Royal Rumble Predictions

So the biggest battle royal of the year is coming up this Sunday. WWE is hosting its annual Royal Rumble, one of the biggest and most popular PPVs (along with WrestleMania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, etc.). The Royal Rumble is my favorite PPV because its got the Royal Rumble match which is just awesome.

This year’s Royal Rumble will be held in the AlamoStadium in San Antonio, Texas. This is the second Royal Rumble to be held in that stadium (after 1997). The theme song will be “Blow Your Mind” by Ohana Bam and the PPV is sponsored Vudu (just putting that in there for you people).

So let’s take a look at the matches going on shall we:

Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Raw Tag Team Championship

If I remember correctly, this rivalry started when Karl pushed Cesaro off of his chair at the announcer’s table. The following week they had a match where Sheamus punched the ref on accident. Gallows and Anderson hit a finisher and another ref came in to count to 3 for the win, giving them the championships. However, the first ref disqualified Cesaro and Sheamus, giving them the championship back.

My Winner: Cesaro and Sheamus

Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax

Sasha is injured and only 114 lbs while Nia could wrestle more than half of the superstars in the men division.

My Winner: Nia Jax

Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya

Alexa Bliss and Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch

Nikki Bella vs. Natalya

Naomi just stands there looking lit. LITerally with her glowing shoes.

My Winner: Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya (heel power)

Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship

This rivalry has been going on for a long, long time. Like, WWE Draft long. Oh yeah, Mick Foley is going to get the Cage of Jericho and lock him in man.

My Winner: Roman Reigns (I hate him, but due to the stupidity of the WWE creative team, they’re most likely gonna make Reigns champ)

AJ Styles vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship

Styles-2

Cena-1

My Winner: AJ Styles (God forbid anything else happens)

Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley for the WWE Women’s Championship

No idea why Charlotte decided to add her last name to her ring name, she pretty much disowned her dad.

My Winner: Bayley

Rich Swann vs. Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship\

A good guy gone bad, turning on his best friend. All too familiar storyline.

My Winner: Neville

And of course, the main event of the night: The Royal Rumble Match

Right now, there are many big names that have entered such as Goldberg and The Undertaker to name two. So far, 22 spots have been filled. The winner will receive a main event title match at Wrestlemania.

There are 8 spots left. Who will it be? Will it be another wrestling free agent? Will it be a superstar returning after a long time gone? Will it be a NXT star?

One more thing. On his Instagram page, John Cena posted a picture of Kenny Omega, one of the greatest non-WWE star. Omega has wrestled in many promotions including NJPW and IWGP. Last year, Cena posted a picture of AJ Styles and after that, he made his debut at the Royal Rumble. Although Omega has dispelled rumors of him being at the event, you never know.


Don’t forget to tune in to the Royal Rumble on Sunday, 1/29/17 at 7 pm ET. It will be on WWE network, which you can subscribe to for $9.99 a month (30 day free trial). Don’t miss it, it’s gonna be huge.

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The Brock Market Crash

By Brandon Thomas

The Houston Texans decision to sign then free agent quarterback Brock Osweiller was met with mixed reactions. Some thought that the team had finally found the missing piece that would help solve their quarterback problems, after all Osweiller did step in for an ineffective Peyton Manning and lead the team to the playoffs. Others thought that signing a quarterback to a four year seventy-two million dollar contract  (with $37 million guaranteed) that had little experience as a starter was a hefty price tag.

Looking back at Osweiller’s season, it can easily be concluded that the Texans did not get what they paid for. Osweiller passed for 2,957 yards to go with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with a QBR of 72.2, 14 points lower than his 2015 campaign  (86.4). Osweiller was also benched in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars which was met with fan approval  (there were actual cheers).

The Houston Texans are now facing a dilemma, if he’s cut the team will have to pay him $19 million which could affect them as they look to retool this off-season to make another playoff run. However, keeping him could possibly be another 9-7 season filled with inconsistent play. With Tom Savage showing promise (he lead a comeback victory over the Jaguars in the game Osweiler was benched and comes at a much cheaper price) the Texans might have to consider moving on in order to move forward.

New United Kingdom Champion Crowned!

The inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion was crowned on January 15, 2017 after an intense 16-man tournament. The winner of the event was Tyler Bate, defeating Pete Dunne in the Finals.

Wrestler Profile:

Tyler Bate

Born: March 7, 1997 in Dudley, England, United Kingdom
Billed from Dudley, England
Weight: 175 lb
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Debut: 2012
Other Promotions Worked For: Independent Circuit (Preston City Wrestling (PCW)), Chikara, Progress Wrestling
Finishers: Tyler Driver ’97 (Sitout double underhook powerbomb)
For more info check out his profile page at the WWE website:
http://www.wwe.com/superstars/tyler-bate

Congratulations to Tyler Bate. He is only 19 years old, making him one of two teenagers in WWE history to win a championship (the other being Rene Dupree, who won the World Tag Team Championship at the age of 19).

 

Jacky Chen

And New……?????

By Shawn Buck  (@buck4peace)

This Saturdays UFC on Fox 23 main event matchup between Valentina Shevchenko and  Julianna Pena is a clash between the number 1 and number 2 ranked Women’s bantamweights in the world.  The winner should undoubtedly be the next opponent of current champion Amanda Nunes.  As dominant as Nunes has been recently, the winner of this fight could be the one to dethrone her.  This weekends fight could be easily viewed as a championship in itself.

Shevchenko is a driven fighter who really wants to be the champion and if her first fight with Nunes had been five rounds, it may have happened.  When she fought Nunes she was able to weather the storm of the heavy-handed Nunes and actually had her gassed in the third and final round.  Shevchenko lost a unanimous decision in that fight.  Nunes went on to get a title shot against Miesha Tate in her next fight and destroyed her in one round while Shevchenko fought against former champion Holly Holm in her next fight. Shevchenko defeated Holm in five rounds by unanimous decision.  She was able to counter Holm often in that fight and also took Holm down a few times.  She was good on that night and her performance gave her a right to a rematch with Nunes for the title.

Pena has been excellent since stepping on the UFC scene.  After winning the first ever women’s The Ultimate Fighter challenge, she is 3-0.  She puts relentless pressure on all her opponents.  Her most recent win, at UFC 200, was against veteran Cat Zingano.  Zingano has a victory over Nunes.  Pena felt she also deserved a shot at the title after that victory.  She didn’t get it.  The champion waited on the return of Ronda Rousey.  Nunes blasted Rousey in less than a minute and now here we are.

These two ladies are more than capable of beating Nunes for the title.  Shevchenko already has given her a battle and Pena has dominated all of her UFC opponents.  Nunes has looked great defeating both Tate and Rousey in one round.  But Tate and Rousey had been at the top on the bantamweight division for some time.  Tate recently retired after losing to Raquel Pennington and Rousey after losing the title to Holm was on the fence about coming back from that loss.  It’s much harder to stay on top than it is to get there.  Rousey has been in several commercials and appeared in major films.  She has made a substantial amount of money through fighting and her outside endeavors.  Not saying that Rousey and Tate weren’t that good but their hunger may not be as strong as it was earlier in their career.  Former middleweight boxing champion Marvin Hagler summed it up by saying that it was tough to get out of bed to do road work at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas.  Shevchenko and Pena have no problem getting motivated to train or fight. They want that gold belt around their waist.  Nunes is still hungry also but hasn’t faced a fighter with that same desire since she fought Shevchenko in March of 2016.  That will change if she faces the winner of Saturdays fight between Shevchenko and Nunes.  This fight should be a good one.  You may want to tune in because you could possibly be watching the next bantamweight world champion.

Bragging Rights: The Dallas Cowboys season ended, but the World did not.

William Stevenson

*Music accompaniment: “When It’s Over” by Sugar Ray*

So it’s all over. No more positive memes, “We can beat anybody”, or any other fanatic rhetoric that takes place when your team is in the playoffs. There is no solace or perspective to be had when your team is on the losing end of a playoff loss. Most adversaries come from fans whose teams watched the playoffs as we all did. We spend so much time fighting off the “L’s” and trolling that we don’t take the time to look back at the season for any positive reflection. Only one team can be crowned champion at the end of the year, and with the NFL having a one-and-done playoff scenario, there can be no off-games.

In the case of the Dallas Cowboys, we fully expected them to make it to the NFC Title Game at the least. The Cowboys were having a dream season in which their rookie quarterback and running back were surpassing the expectations that most rookies would have on a high-profiled team. After Tony Romo went down early, Dak Prescott was looked at to be the “Alex Smith” or “Chad Pennington” for the Cowboys offense. The offensive line took control as the Cowboys wore down defenses week in and week out behind the running of rookie Ezekiel Elliot. Things were riding high with each win, but the question remained, “Can Prescott and the offense pass their way out when the time comes?” With each 17 for 25, 221 yard game, the rumblings of Tony Romo echoed throughout the media as Dez Bryant was relegated to an average receiver by his standards, but the Cowboys kept on winning. Overshadowed by the glamour positions was the Cowboys defense. During the offseason and training camp, the defensive front-seven was plagued by injuries and suspensions. With a secondary that was lacking playmaplaymakers, it was felt the defense would struggle mightily. With an offense that was run-based and efficient with protecting the ball, the defense was able to pin their ears back and not be put in positions to always have to cause turnovers to be effective. Even when the Cowboys gave the fans and media wins, there seemed to be a longing for more; which would be a high octane passing game. Against the Packers, the Cowboys showed their true promise. They were tested like we all thought they would be, and they were in the perfect position to prove all of the doubters to be wrong. I suppose we can nit-pick the decision to clock the ball on first down, or go man coverage on those final defensive drives; But Why? It was a hard fought game between these two games and Aaron Rodgers and their offense won it in the end on a pass that seemed improbable to complete at that point in time. Just as Eli Manning’s pass to Mario Manningham down the sideline against the Patriots or the muffed punt by 49ers return guy against the Giants: Sometimes the other team beats you and there’s not too much you can do about it.

We know the playoff numbers, we know the Divisional Playoff record when having a bye, and we know the heartbreaking losses the Cowboys have suffered over the past few years. So what’s next? A healthy Dez Bryant would be refreshing. A dominant offensive line seems to be in order for next year as well. The receiving core is in tact, and all fans are expecting the playbook to become more explosive as Prescott adds reps and this season’s experience to his repertoire. What about Jerry Jones? Jones is, and will be the wildcard for this franchise. Will he and the fanbase be happy with this year instead of focusing on the results? Will they be inclined to build their defense through the draft or will they put that “Cowboys Glitter” on the free agent market? Only time will tell, but time has told us that the NFL waits for no one team. For every Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots, there’s a Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinal season lurking around the corner.

Hey Cowboys fan, be happy. Be happy that for the first time in a few years the quarterback position has upside instead on injury risk. Be happy that the running back isn’t a late-twenties free-agent to be. Be happy the defense isn’t aging and can improve. Be happy you aren’t the Giants and have an aging quarterback or a coach with a porn-stache. Be happy you aren’t the Eagles and are trying to replace player personnel that was wrecked by the previous regime. Be happy you aren’t the Washington franchise and have to pay your average quarterback 20+ million a year, or have a coach the still seems like he doesn’t grasp post-game interviews.

What I’m really saying is: Be happy you did better than the Giants, Eagles, and Washington. That’s what you wanted right? Bragging rights.

Each NFC South Team’s Biggest Draft Need

By Leo Silbert

It is getting to the point of the year that fans are trying to figure out who their team needs to draft or what position needs the most help. Some teams like the Patriots don’t have a glaring need so they are able to pick for desire and are allowed greater risks. Other teams like the Browns have needs all over the map so they are best suited to just take the best available player. I’m going to sort this out by division and within the divisions I’ll sort them by 2016 records.

Next up, the NFC South:

  1. julio-jones             Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons have made it to the Superbowl this year so calling anything a need is a little bit of a stretch since they didn’t need it this year so far.  They definitely were one of the surprise teams to win their division this season and even when they did not many people believed in them along the way.  I too am guilty of this, but they have continually proved me wrong.  Their offense is just incredible to watch.  Matt Ryan has re-emerged as a top 5 quarterback in the NFL, Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman combine for a great 1-2 punch at running back behind one of the 10 best offensive lines in the league and Taylor Gabriel and Mohammed Sanu have proved to be excellent complementary pieces to one of, if not the, best wide receivers in the league Julio Jones.  Their defense has been solid in the secondary led by rookie Keanu Neal, linebackers led by rookie Deion Jones, and a defensive line led by second year player Vic Beasley.  The defense is incomplete though.  The defensive line doesn’t have a great run stuffer and the linebackers haven’t been good at stopping the run either so I think that the better option for them would be to take a big interior defensive lineman who can stuff the run and help the linebackers by clogging up holes.  The Giants this year were a great example of how a run stuffing interior defensive line can mask deficiencies by the linebacker corps and can make a weakness at two places into a relative strength.  If the Falcons get a disruptive interior defensive lineman, then this year could be just the tip of the iceberg of their potential.
  2. mike-evansTampa Bay Buccaneers- This team looked for a while that it could arrive to the playoffs a year too early, but a late season mini-slide kept them out and sets them up to break out in Jameis Winston’s third season.  Their offense looks like it is just about there already with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans complementing each other greatly as a deep thrower paired with a guy who makes 50/50 balls seem more like 75/25 balls in his favor.  They also have 3 of their 5 offensive lineman performing above average and 2 capable running backs when they are healthy in Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers.  They also have some pieces on defense, but not a complete unit.  Their biggest weakness on defense is similar to the Falcons as they need run defense as none of their front 7 players are great in that area.  So since they have the same core problem as the Falcons, their draft need is the same as the Falcons in a disruptive interior defensive lineman.  The Bucs already have one disruptive interior lineman in Gerald McCoy, but he too doesn’t excel in run defense.  If they can get a guy in the mold of a Michael Brockers, then they can have one of the best defensive interiors in the league which will limit what opponents can do on offense and help out the rest of their defense against the run game.
  3. Drew BreesNew Orleans Saints- Does anyone remember the last time the Saints had a defense that could stop anyone?  That would be in 2013 when they were 4th in yards against and scoring against.  That is a long time in football terms, especially when at the time people were still more focussed on their offense.  But since then, it seems like Drew Brees has had to play 16 games worth of first to 40 wins every year and however great Brees is, he can only do so much.  The Saints are still the same offensive juggernaut they have been since Brees and Sean Payton arrived to the team in 2006.  Brees threw for over 5,000 yards yet again which has seemed to become routine for him, they had the best rookie wide receiver in the league in Michael Thomas, and their offensive line isn’t too good.  Their running back situation isn’t ideal, but the Saints pass the ball short often enough to simulate a running game with their short passing game.  Their defense though needs help at just about every spot not taken up by either Jordan Cameron or Kenny Vaccaro.  What they need more than anything though is someone who can match up with an opponent’s number one receiver and help to at least slow him down so the offense can maybe just play some games of first to 30 wins.
  4. cam-newtonCarolina Panthers- This team had one of the biggest negative turnarounds of any team in recent memory, going from 15-1 and losing the Superbowl to 6-10 and a top 10 pick.  Some people might be quick to overreact and say that the loss of Josh Norman made the team fall apart, but his replacement James Bradberry played pretty well in his stead and Norman, however good he was in 2015, was not worth 9 wins.  The biggest part of the Panthers’ regression was the regression of Jonathan Stewart as a running back.  The Panthers are at their best when teams aren’t able to key on whether Cam Newton will run the ball, throw the ball, or hand it off to the running back on any given play.  With Stewart showing his age this season, teams were able to key in on Newton and shut down the Panthers’ offense.  If the Panthers are able to grab a guy like a Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook, then you can see this team get back to close to their 2015 form really quickly.

Previous articles in this series:

AFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-north-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC West- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need-2/

NFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/each-nfc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

NFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/each-nfc-norths-biggest-draft-need/

The divorce the Knicks need!!

The New York Knicks have the second worst record since Christmas Day at 3-13. Only the Brooklyn Nets have a worse record during that span. Keep in mind the Knicks employ a former MVP (who in all fairness has had his share of injury issues, but is having a bounce back season) and a 3 time Olympic gold medalist, 12 time all star in Carmelo Anthony. I haven’t mentioned “The Unicorn” who may be the best young talent in the league… So how did the Knicks crumble so quickly?

Look no further than Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson. Both Star player and team president are headed for a nasty divorce. The divorce isn’t hurting the Knicks as much as the custody battle (power struggle) both parties are involved in. Even Phil has given hints by sending coded messages through his long-time friend Charley Rosen. Now Melo has finally admitted that he may be open to the idea of a trade. So all the signs are there and the Knicks need a fresh start as badly as Melo needs one.

Which brings me to my next point, Jackson had the Knicks on the rebuilding path. Until he sold the farm for Derrick Rose. While Rose has had his moments, he is no more then an average point guard. Trading away a young talented PG in Grant and a defensive presence in Lopez (who’s contract is very team friendly compared to Noah’s) is not how you build a team. The Knicks can no longer subscribe to the idea of a quick rebuild.

In order for the Knicks to truly contend they must build around the promising future of their 7’3 unicorn. That mean Rose and Melo should be dealt for draft picks and young talent. The Knicks shouldn’t stop there, any player not named Porzings, Hernangomez  or Kuzminskas should be up for grabs.

Teams like Boston and the Bucks should be targeted since both teams have draft picks and young talent. Think something along the lines of Kris Middleton or Marcus Smart packaged with draft picks.

Last but not least Phil Jackson should also be shown the door. While he should be credited with acquiring Porzings and Hernangomez, he has also made some very bad moves. Giving Carmelo Anthony a no trade clause while he is exiting his prime was a huge mistake. Then signing Joakim Noah to a 74 million dollar deal when no other team was committing anything near that dollar amount can also be filed under “the Isaiah Thomas school of thought”.

As I have said previously the Knicks need a systemic upgrade. Until they make those changes they will forever be untangled in a cycle of perpetual mediocrity.