WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Braun is going to ‘Mania while dreams come true on SDL

Braun caused utter confusion when he won the Tag Battle Royal by himself. Photo by WWE.com

This is a weekly look at the action in the WWE:

Raw

Kurt Angle announced to the crowd in Detroit that Brock Lesnar would not be appearing, despite being advertised. Roman Reigns came to the ring upset beyond belief. He demanded repercussions that he knew would not occur for Lesnar missing another appearance. He raced to the back to “break the fourth wall” and confronted Vince McMahon. After a commercial break, McMahon spoke to Renee Young to assure the audience that Brock WILL appear next week, and to announce that Reigns had been suspended for his “lack of respect.” Sasha Banks, with a reluctant Bayley on her side, defeated Sonya Deville via the Banks Statement. Bayley walked away as soon as the match ended, leaving Banks vulnerable to an attack from Absolution. The Miz hosted an episode of Miz TV to try to instigate a fight between his ‘Mania opponents, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. The two bantered back and forth, but saw through Miz’s game. They cleared the ring from him before Rollins surprised Balor with an uppercut. The Bar had an “open invitation” for any tag team willing to face them at ‘Mania. This caused a brawl to break out between every single tag team on Raw.

John Cena did what he “was told not to do”: issue a challenge to the Undertaker at WrestleMania. He explained how the only reason the match was not happening was because of Taker’s ego. Angle explained to The Bar that they will find out who their ‘Mania opponents will be after a Tag Team Battle Royal. Balor and Rollins faced off in a singles match. Rollins hit Balor with a monstrous Superplex, but Balor was able to roll him up to steal the win. The WWE announced a Women’s Battle Royal named after The Fabulous Moolah to take place at WrestleMania.  

Asuka came out to explain why she chose to challenge Charlotte at Mania, not Alexa. The Champion came out to explain Asuka chose correctly since she would not have been able to beat her. Asuka paraphrased Charlotte’s dad when explaining why she challenged Charlotte: “To be the Woman, you’ve got to beat the Woman.” Mickie James surprised her with a cheap shot. This led to a match between the two that Asuka easily won. Nia Jax defeated an enhancement talent. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, unaware that the mics around them were hot, spoke foully of Jax after her match. They, of course, ran away when they realized their mistake leaving Jax to run around the arena looking for her former friends. Another promo package aired for the Ultimate Deletion match between Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. The Tag Team Battle Royal closed the show, and Braun Strowman decided to throw himself into the match to contend for the Raw Tag Team Championships. It came down to Karl Anderson and Braun Strowman.  “I’m going to WrestleMania,” yelled Strowman as he chunked Anderson out of the ring to win the Battle Royal.

SmackDown

AJ Styles opened the show celebrating his win at Fastlane and hyping the fans up for his match against Nakamura at WrestleMania. This prompted Nakamura to come to the ring, he explained how dreams come true at Mania, and his dream is to be WWE Champion. Rusev faced AJ Styles in the opening match of the night. Styles was about to lock up Rusev in a Calf Crusher, but Aiden English rushed into the ring to attack the Champion. Nakamura jumped into the ring to help out Styles. Big E and Jimmy Uso spoke backstage about putting their differences aside to challenge The Bludgeon Brothers, who viciously attacked both teams at Fastlane. They decided to work together and tag against The Bludgeon Brothers. They did what they could to get some revenge for their partners, but it was not enough as the Brothers would go on to win the match. Backstage, Sami Zayn spoke about Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens ruining his opportunity to become WWE Champion at Fastlane.

Charlotte and Asuka faced off in the ring to talk about their match up at ‘Mania. Charlotte admitted that she was hoping Asuka would choose her after winning the Rumble. Asuka has never lost, but she has never faced someone like Charlotte. Jinder Mahal defeated Bobby Roode with a Khallas. United States Champion, Randy Orton, jumped into the ring to congratulate him with an RKO.  Carmella defeated Naomi after dragging her down from the ropes from her hair and rolling her up. Shane McMahon closed SmackDown with a special announcement: he will be taking a leave of absence as SmackDown Live Commissioner. Before stepping down, though, he scheduled Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. The two thanked McMahon for the matchup by viciously attacking him.

The path is clear to WrestleMania

It was an interesting week. Not many matches were announced, but we do have clarity of where pieces will seem to fit in the grand scheme. The biggest highlight was perhaps Strowman inserting himself, and winning, a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships. My hope is that he is not forced to find a partner. Looking back to when The Bar helped the Miz and Kane get rid of Braun at TLC last year, this would be an awesome payoff to that.

SmackDown announced no new matches, although, we did get exchanges for both of the top titles. What seems to be clear, though, is that we will see a few multi-men, or multi-team, matches announced in the coming weeks.

Finally, the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal is a big story. The name is completely tasteless. A quick google search will show you Moolah was an absolute horrible person who probably did more damage to Women’s Wrestling than she did to “push it forward.” That being said, the Battle Royal will allow those left off of the card an opportunity to have a match at  ‘Mania. It’s unfortunate that someone like Becky Lynch or Mickie James would have nothing to do at the biggest show of the year, but this seems like the only solution. Like with most stuff in WWE, we have to take the good with the undesirably bad.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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