Wrestling With Ideas

Can the WWE right the ship for 2019?

Brock Lesnar (right) has been hit and miss. Photo by WWE.com

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 and the sister show Ball Control. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows at www.nerdthugradio.com or www.facebook.com/nerdthugradio!"

So 2018 is over and 2019 is rolling in and for the WWE the new year came with a promise from the McMahon power structure of new year and new theme.

How's it shaping up? Not good so far. The problems they have were created by the guys who right now are promising new ideas and opportunities. To be fair, let's highlight the efforts before we address the problems: getting rid of mandatory rematches, doing an extra round of "call ups" from NXT, and the McMahons are back onscreen after taking the bulk of the year off from that particular role.

How are these working out? Well, the mandatory rematches were a mixed bag, in the middle of a good rivalry it was a great tool, but when something had come to its conclusion or was starting to drag on, then yeah, it was a bad idea. The call-ups haven't hit yet so there's not a lot to judge them on but honestly the NXT guys haven't had a lot of luck coming up to the big times as of yet, and I have a theory why. It goes like this: NXT fans are the guys actively seeking wrestling, so the gimmicks matter less because these fans have seen it all and are watching for the wrestling, but the gimmick is what sells in the big leagues and honestly most of the gimmicks have been awful. As far as the McMahons coming back, I don't really remember anyone asking for that, so this isn't the solution to the problem.

What is the problem? Too many great wrestlers, too few matches, dumb programs that go on way too long and the writing has gotten stale. Between the young guys they have grown into young superstars, the NXT roster they want to give screen time and the amazing women's division that deserves all the screen time they can get, they won't stop bringing in old guys and guys who aren't committed to the show full time. Between the recent return of Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy - who all fought in matches in 2018 PPV events - guys like Bray Wyatt, Miz, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Rusev, Elias, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Cien Almas and The New Day and others are forced to mid-card and worse. Add in the fact that recent big acquisitions have fallen flat (guys like Gallows and Anderson are terrible personas). Samoa Joe, Shinske Nakamura just aren't entertaining as heels and Randy Orton has NO PURPOSE and you start to wonder about how screen time is being assigned.

When the women's division does get it's B-plots focused on, it's clear they Are being written by the same guys who wrote the 90's pillow fight matches. They just ran a bit where the beautiful Mandy Rose is texting illicit photos to Naomi's husband, because they can't think of another reason two great athletes would want to compete. How is it that the men's division can have five matches a show without ever mentioning each other's personal lives but Naomi (former champion trying to get another title shot) needs to defend her territory, because women are petty? Got it.

So where's the fix? Well stop booking the old guys, that's step one, if they need to be in the Saudi Arabia PPV to finance that deal, fine then book those matches, but don't give it screen time in the States. Make those dark matches and let your two hour advertisement sell the new guys.

The mixed tag team matches are working. They are a great idea and I think there's a future there for that just like it's pretty obvious that the women's division is ready for tag team titles. Also, work on the tag titles on both brands. Right now they are worthless, the divisions are a mess and none of the contenders other than the Usos and New Day move the needle with any consistency. Finally, get rid of Brock Lesnar. It's time when everyone on screen and off screen comments and jokes ON AIR how the universal champ doesn't come to the flagship show. That's a problem.

The times are changing and WWE better stay on the right side of this. If not the young upstarts are circling the water. The Elite, led by spurned former WWE talent, just announced a new wrestling promotion working with a rebel billionaire intent on creating an entertainment brand of its own. Does no one remember the 90's and a little something called WCW?

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Houston now focused on postseason

Altuve and Correa homer, Astros drop final regular-season game

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With no playoff impact at stake if the Astros won or lost the game, Houston took Sunday's final regular-season game as a chance to get their lineup a few more at-bats before shifting focus to Tuesday's first game of the post-season. Here is a quick recap of the game against the Rangers:

Final Score: Rangers 8, Astros 4.

Record: 29-31, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wes Benjamin (2-1, 4.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chase De Jong (0-1, 14.73 ERA).

Houston's main bats get a final tune-up

Knowing they'd only have a couple of at-bats to work with, some of Houston's big bats took advantage, starting with Jose Altuve. He crushed a pitch in the top of the first, a solo homer to put the Astros in front 1-0. After the Rangers tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Altuve started the third with a walk before moving to third base on a Michael Brantley single, which improved Brantley's season average to .300.

Aledmys Diaz would pick up the RBI on a groundout to score Altuve, putting Houston back in front 2-1. In Correa's last at-bat in the top of the fourth, he extended the lead to 3-1 with a solo home run of his own.

Rangers hand Astros a loss to end the regular season

After getting the early run against Chase De Jong, the Rangers would put together a big inning against him in the fourth. After two one-out singles, Rougned Odor would give Texas their first lead of the day on a three-run homer to make it 4-3.

De Jong would continue to struggle in the inning, getting just one more out while loading the bases, prompting a move to the bullpen to bring in Nivaldo Rodriguez to try and eat up more innings. The Rangers greeted him with a two-RBI single to extend their lead to 6-3 before ending the fourth. Odor would hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot to make it a four-run lead at 7-3.

Rodriguez allowed another run in the bottom of the seventh, making it 8-3. Diaz, who drove in a run earlier, would account for another RBI in the top of the eighth, getting Houston's third solo homer of the day. That would make it an 8-4 game, which would go final as the Rangers would win the regular season's last game.

Up Next: Houston's first game of the playoffs will be on Tuesday, with the start time and opponent TBD while the rest of today's games wrap up, and the schedule is announced. Regardless, the Astros are expected to begin that best-of-three series with Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

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