Csonka's WWE Smackdown Review 1.31.20

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Csonka’s WWE Smackdown Review 1.31.20

#1 Contender’s Match: The Miz & John Morrison defeated The Revival, The Lucha House Party, & Heavy Machinery @ 12:00 via pin [***½]
– Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated Fire & Desire @ 3:30 via pin [**]
IC Title Match: Braun Strowman defeated Champion Shinsuke Nakamura @ 4:40 via pin [**½]
– Sheamus defeated Chad Gable @ 3:45 via pin [**½]
Losers Eat Dog Food Match: Reigns & The Usos defeated King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode @ 9:50 via pin [***]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

– Apparently tonight is “Super” Smackdown because it’s Super Bowl week.

– Reigns & the Usos arrive to kick off the show. Reigns says that he beat Corin at the Rumble, but didn’t win the Rumble match. He doesn’t like to lose but they will bounce back tonight and go through the King and his Bitches. The King and his Bitches arrive. Corbin says Reigns couldn’t have won without the help of the Usos and cheated his way to victory. They attacked him like savages and that cost him the Rumble. They will pay tonight. The Usos run him down and says they beat them last week, Corbin lost at the Rumble and while Corbin plays checkers, they play chess. Corbin says while they were at home embarrassing their families, they were turning the Big Dog into Dog Food Jesus. We get that footage again. Reigns says he’s living in the past and Corbin has a dog food fetish. In tonight’s match the losers eat dog food. Corbin accepts and the Usos have guys wheel out a ton of nasty looking dog food.

#1 Contender’s Match: The Miz & John Morrison vs. The Revival vs. The Lucha House Party vs. Heavy Machinery: The winners get a title shot at the next SaudiMania show on February 27th. Dash and Tucker begin, Tucker hits shoulder tackles, works a bear hug and Otis tags in as he works a bear hug. Dash escapes with head butts, Dawson tags in and follows with strikes and chops. Metalik tags in with Morrison, they pick up the pace and Metalik takes control and hits a RANA. Dropkicks follow and the sunset flip gets 2. Revival makes the save, Dorado flies in and it breaks down as the luchas hit dropkicks until the Revival cut off the luchas. Morrison follows with a dive, Dawson cuts off Miz and it breaks down as Metalik hits the Dragon Lee RANA to the floor. Post break and Morrison has Dorado grounded. Miz tags in and Dorado hits the double lethal injection. Otis tags in, runs wild and Tucker joins in as they clear out bodies. Morrison attacks, Otis fires up and follows with suplexes and the double splash. The caterpillar connects and the cover gets 2. Otis catches Miz, Tucker is dumped and Dawson cradles Otis for 2. Metalik tags in, he and Dorado run wild and Morrison spears Tucker, Otis cuts him off with a powerbomb, It breaks down, Dorado hits moonsaults on Dawson until Dash cuts him off. The powerplex follows, but Miz hits skull crushing finale as Morrison hits starship pain for the win. The Miz & John Morrison defeated The Revival, The Lucha House Party, & Heavy Machinery @ 12:00 via pin [***½] This was a really good and fun match, with the right team winning following the recent booking and setting up a fresh feud for the tag titles.

– Backstage, Mandy & Sonya meets with Heavy Machinery. Mandy thanks Otis for his help in the Rumble and Otis stumbles and asks her out on a date next Friday. Mandy says she has plans, but doesn’t have plans the following Friday. THE POWER OF LOVE!

– We get highlights of Bryan vs. The Fiend at the Rumble. Bryan says his wounds were too much to show his daughter, and contemplates if he loves this too much.

– They look back on the original Half Time Heat between rock & Mandkind.

Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire: Mandy & Sonya attack, they all brawl as Mandy & Sonya isolate Bliss. The bell finally rings as Sonya works over Bliss, Mandy tags in and double teams follow. Sonya grounds things, Bliss fights to her feet, Mandy cuts her off with the V trigger for 2. Mandy follows with strikes, Sonya back in and Bliss fights them off, Mandy is cut off and Nikki tags in and runs wild. She isolates Mandy, follows with a bulldog and the high cross for 2 as Sonya makes the save. It breaks down, purge by Nikki and Bliss follows with twisted Bliss and that’s all. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated Fire & Desire @ 3:30 via pin [**] This was short and ok.

IC Title Match: Nakamura vs. Braun Strowman: Sami & Cesaro are at ringside. Nakamura uses his sped to avoid Braun, follows with strikes until Braun runs him over. Nakamura fires back, Braun fights him of and delivers clubbing strikes and a corner splash. He misses a boot, Nakamura lands leg kicks and follows with grounded knee strikes. Sami cheap shots Braun, Nakamura grounds things and Braun powers up, but is cut off with kicks. Braun cuts him off and levels Nakamura with a clothesline. Shoulder tackles follow and he then tosses him across the ring. More strikes follow and Nakamura powders. Braun runs him over, back in and Nakamura cuts him off with a head kick, knee strike and covers for 2. Sami takes the ref, they expose the buckle, Braun sends Nakamura into it and the powerslam finishes it. Braun Strowman defeated Champion Shinsuke Nakamura @ 4:40 via pin [**½] This was short and solid, with Braun finally winning singles gold and the heels getting their comeuppance.

– Backstage Sami says they were robbed, and runs down the interview chick as Elias is in the ring. He runs down Sami and Sami says no one cares about Elias or his little jingles. Elias apologizes and tells him to carry on… and starts playing his guitar anyway. They argue and Cesaro heads to the ring. Elias has a song, but Cesaro arrives. They brawl, Elias runs wild and dumps Cesaro to stand tall.

Sheamus vs. Chad Gable: This is a rematch from the Rumble pre-show, which Sheamus won. Gable attacks Sheamus during his entrance. JIP as Sheamus is in control until Gable takes him to the floor, but Sheamus cuts him off with the Finlay roll. Back in and Sheamus lays the boots to him. He follows with a slam, another and Gable fires back until Sheamus quickly cuts him off. Gable stuns him off the ropes, follows with strikes and heads up top and the missile dropkick follows. The rolling Liger kick follows and the moonsault connects for 2. Sheamus counters chaos theory, hits a backbreaker and the brogue kick follows for the win. Sheamus defeated Chad Gable @ 3:45 via pin [**½] It was short, fine, and depressing all at the same time. I guess the good news is that they didn’t 50/50 them. Hopefully they have something planned with Sheamus.

– Bayley arrives and say, “Damn I’m good.” There’s just something about her that can’t be topped or touched. She’s a role model, beat Lacey, crushed her dreams and got revenge for Sasha. And did it all with Lacey’s daughter sitting front row, proving how much of a loser & failure her mother is. She’s a true champion and has beaten them all. She knows Charlotte will chose to face her at Mania, but Naomi arrives instead. Bayley is not impressed by her dance routine and Naomi says she missed being on Smackdown. She heard all of Bayley’s shit talk, but says Bayley never beat her. Naomi is a former champion and thinks the title needs some glow. The next chance she gets… well nothing because Bayley attacks, but Naomi battles back and wipes her out with the disaster kick to stand tall and kick off a new feud.

– The Dirt Sheet & Firefly Funhouse return next week.

King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode vs. Reigns & The Usos: Jey and Corbin begin as Corbin controls. Jimmy quickly tags in and Roode, now wearing long tights to match Dolph and giving up on leg days, cuts off Jey on the floor. He dumps him over the barricade. Post break and Rood has Jey grounded. Jey fights to his feet, hits an enziguri and Dolph tags in, Jey avoids him and Corbin takes out Reigns, post Jey and cradles him for 2. Jey fights out of the heel corner and tags in Reigns. He runs wild with clotheslines, working over Corbin. The big boot follows, takes out Dolph and runs into a Corbin chokeslam for 2. Corbin slams Jimmy to the steps, Reigns fires back but Dolph hits the superkick and Corbin follows with deep six for 2. It breaks down, suicide dive by Jey, Reigns then cradles Corbin and win. Reigns & The Usos defeated King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode @ 9:50 via pin [***] The heels finally get their comeuppance and hopefully we’re done with Reigns and Corbin forever.

– Post match and they hang Corbin like he did with Reigns and dump dog food all over him.

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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 86. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Steve Cook breakdown and review the latest between NXT & AEW, and then discuss the latest news on Edge’s return, Andrade’s suspension, Lance Archer possibly heading to AEW, while Larry previews NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo. The show is approximately 106-minutes long.

* Intro
* News Roundup (Andrade, Archer, Cage, Rumble, Scurll, More): 2:00
* AEW Dynamite (1.29.20) Review: 41:25
* NXT (1.29.20) Review: 1:01:45
* The Head to Head Comparison: 1:18:25
* Larry’s NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo Previews: 1:22:25

* iTunes
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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Mamba Forever: Lakers honor Kobe with tribute

LOS ANGELES — Only Kobe Bryant could inspire notoriously late-arriving Los Angeles crowds to show up early to a game.

Grieving fans packed almost every Staples Center seat 30 minutes before tipoff Friday night to ensure they didn’t miss a second of the Lakers’ heartfelt pregame tribute to their fallen icon. 

The homage to Bryant began with the arena lights dimming as familiar chants of “Kobe” and “M-V-P” rained down from the rafters. A spotlight then revealed Usher at mid-court and the R&B star sang an emotional rendition of “Amazing Grace.” 

Usher performs "Amazing Grace" in honor of NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Friday night at Staples Center. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

A video montage of Kobe’s life then aired on the scoreboard with the former Lakers star himself providing narration via interviews culled from throughout his life. At the end of the video, Lakers public address announcer Lawrence Tanter referenced each of the nine victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash and then called for 24.2 seconds of silence, 24 for Kobe, of course, and 2 for his daughter, Gianna, whose basketball teammates were sitting courtside Friday night.

The tribute concluded with LeBron James grabbing the microphone, scrapping the speech he had prepared and speaking from the heart. In an eloquent four-minute speech that struck all the right notes, LeBron called on Lakers fans to stop grieving for the next few hours and to celebrate Kobe’s remarkable life. 

“I know we’ll have a memorial for Kobe, but I look at this as a celebration tonight,” James said. “This is a celebration of the blood, sweat, tears, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be. Tonight is a celebration of the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we’ve ever seen over this last three years.”

The Lakers added to the reverential ambience by laying yellow Kobe shirts across every chair, half bearing No. 8 and half No. 24. Players warmed up in those shirts before tipoff as images of Kobe, Gianna and the seven other victims flashed across the scoreboard overhead.

On the right shoulder of their jerseys, the Lakers wore black KB patches, an insignia also emblazoned on the baseline at both ends of the floor. Two floor seats across from the Lakers’ bench remained empty in honor of Kobe and Gianna, one with his No. 24 jersey draped over the back and the other with her No. 2. 

All five Lakers starters wore No. 8 or No. 24 jerseys during the pregame ceremony, and Tanter actually introduced all five as though they were Kobe himself. The Lakers and Blazers then began the game by symbolically taking a 24-second violation and an eight-second violation, respectively, in honor of Kobe.

The Lakers hoped Friday’s game would be a welcome distraction from their anguish, a return to some semblance of normalcy at the end of a week that has been heartbreaking and surreal. It was only five days ago that players and coaches learned of Kobe’s death via media reports on their flight back from Philadelphia.

While the grief over Kobe’s death this week could be felt in every Los Angeles coffee shop, schoolyard or dive bar, nowhere has it been more palpable than in and around Staples Center. Swarms of teary-eyed fans of all ages, races and nationalities have honored Kobe by gathering around the clock at the makeshift shrines set up across the street from the arena.

Some paid their respects by leaving behind Kobe pictures and jerseys, purple and gold flowers, or No. 8 or No. 24 balloons. Others drew pictures or scribbled touching messages to Kobe on the cement next to the shrines or on one of five double-sided white walls erected for that purpose. 

“LA LOVES YOU. Thank you for being our superhero,” read one of the thousands of notes. Another said, “Man, I can’t believe your [sic] gone. It’s surreal. Thank you for being an absolute maniac and playing your ass off for us.” 

The throngs of well-wishers across the street from Staples Center were especially large a few hours before tipoff Friday night. Many people had driven more than 50 miles to pay their respects to Kobe even though they didn’t have tickets to the game. 

A fan pauses at a memorial to Kobe Bryant in front of Staples Center prior to the Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers game Friday night. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Kneeling in front of one of the shrines with his head bowed was Jason Martinez of Redlands, a well-worn purple Lakers cap in his hand.  

“I’ve never seen downtown L.A. this quiet. It’s wild,” Martinez said. 

Not far away was David Davila of Fontana, posing for a picture in his black “Mamba Forever” jersey.  

“It’s sad that it takes a tragedy like this to bring everyone together,” Davila said. 

Across the plaza from Davila, Adam Torres and his young nephew wrote notes to Kobe in black Sharpie on one of the memorial walls.

“Look at all this, man,” Torres said, gesturing at the scene around him. “He meant so much to Los Angeles.”  

The scene at Staples Center is a reminder of the gaping hole Kobe’s death has left in the heart of Los Angeles. Lakers fans met him at 17 and watched him evolve from a teenage phenom to a five-time champion, from a Los Angeles favorite to an international icon. 

While the Lakers’ pregame tribute to Kobe was perfectly done, the best way the team can honor him is to play with the determination and relentlessness that were his trademarks during his career. LeBron seemed to acknowledge that with how he concluded his mid-court speech.

“I want to continue his legacy, not only this year, but as long as we can play the game of basketball,” LeBron said. “So in the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba Out.’ But in the words of all of us, ‘Not forgotten.’ Live on, brother.”

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PETA: NFL blocked Kap-themed Super Bowl ad

MIAMI — In one of the more interesting instances of co-opting the social justice movement sparked by Colin Kaepernick, the animal rights organization PETA claims the NFL has spiked a submission for an animated Super Bowl commercial that would have featured animals taking a knee with a message of “End Speciesism”.

The one-minute spot — which PETA claims was submitted for consideration and ultimately snubbed by the league and FOX network, which is broadcasting the Super Bowl — features a variety of kneeling creatures, including a bee, a bear, fish and a bald eagle, overlaid with a vocal humming of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At the end of the spot, the feature delivers the line: “Respect the right of every living being.”

“The National Football League apparently found our new Colin Kaepernick-inspired ad — with its message of inclusion and respect — too daring and pressured FOX to snub our commercial,” the group said in a message shared on its website. “PETA worked with a talented group of advertisers and artists who came up with the idea for our beautiful ad. Positively acknowledged by Kaepernick himself, this project pays homage to all movements that remind us to open our hearts and minds and reject all forms of injustice, including sexism, ableism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and speciesism. … The NFL may be unconcerned with inequality, but we at PETA are activists who will continue to work to dismantle all forms oppression.”

PETA offered no evidence to support that the NFL played a role in passing on the commercial. An NFL spokesperson didn’t return a message from Yahoo Sports seeking comment Friday.

The animals rights group said the point of the ad was to take Kaepernick-inspired social justice movements and expand them into a space where consideration is not only raised between human beings, but also how humans treat other species.

“PETA is challenging speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview that allows humans to disrespect other living, feeling beings and to treat their interests as unimportant,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. “Our patriotic Super Bowl spot envisions an America in which no sentient being is oppressed because of how they look, where they were born, who they love, or what species they are. It sends a message of kindness — one that the NFL should embrace, not silence.”

Over the years, both the NFL and its Super Bowl partners have controversially spiked advertisements, both on television and in printed materials surrounding the game. More often than not, the advertisements are ones that either don’t meet the standards and practices requirements of the network or don’t fit the mood the NFL attempts to strike on its biggest stage. One of the more recent brushfires surrounding spiked advertising occurred in the run-up to Super Bowl LII, when the league rejected a “please stand” ad for its gameday program. The printed advertisement was submitted by the national veteran’s nonprofit organization AMVETS, which took an opposite angle on the social justice kneeling trend that swept through the league in 2017 and 2018. The ad featured a photo of a service veteran with the American flag and message of “#PleaseStand”.

After rejecting the ad, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement from the league, declaring: “The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl. It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

It should be noted, Sunday’s broadcast will feature two ads from candidates running for president: President Donald Trump and Mike Bloomberg.

While the league hasn’t commented on PETA’s recent claims, McCarthy’s previous statement would appear to apply to animal rights activism as well.

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How to watch Watford vs. Everton: Live stream, TV channel, start time for Saturday's Premier ...

Who's Playing

Everton @ Watford

Current Records: Everton 8-10-6; Watford 5-11-8

What to Know

Everton is headed to at Vicarage Road to take on Watford with a bit of pep in their step buoyed by a victory in their last meeting. They will face off against one another at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday at Vicarage Road. Everton has kept their last eight contests to within one goal, so Watford should be prepared for a fight.

Last Tuesday, Everton and Newcastle United ended up with a point apiece after a 2-2 draw.

Speaking of close games: Watford fell a goal short of Aston Villa last week, losing 2-1.

The last time the two teams met in last August, Everton won by a goal, slipping past Watford 1-0. Will Everton repeat their success, or does Watford have a better game plan this time around? We'll find out soon enough.

How To Watch

  • Who: Watford vs. Everton
  • When: Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
  • Where: Vicarage Road
  • Online streaming: Catch select Premier League matches on fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App

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Bournemouth vs. Aston Villa live stream info, TV channel: How to watch Premier League on TV ...

Who's Playing

Aston Villa @ Bournemouth

Current Records: Aston Villa 7-13-4; Bournemouth 6-13-5

What to Know

Aston Villa will head off to play at Vitality Stadium to try and steal back a positive result from Bournemouth after losing their first round-robin matchup. Villa will square off against Bournemouth on the road at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday at Vitality Stadium. Allowing an average of 1.88 points per game, the Lions have been asleep on the defensive side of the ball and will need to wake up before the matchup.

The Lions slipped by Watford 2-1 last Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth was able to grind out a solid victory over Brighton & Hove Albion last week, winning 3-1.

The last time the two teams met in last August, Villa and Bournemouth were neck-and-neck, but Villa came up empty-handed after a 2-1 loss. Can the Lions avenge their defeat, or is history doomed to repeat itself? We'll soon find out.

How To Watch

  • Who: Bournemouth vs. Aston Villa
  • When: Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
  • Where: Vitality Stadium
  • TV: NBCSportsGold.com PL Pass
  • Online streaming: Catch select Premier League matches on fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App

Series History

Bournemouth won the only match these two teams have played in the last five years.

  • Aug 17, 2019 - Bournemouth 2 vs. Aston Villa 1

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Watch Crystal Palace vs. Sheffield United: TV channel, live stream info, start time

Who's Playing

Sheffield United @ Crystal Palace

Current Records: Sheffield United 8-7-9; Crystal Palace 7-8-9

What to Know

Sheffield United is headed to at Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace with a bit of pep in their step buoyed by a victory in their last meeting. Sheffield will face off against Crystal Palace on the road at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday at Selhurst Park. The Blades have kept their last three contests to within one goal, so Crystal Palace should be prepared for a fight.

It was all tied up nothing to nothing at halftime, but Sheffield was not quite Manchester City's equal in the second half when they met last week. Sheffield lost 1-0 to Man City.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace came up short against Southampton last Tuesday, falling 2-0.

The losses put Sheffield at 8-7-9 and Crystal Palace at 7-8-9. Sheffield is 3-1-2 after losses this year, Crystal Palace 3-2-2.

How To Watch

  • Who: Crystal Palace vs. Sheffield United
  • When: Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
  • Where: Selhurst Park
  • Online streaming: Catch select Premier League matches on fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App

Series History

Sheffield United won the only match these two teams have played in the last five years.

  • Aug 18, 2019 - Sheffield United 1 vs. Crystal Palace 0

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What's up with Evolve running against AEW PPVs?

Remember when I said I’d always pick attending live wrestling over tuning in for PPV wrestling? It was because Evolve was running near me in November, on the same night as AEW’s Full Gear show (which also happened with July’s Fight For the Fallen and Evolve’s 10th Anniversary show).

Well, guess what? Both promotions have shows on February 29, and I’m officially tired of it.

Let’s pay attention to the timeline:

This isn’t about who booked what venue first, but because some people will get upset and pull out their cork boards if I don’t go to the details...

On Nov 25, 2019, Evolve sent an email to folks who bought tickets for next month’s show, which read:

Due to forces beyond our control, we are having to reschedule EVOLVE Wrestling Live! originally scheduled for Saturday, February 15th at 6 PM EST to Saturday, February 29th at 6 PM EST still at La Boom.

AEW announced the Revolution PPV for February 29 on the December 11 episode of Dynamite.

That all out of the way, something doesn’t smell right. I can’t tell if anyone is to blame, but this is pro wrestling and there’s an easy rule to believe in: someone’s always up to something. This industry is built around lies — or “works”, as so-called smart marks love to say. And I’d be crazy to believe this is all innocent, especially with this being the third time both promotions will run simultaneously.

Evolve’s head booker Gabe Sapolsky is a consultant at NXT (when he’s not involved in social media controversy), and has point blank said his promotion wouldn’t exist without its WWE relationship. You don’t need to be wearing a tin-foil hat to come up with a plausible conspiracy theory.

Other notes of frustrations:

In addition to larger business intrigue, this double booking screws with customers like me in their target market. I can’t be the only wrestling fan who like to host PPV watch parties.

And that brings up a related issue. The last couple of months of Evolve have not been hitting right. Shows have taken days to wind up on the Club WWN video on demand after their initial streaming — and I’m sorry, but we can’t always be expected to be able to watch everything live — in an industry where everyone else gets shows up in hours. When I tweeted Evolve to ask why, I never got a response ... which makes this consumer think they don’t care about VOD.

While I love seeing The Besties Davey Vega and Matt Fitchett as Evolve tag champs, they’re (a) not entering to Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply” as they do in AAW & elsewhere, and (b) not booked for the New York weekend. While I kinda get the former, the latter just stings. Evolve 145’s not exactly lacking for talent, with Josh Briggs, AR Fox, Curt Stallion, Anthony Greene, Leon Ruff, Adrian Alanis and more still listed on the card. Except when I just read that list of wrestlers, I also noticed that Eddie Kingston’s name was missing.

Fortunately, AEW’s Revolution card isn’t exactly must-see yet either. Maybe I’m alone on this, but I’ve not seen an AEW/NJPW Jericho match that felt like it was something I’d regret missing live.

Evolve’s partnership with WWE gives them an ace in the hole. Or should I say a Limitless card in its back pocket. Yes, while NXT doesn’t seem to have main roster talent to share for actual matches, the folks at Full Sail do lend wrestlers to Evolve for meet-and-greets & training seminars. Newly minted NXT North American champion Keith Lee is among those coming to take photos with fans on Feb. 29. And if you’ve read any of my work here or follow me on Twitter, you know that settles things for this Leegionaire.

But that brings me to a final grievance with Evolve. At their recent Florida shows, which practically went unnoticed by most of the pro wrestling fans I know, the cards were filled with WWE Performance Center talent. And again - not NXT talent. Because these were pro wrestlers who have maybe had 1-2 NXT television appearances, if any at all.

Names like Denzel Dejournette and Brendan Vink (the latter is interesting, the former did nothing for me). Oh, and Rick Bugez pulled his air guitar out of mothballs, while Dexter Lumis (fka Samuel Shaw) had a title shot against Josh Briggs. Maybe this is just what Evolve does when it’s running the WWE/NXT Florida loops, and that makes sense. I can’t tell anyone how to run their business. I’m just worried these names won’t translate outside of Florida. They didn’t seem to move the needle in my corner of the internet wrestling community.

Prove me wrong, Evolve. Put on a great show at La Boom on leap day. The last time you ran that venue was against Full Gear, which is where a lot of the La Boom regulars I know were. And the sound of the audience reflected their absence.

If those fans pick Revolution this time, you have to make them regret it. If Triple H is counter-programming the way a lot of people think he is, the strategy doesn’t work unless you do.

Continue reading...

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John Morrison And The Miz Vs. The New Day Announced For WWE Super ShowDown

John Morrison and The Miz are the new #1 contenders to SmackDown Tag Team Champions Big E and Kofi Kingston of The New Day.

Tonight's WWE Super SmackDown episode on FOX saw Miz and Morrison win a Fatal 4 Way over Lucha House Party, The Revival and Heavy Machinery, to earn the title shot. The finish saw Morrison pin Scott Dawson after hitting Starship Pain.

WWE then confirmed Miz and Morrison vs. The New Day for WWE Super ShowDown 2020 in Saudi Arabia. The blue brand titles will be on the line.

This is the only match made official for WWE Super ShowDown 2020 as of this writing, but we will keep you updated on the card.

WWE's return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will take place on Thursday, February 27. Super ShowDown will air live on the WWE Network from King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

Stay tuned for updates on Super ShowDown 2020.

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NBA rumors: Timberwolves 'dangled' Andrew Wiggins trade to Warriors

The entire basketball world knows that the Minnesota Timberwolves want to acquire D'Angelo Russell.

They came up short last summer in free agency, as the 2019 All-Star ultimately joined the Warriors on a four-year contract worth just north of $117 million.

But the T-Wolves' pursuit hasn't stopped, and Anthony Slater of The Athletic has some new information:

Minnesota has dangled Andrew Wiggins, who is on a similar contract as Russell and fills a greater positional need. But from a Warriors' perspective, that's still a questionable talent-for-talent swap.

Most around the league view Russell as better than Wiggins. It's a move only a panicked front office would make.

Wiggins -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft who will turn 25 years old next month -- is averaging 22.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season, while shooting just under 45 percent overall and 33.3 percent from 3-point range.

He has three years and about $95 million left on his contract after this season.

[RELATED: Kerr says Dubs 'probably' will look to add center in summer]

Ultimately, it would be quite surprising if the Warriors strike a deal with Minnesota before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. Various reports over the last month have suggested Golden State will wait until the offseason to make a decision on Russell's future.

Then again, anything can happen in today's NBA.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

NBA rumors: Timberwolves 'dangled' Andrew Wiggins trade to Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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Puppy Bowl 2020 date, lineup, channel, roster and live stream

Forget Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garappolo: Super Bowl Sunday is all about the dogs. Puppy Bowl XVI is almost upon us if you're ready to see some cute dogs (and cats!) run around a field for a few hours, we've got you covered on how to catch a Puppy Bowl 2020 live stream. 

Animal Planet's annual canine celebration is a nice pre-game to the actual Super Bowl, and for many animal lovers, is the true attraction of Super Bowl Sunday. Here's everything you need to know about this year's Puppy Bowl, including its date, start time and where to live stream it. (Looking for the other big game? Be sure to also check out our Super Bowl 2020 live stream guide). 

Puppy Bowl 2020 date, time and channel

The Puppy Bowl 2020 will air on Animal Planet on Sunday, Feb. 2 starting at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT. It will run for two hours, and will feature a kitten halftime show for showcasing some adorably fierce felines.

How to watch the Puppy Bowl 2020 live stream with a VPN

You don't have to be left in the doghouse if you're in a country that doesn't have Animal Planet. If you're on vacation or just don't have the Puppy Bowl in your native country, you might want to consider a VPN, or virtual private network. 

We've evaluated many VPN services, and our top pick is ExpressVPN. It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more.)

ExpressVPN can access more than 3,000 servers spread out across 160 locations in 94 countries. The service performed reliably in our testing, and we found customer service responsive.

One month of ExpressVPN costs $12.95, but you can lower that to $6.67 a month if you opt for a year of service; ExpressVPN will throw in three additional months for free. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied.View Deal

How to watch the Puppy Bowl 2020 live stream without cable

The Puppy Bowl airs on Animal Planet, which is available on a variety of popular cable TV replacement services. You can also watch the game via the Animal Planet Go app (iOS, Android), though you'll have to sign in via your TV provider. 

Here are your best options:

  • FuboTV: A popular service among sports fans, Fubo TV offers Animal Planet in its $59.99-per month Family package.
  • Hulu with Live TV: Animal Planet is available on Hulu's Live TV service, which costs $54.99 a month and also contains Hulu's entire streaming library.
  • YouTube TV: YouTube TV offers 70-plus channels, including Animal Planet, for $49.99 per month.
  • AT&T TV Now: Animal Planet is available on AT&T TV Now's $93-per-month entertainment package, which is a bit pricey. This package offers more than 65 channels, including Cartoon Network, Comedy Central and Discovery.

Puppy Bowl 2020 lineup: Which dogs are competing?


Anise (Image credit: Animal Planet)

And now for the question on everyone's mind: Which good boys and girls are representing Team Fluff and Team Ruff in Puppy Bowl XVI? As always, the dogs participating in Puppy Bowl 2020 are insanely adorable, and many of them are up for adoption at their local animal rescue. This year's Puppy Bowl will even highlight several special needs dogs, including a three-legged Labrador retriever mix named Ferris and a blind and hearing impaired Shetland Sheepdog mix named Filbert.


Ferris (Image credit: Animal Planet)

Other notable Puppy Bowl 2020 starters include Anise (Australian Cattle Dog/Labrador Retriever mix) and Bert (Great Pyrenees/Weimaranar) for Team Fluff, as well as Aspen (Australian Cattle Dog/Cocker Spaniel) and Betty (Bulldog) for team Ruff. 

What about the Kitten Bowl?

While the Puppy Bowl offers up some feline action during its halftime show, we don't blame you for wanting an event filled with nothing but cute cats. Fortunately, the Hallmark Channel delivers just that with two events: The Cat Bowl and Kitten Bowl.

The Cat Bowl airs on Feb. 1 at 11 p.m. ET, while the Kitten Bowl follows the next day on Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. ET. So if you can't wait until Sunday at 3 p.m. to get your fill of adorable animals, the Cat Bowl and Kitten Bowl will fill the void. Fortunately, Hallmark Channel is available on most cable replacement services, including Sling TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV Now.

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Tom Brady's mysterious tweet sparks debate

So this isn’t very nice.

With speculation swirling over whether he’ll stay or if he’ll go, whether the New England Patriots will welcome him back or finally look forward, Tom Brady tweeted this on Thursday.

Ok, Tom

So what is that exactly?

It’s a picture of presumably Tom Brady standing in a tunnel presumably in the bowels of Gillette Stadium.

The ground is wet, making for a dramatic reflection of the image made even more dramatic with a black and white filter.

Is Brady walking on to the field for a triumphant return? Is he exiting for the final time?

Who knows?

What exactly was Tom Brady's intention with this Tweet? (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Clearly, intentionally obtuse

Nothing about the image or the tweet is clear. Which seems completely deliberate by Brady, who at this point appears to be relishing the back-and-forth debate over his future that’s swirled since his Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

If he wasn’t enjoying the attention, why would he so intentionally be seeking it in the middle of Super Bowl week?

For Patriots fans desperately waiting for an answer on the future of their beloved quarterback, this communicates absolutely nothing.

But it does add a small dose of anxiety.

So there’s that.

More from Yahoo Sports:

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Penn State vs. Iowa FREE LIVE STREAM (1/31/20): Watch Big Ten, college wrestling online | Time ...

The No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes(8-0), led by 125-pounder Spencer Leeand head coach Tom Brands, face the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1), led by 174-pounder Mark Hall and head coach Cael Sanderson, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, January 31, 2020 (1/31/20).

Fans can watch the dual meet for free via a trial of fuboTV, as well as with Hulu.

Here’s what you need to know:

What: Big Ten Wrestling

Who: Penn State vs. Iowa

When: Friday, January 31, 2020

Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: Big Ten Network

Channel finder: Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimum/Altice,Cox, DIRECTV, Dish, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling.

Listen: SiriusXM (free trial)

Live stream: fuboTV (free trial), Hulu.

Hulu offers a one-week free trial on its Live TV package. To sign up, go here and click the Hulu logo in the top-left corner, select Start Your Free Trial, and choose Hulu + Live TV.

Probable matchups (rankings via FloWrestling):

125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs Brandon Meredith (Penn State)

133: No. 2 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) vs No. 4 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State)

141: Carter Happel (Iowa) vs No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State)

149: No. 3 Pat Lugo (Iowa) vs Jarod Verkleeren (Penn State)

157: No. 4 Kaleb Young (Iowa) vs Bo Pipher (Penn State)

165: No. 2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)

174: No. 3 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs No. 1 Mark Hall (Penn State)

184: No. 8 Abe Assad (Iowa) vs No. 10 Aaron Brooks (Penn State)

197: No. 4 Jacob Warner (Iowa) vs No. 15 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State)

285: No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) vs No. 16 Seth Nevills (Penn State)

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