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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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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