THE WRESTLING REPORT

Wildcard Week derails all momentum for Money in the Bank

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

This week seemed to hit a pretty big speed bump. Raw spent the first almost 30 minutes talking and cutting promos. Including Vince McMahon stumbling through some half developed concept called the "Wildcard Rule" where now three stars from Smackdown can come to Raw and vice versa. This makes absolutely no sense considering the whole point of a brand split is to have different guys on different shows and we literally did the superstar shake up two weeks ago. One thing that was exciting was the return of Daniel Bryan but why do it on Raw considering he was Smackdown's Champion all the way up to and through WrestleMania although no official announcement was made either way. It's good to see Ricochet in singles action, although I do think he works best as part of a tag team to let him get time to recover and get his wind back from all those flips he does during a match.

Later on Becky Two Belts showed up and she doesn't even have to speak to make her presence known and I love that she didn't, just ran out and shut up Lacey Evans. Also, have they decided on a name for this Viking group yet? What are we calling them now? The Viking Experience? That's not going to work for me. Raw then rematched Roman Reigns against Drew Mcintyre and I really don't know who wanted to see more of that. Then Shane McMahon and Elias showed up and now there were five members of Smackdown on Raw, uh what? I'm glad Kofi retained the title instead of just putting it back on Daniel Bryan, and I think this shows that WWE is banking on Kofi being the champ for a while. Overall, Raw was confusing and poorly planned it felt like.

Snackdown continued the terrible idea of a wild card rule with AJ Styles kicking off the show he left literally three weeks ago. They then transitioned into an Mustafa Ali promo where he says he won't quit, that may be but he might get hurt and miss the whole thing, again. The match had a great finish though, as much as I complain about Randy Orton it is always great when he shows up and just RKOs someone out of nowhere, I really do like that. Bringing the Usos back for a title match against the newly crowned Daniel Bryan and Rowan was a weird decision to say the least, and it just lends itself to the confusion from this Wildcard week, like why are AJ Styles and Sami Zayn in a triple threat with Kofi for the title? Why not just book them on Smackdown anyway? What was the point? Like I said, this was a confusing week.

Maybe next week will be better as Money in the Bank's "go home" week comes around.

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After dropping the middle game to the Rangers to split the first two games, the Astros looked for an improved offensive showing in the finale on Thursday night to take the series. Here is a rundown of the rubber game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.

Record: 25-25, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Valdez another Houston pitcher to thrive against Rangers

Much like Jose Urquidy on Tuesday and Lance McCullers JR. on Wednesday, Framber Valdez put up an excellent pitching line on Thursday against the Rangers. After allowing two singles in the first and a single in the second, he would settle in and hold the Rangers to just one baserunner, which came via a walk through six frames.

He would try to get through the seventh, but after a long at-bat and one-out double, Dusty Baker would stop his night and go to the bullpen. Unfortunately, that double would end up scoring as Josh James would allow an RBI-single, charged to Valdez, before finishing the inning. Along the way, Valdez was able to ring up eleven Rangers. His final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Kyle Tucker gets the big hit of the night

Luckily, Houston was still in the lead after the Rangers' run, thanks to a big hit by Kyle Tucker back in the second inning. After Alex Bregman reached base on a walk to become the first runner for the Astros, Kyle Tucker would break out of his recent slump with a two-run home run, putting Houston ahead 2-0 at the time.

Jordan Lyles was otherwise handling the Astros just like Kyle Gibson the night prior, who threw a complete-game shutout. Other than the Tucker homer, Lyles allowed another hit in the second and one in the third before retiring the next 12 Astros in order before an error in the seventh broke that streak, giving Houston their first baserunner since two outs in the third.

Houston takes the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James returned to the mound to start the eighth, and he would get a 1-2-3 inning against the top of Texas' lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it. After another scoreless inning by Houston at the plate, that would set up a save opportunity in the top of the ninth. The opportunity would go to Brooks Raley, and he would notch the save with a scoreless inning, giving Houston the series and moving them back up to .500 at 25-25.

Up Next: The Astros' final three regular-season games played at Minute Maid Park in 2020 are this weekend in a series against the Diamondbacks. In Friday's 7:10 PM opener, Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston while Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will be the starter for Arizona.

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