WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Charlotte shows some Flair

Charlotte Flair will challenge Natalya at WWE: Hell In a Cell Photo by WWE.com

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


Raw kicked off this week with general manager, Kurt Angle, hyping up No Mercy. The Miz would make his way to the ring, and demand a match in which he would defend his Intercontinental Championship. After a back and forth, Jason Jordan, Kurt’s son, came out to defend his father. Eventually, Kurt declared a six pack challenge would be tonight's main event. The winner of said challenge would be The Miz’s opponent at No Mercy. The first match of the night saw “friends” Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax facing off before their Fatal Four-Way match this Sunday. Alexa tried to walk away from the match, but Sasha Banks made her way to the ring to stop that. Jax would go on to win the match but would get laid out by Bliss, Banks, and a returning Bayley to end the segment. Raw returned from the commercial break with a package hyping up Brock Lesnar vs Bruan Strowman, who will main event No Mercy this Sunday. The package focused, mostly, on the parallels between the two’s careers. Just as much as Strowman dominates the WWE now, we were reminded by this package just how dominant Lesnar was in 2002. The Bar, Sheamus and Cesaro made there way to the ring to hype up their match against Ambrose and Rollins for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Their promo was interrupted by Ambrose and Rollins, then, by Gallows and Anderson. The three teams, then, faced off in a match that The Bar stole after Ambrose failed to realize Sheamus tagged himself into the match.

The second hour picked back up with another package. This time, it was for the highly anticipated match between John Cena vs Roman Reigns. Much like the package in the first hour, this one examined how similar the career paths of Cena and Reigns have been before getting into why these guys have come to dislike each other so much.  The Titus Brand got a victory in San Jose after Apollo Crews defeated Curt Hawkins with a spinning power bomb. Raw’s main voice, Michael Cole, then, went on to interview both Brock Lesnar and Bruan Strowman. Unfortunately for those in attendance, Cole conducted the interview on the big screen as neither men were in the ring. Paul Heyman, Lesnar’s advocate, did most of the speaking for his “client”. But, before Cole ended the interview, Lesnar thanked Strowman for pushing him into a corner.

Roman Reigns started the third hour by calling John Cena a hypocrite. Reigns reminded viewers of how much John Cena dogged The Rock in 2012 for being a “part timer”. Now, Cena has paved his way through Hollywood, and, thus, become a part time competitor for the WWE.  Reigns left the ring mocking Cena to end the segment. Bray Wyatt made his way to the ring for his rematch against Goldust. This week, though, Goldust wrestled without his traditional face paint because he “would not be a pawn in the mind games” of Bray Wyatt. Wyatt would again defeat Goldust. After his match, Balor made an appearance on the big screen to explain to Wyatt we he should be more afraid of the man than he was of the demon.  Enzo Amore would make his way to the ring to hype his No Mercy match against Neville, but Braun Strowman would attack him before he could even start. Neville, then, made his way to the ring to continue what Strowman had started. Raw closed with the six pack challenge to determine who would be facing The Miz at No Mercy.  Jason Jordan would go on to win the match. Raw ended with The Miz and The Miztourage attacking the new number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship.

Highlight of the Night:  Roman Reigns dropping an s- bomb on live TV. Every once in a while, WWE loosens up a bit and allows their performers to use profanity in a promo to heat up their feuds. Of course, the words are dumped before they make it on air, but allowing them to do it gives the audience a better idea of how much these guys do not like each other.

SmackDown Live

Shane McMahon opened this week’s episode of SmackDown Live. He  explained his disgust towards Kevin Owens after he attacked his father last Tuesday. McMahon promised Owens “life time of pain” next month when they face off in the Hell in a Cell pay per view. Our first match of the night saw Randy Orton defeat Aiden English when Orton caught English off the middle rope with an RKO. After the match, Rusev made his way down to the ring for a match against Orton. Rusev won the match almost immediately thanks to a distraction from English. Rusev proceeded to celebrate backstage as he claimed he would be returning to his country as a hero. The Singh brothers would, then, come to the ring to introduce the WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal. Mahal would, again, share with Shinsuke Nakamura how hard it is to be from another country and be champion. He explained that if Nakamura were to beat him, the fans would turn on him just like they turned on Mahal. The United States Champion, AJ Styles, made his way to the ring for his match with Baron Corbin. Before the announcer could finish introducing the champion, Corbin would attack him from behind to try to gain an advantage. Tye Dillinger would, then, run down to the ring and chop block Corbin to the ground and throw him out of the ring. The match would never happen, as Corbin was unable to stand when he made it back of the ring, thanks to Dillinger’s attack. Styles would take advantage of that injured leg, though, as he placed Corbin in a calf crusher to end the segment.

Charlotte Flair made her way to the ring to start the second hour. She thanked fans for their support during her father’s time in the hospital and promised to make every moment going forward big for her and her dad. SmackDown Live Women’s Champion, Natalya would make her way to the ring to explain why they should be celebrating her. This, of course, would prompt the entire SmackDown Live women’s roster to make their way to the ring and demand an opportunity to challenge for her championship. Daniel Bryan would go on to schedule a fatal four way between Becky Lynch, Naomi, Tamina, and Charlotte Flair. The winner, of course, would be granted an opportunity to challenge Natalya. The New Day defeated The Hype Bros with their Midnight Hour finisher. Former tag champions, The Usos, were on commentary to hype up their rematch with The New day at Hell in a Cell. Kevin Owens finally got the opportunity to address his attack on Mr. McMahon last week. Owens blamed Shane for making him do what he did to his father and explained that people like Shane “don’t go to hell, they go to heaven," alluding to the fact that their match next month will not end well for Shane.  Dolph Ziggler continued his new gimmick of stealing other wrestlers entrances and making a point that flashy entrances do not make a great wrestler. This week, his latest victims were Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and their DX faction. The main event this week was the fatal four way to determine who will be challenging for Natalya’s SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. The returning Charlotte Flair would go on to win the match after she booted Tamina in the face.

Highlight of the Night:  Charlotte Flair winning the main event. Her father’s illness forced Charlotte to step away from the ring before she could ever make a big impact on the blue brand. Now, as the number one contender, we’re sure to see great things to come.


How do they compare?

Raw this week had a typical “go home” show. The show did not feature many matches, but, rather, focused on hyping up the main events it will put on for No Mercy. On the other hand, the card to Hell in a Cell is still taking shape. Many of the matches for that event are still being set up. Both shows this week closed with a multi person match, and, both nights, these matches ended up being the best match. Again, though, Raw really had no reason to put on too many matches, as everything is already set up for this Sunday.

All of these things considered, it is the second week in a row in which I think both shows delivered greatly. If you were tuning in this week to watch some great wrestling, SmackDown certainly did more with their two hour slot. That being said, Raw did a great job hyping up their pay per view. I think those who are really invested in the Raw brand truly got a great go home show.

I can honestly say that this is my favorite build for a pay per view that the Raw brand has done this year. Considering how great they’ve built No Mercy, and how well they promoted those marquee matches this week, I have to give this week to Raw. WWE is doing something special with the red brand right now, and I cannot wait for No Mercy this Sunday.

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Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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