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 game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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