THE WRESTLING REPORT

AEW seems to have WWE on the ropes

AEW seems to have WWE on the ropes
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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 and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

If you're looking at a calendar you can't tell but this is actually a really important week in wrestling, we are now living in a post All Elite Wrestling world. They had their event this Sunday and all indications are that it went amazing. The biggest criticism people seem to have so far is that most of the "big names" are former WWE superstars including the big surprise reveal of the event that John Moxley, formerly Dean Ambrose, has come to AEW. That's a fair point but there was plenty of small time made big talent as well such as friend of Nerd Thug Radio Kylie Rae and others. So with All Elite Wrestling landing such a big flag then the expectation is that WWE would come out swinging this week on Raw and Smackdown, right? They have their controversial return to Saudi Arabia coming up and they should be looking for some opportunity to regain ground and try and stop some losses somewhere.

Raw essentially did the opposite though, while it was Memorial Day and they ran a gorgeous video package in honor of those who served and gave all for our freedoms, they didn't get into an actual real match until about an hour and half in and honestly it never picked up from there. There was a Becky Lynch appearance but it was in a tag match, there was a fatal four way but it was hurt by the absence of one of WWE's biggest current stars AJ Styles who is now out with injury, another unfortunate side effect of the new double usage for the top portion of the WWE roster. The Brock Lesnar bit where he didn't know he had an entire year to cash in his money in the bank contract was odd, it doesn't make any sense, hasn't he been on the roster for roughly a decade? He never knew about the Money in the Bank contract before? That doesn't even make sense.

Smackdown didn't get much better, with Kevin Owens cutting a weird promo before he fights Kofi Kingston again that he hopes Dolph Ziggler beats Kofi Kingston so that Dolph then gives Kevin a title shot. What? Why wouldn't Kevin just beat Kofi on Smackdown for the title? Then Shane McMahon does some more anti Roman Reigns stuff, I guess tabling the Miz rivalry for a week. Also another injury, Finn Balor, adding up to WWE needing to start bringing up more guys and giving screen time to more people. The 24/7 title is still a joke and I worry it will never not be, which sort of makes me wonder what's the point?

So with the Saudi Arabia event coming up and several key guys saying they aren't going to be there and with injuries piling up from over usage and AEW putting on an amazing event and announcing a TNT television deal for later this year, this isn't the kind of foot I expected WWE to put forward.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help fight cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio or support our Patreon Page. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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Will the Astros ever give Joey Loperfido a chance to fix the black hole at first base? Composite Getty Image.

So how long do you suppose the Astros will cling to the ludicrous notion that Jose Abreu will return to being a sustainably decent hitter (much less a good hitter)? The All-Star break? The trade deadline July 30? The day the Astros are eliminated from the playoff race? End of the season? End of his contract at the end of next season? Maybe they sign him to a two-year extension?

Since rejoining the team Abreu has played in 13 games, starting 12 of them. He has seven hits in 42 at bats for a .167 batting average. That’s only not horrible in comparison to the sub-pathetic .099 mark Abreu had when hiatus time arrived. Since returning, Abreu has walked once. If you remember or are familiar with Susan Powter you know what comes next. STOP THE INSANITY!

Kyle Tucker’s absence obviously punches a big hole in the Astros’ lineup. Still, that regularly running out Jeremy Pena in the cleanup or fifth spot in the lineup doesn’t seem completely ridiculous, is ridiculous! Pena has been abysmal for the last month. May 11 he put up his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. In 29 games since, Pena has added one more homer with an anemic on-base percentage of .238. Not batting average, OBP. Yuck. All teams solicit All-Star votes for non-worthy guys. Pena plays in the same league as Gunnar Henderson, Bobby Witt Jr., Corey Seager, and Anthony Volpe. Hyping Pena for the All-Star game is plain ol’ silly.

Jon Singleton ever slotting in the lineup fourth or fifth, sigh. He of one homer and 28 strikeouts in his last 79 at bats. It’s just a sad state of affairs that no one below Pena or Singleton in the lineup should obviously be higher in the lineup. Mauricio Dubon, Victor Caratini, Trey Cabbage are all bottom third of the lineup if in the lineup type guys. Chas McCormick seemingly losing almost all of his hitting ability has hurt. Yainer Diaz stinking for much more of the season to date than he’s been good has hurt.

The refusal to try Joey Loperfido at first base is somewhere from perplexing to stupid. Look, Loperfido is not an elite prospect. His poor contact skills may doom him from becoming a quality regular. But find out! He struck out a bunch in his first taste but also hit .333. The low upside of the Abreu-Singleton combo is obvious. Evidently to just about all but Astros’ decision makers. Going with Trey Cabbage over Loperfido in the outfield also underwhelms.

Chasing down the Mariners?

It could all still turn for the better, but the Astros are at increasing risk of fading to oblivion behind Seattle in the American League West race. They deserve to be 31-38. They have a losing record at home, they have a losing record on the road. They have a losing record in day games, they have a losing record in night games. They are 7-14 in games against left-handed starting pitchers, they are 24-24 (hey, .500, yippee!) vs. right-handed starters. It would take a serious collapse to fall entirely out of the Wild Card race before the trade deadline, but the Astros are flirting with danger there too. They have to leapfrog several teams to get to the third Wild Card position, currently held by the Minnesota Twins. This doesn’t seem to be a good weekend to gain ground on them. Not that A.J. Hinch’s Detroit Tigers visiting Minute Maid Park this weekend are anything special, though in Friday night’s series opener the Astros face the arguably best starting pitcher in the big leagues this season (Tarik Skubal). But the Twins have four games at home against the lowly Oakland A’s.

If Minnesota is not to overtake Kansas City and Cleveland to win the AL Central, you know Carlos Correa would love to make the playoffs at his ex-team’s expense. Wednesday Correa banged out the first five-hit game of his career. It’s pretty amazing that Jose Altuve has never had a five-hit game given how great a hitter he’s been and the relatively few walks he’s drawn. Sunday in Anaheim, Altuve racked up his 39th four-hit game. Remember, last September, Altuve hit five home runs over seven innings that overlapped two games against the Texas Rangers.

George Springer is the lone Astro ever to rack up six hits in a game, doing so at Oakland in 2018. So far this month, Springer is six for 40. Springer has two seasons left after this one on the six-year 150 million dollar contract he signed with Toronto. At 34 years old he is playing as if washed up. 2023 was the worst season of Springer’s career and he has fallen off a cliff from there thus far in 2024. Springer is batting .198 with his OPS at a sickly .582.

There is only one player in the modern era (1900 forward) of Major League Baseball to amass seven hits in a nine-inning game. In 1975 Rennie Stennett went seven for seven at Wrigley Field in a Pittsburgh Pirates 22-0 obliteration of the Chicago Cubs. The “Bleacher Bums” must have had fun that day.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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