Sunday Sports Shorts

By Miguel Mike Medina

The Yankees are moving on from Aaron Hicks after eight years. Hicks has been designated for assignment. He’s 33 and is hitting .188 over 28 games this season. It was a matter of time for the Yankees to make this decision. They were holding on to him for too long. 

Jamal Murray scored 30 of his 37 points in the first half. Bruce Bowen and KCP combined for 32 points. Nikola Jokic added 24 points. It was a collective team effort. Denver Nuggets won 119-108 over the Los Angeles Lakers to take a 3-0 commanding series lead. No team has returned from an 0-3 deficit in NBA history. 

Matthew Tkachuk strikes again. He scored the game-winning overtime goal once again to win it for the Florida Panthers. It is unbelievable. Deja Vu. Florida Panthers are heading home with a 2-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final. They are two wins away from making their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1996. 

Nick Khan announced that WWE would return to India for a fall live event. WWE’s last live event in India was on December 9, 2017. 

Sunday Sports Shorts

Happy Sunday! I hope every one of you had a terrific Saturday. It was a gorgeous day in New York City, but I stayed home. Why? Too many good events in one day. Two Final Four games and Wrestlemania 38.

The first Final Four game was Villanova vs. Kansas. The Jayhawks had an explosive showing from the 3-point line, shooting 13-of-24, making seven in the first half. Ochai Agbaji went 6-for-7 from deep, finishing with 21 points. David McCormack posted a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds. Jayhawks completed their revenge against the Wildcats after blowing out the Jayhawks in the 2018 Final Four.

North Carolina and Duke are one of the greatest rivalries in sports history. It’s still surreal that it’s the first time both teams meet at the Final Four. The game lived up to my expectations. No blowout. A very hard-fought game between both teams. In the end, the Tar Heels prevailed. They are going to the National Championship game. Coach K is one of the best to do it. We will forever be indebted to him and his success and memories. Head Coach Hubert Davis answered the bell. Roy Williams and Dean Smith are/would be proud of him. Coach Davis teared up after the game. During the interview, he talked about how proud he was of his team and its perseverance, toughness, and resiliency. Hubert Davis is now one win from becoming the first coach to win the NCAA championship in his first full year at the helm. Steve Fisher went 6-0 as an interim at Michigan in 1989.

Let’s talk a bit about Wrestlemania 38: Part 1. It’s the first time there’s a two-part Wrestlemania. I’m not too fond of it. It’s a silly idea, but it’s still Wrestlemania. Kevin Owens vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a No Holds Barred match was the main event of last night’s Wrestlemania. Austin hasn’t performed since Wrestlemania 19 in 2003. Austin entered and received one of the loudest pops you will ever hear after Owens continued to talk smack about him and Texas on The KO Show. Austin and Owens brawled in and around the ring before heading through the crowd, taking advantage of the lack of rules and a physically limited Austin. The final payoff was good, with Austin putting Owens down for good with a surprise before celebrating what is likely his “last” match ever in front of his fellow Texans.

WWE Elimination Chamber – Highlights/Reaction

The WWE Elimination Chamber event took place on Saturday, February 19th, in Saudi Arabia. It’s a great business move from the WWE to have this event in Saudi Arabia. Those fans needed to see their favorite wrestlers and experience the atmosphere of a WWE live event.

Roman Reigns vs. Bill Goldberg – Universal Championship Match

There were no high expectations from me about this match. This is one of WWE’s ongoing issues. Horrible bookings, horrible storylines. Goldberg issued a challenge for Roman Reigns belt. I understand that they were supposed to wrestle two years ago at Wrestlemania, but this wasn’t a smart business move. Goldberg is way past his prime, and his in-ring ability is not the same. Goldberg is one of my favorite wrestlers from WCW, and I also liked him in 2003 when he joined the WWE. I don’t mind part-time wrestlers coming back, but it depends on how you will use them. Using Goldberg in a title match against Roman Reigns didn’t sit with me at all. The match lasted only six minutes. Goldberg caught Roman Reigns not once but twice with a spear. But then, Roman Reigns regrouped and ended the match by putting Goldberg to sleep. I give this match a C-. Just not an impressive match. 

Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber Match

The six divas from Raw went at each in this match. It was a solid match better than Goldberg and Roman Reigns, not to make the story long. Near the match’s conclusion, the last two divas remaining in the ring were Bianca Belair and Alexa Bliss. Belair hit Bliss with her finisher to win the match. Belair is one of my favorite wrestlers in the game right now. So I’m happy to see her win. She’s going to Wrestlemania to compete for the Raw Women’s Championship.

Women’s Tag Team Match

Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville versus Ronda Rousey and Naomi. Rousey had one arm with a rope tied behind her back. It was the stipulation of the match. I disagree with the stipulation because it would’ve made more sense if Flair or Deville had done the same thing. To have one wrestler out of the four being tied up looked weird to me. But the victory went to Rousey and Naomi after Rousey made Deville tap out.

Madcap Moss versus Drew McIntyre – Anywhere Falls Count Match

What stood out to me the most was McIntyre’s botched move on Moss, where he landed on top of his head. Watching this made me go, “Ouch.” What was so unbelievable is that Moss kept going. He got back up and continued to wrestle. That takes a lot of toughness and dedication. Very brave of him. McIntyre would go on to win the match. I hope that Moss didn’t sustain a severe injury. 

Lita vs. Becky Lynch – Raw Women’s Championship Match

My favorite match of the night. A Fall of Famer against a future Hall of Famer. Lita did not miss a step. She came well prepared for this match. She showed her athleticism and proved that she had a lot left in the tank. Lynch dominated throughout the match, but Lita came back and hit her with a Twist of Fate and Lita-sault. Lita didn’t win the match, but it was a valuable effort. After the match, an emotional Lita should alone in the ring as the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Becky Lynch will face Bianca Belair at Wrestlemania for the Raw Women’s Championship. 

Main Event

Brock Lesnar went off-script when he entered the ring, and it wasn’t his turn. He might get punished for doing that, but not severely punished. Lesnar cleaned the house by eliminating everyone. He is once again the WWE champion. It sucks that Bobby Lashley had to leave early in the match due to a possible shoulder injury. I don’t know how serious his injury is, but I hope he can make it back by WrestleMania, or he might have to go on surgery. As for Lesnar, he will take on Roman Reigns in a Champion vs. Champion match at WrestleMania. 

***I am not the owner of the image

WWE Smackdown Promo – Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair

After winning the Royal Rumble Match, Ronda Rousey comes to SmackDown for the first time ever. Having Ronda in Smackdown is good news for RAW’s rising stars like Bianca Belair.

Rousey came to the ring during this promo, saying she would pick her own opponent for WrestleMania. Rousey noted that Charlotte Flair wasn’t special and was just the first woman before saying she would see Flair at WrestleMania. Flair then said that the SmackDown women’s title is her baby, and it’s prettier than Rousey’s. Deville tried to put a stop to Rousey turning violent, but Rousey shoved her aside. Deville jumped on Rousey’s back only to be thrown on the mat and locked in an armbar as the show went off the air.

I wasn’t too impressed with this promo. It wasn’t a solid conclusion for the Smackdown episode. I like Ronda Rousey, but I would like to see her use more energy when she’s on the mic. I do think that Ronda on Smackdown will be a perfect marriage. I prefer to see Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if WWE makes Ronda Rousey a double champion by winning both Raw and Smackdown’s Women’s championship belts.

WWE Raw: Bobby Lashley/Brock Lesnar Promo

On last night’s WWE Raw, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley exchange intense words during their promos. Lashley told Lesnar that for 20 years, Lesnar has been “ducking and running” from him. It was a great segment because both athletes were trading shots at each other. Lesnar would respond to Lashley by saying that he didn’t know Bobby Lashley until he met him at the WWE Day 1 event.

Lesnar told Lashley that he’s a “Brock Lesnar wannabe.” I thought it was surprising and comical when Brock Lesnar pulled out the “knock, knock” joke. It looked like Bobby Lashley was about to break character.

Lesnar is a great babyface, and I like the idea of having him appearing on both Raw and Smackdown. Brock Lesnar owned this promo against Bobby Lashley.

After the promo, The Hurt Business, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin, former allies of Bobby Lashley, tried to attack him, but the attack failed when The All-Mighty fought them off.

This is a dream matchup because both men have been in the business for 20 years—tremendous athletes. We can’t wait to see them go at it at Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 29.

Sports Throwback Thursday: WWE Armageddon 2005

Today’s Sports Throwback Thursday will be about WWE’s Armageddon 2005. The pay-per-view event featured great matchups such as Chris Benoit vs. Booker T and Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker.

Chris Benoit vs. Booker T rivalry had a nice and slow build-up. The consistency of the writing is on point. Before they became rivals, they were solid tag team partners and worked well as a team. They had each other’s back when one of them would get attacked or outnumbered. Things began to change when Booker T’s wife, Sharmell, would interfere and distract opponents during the matches. Booker T would take advantage of those distractions to come away with a victory. It went too far when Sharmell interfered during the Benoit and Booker T match for the United States championship. Sharmell gave Benoit a low blow, which allowed Booker T to connect with the Scissors kick and capture the US championship.

Booker T thought about giving Benoit a rematch for the title in an episode of Smackdown, but he fooled everyone when he betrayed Benoit and became a villain. Once friends now became enemies.

Walking into Armageddon, Benoit trailed Booker T 3-0 in the best of 7 matchups. He was one loss away from being swept. During the match, both wrestlers performed efficiently. Booker T did all he could to win. Sharmell tried to help out again, but it didn’t work this time. Benoit got Booker T in the crippler-crossface and made Booker T tapped out.

The main event of Armageddon happened to be Randy Orton vs. Undertaker. It’s one of my favorite rivalries of 2005. Orton is a young talent known for his nickname “The Legend Killer.” The stipulation of the match was “Hell in a Cell.” Undertaker beat Orton at WrestleMania, and Orton beat Taker in Summerslam. Bob Orton, Randy’s father, interfered, but the Undertaker nailed him and performed a tombstone on him. One of the strangest moments of the match is when Randy Orton performs a tombstone on The Undertaker. It was risky because he could’ve messed up the tombstone and could’ve hurt the Undertaker. If you look at the match, Orton struggles while having Taker on a tombstone. Taker would kick out of the tombstone, and sooner or later, he gave Randy Orton a tombstone to win the match and end their rivalry.

2021 WWE Survivor Series Reaction

The 2022 WWE Survivor Series took place last night in Barclays Center. Two things stood out the most from last night’s event: Roman Reigns defeated Big E, and Randy Orton broke Kane’s record.

Randy Orton, also known as “The Viper” and “Legend Killer,” broke Kane’s record for most PPV matches in WWE history tonight at Survivor Series. Orton made his Survivor Series debut in 2003, and we have watched him grow into an incredible star in the business. A future Hall of Famer has accomplished so much in his career, and this one is even more special. Randy Orton surpassed Kane, The Undertaker, Triple H, John Cena in the list.

In the main event, Roman Reigns defeated Big E to close out the night. Roman is just flat-out exceptional as a heel. It fits him so well, and he proved it once again last night against the crowd. We need to recognize the Roman Reigns vs. The Rock teaser throughout the show. It made things even more enjoyable when Roman Reigns delivered a Rock Bottom to Big E, causing Barclays to chant “Rocky!” However, the night came to a close without any sign of Dwayne Johnson. A future match between two cousins would be fun to watch. The match might not be great, but it could be part of WWE history if it gets made.

Photo Credit to: The Indian Express

Sports Throwback Thursday: 1998 Survivor Series

Welcome to Sports Throwback Thursday! Today’s Sports Throwback Thursday belongs to the 1998 Survivor Series. One of the most exciting pay-per-view events in the history of WWE’s Survivor Series.

The 1998 Survivor Series is not a traditional Survivor Series event. At this particular event, almost every match was part of a tournament. The event took place in St Louis, Missouri, and this pay-per-view event gave us one of the best heel characters in WWE history. The Big Bossman is the unsung hero of this pay-per-view event in terms of the storyline. I liked when he threw the nightstick to Ken Shamrock, but it was intercepted by The Rock, which he caught with one hand.

We can’t forget the commentary by Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. At one point, they mocked WCW by saying some of these lines:

“You’re gonna get to see all of the pay per view.”
“King, that’s not nice. Don’t make fun of those less fortunate.

This had to do with the Halloween Havoc 1998. In addition, Jim Ross also made references to Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record during the event. 1998 just ruled the world.

Kane and Undertaker’s match in Survivor Series was one of their weakest matches between them. They fought so much in 1998; my favorite match was the Inferno Match at Unforgiven 1998, but this match wasn’t so great, and the way it ended wasn’t good. At Wrestlemania 14, Kane took three tombstones to get put down by The Undertaker, but in Survivor Series, it took just one tombstone. Aside from the match, I liked Undertaker’s look, his music entrance, and the same thing about Kane. Both of them had tremendous chemistry.

Mankind’s matches against Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were some of the biggest strengths of this pay-per-view event. The Rock was lethal with the chair in 1998 and 1999. The main event of the night between The Rock and Mankind was unforgettable. The Rock put Mankind on a sharpshooter, and Vince McMahon called for the bell. A year prior, Vince did the same thing to Bret Hart. The way the match ended, it could’ve been better. They didn’t have to repeat the same scenario from the year prior. The Rock, at the time, became the youngest wrestler to win the WWF championship. At the right time, The Rock turned heel and led to the “Die Rocky Die. Rocky sucks” chants.

WWE Raw: Owens vs. Rollins

Last night’s WWE Raw main event was impressive: Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollings. WWE champion Big E made his way back into the arena, where he sat ringside for the night’s main event.

Owens and Rollins traded kicks before Owens leveled Rollins with a lariat clothesline. The fight continued to the ropes, where Owens countered Rollins and delivered an oversized fisherman’s superplex for two. Rollins survived and downed KO, pounding away and talking trash while doing so.

Later, Owens rebounded and delivered a pop-up powerbomb for two. The fight spilled to the floor, and after a convoluted finish that saw Big E inadvertently prevent Owens from beating the count, Rollins was declared the winner via count-out.

Owens couldn’t believe it. Rollins laughed at him for losing the match. After the match, it wasn’t pretty for Big E. An emotional and frustrated Owens attacked Big E, kicking him in the face and sending him into the steel steps. He followed with a powerbomb onto the apron before agents and officials attempted to corral the screaming, enraged competitor.