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Eagles head coach who started his 1st season with 3 straight wins: Doug Pederson

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on an awful sports Monday, the NFC and AFC championship games and the impact of the Nationals signing Max Scherzer.

The Greek God of Wrestling previews WWE’s TLC event. In this information-filled edition of Heel Turns, Achilles Heel also praises an excellent NXT Takeover, previews CZW’s Cage of Death, tells us which superstar is coming to Ring of Honor, when CHIKARA and Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcare are returning to the 2300 Arena, and how WWE Network took his advice.

Losing is becoming dangerously close to being acceptable in our town. Eric Fisher blanches at the notion that losing can be a good thing.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: SummerSlam headlines weekend

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThis is a huge weekend of wrestling. WWE, Ring of Honor, NXT, EVOLVE, CHIKARA and probably your neighbor’s teenage kids down the street all have major events taking place this weekend.

The main event is SummerSlam, which takes place Sunday (7 p.m.) at the sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn. SummerSlam includes six championship matches and several featured feuds.

The main event for SummerSlam features Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, whose paths haven’t crossed since their first year in WWE. Let’s hope Orton’s shoulder has recovered enough to survive a trip to suplex city. The last thing Orton wants after returning from a nearly 9-month absence is to be sidelined for another extended period of time. Opponents have worked on Orton’s shoulder in several matches since his return, so expect the shoulder to be a focal point for Lesnar.

The buildup for this match has been exceptional. Paul Heyman built up Orton, but then said that Lesnar is on another level and will destroy him. Lesnar has been dismissive of Orton, saying the he – along with everyone else – is not in his league. Orton is selling the idea that he only needs to hit one RKO to beat Lesnar.

The Greek God of Wrestling thinks that Orton, while taking a beating, will get in more offense than may expect. He will eventually hit the “RKO out of nowhere” – but Lesnar will kick out. Unless there is an interference or distraction from Bray Wyatt, I think Orton will pull off the upset.

The other big match without a championship involved pits John Cena against A.J. Styles. Like the Lesnar-Orton match, there is intrigue because either wrestler could win. Cena could use a big win. On the other hand, a Styles victory could elevate him to the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Dean Ambrose will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler. A title change isn’t completely out of the question, but Achilles Heel expects Ambrose to retain the championship. As with the Lesnar-Orton match, interference by Wyatt, who has played a role in the Ambrose-Ziggler feud for several weeks, is a possibility.

In what should be an exceptional match, Seth Rollins battles Finn Balor for the WWE Universal Championship, which will be the top title on RAW. Balor’s “Demon King” persona was introduced to the wider WWE audience during this week’s RAW. The Greek God of Wrestling expects Rollins to win, although one could argue that having the title would mean more to Balor in terms of elevating him in the eyes of the fans.

The outcome of the Rollins-Balor match could be affected by the United States Championship match between Rusev and challenger Roman Reigns. If Rusev retains his title, it’s less likely that Rollins will win because then heels would hold RAW’s top two titles. The Greek God of Wrestling fears that Reigns will win. Rusev’s has been terrific as U.S. champion, and it would be a shame to see his momentum derailed.

Achilles heel expects Sasha Banks to retain the WWE Women’s Championship against Charlotte. On the other hand, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are likely to end The New Day’s tag team championship reign one year after they won the titles. New Day is not as good with Xavier Woods replacing the injured Big E. Expect The Miz to find a way to retain the Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews.

The tag team match between the newly formed team of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens and the team of Enzo Amore and Big Cass could go either way. Amore and Big Cass have a future as a team, so they should win – unless we’re going to get the start of Cass getting upset that Amore is costing them victories, feeding into Owens’ accusation that Amore is dead weight holding back Cass.

Cesaro and Sheamus kick off their best-of-seven series in what will definitely be a hard-hitting match. Carmella, Becky Lynch and Naomi should defeat Natalya, Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie, who has yet to have an actual match since joining Smackdown.

With the top five or six matches almost being “can’t miss” in terms of quality, SummerSlam should be an excellent event.

*****

NXT TAKEOVER: One night before SummerSlam, NXT takes over Barclays Center, if you’ll pardon the expression, with NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, which takes place Saturday (8 p.m.) and can be seen WWE Network. Samoa Joe defends the NXT Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event. Joe has a chip on his shoulder because he feels as if he had to jump through hoops to get a title shot while Nakamura has a title shot after only a few months in NXT. A victory by the charismatic Nakamura would pop the crowd, but the Greek God of Wrestling has a feeling that Joe will retain the title in what should be an extremely physical match.

Bayley, who defeated Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship in a match-of-the-year candidate in this event last year, tries to recapture that magic by regaining the women’s title from Asuka at this year’s event. Achilles Heel thinks she gets the job done.

Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa challenge The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) for NXT Tag Team Championship. The belts could change hands, but Achilles Heel thinks Dawson and Wilder will retain, with a tease of discontent between Gargano and Ciampa, building upon Gargano’s win over Ciampa in the Cruiserweight Classic.

Bobby Roode should be victorious in his NXT television in-ring debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas. Ember Moon, a female wrestler also making her NXT debut, will defeat Billy Kay. It’s less certain that Austin Aries will find a way to beat No Way Jose.

The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t know if this year’s show can match last year’s outstanding NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, but this still should be an entertaining event.

*****

HONOR IN VEGAS: The big wrestling weekend kicks off with Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV” pay-per-view on Friday from Las Vegas. The main event features Jay Lethal defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Adam Cole. Lethal, who has been champion for more than a year, had his head shaved by Cole earlier this summer. The winner will face the loser, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito in four corner survival match on Sun., Aug. 27 at “Field of Honor” at MCU Park in Brooklyn. A No. 1 contenders tag team gauntlet match, with the winner receiving a title shot the same night against whoever holds the tag team titles, will also take place in Brooklyn.

The Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship will up for grabs at Death Before Dishonor, with the Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) defending the titles in a triple threat match against the team of Michel Elgin and Tanahashi and the team of Naito and Evil. Mark Briscoe will challenge Bobby Fish for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship. There will also be a World Television title No. 1 contenders four-corner survival match involving Lio Rush, Jay White, Kamaitachi and Donovan Dijak.

Other matches at Death Before Dishonor include Dalton Castle vs. IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada in a non-title match, Jay Briscoe vs. Hangman Adam Page, and a six-man tag team match between Chaos (Rocky Romero, Beretta, Toru Yano) and Bullet Club (Yujiro, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa). There will be a television taping in Las Vegas the following day.

*****

RHODES ‘EVOLVES:’ Ring of Honor isn’t the only organization holding a big event on Friday. EVOLVE will host an event in Joppa, Md (8 p.m.), the same night as Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV.” One main event features Timothy Thatcher defending the EVOLVE championship against Matt Riddle in a no holds barred match. The co-main event, and perhaps the most anticipated match, pits Zack Sabre Jr. against Cody Rhodes, who will be making his first in-ring appearance since departing WWE.

Other matches include WWE Cruiserweight Classic spotlight matches between Drew Gulak and Tony Nese, and T.J. Perkins and Cedric Alexander. All four of those wrestlers won their first-round matches in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. Nese and Alexander turned in strong performances in losing efforts in the second round. Perkins and Gulak will appear in second-round matches Wednesday against Johnny Gargano and Sabre, respectively. The matches have already been taped, but, as you may know, the Greek God of Wrestling despises spoilers.

Rhodes will also be part of an EVOLVE event Saturday (3 p.m.) in Brooklyn, which is where NXT: Takeover takes place later than night and where SummerSlam will take place that Sunday. Rhodes, who will be available for pictures and autographs before the event, will face Chris Hero. Thatcher, if he’s still champion, will defend the EVOLVE Championship against Gulak. Sabre will meet Alexander in a WWE Cruiserweight Classic spotlight match. Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III, who are building a rivalry in TNA, will be on the same side in a six-man tag team match.

The fact that EVOLVE is billing these matches as WWE cruiserweight spotlight matches, which demonstrates its working relationship with WWE, makes Rhodes’ appearance at this event – in the same city as NXT and SummerSlam – even more intriguing.

*****

CHIKARA BACK IN PHILLY: For those who prefer to remain in the Delaware Valley this weekend, CHIKARA returns to Philadelphia for “No One’s First, and You’re Next” on Sunday (3 p.m.) at The Wrestle Factory. Grand champion Hallowicked leads Team Hallowicked against Team Fire Ant.

The two-out-of-three falls match for the Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team championship) Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Jr.) and N_R_G (Hype Rockwell and Race Jaxon) has been changed to a double-elimination title match that also includes the teams of the Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch) and Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven . The belts were held up after Los Ice Creams appeared to win the belts in Toronto in a match with a controversial finish.

Other matches include former Grand Champion Princess Kimberlee battling Heidi Lovelace, Eddie Kingston vs. Jakob Hammermeier, The Big Deal (led by the former Hornswoggle) vs. the United Nations in a six-man tag team match, Ophidian vs. Hermit Crab, and Oleg the Usurper vs. the wonderfully named Abonimous Rex, which plays off the genetically created Indominus Rex dinosaur from “Jurassic World.”

If you can’t get to the Wrestle Factory in person, CHIKARA has unveiled Chikaratopia, which is similar to WWE Network. A monthly subscription ($7.99) gives you access to CHIKARA’s video library and live events such as Sunday’s event in Philadelphia.

*****

CRUISERWEIGHTS DELIVER: The Cruiserweight Classic continues to present interesting matches. During Wednesday’s show on WWE Network, Akira Tozawa bested Jack Gallagher in a fascinating contrast of styles. Words can’t do justice Gallagher’s style. Achilles Heel will simply say you should check out the match to see why the fans loved Gallagher.

Briand Kendrick defeated Tony Nese in a terrific match to Tozawa in the quarterfinals. The story is that Kendrick, knowing this may be one of his final shots at glory, wants to win so badly that he will bend the rules to secure a victory. Nese was outstanding as well. Achilles Heel almost felt bad for Noam Gar, whose win over Hoho Lum didn’t measure up to the other two second-round matches on the show.

Kendrick will face Kota Ibushi, coming off his classic victory over Cedric Alexander in the best match of the tournament (so far), in the quarterfinals. Tozawa’s quarterfinal opponent will be Gran Metalik, who defeated Tajiri on last week’s show. Gar, the youngest competitor in the tournament, will be the underdog in the quarterfinal against the winner of next Wednesday’s match between Drew Gulak and Zack Sabre, Jr. Other second-round matches next Wednesday (8 p.m.) will pit Johnny Gargano against T.J. Perkins, and Lince Dorado against Rich Swann.

*****

BAD RELATIONSHIP DAY: Both Alberto Del Rio and Paige were suspended 30 days on Wednesday for a first violation of WWE’ wellness policy. Del Rio and Paige, who were separated by last month’s draft, are having on off-screen relationship.

Paige has been sidelined with an injury. On the other hand, Del Rio has had a pair of high-profile matches against Randy Orton and John Cena the past two weeks on Smackdown and appeared to be putting the failed League of Nations behind him. Del Rio’s match with Cena was particularly good, but now his momentum will be stalled by the suspension.

*****

PIECE OF THE ROCK: Has anyone else noticed that Roman Reigns’ vocal delivery sounds increasingly similar to his cousin, The Rock?

*****

BEARER OF BEARD NEWS: Roman Reigns, who returned from a 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s wellness policy with a full beard, returned to the more familiar goatee on RAW this week. Meanwhile, RAW general manager Mick Foley has died the gray portions of his beard black. Come on, Mick! Leave the gray.

 

Heel Turns: Wrestling is real

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelWrestling is real.

Yes, the outcomes in professional wrestling are predetermined. But, in many ways, wrestling is very real.

In the July 29 edition of Heel Turns, the Greek God of Wrestling emphasized the “realness” of professional wrestling by highlighting Bayley’s smile at the awesome crowd reaction when she was announced as the surprise partner for Sasha Banks at Battleground. Even cold-blooded veteran Randy Orton could suppress a smile when he walked down the aisle at Battleground for the first time since having shoulder surgery last fall.

Hopefully, Achilles Heel’s wisdom helped you to understand what happened during last Wednesday’s broadcast of the Cruiserweight Class match between Cedric Alexander and Kota Ibushi.

Even without my advice and wisdom, you should have recognized the second-round match between Alexander and Ibushi as an instant classic. This match definitely belongs in the the match-of-the-year conversation. Rather than attempt to recap this action-packed match, the Greek God of Wrestling strongly recommends you watch it on your own. (And if you’re not watching the excellent Cruiserweight Classic, what are you waiting for?)

The element I will highlight for you is how real this match was, particularly for Alexander. The emotion contained in this match was incredible. Alexander was trying to upset Ibushi, considered one of the tournament favorites. As the emotion continued to build, the crowd twice broke out into “This is awesome!” chants. There were dueling chants for Ibushi and Alexander throughout the match. Many fans were standing for the final few minutes of the match. Ibushi and Alexander literally brought the fans out of their seats.

What happened after the match was as memorable as the match. After Ibushi celebrated his hard-fought victory, the fans turned their attention to Alexander as he walked down the aisle toward the dressing room. The rousing ovation and “Thank you, Cedric!” chants caused Alexander to turn back toward the fans and wave in appreciation.

As Alexander turned to go through the curtain, the fans then started to chant “Please sign Cedric!” An emotional Alexander, with tears streaming down his face, turned back around and again thanked the crowd. The tears were very real.

Alexander left Ring of Honor to take part in the Cruiserweight Classic and pursue a WWE career. He lost 22 pounds in preparation for the Cruiserweight Classic. His hard work was rewarded by the appreciative fans’ reaction to his match with Ibushi.

Just as it appeared the memorable post-match moment had reached its zenith, Triple H emerged from the backstage area. He put his arm around Alexander’s shoulders, shook his hand and then gave a “thumbs-up” gesture to the fans, as if validating their pleas to sign Alexander. The fans erupted in cheers.

Wrestling doesn’t get any more real than that.

*****

WEDNESDAY CRUISE: The Greek God of Wrestling can’t promise anything that will equal the match between Cedric Alexander and Kota Ibushi, but there will be three second-round matches Wednesday (9 p.m.) during the Cruiserweight Classic on WWE Network. Akira Tozawa will face Jack Gallagher, Noam Gar will take on Hoho Lum, and Brian Kendrick will battle Tony Nese.

The Cruiserweight Classic has been consistently entertaining. Although overshadowed by the Alexander-Ibushi match, Gran Metalik and Tajiri had a terrific match to start last week’s show. Tajiri, 46, is the oldest competitor in the tournament. Gar, 22, is the youngest.

With NXT (8 p.m.) and the Cruiserweight Classic, WWE Network has a tremendous doubleheader on Wednesday nights.

*****

SUMMERSLAM UPDATE: As expected, a few more matches were added to SummerSlam during the past week. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson will challenge The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Big E is sidelined by a contusion to a particularly sensitive area after being pulled into the ring post by Gallows and Anderson. In another title match, Roman Reigns will challenge Rusev for the United States Championship.

In a match that includes three of the best talkers in WWE, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho will meet Enzo Amore and Big Cass. (And if you don’t know which three are among the best on the microphone, you need to pay closer attention.

SummerSlam, which begins at 7 p.m., is headlined by Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar. Dean Ambrose defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler, and Seth Rollins and Finn Balor battling for the newly created WWE Universal Championship, which will be the top title on RAW.

Other previously announced title matches include Sasha Banks defending the WWE Women’s Championship against former champion Charlotte, and The Miz defending the Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews. With no titles on the line, John Cena will face A.J. Styles.

A full preview for SummerSlam, which takes place on Sun., Aug. 21 in Brooklyn, will be featured in the next edition of Heel Turns.

*****

DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR: Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV” pay-per-view on Friday from Las Vegas will be headlined by Jay Lethal defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Adam Cole. Lethal, who has been champion for more than a year, had his head shaved by Cole earlier this summer. The winner will face the loser, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito in four corner survival match on Sun., Aug. 27 at “Field of Honor” at MCU Park in Brooklyn. A No. 1 contenders tag team gauntlet match, with the winner receiving a title shot the same night against whoever holds the tag team titles, will also take place in Brooklyn.

The Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship will up for grabs at Death Before Dishonor, with the Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) defending the titles in a triple threat match against the team of Michel Elgin and Tanahashi and the team of Naito and Evil. Mark Briscoe will challenge Bobby Fish for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship. There will also be a World Television title No. 1 contenders four-corner survival match involving Lio Rush, Jay White, Kamaitachi and Donovan Dijak.

Other matches at Death Before Dishonor include Dalton Castle vs. IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada in a non-title match, Jay Briscoe vs. Hangman Adam Page, and a six-man tag team match between Chaos (Rocky Romero, Beretta, Toru Yano) and Bullet Club (Yujiro, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa). There will be a television taping in Las Vegas the following day.

*****

NXT TAKEOVER: Several matches have been added to NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, which takes place at Barclays Center – and on WWE Network – on Saturday, the night before SummerSlam takes place in the same arena. Samoa Joe defends the NXT Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event. Bayley, who defeated Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship in a match-of-the-year candidate in this event last year, tries to recapture that magic by regaining the women’s title from Asuka at this year’s event.

New matches officially announced this past week include Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa challenging The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) for NXT Tag Team Championship, Bobby Roode making his NXT television in-ring debut against Andrade Almas, and Austin Aries facing No Way Jose. Ember Moon, a female wrestler new to NXT, will also appear.

*****

STRIKING GOLD: American swimmer Michael Phelps isn’t the only one collecting tons of gold these days. Bobby Lashley defeated James Storm on Impact Wrestling to add the King of the Mountain title to the TNA World Championship and X-Division Championship he already possessed. Lashley will face Ethan Carter III, who defeated Mike Bennett in the finals of the Bound for Glory playoffs to earn a title shot against Lashley at Bound for Glory, a pay-per-view which will take place on Oct. 2.

*****

SANDOW RESURFACES: Damien Sandow, released from WWE earlier this year, has resurfaces in TNA as Aron Rex. Sandow isn’t the type of star who will attract a lot of viewers to TNA, but he is good in the ring and on the microphone, making him a solid addition for TNA, which is lacking in quality depth.

*****

THE GREAT PUMPKIN: Billy Corgan, of Smashing Pumpkins fame, has been named president of IMPACT Ventures, the parent company of TNA. Corgan will be responsible for the day-to-day operations. Former president Dixie Carter has been named chairperson, and, according to a press release, will focus on long-term planning, strategic partnerships and global growth.

*****

McGREGOR’S MOUTH: Conor McGregor, who should be concentrating on his rematch with Nate Diaz on Saturday at UFC 202, instead spent part of last week taking shots at WWE wrestlers. He ripped John Cena and WWE wrestlers in general, using some colorful language that is not allowed here at PhillyPhanatics.com.

Perhaps McGregor is building toward an eventual WWE match or merely trying to get more attention for his fight with Diaz. If that’s not the case, he needs to forget about WWE and concentrate on Diaz, who handed him his first UFC defeat.

*****

CHIKARA BACK IN PHILLY: CHIKARA returns to Philadelphia for “No One’s First, and You’re Next” on Sunday, Aug. 21 (3 p.m.) at The Wrestle Factory. Grand champion Hallowicked leads Team Hallowicked against Team Fire Ant.

The two-out-of-three falls match for the Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team championship) Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Jr.) and N_R_G (Hype Rockwell and Race Jaxon) has been changed to a double-elimination title match that also includes the teams of the Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch) and Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven . The belts were held up after Los Ice Creams appeared to win the belts in Toronto in a match with a controversial finish.

Other matches include former Grand Champion Princess Kimberlee battling Heidi Lovelace, Eddie Kingston vs. Jakob Hammermeier, The Big Deal (led by the former Hornswoggle) vs. the United Nations in a six-man tag team match, Ophidian vs. Hermit Crab, and Oleg the Usurper vs. the wonderfully named Abonimous Rex, which plays off the genetically created Indominus Rex dinosaur from “Jurassic World.”

If you can’t get to the Wrestle Factory in person, CHIKARA has unveiled Chikaratopia, which is similar to WWE Network. A monthly subscription ($7.99) gives you access to CHIKARA’s video library and live events such as Sunday’s event in Philadelphia.

*****

EVOLVING SITUATION: EVOLVE will host on event in Joppa, Md., on Fri., Aug. 19 (8 p.m.), the same night as Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV.” The main event features Timothy Thatcher defending the EVOLVE championship against Matt Riddle in a no holds barred match.

Perhaps the most anticipated match pits Zack Sabre Jr. against Cody Rhodes, who will be making his first in-ring appearance since departing WWE. The Greek God of Wrestling has always been a big fan or Rhodes, an excellent technical wrestler who made the best of some bad gimmicks and storylines in WWE.

Other matches include WWE Cruiserweight Classic spotlight matches between Drew Gulak and Tony Nese, and T.J. Perkins and Cedric Alexander. All four of those wrestlers won their first-round matches in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. The fact that EVOLVE is billing these matches as WWE cruiserweight spotlight matches, which demonstrates its working relationship with WWE, makes Rhodes’ appearance at this event even more intriguing.

Rhodes will also be part of an EVOLVE event the following day (3 p.m.) in Brooklyn, which is also where SummerSlam will take place that Sunday. Rhodes will face Chris Hero and will be available for pictures and autographs. Thatcher, if he’s still champion, will defend the EVOLVE Championship against Gulak. Sabre will meet Alexander in a WWE Cruiserweight Classic spotlight match. Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III, who are building a rivalry in TNA, will be on the same side in a six-man tag team match.

*****

REMAINING RELEVANT: Bray Wyatt and Alberto Del Rio don’t have SummerSlam matches (although another Smackdown match could be added to balance out the five RAW matches). While that is not pleasing to the Greek God of Wrestling, what he is pleased about is that Wyatt and Del Rio were not buried on last week’s Smackdown.

Wyatt has been booked to look strong while involved in the buildup for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam. Del Rio has been on a losing streak, but his losses to Darren Young and Kalisto have been followed up by looking good in the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 contenders battle royal and a disqualification loss this past week to Randy Orton. Achilles Heel knows that a win over John Cena on Smackdown this week is unlikely, but, hopefully, Del Rio will look strong in the match. He’s too talented to be used as an enhancement talent.

*****

TALENT SPREAD THIN: One of the Greek God of Wrestling’s concerns about WWE’s brand split is there wouldn’t be enough talent for a strong women’s or tag team division on both brands. That weakness was evident on this past week’s Smackdown.

American Alpha, a terrific team consisting of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, won a squash match. During the match, the ring was surrounded by the Vaudevillains, the Ascension and the Hype Brothers (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley). Although the Usos were missing, it appears that Smackdown needs more talent to sustain a tag team division with its own champion.

The Smackdown women’s division has the same problem. There was an attempt to elevate new talent from NXT by having them beat established talent this past week. Alexa Bliss pinned Becky Lynch, with help from a distraction by Eva Marie, and Carmella surprisingly submitted Natalya.

*****

MISSING IN ACTION: If you were wondering why John Cena, A.J. Styles, Apollo Crews and the Usos weren’t on Smackdown last week, they are on the WWE Tour of Australia and New Zealand. The tour was planned before the brand split and Smackdown’s move to Tuesday nights, so, when the crew left for the long flight to those countries, these wrestlers had to miss Smackdown.

 

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