THE WRESTLING REPORT

AEW shines as WWE has a draft

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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 followed up their premiere episode with another great week of matches. They have established a good rhythm early of mixing in veterans and names you know with young guys and the audience has seemed to be incredibly involved and enjoying the matches. The energy from these matches literally screams through the television screen and you can actually feel it. Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Dustin Rhodes, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks are doing a great job working with lesser guys and losing matches, it's impressive how ego has taken a back seat to booking so far. We'll see if this momentum can continue, but for now they are crushing NXT.

Finn Balor coming to NXT was announced at the finale of last week's show and should lend some momentum to the show coming in this week, but the odds of watching this show live versus watching AEW live decreases each week. Leading off this week with Lio Rush isn't as groundbreaking as Finn Balor last week, maybe they could have swapped those. I'm trying to figure out how Beth Phoenix is the last girl standing as far as on-air talent goes, was Renee Young that bad? I didn't think so but I really can't get into Beth, she just isn't as good. Also, Ripley may be the baddest woman in wrestling right now. As successful as NXT was on the WWE app, I'm not sure that the characters and matches stand up to the show AEW is putting on at the same time. I think this show will be the first to undergo changes of some kind.

Smackdown kicks off the WWE brand draft last Friday and honestly I don't think the song fits for the intro to the show. There had to be better AC/DC songs they could have used. It's weird hearing the announcers actually talk about the networks wanting their own brands, it isn't often that the real world peeks in to the world of wrestling. Roman Reigns and The Fiend are the top picks for Smackdown, so that tells me big plans are coming for them both. The Bayley heel turn is a great finish to the first episode of the new post draft Smackdown.

Raw kicks off with the overall number one pick, Becky Lynch. By the way, congrats to her, this is a huge statement about her importance to WWE and it's awesomely impressive. For the second match in a row, Charlotte Flair lost a title match to a quick roll into a pin and I'm starting to wonder about the booking for her. Seth Rollins being named to RAW means they just killed the rivalry with The Fiend which might be for the best considering how poorly Hell in a Cell ended. Raw taking Aleister Black so early has to mean they plan on actually using him for something, but we'll have to wait and see I guess. It was inevitable that the Viking Raiders would win the tag team titles but honestly, I don't care. I really think these guys are boring. Raw is continuing its awful run of embarrassing storylines with their female talent, now doing a Bobby Lashley, Lana, Rusev triangle where implied nudity has been part of each bit. What is the point of that? Tyson Fury coming on to Raw and signing for a match against Braun Strowman is typical WWE pop culture and star chasing, which they have done many times before. Did WWE actually say the name Liv Morgan? That's exciting.

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The Rockets are collecting a lot of young talent. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Good parents are protective of their kids. Some helicopter parents are a little too protective and take it too far. Kenyon Martin Sr came out and wanted his son traded to a contender where he can flourish in a winning environment. He felt as if Jr wouldn’t be able to flourish as much as he thinks his son can in Houston. With the arrival of the number three overall pick, most likely being a frontcourt guy, they must’ve thought his playing time would decrease. Less time means less development means less money you can ask for on the next contract. I get it. I’m a parent. I understand. But there’s a point in which you have to be realistic.

Things like this are actually a good problem to have. It speaks to the Rockets having an abundance of talent, young talent at that. Whenever a team has a bevy of young talent in the NBA, they’ve been losing a lot and have stockpiled high draft picks. That, or they’ve developed a bunch of young guys that are now getting playing time and are on the verge of perhaps breaking out. Teams love it because crafting and shaping their future is easier when there’s a ton of options. They can choose to play and develop the guys they want to keep and trade the ones they don’t…provided they have any value.

Sr may think Jr is a future All NBA guy, and maybe he is, but he hasn’t been able to beat out Jae’Sean Tate for playing time in that tweener 3-4 combo position. One of the main things people point out is his ball handling. If he can’t handle the ball and make plays, he can’t play effectively enough in this system at that position. While he’s been able to give them valuable minutes, he’ll have to continue to improve and fight for those minutes. With the possibility of yet another player at that position with lofty draft status and expectations coming in (not to mention a unique skillset), the writing was on the wall.

When Sr came out recently and stated Jr is committed to staying here and getting better and Jr reiterated that at media availability this week, it helped quiet down the rumors. Would I be surprised if he’s traded? Not at all. He’s a good young athletic player who’s improved his shot. He could be a valuable rotation player for any team that has him. Do I want him to stay? Of course! I’d love nothing more than this team to grow together and stay together.

That’s in a perfect world and that’s somewhere we don’t live. Acquiring this much talent has paid off in the recent past. I wrote last week that this team can do what the Warriors and Celtics did if they continue to draft well, develop their talent, and surround their core with the right kind of role players. If playing time and meeting their potential for too many players becomes a problem (cap-wise, playing time, or any other reasons), they can always make deals and turn that talent into more draft picks. OKC did it with James Harden and flipped assets into about 3 million draft picks over the years. Blueprints are out there for the team to follow. Let’s keep hoping Rafael Stone can push the right buttons at the right times and continue to build this team back into a contender.

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