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Times Phillies have been shut out this season

As we celebrate Father’s Day, Gordon Glantz fondly remembers how his father transformed him into a true Philadelphia sports fan.

The Sixers are playing out the string, with no chance to move up in the standings and little chance to drop below the Bucks. Eric Fisher highlights some good news regarding the Sixers’ potential draft options, says the NBA Hall of Fame needs to raise its standards and tries to clear up the playoff picture.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on the Phillies-Comcast SportsNet partnership, the Sixers-Devils relationship and DeSean Jackson’s ill-timed contract comments.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: SummerSlam should sizzle

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Last year’s SummerSlam, headlined by John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, set a very high standard.

This Sunday’s SummerSlam has a chance to clear that bar.

It’s difficult to have three top matches better than Cena-Bryan, Brock Lesnar vs. C.M. Punk and World champion Alberto Del Rio successfully defending his title against Christian, which was the lineup at last year’s SummerSlam. (It’s interesting to note that two of those six wrestlers are gone from WWE and the other two are injured.) This year’s SummerSlam, however, has the potential to match the top three matches, all of which should be packed with intrigue and intensity, and has a more promising undercard.

The key match, of course, is the main event WWE World Heavyweight Championship battle between Cena and Lesnar. The buildup for this match has been tremendous. Lesnar is the unapologetic mercenary heel. Cena is the good guy fight for honor and the company. At no time was that clearer than Monday on RAW, with Lesnar interrupting Hulk Hogan’s 61st birthday celebration – “the party’s over, Grandpa” – and then Cena racing to the rescue before Lesnar caused any physical harm to Hogan, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper or the other legends in the ring.

It would seem strange to have Lesnar, who wrestles a part-time schedule, become WWE champion. On the other hand, a Lesnar win, coming on the heels of becoming the first man to defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania, could reinforce his reputation as a virtually indestructible force. That would enhance the status of whoever eventually defeats Lesnar, whether it be Cena, Roman Reigns or Bryan. I’m leaning toward a Lesnar victory.

If Lesnar defeats Cena and captures the title, it would change the situation of Seth Rollins. It’s doubtful Rollins would try to cash in his Money in the Bank opportunity against Lesnar. So he would hang on to that briefcase for a long time.

Rollins is facing former Shield teammate Dean Ambrose on Sunday in a lumberjack match. One possibility is for Rollins to lose to Ambrose and then, after Lesnar destroys Cena following a loss, come down to the ring and cash in his Money in the Bank opportunity and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Another possibility would be for Rollins to attempt to cash in, but have Ambrose thwart his plans once again. In the latter scenario, Rollins would win the lumberjack match.

Reigns, the third former Shield member, is facing Randy Orton. As with Cena-Lesnar and Rollins-Ambrose, this should be an extremely intense match. Orton is upset because Reigns cost him a chance at the title at SummerSlam. Reigns is upset because Orton beat the heck out of him on RAW a few weeks ago. As with the other two matches discussed thus far, either wrestler could win this match.

There are two Divas matches at SummerSlam. A.J. Lee defending the Divas Championship against Paige figures to be the better match from a technical standpoint, but that match won’t generate nearly as much heat as Stephanie McMahon against Brie Bella. McMahon tricking Bella into getting arrested this past Monday on RAW after a physical therapist said she had an affair with Bryan, who is married to Brie, was another fantastic plot turn to build intrigue for this match. To put it bluntly, fans want to see Brie kick the crap out of Stephanie.

It’s uncertain who will win the Divas matches. Brie should win in the end, but Achilles Heel could see Stephanie cheating to win. Perhaps Bryan comes to ringside, causing an unintentional distraction for Brie. The Divas title match could also go either way, although I expect A.J. to hang on to the title.

The other three matches aren’t filler. Bray Wyatt seeks revenge for last month’s pay-per-view loss to Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler tries to wrest the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz, and Jack Swagger battles Rusev in a flag match (WWE has not yet clarified the rules of the flag match). The Greek god of wrestling predicts wins for Wyatt, Miz (unless Ziggler wins by disqualification) and Rusev. On second thought, Rusev’s victory will be overturned after he refuses to release his submission hold, causing Sheamus to charge to the ring, setting up a feud for the United States Heavyweight Championship.

With a packed card from top to bottom, SummerSlam should be sizzling.

*****

FROM BAD TO WORSE: In last week’s Heel Turns, I wrote about how WWE wasn’t fully utilizing Alberto Del Rio’s potential. Well, Del Rio’s situation went from bad to worse last week. He was fired.

Details have been slow to come out, but the element that seems consistent is that Del Rio slapped a Social Media manager. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, the finest wrestling journalist on the planet (Achilles Heel, of course, is the best wrestling columnist), reports that, based on what he’s heard, Del Rio was upset when the manager joked in catering that cleaning off plates was Del Rio’s job. He didn’t apologize when Del Rio confronted him, so Del Rio slapped him.

Del Rio was wrong for slapping him, but Achilles Heel says firing him was too harsh a punishment. Some consideration has to be given to the circumstances. If the details above are correct, this man made an ethnic slur about Del Rio and refused to apologize. A suspension – for both parties – would have been proper.

*****

TNA ON THE MOVE: TNA announced Thursday that Impact Wrestling will move to Wednesday, beginning with next week’s show.

There are several ways to spin this news. One spin is clearly negative. Despite TNA’s boasts about its ratings improving this summer, Spike TV is switching Impact’s night because it isn’t going to renew TNA’s contract and no longer cares about keeping it in a position in which its ratings have improved. A more positive spin is that Spike TV is making the move because it plans to renew TNA and thinks Wednesday, with no NFL competition, is a better night for Impact’s future. With rumors of Smackdown possibly moving to Thursday, this also could be a pre-emptive move so it doesn’t appear as if TNA is running away from competition with Smackdown.

*****

FUTURE UP IN AIR: A negative sign for TNA’s future is that, other than Bound for Glory in Tokyo on Oct. 12 and a January tour of the United Kingdom, TNA does not have any live events scheduled beyond Sept. 7. This evidence supports the theory that TNA is going to go out of business or seriously reduces its expenses once its contract with Spike TV runs out this fall.

*****

HONOR IN PHILLY: Michael Elgin successfully defended the Ring of Honor World Championship against Cedric Alexander during last Saturday’s television taping in Philadelphia. Achilles Heel despises spoilers, so, instead of giving away the other results, let’s just saw you should enjoy the Silas Young-Brian Kendrick match and the tag team match between the Young Bucks and Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian – assuming that tag team match is shown on television.

*****

STEEN TO WWE: Former Ring of Honor champion Kevin Steen is the latest semi-big name to sign with WWE. Steen, a brawler with the versatility to wrestle different style matches, joins Kenta and Prince Devitt as top talents recently signed by WWE.

Steen, Kenta and Devitt are all starting out in NXT, which already includes Sami Zayn. It seems as if WWE aims for NXT to be more than a developmental territory. The goal appears to make NXT an important entity in its own right. The fact that it will make fans familiar with wrestlers before they move up to the main roster is an added bonus.

*****

GALLOWAY EVOLVES: Drew Galloway, known as Drew McIntyre in WWE, won the EVOLVE championship last Friday by defeating Chris Hero in Ybor City, Fla. The Greek god of wrestling is pleased to see the talented Galloway making a mark right away in the independent scene.

*****

CZW HEATS UP: Biff Busick’s challenger for the Combat Zone Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship at “Heat” on Aug. 23 will be the Joker. Heat will take place at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.

Joe Gacy was scheduled to defend the CZW Wired Championship the same night, but he lost to Shane Strickland on Wednesday during Dojo Wars. Former CZW world champion Drew Gulak will face Azrieal.

*****

WWE COMES TO TRENTON: Last week Achilles Heel told you about Smackdown coming to Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 7. If you want a WWE doubleheader of sorts WWE will be coming to Trenton three days earlier, on Sat., Oct. 4. Tickets should go on sale to the public on Saturday.

 

Heel Turns: Honor comes to Philly

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 7 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Ring of Honor is bringing the heat to Philadelphia. More specifically, Ring of Honor is bring its Summer Heat Tour to the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory this Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

The Philly card doesn’t look as loaded as the last Ring of Honor event in Philly, the Field of Honor card in Brooklyn on Aug. 15 or the Death Before Dishonor event in Chicago the following weekend. Former Ring of Honor world champion Adam Cole, current IGWP champion A.J. Styles and Ring of Honor tag team champs Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are among those who won’t be in Philly. (Achilles Heel is a fan of Ring of Honor, but he calls them as he sees them.) But Ring of Honor always presents an action-packed event, so I still recommend going out to see them.

The main event features world champion Michael Elgin defending his title against Cedric Alexander, who won a recent gauntlet match to earn the title shot. A title change Saturday would be a huge surprise, but it’s a good opportunity for Alexander to shine in the spotlight.

Perhaps the most anticipated match Saturday is the tag team clash between the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. This is the first time this matchup will take place in Ring of Honor. Another tag team match pits the Biscoe Brothers, Jay and Mark, against War Machine (Raymond Rowe and Hanson).

Jay Lethal defends his Ring of Honor Television Championship against ACH. Brian Kendrick returns to Ring of Honor to face Silas Young, who will receive a world championship title shot on Aug. 22 in his hometown of Milwaukee. Tommaso Ciampa squares off against Rocky Romero. Quinn “Moose” Ojinnaka  battles R.D. Evans.

With Cedric Alexander in the main event, Caprice Coleman gets a new partner, New Japan’s Takaaki Watanabe, in order to combat The Decade’s B.J. Whitmer. Matt Taven takes on Ring of Honor head of security J. Diesel, Prince Nana makes his on-air return to Ring of Honor and Sumie Sakai battles Veda Scott in a women’s match (7:15 p.m.) before the main show begins.

Although all the stars aren’t coming to Philly, there are some excellent matchups, including the Young Bucks against Kazarian and Daniels, Young vs. Kendrick and Lethal vs. ACH. It will be interesting to see how Elgin carries himself as champion and how Alexander performs in a main event.

Having a good, old raucous Philly crowd won’t hurt, either.

*****

SMACKDOWN IN PHILLY: Smackdown will be returning to Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 7. The presale started today. (No, the Greek god of wrestling isn’t going to give you the preshow code.) Tickets for the general public go on sale Saturday morning. By the way, there are rumors that Smackdown might be moving to Thursday nights.

*****

TNA LOVES NEW YORK: TNA wraps up three nights of television tapings at New York’s Manhattan Center on Thursday. The highlight appears to be three matches between Team 3-D (Bully Ray and Devon), the Hardys (Matt and Jeff) and TNA tag team champions Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.

As a nod to the hardcore New York audience, which definitely adds energy that is missing when the television tapings are held in an Orlando studio, there is definitely an ECW flavor at the TNA tapings. Rhino, Tommy Dreamer, Homicide and Tajiri all were in action during the television tapings.

*****

SLAM DUNK: The card for SummerSlam, which will take place on Aug. 17, seems to be complete. John Cena defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. There also will be a pair of heated matches involving former members of the Shield, with Roman Reigns battling Randy Orton and Seth Rollins facing Dean Ambrose. After winning a Beat the Clock challenge on RAW, Ambrose will choose the stipulation for this match between former Shield comrades.

Stephanie McMahon returns to the ring for the first time in a decade to face Brie Bella. Unfortunately, that match might overshadow the Divas Championship match between A.J. Lee and Paige. Although I’m sure they appreciate the exposure of performing at SummerSlam, A.J. and Paige would be better off having their match be another time, when they can have the Divas spotlight to themselves.

In addition to Paige vs. A.J., there are two more rematches from Battleground: Chris Jericho faces Bray Wyatt, and Rusev and Jack Swagger have a Flag Match showdown. The Intercontinental Championship will be on the line when The Miz defends against Dolph Ziggler.

Check out the next Heel Turns for a full preview.

*****

FALLEN STARS: What happened to Cesaro’s push? He seemed destined for the top, but his momentum has stalled this summer. He tapped out to former Real Americans Jack Swagger last week – who would have predicted that four months ago? – and lost quickly to Dolph Ziggler. At least his previous loss, a hard-fought battle against John Cena, was more respectable.

Cesaro is like a NASCAR driving running fast, but gets in the wrong line on the track.  By the time he regains his equilibrium, a bunch of cars have passed him. (How about the use of NASCAR analogy by the Greek god of wrestling? That’s more evidence that I’m the most versatile – and the best – wrestling columnist on the Internet.)

Another tremendous wrestler who isn’t receiving much love these days is Alberto Del Rio. His matches are usually terrific, but he’s come out on the short end of the stick in recent weeks against Dean Ambrose and Sheamus. He also has been appearing on Superstars and Main Event fairly regularly. It’s hard to believe just one year ago Del Rio was defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Christian.

*****

RETURN TO COMBAT: Combat Zone Wrestling returns to Flyers Skate Zone on Sat., Aug. 23. Among the matches announced are Drew Gulak against Azrieal, Joe Gacy defending the CZW Wired Championship against Lucky 13, and Danny Havoc and Devon Moore against Milk Chocolate (Randy Summers and Brandon Watts). Biff Busick will defend the CZW World Championship as well.

 

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