guys without a nickname) Windham after both men had been eliminated.

The winner of the Georgia Brawl was El Gigante. His match-winning double clothesline to One Man Gang and Oz (Kevin Nash, billed as being from the Emerald City, with white-blond hair and fluorescent green full-legged trunks) was so bad that Nash practically had to throw himself over the top rope. Listed at 7-foot-7, El Gigante, who later stunk up WrestleMania IX against Undertaker, almost made The Great Khali look like Rey Mysterio.

Another case of an unnecessary rebranding was Scott Hall, who had already had success in the AWA, being called “The Diamond Studd.” Positives from the Clash were a surprise appearance by Cactus Jack, who brawled with Sting twice, the Austin-Windham brawl, interviews by Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman) and promotional videos featuring Ron Simmons. Even the great Jim Ross, who was the lead broadcaster, couldn’t shine this turd.

Heel Turns: Clearing path to WrestleMania

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelFastlane won’t go down in history as one of WWE’s most memorable events, but it did its job, which was to set up matches for WrestleMania 31.

The biggest development, or non-development, was that Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan in a terrific main event. This means WWE is sticking to its plan to have Reigns face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The win over Bryan, along with their interview the following night on RAW, added credibility to Reigns’ position as a deserving No. 1 contender.

The match left questions about Bryan’s role at WrestleMania, although it seems likely he will be part of the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Wade Barrett retained the Intercontinental title at Fastlane with a disqualification victory over Dean Ambrose. Bryan defeated Barrett in a non-title match on Smackdown, as Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth have done in recent weeks. All of these men are likely challengers for Barrett’s title in the ladder match at WrestleMania.

Two WrestleMania matches were set up with angles at Fastlane. A verbal confrontation between Triple H and Sting – in which Triple H, literally, did all of the talking – led to a physical confrontation, with Sting getting the better of it and, through gestures, demanding a match at WrestleMania. The Greek God of Wrestling isn’t certain these two icons can pull off a great match, but the creation of the match was excellent.

Another angle that set up a WrestleMania match was Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker. At Fastlane, the Druids walked slowly to the ring, pushing a coffin as Undertaker’s music played. But it was Wyatt who emerged from the coffin and called out the Undertaker for a WrestleMania match. Undertaker hasn’t accepted yet, but expect to see this match at WrestleMania.

An interesting twist occurred in Rusev’s Fastlane match against John Cena. A distraction by Lana allowed Rusev to deliver a low blow to Cena, who had seemed on the verge of breaking Rusev’s finishing maneuver. Rusev then re-applied the accolade on Cena, who passed out. It may be semantics, but the fact that Cena passed out rather than gave up should play into a WrestleMania rematch. Although not in the world title picture, Cena will be playing the role of the American hero in trying to recapture the United States Championship from Rusev. The loss at Fastlane also adds vulnerability to Cena’s character.

As is the case with Wyatt vs. Undertaker, the Cena vs. Rusev match has not been formally announced yet. In fact, Rusev, turned down Cena’s challenge, saying he wasn’t worthy of a rematch. Expect Cena to keep pushing for the rematch until it happens.

Another match was set up after the Big Show, Kane and Seth Rollins defeated Ryback, Erick Rowan and Ziggler. Rollins was delivering curb stomps to each member of the losing team. Before the third curb stomp, Randy Orton returned, delivering RKOs to Kane and J&J Security, but not getting his hands on Rollins. Orton and Rollins appeared to make peace on RAW, but dissension occurred at the end of their loss to Reigns and Bryan in the RAW main event. Expect to see Orton vs. Rollins at WrestleMania, with Jon Stewart somehow being involved.

We may see Goldust vs. Stardust at WrestleMania as well. Their match at Fastlane was OK, but the postmatch angle, with Stardust viciously attacking Goldust and then verbally lashing into their father, Dusty Rhodes, was tremendous. The momentum continued on RAW, with Goldust distracting Stardust in a quick loss to Jack Swagger, and Smackdown, with Stardust – dressed as one of the Rosebuds – attacking Goldust after his victory over Adam Rose.

The other announced match for WrestleMania 31 is the second annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The five participants thus far are The Miz, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Fandango and Rose. Ryback is the only potential winner out of this group, although Achilles Heel would enjoy seeing Axel re-establish himself by almost lasting to the end.

As of now, it appears the WrestleMania 31 card will look like this: Lesnar vs. Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship; Intercontinental Championship ladder match; Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. Championship; Triple H vs. Sting; Orton vs. Rollins; Wyatt vs. Undertaker; Goldust vs. Stardust (with Dusty involved?); and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Expect a Divas match – Nikki Bella defeated Paige to retain the Divas Championship at Fastlane – and tag team title match – Cesaro and Tyson Kidd beat Jimmy and Jey Uso to capture the tag team titles at Fastlane – to round out the card.

*****

RING OF HONOR ANNIVERSARY: Ring of Honor’s 13th Anniversary show is tonight (Sunday) in Las Vegas. The show is available on pay-per-view.

The main event features Jay Briscoe defending the Ring of Honor World Championship  against Michael Elgin and fresh contenders Tommaso Ciampa and Hanson. Jay Lethal defends the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against Alberto El Patron (formerly Alberto Del Rio). Lethal has held the television title for nearly 11 months.

Many people will be looking forward to the tag team title match between reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson). A heavily anticipated non-title match pits IWGP champion A.J. Styles against ACH.

Other matches include Moose vs. Mark Briscoe; Matt Sydal vs. Cedric Alexander; Roderick Strong vs. B.J. Whitmer; Maria Kanellis vs. O.D.B; and a triple-threat tag team match between The Bullet Club (IWGP tag team champions Doc Gallows and Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson), The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Michael Bennett).

An added element of intrigue is the return of Samoa Joe, the longest-reigning world champion in Ring of Honor history. Samoa Joe recently left TNA.

*****

RING RETURNS TO PHILLY: Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling will co-ohost “War of the Worlds ‘15” on March 13 at 2300 Arena. This event precedes the two-night “Global Wars ‘15” in Toronto. Tickets for War of the Worlds went on sale Friday.

*****

DREAMER’S HOUSE OF HARDCORE: Don’t forget that Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore VIII will be held at 2300 Arena on Saturday (March 7). The event, which will be available on Interet pay-per-view, is headlined by a pair of tag team dream matches. The Young Bucks will battle Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, and Team 3D (Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley) will take on Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian.

Other matches include Dreamer squaring off with Eric Young in a South Philly Street Fight and a three-way dance between Matt Hardy, Carlito and Lance Hoyt. Other scheduled to appear include Eddie Kingston, Mikey Whipwreck, Tony Nese and Rhino. Scheduled to appear at the pre-show meet-and-greet are Magnum TA, Mike Rotundo, Lanny Poffo, referee Earl Hebner and former WWE Divas Kelly Kelly and Melina.

The previous House of Hardcore at 2300 Arena featured plenty of surprises. Expect more surprises on Saturday.

*****

DONST HAS TUMOR: Tim Donst, best known in the Delaware Valley for his appearances with CHIKARA, had to pull out of Combat Zone Wrestling’s anniversary show due to a tumor discovered on his kidney. Achilles Heel wishes Donst the best as receives treatment for the tumor, and, of course, for a healthy and happy recovery.

*****

CHIKARA IN CAROLINA: CHIKARA will be in North Carolina next weekend for shows in Gibsonville and Norfolk. The Norfolk show is called “Altar Egos,” which, given that the event will be held at the Norfolk Masonic Temple, is representative of the sense of humor that is part and parcel of CHIKARA. (Warning from the Greek God of Wrestling: If you can’t spell, you may not get the joke.)

The main event Sunday in Norfolk has Icarus defending the Grand Championship against Nokken. The main event at “Out on a Limb” in Gibsonville features the Devastation Corporation defending the tag team titles against the Osirian Portal.

*****

MYSTERIO DONE WITH WWE: Rey Mysterio, who made a huge impact with WWE, is done with the company. Mysterio was an exciting performer and huge crowd favorite, but injuries slowed down the high-flyer in recent years. Expect to see Mysterio resurface with Mexico’s AAA.

*****

WWE NETWORK HAS HART: The free trial for the WWE Network is over. One of the final shows during the free February trial was a fantastic show featuring interviews with Bret Hart and some of his less-famous matches against some of his favorite opponents.

There was a Calgary Stampede match against Dynamite Kid (whom Hart puts over as the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be); a tag team match pitting the Hart Foundation against the Twin Towers (Big Bossman and Akeem – aka One Man Gang); a match against Undertaker from Madison Square Garden in 1992; a match with Owen Hart shortly before WrestleMania XI; a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin from a South African Tour prior to Hart’s official return that year at Survivor Series; and a semifinal match against Sting during WCW’s World Heavyweight Championship Tournament.

The chance to see these rarely seen matches between Hart and a lineup of terrific opponents is one of the treasures which makes WWE Network almost a must-have for wrestling fans.

 

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