239

Combined yards for Eagles RB Raheem Mostert during 24-18 preseason loss to Jets

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.

After a devastating 53-20 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field, the Eagles are staring at the reality that they’re not an elite team. They have lost their last three games to teams currently with winning records.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on LeBron James returning to the Cavaliers, Lee Jenkins’ role in crafting James’ statement and ways to improve the World Cup.

Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Top 10 Piper’s Pits

Posted by Achilles Heel On August - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

(With the death of wrestling legend Roddy Piper, we have turned over the Top 10 list to our wrestling columnist, Achilles Heel.)

One of the hallmarks of Roddy Piper’s amazing career was Piper’s Pit, a ground-breaking interview show featuring Piper’s unique stream-of-consciousness style as he interviews everyone from the top stars to the jobbers who lost every week. The first time you saw Piper’s Pit, you knew you were watching something different.

I’ve tried to incorporate all the different types of Piper’s Pits, from promoting big angles to insulting the guests to in-ring Piper’s Pits at major arenas, into this list.

But a Top 10 isn’t big enough for the list of the best and most memorable Piper’s Pits, so I’m turning this into a Top 15 list. There is a space at the bottom to add your comments or favorite Piper’s Pits.

(Click on the links to view individual Piper’s Pits.)

15. Kamala, Freddie Blassie What distinguishes this Piper’s Pit is how Piper, while interviewing Blassie, always keeps a wary eye on Kamala, who is pacing the set while carrying a spear. Piper’s borderline fear sells the fact that Kamala is dangerous.

14. Sgt. Slaughter While trying convince Slaughter that he shouldn’t feel any loyalty or love for the fans, Piper delivers a social commentary on the treatment of soldiers who returned from Vietnam.

13. Adrian Adonis, Bob Orton Jr., Magnificent Muraco, Jimmy Hart This was a showdown between Piper’s Pit and Adonis’ The Flower Shop, with adjoining sets. This one doesn’t end well for Piper, with Adonis, Orton (Piper’s former bodyguard) and Muraco delivering a beatdown on Piper.

12.  The Shield Piper tries to create dissension in The Shield in this Piper’s Pit from Jan. 6, 2014, demonstrating that Piper still had “it” even as he approached his 60th birthday. Other excellent in-ring editions of Piper’s Pit after Piper retired were with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XXI and with John Cena, trying to get Cena to respond to the fans booing him, before his WrestleMania 28 match with The Rock.

11. Paul Orndorff There are several good Piper’s Pits with Orndorff, but this in-ring edition of Piper’s Pit was when Orndorff turned babyface after Piper blamed him for their loss to Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at the first WrestleMania.

10. Magnificent Muraco, Mr. Fuji This mutual admiration society version of Piper’s Pit from October of 1985 with Magnificent Muraco, who worked wonderfully with Piper — both with him and against him — in entertaining feuds throughout different territories during his career, represents all the Pits during which Piper showed his love for his fellow heels. This one just barely beats out a Piper’s Pit two months earlier in which Piper and Muraco demonstrate their love and respect for one another by exchanging t-shirts.

9. Mr. T (with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Snuka) Piper gives Mr. T an opportunity to back out of the main event of WrestleMania during this live in-ring Piper’s Pit at Madison Square Garden just two weeks before WrestleMania.

8. Andre the Giant This Piper’s Pit is the best of several terrific Pits with Andre the Giant, who was a great target for Piper because Piper could destroy him verbally while demonstrating respect for Andre’s size and power. On this occasion, Andre’s anger boils over and Piper finishes with one of his signature lines.

7. Bruno Sammartino Piper certainly wasn’t politically correct, as is evident by the ethnic slurs that incited Bruno Sammartino and the live crowd during this red-hot in-ring Piper’s Pit from Madison Square Garden in October of 1985.

6. Andre the Giant, Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan This is the Piper’s Pit in which Andre the Giant aligns with Bobby Heenan, turns heel and demands a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania III. Piper doesn’t do much talking during this Pit, but his expressions are an essential part of telling the story. The Pits leading up to this historic Pit — with Hogan, Andre and Ventura on by themselves — are also worth watching.

5. Roddy Piper Billed as “The Last Piper’s Pit,” this edition features a heartfelt monologue from Piper that serves as a wonderful, albeit premature, retrospective on his career. Here’s one quote: “I’m proud of this country because they let a jerk like me come in and do whatever the hell I want to do for as long as I could.”

4. The Haiti Kid Piper and bodyguard Bob Orton Jr. carry The Haiti Kid from the ring and make him an unwilling guest for this edition of Piper’s Pit. Piper, who was preparing for a WrestleMania 2 boxing match against Mr. T, isn’t funny in this segment. He reminds people that he’s the top heel in WWF by completely humiliating Haiti Kid by giving him a Mr. T-like mohawk.

3. Capt. Lou Albano, Cyndi Lauper This was the long-awaited appearance of Cyndi Lauper on WWF television, which Capt. Lou Albano had been promising for weeks. Understandably, there were doubts among wrestling fans that Lauper, a huge star during the 1980s, would appear. It’s remarkable that she became part of a major angle in WWF. Piper does a terrific job of setting up this angle with Lauper and Albano. Piper’s Pits with Albano before and after this edition are also terrific.

2. Frankie Williams This early Piper’s Pit emphasized that this segment was different than anything ever seen before. Piper’s guest was Frankie Williams, a jobber who lost every match. Guys like Williams weren’t featured on interview segments. Piper tears him apart verbally before getting physical, ending the segment with one of his most famous signature lines.

1. Jimmy Snuka This is the moment that cemented Piper’s Pit as an iconic segment that would live on forever in wrestling history. Piper delivers a series of politically incorrect insults before smashing Snuka in the head with a coconut and whipping him with his belt, sparking one of the most memorable feuds in WWE history.

 

Heel Turns: Cena deserves more respect

Posted by Achilles Heel On July - 31 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelMaybe it’s underappreciated athlete week at PhillyPhanatics.com.

After reading Eric Fisher’s column praising the underappreciated Cole Hamels – yes, the Greek God of Wrestling reads Fisher’s columns despite my disdain for his handling of Heel Turns – I realized there are similarities between Hamels and John Cena, the subject of my lead item in this week’s Heel Turns.

Hamels wasn’t booed by Phillies fans in the same way Cena is booed. I don’t recall chants of “Hamels sucks!” breaking out during Phillies games. But Cena and Hamels are similarly underappreciated.

Cena broke his nose Monday during his main event match with Seth Rollins during RAW. It appeared to be a pretty bad break. We’re not talking about a hairline fracture. Cena’s nose was pushed toward the right side of his face. It was ugly.

He finished the match.

Yes, with a badly broken nose, Cena finished the match.

And Cena and Rollins didn’t immediately go to the finishing sequence. They might have done so at a house show, but this was live television. The match had to go until the end of the show.

Persevering through the end of the match with a broken nose is reason for fans to appreciate Cena. But that appreciation was long overdue.

Cena has been tremendous all year. His match with Rollins and Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia remains my choice for match of the year. Cena’s first two matches with Kevin Owens also belong on the short list of WWE’s best matches of the year, as does his recent RAW match against Cesaro.

Some of the hate directed toward Cena stems from the perception that he’s not a great technical wrestler. And he’s not. Nobody is confusing Cena with Bret Hart, Ricky Steamboat or Lou Thesz. But there’s more to producing a tremendous match than terrific technical wrestling. Cena has a feel for the audience and how to draw the maximum reaction. That, too, is part of being a great professional wrestler.

So is toughness. Yes, matches are predetermined. But you have to be tough to take the bumps necessary to be a professional wrestler. You need to be tough to endure the bumps and bruises required to have a long career. And you certainly need to be tough to finish a match after having your nose smashed by a vicious knee.

It shouldn’t have taken finishing a match with a broken nose for WWE fans to fully appreciate John Cena.

But late is better than never.

*****

RING REMATCH IN PHILLY: If the 60-minute draw between Ring of Honor World champion Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong at Death Before Dishonor XIII whet your appetite for a rematch, you won’t have to wait very long or travel very far to see it. The rematch for the world championship will take place on Aug. 21 at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

Ring of Honor also announced this week that Matt Sydal will battle Kushida. Add in the previously announced match of Adam Cole vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, and Ring of Honor’s 2300 card is shaping up to be an excellent night of wrestling.

*****

NOT PRIME TIME: The news for Ring of Honor isn’t all good. Destination America has removed Ring of Honor as the 8 p.m. lead-in to TNA’s Impact Wrestling on Wednesdays. Ring of Honor remains on Wednesdays in the 11 p.m. slot, which used to be when the replay was broadcast.

*****

HOGAN’S DOWNFALL: Hulk Hogan’s apology came a little too late. Hogan issued a statement apologizing for his racist comments from a sex tape that is the focus of a privacy lawsuit. But his first instinct wasn’t to apologize, which makes his apology seem more like a public relations attempt to salvage his career than a sincere apology.

Achilles Heel doesn’t know what’s inside Hogan’s heart. I do know that what he allegedly said on those tapes unquestionably seems racist. He didn’t just drop the n-word. He used it in a derogatory manner that was in the spirit of the word’s common meaning.

Is his apology sincere? Achilles Heel hopes so. Even if the apology is sincere, it will take Hogan time to mend enough fences to return to the public eye with WWE. Hogan’s career, which has pretty much been simply being Hulk Hogan, may be over.

*****

GLORY DAYS: TNA announced that Bound for Glory will take place Oct. 4 in Concord, N.C. Because TNA tapes its shows so far in advance, the Greek God of Wrestling could tell you the main event for Bound for Glory – but I won’t because I detest spoilers.

*****

BACK TO PENNSYLVANIA: After a pair of weekend shows in New England, CHIKARA will be returning to Pennsylvania for its next series of events. On Aug. 15, CHIKARA will present “The Good Life” at The Wrestle Factory (4711 Wingate St., Phila., Pa. 19136), headlined by Hallowicked defending the Grand Championship against Amasis.

CHIKARA will also present matches at First Energy Stadium in Reading on Aug. 28 before to Easton for the three-night Kings of Trios extravaganza.

*****

ENTERING COMBAT ZONE: Combat Zone Wrestling will present “Retribution” on Sat., Aug. 8 at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. Former tag team champions Dave and Jake Crist will battle Conor Claxton and Danny Havoc, respectively, as they seek revenge for Claxton and Havoc contributing to their loss of the tag team titles to Team Tremendous. Other matches include Matt Tremont taking on Pepper Parks, Tim Donst defending the Wired Championship against Frankie Pickard, and Greg Excellent against Dick Justice.

There will also be a preshow (6:30 p.m.) featuring wrestlers from Marvelous Puroresu USA and CZW. Chigusa Nagayo and New Japan Wrestling’s Takaaki Watanabe will face CZW’s Nate Carter and David McCall.

*****

GRAND SLAM: In case you missed it during RAW, Triple H announced that SummerSlam will be four hours, the only show other than WrestleMania to be booked for four hours. Now all SummerSlam needs is some matches!

*****

WWE RETURNS: Tickets go on sale Saturday (Aug. 1) for the Oct. 6 Smackdown taping at Wells Fargo Center. Tickets went on sale this week for a WWE house show at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton on Sat., Oct. 2.

*****

LAUGH FROM THE PAST: If you’re looking for a good laugh, Achilles Heel recommends the standup comedy routine of the Magnificent Muraco and Mr. Fuji from TNT, a talk show that used to air on USA Network during the 1980s. Muraco and Fuji are so bad that it’s brilliant. Pay close attention to the reaction of Mean Gene Okerlund and Alfred Hayes and stick around to watch the post-routine commentary from Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan (on the USA Network’s Prime Time Wrestling).

Muraco (one of Achilles Heel’s all-time favorites) and Fuji, who were attempting to highlight Muraco’s acting ability, also appeared in Fuji Vice, Fuji Chan, Fuji Bandito and Fuji Hospital.

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