WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Strowman gets even as the odds get even more stacked for Styles

Braun Strowman gets even with Elias in a big way. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

John Cena opened Raw explaining to fans how he has to win the Elimination Chamber Match, because, if he does not, he’s not sure he has anything for WrestleMania. The Miz was not thrilled with what Cena had to say, and explained why he will be the one to face Brock Lesnar in New Orleans. This caused Cena to challenge Miz to a match; the loser enters the chamber first. Miz put up a valiant effort, but an Attitude Adjustment from the middle rope put Miz away. The Revival fabricated an advantage for themselves when they attacked Gallows and Anderson before their match. Their effort proved to be fruitful as they were able to pin Anderson to win the match. Kurt Angle revealed that his son, Jason Jordan, suffered a serious neck injury; thus, he will be missing WrestleMania. Seth Rollins came out to wish his former partner a healthy recovery, and to request an opportunity in the Fatal Fourway to determine who will be the last entrant at the Elimination Chamber. Angle, eventually, obliged and granted Rollins the chance to enter the match.

Bayley and Sasha Banks got to air out their differences in the ring, and, boy did they. The match was as hard hitting and aggressive as the last few weeks’ matches have been. Bayley won the match after hitting Banks with a Bayley to Belly from the middle rope to win the match. Nia Jax surprised both women and attacked them from behind. Alexa Bliss persuaded Mickie James to tag with her against Absolution. The mind games of Absolution proved to be too much, though, as Mandy was able to pin James after a distraction from Sonya.

Elias’ concert this week was interrupted in the most creative way possible, Braun Strowman’s concert, with a giant bass. Unfortunately for Elias, Strowman got some sweet revenge by breaking that bass on Elias’ back. Sheamus’ gamble to the top rope in his match against Roman Reigns burned him as Reigns caught him with a giant Spear to win the match. Michael Cole revealed that Ivory will be joining this year’s class of the WWE Hall of Fame. The “Second Chance” Fatal Fiveway between Wyatt, Hardy, Crews, Rollins and Balor closed the show. Crews and Wyatt were going at it on the top rope when Balor and Rollins worked together to power bomb both of them. Both men went for the pin, leaving the referee confused on who the winner of the match was. After Raw, Kurt Angle took to Twitter to announce both men will enter The Elimination Chamber Match.

Highlight of the Night: C’mon, really? It’s Braun with the bass. No question or debate to be had. How do you get even with a man who broke a guitar on your back? You freaking break a giant bass on his back. It’s only fair.

SmackDown Live

Dolph Ziggler came to the ring for his match against Baron Corbin, only Corbin never makes it to the ring thanks to an attack from Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The two raced to the ring and attacked Ziggler as well. Charlotte continued on her quest to defeat every member of the Riott Squad by defeating Sarah Logan with a nasty Natural Selection. Two down, one to go. Shane McMahon explained to Daniel Bryan that Corbin and Ziggler will still get their chances to challenge for the WWE Championship via singles matches against Zayn and Owens. The first of these matches saw Baron Corbin defeat Kevin Owens after hitting him with an End of Days.

Bobby Roode announced he will be keeping the Open Challenge tradition going for his United States Championship. He admitted that he was hoping Randy Orton would challenge him, after he surprised him with an attack last week. Sure enough, Orton answered but so did Jinder Mahal. The former WWE Champion came out to stir the pot between Orton and Roode, and it worked as he caused them to begin to brawl before eventually hitting both of them with Khallas. Benjamin and Gable interrupted Big E’s attempt to break the world record for most pancakes eaten in one sitting. They insulted the New Day’s seriousness before tossing their pancakes. This, of course, lead into a match. The New Day would pick up the win with the Midnight Hour. Sami Zayn did what he could to prevent Dolph Ziggler from joining the match at Fastlane, but one Super Kick spoiled his plan, and Ziggler pinned him for the win.

Highlight of the Night: The New Day keep finding creative ways to feud with their opponents. Add to that their awesome BHM gear, and you have a recipe for a fun segment involving the most creative tag team of this generation.

Boy, were this weeks’ shows about stacking the odds. Raw’s main event became a Fatal Fiveway, and the ridiculous finish made the Chamber match the first ever to feature seven wrestlers. That being said, we finally know who will be in the match and how it will work. It will be fun to see how Miz weasels his way through the match, despite being the first entrant to the match.

On the blue brand, the odds just got stacked that much more against WWE Champion, AJ Styles. The addition of Corbin and Ziggler will make for a ridiculous main event. This, hopefully, changes nothing. If they were to steer away from Styles vs Nakamura at ‘Mania it would be a crime.

Sprinkle in some ridiculousness like Braun’s bass and Big E’s pancake binge and you’ve got another solid week. Next week will be Raw’s go home show before Elimination Chamber, so we should expect less funny business as Raw closes the door on their PPV’s before WrestleMania. SmackDown Live definitely has an intriguing main event for Fastlane, these next couple of weeks should be a build for the remainder of the card.

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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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