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If you’re bothering to read this, you already know the WWE hit Buffalo Sunday night with their “Battleground” pay-per-view. I’m not going to bother posting a play by play recap. If you need that, you can go to pretty much any wrestling website in the world. Instead I’d prefer to simply offer a smattering of thoughts, followed by a little photo gallery, and please keep in mind I’m not much of a photographer (and yeah I know, not much of a blogger either).
Do keep in mind there are at least some spoilers—so if that’s a deterrent don’t read any further.
In a nutshell, I projected a lackluster show and WWE dispensed as such. As I wrote in my Battleground preview this PPV felt like little more than a bridge between Night of Champions and Hell in the Cell later this month. There were no major surprises, no title changes and a double screw-job ending. Hell, even Triple-H skipped out from appearing on camera for this one—quite shocking considering how much air time he’s hogged over the past month.
To examine the show a bit further, the ending was brutal. If you’re a wrestling fan in the loop with WWE angles and how things work, you probably expected a screw-job ending or an ending mirred in controversy. What I didn’t anticipate, and I’m confident most others feel the same was essentially no ending at all! Cliffhangers are fine for Monday Night Raw or Smackdown, but on a pay-per-view?
A PPV main event should have some type of clear finish and this won’t didn’t. After the crowd popped for the Big Show knocking out Randy Orton leave both he and Daniel Bryan laying out cold in the middle of the ring, fans expected Show or someone else to throw one on top of the other. But we didn’t get that. Instead we got nothing. I’m telling you, it went silent for a good minute and a half when everyone realized the PPV was going off the air with no conclusion before most began heartily booing.
Then of course, there was a power outage that temporarily knocked the show off the air. It almost seemed fitting (more on that below).
That’s not to say the show was a complete waste of time. The matches, even some that were poorly booked if at all, were fun with plenty of exciting spots. I’m also grateful to WWE media relations department for being very accommodating with incredible seats.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) invades Buffalo this evening when the debut of their “Battleground” pay-per-view invades the First Niagara Center.
Of course, for diehard WWE fans that’s fantastic news. Live events hit Buffalo but once or twice per year, and it’s even rarer when a pay-per- view comes to town. This marks just the third in Buffalo since 2008, when WWE hosted “Armageddon”. September 2011 saw “Night of Champions” here, the last PPV held in Buffalo.
That’s where the good news predominantly ends. If I’m being completely honest, from an entertainment perspective this PPV could be one of the company’s worst of 2013. A glance at the eight matches scheduled (including the pre-show contest) includes at least four matches that would be lucky to garner attention on their Monday Night Raw, let alone a spectacle fans around the world pay money to see. The two main event title matches are literally rematches from last months’ Night of Champions” and while technically CM Punk vs. Ryback is new, it’s essentially a continuation of the Punk vs. Paul Heyman angle.
I’m not trying to portray Debbie Downer. As an admitted wrestling fanatic, it’s great anytime a WWE event lands in Buffalo. For this specific card, however, I can’t help but assume it serves as little more than a cleanup of their last PPV, and the start of building up Hell in the Cell for later this month.
It’s media day at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, site of this year’s PGA Championship, which gets under way Thursday. Of course the center of attention remains Tiger Woods, who has won five times on tour this season including last week, but has yet to win a major since capturing the U.S. Open in 2008.
Wood’s talked about a lot of topics, including the greens at Oak Hill, which he said are up to speed now and will be around an 11 on the stimp.
“Going to be a great test.” Woods said.
Woods didn’t fare well when the PGA Championship was hosted by Oak Hill in 2003. He finished in a tie for 39th place and shot 12 over par. Shaun Micheel won with a four under by two shots over Chad Campbell.
You can see live video and press conference recaps from today in Rochester on the Golf Channel website.
It’s definitely a thrilling time for PGA fans in the Western New York area. Oak Hill County Club in Rochester is set to host the PGA Championship—the final major golf tournament of 2013 beginning Thursday morning.
Via photographer Jack Haley, pictured is this year’s Masters champion, Adam Scott chatting it up on the 18th green with Bill Hass as the top players in the world are in town undergoing final preparations.
Scott will be paired with the two other major winners this year, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson in a threesome teeing off at 1:45pm Thursday.
Tiger Woods is paired with Davis Love III and Keegan Bradley and have a much earlier (8:35am) Thursday tee time.
This is the fifth men’s pro golf major hosted by Oak Hill Country Club, including its second PGA Championship. The last occurred in 2003 when an unheralded Shaun Micheel took home the Wanamaker Trophy.
The course also played host the Ryder Cup in 1995.
According to Club press releases the course record is 64, shared by the great Ben Hogan in 1942 and most recently Curtis Strange in 1989.
We’ll have plenty of updates, stories and photographs throughout what promises to be an exciting week of golf.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is debuting a new pay-per-view on October 6 titled “Battleground”. Wrestling fans of Buffalo should be particularly interested, because the event is coming live to the First Niagara Center.
Tickets for the event go on sale this Saturday morning at 10am and can be purchased either at the box office or through tickets.com.
Battleground is taking the place of the October pay per view formerly known as “Over The Limit”.
This marks the third WWE pay per view to come to Buffalo since 2008, when the company hosted “Armageddon”. “Night of Champions” was held in Buffalo in September of 2011.
This is the second live event to come to the First Niagara Center this year. Monday Night Raw was in town on March 4.
At this point it’s difficult to start projecting what some of the top matches may be, with a pair of PPV’s still slated to happen before the WWE gets to Buffalo. Surely, all the top stars will be advertised.
The towering concrete behemoths that dot Buffalo’s waterfront have been a point of contention in recent years as various agencies and businesses scratch for space along the river and lakefront. Among the many ideas people have had for Buffalo’s grain elevators, Jason Schwinger has put the wheels in motion on a groundbreaking idea.
Schwinger – adequately dubbed an entrepreneur of fun on the Silo City Rocks Indiegogo (please, please donate) page – is a partner with BFLO Harbor Kayak, has begun work to convert a major portion of the Marine A grain elevator on the Buffalo River into an indoor and outdoor climbing center. Silo City Rocks will be the name of the new venture that will feature a world record climb of 190 feet. Silo City Rocks will be a planned stop for those renting kayaks or paddleboards from BFLO Harbor Kayak and will also work in partnership with Campus Wheel Works.
I was lucky enough to get a tour of the Marine A complex that is nestled into the back corner of the Silo City complex that is reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic landscape of massive, towering buildings and barren ground. However, Silo City Rocks will bring life to an area that has been beginning to see more interest.
The vision is to bring bouldering, rock climbing, yoga and numerous other activities to the elevator. While the project will not use every square foot of the grain elevator – it is truly one of the most awe-inspiring places to wander through – it will use a handful of the interior silos along with numerous areas on the exterior of the elevator. This will go from a grain elevator to a man-made mountain, in many ways.
I was afforded the opportunity to cover Monday Night Raw this past Monday and thanks to the graciousness of WWE officials, was given excellent seats and a little extra access.
By now you’ve surely read full recaps of the show, so I won’t bother with a segment by segment review. I will say the show overall was excellent and probably the best the WWE has put on in Buffalo in several years.
With the exception of Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho, who’s on a mini-tour with his rock band Fozzy, all the stars were on hand in Buffalo. Not only the current guys but many past legends as well to coincide with Monday’s “Old School” theme; a list that included Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, The Honkey Tonk Man, Ted Dibase, Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Mae Young, Mean Gene Okerlund and the New Age Outlaws.
Perhaps the biggest “news” to come from the show was the return of The Undertaker to television. Fans got to see him open and close the show and he’s now officially going to face CM Punk at Wrestlemania.
Speaking of Punk, love him or hate him the guy is special. Even with the Rock, John Cena and Triple-H all getting microphone time it was Punk that far and away drew the biggest responses and emotions from the crowd all night long. His music cutting off Mae Young’s birthday celebration was epic. He was born to be the ultimate bad guy. His mic skills are impeccable—to the point that plenty of the fans he constantly insults are still huge fans.
If you’re a fan of professional wrestling you’ll like this post. If not, there’s no point in reading on.
The WWE is invading Buffalo tonight when Monday Night Raw is live from the First Niagara Center. While what happens during the show is designed to remain a mystery, there are some things we know for sure.
The biggest is that current WWE champion and movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is in town and will be appearing. So is long-time star Triple-H. There’s also rumblings that iconic star The Undertaker may finally be returning to live TV tonight, right here in Buffalo.
As WWE begun advertising last week, tonight’s theme is “old school” and several former WWE stars are expected to be on hand. Among those already confirmed for tonight’s show are Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Ted Dibase and announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund. There’s sure to be a few non-advertised surprises appearing as well, including the New Age Outlaws.
Scotty Bowman will drop the ceremonial first puck at the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Saturday (Sept. 29) at First Niagara Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres. The legendary coach spent seven seasons with the Sabres (1979-87) and had a hand in bringing Phil Housleyand Rob McClanahan, who will serve as head coaches for the event, to the organization.
Bowman spent 30 seasons in the National Hockey League as head coach of five teams, including the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, where he compiled NHL records for regular-season wins (1,244), Stanley Cup Playoff wins (233), Stanley Cup titles as a head coach (9) and appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals (13). He was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach in 1977 and 1996 and has since added three more Stanley Cup titles as a member of NHL front offices.
Opening faceoff for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game is set for 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and ticket information is available by visiting AllAmericanProspectsGame.com.
For complete Team Housley and Team McClanahan rosters, click here.
The WWE didn’t make its way to Western New York Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean one of their biggest stars wasn’t performing.
The Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour hit Darien Lake yesterday and wrestling star Chris Jericho took stage with his band Fozzy as part of the festivities. Fozzy was part of a deep, star-studded 21 band show that had fans on their feet all afternoon and well into the night. The show was headlined by Shinedown, Staind, Papa Roach and Godsmack.
All reports say Jericho and his band were quite impressive.
Here’s a photograph of Jericho in action, via Renee Clark photography. Wrestling fans, it sure seems like Jericho is crouched down ready to give on his trademark “Come on, baby!” yells.
FYI—Wrestling fans will be pleased to know the WWE is indeed coming to Buffalo with a “Smackdown!” TV taping on Tuesday September 25.
The reaction was the same in North Tonawanda, Buffalo, Lockport and Cheektowaga. Baseball card collectors got their initial glimpses Wednesday of the Topps 2012 First Series Baseball Set.
A few weeks before spring training, collectors and investors were getting their first looks at new cards for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Josh Hamilton and dozens of rookies. There were also reports of short-printed cards for Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, but no confirmations.
Now I’ve been collecting sports cards since 1948. I became a third-grade sports expert at P.S. 13 in Elmhurst, Queens, because I could recite the batting averages for Ferris Fain, Eddie Joost and Hank Majeski. I learned how to flip cards and trade doubles for singles in the school yard at recess. I grew up in Forest Hills and had a huge assortment of all sports until I was told I had to throw out my cards in 1956.
The WWE invaded the First Niagara Center in Buffalo Sunday night with their “Night of Champions” pay-per-view. The crowd featured the usual blend of rabid WWE crazies and perhaps due to their comeback victory over the Oakland Raiders that day, an onslaught of proud Buffalo Bills’ jersey sporters.
Speaking of the Bills, a ringside crowd featured a pack of players, including running back Fred Jackson and center Eric Wood among others.
While the show was hardly revolutionary to the point it will change the landscape of professional wrestling, the night did offer the wrestling fans of Buffalo plenty to talk about this morning at the water coolers– or wrestling message boards. Both world titles changed hands while a hometown hero lost in her bid to become champion, not to mention an ending that left fans wondering what the hell they just witnessed.
Here’s a recap of the night from my perspective, along with some photos.
World Wrestling Entertainment superstar CM Punk was in the Kiss 98.5 studio this morning to promote Sunday’s upcoming “Night of Champions” pay-per-view in Buffalo at the First Niagara Center.
While Punk doesn’t give away any tricks of the trade, not to mention being extremely tired, you get a strong sense during his 10 minute interview that he truly doesn’t like his opponent for Sunday night, Triple-H.
Punk also discusses his tattoos, his hometown of Chicago and his poor sleeping habits. The interview is worth seeing, at least if you’re a pro wrestling fan, so here’s the video (courtesy of Kiss 98.5)
In May of 2009, Kristin Crandall attended the annual Blue Moon Gala; an event that helps support and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York. She anticipated going to the event, having a good time and lending her support to the cause. Little at the time was she aware by the time the night was over; her role in the association, as well as her life would be forever altered.
It was there she met Tracey Callisto. A member of the Alzheimer’s Association who spent years raising money via the annual Memory Walk, Callisto already had a personal bond to the cause. Her Uncle became a victim of Alzheimer’s before sadly succumbing to the deadly disease. Sometime during their conversation as a quick bond was struck, the subject of powder-puff football came up as a way to raise both awareness and money for the dreadful illness.
In 2005, Sara Allen Abbot & Ryan Triplette organized the first ever Blondes vs. Brunettes flag football game to increase awareness among young people of Alzheimer’s disease. The event was a huge success in Washington, D.C. and since then the duo has helped support similar events in several major cities around the country, including Dallas, Denver, Austin, Houston and Kansas City.
While the NFL lock out was capturing headlines across the country, a South Buffalo semi pro team spent the summer ascending up the national rankings. The South Buffalo Celtics(10-0) are currently ranked #12 in the nation, according to www.semiprobcs.com.
It’s been a painstakingly arduous task for the first year team but after an undefeated regular season, people have taken notice.
Playing in the highly respected Elite MCFL, going undefeated is much easier said than done. The Celtics have finished the regular season above teams that have been around since the 1980′s. in the process, South Buffalo has averaged the most points in the league behind a strong running game and efficient attack through the air. Although they boast a high scoring offense, their defense is also one of the league’s best.
Tickets for the 2011 Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame dinner are now on sale. Tickets may be purchased at www.gbshof.com by completing the ticket form and sending, with payment, to: Melissa Gearhart – Ticket Chair; c/o The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls; 101 Old Falls Street; Niagara Falls, NY 14303. Tickets are priced at $85.00 each and $750.00 for a table of 10.
The 2011 induction ceremonies will be held, Wednesday, November 9 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. A pre-dinner reception begins at 5 pm with the dinner and ceremonies to start promptly at 7 pm.
This year’s class, the 21st to be inducted, includes NFL Pro Bowlers Ruben Brown and Jim Burt, Detroit Tigers third baseman Phil Mankowski, Olympic Gold medalist Steve Mesler, pro golfer Cindy Miller, University of Pittsburgh basketball star Curtis Aiken, local baseball legend Don Colpoys, Buffalo Sabres player and broadcaster Jim Lorentz, legendary Buffalo Bills fullback Cookie Gilchrist, the inventor of the sport of volleyball William Morgan, one of the “founding fathers” of the West Side Rowing Club, Michael Broderick and 19th century world record breaking runner, Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett.
On February 25, 2011 City of Buffalo Police Officer Gary Sengbusch was struck by a drunk driver who ran a red light. This very serious accident has left this young officer with both traumatic and potentially life changing injuries. Officer Sengbusch is prepared for the challenges he faces in trying to recover and we are preparing to assist him in that long journey.
The City of Buffalo Police has joined forces with the Buffalo Bisons and Buffalo Charities to hold the “TEAM GARY BISONS BENEFIT BASH” tonight at Coca-Cola Field. The Buffalo Bisons will take on the Leigh Valley IronPigs at 7:05pm. The Pre-game festivities start at 5:00 p.m. at the stadium and include a concert by Buffalo’s own Strictly Hip AND a post-game fireworks display. Discounted food and beverages will also be available. Raffles as well as a split-club will be run throughout the game.
Tickets start at $8.50 and can be purchased online at www.teamgary.org or at these select ticket locations:
The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame will introduce its 12 member class of 2011, Wednesday afternoon, June 15 in the Pavilion area at HSBC Arena. Introduction of this year’s new members will commence at 3:00 pm with board president, Brian Cavanaugh, presiding.
A reception will follow until 4:30 pm. This event will mark the 21st class to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991 and brings total membership to 240.
Former All-Pro Buffalo Bills lineman Ruben Brown and two time Super Bowl champion, Jim Burt, (Orchard Park, NY) will give remarks on behalf of the class. Brown, the 14th pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, made eight consecutive Pro Bowls during his nine year career with the Bills, while Burt earned one Pro Bowl nomination and captured two Super Bowls – one each with the New York Giants and San Francisco 49’ers.
(Disclaimer: This is not a sports story. Occasionally you hear news that tugs the heartstrings and leaves yourself compelled to try and help. For me, this is one of those times.)
Roughly a year ago, then six-year old Stella Usiak found herself in a charitable mood. The pint-sized Girl Scout didn’t donate profits earned from selling cookies or contribute her modest allowance to any cause. Instead, Stella provided what many would regard as more meaningful. She gave the gift of her hair following one of her first visits to a salon to the “Locks Of Love” organization. It was an offering to other kids who’ve lost their own because of diseases.
Quite ironically and to be more direct, sadly, 12 months was at all it took for young Stella to lose her own hair— and this time it wasn’t of the voluntary nature.
On March 2, 2011 at the tender age of just seven, Stella was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.), which is the most common type of cancer among children between the ages of one to seven. A.L.L. is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood that severely affects white blood cells and the human immune system.
The University at Buffalo is offering summer camps in 13 different sports this year at a variety of levels. Campers will get the chance to practice on the same fields as the Bulls teams while receiving expert coaching from some of the Bulls head coaches and athletes.
Head Baseball Coach Ron Torglaski will bring 22 years of coaching experience to his three camps, which will be run according to age groups. Head Men’s Basketball Coach Reggie Witherspoon will be running a college prospect camp for grades 10 and up, two separate week-long camps and a team camp while Women’s Basketball head coach Linda Hill-Macdonald will run a developmental camp for girls in grades 4-12.
Head Football Coach Jeff Quinn will run an Offensive/Defensive Line specific camp along with two one-day camps and two youth camps. Men’s Soccer will run a camp for Junior Booters, Bulls, Young Bulls, High School Elite, Strikers and Goalkeepers. Women’s Soccer will run a total of seven camps including Kickin’ and Krackin’, Goalkeepers, Juniors, Open Girls and College Prospects.
Twenty-two elite runners from all over the world, including some from Western New York, will hit the pavement in Buffalo this Sunday, May 29, for the Buffalo Marathon‘s full and half marathons. All marathon events begin at 7 a.m. just north of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Pearl Street in downtown Buffalo. At 7 a.m., Buffalo Fire Department will have two ladder trucks set up with a large flag on Niagara Street near Niagara Square for members of the media to shoot video and photos of the runners as they pass on to Niagara Street.
Six women will compete in the Open Marathon, Female category, and it is expected to be a very competitive category this year.The course record for this category of 2:42:44 was set by Elena Orleva in 2009, and several runners this year have qualifying times that are faster than that time, and could potentially shatter the course record this Sunday. Alena Vinitskaya of Russia qualified for this race with a time of 2:36:00, while Veronika Lopatina, also from Russia, qualified for this race with a time of 2:41:00.
Meanwhile, 11 men will compete in the Open Marathon, Male category. One runner in this category, Michael Deren, lives in Blasdell, NY, and qualified for the Buffalo Marathon with a time of 2:23:00.The course record for this category of 2:17:55 was set by Jacob Chamar in 2007, and the 2006 winner of the Buffalo Marathon, Jynocel Basweti of Kenya, is one of the men who could set a new course record, as he qualified for the Buffalo Marathon with a time of 2:18:00.
The WNY Chapter of the Basketball Coaches Assn. of New York is holding its’ 7th annual WNY Spring Basketball Coaches clinic on Friday, June 3rd at The Sullivan Center at Medaille College. The cost of the clinic is FREE TO ALL COACHES. The coaches lineup is as follows:
5:30 – Dave Niland – Head Coach at Penn St.- Behrend will speak on defense -Niland is in his 17th year as head coach at Behrend and has won 303 games and has been named Allegheny Mountain Conference Coach of the Year 7 times and his teams have lead NCAA Div III in scoring defense twice on the last 4 years. A former All-WNY player at Williamsville South, Niland was also head coach at Elmira College and was an asst. coach to John Beilein at Canisius College for 4 years in the 1990′s.
6:30 – Pete Lonergan – Head Women’s Coach at Medaille will speak on zone offense -Lonergan is in his 7th season as head women’s coach at Medaille after formerly being the head men’s coach at Niagara and St. Francis(Pa). He has won 124 games and has guided the Lady Mavs to 3 AMCC titles and 3 NCAA tournament appearances. He has twice been named AMCC Coach of the Year and in 2008 was named BCANY NYS Coach of the Year.
Participate in the 11th Annual Susan G. Komen Western New York 5K Race for the Cure and show everyone whose life you are running for.
Scheduled for Saturday, June 11th at 10:00am, volunteers and runners will once again donate their time, money, and energy for the 11th Annual Race for the Cure at Delaware Park to help raise funding for research, education, screening, and treatment programs for breast cancer.
All participants are invited to join-in on an after-race party complete with food, entertainment, and an awards ceremony to honor the achievements of participants.
Individuals can form a team, join a team, or run as an individual and can register online, by mail, or in-person at a number of locations across the area.