WWE Royal Rumble and Covid 19

WWE Royal Rumble and Covid 19

This year’s Royal Rumble is different from every other One held. Due To the threat of the pandemic fans will not be allowed to be in attendance for the Royal Rumble at Tropicana field in Tampa Florida. The Royal Rumble is known for having large crowds and makes the atmosphere exciting for every wrestling fan. Without it you lose the potential of having a massive pay per view draw. The question still remains. Should the WWE allow fans but at a capacity limit and apply guidelines? Most people would agree that There should be fans allowed in to see the road to WrestleMania kick off but without that live fan reaction it’s hard for the performers to get that energy. This year The Royal rumble is only available to attend virtually but as a fan it’s not the same as being at a live event. The Royal Rumble is one of WWEs biggest pay per view events and has been the focus for decades. It will be interesting to see how the WWE does without fans at the Royal Rumble and add that effect as if fans were there. The Royal Rumble takes place Saturday, January 31st at 7pm EST only on the WWE Network.
NXT woman’s Dusty Rhodes tag team classic to be a show stealer?

NXT woman’s Dusty Rhodes tag team classic to be a show stealer?

For the first time ever NXT is holding the dusty Rhodes woman’s Tag team classic. Five teams have been announced so far to compete. Indi hartwell & Candace lerae, Shotzi blackheart and ember moon, Toni storm & Mercedes Martinez, and Kayden Carter & Kacey Katanzaro. All teams have made it known that they want to win the tournament, but who will have the edge and the upper hand performance wise? There are good teams set up in this tournament and NXT is giving women more and more opportunities to showcase to the world what they are all capable of. More teams are going to be announced into this tournament and it will be interesting to see who advances to the next round. No bracket has been posted yet for this woman’s tournament currently but Please stay tuned to Off The Mat for updates on a bracket.
Top 5 Biggest Surprises of the Season (so far)

Top 5 Biggest Surprises of the Season (so far)

We are through ten games of the 2020-21 season and we have seen a lot of stories so far. From games getting cancelled, to James Harden asking out of Houston and finally getting traded, here are the five biggest surprises through seven percent of the season:

5. Nikola Jokić’s monstrous numbers:

Four months ago in the NBA bubble, the Denver Nuggets made history. They became the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in multiple series after defeating the Jazz 4-3 and the Clippers 4-3. One of the main reasons for those two comebacks was Nikola Jokic. After trailing 3-1 against the Jazz, Jokic averaged 28/8/6 on 54/57/100 splits in Game 5-7 in route to advancing to the second round for the second consecutive year. After Game 4 against the Clippers, Jokic averaged 24/17/8 on 52/38/80 splits in Game 5-7 as the Nuggets advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in almost a decade. This season, despite the Nuggets slow start, it’s hard to ignore what Jokic has been doing. He’s averaging 24/11/11 on 58/41/82 splits (66% TS%, 62% eFG%). He would become the 3rd player to average a triple double in a season after Oscar Roberton and Russell Westbrook (3x). He’d be the most efficient to do so.

4. Jerami Grant’s leap:

This past fall, the Denver Nuggets fell to the Lakers in five games in the WCF. A key detail the Nuggets were paying attention to when the off-season started was Jerami Grant. Grant decided to decline his player-option and enter free agency. After defending the likes of Paul George, LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis throughout the postseason, Grant decided to bet on himself and it paid off. He landed himself a three year deal worth 60 million in a Sign and Trade with the Detroit Pistons. In the 2020-21 season he’s averaging a career high in PPG (24.8), REB (6.0), FT% (86%) and PER (19.7). Overall he’s averaging 25/6/2 on 46/39/86 splits.

3. CJ McCollum tapping into another level:

Going into the bubble, the Trail Blazers weren’t a playoff team. They trailed the Grizzlies by 3.5 games and had eight games to prove they belonged with the 16 teams remaining that were playing for the Larry O’ Brien trophy. The bubble wasn’t good to CJ McCollum as he averaged 18/6/5 on 39/35/79 splits. The Blazers finished with a 35-39 record and an opportunity to reach the playoffs through the play-in game. In the play-in game, CJ delivered. He finished the game with 29 Points, scoring 14 in the fourth quarter as the Blazers punched their ticket for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year (second longest active streak in the NBA). It was reported by Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports West that McCollum “has been playing with a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture”. At 100 percent this season, CJ is averaging a career high in PPG (27.6), REB (4.3), AST (5.3), STL (1.4), 3P% (43%), 2P% (51%), eFG% (59%) and TS% (62%). Overall, he’s averaging 28/4/5 on 47/43/84 splits (62% TS%). Lastly, CJ ranks first in 3PM (59).

2. The Sixers impressive start:

The Philadelphia 76ers were swept by the Celtics in the first round of the 2020 Playoffs. After a seven year tenure, the Sixers decided it was time to move on from Brett Brown. Under Brown, they made the playoffs in the previous three years. They also decided to move on from Elton Brand as the President of Basketball Operations (he is now the general manager). They hired Doc Rivers as their new head coach and Daryl Morey as the President of Basketball operations who has done an excellent job thus far. He traded Josh Richardson for Seth Curry, and signed Dwight Howard as a backup center who won the championship with the Lakers this past October. They also drafted Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed. All of this has led to the Sixers starting at 9-4 as well as Joel Embiid’s impressive play, who, if the season ended tomorrow, should be awarded the Most Valuable Player award. Embiid is averaging 25/12/3 on 54/39/85 splits (65% TS%, 57% eFG%). In his fifth year he’s been the most efficient in his career and it’s been reflected in his performances. Another reason why the Sixers are 9-4 is due to Tobias Harris’s play and Curry’s efficiency from 3. Harris is averaging 19/8/3 on 51/45/84 splits (61% TS%). Curry is averaging 17PPG shooting 60% from 3 on 5 3PA (leads league).

1. I mean… Was there ever a doubt?

We all know what the biggest surprise of the season has been so far. Even the people that don’t watch basketball know what the biggest story of the season has been so far. James Harden asked to be traded this past November and he finally got granted his wish. Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Caris Levert, four first-round picks and four draft swaps. They got another team involved as they sent Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cavaliers. After this, the Rockets traded Levert for Victor Oladipo and acquired Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs. All four first round picks and all four first-round pick swaps acquired by the Rockets are all unprotected. In his nine year tenure with the Rockets, Harden averaged 30/6/8 on 44/36/86 splits, scoring over 18,000 points. With the Rockets, Harden was named an All-Star in all 8 years and was a 6x All-NBA First team member. Harden currently holds the longest streak of consecutive All-NBA First team appearances at four. He was the NBA Assists leader and a 3x NBA Scoring champion, becoming the first player to average 35PPG in over 10 years. Lastly, Harden was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in the 2017-18 season. With Harden, the Rockets made the playoffs all eight years (longest active streak in the NBA), making the Western Conference Finals on two separate occasions. The Beard will now reunited with Kevin Durant whom he played with for three years on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kyrie Irving who’s a 6x NBA All-Star and was a fundamental piece in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title.

Kyrie MIA?

Kyrie MIA?

What is going on with Kyrie Irving? He decides to leave his team for what reasons? Is Irving even worth all this drama? In the summer of 2019, Irving signed a 4 year, $136 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets, and to say the least, this contract has not gone as planned with Irving only playing 20 games last year and now taking personal time away from his team.

There are absolutely no excuses for these actions by Irving deciding to take time away from his team unless there is a family matter he needs to take care of, the only thing that is more important than basketball is family and that is it! Having the privilege and god given talents to play in the league is a job, that millions of people dream to get an opportunity like that every day of their lives. It is not okay to step away from work just because you feel like it, there are many Americans who work 40+ hours a week who can’t afford to take off one day, a job way less fun, paid way less, and significantly more stressful all to provide and put food on the table for their families.

And now we have athletes who are getting paid hundreds of millions to play the game they love the most and feel they can take off as they please? I don’t think so, it comes off as greedy and unappreciative especially to those who would give up their lives to be in Kyrie’s shoes, being the starting Point Guard for the Brooklyn Nets getting paid over $36 million per year. I am all for players having power in terms of player movement, that is great for basketball and great for business, it is exciting and a reason the NBA is regarded as the most exciting off-season. But the actions of Irving, and any player who decides to take time off because they feel like it, is unacceptable. You get paid to play, not show up as you please.

Trust in The Process

Trust in The Process

When Joe Douglas was hired as the GM of the much-maligned New York Jets, he was given the single most difficult task asked of any New York professional sports general manager- turn an NFL laughingstock franchise into legitimate championship contender. A very daunting task- for any GM who has dared to step into the role since its last playoff appearance in 2010; A year in which the Jets were going into their second AFC Championship Game under former head coach Rex Ryan and then, GM Mike Tannenbaum. Since then, the Jets have been an absolute dumpster fire of a franchise. The litany of reasons that could be given for those failures could be an episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 all by itself! But the time has finally come for a new era of Jets football to emerge from the wreckage of multiple failed experiments from a GM inheriting a head coach that he may not want to both the GM and the HC reporting to the owner on equal footing, with no clear line drawn as to whose responsibility was what within the power hierarchy. The very public firing of Adam Gase and the subsequent press conferences that followed in which interim owner Christopher Johnson finally admitted failure and vowed change would come took Jets fans by surprise, and dare I say it, gave us a small sliver of hope! 

Hope! What is that?! What is this ‘hope’ that people speak of?! Is it the hope that the Johnson family will let his football people do football work instead of defaulting to the words of head-hunting firms that have zero skin in the game?! That Joe Douglas will get to do the job that he was hired for?! Well, it sure does look like it the way Douglas is conducting his head coaching search.

Sure, Jets fans (myself included) got excited when news came down of the list of candidates that the Jets had already interviewed. Names that included Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy, 49ers DC Robert Salah, Bills OC Brian Daboll, and Titans OC Arthur Smith. The Jets have had second interviews with Salah and Smith so far and as the days pass, you can bet that they will have more interviews lined up still. Joe Douglas has already set a precedent in his short time as Jets GM- he is not interested in the “sexy” hire. This fact alone should have Jets fans optimistic! Why you may ask? Because past Jets GM’s have always caved to the wants and desires of the Johnsons- who have always sought to dominate the New York sports headlines for all the wrong reasons! Joe Douglas wants a “CEO” type of head coach; a leader of men and someone who commands the respect of his players in the locker room. This type of head coach is someone that Jets fans should also want- a coach who will hold his players accountable, his staff accountable, and himself accountable. And if the Jets intend to find this coach, they must search, they must interview, they must kick over every single stone they find to procure that coveted treasure.

My advice to Jets fans all over the world is based on one word- patience. Be patient with Joe Douglas. Be patient with his process. Trust in the process. And let us finally leave the Same Old Jets moniker behind once and for all.