Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Return: Christian Carto wins big in Philly

A strong sense of familiarity lurked throughout the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia on Friday night. Homespun, perhaps is the better way to describe the event, with the locals, on the road supporters, the fight families and of course the boxers themselves in the building. The aura projected was one that was absent since before the pandemic, but one other absence was also restored. On that topic of what hasn't been present, The Weigh-In is here to discuss a certain South Philly pugilist that had been away from the ring for roughly 31 months.

Coming off both a two year layoff and his first professional defeat, while dealing with the hardships of the pandemic that delayed a lot of fights, including in the bantamweight division, Christian Carto's anticipation for that next fight never went away. One of the most talked about prospects to enter the venue, it was safe to say Carto's bout would be under high speculation from the fans, press and overall boxing scene. Describing how his performance against the Columbian fighter Yeison Vargas played out from a fan and writer's perspective was simply extraordinary.

From the sound of the bell, it was clear Carto's will, or perhaps his drive had a flare that seemed almost "new," despite having a reputation of being both a talented and stark boxer. This contest was not decided by judges in this six round bout, but dictated by Carto's jab, generalship and combination punching. To say the Philadelphia fighter was able to do whatever he wanted in that ring, as if it was his second house, would be an understatement. 

Punches that Vargas could not endure, even with his guard, caused him to turn his back and fall towards the ropes, resulting in a knockdown. The following pursuit by Carto, as his opponent got up, would be a devastating body shot, a left hook to the liver. This famous punch put Vargas on the canvas for a second and final time, as the official in the ring, Eric Dali, counted the downed boxer out, leaving Carto the winner at 2:53 of this very first round.

While a victory for any boxer normally goes to show how much time, effort and overall work was put in training, Team Carto, with newly recruited trainer Bozy Ennis proved to have made the most of their preparation for the first fight together. Though this may be the return of Christian Carto, it certainly felt like he never left the squared circle.


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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

AEW All Out 2021

By Steve Ward

All Elite Wrestling returned to pay-per-view this evening with arguably their most anticipated event to date as All Out emanated from the Now Arena in Chicago, Illinois. The plethora of star power saturating this stacked card was undeniable with the majority of the publicity drawn to the nuclear level return to the ring of CM Punk for the first time in seven years! Including Punk’s return, the card featured nine matches with every AEW title on the line.


TNT Championship

Miro (c) vs. Eddie Kingston

Winner: Miro via pinfall

Miro, once known as Rusev in WWE, entered the ring tonight to defend his TNT Championship and his blemish-free 13-0 record against one of his most challenging competitors to date, the ring veteran Eddie Kingston. Kingston appeared poised to capture his first championship in AEW after he executed a perfect DDT late in the match, however, the referee was distracted by an exposed turnbuckle and didn’t commence with his count promptly enough. Moments later, Miro struck Kingston with a mule kick between the uprights as the ref was once again distracted. Miro followed this up with a stiff kick to Kingston’s head allowing him to secure the 1-2-3.


Satoshi Kojima vs. Jon Moxley

Winner: Jon Moxley via pinfall

Jon Moxley sent an open contract to New Japan Pro Wrestling which was accepted by one man, the Japanese legend Satoshi Kojima. Moxley was able to overcome Kojima in a hard-hitting Japanese strong style encounter as he executed consecutive Paradigm Shifts to put him away. Following the match, the music of another Japanese legend, Minoru Suzuki, echoed through the arena throwing the already raucous crowd into a frenzy. The two men proceeded to trade blows while laughing before Suzuki delivered his signature piledriver leaving Moxley laid out in the ring.


AEW Women’s Championship

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. (c) w/ Rebel & Jamie Hayter vs. Kris Statlander w/ Orange Cassidy

Winner: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. via submission

The second title bout of the evening pit the top women’s contender, Kris Statlander, against Dr. Britt Baker who has been on the most dominant stretch of her career since taking the title from Hikaru Shida. Kris Statlander demonstrated tremendous resistance, however, she wasn’t able to execute any of her high-risk attempts which left her vulnerable in the end as the doctor executed the Pittsburgh Sunrise, a curb stomp, and the Lockjaw in succession allowing her to retain the AEW Women’s Championship via submission.


AEW Tag Team Championship Steel Cage Match

The Young Bucks (c) w/ Don Callis, The Good Brothers, & Brandon Cutler vs. The Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix) w/ Alex Abrahantes

Winners: The Lucha Bros via pinfall

With the Young Bucks being the benefactors of constant outside interference in their matches as of late, this match evolved into one that would be contested in a steel cage. These teams left absolutely nothing in the ring in this contest. After Penta was unable to seal the deal with an Avalanche Canadian Destroyer, his brother pulled off the most death-defying move of the match just moments later. Rey Fenix scaled to the top of the cage and dove off taking out the Young Bucks. The Lucha Bros then executed a spike package piledriver to put an exclamation point on earning their first AEW Tag Team Championship.


Women’s Casino Battle Royale

Winner: Ruby Soho

The winner of the 21-woman Casino Battle Royale would earn a future AEW Women’s Title opportunity. The women would enter in four groups of five with the “Joker” being the last entrant.

Clubs Group

Hikaru Shida

Skye Blue

Emi Sakura

The Bunny 

Abadon

Diamonds Group

Anna Jay

Kierra Hogan

Kilyn King

Diamante

Nyla Rose

Hearts Group

Thunder Rosa

Penelope Ford

Riho

Jaime Hayter

Big Swole


Spades Group


Tay Conti

Red Velvet

“Legit” Leyla Hirsch

Jade Cargill

Rebel


Joker


Ruby Soho


The final four combatants in the battle royale were Tay Conti, Ruby Soho, Thunder Rosa, and Nyla Rose.  The first elimination saw Tay Conti launched from the ring apron by The Native Beast. Next, Thunder Rosa delivered a brutal dropkick to Nyla Rose that also dropped her to the arena floor leaving Thunder Rosa and the debuting Ruby Soho as the final two competitors. Ruby Soho and Thunder Rosa found themselves battling on the ring apron in the final moments as Soho (formerly known as Ruby Riott in WWE) delivered a kick to the head of Thunder Rosa that made her lose her footing and fall to the floor crowning Soho the winner and the recipient of a future title shot.


Chris Jericho vs. MJF

Winner: Chris Jericho via submission

After Jericho conquered the first four labors of Jericho, he lost his match to MJF in the fifth and final labor via submission. Jericho demanded one final match against MJF and in order to get it, he put his in-ring career on the line. Late in the contest, Wardlow made his way to ringside only to be intercepted by Jake Hager. As referee Aubrey Edwards was distracted, MJF grabbed Jericho’s baseball bat, Floyd, and struck him. MJF then hit Jericho’s own move The Judas Effect and covered him for a three count, however, Jericho’s foot was on the rope. Referee Paul Turner made his way to ringside and alerted Aubrey Edwards to what occurred leading her to restart the match. Jericho proceeded to cinch in The Walls of Jericho prompting MJF to tap out, hence, saving his career.


CM Punk vs. Darby Allin w/ Sting

Winner: CM Punk via pinfall

CM Punk made his triumphant return to professional wrestling just a few weeks ago on the second ever episode of AEW Rampage and immediately challenged Darby Allin to be the man he would go toe to toe with in his in-ring return. The biggest question with this match would be the level of ring rust for Punk in his first match in seven years. Punk returned in shape and quickly engaged in a technical match as he attempted to slow down the high flying Allin. Late in the match, CM Punk appeared to be in dire straits after Allin unleashed his aerial assault - most notably a Swanton delivered to Punk who stood on the arena floor. In the closing moments, Allin scaled to the top rope for the Coffin Drop only to have Punk sit up at the last second. Punk then quickly answered with the Go To Sleep to secure the victory.


Paul Wight vs. QT Marshall w/ The Factory

Winner: Paul Wight via pinfall

In another massive return to the ring, Paul Wight (better known as The Giant in WCW and The Big Show in WWE) would square off with the leader of The Factory, QT Marshall. Paul made quick work of Freehold, New Jersey’s QT Marshall as he put him down with a choke slam for his first AEW victory.


AEW World Championship

Kenny Omega (c) w/ Don Callis vs. Christian Cage

Winner: Kenny Omega via pinfall

Christian Cage faced Kenny Omega for the second time in a month this evening and again it was for a world title. The last time they squared off was on the debut episode of Rampage where Cage captured one of Omega’s titles, the Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. Christian gave Kenny Omega all he could handle but in the end Cage’s top rope Killswitch attempt was thwarted by Don Callis’ interference. This distraction was all Omega needed to hit the One Winged Angel from the top turnbuckle in order to put away Christian Cage and retain his title.


The events following the conclusion of the main event may have constituted one of the greatest endings to a pay-per-view I’ve ever witnessed. First, The Elite joined Omega in the ring and commenced in a vicious beat down of Christian Cage. Jurassic Express attempted to rescue their ally only to be overwhelmed by the number’s game. As Omega celebrated with The Elite in the ring, he proclaimed essentially that he couldn’t be beaten for his title. Omega was then interrupted as the lights went out. When they again illuminated the arena, the crowd erupted at the appearance of Adam Cole! Cole made his way to the ring and instead of confronting the world champion, he delivered a super kick to the jaw of Jungle Boy and embraced The Elite. Kenny Omega once again grabbed the mic and was about to bid the crowd a good night as he was interrupted yet again. This time a new rendition of a very familiar entrance theme reverberated throughout the Now Arena. All in attendance engaged in a deafening roar as Brian Danielson (most recently known as Daniel Bryan in WWE) emerged from the entrance tunnel and made his way to the ring to echoing “Yes!!!” chants. Danielson joined Christian and Jurassic Express as they cleared the ring of The Elite to close the show.



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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend Becoming a Staple for the City

By TWI Staff

Our very own Luis Cortes teamed up with our friends at The Sweet Science to bring you another great boxing article about this year's Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame! 



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Sunday, August 22, 2021

WWE Summerslam 2021

By Steve Ward

WWE Summerslam emanated this evening (yes, on a Saturday)  from a sold out Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not only was the event moved to a Saturday, but also to the same night where Sin City would play host to the huge Manny Pacquiao and Yordenis Ugas showdown. Prior to the event, reports circulated that WWE was actually told to keep their event within three hours so that it would not coincide with the huge title fight, however, that didn’t even come close to happening as the show eclipsed four hours. The card this evening featured ten matches while it boasted seven title bouts in the mix and featured Roman Reigns defending his Universal Championship against a returning John Cena who was in search of his record 17th world title.


WWE RAW Tag Team Championship

AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. Rated RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Matt Riddle)

Winners: RK-Bro via pinfall


Following weeks of failing to see eye to eye between Riddle and Orton, The Original Bro came to his rescue recently on RAW as his singles match with Omos quickly escalated into a handicap encounter hence earning The Viper‘s respect in the process. The reformation of this team proved to pay dividends for them this evening as this rather abrupt match ended with an RKO delivered to Styles to secure the pinfall victory and crown new champions.


Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie w/ Dou Drop

Winner: Alexa Bliss via pinfall


Since her uninspiring return to WWE, Eva Marie has found herself in the crosshairs of Alexa Bliss who has continued her Fiend-like role despite the recent departure of Bray Wyatt. Sadly, Alexa Bliss’ talents were not able to be utilized to their full extent in this bout with her given opposition. This was yet another match that arrived at a rapid conclusion as Bliss executed a strike to the jaw of Eva Marie to set up the pinfall.


United States Championship

Damian Priest vs. Sheamus (c)

Winner: Damian Priest via pinfall


Sheamus recently returned to action following a broken nose with a face mask in tow and immediately entered into a program with Damian Priest. This created a huge opportunity for the man once know as Punishment Martinez in his ROH days as he competed for his first title since becoming a member of RAW. What had the promise to be a sleeper match on the card quickly lost it’s momentum as Priest vaulted himself to the ring floor and landed badly on his hip. The bout finally picked up some momentum late as Priest withstood a Brogue Kick and the figure four leglock to deliver The Reckoning allowing him to solidify the victory and crown himself the new United States Champion.


Smackdown Tag Team Championship

The Usos (c) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio

Winners: The Usos via pinfall


After dropping the title to The Usos at Money In The Bank, The Mysterios earned another opportunity to regain them this evening. The Mysterios came up a little short this evening in their bid for a second tag team title reign as The Usos did their part to keep the bloodline intact prior to their cousin, Roman Reigns, title defense later in the evening.


Smackdown Women’s Championship

Bianca Belair (c) vs. Becky Lynch

Winner: Becky Lynch via pinfall


Bianca Belair was poised to defend her title in a Wrestlemania rematch with Sasha Banks, however, ring announcer Greg Hamilton stated that Banks was unable to compete and would be replaced by Carmella. After Carmella made her way to the ring, Belair proceeded to take the mic and belittled Carmella only to be interrupted by the return of “The Man” Becky Lynch! Becky Lynch quickly disposed of Carmella and challenged Belair for the title. Belair accepted the challenge and will be wondering what hit her until Friday Night Smackdown. Following the opening bell, Lynch extended her hand to Belair. Belair reciprocated only to be blindsided with a forearm to the face followed by The Manhandle Slam. The Man quickly pinned Belair to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion after a year and a half off for maternity leave.


Jinder Mahal vs. Drew McIntyre

Winner: Drew McIntyre


The rivalry between the former Three Man Band cohorts (yes, I went there) that erupted at Money In The Bank last month when Mahal, along with Shanky and Veer, cost McIntyre an opportunity at retrieving the briefcase. In a relative squash match, McIntyre made quick work of Mahal with a series of belly-to-belly suplexes followed by the Claymore Kick.


RAW Women’s Championship

Nikki A.S.H. (c) vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair

Winner: Charlotte Flair via submission


After Charlotte defeated Ripley to regain her title at Money In The Bank last month, she promptly dropped it the following night on RAW to Nikki A.S.H. who cashed in her Money In The Bank briefcase. With Flair and Ripley both laying claims to the title, we arrived at our triple threat encounter tonight. Charlotte again put her wrestling acumen on display as she overcame the odds to earn her 12th championship. With Ripley disposed of on the ring floor, Nikki and Flair found themselves alone in the ring. Nikki attempted a splash from the top rope only to have Flair side step her and quickly cinch in the Figure Eight to regain her title.


Edge vs. Seth Rollins

Winner: Edge via submission


Edge was out for revenge this evening following Rollins’ actions at Money In The Bank which cost him his match for the Universal Championship with Roman Reigns. Rollins awakened a beast within Edge after he referred to him as Edge-light which lead the Rated R Superstar to dive back into a dark place. Edge jumped into the time machine for his entrance this evening as he delved into the archive for the old Brood entrance theme and was raised through a flaming platform - all that was missing was Gangrel spitting “blood” into the air from a chalice. Rollins controlled much of the action in the early going until Edge began to turn the tables late. Edge executed a brutal spear after the prior one was thwarted with a reversal in the form of a Pedigree. Edge then blocked a curb stomp attempt and proceeded to smash Rollins head into the canvas several times before cinching in a move resembling the combination of a sleeper and a crossface to earn the submission victory.


WWE Championship

Goldberg vs. Bobby Lashley (c) w/ MVP

Winner: Bobby Lashley via no contest


Goldberg made his triumphant return to RAW the night after Money In The Bank to pose a challenge to WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley. Following Lashley’s acceptance the following week, things then became personal as MVP began to target Goldberg’s family - specifically his son at ringside. That brings us to our showdown tonight as the 54-year old Goldberg attempted to reclaim championship gold once again. Just minutes into the match MVP struck Goldberg in the knee with his cane as the referee was distracted which proved to be the deciding factor. Lashley proceeded to target the knee until the referee was forced to put an end to the match with Goldberg’s inability to put weight on his leg. After the bell was called for, Lashley attacked Goldberg with a steel chair until his son jumped the champion only to be the recipient of The Hurt Lock. 


WWE Universal Championship

Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. John Cena

Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall


This match came to fruition after John Cena confronted Roman Reigns in the ring following his victory at Money In The Bank and called out the Tribal Chief in search of his 17th world championship. Roman Reigns withstood multiple Attitude Adjustments, including one through the announce table, to finally put away Cena with a devastating spear to retain his title. As Reigns celebrated in the ring, he was interrupted by the unmistakable entrance music of Brock Lesnar! The capacity crowd unleashed a deafening roar as Brock made his way to the ring and stood toe to toe with The Tribal Chief. Paul Heyman appeared to soil himself as he implored Reigns to leave without conflict to which he obliged as the show came to a close.



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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Coffie Poised For HW Run, But First Must Conquer Mount Washington

By Milo Taibi

Native New Yorker and former US Marine Michael Polite-Coffie finds himself in an enviable position. At 35, he doesn’t appear to have a defined ceiling in boxing’s loaded- and lucrative- heavyweight division. 

A member of Marshall Kaufman’s King's Promotions, the former NY Golden Gloves competitor has made the most of his recent appearances on Premier Boxing Champions. A five-round beatdown of Luis Eduardo Pena cemented Coffie’s arrival on the televised boxing scene. Michael followed this appearance with an injury TKO of the grizzled Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell. 

In February of this year, Coffie made easy work of undefeated Philadelphia heavy Darmani Rock, despite entering the bout entrenched as an underdog. Following the banner victory, Coffie had already strategized his next move. 

“I’d like to test myself against guys like a Gerald Washington, a Dominic Breazeale, a Charles Martin,” Coffie told Keith Idec of Boxing Scene. “I’d like to test myself against those kind of opponents. That would show me if I’m ready for the next step, which would be guys for the belt.”

On Saturday July 31st, Coffie’s wish will be granted in the form of an all-military clash with Gerald Washington. A veteran of the US Navy and former professional football player, Washington brings a wealth of in-ring experience despite entering the sport at a late age. 

The 25-time competitor has faced division stalwarts such as Deontay Wilder, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and Adam Kownacki. While he’s had more defeats than successes when stepping up in class, Gerald boasts a July 2019 KO8 of Robert Helenius. It’s a stoppage that’s aged like a fine wine, as the Swede went on to score an "Upset Of The Year" contender of Adam Kownacki in March of 2020.

While Washington and Coffie are comparable in age, the former has considerably more miles on the boxing odometer. Coffie is undefeated through 12 bouts, while “El Gallo Negro” has been stopped four times...all from 2017-onward. Most recently, Washington turned in a sluggish performance against the tricky and hard-hitting southpaw Charles Martin. 

Despite this, if Washington turns up in tip-top shape, he’ll be far and away the biggest test of Coffie’s young professional career. And perhaps after a right hand or two land, Coffie will wish his call-out had been answered by Martin or Dominic Breazeale. 

Elsewhere on the undercard, New Jersey prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. will have his shot at redemption against Philly’s James Martin. In April, the 18-to-1 underdog Martin decisioned Mielnicki Jr. in stunning fashion on a televised card. 

PBC prospect Joey Spencer will also be in action, taking on the 13-fight veteran Dan Karpency. Spencer, coming off a KO1 of Isiah Seldon, will no doubt look to be the first to finish Karpency.

Editor's Note:  Michael Polite-Coffie will now face Jonathan Rice (13-6-1, 9 KOs) in the main event of Saturday's PBC boxing card. Gerald Washington was forced to withdraw from this fight after contracting COVID-19. 

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Remembering a Philly Hero

In 1976, the movie Rocky hit the big screen and a hero was born. The film showed the heart and soul of Philadelphia pride, the personification of the underdog who could show the world he was so much more. A fighter who worked hard until the very end, and with a bit of dreaming and a lot of heart, goes the distance in a fight and wins in life. The thing is that the hero representing these noble values in that movie was the cinematic depiction of a real man. This man was a true hero of boxing, who was the heavyweight champion, and represented Philadelphia in the ring. He showed the world what hard work, dedication, and Philly heart is all about. 

This man is the late “Smokin” Joe Frazier. Frazier was the greatest heavyweight to fight out of Philadelphia. Check out his record of 37 fights, of which he won 32 -- 27 by knock out! In 1970, Frazier won the heavyweight title by fighting Jimmy Ellis, who he knocked down twice in the fourth round, something that had never happened before in Ellis’ career. Frazier became the World Boxing Association (WBA) Heavyweight Champion and kept his title until 1973. 

During his reign as champion, Frazier stepped into the ring with Muhammad Ali in 1971. Ali returned to the ring after a three-year absence, his boxing license having been revoked for his refusal to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War. Ali used psychological warfare (which he was great at) to push Frazier to the edge, but what he really was doing was trying to hype the fight and get in Joe’s head, as he did with all of his opponents going back to Sonny Liston in the 60’s. On the night of their fight, it was skill, will, and hatred, at least on Joe’s part, that made for what was simply called "The Fight of the Century.” 

Joe Frazier looked like a machine designed to do nothing but fight that night. In the eleventh round, he hurt Ali badly, and I won’t spoil the round for you but keep an eye out, because at one point Joe Frazier knocked Ali down with a great left hook that left Ali's jaw looking like he was trying to harbor a baseball in his mouth. 

At the end of the night, Frazier won a unanimous decision, becoming the first man to ever beat the self-proclaimed “greatest of all time”, Muhammad Ali. Frazier eventually lost his title to George Foreman, one of, if not, the hardest puncher in boxing history, in a fight that only lasted a few rounds. He went on to lose two rematches with Muhammad Ali including the “Thrilla in Manila", but their fights were arguably the most epic trilogy of fights in heavyweight boxing history. 

With all his accomplishments, Frazier should have gotten so much respect in the boxing world, especially in Philadelphia. Sadly, only after Frazier’s death were there plans made to erect a statue in his honor. An almost eerie irony is that the sculptor chosen to create the statue, Larry Nowlan, died at age 48 shortly after he was given the assignment. Then there was then back and forth drama over Joe Frazier’s gym. Last I checked the gym was purchased by Broad Enterprises Group L.L.C. in 2011, and was then leased to a discount furniture store that now appears to be closed. After efforts from preservationists and local politicians, Joe Frazier's Gym was added to the National Register of Historic Places in April 2013. In April 2018, a portion of Glenwood Avenue near the gym was named "Smokin' Joe Frazier Boulevard". 

Frazier has two legacies. First, he is a great example that hard work and passion are not always recognized and rewarded like they should be in life. The other legacy, the one I want to remember Joe Frazier for, is he was not only what Philly boxing and sports is all about, but he was what a fighter in life is all about. He was an exceedingly kind and respectful man, but the night he faced Ali, he showed how dangerous he could be. Joe Frazier is a reminder that when life gives you big challenges take everything you have and knock them down. 

There are a number of reasons why, at times, Frazier gets overlooked by sports fans outside of the world of boxing. Joe had a feud with one of the most beloved athletes (not just boxers) of all time. Muhammad Ali was named the “Sportsman of the Century” back in 1999 by Sports illustrated. So, it is not a huge surprise Joe never got recognition of Ali (most athletes never did or will). 
 
I would suggest watching the documentary “Thrilla in Manilla”. This film does a good job of telling Joe’s side of the story during the epic trilogy and feud with Ali. It also tells Joe’s story in a way where you see he was a great and humble guy, who not just carved out a niche for himself in boxing, he knocked down the door of boxing immortality with his left hook. 

What happened to the legacy of Smokin’ Joe is terribly disappointing. The fact that the statue of Rocky Balboa, which appeared in the third and fifth Rocky movies, is perceived as a symbol of Philadelphia’s heart is not a disgrace, it just leaves out the story of one of the greats in heavyweight history in his own city. A statue of Joe Frazier should have been erected prior to the great champion’s death. The next time you are in Philadelphia, remember to check out Joe Frazier’s statue at the Xfinity Live! in South Philly in addition to the Rocky statue, both are well worth a visit. 

I think Joe Frazier should have gotten a lot more love in the city that prides itself on brotherly love. To the boxing public that knows anything about great heavyweights, Joe Frazier is a name that always comes up. Randall “Tex” Cobb (the heavyweight contender that made Howard Cosell quit boxing on air after watching him take an unnecessary beating for an entire fight against then champion Larry Holmes) was a guy who wanted to learn how to fight. As the story goes, he took a bus to Philadelphia from Texas. When he got off the bus, he saw two guys, who he referred to as “two winos” or something like that, start fighting. When Cobb saw they were throwing perfect left hooks, he thought to himself, I came to the right place. In the land of great left hooks, Joe Frazier had the greatest left hook of anyone from Philadelphia and certainly one of the best in all of boxing history.

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Monday, July 19, 2021

WWE Money in the Bank 2021

By Steve Ward

With the exception of this year’s Wrestlemania back in April, WWE finally put an end to the Dystopian Era (defined by them as their time spent in the Thunderdome) this past Friday on Smackdown as fans were finally welcomed back - over a year after AEW had already done so. That brings us to tonight where WWE emanated from Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX as they hosted Money in the Bank. WWE may actually be starting to feel some pressure from AEW as tonight’s card was one of their better, at least on paper, in recent memory. The event was headlined by two Money in the Bank ladder matches, as well as, Roman Reigns versus Edge for the Tribal Chief’s Universal Championship.

Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Alexa Bliss vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki A.S.H. vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Zelina Vega vs. Naomi vs. Asuka

Winner: Nikki A.S.H.

In one of the most landscape-defining matches WWE holds each year, eight women entered the ring with the Money in the Bank briefcase suspended above the ring. For those unfamiliar with this match, the first participant to scale a ladder and retrieve the briefcase would earn the ability to challenge for any world title over the course of the next year. This bout seemed rather abrupt as far as these matches go historically and it was devoid of any significant death-defying spots. The closing moments saw Alexa Bliss taken down at ringside and subsequently buried with eight ladders by the other competitors. The remaining seven women then proceeded to stage three ladders in the center of the ring as all of them made their way to the top. As the infighting ensued, Nikki climbed the center ladder unnoticed and removed the briefcase without resistance.

RAW Tag Team Championship

A.J. Styles & Omos (c) vs. The Viking Raiders

Winners: A.J. Styles & Omos via pinfall

Following their decimation of The New Day back at Wrestlemania, A.J. Styles and Omos have maintained their reign over the RAW Tag Team Division. Their challengers this evening, The Viking Raiders, the former tag team champions still seeking to regain their footing following the return of Ivar from a lengthy injury absence. The Viking Raiders seemed poised to pull off the upset until they ran into the 7’3” Omos. Erik propelled himself off of the ropes thinking he would be able to mount some form of offense against the towering Omos…well he was mistaken as Omos grabbed him by the head, hoisted him up in the air, and slammed him to the canvas setting up the easy pinfall.

WWE World Championship

Bobby Lashley w/ MVP vs. Kofi Kingston

Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission

Kofi Kingston was absolutely zero competition for the champion as he constantly found himself being tossed around the ring and manhandled like a rag doll. Lashley finally put an end to this one-sided affair as he cinched in the Hurt Lock for the submission victory.

RAW Women’s Championship

Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley (c)

Winner: Charlotte Flair via submission

After their championship encounter at last month’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view ended in Ripley getting herself disqualified, these two ladies again found themselves toe-to-toe with championship gold on the line. The Queen reclaimed her spot atop the Women’s Division this evening as she was in vintage form. The beginning of the end for Ripley began after Flair executed the Natural Selection from the top rope. Moments later, she trapped Ripley’s leg in between the steel ring stairs and ring post where she kicked the stairs to deliver a devastating blow to the champion’s knee. This opened the window for Flair to execute the Figure Eight as she captured the RAW Women’s Championship.

WWE Men’s Money in the Bank Match

John Morrison vs. Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Big E vs. Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Riddle vs. Kevin Owens

Winner: Big E

After the women’s match kicked off the show, it was now the men’s turn to determine who would walk away with an opportunity to challenge the champion of their choosing for the next year. Halfway through the match, Drew McIntyre appeared poised to capture the briefcase until Jinder Mahal, with Veer and Shanky in tow, made their way to the ring, ambushed Drew, and dragged him backstage. In the closing moments of the match, Seth Rollins ascended to the top of the ladder after he propelled Kevin Owens out of the ring breaking him, and a ladder, in half. As Rollins reached for the briefcase, Big E climbed up behind him and executed the Big Ending dropping him to the canvas. Big E then quickly climbed up the ladder to retrieve the briefcase.

WWE Universal Championship Match

Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman vs. Edge

Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

After Edge won the Royal Rumble, his championship opportunity turned into a triple threat affair as Daniel Bryan was inserted into the match - an action which essentially may have been the determining factor in his loss. Following several weeks away from Smackdown, Edge returned to challenge The Tribal Chief for his title in a singles match. Roman Reigns controlled much of the early portion of this bout as he attempted to slow Edge down with several submission holds as he imposed his will. This strategy worked well until Edge regained momentum with the Edgecution just moments before he speared Reigns through the ringside barrier.

The action then returned to the ring where Reigns managed to execute a Superman Punch that propelled Edge into referee Charles Robinson leaving no referee. With no referee present, Edge proceeded to cinch in a crossface with the use of a chair leg. The Usos attempted to put an end to this, however, their interference attempt was thwarted by the Mysterios. Next, Seth Rollins made his way into the ring and delivered a kick to the head of Edge which broke the crossface. Edge again overcame adversity and delivered a spear to Reigns, however, there was not referee to count the pinfall. A referee finally made his way to the ring but was only able to count to two.

As Edge sized up Reigns for another spear, Rollins again climbed up to the ring apron which caused enough of a distraction for Roman to recover and deliver a spear of his own to secure the retention of his title. Following the match, Rollins and Edge engaged in another brawl that spilled into the crowd leaving Reigns and Paul Heyman alone in the ring. As Reigns proceeded to address the crowd, he was interrupted by the return of John Cena clearly setting up their rumored showdown for Summerslam.

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