WRESTLING REPORT

Build up to elimination chamber reaches a peak as the road to Wrestlemania hits a pot hole

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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.facebook.com/nerdthugradio!

Raw continues to be the flagship of the wrestling week with Becky Lynch again kicking off the week, her storyline captivating the wrestling world. Women continued their strong run essentially carrying the first hour of Raw with a three way tag match determining the order for the Raw side elimination chamber match. Kurt Angle continues getting built up as a babyface towards what looks to be his final Wrestlemania moment with a tag match with him, Braun Stroman and Finn Balor against the current pool of villains of Raw, Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew Mcintyre.

Raw was otherwise a relatively calm week with Dean Ambrose seemingly burying the hatchet with Seth Rollins continuing to tie up his loose ends seemingly on his way out the door after Wrestlemania. The big finale did sort of blow up the built storylines with Vince McMahon rejecting Becky's apology and seemingly announcing Charlotte Flair will be in her place at Wrestlemania.

Smackdown continued on that shock moment with Charlotte seeming to turn full heel in the ring, arguing with the audience and declaring herself the new Raw Women's champion. With the apparent injury to Mustafa Ali, The New Day's Kofi Kingston has been given his spot in the Smackdown Championship match at Elimination Chamber. Smackdown did its best to sell this weekend's pay per view by having a gauntlet match with all of its main event's participants, which meant a lot of longtime veterans putting on a mediocre show, and the predictable Randy Orton out of nowhere with the RKO to end the match came as Smackdown went off the air.

This pay per view may have some interesting matches but it feels like WWE is counting on the crowning of a women's tag team to carry what is otherwise a rather stale pay per view card, but Sunday is looming and Wrestlemania not too far behind it.

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4th and a mile with Paul Muth

The Rockets may be the smartest guys in the room. Or the cheapest

The Rockets have their new head coach. Composite photo by Brandon Strange

On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Rockets' coaching search had come to an end finally. The front office tabbed Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas as the successor to Mike D'Antoni, beating out former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy and current Rockets assistant John Lucas.

Knee jerk reaction?

I'm not mad at it. I expected Jeff Van Gundy to be the next hire, but maybe that was just nostalgia clouding my judgment. Either way, the Silas hire should be viewed optimistically. He's been highly regarded for some time around the league as an inventive mind that comes from basketball pedigree and has worked with big-name guards in prior stops around the league. If the Rockets didn't grab him, it was only a matter of time before another team gave him a shot.

Now there are two very distinct ways to look at this hire:

The first is that the Rockets, in spite of being one of the last teams to fill their coaching vacancy, are the smartest kids in the room. Every team is looking for the next version of what the Celtics found in their current head coach, Brad Stevens; a young brilliant coach that just needed a team to give him a shot. Hired at 37 from the college ranks, Stevens endured one losing season (his first) and has since guided the Celtics to six playoff appearances, to include three conference finals appearances. Not bad, considering he was up against LeBron James for most of those.

That is what it looks like the Rockets are trying to go for. Now at 47, Silas probably won't be mistaken for a wunderkind, but compared to 69-year-old D'Antoni, he might as well be announcing his hire on Tik Tok. If it works out, the Rockets will have once again been one step ahead of the league with the hiring of their innovative new coach.

The other way to look at the Silas hire is a little less rosy.

While Silas is only 47, he's also been an assistant in the league since he was 27. The positive spin on his resume is that he's worked with star players the likes of Kemba Walker, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry. The reality is that he worked with them while they were very young in their careers, and worked on teams like the Cavaliers, Bobcats/Hornets, Wizards, and Warriors (when they were bad). Until the last two seasons working with Luka Doncic on the Mavericks, there hasn't been a lot of success following Silas. That's not necessarily an indictment since he was an assistant, but it's not exactly a sparkling pedigree.

So while this could be a brilliant hire, at the moment, it has all of the markings of the cheaper hire. As I've mentioned before, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has been quite vocal about the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on his portfolio. Clips and quotes moaning and groaning about losing money are not typically precursors to an owner gearing up to make a big financial investment in the front office of a sports team that he can't sell tickets for anyone to come see. If in fact, money factored in more than fit, it would make sense that the Rockets would forego a coach like Van Gundy, whose previous head coaching experience would automatically command a higher starting price. We'll, of course, have to wait and see what the actual contract figures are once released.

It could be one. It could be the other. It could be both. Hopefully it translates into wins either way.

One thing that's for certain though is that Silas needs to take some pointers from Russell Westbrook and James Harden before he steps out courtside in any more of those TJ Maxx suits, circa 2000. Big boy job means big boy suits.

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