WRESTLING REPORT

WWE sends mixed signals this week between elimination chamber and Wrestlemania

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With Elimination Chamber looming, this is usually when the WWE shifts into high gear to get everything firing on all cylinders with their biggest event of the year looming- Wreslemania.

Raw opened up with Becky Lynch who has gone from kicking off Smackdown to kicking off Raw and she's not even on this show. Stephanie McMahon and her cut a promo basically tabling Becky Lynch from competition the next few weeks while she's "suspended indefinitely" coming up to Wrestlemania where she is scheduled to face Ronda Rousey. Kurt Angle looks to be building up to one more big Wrestlemania moment, and with no John Cena, no HHH, no Shawn Michaels and no Undertaker seemingly, this may be the big nostalgic touch for this year's Wrestlemania, possibly in a tag match. Speaking of nostalgia, for some reason Jeff Jarrett and the Road Dogg are still hanging out with WWE for a second week in a row and they rolled out a second match with Elias, where they couldn't even break a guitar on him properly. Finn Balor continues blazing a path back to a main event and it seems like there's going to be a great match in his very near future and EC3 had a solid introduction to the WWE Universe which is nice since Lars Sullivan is alleged to have had anxiety issues and still hasn't debuted on the main roster after several weeks of promos.

Over on the sister show Smackdown, HHH made a rare appearance and flexed some of that VP power with Becky Lynch, continuing the build up for a great Wrestlemania main event. Gallows and Anderson made a rare appearance in a subpar tag match versus Rusev and Nakamora, as Smackdown struggles to find its rhythm since the return of the McMahons and the promised change of direction. Build up for Elimination Chamber seems to be left primarily to Smackdown as the main event is comprised of six of their stars including the Planet's Champion, Daniel Bryan. Overall this match isn't exactly stacking up for a great main event as most of the players involved aren't exactly headliners right now with the exception of AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Consider in 2018 the line up was Cena, Rollins, Balor, Elias, The Miz, Roman Reigns and Strowman but this year its AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Mustafa Ali, it's not really a great comparison is it? Building up for the tag team women's championship elimination match has been a little better though, as the women's matches have been high points on both Raw and Smackdown thus far.

Elimination Chamber looks to be a confusing PPV event with half of the WWE roster talking about Wrestlemania and pointing at the sign in the stadiums, while the other half is talking about an event coming up much sooner.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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