Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New Straps For The Champs

WWE has unveiled a new design for WWE's World Tag Team Championship that is currently being held by R-Truth and The Miz.

The strap, which was given to the titleholders during a segment on last night's edition of WWE Raw, looks - to me - similar to that of the World Heavyweight Championship.

I get it's WWE and there is a requirement for the company's logo to appear on the belt. It seems over the top to have the logo more prominent on the design. Something feels lost with its addition, if that makes sense.

WWE Tag Titles

The WWE Shop is already selling replicas of this new design. I received an email alert at 02:05 this morning (BST), which - I surmise - must have been shortly after they were given to the champions on TV.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Another Column

I have started to add some new information to my NFL handicapping database.

The new idea sees me adding the week number to each game I have dating back to the 1995 season. 

I don't know how effective it'll be, but it will allow me to see how each team has fared if the fixtures have been contested in the same week over history.

It also allows me to see how teams have performed in games following bye weeks.

It'll take me some time to get all this added. I spent a little bit of time doing 1995 and '96 yesterday and today. It'll hopefully be complete in time for the 2024 schedule release. If not, I am confident I'll have it done by the season start in September.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Big E's Update

Big E gave an update on his health yesterday.

The professional wrestler, who broke his neck on an episode of WWE Smackdown two years ago, told his followers on TAFKA Twitter that recent scans on his neck have came in.

Despite being free of pain and 'otherwise healthy', Big E noted that 'things are unchanged'. His C1 did has healed, but has not formed new bone.

E also stressed that he 'may never be cleared' to wrestle again.

That's a shame. On one side of the coin. On the other side of the coin, this could have been a heck of a lot worse. He could have died or lived the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

Going by how he appears on TV and in the interviews I've seen him in, he seems to be the kind of guy who enjoys life with a lot of wit and charm. So, I am sorry to see his active in-ring career possibly close, but will anticipate seeing what becomes of his next chapters.

Big E Tweets Health Update

Saturday, April 13, 2024

In A Name: 2024 Grand National Edition

For this year's Grand National edition of 'In A Name' - the blog post where I pick a horse only because the name stands out to me - I am going with Kitty's Light and Foxy Jacks.

I don't have much to write about the latter, but - with the former - it stood out the most to me when I looked through the list of runners.

Kitty's Light

Kitty was the name of a family friend. 

I had been thinking of her recently because I came across a video of her on YouTube a few years ago and ended up coming across the link - yet again - a fortnight ago.

In yesterday's post, I wrote about the OJ Simpson stuff from 1994 and 1995. At that time in my life, I kind of worked for Kitty so that has to be another thing which drew me to the horse.

But, that's not all.

Kitty's Light appeared on my local news yesterday evening. 

He's a Welsh horse. The country will be rooting for him because a horse from Wales hasn't won the Grand National since Kirkland did so in 1905.

That's 119 years!

As well as that, the horse's owners - Christian and Charlotte Williams - have shared the news that their young daughter, who's six, has spent the past year being treated for leukaemia.

The owners' have stated that training Kitty's Light has been one of the positive things they've been able to do in this dark period they're going through.

Even if Kitty's Light's name hadn't been drawn to me, the story from yesterday's news surely would have.

Friday, April 12, 2024

OJ Simpson

They dubbed it 'The Trial of the Century'. It was more than that.

I am, of course, referring to the case involving OJ Simpson from the mid-1990s in which the retired American football player - and movie star - was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson - and her friend: Ron Goldman in 1994.

In October of the following year, Simpson was acquitted of all charges. However, he was found liable in a civil lawsuit three years later.

I cannot explain just how much it seemed the world was hooked on this trial. And that's coming from me - someone who lives in the United Kingdom, far away from the USA where all this went down.

For me, I cannot think of OJ Simpson without remembering the following:
  • Seeing the car chase on the news over here
  • Calling in to the Caesar the Geezer show on Talk Radio UK back in 1995 and asking his opinion of the trial. He told me he didn't care about it. On the surface, that was fair enough. Yet, weeks later, he found himself spending many episodes discussing the trial when everything picked up Stateside. 
  • Walking around a video store with my uncle during the summer of 1995 as we chose some movies to watch over a weekend. I recall pointing out a film about OJ Simpson and saying to my uncle 'they got that one out quickly didn't they?' We didn't rent it. We picked up Reservoir Dogs and Interview with the Vampire instead
  • Watching the verdict live. If I recall correctly, it came in during an episode of Home and Away (I might be mistaken on that one! It was certainly the early evening for me)
  • I was in London the day following the verdict. I remember visiting a newsagent which had papers from all over the world. The three shelves or so of publications had OJ on every single cover. 
OJ Simpson

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Akebono And The Trivia Point

One of the first news stories I came across this morning was the announcement that Akebono has passed away.

I first became aware of Akebono in the early-2000s when I would keep up to date with Japanese fighting and wrestling news. He was associated with the K-1 group around that time. Then, in 2005, I really got to see him because he came to WWE for a sumo match at WrestleMania 21.

The meeting with the Big Show at Mania saw Akebono spin off and compete in other professional wrestling companies in the Far East.  He worked for a plethora of companies like New Japan, Hustle, Dragon Gate, but I suppose - due to accumulated tenure - his pro wrestling career will be defined by his years as a member of the All Japan Pro Wrestling roster.

Historically, Akebono will be best remembered - especially by the Asian public - for his sumo days. That's because - in 1992 and 1993 - he was the first non-Japanese born wrestler to be crowned a Yokozuna (Grand Champion) in the sport.

On a personal note - I have always thought, and will always remember, Akebono for something which happened to me in an online trivia game I played in during the early 2000s.

One of the people in the trivia room I was playing in was asking general knowledge questions. I surmise the question asked something along the lines of 'who was the first non-Japanese sumo wrestler to become a Yokozuna?' I don't even recall if I knew the answer or made a guess. Either way, I did know who Akebono was, and that he has was Hawaiian, so he was the answer I gave.

The person who asked the question - who happened to also be Hawaiian - was surprised that I got the question right so quickly. From that day on, we would speak occasionally about sport in general and I recall telling him about Akebono's arrival in World Wrestling Entertainment for that one match.

Akebono Passes Away

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A Friday Fixture

I have just seen a post from Adam Schefter on TAFKA Twitter which states that there will be a unique twist to the opening week of the 2024 NFL Season.

The reporter writes 'The Eagles will play the Packers in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on Friday, Sept. 6, the day after the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night'.

Big game on a night that never gets NFL games. Well, there was a Friday fixture last November for the first Black Friday game which saw the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets with a scoreline of 34-13.

I had guessed the NFL's 2024 season would start on September 12th, so my guess was a week off.

Packers .vs. Eagles (Brazil 2024)