2018 NBA All-Star weekend

*This article was written prior to the event*

The 68th annual NBA All-Star game will take place this Sunday Feb. 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina when Team Lebron will take on Team Giannis.

The starting line-up for Team Lebron consists of: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden. The starters for Team Giannis are: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker.

When I was watching the All-Star draft, it honestly shocked me that James was able to get this good of a team. The All-Star game is a game where little defense is played, so you need to get top scorers. The starting lineup for Team Lebron averages 141.4 points per game while Team Giannis averages 136.8.

The difference comes down to one man, James Harden, who is currently averaging 36.5 points per game this season and has 30 consecutive games of scoring at least 30 points. In 16 of those games, he went for over 40. You need a prolific scorer like Harden if you are to come away victorious in the All-Star game. Expect him to get the ball a lot and have a big game.

So what about the bench players? Once again Team Lebron dominates on this front with players such as Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal. The only person on the reserves for Team Giannis who I believe will have an impact is Russell Westbrook. With that being said, I personally believe that Team Lebron will not only win, they will dominate Team Giannis in this game and emerge victorious by at least 15 points.

Not only will All-Star weekend consist of the game on Sunday, on Saturday there will be the traditional dunk contest and 3 point shootout. I’m not a huge fan of the dunk contest and haven’t found the last two contests to be even remotely exciting. The last time it was entertaining was when Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon went head-to-head in 2016.

This years’ competition consists of: Dennis Smith Jr., Miles Bridges, Hamidou Diallo and John Collins. I feel like this is going to flop once again which is why I don’t even plan to watch this event live.

The 3 point shootout has always been my favorite event of the weekend. To me, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing a guy find his groove and make five, six, even seven or more shots in a row. The competition this year consists of: Devin Booker, Stephen Curry, Seth Curry, Danny Green, Joe Harris, Damian Lillard, Buddy Hield, Khris Middleton, Kemba Walker and Dirk Nowitzki.

Booker won the 2018 competition after scoring 28 points in the championship round. Expect this to be the best competition of All-Star weekend as eight of the ten participants have made over 120 3-point shots and four have averaged over 40% from outside the arc. As much as I would love to see this come down to a brother vs brother shootout with Stephen facing Seth in the championship round, my prediction is Hield will emerge victorious.

Overall, the 2019 All-Star weekend is something I am looking forward to. Hopefully, everyone can deliver a great performance for the fans.

2019 WWE Elimination Chamber review

World Wrestling Entertainment put on its tenth annual Elimination Chamber pay-per-view Sunday, an engaging event that ended with an instant classic.

There were seven matches on the card, five of which I found entertaining.

Kickoff Show   

Before the main show began, the kickoff show featured cruiserweight champion Buddy Murphy defending his title against challenger Akira Tozawa.

The first half of the match lacked in action, picking up in the second half as Tozawa hit multiple high-flying moves. Tozawa attempted to lock Murphy into a submission, but he got out of it, hitting back with his finishing move, the “Murphy’s Law slam,” for the win.

This was a very solid match to get fans amped up for the main show.

Sasha Banks and Bayley win the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship   

The main show began with the first of the two Elimination Chamber matches and featured strong showings from multiple tag teams.

Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, also known as The IIconics, entered the match fourth and eliminated the team of Carmella and Naomi before getting eliminated themselves after the team of Nia Jax and Tamina each delivered a “Samoan drop” to pin them for the three count.

The match ended with the two teams who started — Sasha Banks and Bayley versus Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose.

Banks ended with her Banks Statement crossface submission move, forcing Deville to tap out. After the match, the crowd at the Toyota Center in Houston was chanting “You deserve it” to the new champions.

The Usos defeat Shane McMahon and The Miz to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship   

The next match on the card presented many aerial maneuvers. McMahon hit a coast-to-coast leap from one side of the ring to the other on Jimmy Uso, but got superkicked when he tried it on his brother Jay.

Jay hit a splash from the top rope and Miz came in to break up the pin. Once McMahon regained his composure later in the match, he hit a diving elbow drop on Jay through the announcer’s table, taking himself out in the process.

Miz later hit his finisher, the skull-crushing finale, on Jimmy. However, Jimmy kicked out and rolled up Miz for the victory, making him and Jay six-time champions.

Finn Balor defeats Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush in handicap match to win the Intercontinental Championship    

Lashley and Rush tormented Balor throughout the bout until an unexpected tag in by Rush changed the match. After taking down both men outside the ring, Balor brought Rush back in to perform the diving stomp Coup de Grace for the victory, leaving Balor to once again get a run as champion.

Ronda Rousey defeats Ruby Riott to retain the Raw Women’s Championship   

During what felt like the definition of a squash match, Riott spent ample time outside the ring looking anxious to go inside the ropes. Rousey made quick work hitting her signature Piper’s Pit maneuver and then submitting Riott with the armbar for the victory.

After the match, Charlotte Flair was watching the contest at ringside and came in and stared down her Wrestlemania opponent. It was at this time both women noticed an injured Becky Lynch on crutches making her way down to the squared circle.

Lynch took down both women with her crutches before being taken away by security. Lynch is currently undergoing a storyline 60-day suspension and was replaced by Flair last Monday as Rousey’s opponent for her title at Wrestlemania.

Baron Corbin defeats Braun Strowman in No Disqualification match   

In the only boring match on the card, Lashley and Drew McIntyre interfered, helping Corbin assault Strowman The men would triple powerbomb the so called “monster among men” through two stacked tables to help give Corbin the victory.

Daniel Bryan retains the WWE Championship

In the best contest of the night, AJ Styles entered the match fourth and hit his phenomenal forearm finishing move on Samoa Joe to score the first elimination.

Later in the match, Bryan eliminated Jeff Hardy with a running knee after Hardy performed a swanton bomb dive to Styles off the top of the pod. Styles was next eliminated after Randy Orton hit him with an RKO off the top rope.

Orton tried the same with Kofi Kingston, who countered and hit his finisher, the Trouble in Paradise kick, to eliminate Orton. Kingston, who replaced an injured Mustafa Ali in the match, was now in the final two and had champion Bryan in his sights.

Both men hit their respective finishers and kicked out, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. Bryan hit the running knee once more, retaining his title.

This was the most exciting Elimination Chamber match since 2010, when Shawn Michaels took out the Undertaker. The 2019 match brought me back to the past and got me genuinely excited, even though I would have preferred Kingston to come away with the victory.

Overall, Elimination Chamber 2019 was a solid pay-per-view. For a show that isn’t even advertised as one of the biggest of the year, this event was very enjoyable and is definitely worth a watch if you get the chance.

Royal Rumble 2019 Review

World Wrestling Entertainment put on the 32nd annual Royal Rumble on Sunday January 27, an event that didn’t live up to my expectations.

Before the main show began, there were three matches on the kickoff show in which I only found one to be entertaining. This match was a fatal four way match for the Cruiserweight Championship that finished with the champion Buddy Murphy retaining his title. The crowd at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona didn’t seem too excited However, if this match were put in front of an NXT or 205 Live audience it would have been the best match on the show.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (C) defeats Becky Lynch   

The main show began with what was one of the best matches of the night and it featured many great moves. Lynch hit an exploder suplex off of the top rope while Asuka delivered a swinging neckbreaker to the floor on the outside of the ring. After multiple submission attempts, Asuka submitted Lynch with a modified version of the Asuka lock for the win.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Shane McMahon and The Miz defeat The Bar (C)

The next match was for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship between the challengers Shane McMahon and The Miz taking on The Bar(Sheamus and Cesaro). This contest was quite boring for the most part until the finish which featured a shooting star press diving body drop by 49-year-old McMahon onto Cesaro for the pinfall thus crowning new champions.

Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (C) defeats Sasha Banks

The third bout on the main show was between Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship and I found this to be the best match of the night. Rousey hurt her arm early in the contest when she unintentionally hit the ring post. Banks took advantage of this, however, it wasn’t enough as even after multiple submission maneuvers it was Rousey retaining her title after hitting Banks with the Piper’s Pit slam.

Becky Lynch wins the 30-women Royal Rumble match

The first of two Royal Rumble matches of the night I found lacked action and dragged on a bit too long. Still, the ending of the match was phenomenal as Lynch replaced an injured Lana and won the match last eliminating Charlotte Flair. This will give Lynch a title match at Wrestlemania 35 on April 7, 2019. Due to the crowd reaction of Lynch’s victory, I believe this match should’ve gone on last.

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (C) defeats AJ Styles

The finish of this match was terrible, which is unfortunate since the action in this bout was tremendous. Styles delivered the Styles Clash to Bryan and would’ve likely won if it weren’t for a returning Erick Rowan interfering and chokeslamming Styles. Bryan then pinned Styles for the victory.

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (C) defeats Finn Balor

The last championship match of the night was for the Universal title between champion Brock Lesnar taking on Finn Balor and while I was glad this wasn’t a quick squash match like ones we have seen from Lesnar in the past, the finish was still a disappointment. Balor hit his finishing move, the diving stomp Coup de Grace, on Lesnar and when it looked as if the title was going to change hands, Lesnar kicked out and put Balor in a Kimura lock submitting him for the victory. This was a great bout, however, with how Balor has been booked as of late they could have made him look a bit stronger.

Seth Rollins wins the 30-man Royal Rumble match

In a match that typically features a number of surprise entrants and returns, it was only Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle that fit into those categories.

The lowlight of the match was when Nia Jax took out R-Truth and entered herself into the match at number 30. Some may have found this entertaining, but I for one did not. The Women’s Division has been booked so strong in today’s WWE and I found it unnecessary and quite honestly tasteless from the booking side of things.

The contest ended when Seth Rollins eliminated Braun Strowman after curb stomping him off the apron. Rollins will get a title shot at Wrestlemania 35.

Overall, Royal Rumble 2019 was a bit of a mixed bag. There were highs and lows in each the men’s and women’s matches, but there are moments that are definitely worth a watch if you get the chance.