Never Say Never In Pro Wrestling: CM Punk Returns To WWE

By Jim Biringer

You can never say never in the world of professional wrestling, as we saw Saturday night at the Survivor Series. After nearly a decade away from WWE, CM Punk returned to the company he swore he would never go back to live in Chicago his hometown. 

That’s been the motto of Vince McMahon, the former chairman, CEO and head of creative at WWE. Triple H is now the head of creative at WWE. Nick Khan is running things on the business side along with Endeavor as the parent company, which bought WWE. If Vince McMahon is still running things in WWE, CM Punk is not here. But it is a new era. It’s a new time. It’s a new year, and who would have thought CM Punk would have been back in WWE in 2023?

It is just remarkable because of what goes on in the world of professional wrestling. We saw Bret Hart leave and come back. And let me tell you this, as somebody who’s watched professional wrestling over the years, the Montreal Screwjob and what happened to Bret Hart that night over the WWF Championship with Shawn Michaels was irreparable.

There was a lot of bad blood. Bret Hart spit in Vince McMahon’s face. That was the day that the Mr. McMahon character was born. Bret left along with the British Bulldog and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Owen Hart was the only member remaining with the company in 1997. Rest in peace Owen Hart after what happened in 1999. 

The years went by. Bret Hart buried the hatchet with Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. We saw over the years, especially when Punk was in AEW or when he was suspended by AEW, he was trying to make amends with guys in WWE. 

And look is CM Punk the most likable guy out there? No. He’s probably more disliked than he is like, but he means money. And if he can help WWE make money which he already has by his merch and the views on social media and all that stuff. He’s good for business. And as Triple H said in his press conference Saturday night, Endeavor is allowing Triple H and Nick Khan to do what’s best for business.

They’re not overseeing things. They’re letting the guys who were in charge run the show because they have belief in their ability or else they wouldn’t be there. Remember Vince McMahon controlled everything. If he didn’t like something he was going to change it to fit his vision. Now it’s the vision of the company and Triple H has always said we do what’s best for business.

Bringing CM Punk back is what’s best for business. AAEW dropped the ball. Yes, the beef with Tony Kahn and with Jack Perry after what happened at All-In. And we will truly never know what happened at All In. That stuff could have been worked out the stuff with the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. If money was going to be made, you can work things out.

As we saw, WWE decided that it was the best time to pull the trigger on a CM Punk return at the Survivor Series. Working in this business and seeing this business, once Punk was let go by AEW, he was coming back at the Survivor Series. It made too much sense not for him to return there. Punk is from Chicago. The Chicago fans were deprived of CM Punk in September, so everything aligned perfectly for a return. 

With the reaction he got and the look on his face, Punk knew he was back home. He tried to put that WWE locker room inside AEW. But after what happened after Brawl Out aka All Out 2022, and then what happened at All In you knew it was going to happen. Tony Khan took sides with the guys who started the company, 

You see here Cody’s here. Jade is here. CM Punk is now here. If there is a will there is a way for someone to return back to the company after having a falling out. Just look at how many times Ultimate Warrior came back to WWE after his problems. Then there was Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Superstar Billy Graham, Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett, Bruno Sammartino, and of course Bret Hart. Throw in even Stone Cold Steve Austin after he walked out on the company back in 2002 only to return in 2003. 

It doesn’t matter what a superstar’s past is. If things can be worked out and there is money to be made, guys will come back. That’s why you never say never in pro wrestling.

Where Has Boxing Gone?

By Mark Martinez

In the 90s, at least once a month, on a Saturday, you went to an uncle’s house to watch boxing. HBO, or Showtime, had great boxing cards lined up, even without Pay-Per- View. When I sit back and think about it, we didn’t realize we were witnessing the end of a Golden Era. Every weight class had more than four or five competitors that were soon to be legends. 

The Welterweight class alone had a Murderers’ Row of top ranked fighters. Felix Trinidad was Puerto Rico’s pride and glory. Trinidad fought, from 1990 to early 2001, without losing a single bout. What impressed me the most about Trinidad was how many top contenders he defeated throughout the years. Trinidad was Puerto Rico. No other boxer from the homeland has been able to have the same impact on the sport as he did. 

Miguel Cotto came close but, by that time, boxing was already on the decline. 

The Top Ten Welterweights in the nineties were a mixture of fresh young talented headhunters and crafty old veterans. Names like Pernell Whitaker, who was a Top Ten pound for pound fighter throughout the entire nineties, was a Southpaw champion, with Olympic Gold ties, and tremendous defense. Well-respected by his peers, and in the boxing community, Whitaker has a laundry list of great fighters who got beat on the scorecard repeatedly. 

Being that I am a huge Felix Trinidad fan, this next fighter was on the opposite end of my spectrum. Oscar De La Hoya, who I greatly respect as a fighter, and Olympian, was also atop the pound-for-pound list. I never considered De La Hoya above, or below, the top of the Welterweight division. 

Tremendous champion all around, no question about it, but, I just didn’t feel he had the same backing as Trinidad. After the controversial loss to Felix, I never felt like he was the same again. Although the De La Hoya vs Ike Quartey fight was by far one of the greatest matches in the nineties, the scorecard was slightly off after a re-watch. 

The next set of veterans have over 276 wins combined. Julio Cesar Chavez, Buddy Mcgirt, Frankie Randall, and Meldrick Taylor were all great boxers in their prime. By the mid nineties, this group was more on the back-end of their careers.Chavez was striding to just get 100 wins as a personal mark, taking lesser fights to get there. Buddy Mcgirt was a steady contender from the eighties through the mid nineties. True boxing fans will remember him as a fighter, most will remember him for being a great trainer, known for training Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver, and Hasim Rahman, to name a few. Mcgirt has also been named trainer of the year. 

Frankie Randall had his most notable win against Julio Cesar Chavez for the WBC Light Welterweight Title. In the rematch with Chavez, he would lose it as fast as he won it. Randall wasn’t the biggest star, but was a tough opponent for young talent, coming up through the ranks. Meldrick Taylor was an up- and-coming Olympic Gold medalist. When he fought Julio Cesar Chavez, he was still undefeated. Chavez was also undefeated at this time (66-0). This was Taylor’s most memorable fight, an extremely controversial ending to a great fight. With seconds left in the fight, referee Richard Steele stopped the fight after Chavez knocked Taylor down. Some would say Meldrick Taylor would never be the same. 

The nineties in boxing was a golden era. All these fighters were Welterweights, not to mention the younger guns who would later come through it. Shane Mosley, Kostya Tszyu, and Zab Judah would round up the Welterweight division. Boxing was a juggernaut in the nineties, still having Mike Tyson around, Roy Jones Jr. dominating any, and all, divisions he could get into. Bernard Hopkins and James Toney would make their mark in the same era, not to mention, the Heavyweight Division, with Evander Holyfield, Big George Foreman, and Lennox Lewis. 

The sport of boxing was at its peak in the nineties. More than one cable network carried the sport, more than one promoter making big fights. The Pay-Per-Views were worth it. The undercards were just as good as the main events. The barbershop talk of who was better, pound for pound, was always a topic of discussion. My question is, how could a sport that was once so strong, die so abruptly? The emerging UFC wasn’t as big as it is now. The talent has just seemed to have stopped. Nowadays if you could name 10 contenders throughout the entire boxing association, I’d be amazed.

Lawrence/Stroud: A Potential Future QB Rival

By Miguel Mike Medina

Jaguars vs Texans – A Future Rivalry in the Making

It was one of the best games on Sunday afternoon. Texans came so close to sending the game to overtime, but the kicker missed the field goal. The Jaguars would hand on and split the series with the Texans. Lawrence and Stroud could be the next big thing. I see these two young quarterbacks as a future rivalry. Both men played exceptionally well. I hope both of them can stay healthy and stay with their respective teams for years. Jaguars head coach Doug Peterson does not get enough credit. He’s done a great job on raising and uplifting this team into winners. He’s won a Super Bowl with the Eagles. He’s no stranger to being a phenomenal leader and a winner.

Browns wins five in a row

The Browns needed to take care of business on the road, but they failed to do so. Browns had no answer for the Broncos running game. Broncos running back Russell Wilson looked like the Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson. Broncos handled the Browns and won the game 29-12. Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson left the game due to concussion in the third quarter. Defensive end Myles Garrett will have an MRI today to determine the seriousness of his injury. It’s a bad time for Cleveland to start having players heading to the disabled list. Browns are 7-4, currently tied in second place with the Pittsbugh Steelers in the AFC North. Browns will continue their west coast trip to take on the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday – a must-win game for Cleveland.

Bucks and Nets Big Rally Comeback Wins

The Milwaukee Bucks completed the biggest comeback in the NBA this season. They trailed as many as 26 points. They defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 108-102. Giannis finished with 33 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists. Damian Lillard added 21 points and five rebounds. Also, Giannis passed Kareem-Abdul Jabbar for recording the most 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 5+ assists in Bucks franchise history (Giannis: 107 games, Kareem: 106 games).

The Chicago Bulls squandered a 21-point lead to the Brooklyn Nets. Bulls lost on the road 118-109. They picked up their 7th loss in 8 games and are on a season-high 4-game losing streak. Bulls gave up 25 3-pointers, the most allowed in franchise history. DeMar DeRozan finished with 27 points on a 11-for22 shooting. He did his part, but his teammates didn’t follow his lead and contribute. DeRozan needed help offensively last night. Bulls have a lot of talent. However, injuries and inconsistency has been a significant factor for this team.

Edmonton Erupts for Eight Goals

Oilers offense put on a show on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. Five or six Oiler players scored goals in this game. Connor McDavid had a goal and four assists for the Edmonton Oilers in an 8-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks. Zach Hyman scored two goals. The second goal was a sweet backhanded goal. He has 12 goals in the year. Evander Kane joined the party and added a goal. Leon Draisaitl scored his third goal in two goals. He has nine for the season. In the second period, left winger James Hamblin scored his first NHL goal at home. Goalie Stuart Skinner made 21 saves.

Brandon Hyde Named AL Manager of the Year

by Miguel Mike Medina

Baltimore Orioles are having a terrific week. Another day, another honor for the organization. Skipper Brandon Hype has been named the American League Manager of the Year. Hyde becomes the fourth Baltimore manager to win the accolade. He joins Frank Robinson, Davey Johnson, and Buck Showalter. Hyde led the Orioles to 101 wins this season. 

Brandon Hyde deserves this award. He took home 27 of 30 first-place votes. The Orioles improved last season when they won 83 games in 2022. Many people thought it was a fluke and were going to go back to their old ways. When Baltimore lost Trey Mancini to Houston, the city of Baltimore had concerns. Mancini was beloved in Baltimore.

But this Orioles group went out and proved everyone wrong. No one expected them to win the division. It took a group of young and veteran players to come together and put up an impressive season. Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins, and many more were responsible for putting the Orioles on a winning path. 

Under Hyde, the Orioles have created a culture of playing smart baseball and team togetherness. There’s a lot of harmony in this team and that had to do with the leadership of Brandon Hyde. Before making his journey as the Orioles manager, he managed the Marlins from 2010-2011 and then served as the bench coach for the Chicago Cubs from 2014-2018. He won a World Series title in 2016 with Chicago. 

A Visit the Negro League Museum

by Avry Jones

Welcome to the heart of baseball history, where the echoes of legendary players and their remarkable journeys still resonate. Join us as we embark on a journey through time to explore the rich and fascinating legacy of the Negro League Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Nestled in the heart of America, this hallowed ground stands as a testament to the triumphs and struggles of African-American baseball players during a time of segregation and racial injustice. Inside this sacred museum, we are transported to an era when baseball was more than just a sport—it symbolized hope, perseverance, and a driving force for social change. From the 1920s to the 1940s, the Negro Leagues provided a platform for countless black athletes to showcase their exceptional talents, proving that barriers could be broken and dreams could soar higher than the bleachers.

The Negro League Museum reveals the stories of trailblazing athletes who shattered stereotypes and defied odds while battling adversity both on and off the field. From the electrifying speed of Cool Papa Bell to the unrivaled charisma of Satchel Paige, and the legendary slugger Josh Gibson, The Negro League Museum pays tribute to the incomparable greatness of these unsung heroes who etched their names in the annals of baseball history.

Beyond the captivating anecdotes and riveting tales, the Negro League Museum serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience of a community united by their passion for America’s favorite pastime. During my visit to the Negro League Museum, there were inspiring narratives of team owners, coaches, and fans whose unwavering support breathed life into the league and solidified its place in history. When walking through this museum, an unforgettable journey has begun to celebrate the indomitable spirit of the Negro Leagues and the enduring impact they left on the fabric of American sports and society. The stories shown within these walls are tales of baseball, hope, unity, and the unyielding pursuit of equality. Let’s take a swing at history and honor the legacy of those who paved the way for generations of future players, and remember, at the Negro League Museum, every exhibit is a home run!

​The map below shows the cities that housed Negro League teams. Many teams were close, and traveling to games was a way of life; each city brought more fans to cheer on their teams. From 1920 to 1955, communities were home to these teams.

​After the Civil War, the United States was still divided. Although sports was an outlet that could bring many people together during Reconstruction, it also segregated sports. Playing in the Negro League meant traveling all over the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern United States to play in front of sold crowds. For many players, their suitcase contained their life.

​Some of these pictures tell just a tiny part of the history of Negro League Baseball in the United States. Moreover, these pictures tell the story of history in the United States through the lens of baseball. Baseball was a form of escape as well as entertainment. Hopefully, this glimpse into the history of the Negro League will bring more information about its players and fans to the forefront as a way of highlighting the history of the United States and baseball.

Marvin Hagler’s Hardcore Training Routine

by Miguel Mike Medina

Marvelous Marvin Hagler is one of the greatest middleweight champs of all time. He is without a doubt one of the best fighters of the 1980s. He was part of the Fabolous Four alongside Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, and Roberto Duran. I would call it the Fabolous Five because Wilfred Benitez deserves to be included in there. But let’s focus on Hagler’s work ethic, fundamentals, and daily routine.

There’s a video on YouTube about Marvin Hagler and his training routine. It’s a 17-minute clip but it was worth watching it. The YouTube channel is called “Boxing Life.” Great content. Hagler had an incredible work ethic. I wanted to learn more about Hagler and how he prepared himself for these fights. Sugar Ray Leonard and Hagler are two of my favorite boxers from that era and fighters that I didn’t get to see through my TV screen. I didn’t get into boxing until 1999. They were both retired by that time. But thank the good lord for YouTube because I can see their fights through there. 

Marvin Hagler trained with Goody Petronelli at the Petronelis Bros Gym. Goody was instrumental in developing Hagler into one of the best middleweights ever. Hagler would work with Goody in doing manual labor jobs. This helped build up his strength, power, and stamina. Hagler would work on cement, cutting trees, etc. Hagler’s daily routine would consist of the following:

7am-8:30am: 6-mile run plus steep hills plus running backward

9am: Breakfast

10am-6pm: Rest, Watch TV/Film, Read, Sleep, Late lunch

6pm-8pm: Boxing training and strength conditioning 

Hagler would always do the hard work. He never took the easy route and stayed disciplined with his cardio workouts. The speed bag is part of his boxing training and sparring. In his preparation for the Hearns fight, trainers would bring tall fighters for Hagler to fight and Goody would bring extra heavy boxing gloves to make it more challenging for Hagler. As you can see, Hagler had a great teacher. 

Hagler is one of those fighters that didn’t get much of the respect he deserved. He didn’t get the respect as a fighter until he beat Thomas Hearns in their classic 1985 bout. The first round known as “The War” is one of the greatest boxing rounds ever. 

In conclusion, Hagler learned from the greats like Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali in the sense that they trained in isolation. They put themselves in jail. Great champions put themselves in that situation.

Photo Credit: Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Harden to LA, Texas Rangers Win First World Title

By Miguel Mike Medina

The 76ers agreed to trade the complainer James Harden’s time to the LA Clippers. Harden is no stranger to forcing his way out and quitting on teams. Harden is talented but he’s not a championship-caliber player. He will now join Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook in the Clippers team. Here’s the trade breakdown: 

Sixers receive: 

• Nicolas Batum

• Marcus Morris

• Robert Covington

• KJ Martin

• Multiple draft picks

Clippers receive:

• James Harden

• P.J. Tucker

• Filip Petrusev

Where do Philadelphia go from here? 

It’s not the end of the world for Philadelphia. This team needs to be healthy and will need Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey to combine 60-70 points on a nightly basis to be a very competitive team. But their role players would have to step up as well. 

As for the Clippers, I’m not going to say that they are title contenders all of a sudden. Durability and team chemistry play a factor. Can this team coexist with James Harden on the court knowing his track record? Can Leonard and George stay healthy especially when April comes around? The Clippers franchise is still hunting to capture their first world championship. This is arguably the best group of players they’ve had in their franchise history. The team will be moving to a new arena in Inglewood for the 2024-2025 season.

For the first time in franchise history, the Texas Rangers are World Series champions. Texas finished with an incredible 11-0 on the road this postseason.

Arizona left nine men on base through five innings and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

The Bruce Bochy effect is real. The skipper came out of retirement and won his fourth World Series championship. He’s the 6th manager to have four or more World Series titles. Bochy’s teams have won four of the last 14 World Series.

Corey Seager won the World Series MVP. He’s the second player in MLB history to win two World Series MVPs with two different teams. Reggie Jackson did it with the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees. 

Will Smith is one lucky man. Smith becomes the first and only MLB player in history to win three consecutive World Series titles with three different teams: 2021 Atlanta Braves, 2022 Houston Astros, and now the 2023 Texas Rangers.

Rangers franchise started as the Washington Senators before moving to Texas in 1972.