THE WRESTLING REPORT

Money in the Bank begins to take shape

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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!

This week begins the next year of wrestling as the inexhaustible cycle begins again and the road to WrestleMania starts paving anew.

Raw kicks off with some interesting decisions with two triple threat matches announced and the winner of those fight off to determine who will face Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank for The Universal Championship. The idea is interesting but of the six competitors, four are recently removed from Smackdown, so are the top six guys that aren't Seth Rollins mostly Smackdown guys? Doesn't say much for what is supposed to be the flagship show, does it? There wasn't a ton of big moments this week although finally revealing Bray Wyatt in his new form is pretty awesome, he's a great presence on the mic and he's one of the better "new" wrestlers in recent history. Alicia Fox returned to the ring, in an odd match against Becky Lynch which had some bad botches and honestly I don't think her future is long for the WWE ring if the outside the ring rumors are to be believed. Raw's big finish was AJ Styles beating Baron Corbin to face Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, and then Seth Rollins coming out and shaking AJ Styles hand. That is not the tone you want to see for a title match.

Smackdown felt a little off balance as there were still so many debuts and introductions leftover from the Superstar Shakeup with Chad Gable, Andrade and Lars Sullivan all "debuting" on Smackdown this week. It's good to see the women's division stir up and try new match ups, with the Iconics building a rivalry vs Asuka and Kari Sane while Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville stand by and talk smack. Pitting Bayley and Charlotte Flair is a nice change and a reminder that it wasn't just Charlotte and Becky who built this women's revolution we exist in now. This does bring up an issue though, so Becky is now going to face both Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans at Money in the Bank. This is an awesome idea, it only serves to elevate the myth of the Man and grow Becky Lynch's heat to an unheard of level. Of course WWE could go the other way on this one and have her drop one or both titles but I don't think that's the plan, as of right now it feels like they're going to keep blowing Becky Lynch up as far as the heat will take her. The new New Day was looking great with Kevin Owens in a new fun role and then he betrays Kofi Kingston and all is back as it was. Kevin Owens is truly at his best as a heel, and there may be no one better at pushing the crowd's buttons without saying a word right now than Kevin Owens.

Overall this week was a solid week as the build up to Money in the Bank begins.

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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