Penalty shots for Flyers in season opener, most in 1 game in franchise history

The Greek god of wrestling discusses the business side of wrestling, from Spike TV’s decision not to renew TNA’s contract to the number of subscribers to the WWE Network. Achilles Heel also tells you the lineup for Ring of Honor’s Aug. 9 visit to Philly, praises the Stephanie McMahon-Brie Bella and Randy Orton-Roman Reigns confrontations on RAW, and even offers advice to World Team Tennis.

Nick Foles threw two interceptions and the first-team offense sputtered during a 34-28 loss to the Bears in the Eagles’ preseason opener. But backup QB Mark Sanchez looked good and rookie Josh Huff returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown.

A repeat of last season’s success, winning 10 games and an NFC East title, won’t be considered progress this season. The Eagles must win a playoff game to have a successful year.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Heel Turns: SummerSlam sizzles

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 29 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThe Greek God of Wrestling never realized a few days in Brooklyn could be so much fun. Brooklyn was definitely the center of the wrestling universe last weekend. NXT and Ring of Honor presented shows on Saturday. SummerSlam took over Barclays Center on Sunday, followed by RAW the next night.

It was an amazing stretch for WWE, which sold out Barclays Center for three straight nights (including the NXT show). The shows were worthy of the attention. There were excellent matches and plenty of surprises.

The main attraction was SummerSlam. And the main attraction at SummerSlam was Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker.

With a red-hot crowd, this match was terrific, although Achilles Heel worries about the Undertaker competing in such an intensely physical match at his age.

In the final moments of the match, Lesnar applied a Kimura lock for the second time, referee Charles Robinson positioned himself to see if Lesnar’s shoulders were on the mat as he applied the hold. With Robinson on the other side, Undertaker tapped out – the first time the Greek God of Wrestling can remember Undertaker submitting. The bell rang, but Robinson told the timekeeper, who apparently saw Undertaker tap out, that he didn’t call for the bell and that the match would continue. While Robinson was admonishing the timekeeper, Undertaker hit Lesnar with a low blow and then applied Hell’s Gate, which caused Lesnar to pass out.

Some people felt the ending was a letdown, but the controversial ending made sense. It reinforced the lengths Undertaker would go to – this was his third low blow on Lesnar in six weeks – to get revenge for Lesnar ruining his perfect WrestleMania record. The ending also further bolstered Lesnar’s reputation, making him the man who made the Undertaker give up.

All of this dovetails nicely into a third match in this series. As The Greek God of Wrestling told you last week, this match will likely take place at WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium. It could be Undertaker’s retirement match.

The other major occurrence at SummerSlam was Seth Rollins defeating John Cena, adding the United States Championship to his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That match also had a controversial ending.

Before getting to the ending, I must say this was a tremendous match. Rollins was outstanding. And all Cena has done this year is produce exceptional match after exceptional match with a variety of opponents.

The conclusion of this match involved the referee getting knocked down by Rollins feet as Cena lifted him up for the Attitude Adjustment. Celebrity host Jon Stewart ran down to the ring with a chair. Stewart tipped his hand by showing initial uncertainty, but it was still surprising when he drove the chair into Cena’s mid-section and then left the chair for Rollins to use as he applied the match-winning pedigree.

In other SummerSlam news, The New Day regained the tag team championship from The Prime Time Players in an entertaining fatal four-way match that also included Los Matadores and The Lucha Dragons. In the third title match, Ryback retained the Intercontinental Championship in a triple threat match with The Miz and Big Show.

There truly weren’t any bad matches at SummerSlam. They weren’t all great, like the Cena vs. Rollins match, but nothing stood out as bad.

Randy Orton and Sheamus drew a “This is awesome!” chant approximately 10 minutes into the SummerSlam opener, which was won by Sheamus. Kevin Owens and Cesaro should have drawn a “This is awesome!” chant during their terrific match, but they had the unenviable task of wrestling just before Undertaker and Lesnar.

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns defeated Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper in a good match. In other matches, Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch won a three-way elimination match against Team B.A.D. and Team Bella; Rusev and Dolph Ziggler fought to a double countout, with Lana and Summer Rae brawling after the bell; and Neville and actor Stephen Amell, who plays the Green Arrow in “Arrow,” beat Stardust and King Barrett. Amell turned in one of the best performances in history by a celebrity wrestler.

SummerSlam, which was expanded to four hours, was solid from start to finish, with the obvious high points being the Rollins-Cena and Undertaker-Lesnar matches.


EARNING HIS KEEP: When WWE signed Brock Lesnar to a limited-dates contract, there were people who complained that he was making too much money for someone not wrestling a full-time schedule. Is there anyone out there who still believes Lesnar isn’t worth whatever WWE is paying him as a special attraction?


RAW SURPRISES: WWE followed up SummerSlam with two big surprises on RAW. First, The Dudley Boys made their return, immediately inserting themselves into the tag team title picture. And then, in a shocking ending to the show, Sting returned, ruining the unveiling of a Seth Rollins statue by taking the statue’s place behind the curtain.

Wrestling fans have become so jaded and privy to what used to be inside information that it’s difficult to truly surprise them. Kudos to WWE for shocking fans not once, but twice during RAW.


CELEBRITIES CRUISE: Stephen Amell wasn’t the only celebrity who made an impact during SummerSlam weekend. Jon Stewart, the host for SummerSlam, engaged Mick Foley in an in-ring interview that put over Brock Lesnar as scary and dangerous and took part in some mildly amusing backstage skits with his son. But Stewart’s biggest impact was hitting John Cena with a chair during his match with Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight and United States championships.

Stewart was also terrific on RAW, explaining that he hit Cena with the chair because he didn’t want to see him tie Ric Flair’s record of 16 world championships. Stewart then absorbed a well-delivered Attitude Adjustment from Cena.


KING OF TRIOS MATCHUPS: The first-round pairings for CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament, which is the organization’s 3-day WrestleMania, have been released. The tournament, which takes place at The Palmer Center in Easton, begins with the first round on Friday. The quarterfinals and other matches will take place on Saturday, followed by the semifinals and finals on Sunday.

The following are the first-round matchups: The bWo (Big Stevie Cool, The Blue Guy and Hollywood Nova), one of Achilles Heel’s favorite teams from ECW, faces a daunting first-round challenge from The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive, Max Smashmaster, Flex Rumblecrunch); United Nations (Juan Francisco de Coronado, Mr. Azerbaijan and The Proletariat Boar of Moldova) vs. Team ATTACK (Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, Morgan Webster); The Arcane Horde (Kodama, Obariyon, Oleg the Usurper) vs. Crown & Court (El Hijo del Ice Cream, Ice Cream Jr., Princess KimberLee); Team Fight Club: Pro (Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Daniel Moloney) vs. Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Jakob Hammermeier, Nokken, Soldier Ant); Dasher’s Dugout (Dasher Hatfield, Icarus, “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti) vs. Battleborn (Kevin Condron, Lucas Calhoun, Missile Assault Ant); The Bullet Club (A.J. Styles, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson) vs. Battle Hive (Amasis, Fire Ant, Worker Ant); The Snake Pit vs. The Nightmare Warriors (Frightmare, Hallowicked, Silver Ant); and The Gentleman’s Club (Drew Gulak, Chuck Taylor, Swamp Monster) vs. Team AAA (Aero Star, Drago, Fenix).

The most anticipated first-round bouts are probably The Bullet Club vs. Battle Hive and The Gentleman’s Club vs. Team AAA.


RING OF HONOR IN PHILLY: If you’re looking for Ring of Honor results from the sold-out event at 2300 Arena, you won’t find them here. That show was taped for television, and the Greek God of Wrestling hates spoilers. I will tell you, though, that there were some terrific matches. I was at the NXT event at Barclays Center last Saturday, so I did not see any of the matches from Field of Honor ‘15.


RING OF HONOR IN JAPAN: Ring of Honor announced that it will expand its relations with New Japan Pro Wrestling, holding two cards in Japan next February and taking the inter-promotional shows that started in Philadelphia and Toronto last spring to additional cities next year.


NXT GOES TO ENGLAND: The demand for NXT is growing. NXT will be touring the United Kingdom in December, culminating in a live show from London on WWE Network on Dec. 16.


NEW CHAMPS: Two titles changed hands at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Bayley defeated Sasha Banks to the NXT Women’s Championship. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English, Simon Gotch) defeated Blake and Murphy for the NXT Tag Team Championship.

Finn Balor retained the NXT Championship in a ladder match with former champion Kevin Owens, who, somehow, was able to recover in time to defeat Cesaro in a physical 15-minute match the following night at SummerSlam. In other bouts at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, Samoa Joe defeated Baron Corbin, Jushin “Thunder” Liger beat Tyler Breeze, Apollo Crews, making his NXT in-ring debut, beat Tye Dillinger,


AS YOU WISH: Congratulations to John Cena for granting a 500th wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children living with life-threatening diseases. Cena is the first celebrity to grant 500 wishes.


AS YOU WISH II: Eric Fisher reports that actor Cary Elwes, promoting “As You Wish,” his book about the filming of The Princess Bride, opened his interview last Saturday at the Keswick Theatre with a funny story about Andre the Giant unleashing a long and powerful fart during filming. The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t necessarily trust Fisher, but nobody who has spent time with Andre, who was wonderful as the giant Fezzik in the movie, would doubt the veracity of that story.

Heel Turns: WWE strikes SummerSlam gold

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelSummerSlam is a big deal. It’s a major event.

If you don’t believe me – and you should always believe the Greek God of Wrestling – Jon Stewart is going to be the special guest host for SummerSlam. Even more impressive is that ESPN is going to broadcast SportsCenter from Barclays Center, the site of SummerSlam, on Sunday (10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.). As far as Achilles Heel can tell, ESPN broadcasting its flagship live from the site of a professional wrestling event is unprecedented.

As Roman Reigns would say, “Believe that!”

It’s clear that WWE struck gold with the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar main event. Lesnar, the former NCAA wrestling and UFC heavyweight champion, has crossover appeal that extends beyond WWE’s core audience. As for wrestling fans, Undertaker vs. Lesnar is the rematch they’ve been waiting for since Lesnar ended Undertaker’s perfect WrestleMania record (21-0) at WrestleMania XXX.

Lesnar vs. Undertaker has struck a chord. The colossal matchup has connected with the audience.

Will Undertaker get his revenge by beating Lesnar? Will Lesnar continue to dominate WWE? Will Lesnar cause Undertaker to retire? The themes are firmly in place.

The match is intriguing even though there aren’t any championships on the line. This match is about pride. It’s about revenge. It’s about dominance.

An added element of intrigue is the crowd reaction in Brooklyn. At Monday’s RAW in Minnesota, where Lesnar was a collegiate wrestling star and later – much later – tried out for the Vikings, Lesnar was the babyface and Undertaker drew boos as the heel. As if to emphasize their roles, the Undertaker started their show-ending physical confrontation with a kick below the belt, just as he did when he interrupted Lesnar’s match with WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins at Battleground, costing Lesnar the title.

It will be interesting to see how the crowd reacts in Brooklyn on Sunday. The Greek God of Wrestling thinks the crowd will be split, but it will be interesting to see if Undertaker wrestles as a heel. (The tone of the match, and the heel/babyface dynamic, could be set with Undertaker going for yet another low blow right away, only to have Lesnar block it this time.)

The uncertainty of the outcome also adds to the intrigue. If Undertaker wins, will there be a third and final match at WrestleMania 32 in Arlington, Texas? Achilles Heel believes Lesnar vs. Undertaker will headline WrestleMania 32, regardless of who wins Sunday. It could be Undertaker’s final match, which will fill the huge AT&T Stadium.

For all of the reasons stated above, WWE has struck SummerSlam gold with Undertaker vs. Lesnar.


SUMMERSLAM PREVIEW: Undertaker vs. Lesnar is the main selling point of SummerSlam, but Sunday is far from a one-match card. There are 10 matches, all of which have good stories and backgrounds, and most of which don’t have an obvious winner. With 10 matches, it’s a good thing WWE expanded the show to four hours. SummerSlam (7 p.m.) has the potential to be an outstanding event.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (title vs. title): Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship and Cena’s United States Championship are both on the line Sunday. Cena’s disdain for Rollins’ disrespectful, self-absorbed attitude is palpable. Rollins’ insecurity is obvious as he spews bravado left and right, requesting that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have a statue of him built in WWE headquarters if he defeats Cena at SummerSlam and leaves with both titles. Cena is shooting for a 16th world title, which would tie him with Ric Flair for the most world title reigns in history. Rollins’ accidental breaking of Cena’s nose in July intensifies this rivalry. There are several paths WWE could go with this match, including having Sheamus try to cash in his Money in the Bank opportunity. Achilles Heel thinks Cena will win by disqualification, allowing both men to keep their respective titles. With Lesnar vs. Undertaker as the main event, WWE can afford an inconclusive ending in this match.

Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose: This match should feature a ton of hard-hitting action. The Greek God of Wrestling told you a while ago that Reigns would turn on Ambrose. I’m not sure if it’s going to happen here or at Survivor Series, but the constant references to how Ambrose and Reigns are like family reinforces the notion that one of them will eventually turn on the other. The cracks in the relationship could begin with a Wyatt Family victory.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: This feud continues with what should be another extremely physical match. Orton’s feud with Rollins, who held the Money in the Bank briefcase, prepared him for his WWE Heavyweight Championship run. WWE may be using Orton in the same role with Sheamus, although it’s not clear if Sheamus will cash in at SummerSlam. He could follow Rollins’ path at WrestleMania 31 – lose to Orton and then win the championship – or he could beat Orton and then have Orton thwart him as he tries to cash in his Money in the Bank opportunity.

Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro: Owens burst on the WWE scene this year with a series of matches against John Cena. Cesaro, after years of solid in-ring work, finally has connected with the crowd. This match could go either way, but Achilles Heel sees a Cesaro victory followed by a beatdown by Owens.

Ryback vs. Miz vs. Big Show (Intercontinental Championship): This match was supposed to take place at Battleground in July, but Ryback was sidelined by a Staph infection. Although it’s conceivable that Miz sneaks out a win after Big Show and Ryback destroy each other, it’s much more likely that Ryback retains his title.

Prime Time Players vs. The New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. The Lucha Dragons (Tag Team Championship): This fatal four-way could end with the Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil, Darren Young) retaining their titles, or The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E) could regain their titles. The Lucha Dragons are long shots to pull off the upset. Achilles Heel is leaning toward the Prime Time Players retaining their titles, but SummerSlam needs a title change. If Cena isn’t going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, this match is where the title change occurs.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev: Rusev put Ziggler on the shelf with a vicious attack. Since Ziggler has been sidelined, Rusev has tried to humiliate his former girlfriend, Lana, through insults and by parading around Summer Rae, who dresses exactly like Lana. Ziggler returned on RAW, delivering a superkick to Rusev – after Lana hit Summer Rae with a roundhouse kick – to set up Sunday’s match. Expect interference from the women, allowing Ziggler to make a triumphant return.

Team Bella vs. Team B.A.D. vs. PCB (elimination match): The Bellas might not even be around for the finish of this match. They could be the first ones eliminated. The Greek God of Wrestling expects PCB (Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) to prevail.

Neville/Stephen Amell vs. Stardust/King Barrett: This match has been promoted using comic book themes (heroes and villains) and comic book graphics. Amell, the star of “Arrow,” injured himself lifting weights while training for this match, so expect Neville to carry most of the action – maybe even more than he would have otherwise done. In comic books, the hero almost always wins, so Achilles Heel will take the heroes in this match.


NXT TAKES OVER BROOKLYN: One night before SummerSlam, NXT takes over Barclays Center with NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. The event (9 p.m.) features Finn Balor defending the NXT Championship against former champion Kevin Owens in a ladder match. Balor defeated Owens for the title in Tokyo on July 4.

Sasha Banks defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Bayley. With Sasha on WWE’s full-time roster, expect a title change. There may also be a title change when The Vaudevillains challenge Blake and Murphy for the NXT Tag Team Championship.

The non-title matches also should attract a lot of attention. Japanese legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger squares off with Tyler Breeze. Samoa Joe battles Baron Corbin, who will shock everyone if he wins in less than a minute, as he tends to do against overmatched opponents. Apollo Crews, known on the independent circuit as Uhaa Nation, will make his in-ring NXT debut.


BROOKLYN BATTLE: On the same night that NXT is at Barclays Center, Ring of Honor will be at MCU Park in Brooklyn for Field of Honor ‘15 (7:30 p.m.). Ring of Honor World and TV champion Jay Lethal teams with Shinsuke Nakamura to take on reDRagon (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly). International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada battles Roderick Strong, and Adam Cole squares off with Christopher Daniels. In another singles match, IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Gota faces Michael Elgin.

There will be a lot of tag team action at Field of Honor. Mark and Jay Briscoe battle Alex Shelley and Kushida; Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer) take on War Machine (Hanson, Raymond Rowe); and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) team up with Matt Sydal and ACH to face The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Michael Bennett) and RPG Vice (Trent Baretta, Rocky Romero). There will also be a six-man Gauntlet match to determine who will get a shot at the World TV Championship on Sept. 19 in San Antonio.


HONOR IN PHILLY: An argument could be made that the sold-out show at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia this Friday (7:30 p.m.) is an even better card than Field of Honor. Jay Lethal defends the Ring of Honor World Championship against Roderick Strong after their previous match ended in a 60-minute draw. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels, Frank Kazarian) defend the tag team titles against The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson).

In a non-title match, IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion Kushida faces Matt Sydal. Adam Cole battles Shinsuke Nakamura. There will be a six-man tag team match, with Kazuchika Okada teaming with Rocky Romero and Beretta to take on Mark and Jay Briscoe and Hirooki Goto. In other tag team matches, The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Michael Bennett) battle War Machine (Hanson, Raymond Rowe), and reDRagon (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) take on J. Diesel and Donovan Dijak. Other matches include ACH vs. Caprice Coleman, Dalton Castle vs. Cedric Alexander, Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young, and a four corner match featuring Adam Page, Will Ferrara, Moose and Takaaki Watanabe.


RING OF HONOR RETURNS: With a year of advance sellouts, Ring of Honor will return to 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia on Dec. 18 for Final Battle 2015, which is an Internet pay-per-view, and for a television taping the following day. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday (10 a.m.).


STADIUM WARS: Saturday’s NXT and Ring of Honor events in Brooklyn won’t be the only head-to-head wrestling matchups this month. Global Force Wrestling will present a card at Metro Bank Park, the home of the Harrisburg Senators, on Aug. 28, which is the same night that CHIKARA will present matches at First Energy Stadium in Reading following the Fightin’ Phils’ game.


HARPER vs. REIGNS: In the buildup to SummerSlam, Luke Harper has wrestled a series of terrific matches against Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Harper has an unorthodox style, but his matches make sense and he displays surprising athleticism for a man his size. Harper should be wearing some gold, either tag team or individual, in the not-too-distant future.



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