Wrestling Report

WWE: The superstar shakeup

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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 is usually one of the more fun weeks in the WWE schedule, the week of the Super Star Shake Up. Some wrestlers from each of three major brands, Raw, Smackdown and NXT shuffle around and make "debuts" on the other shows. This year was a little less exciting.

The changes to Raw weren't really all that major I feel like, moving AJ Styles, The Usos, Andrade, Rey Mysterio and The Miz over to Raw really just feels like they took the top half of Smackdown and slid it over to Raw. The call up of The Viking Experience - yes that's right another terrible gimmick tag team - didn't really make things much better. This does explain why The Usos dropped the titles to The Hardy's on the Smackdown after WrestleMania after having them keep the titles on WrestleMania, but honestly, the Raw Tag Team division is crowded and not exactly exciting. Finally revealing that Lacey Evans, Ricochet and Aleister Black are all officially on a roster is great news but adding all three to Raw is a little odd simply because they've been previewing all three on both shows and now they're just all three on Raw. Perhaps the oddest choice here though is breaking up The Riott Squad.

It was announced that Liv Morgan is now going to be on Smackdown, which means that the Riott Squad, which is the only female faction really and honestly it's a good one, is now dead. I'm a huge Liv Morgan fan. I really like her look and she wrestles well in matches but honestly I don't know how she will do in singles competition and speaking of singles competition, I think one thing the shake up did was add some clarity to the WWE's choice to combine the belts. I think you'll see most of the women's tag matches on Smackdown as now they moved two more tag teams to this show last night with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville and pairing Asuke with the newly called up Kairi Sane and the Iconics were already a Smackdown team. Which means most of your single's women's competition will be on Raw where Becky Lynch already has a rivalry going with Lacey Evans. The addition of Finn Balor, Roman Reigns and Elias are all great additions to Smackdown; these guys need more room to breathe and letting them get more time on the now way less crowded Smackdown main roster will be for everyone's benefit.

Overall this was a solid shake up but the delivery just wasn't there as a lot of these announcements were made by the announcers due to the fact that a lot of guys had travel issues and couldn't get to Montreal in time to appear on this week's shows.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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