THE WRESTLING REPORT

NXT debut strengthens the WWE brand

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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. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

So this week technically started last Wednesday with NXT's debut. The hour long show started off with a four woman battle royale, that was pretty good. They girls were impressive and entertaining, I'm not sure they were as polished as they should be for televised wrestling, but maybe that's the style or point of NXT. I'm not sure that following it up with a squash match was all that smart but they did. The Velveteen Dream is a great athlete and put on an impressive match but having interference in the match was very WWE and I think it works. Overall NXT was a good hour of wrestling.

Raw kicked off with The Fiend and Seth's rivalry which will always be interesting but they then followed it up with The Viking Raiders, who they have made boring and predictable. They did beat the stuffing out of the OC which was nice. Rusev's return has been great and Sasha is getting a great run for an allegedly unhappy superstar. Lacey Evans fighting Ember Moon is a great match these are two powerful and athletic wrestlers. Is anyone still excited to see R Truth and the 24/7 title? Well now it's Carmela's turn! King Corbin and his custom crown actually looks pretty cool, although he's still one of my least favorite in ring personas. Seeing Rey Mysterio in a title match isn't on anyone's wish list I feel like. Finishing with the Fiend like Raw began is a great opening.

Smackdown kicked off with Rowan cutting a mediocre promo and Daniel Bryant coming out and challenging him to a fight. I don't think there's a universe that exists where Bryant could beat Rowan and apparently neither did the WWE. Teaming Roman and Bryant together immediately makes Daniel Bryant a face again, which can't hurt now that he's lost the title. Chad Gable is pretty annoying on the mic, it really makes me wonder why he's getting this push, also are we STILL doing short jokes about Gable? Sasha and Bayley vs Charlotte and Carmela is a great match and it's good to see Carmela in action again. Becky interrupting the match was great to see but it only reminds me that she's been absent from the ring for a little bit, this is that burn out that happens when you get too popular. Mustafa Ali is running out of time in the spotlight I hope, these matches aren't exciting. During the New Day and the B-Team tag match, they mentioned that during the draft they may split the New Day and that would be a huge mistake. Kevin Owens is just awesome on the mic and a ladder match would be awesome but you just know Shane is going to have his guys show up and help him.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office email me for details or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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