WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Women’s title matches announced for MITB

Asuka crashed the Mellabration ahead of their match at MITB. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Roman Reigns opened the show demanding Jinder Mahal come to the ring. Instead, GM Kurt Angle explained that he was not allowing Mahal out because management wanted them to avoid each other. Reigns did not back down, though, as he chased Mahal through the back in a vicious attack. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens put on a spectacular match in Rollins’ IC title open challenge. Rollins retained the title after hitting Owens with a stomp. Nia explained how she has an obligatory championship match at MITB. She, then, challenged Ronda Rousey to face her.

Bobby Roode defeated No Way Jose and Baron Corbin to qualify for the MITB match. The B Team, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, defeated Breezango. Natalya, Sasha Banks and Ember Moon defeated Riott Squad after Natalya submitted Liv Morgan with the Sharpshooter. The Tag Team Champions, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, defeated The Revival.

Alexa Bliss defeated Mickie James and Bayley to qualify for the MITB match after hitting Bayley with the Twisted Bliss. An injured Jinder Mahal attempted to make his way to the ring when he was, once again, attacked by Roman Reigns who speared him through a wall. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre defeated the unlikely team of Braun Strowman and Finn Balor. Thanks to Stephanie McMahon, Kevin Owens was granted another opportunity to be placed in the MITB match when he replaced an injured Jinder Mahal in the match against Bobby Lashley and Elias. Owens would win the match thanks to interference from Sami Zayn.

SmackDown Live

Daniel Bryan opened the show to an incredible ovation from the crowd. Big Cass came out to insult Bryan. The leader of the Yes movement had heard enough, though, as he viciously attacked Cass’ previously injured knee. The New Day took on The Bar with the stipulation that the winning team would have a member participating in the MITB match. The New Day sealed the win after an elbow drop from Xavier Woods. Paige explained to her former friends that they would have to face each other and Becky Lynch in a qualifier for the MITB match. Andrade “Cien” Almas finally made his debut on SDL defeating an enhancement talent.

Carmella insulted the fans of London for not praising her the way they should. Paige interrupted the “Mellabration” to announce that she will be defending her SDL Women’s title against Asuka. Becky Lynch qualified for the MITB match after submitting Rose with the Disarmer. Nakamura defeated AJ Styles in the main event of the show after pretending to have received a low blow and causing confusion with the referee. With the win, Nakamura will be allowed to pick the stipulation for their title match at MITB.

After this week, the MITB card is taking shape nicely.

It seems like we are going to get a nice grudge match between Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns. I was on the fence with this match up, but after their interactions this week, I am all in. I do not know if this is a one-off or not, but I am genuinely excited about this match now. Reigns is a great wrestler, no matter how hard it is for some people to admit it. It is really refreshing to see him in another feud now.

Now, let’s talk about why we are really here. Let’s talk about why this week was so good, and why MITB will be so exciting.

Ronda Rousey will be challenging for the Raw Women’s title in only her second match in the WWE. The way they presented the challenge was interesting, but it will not change how the hardcore fans will perceive this match up if she is to win. Ultimately, this is what makes this match so exciting. I do not see Rousey winning the title already, but how will she lose, if she does in fact lose? Could her “friendship” with Natalya finally break? It is truly an intriguing match to follow next month.

Interestingly enough, something similar is happening on SDL. Asuka will be challenging Carmella for her SDL Women’s title. It seems like the WWE is all-in on Carmella’s title reign. So, how do they explain a matchup between her and Asuka? Personally, I feel like Carmella will have some sort of help. That, or, the winner of the MITB match will interrupt and cash in immediately.

Regardless of the outcomes, there are three more matches that were added this week. All of them are intriguing in their own way. WWE left a lot to be wanted with Backlash, hopefully that will not be the case in a few weeks with MITB.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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