THE WRESTLING REPORT

Shane's perfect rise to top villain continues in WWE

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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!

Extreme Rules actually delivered, with a great return of The Undertaker after having been an absolute embarrassment against Goldberg only a few months ago. The Roman Reigns and Undertaker tag match against Shane and Drew McIntyre actually delivered. The Kevin Owens Dolph Ziggler match was a confusing squash match with Kevin Owens stunning Dolph and just finishing the match in about six seconds which was odd since Dolph was in a crazy cage match against Kofi just last month. The New Day won the tag titles, and Ricochet lost his title to AJ Styles. Then Seth and Becky crushed Baron and Lacey but the big finish was the inevitable Brock Lesnar taking Seth's belt with the Money in the Bank contract.

Raw was pretty good but I really can't stand the Street Prophets and I think we need to dial their screen time down to zero. The ladies put on a great four way elimination match and it was awesome to see Bray Wyatt return to the ring but the 24/7 title is seriously a running gag and needs to also go away. Seth Rollins amazing run continues as he wins the 10 man battle royal and is building back up to a great Brock Lesnar rivalry, which basically legitimizes putting the belt back on Brock.

The Smackdown town hall was a great way to set up the "pro Shane" and "anti Shane" people really easily. With Liv Morgan getting destroyed by Charlotte Flair and Apollo Crews just barely getting a surprise win after a brutally one sided match against Andrade, it sets up a great "under dog" dynamic and Kevin Owens gets to run a great hero of the people feud with Shane which is finally winning me over to the idea that maybe he can be worthwhile in limited spots but still not full time. A Bayley and Ember Moon rivalry could be fun, just because it looks like they both can do some impressive stuff so this might be a fun match up for the women's title for a bit. A return of Randy Orton who then immediately wants a title shot is not a surprise but more of a disappointment and a Randy vs Kofi battle won't be fun to watch and poor Kofi will have to do all the work on this one too. It's obvious why he's holding the title as long as he is, but when are they going to give some other new guys a shot at the belt with him?

Overall the trend of better programming started this week with Shane in the role of the villain and Kevin Owens in the Steve Austin role.

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.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

This has been the best Little League World Series ever — with championship weekend still to go.

The coach of the New Hampshire All-Star team accused the Rhode Island team of stealing signs, a definite no-no, totally against the honor code of Little League. Thou shall not steal signs or bases. There's no leading off bases in Little League.

Online gambling sites are taking wagers on the Little League World Series this year. Bovada, one of the most popular sports books on the web, has the international children a -150 favorite over the U.S. tykes. The Japanese and South Korean teams are the bettors' picks to win the title.

Bet on these kids

Why not bet on Little League? I've bet on dogs, horses, jai alai players, celebrity boxers, the Academy Awards, and whether a tiny little ball will land in a red or black slot.

A player on the New Jersey team threw a hissy fit on TV after his coach pulled him for a pinch runner. You don't see that too often in Little League. I was rooting for the Jersey boys because the team was from Elizabeth, New Jersey, and practiced on the same fields in Warinanco Park where I played Little League.

Here's the thing about Little League that you don't hear mentioned on ESPN, maybe because ESPN paid $60 million to air the Little League World Series.

A big drop for Little League

Little League's popularity is in steep decline. Participation is way down across the U.S. In the Southeast Region (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas), once a hotbed of Little League, the number of players has dropped 43 percent from 2007, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The culprit is select baseball, which takes youth baseball to crazy levels of competitiveness, expense, and sometimes heartbreak. This is the sales pitch select managers give to parents of a talented 12 year old, "Do you want your kid playing Little League … or real baseball?"

Little League...or Select?

Little League doesn't allow leads off bases, the bases are only 60 feet apart, there are strict pitch limits, everybody makes the team regardless of ability, and everybody must get in the game.

Select ball pretty much plays by the same rules as college and professional baseball. The highest levels of select ball are super serious and cutthroat. A player could pour his guts into making a team, only to be replaced if the manager finds a better player. That's life, kid.

True story. I once wrote a column about a local, absurdly successful select baseball program with teams in several age groups. These teams travel to tournaments across the U.S. Parents pay about $3,000 for their kids to be in the program. I met a woman who said her family was moving from North Carolina to Houston, so her 13 year-old son could play for one of the teams.

Select’s domination

How dominating are these select teams? I asked the manager, if your team of 12 year olds played the Little League champions, who would win? He laughed at me. "We'd win every time. Give me a number, that's how many runs we'd win by."

As for the Rhode Island team being accused of stealing signs, the coaches and kids allegedly used an elaborate system of hand gestures to relay to the batter what pitch was coming. I never saw sign stealing when I coached in Little League, but here's how I watched coaches work it during summer travel ball.

If the third base coach caught a glimpse of the opposing catcher's signs, he'd let the batter know by innocently saying his name. If a fastball was coming, the coach would shout "Come on, Jimmy!" If a curve was on its way, the coach would yell, "You can do it, Johnson." A changeup was "Let's go, son." First name, fastball. Last name, curve. Son, changeup.

Continue on CultureMap to find out if Little League is still dangerous.

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