My thoughts on WWE

They say it’s fake, it’s not real, but the risks are real. World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE for short is a sport which despite its longevity still catches the public imagination. 

If you ask Elias, WWE stands for! *chants in a passionate tone* “walk with Elias”. The storylines, subplots, daring moves and overall energy has made the WWE the pinnacle for any pro wrestler. 

When we were kids, I don’t know anyone who would say they didn’t do any wrestling moves on their siblings, brother Malik and sister Malik’s teddy bear felt the full brunt of The Stone Cold Stunner. 

I will not confirm or deny, I gave the last ride to my brother, an Attitude Adjustment, or did the five knuckle shuffle on both my niece and nephew, but the springs on a few beds were stretched let’s just say. 

Let’s change the subject and talk about the pros who do this for the day job. WWE, despite the competition or rival AEW, amongst others have posed a viable threat. 

The way WWE markets the brand and the fact that they have years upon years of more experience is a massive advantage. 

In Shahid Khan, owner of AEW, they have a billionaire who will be able to help bankroll some top wrestling stars, Messers Ambrose and Jericho come to mind. 

A fierce rival isn’t something new, in the 90’s WCW was arguably a more desirable brand than WWE, but wrestling fans remember how that ended. 

Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, the aforementioned Chris Jericho and Goldberg are just some of the wrestlers that comes to mind. 

In my humble opinion, WWE it fluctuates, with how good the storylines are. 

Sometimes the storylines are brilliant, others the storylines are a lot to be desired. . 

Of course all wrestling circuits have the same issue, but WWE is the most established of all wrestling circuits out there. 

I want to talk about some of the storylines at the moment and give my humble opinion on them. 

The storyline between Reigns and Owens is a good one, but really creative WWE, putting the belt on him again? Why don’t you just rename his character to John Anoai Cena? Letting Rusev go, in my opinion, wasn’t the best decision either. 

Love or loathe him, his Bulgarian Brute character suited him perfectly. To put him in these love story storylines, just wasted an undoubted talent, let’s hope AEW utilise his skills properly. 

A storyline which I like is Seamus and Drew McIntyre, at least it’s not the usual Roman Reigns drivel. 

The force-feeding of Reigns is frustrating. If you want to use The Big Dog, then the need to use to utilize him without gold around him is a must. 

The Rock, Stone Cold and most recently The Fiend are still very able performers and they don’t need a title on him to be relevant, Roman’s character doesn’t seem to allow that. 

I do like The Miz with The Money In The Bank briefcase. Not sounding like Michael Cole of old, I am a Miz fan. 

Very good on the mic, good in a tag team even in a stable too, Michael Miznan is a WWE treasure. 

I am merely just a fan, but us fans have our opinions too. Triple H, yeah my number ends in 455, and don’t forget the +44 dialling code, thank you! 

Here at the-sports-buff.com , there will be plenty more wrestling articles. See you at the next one!

The over 40’s club

With Pakistan being neighbours to them, many won’t be able to resist the comparisons between Pakistan Super League and the Indian Premier League.

This year’s PSL tournament is an example that the youngsters won’t be solely dominating the Super League team sheets, several veterans are blessing the PSL.

West Indian legend Chris Gayle (Quetta Gladiators), Mohammed Hafeez (Lahore Qalandars) and Shahid Afridi (Multan Sultans)  are all members of the 40-year old club. The four, might not want to scream that from the rooftops, but fans will be screaming and shouting about how Messers Gayle, Hafeez and Afridi have made solid contributions. 

Former Pakistan captain Afridi has impressed with the ball, in particular, the first game as the veteran all-rounder Afridi finished with 2-24 off four overs against Islamabad United in the first game.

As for the other three, they have made some good contributions with the bat. Gayle scored a solid 39 and a streaky half-century (68) in two games. The fifty that The Big Boss scored did offer a couple of big changes to the Lahore Qalanders, but the Qalanders fielders shelled those chances. Those drops didn’t prove costly as fellow veteran Mohammed Hafeez clubbed an unbeaten 73 off just 33 balls, which helped Lahore win and chase down a potentially tricky target at a canter. 

For the cricket purists amongst you, I know you will be thinking why hasn’t Kamran Akmal been mentioned? I must admit as I drafted this up, I was thinking the same thing too, but then after some research realised he’s a spring chicken at 39. Just like Akmal,  Shoaib Malik is a youthful 39.

As I was compiling this blog, there was some drafting and re-drafting, my criterion is strict, this blog is a shout-out to the 40’s club. Messers Malik and Akmal wishing them good health will be in the club next year! It’s brilliant to see the veterans we mentioned doing so well. Sohail Tanveer, Mohammed Irfan, Sarfraz Ahmed are arguably in the veteran category too but are a bit more youthful than Gayle, Hafeez and Afridi.

The youngsters in the tournament and the emerging players too is clear evidence that the PSL is making huge strides on the T20 cricketing world map. Not bad for a tournament that’s 10 years behind the IPL and the other leagues around the world.

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Broad and Anderson the ultimate bromance

Sports like football and cricket, are beautiful sports for several reasons. Games can be decided and won through good teamwork or individual brilliance, yes that knock by Ben Stokes in the Ashes at Headingley comes to mind. 

As important as those factors are for winning games, I want to talk about the need to build good partnerships in a duo, the bromance or the Romeo and Juliet pairings if you will. Let me elaborate. 

Football fans, do you remember the Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer partnership for Blackburn Rovers, which helped the Lancashire side win the Premier League title in 1995.

Or what about the Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer partnership for England, or even the legendary pairings that both included Andy Cole, it’s fair to say someone is loved. First Cole and Peter Beardsley in the early ’90s, who combined to score more than 60 goals. If combining with Beardsley and scoring a sack load of goals wasn’t enough, it was when Andy Cole teamed up with Dwight Yorke at Manchester United that did an ultimate bromance develop. 

In that 1998-99 season, as brilliant as Beckham and Giggs were, it was the deadly two upfront.

From the telepathic linkup play in the game against Barcelona or the semi-final win against Juventus in the 2nd leg, Cole and Yorke were brilliant, in fact so brilliant that then Blackburn manager Graeme Souness reunited the duo at Rovers. 

In this blog, what I want to talk about are some of cricket’s deadly duo’s. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Alan Donald and Sean Pollock or Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. In terms of the latter two players, they sound more like a solicitors firm rather than a potent Australian bowling attack.

In the example of every duo, that I have listed, one player seems to compliment the other, which I think can be said of the example I want to use now, the example of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. 

With 1100 wickets between them, it’s obvious to see that despite Joffra Archer, Olly Stone, Sam and Tom Curran at their disposal and many more bowlers in the production line, England will revert to type and go to their two premier bowlers at any given opportunities, it’s with good reason. 

Despite Broad being 34 and Anderson 38 respectively, these two are the men who seem most likely to answer the call of need for England.

The ongoing test between India and England seems to be proving my theory. This may be a bit harsh, but at the time of writing Archer and Ben Stokes combined have bowled eight overs between them and have conceded 43 runs. 

Yes, the West Indies born pacer does have a wicket in the India innings, but compare that to the legendary duo of Anderson and Broad, they two have conceded just 31 runs in 15 overs. Both Stuart Broad and Anderson have been able to produce bits of brilliance on several occasions in their brilliant careers.

To be fair, the supporting cast have produced at times, but there’s an over-reliance on Broad and Anderson. With 1100 wickets between them, this thinking is natural. Until England area able to find this formula of winning games without Anderson (easier said than done) then England will remain stuck in the past. 

India (Bumrah), South Africa (Rabada), Pakistan (Shaheen Afridi), New Zealand (Trent Boult) and Australia (Pat Cummins) have younger main strike bowlers than England. All I will say is, I don’t envy Joe Root’s dilemma, but until they find a formula I think England will be stuck in the past.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

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India vs England first ODI review

Careless England after being in a position of control, inexplicably lost the first one-day international by 66 runs to trail India 1-0 in the three-match series. Hosts India, who batted first after being put in to bat by visiting captain Eoin Morgan, started slowly as experienced opening pair Rohit Sharma and Shikar Dhawan were content to play themselves in. When Sharma was out caught behind playing a rash shot off the bowling of Ben Stokes, it was left to Virat Kohli and Dhawan to rebuild the innings.

India captain Kohli, seemed content to play himself in and was starting to settle into this innings nicely. The RCB man passed fifty for the 61st time in his imperious career. Virat Kohli does have the impressive record of being the 2nd best player in world cricket to convert 50’s into 100’s. So when Kohli was surprisingly out for 56, Delhi Daredevils captain Shreyas Iyer was also quick dismissed soon after.

Those two quick dismissals lead to the arrival of hard-hitting Hardik Pandya to the crease. Disappointingly for the Mumbai Indian’s player, he was dismissed for just a single. England were sensing blood because at the other end was out of form KL Rahul who didn’t get going in the T2o series between the two sides. Rahul and younger brother Krunal Pandya who was on debut, combined to put on 112 for the sixth wicket.

The home side India finished on 317-5 in what experts felt was probably just about par on a pitch that seemed to be more favourable to bat on. England, who was the defending World Champions, in the four years prior to their triumph and the two years after have been belligerent in their approach when chasing such totals down. This total of 318 to win, seemed well within England’s grasp, especially with opening pair Jason Roy (46) and Jonny Bairstow (94) put on 135 runs in 14.2 overs.

When Jason Roy was out off the bowling of debutant Praside Krishna (4-54) who recovered well after a nervy and expensive couple of opening overs, the KKR man stifled the tourists’ attack. It wasn’t just Krishna who strangled England’s scoring Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-30) and Shardul Thakur (3-37, who also recovered from a tough start helped set up an almighty England collapse.

After being 135-0, the tourists lost 10 wickets for 116 runs. The highest scorer after Bairstow and Roy was Moeen Ali, who was undone by a superb Kumar delivery. A painful defeat for England then, who seemed odds on to win this first game, but some ill-discipline and the wrong mindset cost them dearly. The two sides do it all again at the same venue, The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Sunday.

FA Cup semi-final preview

After reaching their first semi-final since 1982, Leicester City Have to overcome the challenge of Ralph Hassenhuttel’s Southampton who are in their first semi-final since 1976, the time they last won the old famous trophy. The Foxes who outplayed Manchester United in the quarter-finals by beating the 12 times FA Cup winners 3-1, will fancy their chances of going all the way, which would be just as big of a shock as their Premier League title win.

The Saints who beat South Coast rivals Bournemouth 3-0 at the Vitality Stadium have been the very definition of Jekyll and Hyde this season. Top of the Premier League table for the first time in their history in November then came their second 9-0 defeat in a year. That defeat means that Southampton are closer to the drop than they are to the European places, in November no one would have expected that!

It’s for this very fact that Ralph’s men won’t be an easy game, the fact that no one knows which Southampton will turn up! It was Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City side who inflicted the record-breaking 9-0 loss, which is the worst in Premier League history. This game won’t be a 9-0 and despite the impressive 3-0 win against high-flying Bournemouth in the quarter-finals, we see Leicester winning this one comfortably 3-1.

In the other semi-final sees Chelsea who have conceded just two goals in 12 games, up against Manchester City, who are competing for an unprecedented quadruple this season. Before Thomas Tuchel’s appointment, if these two sides were contesting the semi-final, then one would have seen this as a certain win for Pep’s men. Ever since former PSG manager Tuchel has been appointed Chelsea have won at Anfield and the Wanda Metropolitano, so The Blues have won at some tough places to travel to.

This semi-final is arguably fitting for a final and West London side Chelsea might have a slight advantage as they don’t have to travel as much as Manchester City. With Man City though, you’re talking about a team who has reinvented itself after a tough start to this Premier League season, are a whopping 14 points ahead of nearest challengers Man United, The Red Devils do have a game in hand, but even then it’s a massive points difference between the two sides.

Our prediction for this one is Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea, this game will be filled with drama for sure and that’s our semi-final predictions.