WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Braun Strowman absolutely destroyed everyone and everything

Braun Strowman made Kurt Angle pay for his foolish mistake of firing him. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Braun Strowman opened Raw giving fans a “story with a happy ending”; a story where Strowman wins the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. An upset Kurt Angle came to the ring to fire Braun Strowman for his actions last week. Strowman did what any irrational, pissed, giant would do and absolutely destroyed the security who tried escorting him out of the building. Just when it looked like The Bar was going to defeat Titus Worldwide, Jason Jordan came out and caused a distraction. Crews rolled up Sheamus allowing his team to pick up the win. Braun Strowman continued his backstage rampage destroying Angle’s office and any wrestler in his sight. Cedric Alexander, with Goldust on his side, defeated Tony Neese with a Lumbar Check. Strowman continued his rampage backstage when he flipped over a production truck. Yup, a production truck. Angle found him and promised him he would still be in the match if he stopped destroying things, but that did not stop Strowman from chunking lead announcer Michael Cole into security.

Asuka and Nia Jax faced off. Asuka did the smart thing of trying to ground her with different submissions. None of them worked, until Nia got stuck in-between the steps. Asuka was ruled the winner as Jax could not finish the match. Jason Jordan pitched a match between Seth Rollins and Finn Balor to Kurt Angle. The Rival defeated an unnamed Tag Team in an enhancement match. Elias had a new song for the San Antonio crowd, of course, the song insulted the Spurs.

Roman Reigns took on The Mizterouge in a handicap match. No matter how hard Miz tried to throw off Reigns, it was not enough for his Mizterouge to steal the match up. Sonya Deville upset Sasha Banks pinning her after a monster kick. Matt Hardy defeated Heath Slater with a Twist of Fate. A promo package aired to reveal Goldberg will be the first entrant into the 2018 Class of the WWE Hall of Fame. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor were the main event, and, boy was it a great match. The Bar raced down to get some payback on Jordan, who was ringside supporting Rollins, but ended up brawling with Gallows and Anderson. Jordan swept Balor’s leg and Rollins hit him with a Curb Stomp to win the match.

Highlight of the night: The First hour was absolutely amazing. Braun should get fired every week. Him destroying everything and everyone in his way was awesome. Flipping over the production truck was the freaking cherry on top.

 

SmackDown Live

A semi final match in the United States Championship Tournament, Jinder Mahal vs Xavier Woods, opened the show. The New Day chased off The Singh Brothers, and Woods put off a valiant effort, but it was not enough to defeat the former WWE Champion. Mahal advanced to the final after pinning Woods with a Khallas.  AJ Styles promised to put an end to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens’ “Yep Movement” at the Royal Rumble. Mojo Rawley dominated the early part of his semi final match against Bobby Roode. The Glorious one was able to pick up the win,  though, with a nasty Glorious DDT. The Singh Brothers congratulated him with a blindsided attack. Mahal promised to beat Roode in the final next week, but Roode said he did not want to wait until next week. Daniel Bryan decided Roode had the right idea and decided to move the match to this week’s main event.

The Riott Squad defeated Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Naomi in a Six Woman Tag match. Naomi avoided getting rolled up by Morgan, but was met with a kick to the face by Riott allowing Morgan to pin her for the win. The Usos were promoting their Royal Rumble match when they were attacked from behind by Benjamin and Gable. Jinder Mahal worked Roode’s core to gain an advantage in the early part of their main event match. They do not call him the Glorious one for nothing, though. Roode was able to endure his injuries and, one glorious DDT later, picked up the win to become the new United States Champion.

Highlight of the night: Bobby Roode finally wins his first title on the main roster. He was, without a doubt, one of the most prolific characters on NXT. Lets see what he does now as a United States Champion.

How do they compare?

Another week, another “that’s it?” episode of SmackDown Live. I’m not going to place all of the blame on the show itself, though, it had to face the duty of having to promote the Mix Max Challenge that premiered that night on Facebook. The tournament matches were good, and Roode winning was an awesome moment, everything else just felt like more of the same. Now, look at how insane the first hour of Raw was. Are all the creative fluids going to the red show? Possibly.  Raw has an interesting week ahead of them. Not only will this be their Go Home Show, they will also be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Raw. It’s going to be another great week for the show. As for SmackDown? I am not sure what to expect at this point. At best, we get some gems of wrestling matches. At worst, it is a rehash of the week before. Hopefully things turn around as we approach Wrestlemania.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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