WrestleMania is coming


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!

WrestleMania's go home shows were weak at best.

Raw starts off with an announcement that the women's main even will be a winner takes all match, essentially combining the Women's Raw and Women's Smackdown titles, just a few years after their creation. The Ricochet and Aleister Black tour continued with them losing to The Raw tag team champs again The Revival and then turning on them and attacking them in a seeming heel turn. Kurt Angle had a farewell moment cut short by Baron Corbin with the WWE trying it's hardest to convince you that Baron Corbin is in fact a big enough jerk to warrant being the bad guy in this farewell match. Bautista came in and cut a great four word promo for his seemingly brutal match against Triple H, The Animal has been channeling his inner Bruce Willis by delivering a really solid angry but quietly spoken guy this time around and it's becoming more fun to watch as it builds, this may slowly be becoming my most anticipated non title match. The women's tag title match seems like it's going to be a disaster, Sasha and Bailey were way off their game and it seemed like everyone had a big case of the jitters for some reason, meaning their big match will be interesting to say the least.

Smackdown did everything in its power to try and convince you to watch WrestleMania with so much promo cutting it was crazy. AJ Styles and Randy Orton agitated each other some more, The Miz and Shane bothered each other even more, and Becky Lynch did her best work yet reminding everyone that they in fact are supposed to be rooting for her this Sunday. Daniel Bryant and Kofi Kingston did a great job with their promo at the end of Smackdown though and honestly WrestleMania does have some interesting and exciting matches booked.

There have been some really lazy moments building up to this main event, the Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey getting arrested on Raw was a lame send home moment. It doesn't make it more impressive that they are this ready to all fight each other they're fighting for two titles, they don't need to raise the stakes much more than that. The announcement that Finn Balor is returning to his Demon alter ego is great news, the Demon hasn't been seen in a long time and it tends to make for some great entertainment. Smackdown finished with basically the entire roster that isn't involved in a match coming out and wrestling in a giant battle royal that was funny but it reminds people just how many wrestlers aren't getting their moment in the sun. Think about this, all of those guys were out there and we still haven't heard from Bray Wyatt, Sami Zayn or Luke Harper. All guys who had big moments over the past few years. WrestleMania looms and afterwards there is usually a superstar shake up where some old faces swap shows, new guys show up and changes get made so who knows what's coming next.

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Framber Valdez injured his ring finger on Tuesday. Composite image by Jack Brame.

That sure escalated quickly. The news on Framber Valdez went from bad to vastly worse for the Astros with the fractured ring finger on his pitching hand concerning enough that season ending surgery is on the radar. Valdez is/was no sure thing to have been a first time quality full season starting pitcher, but seemed a decent bet after his maturity-driven albeit short season breakout 2020.

37-year-old Zack Greinke is the only member of the Astros' starting rotation to have thrown even 130 innings in a big league season. Greinke showed notable slippage in 2020. A by-product of the funky short season, or Father Time making a move? If Greinke further erodes, uh oh. It's all question marks behind him.

Lance McCullers got to the big leagues in 2015. Six years later McCullers has zero seasons under his belt in which he both pitched well and stayed healthy. If he hits that exacta in 2021 it's great for the Astros of course, greater for McCullers with free agency arriving at season's end. Particularly confounding with McCullers is that over his career he's been outstanding at Minute Maid Park, and basically sucked on the road. Career earned run average at MMP: 2.51. Career ERA everywhere else: 4.99. That's absurd. It's certainly not as if MMP is some great pitchers' park.

"Crafty" is typically applied to left-handed pitchers. Jose Urquidy seems a crafty right-hander. But since missing the 2017 season recovering from Tommy John surgery Urquidy has topped 100 innings worked once. Cristian Javier has some electric stuff and showed very well as a rookie. Javier has never thrown 115 innings in a professional season.

The odds are long against McCullers, Urquidy, and Javier all pitching well and staying healthy all season. Valdez didn't come close to making it to Opening Day. The best internal candidates to replace Framber (or anyone else) are Luis Garcia and the extremely-hyped thus far dud but still just 23 years old Forrest Whitley.

Woeful Rockets

It certainly isn't paying homage to James Harden that has the Rockets on a 13 game losing streak as they mercifully take their All-Star break. They're just that bad. Watching them is like watching a helpless fly tossed into a spider web game after game. Out of the break the Rockets play at Sacramento Thursday. The Kings are no good, but the Rockets are worse. A loss there all but guarantees matching the Houston Rockets' longest ever losing streak of 15 since the following night they play at Utah. If you care about them the Rockets are painful to watch. Hapless, helpless, hopeless. Their best shot at accelerating what might be a years long path back to relevance is to keep on stinking. The Rockets have the third worst record in the NBA. The three worst teams have equal chances at getting picks one through four in the draft. It's a 14 percent shot at number one, a 52 percent shot of being in the top four. The fourth worst team has a 48 percent chance of picking in the top four. If the Rockets are not in the top four, they lose their pick to Oklahoma City as a payoff of the awful Chris Paul-Russell Westbrook trade.

Watt signs with Cardinals

J.J. Watt could have least acknowledged "Of course the money the Cardinals offered had plenty to do with me picking them!" Off an 8-8 season in which they faded down the stretch the Cards have an interesting squad with some serious upside, especially if Kyler Murray makes a leap in his third season at quarterback. But no way are the Cardinals presently a first tier Super Bowl contender. We don't know for certain who Watt's other "finalists" were and what they offered. Seems a lock that none of them offered 23 million dollars guaranteed or two years 31 million total. Money is another scoreboard and J.J. is a huge winner on it. No one should ever blame a player for going for every dollar he can get. But Watt can't honestly say the best shot at a Super Bowl was his top priority then sign with a team which last had a winning season in 2015 and in Kliff Kingsbury has a guy who has accomplished nothing meaningful as a Head Coach at either Texas Tech or Arizona. Doesn't mean it can't happen in the desert, but there had to be better teams interested if a ring shot was of paramount importance.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Les Miles, what a slimeball. LSU, what a slimy institution in its handling of serial sexual misconduct in its football program

2. NBA All-Star Game Sunday. In 1993 more than 22 million people watched. Last year, 6.8 million. Not sure 5 mil watch Sunday.

3. Greatest ever NFL free agent signings: Bronze-Packers, Reggie White Silver-Buccaneers, Tom Brady Gold-Saints, Drew Brees

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