Posts Tagged ‘Praise’

Ethan Page says there’s one AEW star who “has this artistic eye that I dream of having” and might start making waves with The Firm. Page, who debuted in AEW last year following a 15-year career on the independent circuit, recently told ComicBook he’s long been a fan of stablemate Lee Moriarty’s work since crossing paths with him on the indies and that Moriarty will soon set himself apart from the rest of the roster.

“He was catching steam while I was on my way out,” Page said. “Everyone praises his in-ring ability and his wrestling mind, and I could easily do that too, but I’m going to go the other direction. I think he’s a creative genius when it comes to graphic design and having an artistic eye and branding himself.” Page said “bell-to-bell, he’s a better wrestler than me and he’s been in it half as long.” But, according to Page, it’s Moriarty’s creative skillset that “is going to be what sets him apart from everybody else” in AEW, where the two have recently been paired up as part of the Stokely Hathaway-led faction The Firm. Moriarty also signed with AEW in 2021, the same year he was named No. 47 on the annual “PWI 500” list.

“I don’t mean this as a shot to him or any wrestler in AEW: Being good at professional wrestling is great, but what else you got?” he continued. “There’s a million people that are good at professional wrestling and Lee Moriarty has more to offer than just being a good professional wrestler, and I’m excited for everyone else around him in the group to help him elevate those aspects of what he brings to the table.” As of late, The Firm is mostly being used as backup for MJF, after they first helped him win the Casino Ladder Match at All Out.

Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has high praise for his new star winger.

Jonathan Huberdeau is probably the best passer that this team has had, maybe ever,” he told Sportsnet’s Derek Willis.

He may have a valid case, as Huberdeau led the league with 85 assists last season with the Florida Panthers.

The Flames acquired Huberdeau in a blockbuster trade this summer, along with defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a first-round pick, in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk and a fourth-rounder.

But Huberdeau is more in line to replace Johnny Gaudreau, who left for the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent, rather than Tkachuk. Gaudreau, a crafty playmaker in his own right, was the engine of Calgary’s offense, leading the team with 75 assists and 115 points last season.

Gaudreau’s 75 assists last year tied him with Al MacInnis for second most in a single season in Flames history. Kent Nilsson holds the record of 82, set back in 1980-81.

MacInnis holds the most career assists in franchise history (609), while Doug Gilmour owns the team record for helpers per game (0.80). During his NHL career, Huberdeau has recorded 415 assists over 671 contests.

Right now the wrestling world is buzzing about AEW’s new Tag Team Champions because everybody loves The Acclaimed. Their recent rise in popularity and success has certainly been a boost to Tony Khan’s tag team division. However, it isn’t a situation that everybody saw coming.

“If you told me six months ago that this was gonna be a big deal, I’d have said, ‘Well, we will see,'” Jim Ross said on his latest “Grilling JR” podcast.

Anthony Bowens and Max Caster managed to get over naturally, with the raps during their entrances being something that has helped that. While they were unable to capture the titles at AEW’s All Out pay-per-view, their encounter stole the show, and the crowd reaction led to a rematch at the “Dynamite” Grand Slam special last week where they won the gold by defeating Swerve In Our Glory.

“Those kids got over,” Ross said. “They’ve gotten over, and it was a pleasant surprise that they have gotten over as they have, good stuff man. Some of these young cats are finding their home, and I like that. Two good athletic kids, and their little gimmick the ‘scissor me’ thing seems to be working. It’s funny what gets over, and how that works, but it has been a good deal, so I am happy for those kids, that’s what you want, you want young guys to find their way and all that good stuff.”

Yet another fan of the “Mad King” presents herself.

Mickie James stands as one of the most decorated women’s wrestlers in the United States, and a well-respected legend of the business. Her perspective is valued and informed, so her praise for Eddie Kingston’s mic skills carries weight — though it likely doesn’t come as a surprise to fans of the AEW star. In a tweet on Saturday, Mickie James pointed out that a recent promo of Kingston’s, ahead of his match with Sammy Guevara at “AEW Grand Slam,” was a standout performance from the Yonkers native.

“I just watched this promo from Eddie Kingston to Sammy and it had me on the edge of my seat & emotional,” James wrote.

Many consider Kingston one of the best talkers of his generation, with his signing with AEW often credited to his debut promo on an episode of “AEW Dynamite” back in 2020. Since then, Kingston’s in-ring confrontations with people like Jon Moxley and CM Punk have helped make him one of the most popular competitors on the AEW roster. James continued to touch on how emotionally captivating Kingston is, saying, “It made me feel. Every word he was saying I was there with him. That’s not an easy task anymore.”

The promo in question was a rather emotional one for Kingston, who called back to his various issues with Guevara before mentioning the injury suffered by Ruby Soho, Eddie’s close friend, at the hands of Tay Melo. While many have considered Kingston an incredibly captivating talker for years, James believes that he has recently improved beyond his former peaks.

“He’s always been incredible but now he’s truly on another level,” she concluded.

As we continue further into the 2-plus year WWE Universal Title reign of Roman Reigns, the legacy he and his family, The Bloodline, are creating grows more and more powerful. And it’s not just the WWE Universe and fellow roster members noticing the impact Reigns is making; AEW’s Maxwell Jacob Friedman is admittedly a fan of The Tribal Chief. “Yeah, he’s a stud. He’s a total stud,” MJF told Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour. “‘We the ones, baby;’ he’s a stud. Who’s not a fan? Yes, again, with the tribalism thing. Just because wrestlers are in a different company doesn’t mean they can’t watch another product. That’s silly. If you’re not watching, you’re not a student of the game, and you should be ashamed of yourself. I watch everything.”

Friedman might not be at the level of dominance as Reigns, but he is well on his way to becoming a legend in his own right. The Salt of the Earth created a whirlwind of buzz on the post-Double or Nothing episode of “AEW Dynamite” by roasting his boss, Tony Khan, pointing to his additions of former WWE talent to the roster since AEW formed. He would even go as far as to say the signed talent were “ex-WWE guys who can’t lace his boots” before getting heated enough to yell, “Fire me, [Tony], you fucking mark!” MJF would then disappear from AEW television until All Out earlier this month, where he executed a devious plan in the Casino Ladder Match to secure a shot at the AEW World Title.

Though both men are recognized as staples of their companies, MJF has teased that the “Bidding War of 2024” over his contract treads closer. If Friedman signs with WWE, Reigns and MJF working together could indeed become a reality.

Former Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is having a great time watching Juuse Saros seamlessly fill his shoes in the Music City.

“I knew one day he was going to be the No. 1 goalie, and not only (Nashville’s) No. 1 goalie, but one of the best goalies in the league, and he proved that last year,” the franchise legend said, according to NHL.com’s Zach Gilchriest. “He’s the backbone of this team, and obviously, just as a friend, I’m very proud of him.

“It’s fun to watch him, and obviously, like everybody else, I’m expecting big things from him this year, and he looks great. I’m just always impressed when I see him skate.”

Rinne served as the face of the organization himself for 15 seasons. The Finn retired last July, ending his playing career with 369 wins and 60 shutouts across 683 games. He captured the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and was a finalist on three other occasions.

Now, Nashville seems to have another perennial Vezina Trophy threat on its hands in Saros, who was nominated for the coveted award this past season after logging a .918 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average in 67 appearances – the most in the league.

The 27-year-old’s underlying numbers were also stellar: He ranked fourth amongst all goaltenders in goals saved above average (16.9) at five-on-five, according to Evolving-Hockey.

Saros wasn’t able to help the Predators fend off the Colorado Avalanche in the postseason thanks to a late-season injury, but the way he handled the frustrating situation impressed Rinne.

“It was a big disappointment for him, for sure, missing out on the playoffs. He had such a strong season and played a ton of games, and right at a key moment, he got hurt,” Rinne said. “So, I’m sure mentally it was a disappointing time. But he is a pretty level-headed guy, and he knew that it was just a hurdle, and I knew he was going to bounce back.”

Saros told reporters earlier this month that he was “all good” for the 2022-23 campaign.

The puck-stopper’s emergence has certainly helped ease the Predators into life without Rinne, who is still serving the franchise as a special alumni advisor.

Saros will be key to Nashville’s success this season, as will defenseman Roman Josi and forwards Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg, who both eclipsed the 40-goal mark for the first time in 2021-22.

Booker T is predicting that “WWE Smackdown” star Sheamus will someday join him as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Speaking on “The Hall of Fame” podcast, the six-time world champion praised the Irish-born wrestler as someone who “has always been in my fave five,” noting how his focus makes him stand out within WWE.

“He’s a worker,” Booker said. “He’s not one of those guys that [is] just looking to be at the top of the guard. He’s a soldier and soldiers normally find their way to the top of the card.”

Booker also highlighted how Sheamus can switch wrestling personas with ease.

“As of late, he’s been able to change his character,” he continued, noting Sheamus’ latest incarnation as the “Irish pub drinking man with his boys hanging out whatnot. Sometimes when you’re in the business you’ve got to be able to shift gears for a second.”

While Booker admitted he was “one of the guys who wanted to see the “Celtic Warrior” again,” he nonetheless considered Sheamus to be a wrestler who “can actually go out there and have those matches with a Drew McIntyre, another big guy, [and] go to another big guy.”

Booker predicted this is “going to be the year of the heavyweight” and added that he loves “seeing Sheamus go out there [and] perform at this level. And, then again, I love what he tried to do also by switching his character and giving me some entertainment for a minute as well.”

Swerve Strickland signed with AEW last March, debuting at the Revolution pay-per-view. Just a few weeks before, Keith Lee would also join the company, and eventually the two would pair up to become the tag team Swerve In Our Glory. They would capture the AEW World Tag Team Championship at “Dynamite” Fyter Fest: Night 1 until being dethroned by The Acclaimed at “Dynamite” Grand Slam. And with a newfound respect for tag team wrestling, Strickland would praise AEW for making it a “regularly featured piece of the puzzle” on the podcast “Under The Ring: Pro Wrestling Conversations.” 

“It’s something that is providing a service that not a lot of other wrestling promotions on television can do in the way that we do it,” he explained. “And I felt that’s what makes our product so special.”

While Strickland stressed that he was not faulting other wrestling operations for their approach to tag team wrestling – “That’s great for them because that’s what worked for them” – he had all the love in the world for AEW doing things differently.

“I feel like the tag team wrestling is one of the big things that pulled audiences from other fan bases to come watch us because we were doing tag team wrestling in such a different way,” said Strickland, noting how, in AEW, audiences will see “two top single stars who are two former AEW World Champions, as tag teams and tag team champions.”

“Kenny Omega and Adam Page set the mark for tag team wrestling in AEW,” he continued. “That’s very different and very unique, and I feel like that’s what drew a lot of people to AEW in the first place.”

Strickland added that Swerve In Our Glory’s match with The Acclaimed at All Out marked the first time that two African-American teams fought for the AEW Tag Team Championship at a pay-per-view event.

“That’s the level of putting tag team wrestling further, in another sense,” he said, remarking how that match offered “different variations and different unique ways to present tag team wrestling to our audience, who’s always been watching and following us for that.”

Teaming with Claudio Castagnoli reignited Sheamus’ love of pro wrestling.

The WWE star told ITR that his zest for the biz had waned when he started working alongside the then-Cesaro as ‘The Bar’ in 2016. Claudio’s skills and passion for wrestling helped to restore Sheamus’ own passion, and that’s why they ended up clicking as a team.

Sheamus recently earned plaudits for his performance opposite current Intercontinental Champion Gunther on WWE’s Clash At The Castle special in the UK – the Irishman received a standing ovation from the Cardiff crowd, and he clearly enjoyed how physical the bout was.

That’s the kind of energy Castagnoli breathed back into his bones during their stint together as ‘The Bar’. Sheamus admitted during the interview that working with Cesaro was “great” for him. He also “learned a lot” from the Swiss technician during matches.

Together, Sheamus and Cesaro became four-time Raw Tag-Team Champions. They also held the SmackDown versions on one occasion, and had hot matches with everyone from The Hardys to Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Former WWE star CJ ‘Lana’ Perry has publicly credited Paul Heyman for the final two years of her company career.

Perry told WrestleZone that the “incredibly creative” Heyman helped secure an “amazing” contract for the final phase of her WWE run. That, she claims, was due to the big numbers her storylines alongside Bobby Lashley and Rusev received between 2019-2020.

Segments involving the trio drew a lot of eyeballs on YouTube, in particular.

That, CJ says, was all due to the creativity of Paul E. He also believed in her as a star attraction, and went to bat for Lana as a character during meetings with WWE’s writing team. She’s very “grateful” for that, because it made her feel wanted and like she was contributing to the product.

In an interesting moment, Lana went on to credit Heyman for Roman Reigns’ recent success too. She called him “the brains” behind Roman’s heel turn, and isn’t sure it would’ve worked quite as well without his influence.

Back to Perry – she closed by saying her recent studies outside the wrestling industry are heavily inspired by Heyman’s intelligence.