89

Points for Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge in wins over Rockets in Games 1 and 2

The Eagles want to avoid their home losing streak matching Spinal Tap’s amplifiers by going to 11. A win over the visiting Redskins on Sunday (1 p.m.) would give the Eagles sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

The elite teams in the NFL can be found in the NFC West and AFC West. Which teams have exceeded expectations and which ones have been disappointments? What will happen the rest of the season? Eric Fisher tries to sort it all out.

Gordon Glantz is concerned that the Matt Rhule era at Temple might begin with his beloved Owls suffering a crushing loss to Notre Dame.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

WrestleMania’s top 30

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

For this week’s Top 10 List, we’ve updated our list of the top WrestleMania matches of all-time. Because Sunday marks the 30th WrestleMania, this list includes the top 30 WrestleMania matches of all-time.

By the way, WWE has also compiled a list of the top 30 matches in WrestleMania history. You can find their list here and compare it to our list.

For the third straight year, we have three contenders from the previous WrestleMania to add to this list. The obvious choice from WrestleMania XXIX is the match between Undertaker and C.M. Punk, with Undertaker extending his WrestleMania winning streak to 21. The only question is how high on the list this match should go.

The main event of WrestleMania XXIX was The Rock against John Cena. This match was better than their match at WrestleMania XXVIII, but I thought there were too many false finishes. The Rock receives a huge thumbs-up for finishing this match despite suffering an abdominal injury that would require surgery, but that still doesn’t elevate it into my top 30. The other match from WrestleMania XXIX that could make this list was Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar. Fans seemed split on this physically brutal match. I thought it was very good, but not good enough to make the top 30 list.

Please keep in mind that this list is subjective. It could change from month to month, week to week or even day to day. There were a few minor changes since last year. Next year the Rock-Cena and Triple H-Lesnar matches might make our top 30 list.

With a blockbuster show lined up for Sunday in New Orleans, this list could change again within days. With Undertaker vs. Lesnar, Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan and a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match involving Randy Orton, Batista and the winner of the Bryan-Triple H match, WWE has to hope that there will be at least a couple new additions to this list next year.

In one man’s opinion, these are the top 30 WrestleMania matches of all-time:


(WrestleMania number and site in italics)

30. Chris Jericho vs. Christian (XXN.Y.) An undercard match that mixes terrific technical wrestling with wonderful story-telling

29. Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (Mike Tyson is referee) (XIV, Boston) The build-up for this WWE Championship match, with tension between Austin and Tyson (and Vince McMahon), was fantastic. Michaels, who has been accused of using injuries as excuses to avoid losing titles in the ring, deserves credit for fighting through back problems that would sideline him for the next four years to put on this tremendous match.

28. Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart (VIII, Indianapolis) A wonderful Intercontinental Championship match between friends, with Piper (now a good guy) fighting his bad-guy demons as well as fighting Hart

27. Hulk Hogan/Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff (I, N.Y.) The match that launched the WrestleMania rocket ship. Without the success of this match, WrestleMania may have been a one-year venture.

26. Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (VIILos Angeles) A terrific “retirement” match with an emotional post-match surprise

25. Edge vs. Mick Foley (XXII, Chicago) Edge helps Foley attain his “WrestleMania moment” (below) with this fantastic hardcore match

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24. Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (VIII, Indianapolis) The build-up to this WWF Championship match, with Flair implying he had a prior relationship with Savage’s girlfriend, Miss Elizabeth, was pure gold. Manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and executive assistant Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig added immensely to the story-telling, and Flair and Savage delivered in the ring.

23. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (XVII, Houston) A match that sometimes gets overlooked because of the other great matches on the same card. A wrestling clinic.

22. Edge vs. Undertaker (XXIV, Orlando) An excellent match between two of the best. Undertaker improves his unblemished WrestleMania record to 16-0 and captured the World Heavyweight Championship.

21. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (XVIII, Toronto) The emotion in this match is absolutely incredible. The crowd makes this match, but Hogan and Rock deserve tons of credit for adjusting to the crowd’s reaction and turning this into a memorable match.

20. Money In the Bank Ladder Match (XXI, Los Angeles) This ranks at the top of the MITB WrestleMania matches because, as the first one, it was so innovative

19. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (VI, Toronto) An exciting face vs. face WWF Championship match in which Hogan passes the torch to the Warrior

18. The Rock vs. Steve Austin (XVII, Houston) A terrific WWF Championship match featuring a surprising ending. This is the best of the Austin-Rock WrestleMania encounters, all of which were very good.

17. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (XIX, Seattle) An often-overlooked match because no title was on the line and it is on the same card as Angle vs. Lesnar and Steve Austin vs. The Rock (which turns out to be Austin’s final match)

16. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (XIX, Seattle) Two former NCAA wrestling champions battle it out in this tremendous WWE Championship match. Angle is an Olympic gold medalist. Lesnar later won the Ultimate Fighting heavyweight championship.

15. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (XII, Anaheim) What do you do with two of the best wrestlers of all-time? Give them an hour to entertain the fans on your biggest show of the year. An excellent iron man match between two real-life rivals for the WWF Championship match.

14. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H (XXN.Y.As good a triple-threat match as you’ll ever see. This WWE Championship match may have ranked higher except the feel-good moment of seeing Benoit finally win the world title is spoiled by the knowledge that Benoit kills himself and his family a few years later.

13. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (XXIV, Orlando) Flair’s retirement match (left). An incredibly emotional match that might bring a tear to your eye.

12. Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.) Punk and Undertaker put on a dramatic match that convinced fans Punk could win, causing them to pop for many of the near-falls before Undertaker improved his WrestleMania record to 21-0

11. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (X, N.Y.) Michaels and Ramon brought ladder matches to the masses with this dramatic confrontation

10. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (X, N.Y.) The Hart brothers put on a wrestling clinic in the opening match of WrestleMania X. Perfect execution, with younger brother Owen pulling off the upset of Bret, who won the world title later that night.

9. Undertaker vs. Triple H (XXVII, Atlanta) The Undertaker takes a brutal beating from HHH, but still pulls out the victory to extend his WrestleMania winning streak to 19-0

8. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (IIIPontiacMich.) The match that arguably sold the most tickets in wrestling history. Not a technical masterpiece, but the magnitude of this WWF Championship match earns it a top-10 ranking.

7. Undertaker vs. Triple H (XXVIII, Miami) The Undertaker survives Hell in a Cell, extending his WrestleMania winning streak to 20-0. Shawn Michaels does a tremendous job as guest referee. Seriously.

6. TLC (XVII, Houston) Edge and Christian, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley brought the house down with this innovative Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the Tag Team Championship. (You thought TLC stood for Tender Loving Care?)

5. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXVI, GlendaleAz.) Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak vs. Michaels’ career (Michaels loses and retires)

4. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (XXI, Los Angeles) A tremendous example of story-telling in the ring. An amazing match.

3. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (XXV, Houston) An outstanding match featuring two of the all-time best. Fantastic series of big moves, near-falls toward the end.

2. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (IIIPontiacMich.) An all-time classic for the Intercontinental title that still holds up after all these years.

1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (XIII, Chicago) An outstanding brawl featuring a perfectly executed double heel/face (bad guy/good guy) turn. By the end of this match, the fans are vociferously booing Hart and wildly cheering for Austin. Hart and Austin use their actions to tell a story, which is what professional wrestling is all about.

Honorable mention: 20-man Battle Royal featuring NFL players (II, Chicago); the British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine/Brutus Beefcake (II, Chicago); Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage (V, Atlantic City); Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (XI, Hartford); Triangle Ladder Match (XVI, Anaheim); Undertaker vs. HHH (XVII, Houston); Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (XX, N.Y.); Randy Orton/Batista/Ric Flair vs. The Rock/Mick Foley (XX, N.Y.); Randy Orton vs. Undertaker (XXI, Los Angeles); John Cena vs. HHH (XXII, Chicago); Undertaker vs. Batista (XXIII, Pontiac, Mich.), Randy Orton vs. C.M Punk (XXVII, Atlanta), Rock vs. John Cena (XXVIII, Miami), C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho (XXVIII, Miami), John Cena vs. The Rock (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.), Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (XXIX, East Rutherford, N.J.)

Heel Turns: Busy WrestleMania weekend

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Since the next Heel Turns will be replaced by the best darn WrestleMania XXX preview on the Internet, I’ll spend some time this week examining the independent cards taking place in New Orleans on WrestleMania weekend. First, though, we’ll take a quick peek at WrestleMania XXX.

The Greek god of wrestling thinks the WrestleMania XXX card is looking pretty good. Barring another match being added, next weekend’s extravaganza should rise to the standard expected for the biggest wrestling show of the year.

The main event features Randy Orton defending the WWE Heavyweight Championship against Batista and either Triple H or Daniel Bryan, depending on which one wins their earlier match. Joining those two matches among the most anticipated bouts is Undertaker putting his 21-0 WrestleMania record on the line against Brock Lesnar.

Another intriguing bout pits John Cena against Bray Wyatt. The Wyatt Family, which also includes Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, has been playing head games with Cena lately. The scene at the end of an outstanding match between Cena and Luke Harper on RAW – Harper was tremendous in this match – was memorable. An unconscious or semi-conscious Cena, with his arms caught in the ropes, was wearing Rowan’s sheep mask as Rowan, Harper and Wyatt tormented him.

The rest of the card was filled out this past week. Los Matadores and The Real Americans were added to the tag team title match, which is now a four-way that includes Curtis Axel and Ryback and the champion Uso brothers. There will be a six-man tag team match involving The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose) and the team of Kane and the New Age Outlaws (Jesse James, Billy Gunn).

Vickie Guerrero announced that Divas champion A.J. Lee will defend her title against 13 Divas in the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational. Until the rules are explained, I’ll assume this is solely an attempt to get lots of Divas in the ring at the same time. And Achilles Heel isn’t complaining.

With the competitors in the tag team title match removed from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, there are four spots remaining from the 30-wrestler match. Don’t be surprised if (potential spoiler alert) a certain former extreme star fills one of the remaining four spots. Bad News Barrett is also conspicuous by his absence. Achilles Heel will have a breakdown of the battle royal, and all the matches, in his WrestleMania XXX preview.

*****

HARPER EXCELS: As I stated in the opening item, Luke Harper was terrific in his RAW match with John Cena. He executed a dive through the ropes and other athletic moves you don’t expect to see from a man his size. Don’t be fooled by Harper’s appearance. He can wrestle.

*****

BIG NAMES AT WRESTLECON: The largest non-WWE event in New Orleans will be WrestleCon, a combination of matches and wrestling-related events. Big names scheduled to appear are Sting, Kurt Angle, Adam Copeland (Edge), Goldberg and Terry Funk.

The wrestling card, featuring wrestlers from Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, PWG, WildKat and $5 wrestling, takes place Saturday night. The bouts include CZW champion Drew Gulak battling Chris Hero and Ring of Honor’s Michael Elgin in a triple-threat match. Jeff Jarrett takes on Colt Cabana, and Ring of Honor’s Kevin Steen faces Masato Tanaka. CZW owner D.J. Hyde battles former CZW champion Masada in an ultraviolent rules match. Sid Vicious is also scheduled to compete.

WrestleCon includes autograph and photograph sessions, question-and-answer sessions and live entertainment.

*****

LADDER MATCH: Ring of Honor will hold two events in the New Orleans area next weekend. Friday’s Supercard of Honor VIII is headlined by a ladder match between Ring of Honor world champion Adam Cole and Jay Briscoe, the former champ who claims to be the real world heavyweight champion.

Kevin Steen battles Michael Elgin, with the winner earning a shot at the IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada at “War of the Worlds” on May 10 in Toronto. Tommaso Ciampa will defend the Ring of Honor World Television title against Jay Lethal in a best-2-out-of-3-falls match. Other matches include Mark Briscoe vs. Michael Bennett in a no-disqualification match, Roderick Strong vs. Cederic Alexander, and a three-way match featuring former tag team champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero) and Hanson and Raymond Rowe, with the winner to receive a tag team title shot against the Young Bucks at War of the Worlds.

Ring of Honor will also do a television taping Saturday. The main event is a six-man tag team match pitting the team of Cole, Bennett and Matt Hardy against Steen and the Briscoe brothers. Both events will be held at the John A. Alario Sr. Event Center in Westwego, La.

*****

EVOLVING IN NEW ORLEANS: EVOLVE and DragonGate will be running shows three straight nights at Tulane University, starting with Thursday night. On Thursday, Chris Hero defnds the EVOLVE Championship against Trent Baretta Other matches Thursday include Johnny Gargano vs. Rich Swann, Ricochet vs. Anthony Nese and Drew Gulak vs. Biff Busick. Green Ant and A.R. Fox also in action.

Hero is back in action Friday for a non-title match against Masato Tanaka. Gargano battles Ricochet for the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. There will also be a tag team match pitting Chuck Taylor and Gulak against The Colony’s Fire Ant and Green Ant. Saturday’s event, named Mercury Rising, will feature a six-man tag team tournament.

*****

TRIPLE THREAT: If you were hoping for three straight nights of wrestling closer to home, you’re going to get it during the final weekend of April at the former ECW Arena in South Philadelphia. Extreme Rising will run events on April 25-26, with the Friday “Springtime Beatdown” event having been rescheduled from an earlier date. On Sun., April 27, there will be a Lucha Libre Mexicano event at the same location.

*****

MAIN EVENT: TNA somehow found time between all of its backstage vignettes on Impact Wrestling for a terrific main event between James Storm and Gunner, who won the no-disqualification match. The Greek god of wrestling knows he’s sounding like a broken record, but TNA would benefit from more in-ring action and less backstage crap.

*****

TEAMING UP FOR TRYOUT: Ring of Honor and New Japan Wrestling will be teaming up for a tryout/seminar on May 13-14 in Bristol, Pa. At least one participant will be selected to take part in a Future of Honor event. The seminar will last from 5-10 p.m.. The cost is $250.

These are two one-day seminars. Twenty-six applicants will be selected for each day. Wrestlers must have at least one year of experience in order to attend the seminar/tryout.

*****

SWIMMING UPSTREAM: Ring of Honor’s history of problems with live streaming of of events has been well-documented. Ring of Honor hopes it has found the solution in USStream, which will be streaming Ring of Honor’s joint events with New Japan Wrestling on May 10 in Toronto and May 17 in New York. As I’ve mentioned before, streaming live events is an important revenue source for smaller wrestling organizations. Let’s hope this partnership helps Ring of Honor put its live streaming problems behind it.

*****

WWE BACK IN PHILLY: Coming off shows in Atlantic City and Trenton last weekend, tickets for WWE’s return to Wells Fargo Center on June 22 go on sale today (Saturday).

*****

WWE NETWORK HAS HART: The Greek god of wrestling didn’t have to search for a gem on WWE Network this week. WrestleMania Rewind featured the awesome opening match of WrestleMania X between brothers Bret and Owen Hart. Bret and Owen put on a wrestling clinic, which was surprisingly won by Owen. Later that night, Bret beat Yokozuna to win the WWE Heavyweight Championship.

 

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