Solid PPV outing from WWE last night at No Mercy. They had a stacked card going into the night and for the most part delivered. Some questionable booking decisions in the two main event matches to say the least, but not terrible decisions. We'll talk about those decision below but it will be interesting to see where that leads us tonight.
Reigns over Cena - I thought the move was to have Cena win, torment Reigns about that for a couple months, leave, and then come back for the rematch at WrestleMania where Reigns gets his win back on the biggest stage. They just fast-forwarded straight to that ending last night. Which again, I think is odd but not necessarily wrong. That seemed like a pretty clear "passing of the torch" moment from Cena to Reigns. If that's at a WrestleMania or SummerSlam or even Money In The Bank or Survivor Series, I don't think I bat an eye at it. It just seems weird to have it happen at a No Mercy.
I'm sure a lot of that has to due with Cena's schedule and their long-term plans for Reigns. But it did seem odd and it did seem like the end of that feud. No rematch, no second encounter, no extended feud. I'd be surprised if those two fought again in 2017.
Lesnar over Strowman - This one is a little harder for me to wrap my head around just because the one ending that I couldn't envision going into the match was Lesnar getting a clean win over Strowman. And then Lesnar got a clean win over Strowman.
I thought for all the work that WWE has done to build up Strowman as a monster, they would protect him a little more. I could see him losing but not cleanly, or not relatively easily. I would have envisioned a ring breaking or a TitanTron collapsing on him or a car falling on him or something. Him taking a 3-count in the middle of the ring just seems....again, odd.
I thought if there was going to be a clean win, it would actually be Braun winning over Brock. That would allow Brock to leave and Braun to get a run as champ. I didn't think it was likely, as I don't know how Braun as a champ really plays but I thought it was more likely than Brock pinning Braun cleanly in the middle of the ring.
I don't think it takes much for Braun to get built back up as a unstoppable monster (he's done that once already after losing to Roman Reigns at the start of the year) but I do think he's lost a little of his mystique now. Will be interesting to see where they go with Strowman. The problem is, almost anything he does now seems like a demotion after losing to Brock. Hopefully they have a plan.
And I think that's my big takeaway from last night. I think the endings to those two main event matches may have left a bad taste in some people's mouths leaving the PPV....but it does seem to me like WWE has a plan these guys. Which makes it easier for me to trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt. And to believe that their plans are better than whatever plans I have in my head. I don't think WWE gives us Roman vs. Cena and Brock vs. Braun AND has a clean ending for both without knowing exactly where they are going with it. So I'm excited to see where it leads.
An absolute heartbreaker in Iowa City on Saturday......for those of us who had Penn State -12.5. How the Nittany Lions didn't cover that game, let alone almost not win it, is incredible. Over 300 more total yards than the Hawkeyes and basically a 2-to-1 time of possession advantage. A dominating performance. And they couldn't cover. Forget Ball State, this was the bad beat of the weekend.
What in the hell was Penn State trying to accomplish in the Red Zone on Saturday? The Republican party has been more effective and efficient in getting bills passed in this administration than Penn State was with their Red Zone Offense. It was was just atrocious and almost lost them the game. How many times do I have to watch Trace McSorley try to scamper for a touchdown within the 5 yard line? I can't think that's your best option.
And when they did try to give it to Barkley around the goal line it was never with a traditional handoff, it was always with that read-option look where they were reading holes and blockers and defenders. I'm not a football savant by any means but I can't see why just sticking the football in Barkley's gut immediately and telling him to run hard wouldn't work.
I want to criticize Coach Franklin as well for kicking a FG from the 1/4 yard line early in the game too, but given how poor his Red Zone Offense was maybe that was the best option. But at the time, I just don't see the point of kicking a field goal when you are less than a foot away from the end zone. That was a huge play in the game, sacrificing 4 points, that also almost cost them a win. Punch that in early and we maybe have a different ball game.
A ball game where Penn State was able to cover.
How about the huge trade in the NBA this weekend? Carmelo is on his way to Oklahoma City, in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2nd round draft pick. I have some issues with the way NBA free agency takes place and the NBA salary cap structure but I'll save that for another post. For this post, I just want to look at where this puts the Thunder.
This makes them the second best team in the West right? I have them at 2 in the West behind Golden State and probably 3 or 4 overall in the NBA, right next to Boston. Obvious opinion alert coming here but there is some serious firepower now in Oklahoma City. My only disappointment over this entire ordeal is that it appears to just be a one-year arrangement. I'd assume Paul George is still on his way to Los Angeles next season, so I can't imagine Carmelo staying with the Thunder much past that either. But as a one year experiment, I love it.
This is 80% my Warriors Hate speaking and 20% actual logical thinking.....but I really think this team can challenge the Warriors in the West now. Even mark me down right now as saying if they meet in a playoff series and all participants are healthy, I'll take the Thunder in 6.
Here's who I'd think the Thunder throw out as a starting 5 now:
That's a pretty solid starting five that presents some issues for Golden State. I'm not sure if they have any cap space to make any additional roster moves to work on their bench but if not there are still some solid pieces there to build with. Nick Collison, Norris Cole, and Patrick Patterson are guys you can get production out of and win with. I'd like to see them add another piece or two once we get into the season if they are serious about contending for a title....which I assume they have to be with the moves they've already made.