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WWE star Randy Orton touts Cody Rhodes' rise to top of pro wrestling

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WWE star Randy Orton touts Cody Rhodes' rise to top of pro wrestling

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Before Cody Rhodes was on a collision course with Roman Reigns, The Rock and the rest of The Bloodline faction, he was just trying to make a name for himself in WWE like anyone else.

The famous wrestling name of “Rhodes” carried as much weight as it could early in his career. He had a leg up on the competition when he entered Ohio Valley Wrestling because his father, the late great Dusty Rhodes, had trained him since he was 12. He enhanced his skills in the territory before he moved up to the main roster in 2007. Toward the end of 2008, he was in a faction with superstar Randy Orton.

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Ted DiBiase Jr., Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes appear during the WWE Monday Night Raw show, Aug. 24, 2009, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Orton, whose career will be profiled in the A&E series “Biography: WWE Legends” on Sunday, led The Legacy with Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. The two-year run in the group included a tag team championship with DiBiase, but the group would split in 2010.

Orton told Fox News Digital in a recent interview he didn’t necessarily see the possibility of Rhodes becoming the transcendent superstar he is today while the two teamed up in the late 2000s.

“I definitely saw potential, but to say I saw the potential of what he [is] now, I don’t know that if in 2007 or whenever he came on the roster, I don’t know if I looked at a young Cody Rhodes and thought he’s going to beat the s— out of Brock Lesnar 15 years from now,” he said. “I don’t think I could call that one. But like last summer, he had a run of three or so matches with Brock where, I mean, he has just come so far.”

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Rhodes left WWE in 2016 and hit the independent circuit hard. He appeared in Ring of Honor, TNA Wrestling, New-Japan Pro Wrestling and later helped form All Elite Wrestling.

In 2022, his time with AEW came to an end. He stunned the crowd at WrestleMania 38 when he challenged Seth Rollins and beat him. Aside from a torn pectoral injury, Rhodes was catapulted into superstardom.

Cody Rhodes yells in delight

Cody Rhodes (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

WWE STAR RANDY ORTON SAYS HE WASN’T READY TO BE YOUNGEST CHAMPION AT 24, TALKS DOCUSERIES EPISODE

“And what he did for the business when he left and what he did for us talent in offering a competition, and I don’t know if I call it competition now, but for a hot second there, Cody was buzzing because he got these guys together, got a ragtag group of guys together and got a TV deal and was drawing eyes from all over the world with this product,” Orton said. “And the fact that he came back to us, I think, kind of shows you where the obvious No. 1 place to be is if you’re a pro wrestler.”

Rhodes is now due to headline WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia and potentially finish his story and win the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship.

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WWE teased for a few weeks that, after winning the Royal Rumble for the second straight time, Rhodes would challenge Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Rock even came back to try to insert himself into the WrestleMania main event against Rhodes. The WWE Universe, instead, clamored for Rhodes to finish the story.

Orton said that support underscored just how popular and important Rhodes is in the company and in the industry.

“I love that he’s come back home. I love that he’s a part of the locker room,” he said. “I love when I see him talking to other young talent and the role that he’s in now as, like, a top guy. And if not just a top guy, possibly in a short amount of time, the top guy.”

Cody Rhodes in 2023

Cody Rhodes arrives at the red-carpet premiere of the Peacock original WWE documentary “American Nightmare: Becoming Cody Rhodes” on July 18, 2023, in Sandy Springs, Georgia. (WWE via Getty Images)

“I mean, think about it like this: There’s a lot of fans out there that would rather see Cody finish his story than to see arguably the biggest superstar in the world right now compete at WrestleMania. They prefer seeing Cody, and that is huge. There’s no one else on the roster that could take that position from Cody, not even The Rock.”

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Rangers' Matt Rempe makes immediate impact in 1st postseason game: 'I think I'm built for the playoffs'

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Rangers' Matt Rempe makes immediate impact in 1st postseason game: 'I think I'm built for the playoffs'

New York Rangers rookie Matt Rempe set the tone early for the team in their 4-1 Game 1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon.

Rempe scored the team’s first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The score came in the second period. And before anyone knew it, the Rangers were up 3-0 by the time the game was in its second intermission.

New York Rangers’ Matt Rempe is seen during the third period in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals, April 21, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The forward, who has become a fan favorite during the year, heard his name chanted across Madison Square Garden. It only amplified his performance even more and appeared to give him the confidence to do it again through the rest of the postseason – as long as the Rangers are in it.

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“I know my game. I know I can skate well and be physical. I think I can be a real pain to play against down low, protecting pucks and going to the net,” Rempe said, per ESPN. “I think I’m built for the playoffs. I think that that’s where you want to play, and I was happy how tonight went.”

Rempe didn’t only turn the heads of fans at the Garden, but he made an even bigger believer of his veteran head coach, Peter Laviolette.

Rangers celebrate

The New York Rangers celebrate after winning Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals, April 21, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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“That was a big goal to put energy in the building, maybe because it was him, too, put a little more extra juice in the building,” Laviolette said. “And then be able to get another one right after that. That was a turning point in the game.”

Rempe’s score came off the stick of Jimmy Vesey, who also scored in the second period.

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“(Rempe) scoring sent the fans crazy, and we scored two more goals in the next few minutes,” Vesey said. “He definitely gets the crowd into the game and, as the team with home-ice advantage, you’re going to try to feed off that energy in the crowd.”

Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers.

Jimmy Vesey breaks away

New York Rangers’ Jimmy Vesey, center, races for the puck with Washington Capitals’ T.J. Oshie, left, and Dylan McIlrath during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in New York.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Washington’s Martin Fehervary put the Capitals on the board in the second period.

Game 2 is set for Tuesday night in New York.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The Lakers weren't as good (or as bad) as you thought in Game 1

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The Lakers weren't as good (or as bad) as you thought in Game 1

There was a feeling around the arena and in the media room Saturday night that the Lakers had fired their best punch and that, maybe, it just wasn’t good enough.

But fresh eyes on Game 1 combined with some time gave coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers the ability to properly contextualize what happened in their 114-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

“We got great looks that we just didn’t knock down. Shots that we’ve been knocking down. And then our pace is off,” Ham said in a call with reporters Sunday. “There’s no question, we just watched with the team, of us walking up and down, walking back toward the offensive end and not getting in and out of our actions quick. We’re a completely different ball club when we’re sprinting up the floor. Even after a made basket, we have to have urgency offensively.

“That has to be a part of our defense as well. How to defend this team is to put more pressure on them on offense. Try to put them on their heels too.”

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The Lakers’ Game 1 offensive woes were overshadowed, in part, by the 59 combined points of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the two also had nine turnovers (seven by James).

And the Lakers shot eight for29 on three-pointers, scoring only 103 points. During the regular season, the Lakers were held to 103 or fewer only eight times. D’Angelo Russell, in particular, was one-for-nine shooting from three-point range after making 41.5% of his shots from deep in the regular season.

Denver coach Michael Malone even pointed out Sunday the quality of shots the Lakers got — and missed — in Game 1.

Ham said he thought the Lakers’ half-court defense in Game 1 looked better on film — the bigger issues coming in transition.

“They made some tough shots, but we didn’t do a bad job defensively. We forced them into some tough shots,” Ham said. “They made a couple tough shots. But our biggest problem was transition defense, getting back, getting matched up so we weren’t crossmatched.

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“We didn’t do that as well as we should and obviously giving up second-chance points and some untimely turnovers on our part.”

Those problems in the playoffs, especially against a team that’s as good as Denver, are critical.

“So it’s the intangible game and that’s the game you really have to fight with good teams like Denver, championship teams like Denver. The little things matter,” Ham said. “The details and the discipline. It’s more so that than anything else, than the big stuff or the post coverage or pick-and-roll coverage. It’s the intangible things.

“So that’s what’s what really came to light as we went back to the hotel after the game and rewatched the film.”

Regarding Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, a two-time league MVP, Ham said the Lakers have a practically impossible task.

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“It starts with trying to limit his touches, which is damn near impossible,” he said. “But that’s what it takes if you’re trying to win.”

Wood nearing a return?

A report from the Athletic’s Shams Charania said reserve big man Christian Wood is “planning to return to action” for Game 3 on Thursday in Los Angeles. Wood, who has been out since the All-Star break because of a knee injury that required surgery, isn’t with the team in Denver.

“All I say is he’s still going through his recovery process from injuries, rehab process,” Ham said. “…Obviously, he has size, he has length, he has rebounding capabilities, he can stretch the floor. But first and foremost, he has a couple more boxes to check before we even consider that.”

The team is still without forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who is recovering from a foot injury suffered on Feb. 1.

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Patriots looking for 'unprecedented deal' to move out of No 3 pick in 2024 NFL Draft: report

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Patriots looking for 'unprecedented deal' to move out of No 3 pick in 2024 NFL Draft: report

The New England Patriots are “open for business” with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but they want an “unprecedented deal” to move out of that slot, per ESPN. 

With director of scouting Eliot Wolf saying this past week that the Patriots’ phone is being watched to hear about potential offers at No. 3, the only way they’re going to move is if another team blows them away with a deal. 

The Patriots understand that a top-three selection in the NFL Draft is a franchise-altering pick – for better or for worse – and a “blockbuster” deal is the only way they would want to leave it. And considering the Patriots need a new franchise quarterback after Mac Jones was traded away to the Jacksonville Jaguars, it only makes sense for them to stay put. 

New England Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Feb. 27, 2024. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Many evaluators have had the Patriots taking one of three quarterbacks: LSU Heisman winner Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, and national championship winner J.J. McCarthy from Michigan. 

Wolf and Jerod Mayo, who is taking over as head coach for Bill Belichick, both understand the importance of the pick, and everyone in the NFL knows that a team is usually as good as their quarterback play. 

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ESPN added that Mayo and “some top decision-makers” acknowledged that this No. 3 pick will be tied with their legacy in New England.

Where the Patriots decide to go with the pick, granted they stay put, will be determined by what the Washington Commanders do at No. 2 overall. The Chicago Bears, owners of the top pick, are expected to go with USC’s Caleb Williams.

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Jerod Mayo smiles

Jerod Mayo of the New England Patriots speaks during a press conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Jan. 17, 2024. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Commanders are expected to also take a quarterback despite going with Sam Howell last season. 

But what if a team like the Minnesota Vikings, desperate for a quarterback but own the No. 11 and No. 23 picks, wants to jump other potential competition like the New York Giants at No. 6 to get the signal-caller they want? Could they come calling the Patriots to give them those first-round picks and more? 

This is what makes the NFL Draft so much fun, especially the week of the draft when general managers and owners take calls left and right to hear what other teams have to offer. 

Teams like the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020 didn’t bother to entertain a trade when they went with Joe Burrow out of LSU at No. 1 overall, but the Patriots are taking a different approach. 

Patriots helmet

(Winslow Townson/Getty Images/File)

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It doesn’t hurt to pick up the phone. We’ll see if Wolf and the Patriots hear an offer they can’t refuse when it’s their time on the clock Thursday night in Detroit.

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