WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: The WWE closes out the year with two great shows

The unlikely team of Rollins and Jordan raised the bar and won the Tag Titles. Photo by WWE.com

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

RAW

John Cena welcomed the Chicago crowd to a very special Christmas edition of Raw. He was soon interrupted by Elias, who decided that this week he would be the interrupter not the interrupted. He got John Cena involved in his performance, and ended up surprising him with a punch to the face. Elias, then, issued a challenge to Cena. The two faced off in the first match of the night. Elias got a lot of offense in, but Cena proved to be too much putting him away with an Attitude Adjustment. Brian Kendrick returned to Raw to issue a challenge to the cruiserweight division’s newest competitor, Hideo Itami. Kendrick, smartly, grounded Itami in the early parts of the match. Eventually, Itami took over and put away Kendrick with a GTS. Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins made a case to Kurt Angle backstage; they both want to get their hands on Samoa Joe. Angle explained that it was not going to happen. Instead, they will be challenging The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championships. He, then, told Roman Reigns that he will be the one facing Samoa Joe, and it will be for his Intercontinental Championship. Absolution took on Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James. Just when it looked like the faces were finally going to top Absolution, Paige knocked Bayley off the top rope and pinned her after hitting her with a Rampage.

Backstage, Samoa Joe bragged about injuring Dean Ambrose the week before, and explained how he will become the next Intercontinental Champion. Heath Slater tried to “toughen up” by challenging Kane to a match. The match did not go as well as he may have hoped, though, as Kane easily defeated him with a Choke Slam. After the match, Kane hit Rhyno with a Choke Slam, as well. Curt Hawkins issued an open challenge in hopes of ending his losing streak. Unfortunately for him, it was answered by Finn Balor who defeated him with a Coupe de Grace. Bray Wyatt made his way to the ring, and he was ambushed by Matt Hardy. A “Miracle on 34th Street” Fight saw Ali, Tozawa, and Alexander defeat Amore, Gulak, and Daivari.

Samoa Joe challenged Roman Reigns for his Intercontinental Championship. Joe looked like he was going to win the match when he placed Reigns in a Coquina Clutch, but Reigns was able to get to the ropes. Reigns shoved the official causing disqualification, but that did not stop Reigns from attacking Joe, targeting his arms as payback for injuring his brother, Dean Ambrose. The Mizterouge came to the ring for their handicap match against Braun Strowman. Of course, Strowman had his absolute way with them and won the match. Alexa Bliss explained that she does not care who wins the Women’s Royal Rumble next month. That, of course, changed when Asuka announced she will be entering the match. Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins challenged The Bar for their Tag Team Championships. It was clear these guys were not on the same page, but some way, somehow, Jordan and Rollins pulled the upset and won the Tag Team Championships.

Highlight of the night:

Rollins and Jordan winning the tag team championships was an absolute surprise. Ambrose’s injury might have thrown a wrench in the WWE’s plans, and it is clear they are going another direction.

SmackDown Live

Daniel Bryan opened SmackDown addressing Dolph Ziggler leaving the United States Championship the week before. He announced that a tournament will be held to determine the new United States Champion. Jason Jordan and Shelton Benjamin demanded their chance at the Tag Team Championships. Aiden English made a case for Rusev and himself by singing a new rendition of The Rusev Day song. The New Day tossed pancakes and facts as they explained why they should be challenging The Usos. Eventually, Bryan issued a Triple Threat between all three teams to determine the next number one contenders. The match absolutely rocked the house, and Benjamin and Gable proved to be victorious after pinning Big E. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon continue to butt heads over Bryan’s “favoritism” for Owens and Zayn. The Ascension got Breezango the worst possible gift ever, a rematch against The Bludgeon Brothers. They quickly realized their mistake, though; as they raced to the ring to cause a disqualification in order to save them. Riott Squad used the numbers game in order to help Ruby Riott defeat Naomi. After the match, they attacked Naomi. Charlotte attempted to save her, but the group made quick work of her. Natalya, Carmella, Tamina, and Lana raced down and cleared the ring of the Riott Squad.

Bobby Roode rolled up Baron Corbin and advanced to the next round of the United States Championship tournament. Jinder Mahal advanced as well defeating Tye Dillinger. Backstage, both Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura announced they will be entering the Royal Rumble. AJ Styles came out on all cylinders in his match against Kevin Owens. The challenger was able to turn the tables after throwing Styles out of the ring, though.  What ensued was an absolute train wreck. Shane McMahon came to the ring to eject Sami Zayn after he tried to get involved in the match. Owens used this distraction to roll up Styles and upset the champion.

Highlight of the night

The tag teams absolutely killed it. At one point, the tag team division was the weakest division on SmackDown Live. Now, it’s undoubtedly the best. The Triple Threat match to start the show was great.

How do they compare?

I honestly had a really bad feeling about this week. WWE loves to do get really cheesy when it comes to Holiday themed shows. Both shows proved to be good, though. Raw delivered two awesome title matches. SmackDown did the same with two awesome matches, themselves. The United States Tournament spiced things up for the blue brand. Rollins and Jordan winning the titles was a genuine surprise. All in all, both shows were entertaining. SmackDown felt better than usual, so it probably should get the edge. With a new year comes new shows, and it will finally be time for the build to the Royal Rumble, and I cannot wait.

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

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

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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