Biden meets with Polish President, visits refugees and delivers 'big speech' on final day of Europe trip.

President Joe Biden is taking part in his final stop on Saturday on a last-minute trip to Europe aimed at synchronizing how Russia's western allies will approach war with Ukraine and reassuring nations that they have United's support states have. (Author: Gardener)

EuropePresident Joe Biden and Polish President Andrzej Duda participate in a roundtable on the humanitarian response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Friday, March 25, 2022, in Jasionka, Poland. President Joe Biden is taking part in his final stop on Saturday on a last-minute trip to Europe aimed at synchronizing how Russia's western allies will approach war with Ukraine and reassuring nations that they have United's support states have. In Warsaw, Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss how the US and its allies are responding to the refugee crisis created by the war, and will meet with Ukrainian refugees. The President will also deliver what the White House is calling a "great speech" before returning to Washington. The speech, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a preview on Friday, "will address the challenges of this moment, the urgency of the challenge ahead, what the conflict in Ukraine means for the world and why it is the way it is important that the free world maintain unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression. Biden's multi-day pan-European tour began in Brussels, where he consulted with key US allies on the global response to the war. The trip is set to end in a country bordering Ukraine – where regional security issues and the ongoing humanitarian crisis will take center stage. During the early Brussels summit, Biden announced new sanctions against Russian MPs, revealed US intentions to take in 100,000 refugees from Ukraine and consulted with world leaders on how the world will react if Russia unleashes a chemical, uses a biological or nuclear weapon. On Friday, Biden also announced a new initiative aimed at depriving Russian President Vladimir Putin of European energy profits, which Biden said are being used to fuel Russia's war in Ukraine. And later that day, after arriving about 65 miles from Poland's border with Ukraine, the President met with aid workers to hear their reports on relieving the humanitarian crisis and with members of the 82nd Airborne Division based on the eastern edge of the NATO were stationed to deter possible Russian aggression. Biden told military personnel Friday, "Your commitment is much more than whether or not we can alleviate the suffering of Ukraine." While Biden will meet with refugees in Warsaw, he said Friday he would prefer the crisis seen from an even narrower perspective. "They won't - understandably, I think - let me cross the border and see what's going on in Ukraine," he said. The White House has said it has not considered a visit to Ukraine. The visit to Ukraine's western neighbor comes as Poland has on several fronts urged the US to do more in the war. More than 3.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, released on Tuesday. A large majority of these refugees have fled to Ukraine's western neighbors across Europe. Poland, which borders Ukraine to the west, has registered more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees entering the country, although not all refugees who have come to Poland remain. And the Polish president has called for a more permanent NATO defense posture in the country, as well as an international peacekeeping force in Ukraine. During Friday's meeting with humanitarian workers, Duda said Biden's "presence here sends a great signal and a show of unity — unity within NATO." The Polish President added that Biden's visit "shows a tremendous support and also a great importance that the United States attaches to stability and world peace in order to restore peace where difficult situations arise in places where someone points to aggression against others." Democrats are falling back and free nations - as is happening today against Ukraine, where Russian aggression has been unfolding, unfortunately for a month."


RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 12 Recap

In RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 12, two queens compete for musical roles. Who wins? (Author: Gardener)

RuPaulAfter weeks of guesswork and eliminations, the RuPaul candy bar saved a lucky queen in RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 12. It's a big surprise for a reveal we didn't see coming. "Non-Elimination March" ended its run with three weeks without a queen going home. But have the Paris celebrations made up for another non-elimination round? Moulin Ru: The Rusical is packed with drama and excitement to keep us hooked. Between the casting drama and the surprises on the catwalk, this round has fed us all the drag race shenanigans we love. The golden candy bar twist? We usually don't need more than a classic drag race challenge, a stunning runway and a strong lip sync battle. But Moulin Ru: The Rusical kept bringing more to the table, making this one of the best episodes of Season 14 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Drag Race serves up an amazing round when all the pieces fit together. One of the best parts of a Rusical challenge is the role choice debate. Characters are not created equal, and Drag Race's story has shown that the right role can guarantee a strong win. [In the confessional] I think I've found that compromise is for losers. Permalink: I think I've found that compromise is for losers. I loved that the queens gave up any pretense of fairness and fought for the roles they wanted. Daya Betty may be the villain, but she had a point that you have to fight for what you want. The queens that stood their ground, like Bosco and Jorgeous, got their dream roles. Granted, it blew up in their faces, but queens like Daya and Willow Pill excelled in the roles they demanded. The Moulin Ru Rusical proved that if a queen is to compete for a role, she has to deliver it all on the main stage. The Bosco vs. Lady Camden fight was the more awkward confrontation between the two role fights (Jorgeous vs. Angeria Paris VanMichaels and Bosco vs. Lady Camden). Good job on both queens holding their positions. If they wanted to shine, it would be the only way to land their dream role. Bosco: Do ​​you think you beat me on Swept Away? Lady Camden: Yes, I do. Lady Camden: Yes. However, Bosco's rude jokes to Lady Camden were too much. It's one thing to fight for what you want; it's another thing to be petty because you don't get your way. Being shady looked bad to Lady Camden. She'd also talked a lot about rocking the role of Saltine. Bosco had to make it more intense since she had fought so hard and claimed to be better at it than Lady Camden. Overall, Moulin Ru: The Rusical was a fun, upbeat number that captured the style of the film and musical. All the queens had to do was serve up over-dramatic expressions and big moves while lip-synching the lyrics. Lady Camden starred in the role of Mama Z. She captured the character's outrageous vibe and tied the show to her big and small moments. And she performed with the best acting; none of the others matched her abilities. Daya Betty and Willow Pill would be the next top performers. Willow had her show-stopping dance moment, while Daya made sure the character suited her mood as a drag performer. I agreed with the jury on their criticism of Bosco and Jorgeous. For the role of "Talent," Jorgeous fell flat against charisma, uniqueness, and nerve. Talent is the big, eye-catching role within the four Moulin Ru girls, but Jorgeous was too focused on making their moves or meeting their goals. But when it comes to being a giant hoe, you won't beat me! Permalink: But when it comes to being a giant hoe, you won't beat me! On the other hand, Bosco didn't deliver the acting that Saltine needed. Either the role didn't work for her, or she didn't work in it. Surprisingly, she didn't push for Mama Z because that role would have been perfect for her drag and performance style. She needed an outlandish character, not the naïve. Michelle Visage was right in her criticism: Bosco killed the look and the brows on the runway. Lady Camden, Angeria and Daya Betty had the best looks of the night. That's how chic and opulent Lady Camden's icy shooting star looked. The same goes for Angeria and her reflective mermaid dress; the placement of the scales worked flawlessly together. Daya's outfit screamed too much, but it had the stock level that worked for Drag Race. The judges love music references, and Daya's KISS-inspired spike rocker was fun while still being fashionable. The lip syncing of Whitney Houston's "Heartbreak Hotel (Remix)" was a tough fight! This lip sync could be even tighter than the fight between Jorgeous and Jasmine Kennedie in RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 9. Both queens served face and emotion like it was their bread and butter. This song worked best with controlled movement, emotion and the queens feeling the lyrics. Luckily Bosco and Jorgeous knew that; They each performed a sensual number that went well with the beat. Angeria Paris VanMichaels: You're the RuPaul, so what's the tea, girl? Permalink: You're the RuPaul, so what's the tea, girl? However, Jorgeous won this lip sync. She felt the music more and her movements were so sharp that the judges blatantly turned to her. Bosco is lucky she had the golden candy bar because she didn't win the lip sync. It's a strong contender for a double shantay, but it had to come down to a win since that was off the table. Jorgeous served it better. Angeria should have put her foot in the ground to get the role of talent. After giving up the role of the Green Fairy to Willow, she had more than enough reasons. Now that the golden candy bar is gone, are all the non-elimination episodes done? RuPaul loved the cameo. The queens saying who they want to eliminate is wild, but fun to watch. The easy choice was Bosco for all of the above reasons. Now to you drag race fans. What do you think of Moulin Ru: The Rusical? Who was your favorite appearance in Rusical? Glad Bosco had the golden candy bar?


Title match between FTW Champion Ricky Starks and Swerve Strickland

reDragon, Hook, Lance ARcher and Nyla Rose will also appear on Friday's show. (Author: Gardener)

FTW Champion Ricky StarksSwerve Strickland will try gold for the first time in AEW at Friday's Rampage when he takes on FTW Champion Ricky Starks in a title match. Strickland has been by Keith Lee's side for the past few weeks as Lee has fallen out with both Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs. This will be Starks' first title defense since early February. Following their attack on AEW World Champion Hangman Page during Wednesday's Dynamite, reDRagon will spring into action against Page's friends in the Dark Order, Alan "5" Angels and 10. Hook, but will return to Rampage but instead of participating in a match , he will receive the official QT Marshall Certificate of Accomplishment for his win at last month's Revolution buy-in show. In another action, Lance Archer takes on hometown favorite Dustin Rhodes while Nyla Rose will be in action. The show will also feature Owen Hart Cup tournament qualifier news, in addition to a nod to a new contender for the women's division. Well, at least I don't have to worry about Empire Strikes Back running 48 minutes past its scheduled end time. Archer got to the ring and beat up one of Rhodes' wrestling students and Dustin ran in to save. Lambert tried to interfere before the match and was nearly powerbombed by Rhodes. After all the pre-match shenanigans, the match finally got in the ring and then went straight back to the floor. Rhodes missed a cannonball on the ground and Archer took control. Back in the ring, Rhodes was bleeding from his ear. Archer scratched Rhodes' face before the show went into a split-screen commercial break. Back from the break, Rhodes made a comeback but then ate a shoe from Archer. Archer bit Rhodes' finger. Rhodes came back with a pair of clotheslines. Rhodes went for a powerslam, but Archer countered with a belly to belly suplex. Archer missed an attack in the corner and Rhodes mounted the corner for 13 punches and a bionic elbow. Rhodes went for the running bulldog, Archer countered, but Rhodes came back with a bulldog off the middle rope. Archer came back with a vertical suplex. Archer hit a full nelson slam for a one count. Chokeslam brought Archer a near fall. Archer set up the blackout slam, but Rhodes slipped out and fell to the mat. He was about to send Rhodes into the exposed buckle, but Rhodes dropped and sent Archer headfirst into the exposed turnbuckle hook. Rhodes hit a quick Jacknife cover to get the pin. After the match, Archer attacked Rhodes on the ground and sent him headfirst onto the steps, bleeding him well in the process. Other Rhodes Wrestling Academy members attempted to rescue Dustin, but Archer destroyed them. Archer led Rhodes around the ring table to end the segment. Lethal has two blemishes on his record, but the guys who beat him (Ricky Starks and Adam Cole) had to cheat for it. - Fuego Del Sol gets promo time because I think I fell asleep and woke up watching Dark. When the House of Black left, they were confronted in the hallway by Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, John Silver, and Alex Reynolds of the Dark Order. Dark Order versus House of Black is coming soon. – Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year cut a promo with Lexi Nair. Lambert still wears the Co-TNT championship belt despite Sammy Guevara's revelations on Wednesday. Scorpio Sky was again an afterthought in his own promo, but he says the open door challenge for the TNT title is now "closed." I don't think that makes Scorpio Sky a more interesting TNT champion. Angles and O'Reilly started the match. FIsh tried to help, but 10 came off the middle rope with a double shoulder tackle, defeating both men as the show wound down. Angles got the hot tag of 10 and hit both members of reDRagon with a top drop cross body. Angles hit O'Reilly with a leg lariat and Fish with an enziguri. Angles hits O'Reilly with a Northern Lights suplex, but he counters into a guillotine. reDRagon came back by rotating 10's mask around his face and then hitting him with the High Low. reDRagon followed Angels with Chasing the Dragon and Fish got the pin. After the match, Fish and O'Reilly continued batting, and the Jurassic Express ran in to make the save. After the match, Fish and O'Reilly continued batting, and the Jurassic Express ran in to make the save. While this was happening, Adam Cole ran in and stole the tag title belts. While this was happening, Adam Cole ran in and stole the tag title belts. Before the match, Jericho presented Nyla Rose with Jericho's Sports Entertainer of the Week award for her encounter with Thunder Rosa that week. Rose hit Wrenkowski, then a Senton bomb. Beast Bomb quickly ended this match for Nyla Rose. QT Marshall and Aaron Solo wanted to give Hook an award for defeating Marshall at Revolution. Hook came out and threw Solo into the framed prize and just walked out, to Marshall's dismay and shock. - Main Event Promo: Ricky Starks was fantastic, telling Swerve he was "evicted from his last house". And he's not happy when new people come in and feel empowered. Swerve becomes Austin to "Who's House?" "Swerve's House!" And with that IT IS TIME FOR THE MAIN EVENT. * The Bunny will take on a new member of the AEW women's roster who is signed in an Owen Hart Cup qualifier this Wednesday. Starks brought Strickland to the mat early and worked on a front facelock. Strickland countered with an arm ringer, but Starks broke free and took Strickland down with a fantastic deep arm drag. Starks hit his signature taunt. Another lockup and Strickland defeated Starks with a Tieris and a spectacular dropkick. Swerve headed into a trunk in the corner, then Starks sent him headfirst into the middle turnbuck to deflect a charge, and the show went on its final split-screen break. Back from a split-screen hiatus, Starks missed a moonsault but hit a Tornado DDT for a near fall. These are new geeks who had a banner supporting Starks. Taz said they were "the barber, the nutritionist and the cobbler." Starks went for a back suplex, but Swerve hit a knee strike and a pair of running clotheslines, then elbowed the back of Stark's head off the middle rope. Swerve went for a half and half suplex, but Starks countered and had a double underhook. Stickland countered a go-behind and sent Starks down, then came off the apron with a running shooting star press. Back in the ring, Strickland hit a double stomp (which was actually more like a sit out splash), but Starks kicked out a two. Starks countered a suplex attempt with a roll-up for two. Starks sent Strickland down and powerhouse Hobbs came out of nowhere with a body block into Strickland. Hobbs threw Strickland back in the ring and Starks hit the Roshambeaux to get the pin. Fantastic game. After the match, the Stark entourage held up their banner to celebrate the Starks' victory. Keith Lee arrived to crash the party by sending one of the members of Stark's entourage through the banner and then knocking out the other two. Lee, Strickland, Starks and Hobbs got into a huge brawl that had to be broken up by a crowd of officers when the show went off the air. A hot angle to end the show and the crowd was very much behind Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland. Swerve Strickland is fantastic. You can probably enter Team Taz against Strickland and Lee for next week's Rampage main event.


Winners, grades, reactions and highlights from March 25th

Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will helm WrestleMania 38 on April 2, but on Friday night on Fox, The Tribal Chief faced the aftermath of The Beast's vehicle attack a week earlier... (Author: Gardener)

March 25thRoman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will helm WrestleMania 38 on April 2, but on Friday night on Fox, The Tribal Chief faced the aftermath of The Beast's vehicle attack a week earlier. The latest in that rivalry was the headline on a broadcast that also featured a Fatal 4-Way match with the women's division and a contest between Shinsuke Nakamura and Jimmy Uso Competitors got their momentum going ahead of the biggest event of the year? Find out now with this recap of the March 25 episode. Deadly 4-Way Match: Sasha Banks vs. Shayna BaszlerIn a preview of the upcoming SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania, Jimmy Uso faced Shinsuke Nakamura in a singles competition, the fighters were joined by Jey Uso and Rick Boogs. A better-than-expected match saw Nakamura victory after a ringside distraction as Boogs and Jey tussled over the former's Gibson guitar. Nakamura looked great here, fighting from below to win the match while Uso was his typically crisp self. The diversionary finish probably wasn't necessary, but it wasn't as blatantly unnecessary as other WWE matches sometimes come to open the show, and made it up in a fun play from the mischievous badass in the Roman Reigns dressing room at home. Michael Cole asked if a loss to the Usos at Saturday's WrestleMania would affect Roman Reigns' attitude when he attends the following main event night in a nice bit of storytelling by the underrated commentator. Sheamus and Butch escorted Ridge Holland to the square circle for his rematch with Kofi Kingston. However, it wasn't Kingston the former rugby player faced on Friday, but the returning Xavier Woods. The match was a sprint of a match, barely the welcome back that Woods probably deserved. He won anyway, scoring a quick win over Holland and slowing the young star's momentum ahead of WrestleMania. Who knows if either of these men will actually have a match on the biggest card of the year, but segments like this, complete afterthoughts in execution, don't help generate enthusiasm or intrigue for one. But hey, Woods is back, so that's cool. The Drew McIntyre-Happy Corbin video pack that aired not only hyped the match, but also highlighted very solidly the journey the Heel has had over the last year, even if he's at WrestleMania has no chance of actually winning.Between Samantha When Irvin announced that Woods would join Kingston, Michael Cole felt confused that Woods was playing the match. This felt like a thrown together segment of New York touring, including Madison Square Garden, where he started The Beast. Ronda Rousey got in the ring and did a promo for Charlotte Flair, who cut in remotely because she was afraid to face Rousey after last week's show. A brief match ended in Heel's surprise victory thanks to interference from partner Humberto, who prompted Ricochet to challenge him to a match. Imagine how much more that would have meant if Los Lotharios had had any significant singles wins or momentum. Rousey stumbled upon the SmackDown Women's Championship name before she shrugged it off and moving on was a testament to her growing confidence. After the match, Austin Theory caught Pat McAfee with a cheap shot and ran back into Mr. McMahon's office, a slimy heel that escaped punishment. At least for now. Sami Zayn cut a fantastic promo for Johnny Knoxville, promising, "You're going to face punishment in a way that's never been seen in a WWE ring before." Rhea Ripley vs. Queen Zelina before the massive Women's Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania featured all four teams in a Fatal 4-Way match Friday night, pitting Sasha Banks, Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler and Queen Zelina against each other. An action-packed match featuring some clever players The spots ended with The Boss scoring the win, giving both her and Naomi momentum for their title shot. One could argue that Zelina or Baszler needed the win more as the Babyfaces are more likely to believe they will leave Dallas with the titles. With that in mind, do you really want to inflict unnecessary losses on Banks when she could always be a single stock candidate? If there were any indication that post-WrestleMania tag titles would be treated differently, the answer would be "Yes." There isn't, so it's a resounding "no". The more Banks and Ripley compete, the more appealing a series of one-on-ones between them becomes. Banks remain in control of bank statements meanwhile Zelina Baszler manipulated the Queen's joints was a great point. The boss who gave Zelina and Baszler a duplicate bank statement was even better. Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman eventually got into the arena. "We'll be fine...but Brock won't," the tribal chief warned. After an entire episode touting a confrontation between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, it seemed like it was going to work out. It didn't, but it came close. Reigns cut a typical "validate me" promo before Lesnar appeared on screen and attacked the chief's SUV. He attempted an attack from Reigns in the arena, but security guards intercepted The Beast only to face his wrath. Reigns ended the hot angle by promising Lesnar would acknowledge him at WrestleMania Reigns' reminder of no guns at WrestleMania by stalking to the ring, a human weapon, was a great moment.


SmackDown Scores Live Blog

Watch this week's episode of SmackDown live from Brooklyn, New York. WWE hasn't promoted anything for the card, but Brock Lesnar will be in the house still seeking revenge on Roman Reigns. (Author: Gardener)

weekWWE SmackDown returns to our lives tonight (March 25, 2022) with a live show from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, showcasing the latest builds from the upcoming two-day WrestleMania 38 extravaganza on April 2nd and April 3rd in Arlington , Texas. They have only released a vague video suggesting that Brock Lesnar is still seeking revenge against Roman Reigns after the tribal chief laid him out in a pool of his own blood in Madison Square Garden earlier this month. Come right back here at 8:00 p.m. ET when the SmackDown Live Blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. You suck my blood like a leech, you break the law and violate my brain 'til it hurts. Brock Lesnar being interviewed outside the Roman Reigns family lounge. He says he's paid some fines and bought a few vehicles, including a special new SUV for Roman in his favorite color, blood red. Management says not to have any contact with Reigns unless provoked, so he'll just hang around in his dressing room and see if he's provoked. Rick Boogs gives his usual grand introduction to his man Shinsuke Nakamura and the Usos make their entrance. A brawl ensues between the two teams before the bell, the Babyfaces gain the upper hand and we go to the break. Feeling out causes Nakamura to take control, Uso takes turnbuckle after turnbuckle, and smashes his face in. Good vibrations, Jimmy is making a comeback. Big back suplex, cover for two, reverse chinlock attached. Shinsuke to the apron, Uso drops him off the ropes to the ground but Nakamura recovers and blocks the jump with a kick and we go on break. Back from the commercial, whip reversed, Nakamura with a knee lift to build up the running corner knee, cover for two! Out of the second with a diving Kinshasa lying in wait, distracted by Jey Uso attacking Rick Boogs on the floor and superkicking up Jimmy, but Shinsuke kicks out! Rick and Jey fight over the guitar, Uso goes in the post, back in, and Nakamura hits a leg lariat to set it up... Brock Lesnar is still hanging around in Roman's dressing room, eating grapes and drinking wine, which he doesn't like before it was spat out and thrown against the wall to send us shattering. He says this feud with Happy Corbin is personal and that he loved every single second that he made his life hell. He could take him out anytime, but he wants to do it on the biggest stage of all at WrestleMania. We get a synopsis of Happy Corbin's fall and rise. Happy and Madcap Moss talk backstage and Corbin talks about how happy he'll be celebrating because of Drew's dead body and gets upset when Moss jokes at his expense. Fight Night come on to send us on break. Back from the commercial, Kofi Kingston cuts a promo saying he won't be wrestling tonight. Paul Heyman introduces Roman Reigns in the back seat of a car. Roman says they went all over town conducting business today and stopped at a steakhouse before stopping at Madison Square Garden. He will warn Brock Lesnar once because if he is not out of his dressing room when he gets there he will crack his skull open and make him bleed all over. Ronda Rousey makes her entrance to send us to the break. Back from the commercial we get a summary of the build for Charlotte Flair vs. Live in the Ring, Ronda calls out Charlotte and says she's going to win at WrestleMania and tells Flair to leave his heels behind. Charlotte appears on the tron ​​and says she's not even in town and she doesn't answer when Rousey calls because she's the champion. Ronda says she broke her first arm when she was 14 and kept counting until she stopped counting, saying beating Charlotte will be just another thing she loses count on. He says he's having so much fun and why should he go? In fact, he thinks she should find Roman because he's running out of things to smash. We get access and go on break. Garza takes control early, side headlock to keep him on the ground, Ricochet jumps up, corner kick, springboard lariat, back up on top, Humberto Carrillo interferes... After the game, Ricochet cuts a promo and says that they stick together, he likes it, but he will break up this family reunion by immediately inviting Humberto to a match. A little lucha libre, Ricochet grabs a Frankensteiner and drops Carrillo out of the ring! Tope con giro follows and we take a break. Back from the commercial, Ricochet lands a Gamengiri with Carrillo on the ropes, followed by an avalanche of Frankensteiner! Uppercut from corner to corner, Quebrada connects and Ricochet takes down his knee pads to set him up but Garza interferes and Humberto almost wins against a schoolboy! Ricochet rolls the Northern Lights into a straight suplex for two, on top, Angel pulls his cousin out of the ring and Ricky makes a hard call and dives straight at him to the floor to take him out! Rick shoves Humberto in but Garza grabs his leg from under the ring... He talks about Johnny Knoxville being completely unprepared for him when his match allows anything and he's had nothing but time to think of all sorts of punishment Knoxville and he's going to do some things that have never been seen before in a WWE ring. Austin Theory runs in and taunts Pat McAfee and as the announcer chases him he hides in Mr. McMahon's office where Pat cannot reach him. Naomi and Sasha Banks step up to send us off to break. Back from the commercial, Pat McAfee comes back into the dressing room and says that if Austin Theory hits him in the head again, he was told he could punch him in the face. Baszler escapes to the safety of Natalya's arms, Banks and Ripley stand alone and reach, circle, Sasha with a go-behind, off the ropes, lasso duck, drop, jump, roll over, big rights hand from the boss ! Knucklelock, step-up in the Lucha Arm Drag and Rhea corners! Shayna back in, Banks stacking 'em up, corner knees, big wheelbarrow bulldog... Off the ropes, Vega pulls Sasha out of the ring and slams her into the commentary box, causing all the teammates to brawl with vigor! The match is totally broken and we go on the break. Back from the commercial things have settled down and we get a series of near falls as Vega tries and fails to lock someone away. Sasha gets her crossfaced, Baszler tag blocks and puts a vicious wristlock on trying to break her arm... BANKS TAKES HER CROSSFACE ALSO AND RHEA RIPLEY HAS TO BREAK IT UP! Sasha hits the lung blower but her knee gives out, Zelina with a sunset flip but Shayna interrupts him! Rhea cannonballs her off the apron, Vega tijeras her off the apron, but she wastes time posing and Banks is ready for her... Sasha Banks wins by submission with the bank statement crossface against Zelina Vega. Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns roll into the arena. Paul says he's not feeling well but Roman says it's going to be fine and we're going on break.


The road to WrestleMania 38 continues

The penultimate SmackDown before WrestleMania takes place on Friday night. (Author: Gardener)

38With WrestleMania 38 just over a week away, tonight's SmackDown is taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will face off against Universal Champion Roman Reigns in a Title Unification Match in the Main Event of WrestleMania 38, night two. Last week Lesnar was out looking for blood after Reigns attacked him at the WWE house show in Madison Square Garden. Lesnar chased Reigns and The Usos in a forklift as they attempted to flee the arena. They managed to escape before Lesnar destroyed their SUV. They fled in a second vehicle, but Lesnar yanked open the car door with his hands as they pulled away. Two matches have been announced for tonight, anticipating title fights for WrestleMania. Before the women's tag team title match at WrestleMania, Sasha Banks, Rhea Ripley, Zelina Vega and Shayna Baszler will face off in a fatal four-way match. Vega & Carmella defend their titles at WrestleMania against Banks & Naomi, Ripley & Liv Morgan and Baszler & Natalya. A SmackDown Tag Team Title match between The Usos and Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs was also made official for WrestleMania. Tonight, Nakamura takes on Jimmy Uso in a singles match. SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and her WrestleMania challenger Ronda Rousey were also scheduled to perform tonight. They recap Brock Lesnar's attack on Roman Reigns and The Usos with a forklift last week. In the background, Kayla Braxton approached Brock Lesnar, who was standing by the door of the Roman Reigns dressing room. Lesnar noted that he had paid some fines and bought some cars. He even bought Reigns a new SUV. Lesnar explained that management told him he could not have physical contact with Reigns unless provoked. Lesnar decided to wait for Reigns. He then walked into Reigns' empty dressing room. Rick Boogs introduced Shinsuke Nakamura. They repeated how Boogs defeated Jey Uso to earn a title shot against The Usos at WrestleMania. Before the match, the Usos jumped in the ring and tried to attack Boogs and Nakamura. Faces fought back as Boog's press slammed Jey into Jimmy. Jimmy had the early advantage with a shoulder tackle and a wrist lock. Nakamura broke free, but Jimmy responded with another shoulder tackle. Nakamura recovered and hit Jimmy, who was draped over the apron, with a running knee. Jimmy fought back and rocked Nakamura with a clothesline. Jimmy sent Nakamura to the bottom and prepared for a dive. Back from the break, Jimmy was in control, but Nakamura hit back with a dropkick. Nakamura caught a running knee in the corner for a near fall. Jimmy fought back briefly, but Nakamura caught a knee from the second turnbuckle. Nakamura set up for the Kinshasa but Jey attacked Boogs at ringside. Jimmy took advantage of the distraction and hit a superkick for a close two count. Jey was furious so he grabbed Boog's guitar ringside. Boogs then threw Jey into the ring post. Jimmy was distracted, allowing Nakamura to beat the Kinshasa to victory. They summed up Kevin Owens, who dressed up as Stone Cold Steve Austin on Monday's Raw. In the Reigns dressing room, Lesnar ate grapes and drank champagne. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee noted that Reigns is heading to the arena. Cole and McAfee discussed Undertaker being inducted into the Hall of Fame in a week immediately following SmackDown on Peacock. The fans erupted in loud "Undertaker" chants. He wants to wait to beat Corbin on the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania. They recounted how Corbin went from broke to happy Corbin. Corbin said the best moment was when they knocked McIntyre down on Day 1. Corbin boasted about punching McIntyre and claimed they could make a movie about him. Corbin added that he could win an Oscar. They summarized that Holland defeated Kingston last week after Butch tried to interfere. Cole noted that Holland caused Big E's neck injury. When Kingston entered, the ring announcer said he was accompanied by Xavier Woods, which could have spoiled the surprise. Kingston announced he will not face Holland tonight and introduced the returning King Woods. They had a very short match, but fans loved Woods' return. Holland had the early advantage when he attacked Wood's leg. Cole said they received an announcement from Roman Reigns. They showed a video of Reigns and Heyman in the back of their car. He demanded that Lesnar come out of his dressing room when he gets there or he will make Lesnar bleed again. Cole wondered if Reigns' threat was reason enough for Lesnar to attack him. Rousey entered and waited in the ring. She grabbed the mic and promised to defeat Flair for the SmackDown Women's Title. Rousey actually got it wrong and called it the SmackDown Championship. Rousey thinks it should just be the SmackDown Championship. She then made a strong promise to win the SmackDown Championship. Not wanting to waste any more time, Rousey called for Flair to get in the ring. Flair taunted Rousey, noting that she wasn't at the Barclays Center. Rousey spoke of breaking someone's arm when she was young. Rousey added that if Flair beat her, it would be the greatest moment of her career. However, when Rousey Flair breaks her arm, she is among the forgotten. In the Reigns dressing room, Kayla Braxton interviewed Brock Lesnar. She wondered if Lesnar should go because of Reigns' warning. Lesnar wasn't concerned and told her to find Roman because he was running out of stuff to smash. Before the break, they announced the match as Ricochet vs. It only gets more confusing because Ricochet is up against Humberto in an impromptu match anyway. Ricochet and Angel had a good match while it lasted with a typical distraction finish. Ricochet fought back with a springboard clothesline for a near fall. He climbed back up, but Humberto caused a distraction. Angel took advantage and rolled ricochet for the win. Angel and Humberto started to walk away, but Ricochet sat down at the mic. So he challenged Humberto to get in the ring for a match. Ricochet and Humberto had a good match until the weak finish. Ricochet took control with a drop kick. Humberto rolled out of the ring and yelled at the fans. Ricochet hits another dropkick and sends Humberto back to the ground. Back from the break, Ricochet was firmly in control after hitting a series of running uppercuts in the corner. Angel created a distraction and Humberto rolled Ricochet up for a near fall. Ricochet fought back and hit a Northern Lights Suplex into a Vertical Suplex for another near fall. Ricochet climbed to the top rope but Angel pulled Humberto out of the ring. Ricochet went over the ropes and hit a huge crossbody at Angel after pushing Humberto out of the way. Angel rolled under the ring. Ricochet then hit a Torando DDT on Humberto off the table. He rolls Humberto back into the ring but Angel grabs his legs and Ricochet is counted out. He spoke about facing Johnny Knoxville in an Anything Goes match at WrestleMania. Cole and McAfee started discussing McAfee's WrestleMania debut when Austin Theory suddenly showed up. McAfee chased Theory from ring to back, but Theory jumped into Mr. McMahon's office. Back from the break, McAfee joined Cole as commentator. Cole changed the subject and talked about how Triple H announced his retirement earlier today. McAfee and Cole thanked Triple H for everything he has done for them. The heels jumped out of the ring, leaving Banks and Ripley alone. Ripley and Banks went back and forth until Zelina pulled Banks out of the ring. A massive brawl broke out with everyone in the match including the four on the floor. Cole noted that the match is not a disqualification. Banks grabbed Zelina's bank statement, but Baszler stopped her from tapping her. Baszler tried to break Zelina's wrist, but Banks locked them both on the bank statement instead. Ripley interrupted the submission with a running dropkick. Banks then sneakily punched Baszler and Ripley. Baszler and Zelina landed on the floor arguing. Ripley hit a cannonball off the apron and dodged Baszler. Zelina took advantage and hit Ripley with a hurricanrana off the apron. Zelina attempted to get back in the ring but Banks recovered and secured the bank draft for the win. Banks and Naomi celebrated after the match. Paul Heyman stepped out and opened the door for Roman Reigns. Heyman was concerned, but Reigns told him not to worry. Cole and McAfee went over the lineups for WrestleMania night one and two. Reigns and Lesnar were good in this segment. They've done the Lesnar angle that destroys security guards multiple times, but it never gets old. Roman Reigns walked slowly to the ring. Reigns asked Heyman if Lesnar was still in his office. Reigns told him not to worry. He asked Lesnar to leave his dressing room. They cut to a shot of Reign's dressing room on the big screen, but it was empty. The fans broke into a "Suplex City" chant. They then showed Lesnar standing next to Reigns' SUV with a pickaxe. Lesnar wrecked the car, but Reigns claimed he didn't care because he had three more. Lesnar walked towards the ring. Reigns got scared and wondered where he was going. Lesnar's music started and he made his way through the crowd to the ring. The fans went crazy for Lesnar. Lesnar was standing on the commentary stand as security forces emerged and surrounded him. Reigns taunted Lesnar from the ring. Lesnar jumped off the commentary desk and hit one of the guards with a flying knee. Lesnar viciously knocked out the security guards with a chair and chased down Reigns and The Usos. The Bloodline escaped, but Lesnar continued to destroy security. He even expelled McAfee and Cole. In the background, Reigns promised to defeat Lesnar at WrestleMania. Back at ringside, Lesnar posed on the commentary table to end SmackDown. Also, Intercontinental Champion Ricochet defends against Angel and Humberto in a triple threat match.


Here's why the Duke of Hastings isn't in Bridgerton, and if Regé-Jean Page would be back

This is how "Bridgerton" explained the sudden departure of Simon Bassett. (Author: Gardener)

BridgertonIf you've watched the new season you may have wondered why isn't the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton season 2 and where is Simon Bassett? Bridgerton, based on Julia Quinn's book series of the same name, premiered on December 25, 2020 and became Netflix's most-watched original series. The show, executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, follows the Bridgertons, a distinguished upper-class English family of eight siblings and their widowed mother, during Regency-era England. Each season centers around a different Bridgerton sibling - Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth - with the first season focusing on Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest of the Bridgerton daughters, and their relationship follows the Duke of Hastings (aka Simon Bassett), played by Regé-Jean Page. The first season of Bridgerton made the cast instant stars, particularly Page, who later hosted Saturday Night Live and landed roles in films like Dungeons and Dragons and The Gray Man. "It's not color-blind casting because I don't think it's helpful to put brown skin on the show without putting brown people on the show," Page told The Guardian in 2020 of Netflix's decision to match Bridgerton with a racially diverse cast to fill occupation. "This show is a glamorous, ambitious Cinderella fantasy of love and romance - I don't know why you wouldn't invite everyone to come and star in it, given that we cater to a global audience on Netflix. We're looking at this Regency romance through a feminist lens, examining what manhood means for a fractured anti-hero like my character, and how he can then allow himself to change and be loved.” Why isn't the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton Season 2 and where is Simon Bassett? Read on for why Regé-Jean Page hasn't returned to Bridgerton and if he could return for a future season. Why isn't the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton Season 2? In April 2021, Netflix and Shondaland announced that Regé-Jean Page, who played the Duke of Hastings (aka Simon Bassett) in Bridgerton season one, would not be returning for Bridgerton season two. "Dear readers, as all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton in The Quest for a Viscountess, we bid farewell to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings," Netflix said in a statement about Lady Whistledown, Bridgerton's fictional character Newspaper. Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, and will help her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer - more intrigue and romance than my readers can stomach." SPOILER: The reason why the Duke of Hastings is not in Bridgerton season 2 is revealed in the first scene of season 2 when Daphne Bridgerton, the Duke's wife and the mother of his son August, explains that he could not be there for her sister Eloise's debut Bridgerton for being at home taking care of her baby. In an interview with TV Line in March 2022, Bridgerton executive producer Chris Van Dusen revealed that the Duke of Hastings still exists in the Bridgerton world but is not shown because Season 2 focuses on Anthony Bridgerton's love story and him no blood relative is of Anthony like Daphne is. "We're referring to Simon," Van Dusen said. “In the very first scene of Season 2, Daphne mentions that she left her husband and baby at home [to be on Eloise's debut]. Rege unfortunately didn't work out to be part of season two, but he will always be Bridgerton's duke. And just because we don't see him doesn't mean he's not there.” Why isn't Regé-Jean Page in Bridgerton Season 2? In an April 2021 interview with Variety, Page explained that — due to the way Bridgerton is structured (season 1 followed Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings, while season 2 followed Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma) — he just signed to play Simon bassett for one season. It will have a beginning, a middle and an end - give us a year," he said. I can come in, I can do my part and then the Bridgerton family rolls on. He continued, "One of the things that's different about this [romantic] genre is that the audience knows the arc is complete. You come in and you know that, so you can knot people emotionally because they have this certainty that we're going to come out and have the marriage and the baby. He also confirmed to Variety that he didn't want to return for Bridgerton Season 2 because he thought Daphne and Simon's arc was completed in Season 1. In an Instagram post at the time, Page called his experience with Bridgerton the "ride of his life." ." "The ride of your life. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Page was offered an opportunity to return as a guest star for three to five episodes in Bridgerton Season 2 for $50,000 per episode (which would have netted him between $150,000 and $250,000 overall), but he turned down the offer Down because of his burgeoning film career, which includes a role in the Russo brothers' Netflix film, The Gray Man, opposite Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas, as well as the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons film starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Justice includes blacksmith. The magazine also reported that Page experienced an increase in film offers after the first season of Bridgerton, leading to him appearing as a guest host on Saturday Night Live in February 2021. The magazine also reported that Netflix knew Page had signed a one-season deal with Bridgerton, and that the show, always slated for Season 2, was to be based on Julia Quinn's second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and herself revolve around Anthony instead of Simon. However, as Bridgerton became Netflix's most-watched original series after the first season premiered in December 2020, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Netflix contacted Page in January and February with an offer to return for the second season, although the second season did never planned to include Simon. Due to Simon's rising film career and his small role in Season 2, a source told The Hollywood Reporter that Page decided to turn down the offer. Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Simon's wife Daphne Bridgerton, returned for Bridgerton Season 2, albeit in a much smaller role. In a May 2021 interview with Variety, Page admitted that he wasn't nervous about leaving Bridgerton, even though the show was very conducive to his career. When asked if he's nervous about leaving the show that made him a star, Page replies, "Not at all because it was meant to be," he said. Simon was this bombshell of a one-season antagonist about to be reformed and find his true self through Daphne. He continued, "I think one of the bravest things in the love genre is allowing people to have happy endings." Page also told the magazine that his "phone was across the room" when the news broke that he would not return to Bridgerton. Bridgerton executive producer Shonda Rhimes told Variety that she was not upset by Page's decision to leave the show. "We're used to the speculation and drama when I kill off a character from a show, but this was different," Rhimes said. Rhimes also told Variety in 2021 that she doesn't expect Page to return to Bridgerton in the future as the show's next few seasons will follow other Bridgerton siblings and it wouldn't make sense for Page to come back. "I don't think so," she said. As I like to say, the idea that we would write Regé to stand around in the background doesn't make any sense to me at all. Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix. Here is how you can read the Bridgerton books for free. See Julia Quinns for more on Bridgerton. The series of books, consisting of , and follows the Bridgertons, a distinguished upper class English family of eight siblings and their widowed mother, during Regency-era England. Each of the books follows a different Bridgerton sibling - Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth - on their quest to find true love. The first Bridgerton book, following the love story between Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings (aka Simon Bassett), was the inspiration for Season 1 of Netflix's Bridgerton TV series. The second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, which followed Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield (renamed Sharma on the Bridgerton show), was the inspiration for Season 2. The third book, , follows the relationship between Benedict Bridgerton and Sophie Beckett and will likely serve as inspiration for Season 3. The main eight are available for $62.99, saving fans about $30 by purchasing each book individually. At STYLECASTER our mission is to bring style to people and we only offer products that we think you will love as much as we do.


"I'm glad it's all behind us"

Star striker Kevin Durant said, "It's taking a long time... I'm glad it's all behind us." (Author: Gardener)

Kevin DurantMIAMI — Kyrie Irving is finally getting a chance to play home games at the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets couldn't be happier. New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday that the mandate for unvaccinated athletes and performers has been lifted, clearing the way for Irving, who has been unable to play in the city all season, to make his home debut against Sunday night Charlotte to give hornets. "It's a long time coming," said Nets star forward Kevin Durant. "It's an exciting time for Brooklyn Nets fans and New York fans to see one of us on the ground at home. It means a lot to our team, we're happy to have him back and look forward to ending the season strong. Afterward Irving said Wednesday how excited he was to speak to the media after the mandate was lifted and declined to comment to reporters after Friday's practice. Durant spoke to many within the organization and on Friday said he's glad not to have to deal with questions about Irving's decision, while acknowledging that the New York Yankees and New York Mets' push towards Adams and the City has helped the Nets get their star guard back on full-time to bring the ground. It is what it is," Durant said of how things have turned out this season. "But I'm not naïve to the fact that the Mets and the Yankees have a lot of power in our city. So sport is a big factor in a lot of these big cities and I'm glad we can get things done for everyone to move forward. I know the New York fans are excited about it. The saga surrounding Irving and his decision not to get vaccinated has hung over everything the Nets have done this season. Originally the organization decided ahead of the season that they didn't want him just as a part-time player, but reversed course after a COVID outbreak devastated the team in December, and welcomed Irving back on a part-time basis in early January. Irving, who turned 30 on Wednesday, wore a big smile as he left the FedEx Forum in Memphis, but Durant said there wasn't a big celebration within the team after Adams rescinded the mandate. "Kyrie has a pretty balanced mentality regardless of the situation," Durant said. He walked in and no change in feelings for him. I'm glad we don't have to talk about it anymore - it's good that we can fix something as big as this whole thing that's been floating around on our minds all year. Like many in the organization, Durant, who named Adams after a March 13 win against the New York Knicks, said he had hopes up after seeing reports last month suggesting there was a possibility that the mandate will be withdrawn, but has "stopped listening to the rumors and reports" in recent weeks as Irving's return faltered. "That's great for continuity," Durant said. "Great to know that when we get off the road we don't have to worry about adjusting our lineups or our game plans when Kyrie isn't around. Hopefully we'll get some more energy from our fan base on Sunday and help us with that W, so I'm looking forward to that." Nets coach Steve Nash had a similar sentiment, saying he's looking forward to getting his rotations to play in the postseason -Basketball The Nets come into their matchup Saturday against the Miami Heat in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with nine regular-season games remaining "It would be great if there was a lift," said Nash on the emotional boost Irving's full-time return could have: "For me, I'm really just interested in the time playing together, getting the opportunity to work and play regularly and finding some combos and rotations that work for us make sense to go to the playoffs.” Durant conceded that the situation is odd given the mandate is still in effect for many New Yorkers, but the Nets are opening up a hiatus due to Adam's decision regarding athletes and performers. "Everything is strange," Durant said. It's crazy that people lost their jobs because of a vaccine and people who stood by what they believed in waited that process out when – now they're fit to work. It's a strange situation. I think everyone's trying to figure it out as we go. I think we did a good job just trying to understand it all."


The busy Friday of Match Play is approaching and here are all 16 groups

Many scenarios remain open to players attempting to reach the Round of 16 in WGC matchplay (Author: Gardener)

FridayA hectic Friday is approaching in match play and here all 16 groups are in action Jon Rahm reacts to his putt on the 12th green on day two of the World Golf Championships - Dell Technologies Match Play. AUSTIN -- Golf's most exciting Friday is imminent, and while the WGC-Dell Match Play has given us plenty of drama through two days of group play - 15 of 32 matches went on the 18th on Thursday - almost everything is up for grabs on Friday , when the round-robin portion ends and players compete for spots in the 16-man knockout round. Only the group winners will make it through to the weekend, so let's take a quick look around the 16 groups, what happened, where things stand and what's in store for us on Friday. Group 1: Everyone was dying to see Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed on Friday, including us, and preferably 2-0. But this is match play, the most volatile event on the planet, so naturally Reed went 0-2 and is already eliminated. Rahm, however, looks invincible at 2-0 and now controls his own destiny; only a loss to Reed opens the door for Cameron Young and Sebastian Munoz. Group 2: Sergio Garcia's ridiculous comeback and even more ridiculous saving shot at 18 to steal a tie against Morikawa turned this group on its head: There are too many mind-bending scenarios here, so let's just leave it at the fact that Garcia and Morikawa are tied at the top of the group and have the inside lane on Friday. Group 3: Viktor Hovland is possessed! His first win was 1 advantage over fellow Euros Sepp Straka and on Thursday he edged out Cameron Tringale, going 2 and 1 by. Will Zalatoris delivered the hammer to Tringale on Wednesday but lost to Straka on day 4 and 2 meaning Hovland is in Fate Control mode. Win or draw and he's through. Group 4: This group is currently owned by Seamus Power. OK, not really, but Power was arguably the most dominant player in each group with two 5-4 wins and if he plays the 15th on Friday it will be his first time. Group 5: You'd be reluctant to finish fourth in a group that includes last year's runners-up Scottie Scheffler, matchplay legend Ian Poulter and former Ryder Cup favorite Tommy Fleetwood... The young Englishman is absolutely cursed in the Ryder Cup but rages here. He's already bludgeoned Fleetwood and Poulter and if he can complete the treble with a win over Scheffler on Friday it will be one of the truly surprising runs of the group stage era of the tournament. Group 6: All you need to know here is that Kevin Kisner is a certified matchplay killer and continues to track his MO of "being really annoying". On Thursday, he trailed Luke List at 14 with 2-down, leveled the match in two holes, made a clutch birdie putt at 16, and broke List's heart with a final yardage at 18 to steal it 1. Now Kisner faces Justin Thomas in a win-or-draw scenario, but Thomas and List are both alive when he falters. Group 7: This really, really seemed to be Xander Schauffele's group and it still could be, but after defeating Takumi Kanaya he was dueled by Lucas Herbert who is now 2-0 and controls his fate. Group 8: Will Dustin Johnson ever lose a match again? After becoming just the third player to win the Ryder Cup in the current format 5-0, he has won back-to-back Match Play and the wins have not been particularly close (3 and 2, 4 and 2). Max Homa could spoil his streak on Friday and catapult himself and Mackenzie Hughes into the playoff position, but at this point? Group 9: It's a battle of grizzled Brits: Richard Bland, 49, vs. If Bland wins, he's through. If Westwood wins, he has at least one playoff. Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau is eliminated because this happened on the 18th against Westwood: Group 10: This group was defined by Paul Casey, who retired twice and handed walkover wins to Alex Noren and Corey Conners because of a bad back, and both also have Louis beaten Osthuizen. All of this sets up a showdown between Noren and Conners on Friday and if you tell me Canada is close to Sweden... Group 11: One of the more stunning stats in this tournament is that Keegan Bradley now has 14 games without a win gone. The Spieth-Scott game is one of Friday's paper highlights, tied with Kisner-Thomas. Group 12: You already know Billy Horschel – he's now won seven straight games in Austin, counting last year's championship run, and he's barely breaking a sweat. That should change on Friday when Thomas Pieters, who was looking extremely good until his match surrender to Min Woo Lee, awaits a chance to force a playoff. Group 13: This is a somewhat boring group and it's good that the hottest figure, Tyrrell Hatton, is the man sitting 2-0 ahead of Friday's game against Daniel Berger. That's the one game we wanted to see with some stakes in play and Berger still has a tear. Group 14: Last man in the field, Maverick McNealy stunned Joaquin Niemann with an absolute punch on Wednesday, winning 8 and 6 in one of the most one-sided results ever at the event. He appeared to be idle against Kevin Na on Thursday, but for the second day in a row, Na reversed a 3-down deficit to end in a tie this time. All of that makes for a complicated Friday, but we give McNealy the advantage, who has the advantage of going 2-0 to Russell Henley, the only player in the group eliminated, and we suspect his motivation is quite is low. Group 15: Abraham Ancer lost a 1-1 lead to Brian Harman on Thursday's 18th hole and had to settle for a draw. But with a 1-0-1 record, he still has a slight advantage over the group when he meets Webb Simpson on Friday. Group 16: This is the Brooks Koepka group, after all, and we got what we wanted: a game between Koepka and Shane Lowry on Friday that will likely determine the group winner (although Harold Varner III isn't out yet). Cheer for Koepka if you want, but we have to advise you: win or lose, don't ask for his autograph.


"Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles gets a string arrangement for "Bridgerton" - How the cover came about

Music supervisor Justin Kamps reveals how a string arrangement of Harry Styles' Sign of the Times ended in Bridgerton season two. (Author: Gardener)

TimesHarry Styles just announced he's releasing an album in May, but superfans might not have to wait that long to hear a new version of Sign of the Times. A string arrangement of Styles' debut single, originally released in 2017, appears in the bubbly historical drama Bridgerton, which celebrates its second season on Netflix this Friday (March 25). "The recording has a couple of short pauses before it morphs into this beautiful big swell of strings at the end," reveals Justin Kamps, music supervisor for Bridgerton. "Sometimes it helps our editors to have stops and starts in the song to really land those dramatic revelations. All the waves and swirling chords are very conscious and building on that perfect moment.” The moment was a major coup for boutique publisher and record label Angry Mob Music, whose co-founder/executive producer/senior director of creative, Sean Harrison, along with Debra Delshad, Senior Director of Licensing and Dubbing, and composer and performer Steve Horner, worked closely to create the perfect dubbing for Bridgerton. The Angry Mob team was already in the process of creating a selection of instrumental covers when the first season of Bridgerton premiered - performed by the Los Angeles-based Vitamin String Quartet, these covers racked up over a billion streams in a matter of weeks. Hearing renditions of contemporary pop songs spurred Angry Mob into action, with Delshad and Kamps having pointed conversations about the Season 2 scenes of the series. "A lot of dancing, proms, parties, weddings," Delshad says of what Kamps has been able to share with her about the upcoming season. Delshad's proposals are based in no small part on the likelihood of the songs getting approved, taking into account the number of writers involved with the song, the publisher, and whether those involved are forward-thinking or lowest-dollar driven. "I also don't want to take anything away from an artist who has a song on the charts right now," she says. I had a feeling the Harry Styles camp would agree. If I had to yell and yell or beg and plead for a song, I wanted to do it for this one.” For his part, Harrison viewed the covers as an album project for which he believed continuity was key, and chose Horner as sole composer. Harrison, who comes from a musical background himself, is a natural communicator for what Delshad said was necessary, bringing selection to Horner and bridging the gap between creativity and synchronization. The result is the album "Parallel Lines" with eight tracks and cover versions for strings. For each potential cover, Horner first listens to the original's melody and imagines it being played on the cello. Horner says, "I think the cello is the leading role because it's such a rich instrument and it can have such a wide range. I could imagine the melody being played quite simply on a cello. If it felt awkward, I would pull up a cello sound, play it, and see how it sounded. We pick really iconic, big pop songs. We need to be able to feel the song with strings and no lyrics." For his cover of Sign of the Times, Horner used a combination of shorter sampled and longer played strings, played with a breath controller, so to speak, " blowing the notes instead of bowing them out". This is an organic and expressive way of creating the string versions in the box that have a lot of character. It goes perfectly with the Regency tones of "Bridgerton". “I always get sent over piece by piece when the songs are done so I can hear direction and say yes or no,” says Delshad. I want to get it in the mix early.' It felt like it had all the elements of what Justin needed." Kamps' initial reaction to the uncompleted version of Horner's "Sign of the Times" was, "Oh my God! I have to put that on the show.” A different song was used when the scene was filmed. But by the time it hit the post, showrunner Chris Van Dusen had heard the cover of "Sign of the Times" and loved it for that scene. Kamps: “It really is a dazzling arrangement. I was immediately drawn to the original Harry Styles song. When I heard how we use it on the show, that moment went through a lot of permutations, and I'm glad they ended up on this one. It ended up being a perfect song for the moment it's in.”