WRESTLING REPORT

AEW comes out swinging while WWE stumbles

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

All Elite Wrestling debuted last Wednesday and we are now in a new era. The Cody Rhodes led new wrestling promotion kicked off with a barn burner of a match between Cody Rhodes and Sammy Guevara. Seeing the return of wrestling to TNT has a lot of meaning to it, as WCW ended it's run Ted Turner had allegedly said there would never be wrestling on TNT again. Fast forward eighteen years later and Cody Rhodes has brought wrestling back to the Turner channel. A young roster filled with potential and great Indy wrestlers who are media savvy and willing to try big moves and land huge spots, AEW is going to push WWE in many ways.

WWE responded with an extended version of NXT, now two hours to rival AEW, kicking off with a match between Adam Cole and Matt Riddle for the title. It's an interesting move to see Finn Balor come on to NXT, this might be the way to fairly distribute the roster between USA and Fox but the most important take away from NXT is after comparing it to AEW it's just not as technically impressive. Overall as a show it isn't enough to directly compete against what AEW did the same night, although I did like the bit with running over their time like in the old days.

Smackdown kicked off well with The Rock and The Man embarrassing a King. The Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon ladder match being on Smackdown is a great decision with a pay per view event coming up the weekend after this show, hopefully it isn't one they regret. The match was obviously great, and Kevin winning was the obvious outcome but it was fantastic and what a great moment from Kevin Owens firing and stunning Shane. A squash match between Brock Lesnar and Kofi Kingston is so disrespectful and wrong to do to Kofi, who has been a great champ for WWE over the last year. It looks like the Fox era has begun.

Coming out of a disastrous Hell in a Cell where Seth cheated to end a match against The Fiend, resulting in the audience audibly chanting AEW at the end of the event. It's important for WWE to find some footing coming through the draft starting this Friday or AEW is going to keep chopping away at them and leading off with a cheating wife is so 1990s and not the right move at all. Natalya and Lacey Evans put some great work into the first match of the night to help recover some of the damage done by the opening. Overall it was a flat episode coming out of a rough pay per view and those aren't the things you want if you're looking over your shoulder at the new guy.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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