Posts Tagged ‘Work Ethic’

Aaron Rodgers isn’t happy with what he’s seen from the Green Bay Packers‘ young pass-catchers lately.

“The young guys, especially young receivers, we’ve got to be way more consistent,” the quarterback said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

The Packers had drop issues in their preseason opener Friday against the San Francisco 49ers, and those struggles remained during the team’s joint practice with the New Orleans Saints. Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs dropped what Rodgers described as his best throw of Tuesday’s practice.

“(The regular season is) coming up. … We’re going to play our best guys when the season starts,” Rodgers said. “And whoever those guys are, those guys are going to get the reps. It’s the guys I trust the most and the guys the coaches trust the most. A lot of it is just the simple responsibility in the offense.”

He added: “You keep dropping the ball, you’re not going to be out there. It’s going to be the most reliable guys that are out there. The preparation and the job responsibility is most important. There’s going to be physical mistakes, like we’ve talked about, but if you’re going out there and dropping the ball and somebody else behind you is in the right spot all the time and catching the ball, that guy’s going to play.”

Doubs, who’s stood out at practice due to his impressive catches, caught a 33-yard touchdown against the 49ers last week, though he also had two drops.

The Packers, who traded All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in March, were criticized for not drafting a wideout with one of their two first-round picks this year. Green Bay eventually did add to the position, selecting Christian Watson (second round), Doubs (fourth round), and Samori Toure (seventh round). Watson has yet to participate in 11-on-11 practices as he recovers from a knee injury.

Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart is headlined by veterans Allen LazardSammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb.

Seemingly everyone in the wrestling world has been lining up to share their thoughts on the recently retired Vince McMahon, who resigned from his positions in WWE in the wake of numerous allegations of hush money payouts made to female employees to cover up reported sexual misconduct and abuse. The latest? Paul Heyman.

“I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Vince McMahon,” Heyman said while appearing on the MackMania podcast. “What a hypocrite I would be to say anything less than extraordinarily complementary about that man. His work ethic, his willingness to put in 20, 22 hours a day, every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for 40 years is why we are all fabulously wealthy, and will never get the credit nor the understanding that he deserves and that he earned.

“Fully supportive of the new regime. They understand the task at hand and the people that are involved right now at steering this ship were prepared to steer this ship by Vince McMahon. When I took the job as executive director, I asked Vince, ‘What is the greatest service that I can give this company in this role?’ … His answer was, ‘Get your successor ready in case you drop dead, because the show goes on with or without you.’ And he looked me straight in the eyes and he says, ‘Because the show goes on without me. With or without me.’ And he meant it.”

McMahon stepped down as CEO and chairman of the board temporarily in June, appointing daughter Stephanie McMahon to the position of interim CEO and first-ever chairwoman of the board after the Wall Street Journal broke the first story regarding hush money allegations, leading to a board investigation. After a second Wall Street Journal expanded on the accusations and a series of new investigations began, McMahon announced his retirement on July 22nd, tweeting out that he was done in the wrestling business. On the same day, Stephanie and WWE President Nick Khan were appointed co-CEOs of WWE moving forward. McMahon also stepped down as head of creative, a role that was then taken over by son-in-law and husband to Stephanie McMahon, Paul Levesque, fka Triple H. Levesque had prior exposure to a creative atmosphere, as he was the driving creative force behind “WWE NXT” from 2012 to 2021.

“Everyone right now who is steering this ship was prepared to steer this ship by Vince himself,” Heyman reiterated, “which makes me very comfortable in their vision and their hopes and dreams and desires and their new vision … which should not be Vince’s vision, it should be their vision. Because Vince’s vision wasn’t his father’s vision. It’s his vision. And he created a universe in an image that he believed in, and those who are now running the show will create the progression of that universe into the next generation of that universe based on the things that they agreed with and the things that they disagreed with.”

Fresh off inking the largest contract in Calgary Flames history, superstar winger Jonathan Huberdeau is ready to get to work.

Huberdeau met with media Friday after signing an eight-year, $84-million extension and quickly affirmed his commitment to his new organization.

“The way my career has gone, I always wanted to play better year after year,” Huberdeau said. “So, that’s the same attitude I have this year – I want to be better than I was last year, and so on and so on.

“We want to win, and I’m going to give everything I have so we can win the Stanley Cup.”

The Flames added Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a conditional 2025 first-round pick last month in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk, who refused to sign a new deal with Calgary.

Huberdeau, whose current deal expires after the 2022-23 season, said shortly after the trade that he’d be open to signing long term in Calgary. The 29-year-old told media Friday that a recent meeting with general manager Brad Treliving in Montreal helped get the wheels in motion for an extension.

“It meant a lot,” Huberdeau said. “It could have been a Zoom or something like that. But I think, as a person, that’s how you get to know someone better, and I appreciate it, for him to take the time to come and see me from Calgary. It’s not a short flight, and we had a great conversation. That made me really think that they really care about me, and they want me to stay there for a lot of years.”

He added: “You want to play for a team that wants you. It was important (to make a commitment like this). They traded for me, and they wanted me, and they were talking highly about me. You know, when you hear that, you want to play for a team that wants you, and that’s why it was so important to me.”

Huberdeau spent 10 seasons in Florida after the Panthers drafted him third overall in 2011. He racked up 613 points in 671 games with the franchise, including a career-best 115 points this past campaign.

With Calgary losing Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau this summer, Huberdeau said he hopes to fulfill a leadership role for the Flames.

“I want to be a leader,” Huberdeau said. “I’m at an age where I can do that, and that’s what I want to do.”

Although Aaron Donald smiles and deflects the question when asked how seriously he considered retirement before the monster renegotiation of his contract, the Los Angeles Rams’ perennial All-Pro defensive tackle says he never stopped working out.

“I’m always going to keep myself in shape, keep myself looking good,” Donald said Tuesday. “I like to take my shirt off, so…”

The previous time Donald was seen in Los Angeles without a shirt, he was atop a double-decker bus celebrating a Super Bowl victory in a parade down Figueroa Street. He returned for the Rams’ mandatory minicamp this week to begin his chase of a second ring after sealing his new deal Monday as the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

“It’s starting from scratch again,” Donald said. “You’ve got to build it back up and try to get back to the top. So last year was last year. This is a whole new year, and we’ve got to earn it all over again.”

Donald knows he’ll have to make adjustments after the free-agency departures of edge rusher Von Miller and sturdy defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, but the longest-tenured member of the Rams’ roster is used to change. Los Angeles also added veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner, who got a warm hug and greetings from Donald before the longtime NFC West rivals’ first practice as teammates.

“They’re big pieces and good pieces that we’re missing, but I think we’ve brought some big pieces in to fill their shoes,” Donald said. “One of the most important things for me was feeling that the pieces that we brought in were still going to (give) us an opportunity to win another Super Bowl, and I truly believe that we’ve got the pieces here, the players here, the coaches here for that to come to life.”

With Donald’s deal done and cornerback Jalen Ramsey beginning the most lucrative season yet in his $100 million deal, the Rams don’t appear to be headed toward training camp next month with any contract drama looming. Donald and quarterback Matthew Stafford have already bumped up their contracts to reap the long-term financial rewards of leading the Rams to a championship.

Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp is likely to be the next star to get a big renegotiation, but the NFL’s most productive receiver in 2021 reiterated Tuesday that he’s not interested in a bank-breaking deal that would hamper the Rams’ chances of repeating.

Kupp’s current deal makes him the 17th highest-paid receiver in the league in 2022 at $14.875 million.

“I’m not trying to say, ‘Oh, where was Tyreek (Hill) at?’” said Kupp, who participated in the Rams’ entire offseason program. “Or all those guys who got deals done, where are those guys at, and I need to be higher than them. I really want this to be a collaboration that we work on. That’s my goal. Something that’s great for the team, something that’s great for me and my family as well. That place exists, and it’s just getting there.”

The Rams’ able navigation of the salary cap is a major factor in their half-decade of major success under coach Sean McVay — five winning seasons, four playoff berths, three NFC West titles, two Super Bowl appearances and one title.

Even with these big-money renegotiations, the Rams have enough talent to compete for another ring this upcoming season and likely enough maneuvering room to add more talent if the opportunity arises.

One piece of last year’s talent influx is still available, and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. clearly is still on great terms with the franchise. McVay confirmed that Beckham “crashed” the coach’s wedding last weekend, sharing a fun-filled evening with his once-and-possibly-future teammates and coaches.

The Rams still hope to re-sign Beckham, who injured his knee in the Super Bowl and is likely to miss the first part of the season. McVay isn’t sure whether his wedding helped or hurt their chances, however.

“He was making the rounds, man,” McVay said with a grin. “There was a lot of coaches (from other teams) there. He had an organic free agent visit. I said, ‘You stay away from all those other coaches, man.’ … He knows the expectations now. You come to the wedding, you’ve got to sign with the Rams.”

NOTES: Rookie RB Kyren Williams broke a bone in his foot earlier in the offseason program, McVay said. The Notre Dame product already had surgery, and he is expected to rejoin the team in the early stages of training camp. … Retired offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth watched practice from the sideline. Second-year pro Alaric Jackson is wearing Whitworth’s familiar No. 77, Jackson’s college number at Iowa. … RB Darrell Henderson is still slowed by a soft tissue injury.

In a recent edition of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff discussed his appreciation for FTR, how FTR has set themselves apart from other wrestlers, and much more. You can read Eric Bischoff’s comments below.

Eric Bischoff on his appreciation for FTR and how FTR has set themselves apart from other wrestlers: “I watched Dynamite because of FTR. These guys are just so committed. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed. Social media, I take it with a grain of salt as most people should. But certain people are consistent with the way they present themselves to the public. They’re authentic and real. I’ve talked about Becky Lynch and why I became a fan of Becky Lynch, which is essentially because she did such a great job – I’m talking early 2019 – with her social media. She stood out amongst the rest. She used social media differently than so many other people. That’s what caught my attention. FTR is doing the same thing in their way. They’re not portraying a character. That’s who these two guys are. How do you not become a fan of them? And then on top of it, to overdeliver, not only from their execution and athletic presentation and some of the dynamic things they do, but they’re true to their style which means they’re true to their character. They’re staying true to their entire backstory. I just dig that. I’ve always been fans of theirs.

“Obviously, being around AEW a little bit and being backstage, I got to talk to them a little bit and more importantly, watch them. Watch them interact backstage and watch them with their promos. I was just a fly on the wall and went ‘wow, these two are different.’ I’m not taking away from anybody else, but these two are kind of the real deal. They’re not trying to be a wrestler and not trying to be a character. They’re just themselves and they love to wrestle. They’re staying true to themselves and their brand and as people. These are grounded guys. When you are able to live your real life and your work is an extension of who you are as opposed to being a mirage of who you are, that’s the kind of character I really gravitate towards, and we’re seeing that with FTR.”

On the importance of talent convincing the audience to believe in their actions: “As a talent, if you’re not feeling it and it’s not real to you, it’s not real to the audience. The audience is smart enough to see the difference. Professional wrestlers are not trained actors and actresses. For the most part, you’re learning as you’re growing. Some people just have it, and part of that is staying true to who you are and not trying to portray something you’re not. That’s an art, and you have to be really good at that to convince the audience to believe it. That’s acting. But when you’re able to be yourself and what you do in the ring is an extension of what you truly believe, you go off on a different ride. And again, that’s FTR and there are others like that. But I think FTR, right now in this moment with the heightened awareness and everybody competing for attention, these guys broke way the fuck out of the pack.”

AEW star and current TBS champion Jade Cargill recently appeared on the Complex’s Unsanctioned show to discuss a wide range of topics, including the advice Bryan Danielson gives her after matches, and how she’s been taking acting classes to improve her confidence. Highlights from the interview are below.

How Danielson asks her if she had fun in her match, then tells her to review her matches the next day:

So after my matches, I was just so frustrated if something went wrong, because I’m somewhat a perfectionist and I work so hard so I want everybody out there to see how much I’ve grown and how hard I’ve worked. So if something doesn’t go correct, whether it’s me, my opponent, something in the match that’s just uncontrollable, the time is cut, whatever it is, I used to come back and just beat myself up for it. I used to just like, ‘Aw man, something just went wrong. Now everybody’s gonna bring it on me.’ It could not be my fault at all, but because the position I’m in right now, it’s automatically gonna be pointed at me. Also, because I am so green, people are gonna automatically think it’s me. So, we [Jade & Bryan Danielson] had this talk when he was just telling me like… after a match, because every time after a match, he’s like, ‘Hey, how did it go? Did you have fun?’ And that’s all he cares about. He’s like, ‘Did you have fun? Don’t worry about the match right now, it’s happened. Digest it. If you had fun, soak that in and then tomorrow, go over it in your head and watch it but don’t beat yourself up because you have another match to focus on right now,’ and I started living like that, because I would go back, beat myself up, ‘What’s next? Can I do this better?’ And I wanted to have fun. Initially, I wasn’t having fun. I was just so focused on getting it right, rather than having fun and then all of a sudden when he said that, it started clicking. Like I was starting to have fun. It’s just like living in the moment. I was just living in the moment and listening to the crowd, hearing them say my name, hearing them boo, whatever, even though I need more people to boo me so boo for me guys but, I feel it, I feel it. I’m just starting to have so much fun so, one of the things he told me is just, you know, ‘Don’t stress yourself out. Have fun, because you’re gonna look at this 20 years from now and think to yourself that all that — you’re not gonna think the same thing you’re thinking of like beating yourself up. You’re gonna think happy times and when you had fun in these matches and like, people are gonna ask you, hey, what was the best match you ever had? Or who was your best opponent? Who was the easiest to work? That’s what’s important. It’s about the memories you make on the journey.’ It’s all a journey, it’s all a journey and I used to always — this is off-topic but I used to always stay in my room after shows and matches. I would really just go right into my room, unwind and just decompress and you know, I hear all these Hall of Famers and these previous wrestlers, they talk about all these great, fond memories that they had with other wrestlers and I wasn’t doing that, I wasn’t mingling, I wasn’t doing any of that so I wanted to come home and relax and I started doing more of that because I wanted to create a journey and I wanna be able to look at my co-workers 30 years from now, ‘Hey, you remember that time you did that?’ That’s what makes the journey what it is. It makes it fun, this all should be fun. All the hate and all this stuff, you already get enough of that. At least make it fun while you’re doing it and why you love coming to work and why you hate leaving. So, that’s the best advice he’s given me and I’ve really thought of that ever since he told me.

How she takes acting classes to improve her confidence, which she needs for interacting with her co-worker:

Confidence, it’s [acting classes] helping my confidence when it comes to being in front of the camera doing a promo because, it’s like, it’s just — I’ve taken promo — not promo classes but I’ve taken speech classes, I’ve done all that. I’ve done press conferences, I wanted to be a lobbyist which is me just talking to people all the time. But when you have a camera, it’s Mark [Sterling] and I, there’s a camera being pointed at you with like ten people behind you, then at that instant, let’s just say you’re backstage and there are like 40 talents just walking around, going to other wrestlers and somebody tells them, producers, ‘Hey everybody! Shut up! We’re about to film.’ That’s kind of nerve racking. Like because then everybody stops and then stares and these are your co-workers who have been doing this for more years, some of your co-workers have done this longer than you’ve been on this world. So that can be very nerve racking. For me in wrestling, I don’t get nervous, I don’t get nervous being out there at all, especially in front of — the more fans, the merrier, I love it. When I’m in front of my co-workers, that’s different, because they know what to look for, what not to look for, it’s a whole different formula. But, it’s helped tremendously because it’s helped me focus and I go to improv, I’ve done solo classes or private classes, I’ve done that and it’s just helped me tremendously to just block everything out and to just focus and to just take everything in and not just say the words but have people feel it or whatever I’m trying to get over because when MJF cuts his promos, you feel his promos. Regardless of if you love him, hate him, feel indifferent, you feel his promos. But that’s endless experience that he’s been doing this for so long. So, it’s helped me a lot of ways guys.

Matt Cardona was a recent guest on Cultaholic Wrestling’s Straight To Hell series.

The NWA star discussed whether or not he would be open to a WWE return down the line and admitted he would certainly listen to a call. He feels it would be a lie to say he never wants to work at WrestleMania again.

“Listen, if Vince McMahon called me, or Bruce Prichard or John Laurinaitis called me, of course, I would pick up. Of course, I would have a conversation. Why wouldn’t I? I’d be lying right now if I said I never want to wrestle at Madison Square Garden again. Or, I never want to wrestle at WrestleMania again, I would be lying if I said that. Anybody who says that is fucking lying, quite frankly.

“But I am not doing what I am doing now hoping to get back. I don’t do what I do thinking, ‘what do I have to do to get back to WWE?’ Or, ‘what do I have to do to get AEW to look at me?’ No, I am doing me. If those opportunities present itself, great. But the sport of pro wrestling is on fire right now, you don’t need to be in those two companies.”

Despite that, Matt Cardona believes that he is trying to prove to people you don’t need WWE or AEW to be a success. Although he does think that having success within the independent world is all down to hard work, which is what he has.

“I am trying to prove that you don’t need it. Listen, you’ve got to bust your ass, you’ve got to work your ass off, you’ve got to travel, you’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to be your own boss, you’ve got to do interviews like this. You have to do the work.

“If you think you’re going to just sit back five days a week, Monday through Friday then just do some independent and think you’re going to be a star, and make money, you’re not. Spoiler alert, you’re not. This does not stop, this grind does not stop, this hustle does not stop. And I think that’s why I have been so successful outside of WWE and AEW. Because I have that work ethic.”

Matt Cardona also reflected on the fact there are plenty of people who were released with him who aren’t around now. He pointed out that those wrestlers are just waiting for a call. Cardona stressed they need to find a passion to create a buzz.

“It’s unfortunate to see a lot of guys who were released when I was released, and afterward, where are they? It’s unfortunate, because I know they’re talented, I know they’re great athletes, great superstars. But they’re expecting these phone calls, it doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to go out and you’ve got to bust your ass and create your own side thing.

“Listen, I am not saying everyone has to go out and start a wrestling figure podcast but find something you’re passionate about. Start something else, do something else, get your name out there. Create your own buzz, because nobody is going to do that for you.”

D-Lo Brown recently joined Insight with Chris Van Vliet to talk about his career, including his most famous run in the WWE during the Attitude Era.

Brown rose to prominence as part of the Nation of Domination stable, which included Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as he was beginning his rise to superstardom. Despite this, Brown admitted that neither he nor The Rock saw what the latter would turn into when he first started out.

“Not at first, and even Rock will tell you ‘no’ because, at first, he had come off a failed Rocky Mavia gimmick,” Brown said. “He was coming off an injury with the pineapple hair and the frilly, you know? And even he would tell you he was trying to repackage himself and he wanted to get rid of that mystique of that failed babyface.

“And he was afforded the protection of being in the Nation where you were allowed to make mistakes and have great minds around you that can help cultivate you and then, the one thing I did learn about Rock is he was willing to do the work. He was willing to outwork anyone. And what I mean by that is there were times that was, we would be the car and we could see him thinking.

“We’d be listening to the radio and he’d go ‘oh, what was that?’ And it would be a catchphrase from a song and two days later you would hear it in a promo. We would watch movies and he would take from pop culture and the things that would work, he would keep in there and the things that didn’t, he would get rid of and you saw that and because of that hard work you went ‘okay, the brother is working. He’s working. He’s putting in the time’ and feeling every incarnation of how he would try different promo styles till finally the one that worked.

“You can see the evolution of it. If go back and watch Raw, you can see the evolution of his promo styles till finally, it took him about six months to really hone in on it. When he did, that’s when he walked on the stage with the black vest and he called himself ‘The Rock’ for the first time against Steve Austin. And well, y’all know the rest is history.”

So when did D-Lo Brown know The Rock was going to be a superstar? According to Brown, he believes it was when The Rock referred to himself in the third person for the first time.

“I think that was one of the first times he referred to himself in the third person, referred to himself specifically as Rock and so, that was the birth of it and the growth of it,” Brown said. “And I will tell you, one of the greatest seats to ever have, I had the best seat in the house to watch the brightest superstar in the history of the business light up and take off. And for that, I’m thankful and blessed.”

As members of The Nation of Domination, D-Lo Brown and The Rock were involved in many notable, and controversial, angles, including one where the group was parodied by D-Generation X. Members of DX wore blackface during the segment, something Brown didn’t think of match at the time but now believes was something they could’ve changed.

“I can tell you none of us had any big concern about it,” Brown stated. “In retrospect, we could’ve done that segment without the blackface, and, you know, I wish we would have. It would’ve been, it would’ve been just as good. I, obviously, wish we would’ve changed that. Looking back on it in 2022 eyes, not a fan of it.

“But in 1997, 1998 eyes, it was a way of getting these two factions to war because we knew that both of our factions were over enough, or connected with our fans enough, that we could go out there and draw money and fill some houses with it and put up some ratings on TV. And we looked at the individual matchups that we could have and that’s what piqued our curiosity. I think people looked past the obvious elephant in the room.”

D-Lo Brown further pointed out how dated the idea of using blackface would soon become, saying that it was something no one could’ve gotten away with, or even pitched, three years down the road.

“You couldn’t pitch that idea three years later,” Brown admitted. “You’d get laughed out of a building if you pitched that idea three years later.”

In the end, Brown believes the segment could’ve been just as entertaining if the blackface would’ve been removed.

“It is so absolutely true,” Brown said. “If there was never any blackface, you would’ve never known the difference and it would’ve been just as entertaining. I mean, that whole segment was DX entertaining everybody and they could’ve done that easily just, you know, without the blackface.”

 Baseball had seen nothing like Shohei Ohtani’s unanimous AL MVP season in over a century.

With the new season arriving quickly for his Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani is eager to make more history.

“I feel like I can’t be doing the same thing as last year, to have the same stats as last year,” Ohtani said Tuesday through his interpreter at the Angels’ spring training complex. “I need to get better and keep on improving, so that’s the plan.”

Ohtani’s stats were absolutely daunting in 2021: A 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts over 130 innings on the mound, and a .965 OPS with 46 homers and 100 RBIs at the plate.

Even after the most impressive two-way season since Babe Ruth’s heyday, Ohtani remains unsatisfied.

“Obviously, skills-wise, there’s room for improvement,” Ohtani said. “But physically, I already feel a lot stronger than last year, so I think we’re on a good start.”

Ohtani wants to do more in every area, and he’s hoping that production will translate into more team success for a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since three years before he arrived stateside. He hasn’t made as many significant additions to his offseason training regimen as he did before last season, justifiably feeling that what he has been doing is still working well.

“Nothing is really going to change personally just for having one good year,” Ohtani said. “I feel like the key is to continue having success for a lot of years to come. As long as we can do that, I feel like our team is in a good spot.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon sees one particular area where Ohtani might be able to expand his game, even though he has zero complaints about last season.

“It’s hard to imagine he’s going to do more this year than he did last year,” Maddon said. “I’ll take a repeat performance, adding maybe several more innings as a pitcher. But he’s just a different animal. He’s a good man that happens to be a really good baseball player.”

Ohtani made 23 starts last season in the Angels’ six-man rotation, and that number isn’t likely to rise by more than a couple of starts. Los Angeles bolstered its starting rotation in the offseason with the additions of Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen, but the Angels are still counting on Ohtani to excel on the mound.

Ohtani hopes to improve his control this year, particularly early in the season. He seems likely to be the Angels’ opening day starter on the mound April 7, although Maddon won’t confirm it yet.

“There is a part of me that would like to start opening day, but it’s not what I’m really thinking about,” Ohtani said. “Whether I’m hitting or pitching on opening day, I just want to get off to a good start.”

Ohtani and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara met with Maddon on Tuesday morning to renew their connection. Maddon believes he has a good system in place with Ohtani and Mizuhara, and he intends to keep the same constant dialogue this season, paying particular attention to the health of Ohtani’s legs because any weakness could lead to overcompensation in other areas.

In fact, the biggest obstacle of Ohtani’s offseason might have arisen when baseball owners imposed their lockout: Mizuhara had to resign from his position as an Angels staff member or he wouldn’t have been able to stay in daily contact with Ohtani as a team employee.

Mizuhara, who grew up in Japan before attending high school and college in the Los Angeles area, has been Ohtani’s right-hand man since their days with the Nippon-Ham Fighters. The Angels immediately rehired Mizuhara after the lockout ended.

Ohtani’s long-term future with the Angels isn’t settled. He is under team control through next season, but he doesn’t sound interested in talking about potential contract extensions during the season.

“There’s a really good vibe in the clubhouse right now,” Ohtani said. “All the new guys seem like they’re really great guys. I’m excited to play with this team. … As long as we can all stay healthy, I feel like we have a really good shot at the postseason.”

If the Angels end their seven-year playoff drought, Ohtani is likely to be a big reason. There’s another way in which Ohtani is hoping to contribute even more: After several significant rule changes were included in the recent collective bargaining agreement, the Angels would love it if baseball figured out a rule alteration to allow Ohtani to stay in games as a designated hitter after he is pulled as a pitcher.

“I’m hoping it happens,” Maddon said. “And the American League West is hoping it does not, if I had to guess.”

Bryan Danielson is seriously impressed with All Elite Wrestling roster mate Jade Cargill.

Interviewed on the Masked Man Show, Danielson spoke of his jealousy at how quickly the reigning AEW TBS Champion has been able to pick up certain aspects of pro wrestling, quipping that she has mastered things in 11 months that he has chased since starting his career 22 years ago (h/t Fightful):

“Pro wrestling is very unique in the sense that anybody if they work hard enough, can get pretty good at this. Whether you make a living from it, that’s a different thing, but can get pretty good at the technical aspects of professional wrestling. Again, I think that comes down to a certain discipline. In my short time working with her, she works very hard. She…can I say that I’m jealous? [Laughs]. In the sense that, she’s been wrestling a little over ten months, maybe now 11 months, and she comes out with more presence and looks like more of a star than I have ever looked in my entire career. When I work with her too, she’s so athletic and strong and when it’s time to work, she works.”

Cargill worked her first ever wrestling match on Dynamite’s The Crossroads special on 3 March 2021, teaming with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal to defeat Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet. She has since stayed undefeated in AEW, embarking on a 28-0 run that has seen her become the inaugural TBS Champion.

Since defeating Ruby Soho to take the belt in January, Cargill has mounted successful defences against Anna Jay, Julia Hart, AQA, and The Bunny. Tay Conti is her next challenger at Revolution 2022 this weekend.

Continuing, Danielson said that he had been particularly impressed by Cargill’s work ethic and how she has maintained it throughout her push:

“I’ve been really impressed by her in general and her attitude. It’s easy to come in and if you get a big push, to get a big head, and she’s not like that at all. I’ve been impressed by that. When Tony asked us to work together, I’ve been very impressed with how quickly she learns and how hard she works. Anybody who gets pushed like she does, initially, there is going to be a lot of people who are hard on her and, I’ve never had that pressure. I really haven’t talked to her about this, but there is a certain pressure to being on national TV with less than five months’ experience and going out there and having to do a 10-minute match. I can’t even imagine. The first time I ever did a live TV match, I had been wrestling for over ten years. I was completely comfortable. It’s a completely different ballgame and she’s handled it very well.”

Danielson is currently involved in a storyline with Jon Moxley on AEW television. The two face each other at Revolution.