Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Monday, March 22, 2021
By Steve Ward
This evening marked the final pay per view on the Road to Wrestlemania, as well as, the first pay per view on the Peacock Network and the final one on the WWE Network in the U.S. The event emanated from the Thunderdome at Tropicana Field and should mark the final pay per view in the Quarantine Era as each day of Wrestlemania is expected to host a significant number of fans. This evening’s card featured seven matches with titles defended including Roman Reigns squaring off with Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (c)
Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via pinfall
The opening contest of the evening presented an interesting dynamic as Wrestlemania opponents became partners for one evening as Belair and WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, teamed up to challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. As expected, this match closed with a meltdown between Banks and Belair. After Belair allowed herself to be shoved into Banks as she had the Bank Statement cinched in on Baszler, Sasha blamed Belair for preventing the submission. While the two were distracted, Baszler rolled up Banks for the pinfall.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Winner: Big E via pinfall
Big E’s power was on full display for much of the early part of this match as he dismantled Crews while delivering a pair of brutal splashes out on the ring apron. Crews was able to build some late momentum but could not capitalize as a series of inside cradle reversals finally settled in favor of Big E. Following the match, Crews proceeded to assault Big E until he was beaten senseless so it would appear this rivalry has not concluded quite yet.
Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall
This bout was originally supposed to feature Shane McMahon going toe to toe with Strowman, however, he suffered a training injury to his knee early in the day. Following a conversation backstage between Elias and Shane regarding his Wrestlemania involvement, Elias found himself as the substitute for this match. Strowman essentially mauled Elias like a bear attacking it’s prey until he mercifully finished him off with the running power slam.
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall
As Rollins continues to find his footing following paternity leave, he has lately been on a mission demanding respect. This match came to fruition on Friday Night Smackdown after Nakamura delivered a kick to Rollins’ face creating a contest between two top tier stars who WWE creative have no clue what to do with. Nakamura appeared in prime position to overcome Rollins late in the match, however, a failed Kinshasa attempt was the only opening Seth needed. Rollins unleashed an offensive onslaught that included a well executed Falcon Arrow before he finished off Nakamura with the Curb Stomp.
No Holds Barred Match
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall
After Sheamus turned his back on his longtime friend several weeks ago, the two have become embroiled in a bitter feud that would culminate this evening in a No Holds Barred Match. Sheamus appeared to be in dire straits early in the match as he was thrown through a bay of the dystopian fan screens which ignited in sparks, however, he did turn the tables to give McIntyre all he could handle - most notably a White Noise through the announce table. In what ended up being a surprisingly brutal match, McIntyre finally persevered in the end as he put the Celtic Warrior down with a Claymore Kick.
Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss
Winner: Alexa Bliss
After Orton “burned” The Fiend alive three months ago, he has found himself repeatedly confronted by Wyatt’s sidekick Alexa Bliss in encounters that are just flat out weird. This brings us to tonight where the two were scheduled to square off. The first few moments of the “match” saw Orton stalking Bliss around the ring dodging things such as falling scaffolding and fire. Once they returned to the ring, a hand punched through the ring and grabbed Orton by the ankle. After flames shot up through the ring, The Fiend emerged sporting attire that appeared to have been singed in the spirit of Jason Voorhees after he was sent to hell. The Fiend proceeded to deliver the Sister Abigail to Orton which allowed Alexa Bliss to pin The Legend Killer.
WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Daniel Bryan
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall
After Daniel Bryan overcame the odds by surviving a grueling match against five other men at Elimination Chamber last month, he was immediately thrown into his title opportunity with Roman Reigns that of course became an impossible task. Bryan then found his way into a rematch which Edge took exception to and subsequently lead to his position as the special ringside enforcer for this contest. Late in the bout, Bryan continued to bring his A submission game as he repeatedly tied up Roman Reigns. Bryan then attempted the running knee but Reigns ducked out of the way leaving the referee to take the full blow. Edge then stepped in for the referee and failed to count the pinfall on Reigns first attempt to cover Bryan. Next, Jey Uso made his way to the ring and delivered a super kick to the face of Edge and then Bryan.
Uso then introduced a chair into the ring which ended up backfiring on him as he was quickly disposed of. Daniel Bryan proceeded to grab the chair and attempted to take out Reigns who again ducked and left Edge to take the shot this time. Bryan then took out Reigns and trapped him in another Yes Lock. As Edge recovered, he cracked Bryan in the back with the steel chair while Reigns was tapping out. Edge continued to lay waste to both men before storming out of the Thunderdome. Another referee made his way to the ring just in time for Reigns to roll over and cover Bryan to retain his title.
Thursday, March 11, 2021
HAVERTOWN, PA — This Saturday, March 13th from 1 PM to 4 PM, former World Heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes will make his autograph signing debut at Carl's Cards and Collectibles in Havertown. Autographs are $49 for flats up to 16x20 and $69 for premium items (i.e. gloves, trunks, and larger flats). Inscriptions cost an additional $15 for short inscriptions and $25 for longer inscriptions.
“As a local living legend from the Lehigh Valley and an International Boxing Hall of Famer, we thought Larry would be the perfect autograph guest. Larry not only had one of the best left jabs in boxing history, but was also one of only five men to defeat Muhammad Ali,” said Lauren Henderson the PR and Marketing Director of Carl’s Cards and Collectibles.
Holmes' professional boxing career spanned four decades, compiling an impressive record of 69 wins (44 by way of knockout) and six losses between 1973 and 2002. His legendary career included victories over a "who's who" list of boxing superstars in the heavyweight division. Holmes’ 1980 victory over Ali was the only time the boxing legend was stopped in a professional fight. This fight ended when Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee, having seen enough of the one-sided affair, stopped the fight after the tenth round.
Considered by boxing analysts and insiders as one of the all-time greatest heavyweight boxers, "The Easton Assassin" was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2008.
When asked what Larry Holmes means to her as a sports fan, Lauren Henderson told Patch, “Larry has so many amazing boxing accomplishments, from winning his first 48 bouts to being inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame; but when I think of Larry Holmes I think of all of the great things he’s done for his community in the Lehigh Valley and specifically Easton.”
Following his long boxing career, Holmes invested his winnings from the ring in the Lehigh Valley by starting businesses in the region that employed hundreds of people. He is so beloved in his hometown that a statue was erected in 2015 to honor him.
Henderson told Patch, “He’s more than just an athlete. When I think of Larry, I think of a great community representative of our area.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, selfies and photos with Larry Holmes will not be allowed. All customers are required to wear masks inside of the store.
Carl's Cards and Collectibles is located at 22 W. Eagle Road in Havertown, Pennsylvania. For more information on this weekend's autograph signing, please visit the Carl's Cards and Collectibles website, or call the store at (610) 789-4996.
This story also appeared on Patch.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2021
By Steve Ward
All Elite Wrestling returned to pay per view this evening with a star studded show from a sold out (or as sold out as they were permitted) Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. I can safely say that I haven’t watched a pay per view from this company that I haven’t enjoyed and this one was poised to continue this trend. Some of the most anticipated matches headed into this event included the icon Sting’s return to the ring, as well as, one of the most notoriously violent matches in the history of pro wrestling - an exploding barbed wire deathmatch - for the AEW World Title.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. w/ Rebel & Maki Itoh vs. Thunder Rosa & Riho
Winners: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D & Maki Itoh via pinfall
Winners: The Young Bucks via pinfall
Winners: Death Triangle - PAC and Rey Fenix
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Ryo Mizunami
Winner: Hikaru Shida via pinfall
Winners: Kip Sabian and Miro via submission
Before this match could even begin, Cassidy and Taylor were ambushed by their opponents backstage. After Miro used Taylor’s head and forearm to break a glass window, he dragged him to the ring where the contest began as a handicap match until Cassidy stumbled out to the ring several minutes later to even the odds. The closing moments saw Miro assert himself as an unstoppable force as he finally finished Taylor off with The Game Over for the submission victory.
Matt Hardy vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page
Following Hardy’s failed attempt to persuade a drunk Page to sign a contract with him that would financially benefit Matt, an interesting stipulation arose for this match as the winner would collect all of his opponent’s income from the first quarter of 2021. In the closing moments of this bout, Hardy’s associates, Private Party, made their way to ringside to serve as a distraction. It appeared their efforts would prove to be the deciding factor as Hardy executed the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, however, it wasn’t enough. The reinforcements for Adam Page then made their way to the ring in the form of The Dark Order. Adam Page shortly thereafter hit the Buckshot Lariat to put Hardy away.
“Platinum” Max Caster vs. Lance Archer w/ Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page
Winner: Scorpio Sky
This contest had five of the six competitors designated prior to this evening with the final surprise entrant revealed as former two-time Impact Tag Team Champion, as one half of The North, Ethan Page. The winner of this match would be crowned after ascending to the top of the ladder and retrieving the literal brass ring suspended above the ring earning him a shot at Darby Allin for the TNT Championship. The closing moments saw Cody and Sky face-to-face at the top of the ladder trading blows. Cody and his battered left shoulder could only hang on for so long as he was dropped to the canvas allowing Scorpio Sky to retrieve the brass ring setting up a title opportunity this Wednesday.
Sting and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks
Winners: Sting and Darby Allin via pinfall
Darby Allin had found himself with a target on his back for the past several months following his rejection of the invitation to join Team Taz until he found some backup in the form of the icon Sting. Their rivalry finally came to a head this evening in the form of a street fight at an undisclosed location. The fact this was a “cinematic match” made perfect sense being positioned just before the main event as it allowed the ring crew to set the stage for the Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. As far as cinematic matches go, this ended up being one of the better efforts I’ve seen. Sting and Allin overcame the numbers game when Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook came to the aid of Cage and Starks as the great equalizers proved to be the signature baseball bat and then a shovel in the hands of Sting. The match reached it’s conclusion as Sting executed the Scorpion Death Drop on Ricky Starks to earn the pinfall.
Kenny Omega (c) w/ Don Callis vs. Jon Moxley
Winner: Kenny Omega via pinfall
The main event of the evening saw Jon Moxley attempt to regain his title from Kenny Omega in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. In this match the ring ropes were covered with barbed wire rigged with explosives that would be triggered on contact on three sides of the ring and if that weren’t enough, the ring would “explode” if the match reached 30 minutes. Additionally, the referee for the bout was dressed in a flame retardant hazmat suit with a face shield to add to the narrative for the gravity of the situation. This was a bloody, visceral affair that sadly saw its conclusion come with the interference of The Good Brothers who allowed Kenny Omega to gain the upper hand. Omega used this advantage and proceeded to execute a One Winged Angel that broke Moxley’s body over a chair allowing him to secure the pinfall retention of his title. Following the match, Omega, Gallows, and Anderson left Moxley handcuffed in the ring as the timer was displayed in the arena counting down to the detonation of all the remaining explosives.
Monday, February 22, 2021
By Steve Ward
Despite the remainder of Florida essentially being completely open, WWE continues to utilize their virtual Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in what I’ve again rebranded the WWE Dystopian Era. Perhaps a blessing in disguise will be that the WWE will need to locate a new home following MLB Spring Training as the Rays will be taking over the facility - perhaps they have secured an outdoor venue where they will allow limited attendance since they are already believed to be allowing fans to attend Wrestlemania. On another significant note, this evening would also mark the final WWE pay per view on the WWE Network for those residing in North America as all of the WWE library and future pay per views will be exclusively streamed on Peacock beginning in March following a multi-billion dollar deal that was agreed upon recently. Nonetheless, we continue on the Road to Wrestlemania with the first to last pay per view stop in the form of Elimination Chamber. This event should solidify the world title picture for The Showcase of the Immortals, Wrestlemania, as both world championships were on the line among the five scheduled bouts on the card - including two elimination chamber contests.
Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. King Corbin vs. Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro
Winner: Daniel Bryan
The opening contest of the main card delivered the first chamber match of the evening and would determine Roman Reigns opponent for his Universal Championship later in the show. The bout commenced with arguably the two most talented combatants, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro. After trading some vicious blows for several minutes, the men were finally joined by King Corbin who was the first to be released from his pod. Corbin managed to gain the upper hand on the two competitors using his size advantage to manhandle Bryan and Cesaro until the fourth Superstar entered the fray in the form of Sami Zayn. The first elimination of the match was delivered by Cesaro as he cinched in the Sharpshooter on King Corbin to secure the submission. Just after Corbin’s departure from the match Kevin Owens entered the fray and introduced Sami Zayn’s skull to the chamber door before delivering his patented cannonball to each of the three men in the chamber.
With Owens in control of the contest, the final competitor, Roman Reigns’ cousin Jey Uso, entered the match. Owens continued to dominate the bout as he delivered a moonsault from the top of one of the pods that left the other four competitors in a pile of visceral carnage. Owens then delivered a slew of Stunners including one to Zayn who he subsequently pinned. As Zayn left the chamber, Uso achieved the upper hand on Owens from behind and immediately capitalized with a Frog Splash for another quick elimination. As Cesaro seemed poised to attain his second submission elimination of the evening as he cinched Bryan in the Sharpshooter, he was unceremoniously greeted with a super kick to the jaw from Jey Uso who immediately scaled the turnbuckles to deliver another Frog Splash to solidify the pinfall. Uso quickly attempted another Frog Splash, this time from the top of one of the pods, to Daniel Bryan, however, he was met with a pair of knees to the stomach. Daniel Bryan promptly delivered the running knee to punch his ticket into the Universal Championship Match with Roman Reigns.
Universal Championship Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman
Winner: Roman Reigns via submission
A bruised and battered Daniel Bryan had no opportunity to recover as the chamber immediately ascended to the rafters and Roman Reigns music echoed through the Thunderdome marking the beginning of the Universal Championship Match. Roman attempted to spear Bryan at the opening bell, however, Bryan sidestepped him and cinched in the Yes Lock. Bryan just didn’t have enough left in the tank to maintain the hold as Reigns broke out and pummeled him unmercifully before he finally choked him out for the submission victory. As Reigns celebrated in the ring, Edge emerged to deliver a spear to the champion and proclaimed that he would be challenging him for his title at Wrestlemania.
United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Bobby Lashley (c) w/ MVP vs. Matt Riddle vs. John Morrison
Winner: Matt Riddle via pinfall
Keith Lee was originally supposed to be a participant in this match, however, he suffered an injury on Monday Night RAW and needed to be replaced. John Morrison fought his way in as he emerged victorious over Ricochet, Mustafa Ali, and Elias in a Fatal Four Way bout on the Kickoff Show. Bobby Lashley absolutely dominated this entire contest and was seemingly poised to earn a submission victory as he had John Morrison trapped in the Hurt Lock until Riddle procured MVP’s crutch and shattered it over Lashley’s back before tossing him from the ring. This opened the door for Riddle to take advantage of Morrison as he executed the Bro Derek allowing him to earn the pinfall crowning a new champion.
Women’s Tag Team Championship
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (c) vs. Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks
Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via pinfall
Following the events of Friday Night Smackdown, Belair found herself teaming up with one of her potential Wrestlemania opponents with the women’s tag team gold on the line. In another “exhilarating” Sasha Banks match, the conclusion came shortly after Reginald made his way to ringside with a bottle of celebratory champagne. Reginald passed the bottle to Sasha with the intention of her using it on Nia Jax. As Sasha lashed out at Reginald for such a suggestion, Jax seized the opportunity to hoist Banks up in the Samoan Drop to retain the tag team titles.
RAW Elimination Chamber WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. A.J. Styles w/ Omos vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Unlike the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match, the stakes were even greater for this one as Drew McIntyre was one of the participants with his WWE Championship on the line. One last minute change occurred for the lineup in this match as The Miz removed himself on Monday night and was subsequently replaced by Kofi Kingston.
The first two men pitted against each other were ring veterans Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy surprisingly brought the fight to the Viper and controlled much of the opening of the match until the champion, Drew McIntyre, entered the fray and immediately asserted himself. Kingston entered the match next and quickly trapped Orton in a surprise pinfall. Before departing the chamber, Orton delivered a pair of RKOs to Kingston and Hardy. Seeing a window of opportunity, Styles directed the towering Omos to rip the outer wall of his pod off so that he could prematurely enter the match with hopes of stealing a pinfall on one of the incapacitated participants. Unfortunately for Styles, his plan did not go as he intended and WWE officials removed his muscle, Omos, from ringside. The defending champ then proceeded to reestablish his dominance as he laid waste to all of the other participants. With bodies scattered around McIntyre, Sheamus made his way into the match as the final entrant released from his pod.
Shortly thereafter, Kingston seemed to be in prime position for at least one elimination as he took out the other four competitors with a dive from the top of one of the pods until his head was blasted with a Brogue Kick from Sheamus for the elimination. Jeff Hardy was the next victim of the match as he was met with a Claymore Kick from McIntyre who was able to easily pin him leaving us with three participants. The next elimination arrived after Sheamus leveled McIntyre with a Brogue Kick only to be surprised with a Phenomenal Forearm that lead to his swift exit from the match. Styles then attempted another Phenomenal Forearm on the champion but this time found himself on the receiving end of a Claymore Kick which allowed McIntyre to retain his title.
After the chamber was lifted from the ring, Drew McIntyre was ambushed by Bobby Lashley who cleaned the arena up with him in a vicious assault. With an apparent deal in place between The Miz and The Hurt Business, Miz promptly made his way to ringside with his Money In The Bank briefcase in tow.
WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. The Miz
Winner: The Miz via pinfall
As soon as the bell rang, The Miz pounced on the champion and immediately delivered a DDT followed by a failed pinfall attempt. With his hopes of winning the title appearing to be in dire straits, The Miz unrelentingly followed up with a Skullcrushing Finale to shock the WWE Universe and walk out of the pay per view as the newly crowned WWE Champion!
Monday, February 1, 2021
By Steve Ward
Monday, December 21, 2020
By Steve Ward
WWE’s new home for the Thunderdome, Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, was the site for this evening’s final Quarantine Era pay per view of 2020 - Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. One would have to wonder if WWE would step their game up amidst a continued decline in their RAW and Smackdown viewership, losses in the ratings by NXT for several Wednesdays to AEW Dynamite, and after AEW also unleashed a bombshell earlier this month in the signing of the legendary Sting. Nonetheless, this evening’s card featured six matches with five titles contested and featured two Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches.
Carmella w/ Reginald vs. Sasha Banks (c)
Winner: Sasha Banks via submission
The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander) w/ MVP vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
Winners: The Hurt Business via pinfall
MVP’s Hurt Business sought to add more gold to their ranks this evening as Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander challenged for the RAW Tag Team Championship. Following a frenetically paced match, Shelton Benjamin had Kofi squared up when Alexander blind-tagged his way into the match much to the displeasure of The Gold Standard. Alexander proceeded to execute the Lumbar Check on Kingston to earn the pinfall and crown new tag team champions. Another note of significance was this marked Benjamin’s first tag team title reign in 17 years since he last held the tag team gold with Charlie Haas as one half of The World’s Greatest Tag Team.
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs. Asuka & Charlotte Flair
Winners: Asuka & Charlotte Flair via pinfall
Asuka was originally scheduled to tag with Lana until she was brutalized at the hands of the tag team champs on Monday Night RAW leaving the Empress of Tomorrow in search of a new partner. The virtual WWE Universe was stunned as Asuka’s mystery partner was revealed to be “The Queen” Charlotte Flair. A much leaner Flair showed no signs of any ring rust as her full arsenal was on display - most notably a beautifully executed moonsault she delivered from the top turnbuckle to the arena floor. In the closing moments, Flair hit the Natural Selection on Baszler allowing her to capture the pinfall victory and crown new tag team champions.
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Roman Reigns
Following an extended period of title picture irrelevancy, Kevin Owens was put in a prime spot this evening as he challenged Roman Reigns in a sadistic TLC match for the Universal Championship. KO was able to get the jump on Reigns early as he emerged out of nowhere while Roman watched his title hoisted to the rafters. Owens was then able to dispose of Jey Uso who came to his cousin’s aid allowing him to maintain some early momentum. Owens momentum was short-lived as Uso returned again later in the match to distract KO’s attention away from Reigns. This advantage was seized by Reigns as me maintained control until the closing moments of the match. Roman attempted to spear KO on the arena floor, however, Owens moved at that last moment as Reigns launched himself through the ringside barrier. Owens again seemed in a prime position to become the new champion as he scaled the ladder in the ring only to be met again by Jey Uso. After Owens disposed of Uso yet again, Roman recovered and made his way up the ladder where he unceremoniously delivered a low blow to KO which created the opportunity for him to cinch in a guillotine choke. Reigns did not release the hold until Owens body went limp and fell to the canvas. Reigns then slowly removed the title from it’s hook above the ring to complete his retention.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Randy Orton
This match marked the rekindling (pun intended) of the previous rivalry between these two combatants that stemmed back to Bray’s time at the head of the Wyatt Family. One may ask, what’s a Firefly Inferno Match? It’s simply an Inferno Match involving Bray Wyatt so the winner would be declared when one man sets any part of the other’s body on fire. In the closing moments of this match, which received a very negative response from the virtual crowd, The Fiend attacked Orton with the Mandible Claw. Orton was able to push Wyatt into the flames at ringside while his fingers were still shoved down his throat and then rolled him into the ring where he delivered an RKO. Orton then decided to douse The Fiend in gasoline and dropped a lit match leaving Wyatt engulfed in flames to close the show (note it was rather evident that they swapped The Fiend out for a dummy).