WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: The Greatest Royal Rumble takes the focus off Raw and SDL

This week in WWE: The Greatest Royal Rumble takes the focus off Raw and SDL
Nakamura destroyed Styles’ old friend, Karl Anderson, ahead of their match on Friday. Photo by WWE.com

Raw

Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns previewed their match at The Greatest Royal Rumble that will take place this Friday.  Elias defeated Bobby Roode in the first match of the night with a roll up. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated The Ascension in preparation for their Raw Tag Title match against The Bar this Friday.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn debuted their new show, The Sami and Kevin Show. Their first guest was Kurt Angle. In typical fashion, the guys went overboard with their trolling and got punished by Kurt by being placed in a tag match against Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre defeated Titus World Wide. McIntyre grabbed the mic after the match and explained he’s not “ the man the WWE wants.” He’s “ the wake up call and reality check this company needs.” Chad Gable made his Raw debut upsetting Jinder Mahal with a Roll Up.

Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley bulldozed through Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a brutal tag match. Finn Balor and Seth Rollins defeated the now abandoned Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. A Ten Women Tag Match saw Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon, and Natalya team up against Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and the Riott Squad. The match would end in a DQ after Ronda Rousey get involved trying to help out her friend, Natalya, who had sustained an injury from a Sarah Logan chop block.

SmackDown Live

The Miz opened the show with intentions of hosting Miz TV with Daniel Bryan as his guest. Instead, Big Cass showed up and explained exactly why he holds so much disdain for Bryan. Backstage, Bryan was treated by the medical staff for an injury he appeared to have sustained while making his way to the ring for Miz TV. The Iconics defeated Becky Lynch and Auska after Peyton used the ropes for leverage when pinning Lynch. Jimmy Uso defeated Eric Rowan thanks to a distraction from Naomi.

In typical contract signing fashion, Carmella was attacked by her opponent, Charlotte, for being obnoxious. Charlotte ended the segment lunging a table on top of the Champion. Shelton Benjamin defeated Randy Orton thanks to a distraction from Sunil Singh. Daniel Bryan revealed to Renee Young that Paige accepted his request to challenge Big Cass at BackLash. The team of Nakamura, Rusev and Aiden English defeated AJ Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. Styles attacked Nakamura after the match, but ended up receiving another low blow. Nakamura, then, focused his attack on Styles’ friend, Karl Anderson. Styles could only watch along as Nakamura kneed Anderson in the face.

The Greatest Royal Rumble was the focus this week and that made the shows suffer a bit. Raw threw a bunch of tag matches together. Granted, there’s filler episodes all the time, but it felt really excessive on this week’s show. The most compelling thing about Raw, is Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt working together. Their chemistry and story all points to them winning the Raw Tag Titles. Meanwhile, the Authors of Pain and Ziggler and McIntyre continue to cause hell. The biggest issue with Raw prior to the shake up was the tag team division, it seems to have been addressed very well.

SmackDown continues on the roll it has been on for a few weeks now. The fact that the show was so good without Samoa Joe and with Andrade and Sanity still left to debut, is very encouraging. I do not know what the end game is with Cass, but, like it or not, he will be a focus on this iteration of SmackDown. From top to bottom, the show is absolutely refreshed. Styles and Nakamura are in a great main event program, the tag division has two interesting feuds, and Carmella is proving to be a great obnoxious heel champion. All in all, the steady pace the show has been on continues to impress me.

The Greatest Royal Rumble is a weird, and quite frankly unique, situation the WWE has placed itself in. It will air live on the WWE Network this Friday, at 11 am no less, but it hasn’t necessarily been built with the luster of a Pay-per-view. Perhaps it is because of the distance, since the event will take place in Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, in some cases, we are seeing far more interesting circumstances than the ones we saw a few weeks ago at 'Mania. All in all, I think the show will be fun. I expect there to be some surprises, but at this point, I am no longer convinced Brock Lesnar drops the Universal Title. Frankly, it will be kind of fun to wake up to live wrestling for once.

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We're not saying this is the greatest photo of Alex Bregman ever…but we're not saying it's not. Photo by Bread & Water Productions.

Only Alex Bregman, his tireless crew (we’re looking at you, Tyler Straub), and his endless business and charity interests could make Major League Baseball’s quiet offseason seem so 24/7.

The latest: Wild Sol, the spicy and saucy new Southwest food brand that Alex and his wife Reagan have created — and just toasted with a totally fire launch party at EaDo hotspot Chapman & Kirby.

Alex and Reagan welcomed a star-studded, invite-only list of party people to celebrate the Wild Sol official launch and sample some savory — and spirited, literally — salsas (more on the “spirited” part in a moment). The party also saluted the Wild Sol team who have been working for more than a year on the launch: Laurice Howard, Reagan’s mother (and an Instagram treasure); the aforementioned Tyler Straub (whom we here at CultureMap have dubbed “Tyler the Creator”); Michael Posey, and Adrienne Price.

While hot Houston DJ Mr Rogers spun his party-perfect beats, the VIP crowd sampled Wild Sol’s line of Hot, Mild, Salsa Verde, and Mango Habanero salsas. Flecha Azul Tequilaprovided the perfect way to cool off from the spicy Mango Habanero and Hot salsas. Considered the fastest growing additive-free, ultra-premium tequila in the world, Flecha Azul was founded by A-list friend of the Bregmans — Mark Wahlberg — along with his partners Aron Marquez, and Abraham Ancer.

A Sol-powered party

Astros star shortstop Jeremy Peña (aka La Torrenta) hit the party. Photo by Bread & Water Productions.

As for the crowd, it was a family affair and a who’s-who list of sports celebs. Guests included Alex’s mother, Jackie De Oliveira Bregman; and Reagan’s parents, Laurice and Grant Howard, with her brother Kyle Howard. Other guests included Flecha Azul Tequila founder Aron Marquez; Houston Astros star shortstop Jeremy Peña; Astros business development director Kyle McLaughlin; Astros’ reporter Julia Morales Clark and husband Matt Clark; Adrienne and Jared Crane; rap legends Slim Thug and Paul Wall (who attended with his wife, Crystal); Warren Moon; former NFL star Adrian Peterson and his wife, Ashley; Madison Straub; Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale; former Houston Texans star Chester Pitts; Madelyn Payne; Haleigh Broucher; and Southern songstress Lenora and her fiancé Jarren Small.

The normally Navy SEAL-composed Alex Bregman tore it up on the dance floor and posed for an epic photo with his beloved Mom and with Paul Wall and Straub — making us wish they three would start a hip-hop act.

“I am so grateful for all of our friends and family who showed up to support,” said Alex Bregman of the party. “We’ve got great momentum and we’re looking forward to taking this to the next level.”

A little about the new Wild Sol salsas: each brings the heat and is made with an actual splash of Flecha Azul tequilas. Here’s the Wild Sol starting lineup:

Ladies and gentlemen, your Wild Sol starting lineup. Photo by Bread & Water Productions.

Hot Salsa: robust and spiced with dried chilies that really bring the heat; made with a splash of Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila

Mild Salsa: rich with limes, tomatoes, and dried chilies for a touch of heat; made with a splash of Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila

Salsa Verde: herby and smokey with tomatillos and vibrant serrano peppers; made with a splash of Los Coyotes Mezcal

Mango Habanero Salsa: sweet up front with fresh mangos and a punch of fiery habañeros; made with a splash of Flecha Azul Reposado Tequila

“We are excited to collaborate with our friends at Wild Sol,” said Flecha Azul Tequila founder Marquez. “Over the last year, I received samples of recipes, and their desire to produce a salsa that is unique and spirited shines through. You can’t have the best spirited salsa if you are not using the best tequila.”

No, you can’t, Aron. Those on the hunt for Wild Sol’s salsas can find it online at WildSol.co. — expect even more products this year. Houston shoppers can also look forward to Wild Sol on H-E-B and Kroger shelves in the coming months, the company promises. Score the Flecha Azul tequila line at local Spec’s, Total Wine & More, or online.

Breggy talks his bomb offseason

Bregman poses with his manager Tyler Straub just before he headed back to Phoenix after attending Astros Fan Fest. Photo by Steven Devadanam.

As we mentioned, few — if any — MLB stars have put in the work like Alex Bregman this offseason — on and off the field. Just how committed is the All-Star third baseman? In January, he flew in from Phoenix, where he’s been training, just to attend the Astros Fan Fest — only to hop a flight immediately after the event.

Seriously, does he sleep?

“Oh yeah,” Bregman told us at the event. “Sleep is the key. The sleep’s where you recover — you gotta sleep. I feel like that’s the best form of recovery for any athlete. So, we try to sleep eight to 10 hours a night.” When we jokingly asked if the headline is that Baby Knox (his son) is letting him sleep eight to 10 hours a night, Bregman chuckled.

“Oh, Knox sleeps — Knox might sleep 12 hours himself. He’s growing so much and I think it’s because he sleeps so well.”

Bregman, who (somehow) turns 30 on March 30, is well aware of all the speculation as to whether he’ll extend with the Astros, like his teammate José Altuve. He revealed good news for his fans who are waiting for an epic season.

Big things ahead

“I feel better than I’ve ever felt,” he told us. “I feel younger than I’ve ever felt. I feel more athletic than I’ve ever felt. I’m really looking forward to having a really good year.”

He’s also working on every part of his game as he readies for another World Series run, and is ready to play ball —as he works on every part of his game. “I think it’s every single aspect of the game, trying to get a little bit better,” he said. “This offseason’s been really hitting-focused and it’s been fantastic. I cannot even tell you how excited I am to get down to Florida and get going.”

We also caught up with Bregman at the annual Cactus Jack Celebrity Softball Tournament put on by Travis Scott this past week, where he hit the field with a host of all stars and celebrities. Having just headed up his Bregman Cares Classic tournament at Sugar Land’s Constellation Field, a ball game for a special cause meant that much more to him.

“It means so much,” he told us before the game. “Being able to help any community is such an honor.”

We also asked Bregman about his Super Bowl experience, where he partied with Houston Texans superstar quarterback C.J. Stroud and newly minted NFL Hall of Famer Andre Johnson, the first Texan to be inducted into the halls of Canton, Ohio.

“It was an honor to be able to hang with him and Andre,” Bregman added, “and celebrate their amazing seasons.”

And we’re ready to celebrate an amazing Bregman season, too.

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