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Sunday, April 30, 2017

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EOTR Retro: Ranking The WWF PPVs of 1998

By @Phranchize19 

WWF hit full stride in 1998. One could argue that 1998 was the best year of the Attitude Era and the Pay Per Views were a big part of that. Today I will rank them from worst to the best in an EOTR Retro Attitude Era flashback.

13. Capital Carnage 

Main Event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Mankind vs Undertaker vs Kane

Best Match: The Rock vs X-Pac WWF Championship 

-This PPV was sort of eh. It should've been a live show seeing as we were getting a PPV in a few short weeks. With that said, the card looks like it was thrown together because not many storylines (if any) had advancement.

12. Survivor Series

Main Event: The Rock vs Mankind 
WWF Championship 

Best Match: The Main Event

-The biggest problem with this PPV is the fact that there was a major tournament all while trying to fit other matches in on the card. The tournament felt cheap because of the quick matches. Elsewhere on the card, The Outlaws defended the tag titles in a triple threat tag match, which is underrated. Sable finally winning the Women's Title happened also (sigh) and forming of The Corporation.

11. Fully Loaded 

Main Event: Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker vs Kane and Mankind 
WWF Tag Team Championship 

Best Match: 
Triple H vs The Rock 
2 Out Of 3 Falls 
Intercontinental Championship 

-This PPV was solid considering  it was a hold over for Summerslam (more on that later). The seeds for Summerslam were starting to manifest here, but a lot of the undercard was ho hum at best.

10. Over The Edge

Main Event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Dude Love (Special Referee Vince McMahon) 
WWF Championship 

Best Match: The Main Event

-While overall this is not as good as Unforgiven the month before, the main event at this event was better than the main event at Unforgiven (if that makes sense). There was a lot of filler on this card, but the rivalry between DX and The Nation was beginning to take off here. Not to mention Marc Mero pulled a great finesse move on Sable similar to Ja Rule and Fyre Fest.

9. Breakdown 

Main Event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Undertaker vs Kane 
WWF Championship 

Best Match: 
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock vs Mankind 
Steel Cage Match

-This PPV was interesting because of the implications. Rock would basically become a solo star on this night while Austin would finally lose the title. (planting seeds for a Mania match).

8. Rock Bottom

Main Event: Stone Cold vs Undertaker 
Buried Alive Match

Best Match: The Main Event

-This was a pretty good card. Rock and Mankind had a solid match for the title, Outlaws had a good tag match against Shamrock and Bossman, Jarrett and Goldust had a solid match that led us to seeing Debra’s puppies. D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry started to make noise in the tag division and of course we get a stellar main event (Why name a PPV after a wrestler only for that wrestler to not main event it is beyond me but hey).

7. No Way Out

Main Event: Stone Cold, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie vs DX & Savio Vega

-A lot of times the PPV prior to Wrestlemania is basically a filler but I felt this was a nice card. The cracks within The Nation would begin to manifest here as well. The main event advanced 3 storylines in one match. Elsewhere, Kane would take out a legend in Vader. Sable would get a taste of in ring action as her relationship with Mero deteriorated. All in all, a good show.

6. Unforgiven

Main Event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Dude Love 
WWF Championship 

Best Match: Undertaker vs Kane 
Inferno Match

-This was a great follow up to Mania. Austin’s first title defense proved to be a good one. Triple H and Owen would rematch for the European title in a great match. We got Sable in her lingerie, plus the Outlaws and LOD 2000 have a solid match. Even the opening with The Nation vs Faarooq, Shamrock and Steve Blackman was good. Great card.

5. Judgment Day

Main Event: Undertaker vs Kane (Special Referee Stone Cold) 
WWF Championship

Best Match: D’Lo Brown vs XPac 
European Championship 

-I REALLY liked this card. Austin getting fired was the headline, but we got a GREAT European title match. We also got to see the return of Goldust and the debut of Christian. The Outlaws and Headbangers had a surprisingly great match for the tag titles. Shamrock and Mankind had a strong bout for the Intercontinental title. Rock and Mark Henry didn't do much, but this was a great card despite that.

4. Royal Rumble 

Main Event: 
Shawn Michaels vs  Undertaker 
Casket Match 
WWF Championship 

Best Match: 1998 Royal Rumble

-This is probably the best Rumble card from top to bottom IMO. Outlaws vs LOD had a tag title match that was good. Rock vs Shamrock and their Intercontinental Title Match was good. Vader and Goldust had a great opening match and the Rumble was great. This was a good card all around.

3. Wrestlemania 14

Main Event: Stone Cold vs Shawn Michaels 
WWF Championship 

Best Match: Undertaker vs Kane

-One of my favorite Wrestlemanias. The main Event was great, Taker vs Kane was phenomenal, HHH And Owen Hart had a GREAT match, Outlaws had a good match against Foley and Funk, plus Rock getting destroyed by Shamrock is hilarious, among other things. This was a great way to “officially” usher in the Attitude Era.

2. King of the Ring

Main Event: 
Stone Cold vs Kane 
First Blood Match
WWF Championship 

Best Match: 
Undertaker vs Mankind 
Hell In A Cell

-One of the best PPVs WWE has ever produced IMO. The First Blood match was great, and HIAC was an instant classic that will NEVER be forgotten. Elsewhere, Shamrock wins the KOTR tourney over The Rock. Outlaws defending the tag titles against the New Midnight Express was surprisingly good. X-Pac vs Owen Hart was a great match also, it helped to round out a solid PPV.

1. Summerslam 

Main Event: 
Stone Cold vs Undertaker 

Best Match: 
Triple H vs The Rock 
Ladder Match 
Intercontinental Championship 

-The best PPV of 1998. Val Venis vs D’Lo Brown was a great way to start the card. X-Pac and Jeff Jarrett put on an entertaining bout in a hair vs hair match. Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock would compete in the Lion's Den, which was a solid contest. The Outlaws would beat up on Mankind to win back the tag titles as well, and the two main events were superb. Truly the best PPV of 1998.

-C. Yates

Friday, April 28, 2017

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Eyes On NFL: The 5 Best Picks In The NFL Draft First Round

By @TrueGodImmortal

The first round NFL draft is over with and there were some interesting picks and missed opportunities. Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and a few other fell to the second round, but there were plenty of future stars selected in the interesting first round. Of the 32 picks, we wanted to take a look at what we felt were the top 5 picks of the draft and who has the most potential of them. Let's get into it.

*The No. 1 Pick, Myles Garrett to Cleveland Browns

-The first pick in the draft was pretty obvious from the start and with Cleveland ending up with three picks in the first round alone, you knew the first choice that the Browns would make was one of the best defensive prospects in the drafts in the last few years honestly. This Texas A&M pass rusher has a lot of potential and on the defensive end, he could be exactly what the Browns need to move to that next level defensively. With linebacker Jamie Collins and new Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, there is a huge possibility we see a new duo step up in Cleveland, as Collins and Garrett could become a tandem like the Browns haven't had in years defensively. Myles Garrett could be a possible game changer for the Browns franchise, who need a true franchise player

*The No. 4 Pick, Leonard Fournette To The Jacksonville Jaguars 

-The Jaguars needed some form of offensive help to push them further and they now have it. Blake Bortles is not the QB of the future for the Jaguars and the drafting of Fournette showcases that. Fournette will have luck against the weaker defenses of the AFC South, and could end up having a 1,000 yard season if the Jaguars trust him enough. It'll be interesting to see how he fares in his first season. The LSU running back should likely be a force and if the Jaguars select a QB in the later rounds, in 2 years, we could see a dynamic duo that includes Fournette (and doesn't include Bortles) leading the Jaguars offense. This move is really solid because it let Bortles know that the offense will have another shot and he will have another shot, while Fournette continues to expand his game, and it's almost like Bortles was put on notice: you have a really good RB now, work on improving and developing and learning together and growing as players..... or else.

*The No. 12 Pick, Deshaun Watson To The Houston Texans 

-My favorite pick of the whole draft. The Texans got rid of Brock Osweiler and they were in need of a QB. The Browns passed up on Deshaun, the Bears passed up on him, and I think in the long run it will end up being a big mistake for both franchises. Deshaun has a 32-3 career record, a national championship, and big game experience. His life story is one that is beyond interesting, but the fact of the matter is that Deshaun was built for the major league. He was built for the big stage and he's destined to be the franchise quarterback for the Texans, which will have a solid offense and defense this season, and they could definitely make a run at winning the division once again. With Deshaun leading the ship, the Texans have a possibly bright future. Tom Savage is not the QB of the future for the Texans, Deshaun Watson is and when the Browns, Bears, Chiefs, and the other franchise who passed on him look back a few years from now, they will certainly be sorry they did.

*The No. 17 Pick, Jonathan Allen To The Washington Redskins 

-The truth of the matter is that this draft is really puzzling with how some of these choices went. This Alabama standout seemed to be a possible top 5 pick, or at worst, top 10, but he ended up falling to no. 17 and he could be exactly what the Redskins need to overhaul their defensive line. The Redskins have struggled defensively over the last few seasons, and this could be the big change for them. The Redskins were shocked, just like I was, to see Allen still available by the 17th pick and I think this is the steal of the draft. By picking up Allen a bit later than he was expected to leave, the Redskins might have their defensive anchor for years to come.

*The No. 31 Pick, Reuben Foster To The San Francisco 49ers

-A number of Roll Tide players went in the first round, and this is another one that I was shocked to see so low. I expected Foster to be top 20 in the draft, but his off the field issues seemingly were too much for the rest of the teams to overlook and he felt to the end of the round, being selected with the 2nd to last pick by the 49ers. I would have thought the Broncos or the Giants would have taken Foster, but when they passed on him, I was concerned he would fall out of the first round. Luckily the 49ers used their common sense and selected him. He will be big for the team if he stays healthy and focused.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: Top 5 Players In The 2017 First Round

By @TrueGodImmortal

The first round of the playoffs is nearing the end. As of this writing, there are three teams that have already advanced to the Semifinals: Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and the Houston Rockets in that order. While those three teams have moved on, there are still five teams playing, looking to close out their series in game 6. The San Antonio Spurs are looking to close out the Memphis Grizzlies, the Toronto Raptors are looking to close out the Milwaukee Bucks, the Utah Jazz are looking to finish the LA Clippers, the Boston Celtics are now looking to move on and defeat the Chicago Bulls, and the Washington Wizards are one game away from finishing the Atlanta Hawks. With that picture shaping up for the next round, what players have been the best so far this round? We take a look at the top 5 players this first round.

*Russell Westbrook 
(37.4 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 10.8 APG, 2.4 SPG, 5 Games)

-The projected regular season MVP was absolutely amazing in the unfortunate 5 games he had when he was literally a one man show. While Harden played well in the series for the most part (he had two subpar games), it was clear, as we've all seen, that he has a good amount of help on his team. Russell on the other hand, was struggling to get his teammates involved and they relied heavily on him. A 50 point triple double that resulted in a loss, and a tendency to go cold in the 4th after carrying the load for the first three quarters is more of a testament to the lack of help he received from his teammates, and it should not be a shock that the man who pushed his team to the 6th seed, 47 wins, and played 81 of the 82 games on the season would be just as epic in the playoffs. I hated seeing Russ have his season end earlier, but seeing him average a triple double over those 5 games, and keep his team in the game when they looked out of it made him the star of that series even in a losing effort.

*Kawhi Leonard
(31.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 5 Games)

-The Klaw is really becoming one of the best players in the game. Truthfully, 3 of my top 5 players make this list and Kawhi is one of them. Kawhi is the 3rd best player in the NBA behind Bron and KD (and just ahead of Steph and Russ for his defense), and in my opinion, he's the most consistent and best two way player in the game. He isn't explosive offensively like Bron or KD, and his stats don't always show how he effects the game on both ends, but Kawhi gets the job done. He's been superb in this Grizzlies series, with his best showing coming in his 43 point performance against the Grizzlies in game 4, which went to OT and is honestly the best game of the playoff season so far. Kawhi put up 16 straight points of offense for the Spurs and willed his team back into the game. That's a new level we are not used to seeing Kawhi being on and he keeps growing as a player. If he keeps this up, he will be an all time great when it's all said and done, but through the 5 games so far, he's been amazing. I wonder what he does in game 6.

*Stephen Curry 
(29.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.0 SPG, 4 Games)

-The two time MVP is back. There are two big reasons for the Warriors success, and they are the heart and soul of this team: Steph and Draymond Green. It was tough not to put Draymond on this list given his amazing play and stats (13.8 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 4.3 BPG), but the main catalyst for their success when they needed it was Steph. He is the true soul of the team, while Draymond is the heart. Without KD for two of the four games, Steph stepped up, and when KD was there, Steph still did his thing. In game 1, Steph was extremely clutch, and while he wasn't hitting as many shots in game 2, he still helped to run the offense and come away with steals. His two best performances came in games 3 and 4, where he helped to lead a march back from 16 points down alongside Klay Thompson, and hit two dagger shots to put the Blazers away when it counted the most. Game 4, he was just superb, shooting 60% from the field, going 7-11 from three and putting up 37 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. For the Warriors, Steph was one of the most vital components and the leader for that team.

*LeBron James 
(32.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 9.0 APG, 3.0 SPG, 2.0 BPG, 4 Games)

-You know damn well that Bron would be on this list. The best player in the world got it done on both ends of the floor when it counted. After 14 seasons, there's no one quite like playoff Bron, and he showed why in the Pacers sweep. Make no mistake about it, the Cavs struggled and will likely have some struggles going forward, but Bron himself has nothing to worry about. He's getting steals, blocks, pulling down boards, finding his teammates, and scoring efficiently. His biggest moment of the first round came when the Pacers had the Cavs down by 25 at the half, and Bron willed the team back from that deficit by placing them on his back when it counted most. The Cavs leaned on Bron a lot and he played the most minutes of anyone I believe in the first round, and he didn't disappoint. He was a true star of the first round, as he is every round of the playoffs and every season.

*John Wall 
(27.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 10.8 APG, 5 Games)

-The Wizards are one win away from advancing to the 2nd round. John Wall is a big reason for that. There's no denying that Wall has turned all attention to him this season, showing he can lead the Wizards to playoff prominence. The Wizards have struggled a bit against the Hawks, but the one player who hasn't seemed to have a problem is Wall. He's assisting and scoring at will, and his infamous dunks have been followed with trash talk, perhaps none better than his "Fuck Wrong With You Boy" statement to Dennis Schroder. Over the first 6 games of this season, Wall has averaged a double double and has managed to be the true leader and the most vital part of the Wizards to lead them to their 3-2 advantage in the series.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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Eyes On WWE: WWE Payback 2017 Preview

By @TrueGodImmortal 

As the brand split continues on, and the Superstar Shakeup is over, we reach the first PPV following Wrestlemania. The first PPV after Mania, Payback is an all RAW (well technically) PPV, and it will be interesting. There's not much on the card that's really enticing, but we're here to take a look at each match and what could be brought to the table, and what might happen at this event. The show will feature Finn Balor on the kickoff show on MizTV, which already is an issue, plus there's no Dean Ambrose match, as he's also a new RAW star after being sent over in the Shakeup. So far, we're off to an interesting yet odd start for the night. Let's get into the rest of the event.

*Kickoff Match 
Enzo and Cass vs Gallows and Anderson 

-Gallows and Anderson were just tag team champions and everyone suspected that Enzo and Cass would be the champions before the Hardys returned, but here we are. This match has been done to death and this will be no different than the other 45 times that it has happened. I expect Enzo and Cass to get the win and likely feud with the winners of the tag title match next.

*US Championship Match 
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho 

-This match is confusing. Whoever wins goes to Smackdown. Jericho is nearing the end of his year plus run and Owens is currently getting into a feud with AJ Styles. With that being said, this is likely a match of the night candidate, and the best way to finish off a feud that carried RAW for the majority of the new year. Jericho and Owens could go 20 minutes and steal the show with Owens getting the win to send Jericho away for however long this time.

*Tag Team Title Match 
The Hardy Boyz vs Cesaro & Sheamus 

-This match could be really good. With Broken Matt Hardy clearly on the way, this could actually be a match that the Hardys lose. The new Hardy Boyz gear is just getting out there, but it could be time to let the nostalgia trip end so we can move on to the next step in the Hardy journey. WWE sees potential in Jeff as a singles participant for the future, and with feuds against Seth, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and more, and the inevitable Matt and Bray clash destined to happen, one has to wonder if Cesaro and Sheamus will pick up the win after they've lost each of the singles matches respectively against the brothers. There is a tease of a heel turn for Cesaro and Sheamus and I could see them turning heel to win the match and the titles and moving on to face Enzo and Cass next. I can also see the Hardys retaining and then Cesaro and Sheamus turning heel to continue the feud. Knowing WWE, the latter is more likely.

*WWE RAW Women's Championship Match
Bayley vs Alexa Bliss

-The WWE is dragging their feet to have a Bayley vs Sasha feud. Truthfully, WWE doesn't know what they're doing. They built up Nia Jax and it's done nothing, and Sasha hasn't been relevant as much since losing to Charlotte the final time. Alexa Bliss is here and I think she might actually be the one to defeat Bayley. Alexa is already engaging the audience and filling that super heel role very well for RAW without Charlotte there. Alexa will either win, or just lose this match by a roll up, leaving the door open for another match, in which I think Alexa will win. WWE could go the right route and let Alexa defeat the bland Bayley, but knowing WWE, Bayley retains and the feud continues because Extreme Rules is coming soon within the next 5 weeks or so.

*Cruiserweight Championship Match
Austin Aries vs Neville

-As great as Neville has been as the champion, it's time to move on and give the belt to Austin Aries. Aries is the most over guy in the division, and he's poised to be champion soon. There's an angle now being built around TJ Perkins and Neville as a team, and Aries teaming up with Jack Gallagher, and that could play a role here. Could TJP help Neville retain? Or will that interference backfire and cost Neville the title? That's a question that we will find out the answer to Sunday, but I think it's time to give Aries the title. He's helped make the division seem bigger since he joined, and this feud could continue on for another month or so. The only way to really do that however is to let Aries win the title. This is another match of the night candidate.

*House Of Horrors Match 
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt 

-I have no idea what to expect from this. Truthfully, my expectations are extremely low. As they should be. With Bray now on RAW and Jinder Mahal (terrible) going against Orton, this feud is just there to be there. It makes no sense and they killed it after their horrible Mania bout. I expect that without the title on the line, the WWE somehow gives the win to Bray as he enters into his late spring-summer feud with Finn Balor, as a win here gives him his usual bit of momentum before it is killed. Bray stood tall at the end of RAW and if they have big plans for him, then there's only one way to go about this, and that's have Bray go over and send Orton back to Smackdown to feud with...... Jinder.... Mahal... for the WWE Title. I can't believe I just wrote that. Wow.

*Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins

-This match has no momentum behind it. It feels like a mid card battle and has the importance of one. The issue with Brock Lesnar being champion is that the other matches don't seem to feel big because there's no title implications involved. Joe vs Rollins is a main event level match, and I expect Rollins to somehow get the victory in this one. Joe will come up short, and likely attack Rollins after the match, or it is possible that we see Triple H return or Stephanie return to help cost Seth the match (it would make no sense though since the feud seemingly ended at Mania). Seth vs Joe could really be a match of the night candidate as well, but I don't expect it to get much more than 15-17 minutes, and it will likely end in some sort of screwed finish to make this feud continue on to Extreme Rules.

*Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman

-In many ways, I think this is a No. 1 contender's match. At least it should be. All signs point to Braun needing a victory here. Reigns sucks and is getting forced so much that the WWE really is ruining their product to keep him face. The awful video package to force him as face again shows how idiotic Vince and the top brass are, and I expect the crowd to be behind Braun, as PPV crowds usually are against Reigns completely. Regardless, the narrative of Reigns getting brutally injured then coming back to defend Braun cleanly in a one on one match will only fuel more hatred (rightfully so) against Reigns and throw away all the hard work that has gone into making Braun into a star and getting him over big time. Knowing this, and knowing how dumb the WWE is, Reigns will win with like 3 spears in a row and we fall back into that painful, soul crushing status quo that WWE has dwelled in for the last 7 years off and on.

Will Payback be a great event? Probably not. Will it be a good event? There's a chance. I say it ends up as a middle of the road PPV, with some bad results that kills momentum as the show rolls on. So basically, I predict this will be like any other WWE PPV. The same old shit. Unfortunately.