Monday, July 18, 2016

WWE Draft

The WWE has their draft tonight, splitting their roster between RAW and Smackdown.  They have an incredibly deep roster that often means good wrestlers are lost in the shuffle.  Add in the people from NXT and choosing just a top 10 seems like a disservice- so I'm going with a top 25:

  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Kevin Owens
  3. Cesaro
  4. Dean Ambrose
  5. Shinsuke Nakamura
  6. Finn Balor
  7. Sami Zayn
  8. AJ Styles- With those eight you could mix and match and have great matches for a year.  
  9. Roman Reigns- I don't have a problem with Reigns as a wrestler.  I have a problem with the WWE trying to make him a face when the fans really want to boo him.  In the past (Honky Tonk Man, the Rock), when the faces were clearly booing the guy, they turned him heel and let him run with it
  10. New Day- case in point.  Remember- the New Day came in as faces, but the crowds kept chanting "New Day Sucks!", they turned heel, and now they're the most popular act in the WWE
  11. Asuka- the first woman, but not the last.  The WWE has a great lineup of female wrestlers, but they might be better off having their own show to give them a chance to develop.
  12. Bayley
  13. Dolph Ziggler
  14. The Miz
  15. Bray Wyatt
  16. Sasha Banks
  17. American Alpha
  18. Rusev
  19. Alberto Del Rio
  20. Samoa Joe
  21. Charlotte
  22. Becky Lynch
  23. Enzo and Cass
  24. Zack Ryder
  25. Brock Lesnar- as a wrestler, Lesnar would fit in with the top 8.  But his sproadic schedule puts him down here

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fallout of Kevin Durant going to Golden State

15 days ago- June 19th, 2016- The Cleveland Cavaliers ended over 50 years of cursed sports teams.  

Red Right 88.  The Drive.   The Fumble.  The Shot.   Jose Mesa.  The SOB who double-crossed the Cavaliers.  The greatest NFL coach and the one place he couldn't win.  The football team who failed, left, and THEN became a powerhouse.   There have been a lot of sports tragedies...

And yes, that includes The Decision.  Seeing the hometown hero leave sucked.  Today- with LeBron James leading the Cavaliers to a title- all is forgiven.  But the fans remembered how much of a gut punch it felt.

So I have sympathy of Oklahoma City Thunder fans.  Today they saw their franchise player leave them for Golden State, a team that won 73 games last year.  OKC was close last year- they were up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals- and to be that close and then lose your best player is agonizing.

There's going to be a lot of fallout from Durant's move:

* Golden State will be favored to win the NBA title next year.  They most likely won't win 73 games again- to pay Durant, they had to lose Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, so their bench won't be as deep.  But in the playoffs, they will be ridiculously dangerous.  They have 4 of the best 15 players in the NBA and 2 of the best 4- that's incredible in today's NBA.

* I'm not sure they'll be able to keep all four together after next year.  Durant's contract has a player option next year and Steph Curry (after years of being underpaid by NBA standards) will also be a free agent.  The salary cap will be going up, but I don't think Golden State will be able to afford both players.

* Like Miami in 2010-2011, everyone will be rooting against them.  Individually, all of Golden State's players (except Draymond Green) are fan-friendly.  But fans hate superteams (when it's not their team).  

* What does OKC do now?  Russell Westbrook is a free agent next year.  They not only lost Durant, they lost him to the team that beat them.  If Westbrook doesn't agree to an extension (and I don't think he will), they should trade him and start over.  OKC has some nice pieces, but I don't see them beating Golden State.

* I'll pitch my idea for NBA salaries- have a completely hard cap... and every team is allowed to designate one franchise player who doesn't count against the cap.  That would encourage the 30 best players to go to 30 different franchises, and discourage superteams.  

Golden State and Cleveland are 1-1 in NBA finals over the past two years.  I was looking forward to the rubber match in the 2017 NBA Finals.  I'm still looking forward, but with a lot more trepidation.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Predictions

Kickoff Pre-show: No DQ Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
What Should Happen: I like Ziggler, but they should have Corbin win this and move on.  Ziggler can bounce back, but he needs a good storyline- until they are willing to give him one, use him to elevate others.

What Will Happen: Corbin wins with controversy, and this feud must continue

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Ziggler joins the Social Outcasts to replace Adam Rose

Texas Tornado Tag Team Match
The Usos vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
What Should Happen: If "The Club"  (really, not Bullet Club, not Balor Club, and not an original name- just "The Club"?) is getting a real push, they can't have 50/50 booking with the Usos.  Gallows and Anderson win and leave the Usos lying.

What Will Happen: Gallows and Anderson cheat to win, leading to Reigns and Styles coming down for a brawl that has to be separated.

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Usos win to give them a push on their way to challenging New Day for the belts.

Asylum Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
What Should Happen: Someone needs to explain what an "Asylum Match" is and how it's different from a Hell in the Cell match.

The WWE never misses an opportunity to miss na opportunity with Ambrose.  They need Ambrose to go over big and clean here, especially if Jericho is leaving (as rumored)

What Will Happen: Still think Ambrose wins

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Jericho wins to keep him strong when the McMahons throw him out tomorrow night on RAW

Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Intercontinental Title
Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. The Miz
What Should Happen: There is no bad scenario here.  Miz is great as a heel, and the other three would make fantastic champions.  I'll pick Sami because he's had the least buildup and could use the belt the most.

What Will Happen:  I think Cesaro gets the belt- Miz chases him for a few months, but Cesaro is over.

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: The match gets interrupted for a storyline I don't care about.

WWE Tag Team Title Match
The Vaudevillains vs. The New Day
What Should Happen: I'd pull the trigger here- the New Day have nothing left to do as Champions, and the Vaudevillains can be champions for Enzo and Cass or any other team.

What Will Happen: New Day retains to save the title switch to Gallows and Anderson

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Cass joins to make it a triple threat and wins the belts by himself (I like Cass, but I wouldn't job out two teams for him)

WWE United States Title Match
Rusev vs. Kalisto
What Should Happen: If Miz is going be the heel secondary belt champ, they need Kalsito to be the uberface champ.  I'd have Kalisto retain and then give him a story that's not a retread of Rey Mysterio, Jr.

What Will Happen: Rusev wins the belt to lose it to John Cena on Memorial Day

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Rusev wins the belt to feud with Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus

Submission Match for the WWE Women's Title
Natalya vs. Charlotte
Ric Flair is banned from ringside
What Should Happen: I like Charlotte- but there's so many good female wrestlers in the WWE I'd play hot potato with the belt for a few months.  Switch to Nattie.

What Will Happen: Charlotte retains to hold the belt until Sasha Banks is ready

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Charlotte retains to hold the belt until Eva Marie is ready

Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title
AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns
What Should Happen: Reigns is not awful, but the WWE doesn't know what to do with him. The crowd wants to boo him, but they are trying to make Styles the semi-heel here.  I'd love to bring back Seth Rollins as Reigns' corrupter, who turns him against everyone

What Will Happen: Gallows and Anderson come down, turn on AJ (to explain his injuries), and then form the Balor Club as Finn Balor comes out as the leader and next challenger for Reigns.

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Gallows and Anderson come down, turn on AJ, and then form the Club with new leader Randy Orton.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

NFL Draft 2016

I can root for a bad team, but not a stupid team.

The Cleveland Browns, ever since they returned, have been bad.  But over the past decade they've been stupid- so many failed draft picks, so many poor decisions, so many poor characters.  I still think that Mike Holmgren was trying to intentionally destroy the team- what else can you do to explain his decisions?

And they've got a new front office- Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta- but after being burned so often, I'm waiting for competency before I go back to being a fan.  For now, I'm casually rooting for other teams- last year it was the Carolina Panthers.  This year... not sure yet; might be Arizona.  

But, on paper, I really like the trade down from #2 to #8 with Philadelphia.  I didn't think Carson Wentz or Jared Goff was a franchise Quarterback, and they have so many holes that I think they should not worry about QB and just draft the best player available for now.  Wait until you have some decent players, then worry about the QB.

So, they have #8- what do I want the Browns to do?  Some thoughts...

Trade down?  Sure- if it's a good deal.  

Joey Bosa?  I've seen just enough red flags and enough comments about not fitting with the Browns' defense scheme that I'd rather not draft him.

Ezekiel Elliot?  Ugh- Running Backs have such a short lifespan that I hate getting one on such a rebuilding team.  

Jalen Ramsey/Vernon Hargreaves?   Both good players, both fill a need.  I'm happy here.

Laremy Runsil/Ronnie Stanley?  The one player the Browns have is LT Joe Thomas.  After losing a lot of their line through free agency, this is the basically rebuilding the line.  I don't hate the idea, but I'd rather see...

DeForest Buckner?  The Browns have een awful against the run- he would solve that hole.

Myles Jack?  This is going full Philadelphia 76ers- drafting an injured player who might not play this year.  Never go full 76ers.

Patrick Lynch?  If the Browns do this, I'll be pissed.  If you want a QB, take the QB at #2.  

We'll see what happens on Thursday.  And see if the Browns get one step closer to getting my support again.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


"Let's get a cat."

My brother Brian had moved in with me in early 2000, and his suggestion was to get a cat.

Which- our family had always been a dog family.  We had a German Shepherd (Snafu), a Black Lab (Midnight), two Siberian Huskies (Shadow and Zinny)... yes, we technically one cat- but she treated us with disdain.

But we lived in half of a duplex in Lakewood, and there was no room for a dog.  So we went to the Cleveland Animal Protective League, and picked up a Domestic Shorthair.  She wasn't my first choice- she wasn't Brian's first choice- but she was the only one we could agree on.

Then we couldn't agree on a name at all- I think he wanted to name her Rudy, and I wanted Mystery.  We finally settled on Smokey (or Smoky- never could figure out the proper spelling).  I hadn't wanted a cat, but Brian did... why not?

Two weeks later, Brian wasn't that interested in having a cat.  But I was hooked.  Smokey liked to hop up and let me pet her, even though she was shy around everyone else.

Fast forward ten months.  An online friend was visiting from Boston.  I tried to warn her that Smokey was shy, and "... you might not even see her while you're here."

An hour later, Smokey was sitting on her stomach, purring.  At that point, I pretty much had to marry Katie- my cat approved of her,

More than me, in fact.  I'd been replaced as the only tolerable human in Smokey's life.  But they needed each other.  When Katie was down, Smokey was there for here.

About five years ago, we brought another cat into the house- Pippin.  Twice Smokey's size, the single friendliest cat I've ever met.  And the most doglike cat I've ever met.  Smokey can't stand Pippin- which makes Pippin even try harder to be more friendly.  

But this past week, Smokey has been lethargic.  And not eating.  And today we went to the vet, and... she has fluid in his stomach, and a low count red blood cells.  The prognosis isn't good- we're giving her Prednisolone, but the medicine won't cure her- just give her energy, allow her to eat, and prolong her life for some time.

The medicine seems to be working- she's sat in both of our laps, and seems much more energetic.

They say All Dogs Go To Heaven.  It won't be Heaven unless Cats are there to.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wrestlemania 32 Predictions

Kickoff: 20-man Battle Royal for the André the Giant Memorial Trophy
– AndrĂ© the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

What Should Happen: The Social Outcasts work together, eliminate everyone, and spend the next four months holding the trophy collectively.
What Will Happen: Kane wins in what his probably his last Wrestlemania
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Kane wins to start a six month feud with the Big Show

Kickoff: Tag Team Match
– The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz

What Should Happen: The Dudley Boyz win. The next night, as they brag about their win, out comes American Alpha to make their debut by beating the Dudleyz.
What Will Happen: The Usos win in a regular match
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: The Authority come out to attack the Usos and remove them from backing up Roman Reigns

10-woman match
– WWE Divas vs. Blond and Beautiful

What Should Happen: Emma has been outstanding since her return; I’d have her win and really push her in the secondary woman’s program
What Will Happen: The Divas dominate, with Paige winning and getting prepared to challenge for the title.
What I’m Terrified The Divas dominate with Eva Marie winning and getting prepared to challenge for the title

7-man Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
– Kevin Owens © vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust

What Should Happen: The other five are moved to the US title match, leaving Owens vs. Zayn as a one-on-one match; barring that, I would have Stardust pull off the upset to win the belt and begin his push; or Zach Ryder to give him a Wrestlemania moment and an apology for previous booking…
What Will Happen: Ziggler is the go-to guy for these; Owens gets ready for a World Title program
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Sin Cara wins to set up a Kalisto-Sin Cara unification match

Singles match
– Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

What Should Happen: Match of the Year, AJ Styles wins
What Will Happen: Match of the Night, AJ Styles wins
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: The Bullet Club make their debut- and turn on Styles to join with Jericho as their leader.

Singles match for the WWE United States Championship
– Kalisto © vs. Ryback

What Should Happen: Kalisto wins, sets up a Neville-Kalisto match when he returns
What Will Happen: Ryback wins to set up a Reigns/Ryback feud for the World Title
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Ryback wins to set up a Big Show/Ryback feud for the US title

4-on-3 Handicap match
– The New Day vs. Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev & King Barrett

What Should Happen: The New Day is a great example of three guys being put together and creating something great. The United Nations is an example of putting four guys together and it not working- all four work better as individuals. I’d not only have New Day win, but have the United Nations explode, with Sheamus and Rusev feuding with Del Rio (who needs to be a smartass tweener) and Barrett
What Will Happen: 4>3, the titles aren’t on the line, and New Day has won most of the battles. I think the UN wins
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: New Day introduces a new member to even out the odds and risk their chemistry.

Triple Threat match for the WWE Divas Championship
– Charlotte © (w/Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

What Should Happen: 25 more iterations of this feud over the next two years. I’d have Sasha win the belt here
What Will Happen: Sasha wins the title
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Ric Flair convinces all of them to join forces as “Ricky’s Angels” (with Arn Anderson in the Bosley Role)

No Holds Barred Street Fight
– Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) 

What Should Happen: With one match, you have a chance to cement Dean Ambrose as the top face of the WWE. Ambrose beating Lesnar would be David toppling Goliath, and the No Holds Barred still can keep Lesnar strong. This is probably the one booking decision that has the greatest impact for the future of the WWE, because Ambrose losing now would tell the fans that it’s no good to try and cheer him past the glass ceiling.
What Will Happen: Lesnar wins, but Ambrose shows heart.
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Lesnar obliterates Ambrose to start laying the groundwork for the WM33 main event of Reigns-Lesnar 

Hell in a Cell Match
If Shane wins, he will get control of Raw and Undertaker will be barred from competing at WrestleMania again.
– Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker

What Should Happen: I would have Vince and Shane join forces to turn on Undertaker and cost him the match to set up the double turn at the end of Wrestlemania. For this match, Undertaker kills Shane for 15 minutes as Vince watches before turning, leading the announcers to speculate that “Vince does have a heart after all!”
What Will Happen: John Cena returned to help Shane win, setting up UT-Cena for next Wrestlemania
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Shane cleanly pins UT

Singles Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
– Triple H © vs. Roman Reigns

What Should Happen: They’ve been trying- but we’re at the point where the crowd enjoys booing Reigns. And once you’re at that point, it takes a long time and a lot of effort to change their minds. I’d embrace him as a heel- have Shane and Vince come down and help Reigns cheat to beat HHH for the belt, then ‘firing’ Stephanie and HHH to make them to underdogs. 

Heel Reigns has so many more interesting matchups- not just HHH, but Ambrose, a returning Rollins, Lesnar, Cena. Face Reigns has Lesnar and HHH in iterations we’ve seen before… then Owens… and then… Ryback? 

Listen to the crowd, WWE.  They want heel Reigns. Give it to them.

What Will Happen: The Authority take out the Usos and every other face that tries to help Reigns in a wild brawl. Towards the end, the last remaining ally is Dean Ambrose, who is fighting off the United Nations- and Seth Rollins returns to assist. Inside the ring, without his helper, HHH gets speared for the win. The crowd cheers the returning Shield but the early part of the match will hear 80,000 people chant ‘DIE ROMAN DIE’

What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Reigns wins, cleanly. The fans openly revolt, and the announcers try to cover it up, but fail miserably