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Friday, September 29, 2017

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EOTR Feud Of The Week: Triple H vs The Undertaker

By @Phranchize19 And @TrueGodImmortal

Two men that lasted thru multiple decades have clashed on many occasions. It is a rivalry born out of the spirit of competition and ended by defining an era. Triple H and Undertaker have over 50 years of experience between then and that’s in the WWE alone. Today, we look at their rivalry over the years and what it meant to the company and the business.

Favorite Match
Taker and Triple H have solid chemistry in the ring. They would be responsible for some classics, two in a row at Mania and one years prior at Mania. Which is their best match? Let's take a look at the selection.

Triple H vs Undertaker 
Hell In a Cell 
Wrestlemania 28
(Phranchize's and True's Pick)

-Hands down our favorite encounter was the End of an Era Hell in a Cell match. It brought such finality to this, not only to this rivalry but it was a symbol of a passing of the torch from that era. Not to mention, these are the two greatest combatants in Hell in a Cell history. They left it all in the ring that night and it showed. This is a true classic and one of the best matches of this current era.

Least Favorite Match
It is very rarely that these two have a bad match or underwhelming match, but it is entirely possible. Which match makes this section of the list? Let's take a look.

Triple H vs Undertaker
WWF Raw 1997

(Phranchize's Pick)

-It didn’t have much to it due to Taker being attacked by Bret Hart and Bulldog prior then attacked by Triple H and Shawn Michaels after that. It didn’t last long but the image of Taker being put in his own bodybag is a lasting one and that is significant, but the match itself just wasn't enjoyable due to not being a real contest.

Triple H vs Undertaker
Insurrextion 2002
(True's Pick)
-I always enjoyed the UK shows and PPVs, but this one didn't resonate with me. I wasn't really into this match and it dragged on a little bit. With Triple H returning from injury a few months prior, I don't think he was comfortable yet in the ring again, and it showed. Plus, during this era, Taker was more of a pure striker and mixing those two together made for a boring and slightly eventful match. Triple H wins, but of all their contests, this is the worst.

Underrated Matches
There are a number of underrated choices here for these two. Whether we're talking the 2001 match between the two on Smackdown or the no contest between the two on Smackdown in 2008, there are some matches that don't get discussed enough  or get the credit they deserve. Let's take a look at those.

Undertaker vs Triple H
King of the Ring 2002
Undisputed Championship Match
(Phranchize's Pick)

-I really feel this match is a forgotten gem. Taker was in his run as the top heel in the company and triple h had not too long been back from his injury and arguably was the top babyface of the company. It only made sense to put them together and they produced one of the better matches I’ve seen from them.

Undertaker vs Triple H
Wrestlemania 17

(True's Pick)

-Of all their matches, this is the underrated gem. Many people look at their WM27 and WM28 matches as the only ones to really watch, but they forget this legendary match that was overshadowed due to the rest of the legendary card. Triple H and Taker went at it for nearly 20 minutes and when it was all said and done, Taker stood victorious yet again at Wrestlemania.

Winner Of The Feud
This one is easy. In the end, Undertaker is the winner. He's won a majority of their matches over the years, and his victories in their last four PPV matches signal that he's the winner of the feud. After Taker beat Triple H at Wrestlemania 17, King Of The Ring 2002, Wrestlemania 27, and Wrestlemania 28, he definitely stands tall as the winner of this excellent feud that's spread through a 15 year period, beginning in 1997 and ending in 2012. The Undertaker was victorious in this feud.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins vs John Cena

By @Phranchize19

Continuing the triple threat theme, we will look at our final triple threat match of the month. It is a more recent classic and I’m sure you’ve seen it before.

At Money in the Bank, two Ladder matches were held. One was the traditional MITB Match and the other was for the vacated world Heavyweight Championship. Seth Rollins would go on to win the briefcase while Cena would go on to win the World Title. Cena would lose the title to Lesnar at Summerslam in decisive fashion. In a rematch at Night of champions, Cena would actually win via disqualification due to interference from Seth Rollins who was attempting to cash in his briefcase. Cena would stop him before the match began. This would lead to Cena winning a No. 1 Contender's HIAC match with Randy Orton. Following a Team Cena vs Team Authority (led be Seth Rollins) Survivor Series match, The Authority was ousted only to be brought back a few weeks later. Due to Rollins doing whatever it took to get the Authority back into power, Rollins would be then added to the Cena vs Lesnar World Title match at the Rumble.

The Match
Lesnar would DOMINATE the match from the start. There would be a few flurries from Cena but a German suplex put an end to most of them. Rollins would also suffer the wrath of Suplex City. Rollins would then attempt to attack Lesnar while he was attempting to suplex Cena. Rollins would use his high flying offense but end up getting caught by Lesnar. Cena would make the save. Lesnar has finally had enough and was going to put someone through a table but actually Lesnar would go through it as Rollins splashed him while in the process breaking Lesnar’s rib. Cena and Rollins would then fight it out for a while as Lesnar was being carted out of the match. Lesnar would make a return and suplex Cena out of the ring. Rollins would go on the attack and Curb Stomp Lesnar and attempt to stomp him again on the briefcase but was caught and got an F-5 for his trouble. Lesnar pins Rollins and retains the title.

-Lesnar german suplexes both Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury at the same damn time
-As Lesnar attempts to Kimora lock Cena, Rollins jumps off the top with a knee which Lesnar took straight to the head
-Cena picks up Lesnar while being trapped in Kimora Lock
-Rollins breaks Lesnar's rib while splashing him from the top rope through a table
-Rollins hits the Phoenix Splash

Grade and Analysis
This is hands down one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Rollins' star shines brighter than it ever had up to this point. He proved he belonged in this match. The potential MITB cash in prior to the match was also a great bit of storytelling. Cena playing the gutsy babyface was a welcome touch but other than  Rollins and his high flying offense, this match was about the dominance of Lesnar. The crowd was throughly invested in this match. The story of Brock being carted out was nice (although it’s been overdone now) and him showing his resolve made the title seem more important. An excellent match.

Rating: 10/10


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: The Carmelo And Wade Moves

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The NBA will look very different when the season begins. Carmelo Anthony will be on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dwyane Wade will be on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Perhaps two years ago, this would have been bigger news to me. Four years ago, this would have meant a lot more to me to see Melo, fresh off of his best seasons in New York going to play with a Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and the teaming up of Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James would likely equal a OKC vs Cleveland NBA Finals. However, we live in 2017, and the evolution of basketball exists in Oakland. Still, both of the moves aren't bad, and in a way, they both help each team get a little bit better. Now, when I say a little bit better, you might be confused. Wade is a top 5 shooting guard of all time, certainly his presence in Cleveland makes a huge difference right?

Not so much. The issue with the Wade signing is very simple honestly. His time has passed, and he still wants to contribute to a contender and win. That's great that he's excited to play and contribute, but after letting it be known that he wasn't going to ring chase a year ago, he changes his tune one season later. Be that as it may, Wade would be very solid for a young upstart team with potential that needs a veteran leader to help push them over the hump. A team like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets, or even the Milwaukee Bucks. He doesn't seem well suited for a team of veterans and egos, or as the secondary sidekick to LeBron again, but he made his decision of course to try and compete for the title again. Now, why doesn't Wade work for the Cavs at this moment? Let's take a look.

It's very simple. J.R. Smith should be the starting 2 guard for the Cavs, as he provides decent defense and solid shooting throughout the games and is younger than Wade. Wade wants to start and will likely play around 28-31 minutes a game if so, but the issue is that he's not the same player he used to be. Wade is going out of his way to show up people who called him washed up and say that he needs to take a bench role. He does. However, his stats may fool you, as his numbers were decent, but take into consideration that he was on a Bulls team that literally had no other options. Wade was adamant to say that he was the 2nd option to Jimmy Butler, but we saw his ego rub players the wrong way halfway through the season. The Cavs are all smiles now, but it's a long season. Kyrie and LeBron seemed to be the best tandem together at the start of last season as well, and we saw how that turned out. Wade and his ego could show up during the struggle for more playing time by bench players who were used to starter minutes and known franchise problem starters in Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas. Wade is a wild card to the Cavs and while he could provide a decent scoring option, he isn't a good shooter and his defense has been on the decline more and more for the last 5 years. Will Wade be an impact player for the Cavs? I doubt it, but only time will tell.

As far as Carmelo, I think he helps the Thunder. Not by much, but he does help offensively. Last season, Russell Westbrook averaged over 10 assists passing to Oladipo, Kanter, and Steven Adams, but this season, he will be passing to Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. That's a very dangerous lineup and a scary thought for most average defenses and teams..... well a scary thought offensively at least. Melo is starting at the 4, a position he did well at previously before, but I'm not so sure how effective this will be in the long run. Melo is a good scorer, and while I think he blends in decent with the offense, defensively Melo doesn't give enough effort and he's never been an elite defender or even a really solid defender minus a few moments in Denver. Still, maybe he's rejuvenated now in OKC, but another big concern has to be his age and health. Melo has been injury prone for small periods of time during the seasons and is in his 15th season. He won't be expected to produce as much as he was in previous seasons, but what does he have left to offer? I think Melo will have a solid season and being in a winning culture will definitely be a revitalizing feeling for Melo I'm sure. Does this move do enough for the Thunder to overtake the Warriors? Not at all, but it is possible they have a closer chance to reach the Conference Finals, which would have to be considered a successful season for them.

In closing, neither move makes their respective teams any closer to a championship, but it does make them better. Wade doesn't have too much left in the tank, but he will be motivated again, and if he stays healthy, he could provide quality minutes in small spurts. Carmelo will have a bigger role and will showcase more of his ability for the Thunder, and him returning to the playoffs is a welcome sight for all fans. The moral of this story however, the Wade and Melo moves will make the NBA season more interesting and fun to watch, but the NBA Championship will likely come back once again to Oakland, as long as they stay healthy of course. Still, Wade and Bron reunited, Melo playing with PG and Russ, and these narratives will make the season even more intriguing.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: 5 Great WCW Tag Teams

By @TrueGodImmortal

WCW isn't the greatest memory I have of professional wrestling. Be that as it may, I still have an appreciation for the company and what they've done in terms of wrestling history. That extends to the tag team division as well. Today, I wanted to briefly discuss a few of the best tag teams to come through the WCW landscape. There are many legendary teams, but these are the teams that I felt deserved being discussed. Let's take a look.

*Nasty Boys 

-Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags have probably the most underrated team in WCW history considering accomplishments, but they deserve a mention here. After a mostly mundane run in the WWF, they came to WCW in 1993 again after a mildly successful run in 1990 didn't pan out, and instantly they became favorites and winners. After defeating Paul Roma and Arn Anderson for the tag titles, they would feud with Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio, Cactus Jack and Max Payne, and then Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan, before finishing their dominant run by feuding with the Blue Bloods and Harlem Heat. As 1996 rolled around, they lost a bit of relevance, but during their tenure in WCW, they were one of the absolute best teams in the company.

*Sting And Lex Luger

-It is very rare that you see two singles stars come together to become a near legendary team, but that happened with these two. Real life close friends and two stars in their own right, Luger and Sting worked together through multiple eras in WCW. When WCW became official and stepped away from the NWA more (a reason why Doom, The Rock and Roll Express, The Road Warriors and The Midnight Express aren't on here), Sting and Lex were right there continuing on. They were a part of the NWA wave as well, but they sporadically teamed during the WCW transition including the classic they had with the Steiners at Superbrawl 1991. In 1995, these two would reconnect and become a team again, having the strangest dynamic of any team as Luger had turned heel and Sting was still immensely popular. They won the WCW Tag Team Titles during this period and had solid feuds and matches with the Road Warriors, the Harlem Heat, and The Steiner Brothers. Though they aren't the greatest WCW team, Sting and Luger still have a nice legacy together and their tag team days really never ended until they were officially separated by company when WCW got bought out by WWF.

*The Steiner Brothers  

-As far as the greatest teams of all time go, this team is right at the very top. The Steiners were so good at what they did, and they changed the pace of tag team wrestling. In WCW, they would have their most success, and once the rebrand went through and the company was away from the NWA label, they would stand above most of the other teams until 1992, when they decided to head to the WWF.  After a few years in WWF and a year in ECW, The Steiners would come back to WCW and finalize the chapter of their team run. They would feud with the Road Warriors, Harlem Heat, Sting and Lex Luger, and of course The Outsiders, winning the tag titles multiple times before their eventual breakup which spawned the birth of Big Poppa Pump. Regardless, The Steiners are probably the very best of the best period.

*The Outsiders 

-I could have selected another team but this team deserves the mention. I never expected Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to become a legendary tag team together considering the fact that they were singles stars and didn't need each other at all. However, much like the Sting and Luger team, they had the chemistry and would work together very well. The result would end up being very interesting and one of the more engaging teams of the era. They would win the tag team titles a total of 6 times, defeating the best of the best from Harlem Heat, The Steiners, Lex Luger and The Giant, and Sting And The Giant. Through their run, they were one of the more popular teams and acts in the company, and while they weren't responsible for too many classic matches, The Outsiders made their presence felt on wrestling and WCW, marking their spot as one of the greatest in the company ever.

*Harlem Heat 

-There was no way that I could talk WCW tag teams without talking the greatest team in the company's history. Stevie Ray and Booker T. Two brothers who would end up with Sensational Sherri as a manager and dub her Sister Sherri. As a team, these two were magnetic in the ring, utilizing their chemistry to lead them to multiple tag team title reigns and a legacy that is nearly unmatched in the history of WCW. The 10 Time WCW Tag Team Champions would feud with so many teams over their 4 year run as a top tier team that it only enhanced their legacy. They would feud with Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck, Stars And Stripes, and The Nasty Boys through 1994 and 1995 before the golden era of WCW Tag Team wrestling came along. Through 1996 and 1997, they would feud with The Steiners, The Road Warriors, Sting And Lex Luger, American Males, Public Enemy, The Outsiders, Faces Of Fear, and more. In 1999, they reunited briefly to win more titles and feud with Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman, as well as Bam Bam Bigelow and Kanyon, but the run wasn't the same and eventually they would break up and feud with each other. This is where Harlem Heat 2000 was born so there's no need to mention that at all. Still, the truth is, Harlem Heat is the best WCW tag team and my personal favorite period. Their impact on WCW is legendary, just like the rest of these teams listed.


Monday, September 25, 2017

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Eyes On NFL: The Carolina Panthers Need A New Head Coach

By @AmeenKnows

The Panthers have been in existence for 23 years. They first started play in 1995. In those 23 years, we have had four head coaches. None have been able to achieve the feat of having back to back winning seasons. Why is this important? Because it defines a mode of inconsistency and stagnation that has left this franchise running in place for the entirety of its existence. Which brings us to the here and now.

Ron Rivera has been head coach of the Carolina Panthers since 2011 with a record of 50-35-1. He is a 2x Coach of the Year Winner, won the NFC South Division 3x and has made a Super Bowl apperance in 2015. Impressive? On paper, yes. Let's analyze. Of those 7 years, Rivera has only 2 winning seasons. His Coach of the Year seasons are his only winning seasons and the only seasons in which he has reached 8 wins or more (12-4 in 2013, 15-1 in 2015.) With 2017 still pending, he has a record of 19-29-1 with his winning seasons unincluded. Sandwiched between two winning seasons is a 7-8-1 season that was good enough in a horrible NFC South to win the division. He's 3-3 in the playoffs. In all 3 losses, he was severely outcoached by Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll and Gary Kubiak.
Now let's talk philosophy. Rivera comes from the Mike Ditka coaching tree and has said many of times that Ditka has been one of his biggest influences as a head coach. That being said, his mentor has a direct correlation to the Panthers identity as a team. Ground and pound and play hard defense right? The year he became head coach, Cam Newton was selected first overall in the NFL Draft. In his first season, the offense took off under the rookie sensation, going from being ranked 32nd to 7th in one year! 

In 2012, the team finished in the top 15 once again. Both offenses were led by Rob Chudzinski. In the 2013 offseason, Chud took the Cleveland Browns head coaching gig (was fired after one season and works for the Colts now). Quarterbacks coach Mike Shula was called up to replace Chud as the Offensive Coordinator. That year the team finished with a 12-4 record with the 2nd ranked defense in the League. The offense? They fell off a Cliff, going from 12th to 26th. In 2014, the offense finished 16th with another top 10 defense. In 2015 with the league MVP calling the shots, they were still only good enough for 11th but did lead the league in scoring. In the Super Bowl, they failed to make any second half offensive adjustments and did not score the rest of the game. In 2016, the offense finished 19th with the defense falling below the top 10 for the first time since drafting Luke Kuechly. One of the reasons why is because of Rivera's inability to see that his offensive coordinator, who is the play caller, is hurting his team.

Which brings me to another point. I really question how much Rivera cares about his Quarterback who has become the scapegoat for everything that ails the Panthers. Cam Newton has regularly taken a beating from fans and media for not developing into a Brady-esque pocket passer. What is unbeknownst or simply ignored by most is that Rivera has essentially stunted Newton's growth by refusing to find him better coaching to surround him with. When your offense regularly finishes outside the top 15 that calls for changes to be made. Rivera has also criticized his Quarterback to the media, telling them he looked shook last season and even benched him for a series for not wearing a tie on the Seattle trip. Another reason I question him is how he handles Cam's health. A clearly concussed Newton was allowed back into the game against Denver in 2016 after taking multiple direct hits to the head and led them to what would have been the game winning field goal had Graham Gano not missed. 

Later in the season when Newton suffered a slightly torn rotator cuff in Week 13 against San Diego, he allowed Newton to finish playing through the rest of the season. This begs me to question why would Rivera, who shut down Kuechly with a concussion for the rest of the year, allow his QB to aggravate an injury in his throwing shoulder in the final three games with nothing to play for? That's gross negligence on his behalf. Through 3 games this year, Cam Newton still does not look even 60% healthy or confident in that shoulder yet Rivera won't save him from himself and sit him.
I understand that I can't blame Rivera for the front office not surrounding the franchise QB with better pieces however I refuse to support the decision to hold on to an incompetent Offensive Coordinator and not protect said QB. The Super Bowl hangover is over. When your own Linebacker shows he cares more than your head coach on the sideline, you have a problem. It's time to move on.