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Bucks vs. Rockets odds, line, spread: 2020 NBA picks, Aug. 2 predictions from advanced model on 52-32 roll - CBS Sports
SportsLine's advanced computer model simulated Sunday's Rockets vs. Bucks game 10,000 times.
The Milwaukee Bucks will try to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Sunday when they take on the Houston Rockets in their second game following the coronavirus shutdown. The Bucks own the best record in the NBA at 54-12, while the Rockets are the fifth seed in the West at 41-24. Tip-off from Orlando is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. The Bucks are coming off a 119-112 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday, while the Rockets outlasted the Dallas Mavericks, 153-149, in overtime. The Bucks are 4.5-point favorites in the latest Bucks vs. Rockets odds from William Hill, while the over-under for total points scored is 241. Before making any Bucks vs. Rockets picks, check out the latest NBA predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model. The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it's already returned over $4,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season. It also was a blistering 52-32 on all top-rated NBA spread picks before the coronavirus shutdown, returning almost $1,700 on those picks alone. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns. Now, the model has set its sights on Bucks vs. Rockets. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NBA odds and trends for Bucks vs. Rockets:
- Bucks vs. Rockets spread: Bucks -4.5
- Bucks vs. Rockets over-under: 241 points
- Bucks vs. Rockets money line: Bucks -185, Rockets +165
- MIL: Bucks are 25-9 as the road team in 2019-20
- HOU: Rockets have a 15-7 record against Eastern Conference foes this season
WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: The Fiend unleashes surprising attack, champions retain titles - CBSSports.com
The Fiend struck to close the show after the second of two big title matches capped a solid edition of SmackDown
While this week's edition of SmackDown featured a pair of title matches, it was a singular moment to close the show that will dominate the conversation. After Alexa Bliss was left alone in the ring by a frustrated Nikki Cross, Bliss became the target of The Fiend as he fired a brutal shot at universal champion Braun Strowman by attacking his former Mixed Match Challenge tag partner. Bray Wyatt kicked off the show with an episode of the "Firefly Fun House," sending a warning to Strowman that The Fiend was now awake and no one was safe until he gets what he wants. Bliss, who had been at ringside for Cross' loss to Bayley in their match for the SmackDown women's championship, would find out the truth of that statement the hard way. After Cross shoved Bliss to the ground and stormed out of the ring, the lights went out, only to come back and reveal Bliss was now trapped in the ring with The Fiend. Wyatt's alter-ego slowly brought his hand toward the face of a terrified Bliss before locking in the mandible claw as the show went off the air. Read on for the full recap of this week's SmackDown, including grades for much of the night's action. Intercontinental Championship -- AJ Styles (c) def. Gran Metalik via submission to retain the title: Styles opened up with his standard mean streak, taking it to Metalik with nasty strikes and cutting off comeback attempts with cheap shots. Metalik hit a big rana to the outside to punctuate his initial comeback heading into a commercial. After the break, Styles amped up his attack on the leg of Metalik, trying to ground the high flyer and strip him of his most effective weapons. Metalik did explode with some big lucha-style offense, but it eventually fell apart when his leg gave out on him, allowing Styles to explode with a flurry of strikes before setting up for the Phenomenal Forearm that Metalik was able to avoid before eating a mid-air chop block by Styles that set up the Calf Crusher for the victory. After the match, Styles blindsided Lince Dorado and hit a Styles Clash. When given time, Styles is still one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and it was certainly good to see Metalik afforded the time to put on a good, featured match. Grade: B+ King Corbin def. Drew Gulak via pinfall: The match started after Gulak attacked Corbin from behind after Corbin interrupted a promo being cut by Jeff Hardy. Corbin went hard at Gulak as the match started following a post-brawl commercial break. Gulak tried to use small mistakes from Corbin to utilize his better mat wrestling, catching Corbin in a deep crossface and landing some big strikes and a series of dropkicks to get on a roll. A flying clothesline from the top rope scored a two count for Gulak, but he ran into a Deep Six. Before Corbin could capitalize, Matt Riddle's music hit and Gulak almost managed to use the distraction for a sneak pin, but Corbin kicked out and hit End of Days for the victory. Riddle immediately hit the ring and attacked Corbin, who had told Shorty G he put a "King's Ransom" bounty on Riddle's head earlier in the night. Shorty G then ran out and took out Riddle, walking off with Corbin after laying out The Original Bro. This was a twisting segment that started with a Hardy promo and ended with Shorty G turning heel and aligning with Corbin, but you can't say it wasn't interesting. Grade: B- Big E def. The Miz via submission: Big E started strong and played into some of his New Day tendencies to maybe have a bit too much fun, but a disrespectful shot from Miz brought out the more violent side of the big man, who tossed Miz into the ringside barricade multiple times. John Morrison inserted himself and laid out Big E on the outside while the ref was distracted, allowing Miz to take over. Big E also had a brief comeback end when he missed a splash on the ring apron heading into a commercial break. Big E exploded back with a series of three German suplexes and a big splash. Miz countered a Big Ending into an attempt at the Skull-Crushing Finale, which was then countered back into a Big Ending attempt before Miz raked the eyes to escape. Later, Morrison again took advantage of a distracted referee to kick Big E in the head, allowing Miz to hit a Skull-Crushing Finale, but Big E kicked out at two and managed to use the ropes to escape from a follow-up figure-four attempt. A third attempt by Morrison to interfere was caught by the referee and he was ejected from ringside, leading to Big E locking Miz in the Stretch Muffler for the submission. This was a great intro to Big E's singles run as he not only had to get it done by himself, but get it done while on the bad side of the numbers game. Grade: B+ Sheamus cut a backstage promo: Sheamus said that he effectively fought Jeff Hardy in a handicap match by facing him in a bar last week, knowing that Hardy was in his natural environment. He then effectively ended the feud, saying Hardy was no longer his problem and nature would eventually take its course. Now he could focus on the SmackDown locker room as a whole. Naomi def. Lacey Evans via pinfall: Evans made fun of the #NaomiDeservesBetter hashtag before the match, with the Twitter movement now a part of Naomi's story. An aggressive Evans took the fight to Naomi from the jump, eventually taking her outside and slamming her into the ring post before trapping Naomi's hair in the ring steps in an effort to score a count out victory. Naomi eventually came back with an awkward-looking sliding destroyer on the outside, but again had things reversed before Evans tried to tie her hair to the top rope. Naomi escaped, ducked a Woman's Right and scored a roll-up for the win. Naomi would have done well to have been given a bit more offense if they were trying to address the hashtag, but it was good to see her pick up a victory over Evans to get one back. Grade: C Sonya Deville brutally attacked Mandy Rose: Rose and Otis were preparing for a date when Rose told Otis she was going to get ready. Deville was seen stalking them in the background. As Rose was putting on makeup, Deville attacked her, smearing the makeup across her face and cutting off chunks of her hair with scissors before grabbing clippers and trying to shave her head. Before she could make it happen, WWE officials intervened and Deville said she already had what she wanted, taking a chunk of Rose's hair with her. SmackDown Women's Championship -- Bayley (c) def. Nikki Cross via pinfall to retain the title: Cross was fired up from the jump, attacking Bayley in the corners before hitting a Thesz press to deliver a bit more punishment to the champion. Cross also scored with a big crossbody from the ring apron to the floor, keeping Bayley almost completely on the defensive. Bayley finally took things over by attacking the "cracked rib" of Cross, the injury suffered at Extreme Rules. In return, Cross began attacking the ribs of Bayley before hitting a tornado DDT. Banks again tried to hand off the Boss ring to Bayley for the cheap win, a callback to Extreme Rules as well. Cross hit another crossbody, setting up a series of pin reversals before Bayley managed to slam Cross down face-first to score the pin and retain her championship. This was a decent match, though Bayley and Cross don't quite click on the same level as some of the bigger pairings in recent months and weeks. Still good action throughout. Grade: B The Fiend attacked Alexa Bliss: Earlier in the night, Bray Wyatt hosted a "Firefly Fun House" to open the show. Wyatt warned Braun Strowman that The Fiend was now awake, and no one would be safe until he gets what he wants, which turned out to be a warning for how the show would end. After Cross' loss to Bayley, Alexa Bliss attempted to console her, but a frustrated Cross shoved her to the mat and stormed out of the ring. As Bliss sat in the ring, the lights went out, only to come back on with the familiar red lighting and The Fiend himself in the ring. A terrified Bliss sat still while The Fiend slowly brought his hand toward her face before locking in the mandible claw as the show went off the air. This was a really strong way to close the show, with Wyatt targeting Strowman's old mixed tag partner as all limits are now off with The Fiend having returned. On top of that all, WWE did the subtle move of having the show ending logo come up only for The Fiend's actions to happen after the usual signifier the show is over. A small move that shows that The Fiend exists outside the standard boundaries of how the shows work. Grade: A-
Donovan Mitchell shows off bullet-proof vest featuring names of victims of police brutality - CBS Sports
It also included the phrase 'Respect Existence or Expect Resistance'
Following his team's 106-104 (box score) victory against the New Orleans Pelicans, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell met with Turner Sports' Taylor Rooks to show off something important he brought with him to Thursday's game: a vest. On the garment were, as he puts it, "every possible name of someone who's died from police brutality or police violence." The vest also includes the phrase, "Respect Existence or Expect Resistance" stitched on with the additional quote, "Am I Next?" The message, Mitchell said, was one of protest against police brutality. "We're tired of seeing [police brutality]," he said. "We're tired, and everyone's tired of it. So for me to make that statement was just something I really wanted to do. I think as African Americans, male or female, we're sick and tired of being afraid. That's something I really wanted to speak on." Mitchell was one of the NBA players who wore a message of social justice on the back of his jersey during Thursday's game, and it was consistent with the message of his vest. Above the No. 45 was "Say Her Name," which has recently been used in reference to Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers executing a no-knock warrant on the wrong home for a narcotics investigation. The phrase has been used in the past with women victims of police violence, such as Sandra Bland.
WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Bray Wyatt ready to unleash The Fiend, wild Bar Fight closes the show - CBSSports.com
Wyatt made it crystal clear that WWE universal champion Braun Strowman will soon have to deal with his darkest form
It was made abundantly clear last Sunday at the conclusion of Extreme Rules and the Wyatt Swamp Fight that The Fiend would be next up for universal champion Braun Strowman, likely come SummerSlam next month. Friday night on SmackDown, it was all but confirmed that Strowman's future is about to get a little bit darker. During an episode of "Firefly Fun House," Bray Wyatt let everyone know that The Fiend is about to be unleashed after being absent for the last few months. After losing the universal championship to Goldberg earlier this year in Saudi Arabia, it seems Wyatt is set on taking back his spot on the top of the food chain in his darkest form of The Fiend. In addition to Wyatt's chilling message on Friday night, No. 1 contenders for the SmackDown women's and intercontinental championships emerged, while a wild Bar Fight between two bitter rivals closed the show in a unique setting. Below you can have a look at everything that went down on Friday night's edition of SmackDown, complete with grades, analysis and highlights. Bayley and Sasha Banks were out to open SmackDown: The women's tag team champions began by showing everyone the definition of "greatness," which was a picture of them on the Titantron holding all four titles at Extreme Rules last Sunday. Banks said that the Women's Evolution is over because it began with her and Bayley and it now ends with them. They were then interrupted by Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss. Cross vented her frustrations over what went down at Extreme Rules before demanding a SmackDown women's title shot -- tonight. Bayley told Cross that she'd be willing to give her another shot at the title, as long as she could defeat her best friend Alexa Bliss; the winner gets to face Bayley next week on SmackDown. Bliss seemed reluctant, but Cross is so obsessed with getting another shot at the title that she shoved Bliss to the floor before charging to the ring. Nikki Cross def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall: Cross feigned an injury near the end of the match, which drew Bliss into a small package for the victory to earn another shot at the SmackDown women's title next week. Good setup and subsequent match here, and the finish really highlighted how Cross was willing to do whatever it took to earn another opportunity at Bayley. Backstage after commercial, Bliss met up with Cross where she admits that she got one over on her. Bliss congratulated Cross and told her to now focus on becoming the new champion. Grade: B Bray Wyatt ready to unleash The Fiend: This week's "Firefly Fun House" began by taking a look back at highlights from the Swamp Fight at Extreme Rules last Sunday. Bray Wyatt then appeared in the "Firefly Fun House" segment alongside his severed-head lantern. The head, which symbolizes the old version of Wyatt, who began to hear whispers in his head from the lantern. The current iteration of Wyatt angrily told his old form that he's not letting him out again and that he had his chance. Wyatt finished by saying that it's "his" turn now, clearly referencing The Fiend, whom we saw emerge from the swamp at the end of Extreme Rules, setting his sights on Braun Strowman and the universal title. Grade: B- Matt Riddle def. Tony Nese via pinfall: Fairly quick match with Riddle picking up the win after the Bro Derek. Post-match, Riddle called out King Corbin, who said that Riddle isn't allowed to be in his kingdom. Corbin said that he's so confident that Riddle doesn't belong that he's putting out a "king's ransom" on him. Riddle then informed Corbin that he's the next guest on the "Bro Show." Nese tried to immediately collect on that ransom but ate a kick to the head for his efforts. Riddle celebrated to close the segment. Grade: C Naomi appeared as a guest on "Miz TV": After #NaomiDeservesBetter began to trend on Twitter last week in support of Naomi following her loss to Lacey Evans, WWE decided to weave real life into television. Naomi began by thanking the people for the support because they're what keeps her going. The Miz and John Morrison pointed out how it doesn't make sense that she garnered all the attention for losing, but Naomi said they need to ask themselves why Lacey Evans attacked her instead. Miz and Morrison, the antagonists that they are, brought out Evans as a surprise "guest." Evans was able to get in one verbal jab about Naomi not advancing despite being around for a decade before Naomi forced her from the ring and danced with her hat. Grade: C- Big E singles push time?: Backstage, on the heels of their tag title loss at Extreme Rules, Kofi Kingston informed Big E that he'll likely be out for six weeks with injury. Big E was down about the news, but with a smile on his face, Kingston told Big E that it's now his time to shine as a singles star with both he and Xavier Woods on the shelf. Reluctant at first, Big E finished the segment by embracing Kingston for the gesture and the opportunity. Don't normally grade backstage segments, but if it is time for Big E to run on his own, I'll make an exception here. Grade: A+ Gran Metalik def. Shorty G (via pinfall), Drew Gulak and Lince Dorado to become the No. 1 contender to the intercontinental championship: The wildly-talented Gran Metalik picked up the surprise win here after nailing Shorty G with an elbow drop after walking the top rope. Following the match, intercontinental champion AJ Styles, who was on commentary awaiting his next challenger, entered the ring. He offered Metalik a handshake, but when the No. 1 contender didn't accept, he slapped him in the face. As Styles set his sights on attacking Dorado, Metalik put the champ down with a Tornado DDT. Kudos for WWE and thinking outside the box here. Next week, Styles vs. Metalik will assuredly steal the show. Grade: A- The new SmackDown tag champs cut a promo backstage: Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro met up with Kayla Braxton backstage where they trolled New Day over the loss at Extreme Rules while making fun of Kofi Kingston's injury. Cesaro said that it's not Big E's time to shine while Nakamura concluded the interview by saying that every tag team will go "splat." Jeff Hardy def. Sheamus in a Bar Fight via pinfall: Sheamus and Hardy met at Irish Shannon's pub in Orlando and chatted a bit at the bar before the melee broke out after Hardy threw a beer in Sheamus' face. After battling all over the establishment with Sheamus in control for most of the fight, Hardy emerged victorious after hitting Sheamus with a Swanton off a ladder. The finish came after Sheamus had believed he put Hardy away for good with a chair shot to the back and placing his hat over Hardy's face before walking behind the bar for a quick drink. When he returned and removed the hat, however, Hardy's face was painted and the fight reached its conclusion not long after. This program has received its fair share of criticism in recent weeks, and while this was mostly cheesy, it was actually a pretty fun brawl for television. Hopefully, though, they've finally put this all to bed and the two can move forward in different directions. Grade: B-
WNBA 2020 season: Can Storm star Breanna Stewart recapture MVP form upon return from torn Achilles tendon? - CBS Sports
Stewart returned to the floor overseas this winter, playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg and Team USA
The last time we saw Breanna Stewart on a WNBA court, she was celebrating after leading the Seattle Storm to the 2018 title. Named regular season and Finals MVP for her efforts, she had asserted herself as the best player in the league at just 24 years old, and looked destined for all-time greatness. Then, a month before the 2019 season, she tore her Achilles tendon while playing overseas for the Russian side Dynamo Kursk. All of a sudden her future, and the Storm's, was thrown into disarray. Without her, and Sue Bird, it must be noted, Seattle barely finished above .500 last season, and were routed by the Sparks in the second round of the playoffs. Now, heading into what will be the strangest WNBA season in history, both Stewart and the Storm are looking to reclaim their place atop the league. Coming off such a devastating injury, however, there are plenty of questions about which version of Stewart will hit the court this season. Gary Kloppenburg -- serving as head coach while Dan Hughes sits out of the bubble -- and her teammates have been quite impressed with Stewart during the first few weeks of practice. Jewell Loyd, in fact, went so far as to say during media day that "if you didn't know she got injured, you really couldn't tell." The thing is, no matter what she looks like, no one from the team is ever going to say anything negative about her. That isn't to say they're lying, it's just that we need to see the evidence for ourselves. Luckily, we can. Or, at least, kind of. We'll have to wait until opening day on Saturday to see her in the yellow and green again, but Stewart has played meaningful games since her injury. Returning to the court this winter, she suited up both for Team USA and UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia before the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports across the globe. These games were months ago, so presumably Stewart has improved since then, especially from a physical standpoint, and the opponents were often vastly inferior. Still, it's worth evaluating how she looked in her first meaningful minutes since a potentially career-altering injury. Stewart herself noted how important those games were for her. "I was really happy that I got the opportunity to play USA Basketball and overseas and Russia just because I got some minutes and reps under my belt," Stewart said. "So to get to that point for me was amazing because I knew my leg would last, and my body would last and it just helped me from a confidence standpoint." Athleticism The biggest concern in regards to a torn Achilles is the loss of athleticism. Basketball skills aren't going to disappear over the course of a year, but if you aren't as quick or can't leap as high to use those abilities, you're not going to be the same player. Quotes out of Seattle's camp indicate that Stewart looks like her old self. Beyond Loyd's comment about how you wouldn't even know she was injured, Mercedes Russell added, "She looks fluid. She doesn't look like she's slow or stagnant." To that extent, let's compare a few standard plays from before and after the injury. Rebounding: Stewart is not your typical low post presence, but she's still an impressive rebounder, thanks in large part to her unique length and athleticism. She's never pulled down fewer than 8.4 rebounds per game in a season, and never finished worse than sixth in the league in that category. Prior to her injury, she would routinely make plays like this, where she simply out-leaps everyone for the ball. Here's a look at her making a similar play this February against Bourges in EuroLeague Women play. It's hard to tell exactly how high she jumps in the clip from after her injury, but it's clear she can still get up there. Perhaps not to quite the same extent, but again this was one of her first games back, and even if she has lost a few inches off the vertical, she was so far ahead of most players prior to the injury that she'll still boast an advantage. Driving to the basket: Stewart is so difficult to guard because she has the height of a traditional big, but the perimeter skills of a wing. Yes, she can shoot it from 3, but more importantly, she can put the ball on the deck and get into the paint. One of the big questions in coming back from an Achilles injury is whether she'll still have the same quickness and burst to beat defenders and then finish at the rim. Losing even just a step can make a big difference in that regard. Watching her games from before the pandemic, this was perhaps her biggest area of weakness. Here, against Bourges, she gets a clear pathway to the rim and tries to go up and over the waiting defender, but just sort of dies after the contact. Then, she misses the follow-up attempt. During Team USA's matchup against Serbia, she had a similarly tough time finishing in traffic, flailing at two wild baseline efforts. Compare that to her form prior to the injury. First, she powers right through the defense to finish at the rim on the fastbreak. And watch how composed she is in this clip as she finishes around the defense. On some level, this should get better with more reps. She went almost an entire year without facing defenders, and it will take some time to get comfortable playing through contact and using her physicality again. As always, these are limited clips from months ago, but there seemed to be a slight drop-off in her burst, which is a bit concerning. This is an area to keep an eye on once the WNBA season begins. At the same time, her slashing drives weren't all bad. She's still long and crafty and can finish with both hands in the paint. Against Cukurova, she showed her ability to get around the defense and finish with the left. It looked remarkably similar to a move against the Sky from 2018. Defense: Another key area of Stewart's game is her defense, where she's just as versatile as she is on the offensive end. She was on the All-Defensive team as a rookie and has averaged at least one steal and one block per game in each of her three seasons. In 2018, she was one of only six players to pull off that feat. She has a good understanding of the game and where to be, especially in help defense, and her length is a big plus on this side of the ball. But again, her athleticism helps elevate her to a truly special defender. If she's lost some quickness and leaping ability, her defense could be impacted as well. To be honest, she didn't get attacked very much in limited minutes in these games, and that in and of itself is a compliment. Even coming off an injury, teams didn't feel it was worth going at her. But even with limited clips to work from, she still flashed some impressive work on that end. Against Serbia, by far the toughest opponent she played in any of these games, she showed good instincts and verticality to slide over and stifle a drive. And here, against Cukurova, she did well to recover after a bit of a miscommunication, shut off the drive and use her length to reject the shot. In terms of defense, we'll really have to just wait to see her playing against WNBA competition again to get a true understanding of where she's at, but she showed some encouraging signs overseas. Playing like a guard The Storm's belief that Stewart is physically back is important, obviously, but perhaps the most notable quotes out of media day were about her improved ball-handling and potential increased versatility. "We're looking where can we move her around and how can we utilize her even more because she's really improved her ball-handling," Kloppenburg said. "She's handling the ball like a guard." Stewart's versatility is no secret. She's a solid passer -- 2.5 assists per game in 2018 -- and has shown an ability to put the ball on the deck and operate as a point forward. That the Storm feel she's much improved in the way she can handle the ball is really saying something, and should open up even more options for their offense. Though there weren't a ton of opportunities to strictly evaluate her ball-handling, the ones that were there really stood out. In Ekaterinburg's contest with Cukurova, she made two strong baseline drives, followed by sharp passes to the corner. One with the left, and one with the right. Those are certainly guard-like plays. Against Serbia, she made a similar play, driving middle off the handoff, and throwing a one-hand kickout to Skylar Diggins-Smith, who buried the 3-pointer. Much like with her defense, we're going to need to wait until we see her in the WNBA, where she's much more of a focal point of her team's offense, to really get a feel for her improvement in this area. It also might be difficult to notice much of a difference, just because she was already pretty versatile, and it wasn't like her ball-handling was a major issue. There certainly weren't any negative signs in Europe, though. Shooting Another area that multiple members of the Storm mentioned with Stewart is her shooting. Loyd said her shot "looks great," while Kloppenburg added that she's improved her "accuracy from 3." Stewart shot 41.5 percent on 4.1 3-point attempts per game in 2018, so if she's improved her shot, that's bad news for the rest of the league. In her games with Ekaterinburg and Team USA, however, she did not shoot the ball well from the outside. In the four games we have footage of -- two from EuroLeague Women and two from Team USA Olympic Qualifiers -- she went 2-of-8 from downtown, and threw up a few really ugly looks. Obviously you don't want to miss shots, but there was nothing particularly concerning in regards to her form, and this was an extremely small sample size. Nothing can prepare you for game shots besides actually taking them, and it just takes time to regain your rhythm and feel after such a long layoff. It wouldn't be a surprise if she struggles a bit shooting from 3 to start the WNBA season, but this shouldn't be an issue longterm. Overall Watching Stewart in these four games, there were definitely some rough moments -- air balling 3s, losing her bearings under the basket, struggling to finish at the rim, etc. It was encouraging, however, that most of her worst moments looked more like a player struggling with the rust of not playing for a year, rather than one who was no longer herself. Is she going to be exactly the same player she was before she got hurt? Probably not. Can she still be one of the best players in the league? Absolutely. And that's more than enough for her and the Storm to reclaim their throne. Come October, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Stewart celebrating with trophies in both arms once again.
Thunder's Steven Adams on NBA bubble complaints: 'This is not Syria. It's not that hard' - CBS Sports
Adams says it's a decent place to live for the time being
The "bubble" is the talk of the sports world, with NBA players now fully immersed in their new closed-off environment. Some players are fine with being locked in the Disney World campus in Orlando, Florida, while others weren't too keen on being regulated and restricted. Some complained about the rooms and some hated the food, but Oklahoma City Thunder's center Steven Adams wants to set the record straight and put it all in perspective. The New Zealand native said: "Let's be clear: This is not Syria. It's not that hard We're living at a bloody resort. Everyone is going to complain, everyone has their own preferences, nothing too serious. Just a bit of dry food here and there." Adams wanted people to know that while it may not be everyone's idea of an amazing time, they are still in a Disney resort, though he admits the food isn't always top notch. The players are away from their families and can only stay in the bubble, but the league has provided many activities to keep them busy. They have been fishing, taking boat rides, playing ping pong, video games, cards and, of course, practicing and training in hopes of making a championship run. Some players are using the opportunity to vlog their experiences, learn some new skills and spend time with their teammates in an environment and under circumstances never before seen. Adams is turning 27 today and plans to have a low key birthday filled with chess, food and time by the pool.
NBA players share photos of dinner served to them while in Orlando restart bubble at Disney World - CBS Sports
Comparisons were made to the ill-fated Fyre Festival
Players participating in the NBA's 2020 season restart have started to make it to the Orlando bubble that they will not be allowed to leave until their team's respective seasons come to an end. Though the idea behind this is to limit the spread of coronavirus, it's hard to blame anyone who might get some dystopian vibes from this set up. What should have alleviated any concerns of this being a cynical cash grab is the multi-billion dollar enterprise taking good care of its workers as they uproot their lives and temporarily move into one of the country's COVID-19 hotbeds for the sake of the basketball-loving population's entertainment. But that didn't exactly happen when the meals of the players participating in the bubble came out. First was an image from Troy Daniels of the Denver Nuggets, whose meal drew comparisons to the meals given out at the ill-fated Fyre Festival. Luckily for those concerned about the players, not all of the meals looked this sad. Chris Chiozza of the Brooklyn Nets revealed a meal that had actual meat with it. Still, these don't exactly inspire a whole lot of confidence in terms what other amenities the players will have access to while in the bubble. I suppose to upside is that it's not as bad as the creepy rat-trap-filled laundry rooms, and non-draining-showers, that WNBA players have to use in their bubble.
WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Women deliver thrilling matches, new United States title unveiled - CBSSports.com
Asuka, Kairi Sane, Sasha Banks and Bayley dominated on Monday night
There should be no doubt that the women's locker room can carry a WWE show these days, but that point was proven yet again on this week's edition of WWE Raw with Asuka, Kairi Sane, Bayley and Sasha Banks delivering both in character and in-ring work. A champion vs. champion match between Bayley and Asuka served as the night's main event after Sane and Banks set a high bar with a clash earlier in the night. Ultimately, it was a good night for The Kabuki Warriors as both Sane and Asuka picked up victories -- though Asuka's was more of a statement win after Sane beat Banks after interference by Bayley in the first match. In the main event, Asuka managed to overcome the underhanded tactics of the women's tag team champions with a little help from Bayley's Extreme Rules opponent, Nikki Cross. The action also set up a women's tag title match between the two teams for next week's Raw. You can find the full recap and highlights below, including what happened when WWE champion Drew McIntyre had to face a ghost from his past, courtesy of Dolph Ziggler. Drew McIntyre (c) def. Heath Slater via pinfall in a non-title match: McIntyre opened the show demanding Dolph Ziggler announce what their Extreme Rules stipulation would be. Ziggler refused, saying he would keep it a secret until Extreme Rules, not wanting to give up the advantage McIntyre had given him. He then introduced Slater as proof that McIntyre had left friends behind on his climb to the top. Slater demanded a match with McIntyre, slapping him after saying he called McIntyre every day after he was fired, but that McIntyre didn't do the same with he was released by WWE. When the match began, Slater charged forward, landing punches in the corner. Seconds later, McIntyre exploded with a Claymore for the pinfall. McIntyre walked off after yelling at Ziggler, but came back to make the save when Ziggler attacked Slater. After Ziggler ran off, Slader and McIntyre shared a hug and a fist bump. Slater's promo was incredible, though it would have been good to give some space between the promo and the squash match. It was very good to see McIntyre shown as something other than a bulletproof, perfect champion. Grade: A Kairi Sane def. Sasha Banks via disqualification: The match came after Asuka interrupted a Banks and Bayley promo and Bayley said Banks would accept anything Asuka threw at her ahead of Bayley vs. Asuka later in the night. With reports Sane is returning to Japan and effectively "leaving the company," aside from maybe serving in an ambassador role, there were few opponents to give her a better singles match sendoff than Banks. The two women went after it in a really great first-time match, with both clicking and hitting a lot of innovative offense until Sane had Banks locked in a modified Boston Crab with the legs interlocked. At that point, Bayley ran in and attacked to draw the disqualification. A brawl broke out between the two teams, ending with Sane dove onto Banks and Bayley with an elbow drop from the top rope. Grade: B+ Seth Rollins' KO Show appearance led to an Extreme Rules challenge: Rollins and Murphy took out Aleister Black before the segment, leaving him down and out and in a Rey Mysterio mask. Rollins was quick to ask about Owens' injured ankle, leading Owens to say he's sure it hurts less than Rollins' ego lately. Owens then explained that they now have a bond after being WrestleMania opponents, before gifting him a KOMania shirt matching the one he wore when he beat Rollins at WrestleMania earlier in the year. Rollins said he only came on the KO Show to address the "now medically cleared" Rey Mysterio and laid out an official challenge for Extreme Rules. Rollins then made an offer to Owens to fight with him, rather than against him. After offering Owens a chance to "fight for the greater good," Rey and Dominick Mysterio made their way to the ring, with Mysterio accepting the challenge for Extreme Rules. Owens then offered to replace Alistair Black as Mysterio's tag partner later in the night, with the winning team picking the stipulation for Rollins vs. Mysterio at Extreme Rules. A brief brawl broke out as the segment ended. The tease of more Dominick involvement continues as the wheels spin on this feud without feeling like they're going anywhere. At least the Extreme Rules match is official now. Grade: C Rey Mysterio & Kevin Owens def. Seth Rollins & Murphy via pinfall: Rollins avoided getting in the ring with Mysterio, quickly tagging out whenever it seemed the two were about to clash. After Murphy took out Mysterio during the match, Murphy began to stalk Dominick. Rollins took out Owens and then got in Dominick's face, daring Dominick to hit him for the DQ. When Dominick refused, Rollins gouged his eyes. The match eventually got back on track before Mysterio exploded offensively on Murphy. As he set up for a 619, Rollins slid into the ring to attack but also was placed in position for a 619. Rollins escaped and grabbed Dominick, threatening to "end him." Aleister Black made his way to the ring and Rollins dared him to hit him. In the confusion, Dominick raked the eyes of Murphy, allowing Mysterio to hit the 619 and frog splash for the victory. Mysterio then challenged Rollins to an "eye for an eye" match, saying he would pull Rollins' eye out with his bare hands. This was good tag action with some nice story beats throughout. But they need to expand on what the match type actually includes. Grade: B Bobby Lashley & MVP def. Cedric Alexander & Ricochet via pinfall: Before the match, MVP and Lashley cut a promo in the ring and said that Crews disrespecting MVP was a bad career move, because it put him on Lashley's bad side as well. MVP then said that, since he already beat Crews, he was the United States champion already, and unveiled a new title belt. Lashley said that things are official when he says they're official, and said MVP didn't have to wait to beat Crews at Extreme Rules to be named champion. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander interrupted to say titles have to be earned before the two sides clashed and Lashley and MVP were ran from the ring. MVP wrestled in a shirt, tie and slacks and largely let Lashley do the dirty work. Ricochet and Alexander gave it a go, but ultimately Lashley was simply too much and he drilled Alexander with a spear to score the pinfall. After the match, Lashley posed with MVP holding the new United States title. Lashley then locked Alexander in the full nelson but Ricochet made the save. Grade: C+ Randy Orton, Andrade & Angel Garza def. Big Show & The Viking Raiders via pinfall: As Big Show and the Raiders dominated the early part of the match, Orton grew increasingly frustrated and called Garza to the outside. He then slammed Garza into the plexiglass around the ring and told him to get his act together, saying he knew Garza grew up in the business and needed to get his head straight. The heels took over for a bit after this, but Big Show finally got back in the ring and made the comeback, including shoving off an Orton RKO attempt. Eventually, Andrade and Garza avoided the Viking Experience before an Orton blind tag allowed him to hit Erik with the RKO for the victory. Big Show stood in the ring after the match staring Orton down. Grade: B- Randy Orton gave R-Truth an assist: Orton an Flair were celebrating backstage when Truth ran into Orton. Truth told Flair that he "cleaned up nice" for "the dirtiest player in the game," before accusing Flair of being Akira Tozawa in disguise. Truth ran off and Tozawa and his ninjas ran in, only to have Orton direct them to go the wrong direction to catch him. Billie Kay def. Ruby Riott via pinfall: After losing to Peyton Royce last week, Riott tried her luck against Kay, confronting the IIconics backstage and saying she didn't have a problem with the duo before they involved themselves in her life. Riott took over the early part of the match against Kay, but Royce's outside distraction allowed Kay to hit an awkward looking modified powerbomb for the win in a short match. Grade: C- Asuka (c) def. (c) Bayley via pinfall in a non-title match: Earlier in the night, Asuka laid out a challenge to Bayley and Sasha Banks to face the Kabuki Warriors next week in a tag title match, a challenge Banks accepted on behalf of her team later in the evening. The two women were given plenty of time to tell a story -- a story that largely revolved around Bayley taking ever (legal) shortcut in the book, including slingshotting Asuka's face into the ropes and reversing her on the outside to drop her face-first on the announce table. Asuka kept fighting back through Bayley's tactics, eventually hitting a dropkick, knee to the face, hip attack and German suplex before finishing with another running hip attack for a near fall. Asuka cut off Bayley's comeback with a brutal looking spinning backfist. Bayley eventually hit Kairi Sane with a cheap shot outside of the ring, drawing Sane to try and run in. Bayley used the distraction to throw Asuka into Sasha Banks' knee and a saito suplex for a near fall. As Bayley taunted Asuka, she was distracted by Nikki Cross, who had been ejected earlier but was now in the crowd. Asuka locked up Bayley in the Asuka lock, leading Banks to run in and Sane to make the save. Bayley tried to counter the submission, allowing Asuka to score a tight pin to secure the victory in the chaos. This was a very good match that did nothing to hurt Bayley in any way and served to build up both the tag title match next week and the two title matches that are set for Extreme Rules. Grade: B+
WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Sasha Banks shocks in champions vs. challengers match as heels dominate - CBSSports.com
Dolph Ziggler and Sasha Banks teamed to take on Drew McIntyre and Asuka in the show's main event
With the WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view looming in a few weeks, WWE champion Drew McIntyre and Raw women's champion Asuka are prepping for the challenges of Dolph Ziggler and Sasha Banks, respectively. The champions teamed up to take on their challengers in a high-octane mixed tag match in the main event of Raw, falling in what was a big night for the heel locker room. The show opened with Banks and Asuka already brawling ahead of a planed dual contract signing segment. After McIntyre left the stipulation for his match with Ziggler up to the challenger, the night's main event was set. Ultimately, Banks and Ziggler were able to pick up the win to end the night when Banks reversed the Asuka Lock into the winning pin, taking some big momentum into the coming PPV while reminding why the challengers pose unique threats to the champions. Seth Rollins, MVP, Andrade and Angel Garza also had big nights as heels dominated the evening. CBS Sports was with you all night long, bringing you all the recaps and highlights you need for the WWE's flagship television program. Read on for all the details. Double contract signing for Extreme Rules: The show opened with Sasha Banks, Bayley and Asuka brawling in the ring in front of the contract signing table and with Samoa Joe in the ring as the host. The women were separated, but when Joe began to talk, a brawl broke out again. Dolph Ziggler's music hit and he interrupted the chaos before introducing Drew McIntyre. As everyone was finally seated at the table, Ziggler again took credit for McIntyre's career successes and said he'd break McIntyre by surviving all of his best shots and getting back up. McIntyre signed the contract, making it official and accepting that they used to be family, and he has figured out that Ziggler needs the title because he's never been the center of attention he has wanted, always dropping the ball when he gets close. McIntyre then allowed Ziggler to pick the match stipulation. A surprised Ziggler was cut off by the rantings of Asuka, who signed the contract for her match with Banks. Banks said she's not the same woman Asuka dealt with in the past, and promised to take over the "whole damn company" with Bayley, leading to yet another brawl, this time with the men joining in and Ziggler bailing to avoid a Claymore. It was a good choice to see the show open mid-brawl, giving a bit of an electric open to the show. The roundtable statements didn't do much new, but the chaos was good enough to not be a letdown. This was used as the set-up to the mixed tag main event later in the night. Grade: B Ric Flair delivered a message to Big Show on Randy Orton's behalf: Big Show pulled rank backstage, bumping the tag match between Andrade and Angel Garza and The Viking Raiders because he wanted to address his issues with Orton. Show entered the ring and called out Orton, but it was Andrade, Garza and Zelina Vega who made their way to the entrance ramp. Garza and Andrade questioned Show's status as a legend as he repeatedly said he wasn't in the mood to play before inviting them to fight. Vega said they'd do Orton a favor, and as Andrade and Garza were about to enter the ring, Ric Flair's music hit. Flair told Show, that Orton would deal with him soon enough before telling Andrade and Garza to have some fun. Before they could attempt to attack, The Viking Raiders music hit and they ran out to initiate a brawl. Flair's promo was clunky, but it's unfair to still expect greatness from him at this point in his life. But, for as great as all things Orton have been recently, this Orton-adjacent segment fell a bit flat. Flair later asked to speak to Vega, Garza and Andrade. Grade: C- Andrade & Angel Garza def. The Viking Raiders via pinfall: Zelina Vega was on commentary for the match, which kicked off directly after the brawl between the teams that ended the previous segment. After getting off to a hot start, the teamwork between Garza and Andrade eventually broke down into an argument, showing they hadn't moved on from the issues that plagued them during their issues with Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens. Things eventually got back on track and Andrade distracted the referee while Garza slammed Erik into the ring post. Andrade hit his back elbow and Garza used a blind tag to steal the glory with a Wing Clipper, frustrating Andrade as the three count was scored. While Garza celebrated, Andrade walked off to the back, angry despite the win. This was perfectly fine, though unspectacular television wrestling with a nice finishing sprint segment. Grade: B- 24/7 Championship -- R-Truth def. Akira Tozawa (c) via pinfall to win the title: This was a very short match. Truth avoided a bit of a "ninja fire up" moment from Tozawa before faking a knee injury. He then ducked behind with a schoolboy for the pin to regain the 24/7 championship, using deception to beat a ninja. Tozawa's ninjas attacked and tried to take the title back, but Truth escaped the ring and ran out through the crowd. Grade: C Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio exchanged messages: Before coming to the ring, Rollins told Murphy that he had to deliver his most important message yet. Rollins said that Rey Mysterio has a duty to uphold, but has the problem of not "seeing things too clearly" lately. Rollins again said that Rey's duty was that of a sacrifice for the good of Raw. Rollins then asked for Rey's forgiveness, "begging" him to forgive him not for his past actions, but for what he has been forced to do in the future. "We are bound by fate, and as fate would have it, I am the Monday Night Messiah," Rollins said. "As fate would have it, Rey Mysterio, you are meant to be a sacrifice for the greater good of Monday Night Raw." He then promised to take a piece of Mysterio every time he entered the ring, tearing him apart until there was nothing left but a memory. Rey and Dominick Mysterio then interrupted with a remote interview. Rey then asked Dominick to forgive him for what he is going to do to Rollins. Rey then told Rollins to remember "an eye for an eye" and said that what he would do would not be fate, but by design. Rollins then told Dominick he could end his career before it ever ends, bringing Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo to the ring to end the interview. While the overall story has been fine and Dominick's involvement has been interesting, the loop of Rollins talking about Rey being a sacrifice and promises of what is to come has fallen into a bit of a basic pattern. Grade: B- Seth Rollins & Murphy def. Humberto Carrillo & Aleister Black via pinfall: This was a very hot tag match with an extremely fast pace. The first convincing near fall came after Carrillo hit Murphy with a 619 for a two count. Rollins hit a knee strike from the top rope on Carrillo as Murphy held him up for a powerbomb for a two count moments later. Rollins managed to hit Carrillo with the stomp for the pin. Black attempted to jump Rollins after the match but was quickly taken out. Rollins then demanded Murphy take Carrillo to the ring steps. Carrillo fought them off but Murphy hit him with the ring steps to drop him. Rollins put Rey Mysterio's mask on Carrillo and again directed Murphy to drag Carrillo to the ring steps. Black saved Carrillo from having his eye put into the corner of the steps, but in the ensuing brawl, Rollins managed to hit a stomp on Carrillo onto the top of the steps before running up the ramp triumphant. This was a good match and the post match flowed well, even if Rollins has failed over and over to put anyone's eye out since doing it to Mysterio. Grade: B+ Peyton Royce def. Ruby Riott via pinfall: The match came after The IIconics confronted Riott backstage about having no friends, leading Riott to issue a challenge for a singles match. Royce attacked Riott's arm early, hampering her offensive output. Riott worked through it, but her comeback was cut off by a bit of Billie Kay distraction. Royce followed up the distraction with a corkscrew brainbuster for a quick victory. The IIconics will never be the best in-ring workers in WWE, but that's not the appeal of their package. They are one of the most consistent comedy acts in the promotion and that showed in the earlier backstage segment. Grade: C+ Big Show def. Andrade & Angel Garza via pinfall in a handicap match: Andrade and Garza had trouble with the size and power of Show early, with Garza taking an early beating. Andrade kept demanding Garza get back in the ring and avoiding tags until Garza finally tagged him in. Show drilled both men with massive chops throughout the match while also throwing them around at will. Garza finally got Show down, at which point Andrade hit a blind tag to get himself in the ring to try to steal the moment. Garza and Andrade argued before Garza left and told Andrade, "this is your moment," leaving him alone in the ring. Andrade then turned around into a chokeslam for the pin. Show then picked Andrade up and dropped him again, this time with a massive right hand. Andrade and Garza's issues are interesting, even if WWE truly missed an opportunity to turn Zelina Vega's boys into a dominant faction around the start of the lockdown era. But the handicap match was very by-the-numbers in-ring. Grade: B- MVP def. Apollo Crews (c) via pinfall in a non-title match: Before the match, MVP again ran down Crews, saying the current U.S. champ was disrespectful by turning down the services of the greatest United States champion ever. Crews interrupted him, saying he is a self-made man and that MVP only cares about helping himself. MVP dominated the early stretch, forcing Crews onto the defensive. After avoiding a big boot from MVP, Crews hit a big spinebuster on MVP. Moments later, Bobby Lashley provided a distraction, allowing MVP to knock Crews from the top rope, hit a big boot and a fisherman suplex for the pinfall victory. Crews attacked MVP after the match, but was quickly assaulted by Lashley, who put Crews in a full nelson until Ricochet and Cedric Alexander ran out to break up the hold. It's great to see Crews in a fully formed storyline, even if MVP is not the best dance partner for someone of his caliber. Grade: B Bobby Lashley def. Ricochet via submission: The post-match action after Apollo Crews' loss to MVP led to an impromptu match between Ricochet and Lashley. Ricochet tried to use his speed and agility to avoid the early attack of Lashley, but the anger and power of Lashley took things over as he threw Ricochet all over in and out of the ring. Lashley tossed Ricochet into the ringpost and had the match won by count out, but chose to break the count. Ricochet avoided a spear by simply falling down, but Lashley tried to follow up with a full nelson. Ricochet countered, dumped Lashley to the outside and tried to dive on him from the apron. Ricochet drove Lashley into the ringpost and hit a springboard moonsault back in the ring for a two count. As Lashley went to the top rope, MVP provided a distraction before Cedric Alexander took him out. Unfortunately for Ricochet, a bloodied Lashley drove him into the mat moments later and locked in a full nelson for the win. As Alexander entered the ring to check on his partner, Lashley locked him in a Full Nelson as well. This was a very good TV match and Lashley has arguably never felt more dangerous than he does now. Grade: B+ Sasha Banks & Dolph Ziggler def. Asuka & Drew McIntyre via pinfall: This match began to lay some big expectations for what we can expect between Ziggler and McIntyre at Extreme Rules. The two men put on some good action, countering each other and playing into the idea that they know each other very well from their past as partners. With four excellent in-ring competitors in action, things clicked well with smooth action throughout. After McIntyre took things over on Ziggler, Banks entered the ring and began to yell at the WWE champion. Eventually, this led Asuka to get in the ring and deliver a kick to the head for a two count. After some brief back-and-forth between the women, Banks locked in the Banks Statement. Asuka then locked in the Asuka Lock and Banks managed to reverse, using the hold to pin Asuka's shoulders to the canvas for the three count and the victory after a very good mixed tag match. Grade: B+
WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Edge delivers epic promo, Rey Mysterio returns on 'Championship Monday' - CBSSports.com
Edge and Randy Orton continued their feud while overshadowing four title matches
While this week's Raw was billed as "Championship Monday" with four title matches, it was the angles outside the ring that stole the show. Chief among these electric angles was arguably the best promo of the year as Edge cut a fiery diatribe directed at Randy Orton following Orton's attack on Christian last week. Edge, speaking while sitting inside a dark wrestling ring, announced his intentions to work his way into Orton's life and destroy it from the inside out before delivering a chilling message that Orton had resurrected "The Rated-R Superstar" with his actions. This all led up to Orton being interrupted by The Big Show while accepting the honor of "Greatest Wrestler Ever" from Ric Flair, possibly setting up the next step in Orton's walk down the familiar path of being "The Legend Killer." You can see the full results and highlights below, including which of the four championships changed hands over the course of a meaningful edition of WWE's flagship weekly television program. WWE champion Drew McIntyre's next challenger was revealed: Dolph Ziggler interrupted McIntyre's show-opening promo and announced he and Robert Roode were Raw's acquisitions from the trade sending AJ Styles to SmackDown. Ziggler took credit for McIntyre's championship reign before asking to be the challenger to the title at Extreme Rules. McIntyre responded by pointing out that Ziggler has been on the losing end of most matches since the two split up and said Ziggler has become "an entitled jackass." McIntyre told Ziggler to imagine what he would be willing to do to retain his championship before accepting the challenge and making the match for Extreme Rules official. Ziggler as an opponent is interesting in match quality, but this was a very quick shift in program for McIntyre and it's surprising they seem to have moved on from Bobby Lashley so quickly. Grade: B- Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair brawled: Jax came to the ring, sat in a chair and said it "must be Monday" because Charlotte Flair has been gifted a title shot despite her issues with Asuka in recent weeks. At that point, R-Truth's music hit, and he talked about his match later tonight with Akira Tozawa before accusing Jax of being Tozawa in disguise. The ring was then surrounded by Tozawa and ninjas, who chased Truth off, only for Flair's music to hit next. Flair said Jax dropped the ball in her two title matches and now was just throwing a "hissy fit." Jax said that she dominated Flair three years ago in the only one-on-one match they have had. Flair then punched Jax and the two began to brawl. Later in the show, Flair said she would not back out of the match with Asuka despite an injury to her shoulder. Grade: B Raw Tag Team Championship -- The Street Profits (c) def. The Viking Raiders via pinfall to retain the titles: The teams faced off backstage before the match. The Raiders got off to a fast start, taking the fight right to the Profits. As the Profits tried to make their first comeback, a Montez Ford dive was caught by Erik and he was tossed onto Angelo Dawkins. After the Profits managed to make a comeback, they hit Erik with The Viking Experience, stealing the finisher for a near fall. A series of cartwheels from all four men came shortly before a finish with Ford hitting the frog splash on Erik for the victory. The two teams showed respect after the conclusion of the match. After the Raiders left, Andrade and Angel Garza ran in and attacked the Profits, laying them out before running off when the Raiders made the save. Later, Garza and Andrade made their intentions to go after the tag titles as a "united front" clear. The match went less than 10 minutes, several of them covered by a commercial break, which hardly felt like the right payoff to the teams finally having a match after weeks and weeks of silly angles. It wasn't bad, but didn't feel like the right way to end things. Grade: C Raw Women's Championship -- Asuka (c) def. Charlotte Flair via submission to retain the title: The two women have always had wonderful chemistry, and that was on display again. Flair's taped up shoulder from her brawl with Nia Jax earlier in the night was a constant target for Asuka, including kicks and armbars. Flair continued firing back with her own big moves, including nearly scoring a pin with a high-impact spear. Flair hit a sit-out powerbomb out of a triangle choke attempt but Asuka managed to lock up an Asuka Lock to score the submission victory, finally getting a win over Flair and getting it clean on television. This wasn't the best match they've had and they gave Flair the clear out of having been injured coming in, but this was a well above average televised title match. After the match, Jax said it would be a "shame for someone to kick the queen while she's down." She would follow through on the threat later, attacking Flair as she was interviewed backstage, driving her shoulder into the ring post of a practice ring backstage. Grade: B+ Edge delivered a pre-taped promo addressing Randy Orton's attack on Christian last week: Edge say he felt the panic in Orton when he was about to lock in the Anti-Venom, when Orton "accidentally" hit him with a low blow. Edge said that he expects to beat Orton, unlike Orton, who treated the win like the biggest thing in his career -- and added that he's disappointed he didn't hit a low blow first. Edge said when Orton attacked Christian, he put the "Rated-PG Superstar" that had been walking around since his comeback to bed. "See, you woke up the side of me that will sink to any level to get what he wants," Edge said. "Who doesn't care how many backs he steps on and bruises to get to the top. I don't care about winning a wrestling match now, Randy. I'm going to embarrass you, emasculate you and make you wish Cowboy Bob was firing blanks on the night you were conceived." Edge then laid out his plan to infect Orton's life and tear it apart from the inside. He concluded by saying Orton "woke up the Rated-R Superstar." After the promo, Orton was interviewed and said that a snake, when feeling threatened, will strike wildly and sometimes blindly. Orton said that he just does what he has to survive. Orton said he doesn't care what Christian and Edge do, so long as they do it far away from him. These were brilliant promos, especially the one delivered by Edge. It may, in fact, be the promo of the year across all wrestling. Grade: A+ 24/7 Championship -- Akira Tozawa def. R-Truth (c) via pinfall to win the title: Before the match could begin, Bobby Lashley and MVP made their way to ringside. They quickly attacked the ninjas at ringside while Tozawa escaped under the ring. Lashley entered the ring and locked Truth in a full nelson, delivering payback for Truth scoring the pin in last week's "winner take all" tag match. After Lashley left, Tozawa crawled out from under the ring and pinned Truth to win the 24/7 championship. Grade: C- Natalya def. Liv Morgan via submission: Before the match, Natalya said she needed to make an announcement, but everyone would have to wait for her match with Liv Morgan. After the commercial break, Natalya walked to the ring with Lana in tow. Natalya went right at Morgan from the opening bell. Morgan made a brief comeback but was distracted by Lana, allowing Natalya to strike and lock up the Sharpshooter for a very quick win. Later in the show, Morgan ran into Ruby Riott backstage and told her she didn't need her making her feel any worse after everything has gone wrong for her lately. Morgan deserves better than this given her recent work, but this Natalya and Lana pairing seems to be a new spotlight angle. Grade: D+ Big Show interrupted Randy Orton and Ric Flair's "Greatest Wrestler Ever" ceremony: Before the segment, Show was asked about his return in helping the Viking Raiders and Street Profits beat up ninjas. He then said that he was really there tonight because of what happened to his friends last week and people tend to forget there's a heartless, angry giant that can come out from behind his friendly exterior. Before introducing Orton, Flair delivered a message to Nia Jax after seeing his daughter attacked earlier in the night. Flair called Orton the best performer ever before Orton claimed it was nostalgic to stand in the ring with Flair, just as it was nostalgic what the two did to Christian last week. Show's music cut off Orton before he walked to the ring, yelling that he'd heard enough. Show said Orton would pay for what he did to his friends. Show called Orton a parasite and said he was now feeding off of Flair, who is now someone he "used to respect." Show then said he was going to break every bone in Orton's body before Orton said that Show would have the same fate as Edge and Christian before rolling out of the ring rather than face Show. Orton then said what happens next would be on Show. Orton is so hot right now that every segment he is in feels important and whatever is going to happen with Show is immediately intriguing. Grade: B Women's Tag Team Championship -- Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) def. The IIconics via submission to retain the titles: Another tag title match on the show, another fairly short match. Banks was shoved into Bayley, knocking the SmackDown women's champion off the canvas. Banks managed to fight off both members of the IIconics before locking in the Banks Statement for the win. Bayley tried to celebrate the win, but Banks said that every time Bayley says "Bayley Dos Straps," she gets jealous and wants to experience it for herself. Banks then called out her own partner for a title match. Banks then made a challenge to ... Asuka for the Raw women's championship. Asuka made her way to the ring and said that Banks is not her boss, before accepting the match. Bayley then blindsided Asuka and dropped her before Banks joined in the attack. Banks hit the Backstabber and then the Banks Statement to send a final message. The match was nothing at all of note, but Banks' tease of challenging Bayley and then the attack on Asuka was a good twist. Grade: B- Apollo Crews (c) def. Shelton Benjamin via pinfall in a non-title match: Before the match, Crews was MVP's guest on the VIP Lounge. MVP told Crews he was done giving Crews chances to have him in his corner and was now setting his sights on the United States championship before providing a distraction so Benjamin could drive Crews' shoulder into the ring post. After the match began, Benjamin focused on Crews' injured arm. Crews managed to rebound and knock Benjamin from the ring before allowing Benjamin to drive himself into the ring post. They returned to the ring and Crews hit a powerbomb for the pin. MVP applauded from the top of the ramp after the match before trying to raise Crews' hand. As Crews told MVP to take his hands off him, Lashley attacked from behind, locking Crews in a full nelson. Another situation where the match didn't live up to the story surrounding it, but seeing Crews involved in a more fully fleshed out angle is very welcome. Grade: B- Rey and Dominick Mysterio confronted Seth Rollins: Rey told Dominick one of the most frightening things for a parent is being unable to get in touch with your kid, which was the case last week. Rey said he was proud that Dominick got out of the three-on-one situation, but was also angry for what he put his parents through. Rey said that, no matter how big or strong Dominick gets, Dominick will always be his child. Rey then said he would fight for Dominick and said that he will take it from here, and would get revenge on Rollins for himself. Dominick took the microphone and told Rollins that the family wants a fight. Rollins then came out and asked if he should come to the ring and take out the father or the son. Rollins then said that it ultimately isn't up to him, it's all a matter of fate and destiny and that since they were at the same place at the same time, "two eyes are better than one." As Rollins walked to the ring, he stopped, dropped to his knees and Austin Theory and Murphy began walking to the ring before they were jumped from behind by Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo. Carrillo, Black, Rey and Dominick took care of Rollins' disciples before Rey delivered a 619 to Rollins and the group attempted to take Rollins to the ring steps and drive his eye into the corner. Murphy and Theory made the save and Rollins grabbed Dominick, ready to blind him before Carrillo and Black ran the group off with chairs to bring the show to a close. This was a strong closing segment that continues to build on a tense situation involving the Mysterios and Rollins' group. Grade: B+