WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Raw continues to show why it's the best show

Braun Strowman took his savageness to another level when he laid out Kane and Lesnar. Photo by WWE.com

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

RAW

Roman Reigns opened Raw recounting his victory over Samoa Joe. Jason Jordan, who cannot seem to get a clue, came to the ring to congratulate Reigns, and to say that the two, along with Rollins, are the three most dominant men in WWE. This prompted a reunited Balor Club to come to the ring. Jordan and Balor exchanged words prompting Kurt Angle to schedule a six man tag between these men as the main event. Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville of Absolution after Banks trapped Rose in the Banks Statement. Broken Matt Hardy deleted Hurt Hawkins. After his win, Bray Wyatt appeared in the ring and the two shared a stare off where the two just laughed like the lunatics they are.

Elias performed a new song for the Memphis crowd to welcome back The Miz. The former Intercontinental Champion went on to talk about how Reigns is a bad champion, and how he made the championship what it was. Enzo Amore explained how Cedric Alexander tagging with Goldust was “the closest he is ever gonna get to Gold.” Sure enough, his statement proved to be right as Amore was able to retain his Cruiserweight Championship over Alexander via a count out. Backstage, Amore was tended to by the medical staff. It appears he sustained a leg injury in his match against Alexander. The Bar confronted Kurt Angle. He has not given them their proper rematch against Rollins and Jordan. Angle then explained that they will get their rematch at the Royal Rumble. The Miz, then, asked Angle for the opportunity to challenge Reigns for the Intercontinental Championship at the 25-year anniversary edition of Raw in two weeks. Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews absolutely upset The Bar after O’Neil rolled up Sheamus.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar hyped up the Royal Rumble main event. As they were leaving the ring, Kane attacked Lesnar and dragged him backstage where Strowman was waiting for them. Strowman attempted to murder the two when he dragged down production towers on top of them, much to Heyman’s horror. Rhyno tried to teach his partner, Heath Slater, another lesson in “toughening up” when he challenged Samoa Joe. It did not end well, though, as Joe submitted him via the Coquina Clutch. After the match, Joe announced he will be entering the Royal Rumble. Alexa Bliss instigated a fight between Nia Jax and Asuka. This resulted in Jax attacking Asuka as she made her way to the ring for a match. Jason Jordan’s hot headedness cost his team the loss in the main event when he distracted the referee and prevented him from seeing a tag between Rollins and Reigns. Balor hit Rollins with a Coup De Grace to win the match. As the losing team tried to make sense of the loss, The Miz and The Mizterouge attacked them. The Miz hit Reigns with a Skull Crushing Finale, and they mocked him by hitting him with the Triple Power Bomb.

Highlight of the Night:

Braun’s attempted murder. Braun Strowman is a monster. Paul Heyman’s dramatics made Strowman’s attack that much better. It seems every polarizing attack is either by Strowman or it involves him somehow. The best part about it is that they seem to get better every time.

Smackdown Live

Renee Young interviewed AJ Styles to get his reaction to last week’s announcement that he will be facing both Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Of course, he was interrupted by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who promised they will become the first Co-Champions. Shane McMahon came out and explained that since Styles will have to defend his title in a handicap match at The Royal Rumble, then Zayn and Owens can handle being in one themselves. Therefore, they will be taking on Nakamura, Orton, and Styles in the main event. Becky Lynch took on Ruby Riott in her first TV match since being written off in November. Her comeback would be a sweet one as she submitted Riott with a Disarmer. The Bludgeon Brothers absolutely destroyed the Ascension in their tag match. Mojo Rawley defeated his former partner, Zack Ryder, to advance in the United States Championship Tournament, where he will face Bobby Roode.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin came to the ring to talk about how they were robbed last week go the Tag Titles. Daniel Bryan addressed their concerns, and, eventually, Gable’s mouth got them put in a Two out of Three Falls match at the Royal Rumble. Aiden English announced him and Rusev will be entering the Royal Rumble. They would then go on to lose against Breezango after Fandango rolled up Rusev. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens tried to escape their Handicap Match by getting counted out. McMahon raced to the ring to restart the match, with the added stipulation of no count outs. Owens found another way around the match by using a chair to get them disqualified. McMahon came back out and restarted the match, now a no disqualifications match. Orton and Nakamura teamed up to take apart Zayn to pick up the win.

Highlight of the Night:

The Rusev Rumble!  Rusev and Aiden English are two of the most creative talents on SmackDown. They showed that again when they announced their entrance in the Royal, I mean Rusev, Rumble.

How Do They Compare?

This week was not even close. Raw continues to show us why it is the better show. SmackDown feels like a rehash every week, and it is taking his toll. What was once the best show in the WWE is now damn near unwatchable. With Raw’s 25 Year Anniversary Show coming up, I do not see them giving up any of this momentum. I am not sure what SmackDown can do to get the momentum back. Not rehashing the same thing every week would be a good start, though.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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