1. The Ronda Rousey era in the WWE has hit rock bottom.
The backstory: When Rousey signed with the WWE, she was supposed to be the top dog in the women's division. She got paid a lot of money and WWE, banking on her crossover appeal, wanted to make her the company's fan favorite. As part of the plan, the company had her become the women's champion at SummerSlam last August.
However, there was a major, unforeseen roadblock. The fans didn't care about Rousey nearly as much as they cared about Becky Lynch. The era of "The Man" was born and Lynch was getting more and more over week after week. So the WWE had to call an audible and make Rousey a heel. And that's been a disaster.
The latest example was this ridiculous, expletive-filled promo that Rousey cut about wrestling being fake.
"It’s not an act. I’m not going out there and doing their f-cking act anymore. They can say it’s part of the act to try and save face to everyone else, but it’s not an act. I’m going out there and I’m doing whatever the hell I want and they can explain it away however they want but f-ck 'em. Everybody. WWE Universe included. I meant that I’m going to disrespect the sport that they all love so much. Aw, don’t break kayfabe, Ronda. Wrestling is scripted, it’s made up, it’s not real. None of those bitches can touch me. The end."
So, let's get this straight. Ronda wants to break big news by letting everyone know wrestling is fake and scripted (thanks, we had no idea!), but she's doing all this to promote her "fake, scripted" WrestleMania match against Lynch and Charlotte Flair. So wrestling is "fake" but Rousey's feud with Lynch and Flair is real? Ronda Rousey's current occupation is wrestler, but she wants everyone to know wrestling is fake. How dumb. The only saving grace is that Rousey's "promo" was so bad it'll generate some kind of heat, I guess.
The sad thing is that some people will watch that Rousey video and think she's going "off script," as if this all isn't planned and approved by Vince McMahon and the WWE creative team. If she was really going off script, she'd be fired. Period. End of story.
The reality is WWE, Vince McMahon, the creative team and Rousey are all behind this promo and all deserve blame for the stupidity of trying to sell a WrestleMania match by using a storyline in which one of the participants rails against wrestling being fake.
In their defense, it's clear the WWE had to scramble at the last minute to come up for a storyline to sell the match because they never expected Becky Lynch's popularity to sky rocket the way it has.
2. Charles Barkley has always been cold blooded when it comes to LeBron James, but he was ruthless Thursday night, inviting the King to join the Inside the NBA crew during the playoffs because he "won't be busy."
3. We're very far away from this happening, if at all, but could the longstanding way the NFL splits up Sunday afternoon games between AFC and NFC and two networks be on its way out? Variety reports that the NFL has talked about chaging the way it distributes those games.
This isn't totally shocking. The NFL has been playing around with cross flexing and with now three primetime games a week, the structure of having one conference air on one network and the other conference air on a second network may be outdated. However, as a traditionalist, I don't like this change.
4. Sure, the big NFL news of the day is Antonio Brown refusing to play for the Bills, but that story isn't nearly as wild as a Cowboys defensive end announcing that he's quitting the NFL on Instagram Live because he's unhappy with the league's policy on weed. David Irving rambled for 18 minutes, but the newsworthy part is below.
5. Actually, Good Morning Football's Kyle Brandt going off on Disney movies scarring kids for life is even more amusing than the Antonio Brown and David Irving stories.
6. The latest Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features an interview with author, writer, and podcast host Jim Miller. Topics covered with Miller, the man who wrote the book on ESPN, include what ESPN plans to do for its Monday Night Football announcing team, how Jason Witten handled his departure from ESPN, Jessica Mendoza's new "conflict of interest," how sports fans will be affected by the changes at Turner Sports/Bleacher Report, an update on Adnan Virk, and much more. You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunes or Spotify.
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: After seeing this tweet today...
... I had to post this video.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustarted Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina. You can also follow on Twitter and Instagram.
IN CLOSING: Maybe I'm getting soft, but I feel bad for Ian Rapoport. Hang in there, Ian. Everybody gets something wrong some time.