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Britney Spears Invited by Congress to Testify on Conservators

Britney Spears was invited by Congress to testify with her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, about her experiences while serving as a conservator. (Author: Gardener)

CongressThe pop star and her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, were invited by Congress to speak on guardianships and conservators. The reach from Capitol Hill follows Spears' most recent legal victory - the singer was freed from a 13-year conservatorship in November 2021. In a letter dated Dec. 1, 2021, the singer was approached by Congressmen Charlie Crist and Eric Swalwell, who congratulated the star and her attorney on their "historic victories." "It goes without saying that we have followed your Conservatorship closely and were delighted that you were able to both dismiss your father as a long-time Conservator in September and finally end your Conservatorship in November," Crist and Swalwell wrote. On Wednesday, Spears posted the letter to her Instagram, telling her followers that she received it months ago and was "instantly flattered" but not yet in the "healing phase" that she's in now. "I'm grateful my story was even recognized," the pop star wrote to her social media followers on Wednesday. "In a world where your own family is against you it's actually hard to find people who understand and show empathy!!!!" Spears continued on Instagram. Spears finished her caption, writing, "In the meantime, thank Congress for inviting me to the White House." A person close to the pop star told Variety that Spears and Rosengart have been officially invited by Congress to testify. In the letter, members of Congress noted that Spears was allegedly forced to work against her will while she was under guardianship — which Spears brought to the attention of the court when she testified in June 2021 and told Judge Brenda Penny she did was forced to perform when she didn't want to tour. Members of Congress also wrote that Spears was unable to choose her own attorney for the majority of her conservatorship. (After working with a court-appointed attorney for more than a decade, Spears won the right to seek her own counsel in the summer of 2021, about a month after she publicly testified about the "conservator abuse" she allegedly suffered, and she hired Rosengart.) "Many issues that are commonplace in the guardianship and guardianship process have been brought to light," the members of Congress wrote in their letter to Spears. "Particularly disturbing was the news that for years you were unable to hire your own lawyer to represent your personal and financial interests. “To that end,” the letter continues, “we wanted to personally invite you and your attorney to meet with us in Congress at a mutually convenient time to describe, in your own words, how you have achieved justice. Spears' conservatory ended after more than 13 years. In September, before the court ended it, Spears' father, Jamie Spears, was suspended from the conservatorship he had overseen since 2007, when his famous daughter was placed under the court-ordered injunction. This isn't the first time Spears has attracted the attention of politicians in hopes of using the pop star's story to change legislation. Before her conservatory was terminated when a documentary on Spears' story aired, the singer's conservatory battle caught the attention of House Republicans, who were seeking a hearing in the pop star's case. "In recent years there has been growing public concern about the use of guardianship rights to effectively deprive individuals of their personal liberties at the behest of others through the manipulation of the courts...perhaps the most striking example is the case of multi-platinum artist Britney Spears ,” Representatives Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan wrote in a March 8 letter to the House Judiciary Committee. (Last summer, Gaetz showed up at one of Spears' hearings in Los Angeles and punched her father outside the courthouse.) Over the past decade, but especially in the past year, Spears' story has attracted international interest and sparked debate at conservatories. Before her court battle and the #FreeBritney movement, most people didn't know what a conservatory was, but with Spears' worldwide fame, the public has been educated about conservatories - and the abuses - within the system. Currently, Spears' legal battle continues, with both sides arguing over finances.

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Tristan Thompson officially lifted from Indiana

The Indiana Pacers announced today that they will be without Tristan Thompson. The Pacers roster currently stands at 16. Tony East @ TEastNBA Pacers have officially waived center Tristan Thompson. (Author: Gardener)

ThompsonThe Indiana Pacers announced today that they will be without Tristan Thompson. The Pacers roster currently stands at 16. Source: NBA.com The Pacers have officially waived center Tristan Thompson. His 4 game, 9 day stint with the team is over. Veteran center Tristan Thompson scored a season-high 17 points in a Pacers win last night ... and what was his last game with the team. "Nice as hell for a night out, huh?" fieldhousefiles.substack.com/p/thompson-to-... - 10:32 a.m. Say what you will about Tristan Thompson's four-game stint with the #Pacers, but one thing's for sure : He will always be the first victory of a new era in Indiana. "Even though my time was short, I appreciated every minute of it." indystar.com/story/sports/n... - 9:51 am DeMar DeRozan is making NBA history - and Tristan Thompson is on his way to Chicago via @TheAthletic theathletic .com/3135088/2022/0... - 9:19am Tristan Thompson thanks the #Pacers on Instagram after his four-game stint: "Though my time was short, I appreciated every minute of it." Thompson steers up first place to #Bulls. pic.twitter.com/g9ErealypR - 1:10 am Rick Carlisle took the adage "You see something new in the NBA every day" to another level on Wednesday. Tristan Thompson will soon be a Bull, according to Pacers coach nbcsports.com/chicago /bulls/... - 11:43 p.m. Bulls win fifth straight finish, DeMar wipes Wilt from record books, Zach is back and Tristan Thompson is a Bull... all in one click... say it's not like that, Joe. Read it: chicago.suntimes.com/bulls/2022/2/1... - 11:18pm DeMar DeRozan on Tristan Thompson: "I've known Tristan for years. Great guy. championship experience. Got the greatest respect for him off the pitch. Obviously we all know what he brings to the pitch. Think it will be a great addition for us. Veteran leadership.” - 10:58pm My full exchange with Rick Carlisle, in which he shared that the Pacers would be giving up Tristan Thompson and joining the Bulls: pic.twitter.com/vXESRiuCk9 - 10:47pm NBA buyout- Signings With Tristan Thompson In Progress He was reportedly signed with the Chicago Bulls and DeAndre Bembry with the Milwaukee Bucks. Here are 8 other veterans who may soon be joining the free agent market: basketballnews.com/stories/here-a... - 10:44pm Billy Donovan has no comment on the Tristan addition.... For the #Cavs fans who were pondering the possibility of Tristan Thompson getting a buyout and returning to Cleveland, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said tonight that Thompson will be waived tomorrow to join the Chicago Bulls. Tristan Thompson Leads #Pacers To Victory Then Waivers To Join Bulls indystar.com/story/sports/n… via @indystar - 10:26pm Joe Cowley @JCowleyHoops Joe Cowley @JCowleyHoops Bulls signing Tristan Thompson ... that was fast ... investigation??? The Pacers are without Tristan Thompson. Once Thompson clears the waivers, he will sign with the Bulls, per @Shams Charania. pic.twitter.com/WLT3jpfg1d - 10:14 p.m. Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA Curious to see who the Bulls are going without to go for Tristan Thompson. Shams Charania @ShamsCharania The Indiana Pacers will be without center Tristan Thompson, says coach Rick Carlisle. Thompson will sign a new contract with the Chicago Bulls after clearing the waivers. Tristan Thompson will be waived by Rick Carlisle tomorrow. Tristan Thompson's last game with the Pacers was his best of the season. He'll be bought out and join the Chicago Bulls, says Rick Carlisle. Rick Carlsile says Tristan Thompson will be fired tomorrow. Finals: #Pacers 113, Wizards 108. Indiana ends its seven-game losing streak. Tyrese Haliburton with 21 points, 14 branches, 5 rebs and 4 TOs. Terry Taylor with 18 points and 9 reps. Tristan Thompson with 17 points in 8-on-9 shooting. Oshae Brissett with 17 points. By far the best game of Tristan Thompson's Pacer tenure. Nasty slam on a praise from Haliburton. Tyrese Haliburton just tossed an alley-oop DIME to Tristan Thompson for a one-handed jam. Didn't think Thompson could pull this off! End of 3Q: #Pacers 84, Wizards 76 Oshae Brissett with 13 points, Tristan Thompson 12th Half: #Pacers 56, Wizards 51 Washington closed on a 12-4 run. Tristan Thompson with 12 points and five rebounds. Tyrese Haliburton with eight points and four assists. Tyrese Haliburton with eight points and four assists. Pacers leads the Wizards 56-51 at the half, although he's in control most of the time. Tristan Thompson has 12 & 5, Brissett scored 11. Haliburton has 8-3-4. They outplayed the Wizards 40-14 in suit but missed 11 of 13 3s. Tristan Thompson exits. He's 6-for-6 after that and-1. Couldn't shoot the FT due to a lane violation at the #pacers. He still has 12 points in 10 minutes. Best Tristan Thompson stint/half as a pacer yet. 6/6, 12 points, 5 rebounds. Dominates the centerless lineups in Washington. Lance with a dime to Tristan Thompson and then Haliburton with a steal and slam on the next play. pacemaker roll. Tristan Thompson and Tyrese Haliburton have dunked after back-to-back possessions, to the delight of the crowd. Ish Smith just made a nice hustle trying to press charges against Tristan Thompson. Smith gave up 79 pounds of weight in this collision. Smith was called for the blocking foul. Tristan Thompson provided the spark off the bench with six points and four rebounds. #Pacers - 8:15pm #Pacers - 8:15pm #Pacers - 8:15pm #Pacers - 8:15pm Goga Bitadze has a late night scratch with a sore right foot. The Pacers' center rotation is credited to Jalen Smith and Tristan Thompson. Julia Poe: DeRozan on Signing Tristan Thompson: "Gave the utmost respect for him off the court. Front we all know what he brings to the pitch. I think this would be a great addition for us with what he can bring: experienced leadership, understanding of what it takes to win a championship." -via Twitter @byjuliapoe / February 17, 2022 Julia Poe: Billy Donovan said he couldn't confirm Rick Carlisle's testimony about signing Tristan Thompson with the Bulls -- and also jokingly declined to break any Indiana Pacers signings. – via Twitter @byjuliapoe / February 17, 2022 Draymond Green: Question… what if Tristan had a deal that made him money to announce the team he will be going to? And Carlisle wasted the money on him? I was fined for less. -via Twitter @Money23Green / February 17, 2022

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A chronicle of Bryan Harsin's first 14 months at Auburn Football, from hire to acquisition

Auburn announced Friday that Bryan Harsin would be retained following an internal investigation into the program regarding Harsin's first season as football coach. (Author: Gardener)

Bryan Harsin'sAuburn announced Friday that Bryan Harsin would be retained following an internal investigation into the program regarding Harsin's first season as football coach. Both Harsin and University President Jay Gogue released statements with the announcement. "I believe that every challenge in life is an opportunity to grow and learn," Harsin said in his statement. In order for us to get the Auburn program where we all want it, we must be committed at every level to each other and to this great university we all love.” BOOGER WEIGHT ON: ESPN's Booger McFarland manages Auburn's soccer coach Bryan Harsin PEARL ON HARSIN: Bruce Pearl shares the message for Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin following the inquest: "As a college, Auburn will always take the necessary actions to ensure the well-being of its students, faculty and staff," Gogue said in his statement. “Recently, individuals have raised concerns with my government about the football scheme. How did Auburn and Harsin get to this point? Dec. 13 (Reuters) - A day after Auburn finished its 2020 season 6-4, the university announced that Gus Malzahn had been fired as football coach. Dec. 23 - Auburn announced the hiring of Boise State coach Bryan Harsin to the same position. Harsin is the first coach hired to manage Auburn since Earl Brown in 1948 with no prior experience in Alabama or the SEC. The coach search ended after a 10-day period of rumors linking Auburn to then-defense coordinator Kevin Steele and then-Oregon coach Mario Cristobal, among other candidates. Dec. 24 - At his inaugural press conference, Harsin explained why he wanted to be Auburn's coach. "That's exactly why you want to play for Auburn University and it's exactly why you want to come to a place like this, because it's going to be challenging, it's going to be difficult," Harsin said. "It's going to be all the things you talk about, you read about, you see. That won't change. And that won't change from week to week. And you better be a guy who accepts and loves that. Jan . 1 - Auburn lost to Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl with Steele serving as acting head coach. Steele would not return to the program. The Tigers finished the 2020 season 6-5. Jan. 7 - Auburn named SEC veteran assistant Mike Bobo as the offensive player coordinator and former Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason as the defensive coordinator. Feb. 3 -- Harsin, who has been on the job for about six weeks, and his staff signed seven players in the February signing period to push Auburn's 2021 recruiting class into the top 20 of the 247Sports rankings. May 24 – LSU transfer quarterback TJ Finley signed to Auburn, giving the program an experienced option behind incumbent Bo Nix. September 25 - Finley, replacing an ineffective Nix, orchestrated a final comeback to beat Georgia State in an otherwise stunning g performance for Auburn. Nothing would start at LSU next week. 26 - Wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams was fired after four games. Oct. 2 — Auburn won 24-19 at LSU, the first win for the visiting Tigers at Baton Rouge since 1999. Oct. 30 — The Tigers won 31-20 against Ole Miss, bringing them to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. Three days later, Auburn was ranked 13th in the first College Football Playoff rankings. Nov. 13 - Auburn, suffering a loss at Texas A&M, gave up a 28-3 lead and lost at home to Mississippi State. Nix suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the second half. Nov. 20 - The Tigers gave up a 14-0 lead and lost in South Carolina. Nov. 27 - Against Alabama, Auburn gave up a 10-0 lead and a 97-yard touchdown drive in the final 1:35 to send the game into overtime. Nov. 29 - The school announced that offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will not return as offensive coordinator in 2022. December 5 - Auburn was selected to play Houston in the Birmingham Bowl. Dec. 12 - Longtime quarterback Nix entered the transfer portal. Nix later announced that he would be spending his final collegiate season in Oregon. A total of 19 Auburn players entered the transfer portal. Dec 15 - Harsin's first full class began the early signing phase in the top 15 of the 247Sports leaderboard. Dec. 18 - Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Austin Davis has been named as Auburn's new offensive coordinator. "He's learned and been around some of the best in the business and has been on an upward trajectory since joining the coaching ranks," Harsin said in a statement from the school. December 28 – Auburn lost to Houston in the Birmingham Bowl. The Tigers finished the 2021 season 6-7 on a five-game losing streak. Jan. 6 (Reuters) - Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada, who defeated both Alabama and Auburn in 2021, announced he is moving to Auburn. Jan. 7 - Defensive coach Nick Eason dropped seven linemen into the transfer portal after the season, and he, too, left Auburn to take the same job at his alma mater Clemson. Jan. 26 - Derek Mason left after a season as defense coordinator to take the same job at Oklahoma State. Jan. 31 - Davis resigned after 43 days on the job as Auburn's offensive coordinator, citing a desire to spend more time with family. Feb. 2 - Auburn did not sign a recruit during National Signing Day in February. Feb 4 — The advertiser reports that Harsin has created a "divisive culture" within the Auburn program that has alienated some players. Meanwhile, as the week progressed, current and former players either came out in defense of Harsin or criticized the Auburn coach on social media. Feb. 7 - Auburn released a statement pointing to an internal investigation into Harsin's first 13 months at the job. February 9 - Harsin returned from vacation and, according to multiple reports, met with university officials. February 10 - Harsin joined the 13 other SEC head football coaches in Birmingham for a league meeting as his future was still publicly up in the air. Feb. 11 - After a nearly two-week saga of conjecture and an internal university investigation, Auburn announced that Bryan Harsin would be retained.

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas says her mother had 'no hope' of her marriage before Nick Jonas

Priyanka Chopra Jonas' mother never thought she would get married let alone start a family, making 2022 an exciting time for her family. (Author: Gardener)

Priyanka Chopra JonasMoms are notorious for saying things that mean well but don't sound that supportive. Like back when Priyanka Chopra's mother, Jonas, Madhu Chopra said she had "no hope" her daughter would ever get married. Knowing that Chopra Jonas made it to the altar makes it easier to understand why her mother said that. Like most mothers, Madhu worries about her daughter. One concern she expressed was that Chopra would never marry Jonas. Even Chopra Jonas' grandmother agreed, citing the Quantico star's inability to cook. Chopra Jonas' mother also jumped in with career suggestions. After a successful Bollywood career in India, Chopra Jonas spread her wings and relocated to America to try and break into the world's most famous entertainment industry: Hollywood. Instead, Madhu insisted that her already hugely successful daughter start a production company to focus on an off-screen career, a backup plan of sorts. Well, Chopra Jonas does both. The Miss World 2000 winner has become a larger than life presence both on screen and at Purple Pebble Pictures, a production company she founded with Madhu. Vanity Fair interviewed Chopra Jonas, who shared insights into her plans for her production company. Purple Pebble Pictures is already producing hits. Chopra Jonas plans to use her recent achievements as a platform to empower others. Her recent deal with Amazon, likely made possible by her fan-favorite spy series Amazon's Citadel, will allow her to do "very hyper-specific storytelling." Chopra Jonas' mission is to showcase South Asian women's stories and help represent a culture not commonly seen in Hollywood. Chopra Jonas isn't the only Hollywood actor expanding into production. And there are many others, including Charlize Theron's Denver And Delilah Productions (Bombshell), Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Entertainment (Bessie), and Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine (Big Little Lies). With so much going on for Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas, fans have been left wondering if they're going to start a family since they got married in 2018. And Priyanka has also opened up about her mother's hopes for a grandchild in previous interviews. Priyanka is knee-deep in a variety of career endeavors, including developing Sheela and Citadel, making it seem impossible to plan for children. But if you've read the latest headlines, you already know the big news. A Jonas baby is already here! People shared the details of Priyanka and Nick welcoming their first baby via surrogate. "We are over the moon," the couple said of their new daughter, who was born on January 15, 2022. Chopra Jonas' mother must be proud. She may have expressed concerns about marriage, career paths, and grandchildren over the years. But Priyanka is clearly hitting home runs these days. Congratulations are certainly in order with the new baby. With a 20-year career spanning 50+ films, the cover of Vogue India 11 times and recent Hollywood success, she certainly deserves her mother's seal of approval. RELATED: Priyanka Chopra Jonas never knew she needed a home until she bought a house with Nick Jonas

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Roman Reigns and Goldberg trade barbs in front of the Elimination Chamber

Reigns and Goldberg rely on buzzwords and sports references to heat up their World Championship match (Author: Gardener)

GoldbergRoman Reigns and Bill Goldberg exchanged their final words on WWE SmackDown ahead of Saturday's Universal Championship clash at the Elimination Chamber event. This week's episode of SmackDown was pretaped as the roster headed out for the upcoming Saudi Arabia card later this week. The promotion was tasked with putting the finishing touches on drama to two major Elimination Chamber matches: Reigns vs. Goldberg, plus a tag team match between Ronda Rousey and Naomi vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville. The night's most anticipated matchup had serious implications for WrestleMania as Shinsuke Nakamura defended his Intercontinental crown against Sami Zayn. A face-to-face encounter between Reigns and Goldberg was hyped during the show and promoted as the closing segment of SmackDown. Queue Golberg, who made his branding appearance in the evening's closing promo. Reigns didn't appreciate Goldberg approaching him. Reigns dropped his signature catchphrase to open the segment, Goldberg closed the segment with a twist on the "Your Next" catchphrase, and that was closure. WWE did a wonderful job of building a rich storyline between Reigns and Seth Rollins in just a few short weeks. Props for promotion because they tried something different with their completion of Nakamura vs. Zayn but it felt abrupt and drained which turned into a fun title fight. * Contract Signing: Ronda Rousey agrees to wrestle Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville with one arm tied behind his back in a tag team match with Naomi. The segment ended with Rousey and Naomi attacking their opponents and flipping the table. * Ricochet def. Sheamus via pinfall after landing the recoil, doubling his wins after beating Ridge Holland last week. Sheamus pushed Holland to the mat after the match. Later that evening, Ricochet expressed that his future seems as bright as Sheamus' past. The news was announced by WWE on Friday morning. * Drew McIntyre cuts a fiery promo for Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin, promising to avenge the backstage assault they pulled off on WWE Day 1. * WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn defeated. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) via pinfall to win the Intercontinental Title. The match featured plenty of swing changes, including a pounding counterattack from Michinoku Driver by Sami Zayn and rattling headbutts from Nakamura. The match ended with a quick pinfall after Zayn brutally pinned Nakamura's knee against the ring post.

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Winners, grades, reaction and analysis as of February 18th

Less than 24 hours before their titanic clash for the Universal Championship at Elimination Chamber, Roman Reigns and Goldberg faced off in a blockbuster segment on WWE SmackDown... (Author: Gardener)

February 18thLess than 24 hours before their epic clash for the Universal Championship at Elimination Chamber, Roman Reigns and Goldberg faced off in a blockbuster segment of WWE SmackDown. The show capped off the premium live event hype with a map that also featured Sami Zayn challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental Championship and a signing with 2022 Royal Rumble winner Ronda Rousey whose side? Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville signing contractWWE Official Adam Pearce introduced SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, Sonya Deville, Naomi and Ronda Rousey to the Elimination Chamber prior to their contract signing for Saturday's Blockbuster Tag Team Match in the Elimination Chamber. Deville then revealed that Rousey will compete in her match with one arm tied behind her back after comments in a recent interview. Rousey, unfazed by the stipulation, tossed the contract to Flair and banged her head on the table. Heels exited the ring and babyfaces stood up to close out the segment. Short, sweet and to the point. This didn't live up to the tropes of contract signings where chaos reigned and someone walked through the table. Sure, the table was flipped on its heels, but it resisted the urge to go into chaos like we've seen in years past. Could you have taken back the bickering and mutual talking a little? Sure, but that served its purpose: cheering up the tag match and revealing the new condition. Whether it was wise to book Rousey's first match in nearly three years to have such a condition is a question that will be answered Saturday afternoon. Sheamus and Ricochet continued their seemingly never-ending rivalry, clashing in the singles competition in the night's opening competition. The One and Only threw himself through the air, trying to negate his opponent's strength advantage. Sheamus used his anger and power to defeat Ricochet and take control of the fight, but the Babyface's toughness kept him in the match. The Celtic Warrior delivered the Alabama Slam and Ricochet responded with a Spanish fly, neither could hold the other man down. As Sheamus set up for the brogue kick, his opponent caught him coming in and delivered the recoil for the upset win. After the match, a frustrated Sheamus Ridge pushed Holland onto the mat, teasing the disagreement between mentor and protégé. Ricochet and Sheamus aren't going to have a bad game. A fantastic match that highlighted each competitor's strengths and demonstrated their ability to steal the show even when they lacked creativity. The most interesting development, aside from Ricochet's newfound winning streak, was the allusion to a split between Sheamus and Holland. If things go that way, it's almost certainly a bad thing for the younger contender, who apparently still needs experience as an in-ring performer before he can really keep up with the contenders he's been paired with since his call up Ahead of their clash at Saturday's SmackDown Tag Team Championship in Jeddah, Jey Uso battled The Viking Raiders' Ivar, their respective partners, who accompanied them ringside. Ivar used his size and power advantage to overpower Uso, but a super kick to the heel held him back in the game. As talented as everyone involved, it was a formulaic match that only served as a reminder to fans that the tag titles are at stake tomorrow. Would it really have hurt that Ivar had won that match? Especially considering Jimmy defeated Erik so decisively two weeks earlier? It will be a steep climb to convince fans that the Viking Raiders have a chance of winning the gold, even if Saturday afternoon's match should be excellent. The tall man floating through the air, his index finger pointing to the sky in a callback to Jimmy's showboating from the previous encounter, was clever. Drew McIntyre on his match with Madcap Moss in the Elimination Chamber Before his Fall Count Anywhere with Madcap match in the Elimination Chamber, Drew McIntyre went to the ring and reminisced about his earlier days in New Orleans where he ended up in the back of a police car and whatnot . After promising a madcap mauling, Moss and Happy Corbin appeared and a verbal back-and-forth ensued. McIntyre had the final say, gesturing at Angela menacingly at his rivals, and the segment came to an end. This was certainly a segment that happened. McIntyre is a charismatic speaker and an engaging presence, but he didn't have much of note to say here. Ditto for Moss as the feud limps to a hopefully final conclusion on Saturday. Moss was an underrated in-ring performer for the company, and the match with McIntyre will likely be a contender for Best Elimination Match Chamber. The same cannot be said of the feud in its entirety. Sami Zayn earned the right to contend for the Intercontinental Championship by winning the 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet Match in December and Friday, finally getting the opportunity to face Shinsuke Nakamura for the title. Zayn controlled the commercial break, wearing down Nakamura while slowing the pace. The champion fought his way back into the match, but Zayn immediately stopped his momentum and propelled him to the mat with a Michinoku driver for a near fall. Outside, Nakamura charged at Zayn, only to crash knees first into the steel steps as the show went on to another commercial break. The Artist shook off the pain and prepared for Kinshasa, but Zayn dodged and defeated the champion. Nakamura returned the favor as the challenger was draped onto the ropes. Nakamura set up for Kinshasa once more, but Zayn balled himself to the ground and again aimed for his opponent's knee, repeatedly wrapping it around the ring post. Back in the ring, Zayn kicked Nakamura's leg out from under him and clinched the title with a rollup Fun, competitive, physical match that replaced raw athletics with psychology in the ring. Zayn's aim on the knee helped take away his opponent's most powerful weapon and resulted in a clever finish that might not have been explosive but was consistent with the story that went ahead. Nakamura deserved a bigger title reign than he received, but this was a reminder to the world that he had more to offer than a great theme song and a super charismatic sidekick. With that said, the title is in the right hands as Zayn is red hot and putting in some of the best work of his entire career. Universal Champion Roman Reigns urged New Orleans to recognize him, then urged Special Counsel Paul Heyman to celebrate him. Heyman went into hype mode and really put The Tribal Chief a step ahead of his championship defense against Goldberg on Saturday in Jeddah. Then the familiar drums of Goldberg's theme song exploded over the PA system and the Hall of Famers entered the arena to a thunderous ovation. Approaching Reigns, he exclaimed, "When it comes to the Universal Championship... I'm NEXT!" The show took off with a tense stare between the two. Like most Goldberg matches in this new century, this one was short and small. Heyman was great, Reigns was a star, and Goldberg still has an imposing presence. It's just unfortunate that a match fans have been waiting for since 2020 has been reduced to such an ineffective, uneventful final hype.

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Powerhouse Hobbs seeks breakout moment on 'Rampage'

The stakes are high for rising AEW star powerhouse Hobbs as he takes on Dante Martin on Friday night's Rampage. (Author: Gardener)

HobbsIn the world of professional wrestling, Will Hobbs is making a name for himself as the powerhouse Hobbs. But while Hobbs is a formidable force in the ring, his greatest strength is his wits. A product of East Palo Alto, California, Hobbs leveraged its athleticism through an exceptional work ethic. He's not a second or third generation artist, but someone who scraped his way out of a difficult neighborhood. Hobbs applies the lessons he learned from his grandparents and is now a rising star at AEW. "I grew up in the ghetto on government aid," says Hobbs, who wrestles Dante Martin on Friday night's Rampage. I do this for my brother, for my grandparents and for my children, but I also do this for my city. Raised under the watchful, loving eyes of his grandparents, Hobbs never had the opportunity as a child to get lost or break their rules. "I wouldn't be the person I am today without my grandparents," says Hobbs. "I had friends by the age of 12, was selling drugs, and was making good money. 31-year-old Hobbs is the father of three children. He grew up admiring his older brother, who was 13 years his senior. They shared an affinity for pro wrestling, and it was a common sight to see the two wrestle on the front lawn. From a young age, he sketched out their long-term plan - he would star in the ring while his brother would be the manager. Children often fantasize about their future, but Hobbs had the sense to follow through. He began his pro wrestling journey in 2009 but did so on his own. Hobbs shares his brother "got into the wrong crowd" and was fatally shot in 2010. "Wrestling was always in the house," says Hobbs. "My grandparents had moved from Mississippi to San Francisco, literally two blocks from Cow Palace, and they loved wrestling. "My brother used to play wrestling with me in the front yard. Unfortunately it didn't happen that way. But every time I step into that ring, I know he's with me. Hobbs has his family and hometown at heart and has brought a sharp mind to the pro wrestling industry. His rise as part of Team Taz where he has the benefit of learning from the great wrestling Taz is steady. While not the greatest talent, Taz was able to intimidate and showcase himself in a way few others in pro wrestling have. "Everyone in the group looks to Taz for mentoring," says Hobbs. "If we're wrong, he'll let us know. If we're right, he'll let us know too.” Team Taz also includes Ricky Starks, who has the potential to be the face of AEW one day, and Taz's son, the hugely popular Hook. "Team Taz is like a pot of gumbo — we all add these different flavors to the group," says Hobbs. I heard people call it Hookamania. The stakes are high in Hobbs' Rampage match against wrestling prodigy Dante Martin - the winner will be added to the Face of the Revolution ladder match at next month's Revolution pay-per-view. In search of his breakthrough, this is the opportunity Hobbs was looking for. "I don't take this opportunity lightly," says Hobbs. "So I'm going to grab every opportunity I get by the throat and make the most of it." If he's victorious against Martin, Hobbs will have a chance to capitalize on his biggest opportunity in PPV yet. "This is my chance, this will be me," says Hobbs. "So people are going to see Dante Martin on Rampage in a world of pain." From East Palo Alto to AEW, Hobbs is proud of his travels - but quick to remind him that he has much more to achieve. "To achieve your goals, you have to prove it to everyone, especially to yourself," says Hobbs. That's why I put it all out here. "My goal is to be the best. There's nobody like Powerhouse Hobbs, and every time you see me, I want everyone to remember who I am.” • Bianca Belair has her eyes on Becky Lynch, 'WrestleMania' rerun • Questions & Answers : Amy "Lita" Dumas on her return to the ring to face Becky Lynch • Retro style, family legacy make Cameron Grimes a future WWE star

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Winners, grades, reactions and highlights from February 18th

This week's show featured the AEW in-ring debut of The Bullet Club's Jay White. To keep the feud between Best Friends and The Elite alive, White fought Trent Beretta... (Author: Gardener)

February 18thThis week's show featured the AEW in-ring debut of The Bullet Club's Jay White. To keep the feud between Best Friends and The Elite alive, White fought Trent Beretta. The 10 from The Dark Order also found themselves in the crosshairs of The Elite this week as he stepped into the ring with Adam Cole. Powerhouse Hobbs took on Dante Martin and Serena Deeb held another 5 minute rookie challenge to see if anyone could beat The Professor. Following Wednesday's clash between the Elite and Dark Order, Preston "10" Vance took on Cole in the opening match of this week's show. Vance pushed Cole down after they were first locked in, causing Cole to put a headlock on him. He attempted to knock down 10 with a running shoulder, but he quickly found he wasn't of the size to make an impact. Cole missed a pump kick and 10 sent him head over heels with a German suplex. He held Cole up for a long time before dropping him with a vertical suplex for a two count. Cole kicked his injured knee, knocking him out of the ring so he could use the steel steps to do more damage to the leg. Vance attempted a comeback but his leg gave out and Cole took him down with a pump kick. He placed Cole with a spinebuster and attempted a full nelson, but Cole countered and hit a backstabber for a two count. They had a few more tight decisions before Cole executed a low blow behind the referee's back. He hit a few kicks followed by a running knee to claim the win. Vance hasn't had a big match on TV in what feels like a couple of months, so it was nice to see he got the chance to show what he could do against such a high-profile guy as Cole. One of the nice things about AEW is that most of the time the games still feel competitive, even when you know who's going to win based on the competitors involved. Squash matches are used for specific people, but it's not that common in AEW. This was Vance's strongest performance in months and Cole was generous with his sales to make him look his best. This was just a good, fun match from start to finish. Not wanting to wait for the bell, Hobbs crushed Martin in the corner. The referee parried him and when he tried again Martin hopped onto the apron and kicked in a couple of times. He hit a springboard dropkick followed by a standing dropkick that sent Powerhouse out of the ring. Hobbs prevented him from hitting a diving board and dropped him over the top rope. He caught a run-up and sent Martin through the air with a body check. He retrieved Martin and threw him back in the ring the hard way. We came back from a break and saw that Hobbs was still controlling the pace. Martin attempted a comeback with a series of kicks and uppercuts, but a clothesline from Hobbs put him back on the mat. Martin sent Hobbs out of the ring and hit a giant springboard corkscrew to knock him down. Hobbs recovered and hit a spinebuster out of nowhere for the win. Every time AEW gives Martin a chance to shine, he knocks her out of the park. He's one of those people who seems to have a secret knowledge that allows him to defy gravity. However, Hobbs looked just as good in this match. It would have been nice to see Darius back with Dante, but AEW might save his return for a big moment. Deeb's rookie challenge this week involved a woman named Angelica Risk. As usual, the professor looked extremely confident as she walked to the ring. She and Risk traded hammerlocks before she took the newcomer down from behind and stepped on her back to show her disrespect. Deeb turned and let Risk put him in a full nelson, but Deeb easily countered and kicked the young woman's face with her boot. She hit a nice powerbomb before blocking Risk in a submission for a quick win. While this match still barely lasted over two minutes, it had a lot more going for it than Deeb's previous rookie challenge. Using squashed for an established wrestler is almost never a good strategy, but somehow it works with Deeb's current Professor gimmick. White and Beretta wrapped up after a little trash talk. Beretta pushed him back into the corner, but White cornered him and slammed him to the mat. Beretta was able to regain his balance and cornered White for a few punches. White regained control as they took the fight out of the ring, but he didn't have it for long. Beretta sends him out of the ring and knocks him down with a springboard moonsault, which almost does more damage than White. Orange Cassidy paced the ring as Beretta continued to pound White left and right. White hit him in the face with a big knee to stop him. He grabbed Beretta and threw him into a ringside chair with a suplex that broke him in half. Beretta managed to counter White's finisher and hit a running knee, but he couldn't hold it down for the pin. White hit Blade Runner after a long back and forth to claim the win. The history between so many people who have worked together at WWE and NJPW has helped AEW quickly build storylines by drawing on that background so matches like this hold more weight for them than if AEW ignored all of those previous encounters . As expected, White looked great in his AEW in-ring debut. He and Beretta worked well together to create a fun exchange. Booking this show with Cole and White Siegen makes The Elite look as strong as ever.

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AEW Rampage Results (2/18) – White vs Beretta, Hobbs vs Dante, AdamCole

Tonight's episode has a special early start time: 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT. (Author: Gardener)

BerettaAgain, our live coverage of AEW Rampage begins at an extra early start time: 7:00 p.m. ET. 10 overwhelms Cole early and brings him down with a shoulder block. Cole goes deep and bakes a 10 in the corner. 10 flips it over and corners Cole for some strikes of his own. 10 defeats Cole with a big German suplex. https://t.co/mO73rZmDP9 10 Cole mounts in the corner for some punches. Cole falls to the ground to escape. Cole exits the ring and wraps 10's leg around the ring post. Back in the ring, Cole hits a reverse neckbreaker. Cole goes for a suplex, but 10 overwhelms him with a delayed vertical suplex. Cole kicks 10's leg to regain control. Cole throws a 10 outside the ring. Cole slams him against the steel ring steps. Cole rolls a 10 back into the ring. Cole wraps the 10 knee around the middle rope. 10 hits a forearm to escape but is unable to continue because he is prevented by his bad knee. Cole hits a pump kick as we go into picture-in-picture pause. Back from the break, 10 put some strikes on Cole. Clotheslines do Cole. Cole morphs into a backstabber for a 2 count. Cole goes to the second rope. 10 hits a discussion lariat and that gets a 2 count. 10 throws Cole in the corner. Cole climbs back to the second rope. Cole rolls it up for a 2 count. Cole corners into a rollup and 10 has to let go of the hold to get out of the pinning attempt. 10 goes again for the full nelson. 10 goes again for the full nelson. This time, Cole corners referee Aubrey Edwards and hits a low blow she couldn't see. Cole hits The Boom and that gets the pin.. @adamcolepro sneaks into the low blow on @pres10vance en route to victory! https://t.co/kBqqNRA75z Summary of CM Punk's announcement Wednesday night that he will face MJF in a dog collar match at the Revolution pay-per-view. Face of the Revolution Leaderboard Match Qualifier: Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Face of the Revolution Leaderboard Match Qualifier: Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Hobbs attacks and kicks Martin in the corner before the bell rings. After the bell rings, Hobbs charges into a kick from Martin. Martin jumps right back into Hobbs' holds, but elbows out and dropkicks an outside Hobbs. Martin jumps onto the top rope for a jump, but Hobbs pushes him off. Hobbs hangs Martin over the top rope and knocks him to the ground. Hobbs exits the ring and throws Martin into the ringside barricade. Hobbs spontaneously throws Martin into the ring between the top and middle ropes. A huge throw from Hobbs sends Martin across the ring. Hobbs throws Martin over the ring again as we go to the picture-in-picture break. https://t.co/lg9wnxHx9i Back from the break, Hobbs has Martin in a bear hug. Martin escapes into a corner and lands a few punches. A hard clothesline from Hobbs ends the rally and gets a 2 count. Hobbs kneels down on Martin. He pulls down his knee pads and attempts another knee, but Martin moves and Hobbs misses. A clothesline from Martin has little effect. A European uppercut springboard brings down Hobbs. Hobbs rolls outside. Martin follows Hobbs with a Springboard Twisting Splash.. @lucha_angel1 takes off and takes out #PowerhouseHobbs! Watch #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @TNTdrama now! Watch #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @TNTdrama now! https://t.co/LCPiZIAEuC Martin rolls Hobbs back into the ring. Martin climbs to the top rope and hits a rocket dropkick for a 2 count. Hobbs hits Martin with a spinebuster and Martin gets the pin. https://t.co/XoKvuZGJ7a Hobbs qualifies for the Face of the Revolution ladder match. Backstage with TBS Champion Jade Cargill. Mark Sterling agrees to a match next week. reigning TBS champion @Jade_Cargill next week! Tune in NOW for #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @tntdrama https://t.co/euSXZjCVLZ Deeb defeats Risk again and grinds her boot on Risk's head. Deeb attacks Risk in the corner with a clothesline. Deeb covers Risk but pulls her up before the ref can finish the count. Deeb lands a European uppercut and follows up with a powerbomb. He wants to know why Jay White attacked Trent Beretta. White says he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. White admits that maybe not everyone knows who he is, but Beretta knows who he is. Beretta welcomes White to AEW, saying he'll "bang the forbidden door in your perverted knife face." AEW Dynamite: Tag Team Battle Royale Wednesday for a spot in the 3-Way AEW Tag Title Match at Revolution Excalibur also announces two new title matches for Revolution: White takes control early and corners Beretta. White counters a whip into the corner but charges into an elbow. Beretta hits White with another elbow and hits him in the corners with a couple of punches. Beretta lands an overhead throw. White rolls to the ring apron. Beretta grabs White by the hair, but White pulls Beretta over the top rope. White rams Beretta into the ringside barrier and the side of the ring. Beretta converted a whip from White to his own and that sent White into the ringside barrier. White counters a Beretta whip into the barricade, but Beretta charges back with a clothesline, sending White back in the ring. White is against the ropes and lures Beretta for a side suplex over the top rope. Beretta hits the ring apron as he falls to the arena floor. @JayWhiteNZ just throws @trentylocks over the top rope, straight onto the apron! Tune in to #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @TNTDrama now! Tune in to #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @TNTDrama now! Tune in to #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @TNTDrama now! Tune in to #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on @TNTDrama now! https://t.co/Bxp3Ok86V8 This brings us to the picture-in-picture break. Back from the break, White is in control and pounding Beretta in the ribs. Beretta eventually escapes by pulling White into the second turnbuckle. White rolls to the ground. Beretta follows with an Asai Moonsault on White. Beretta also caught a lot of ground in the process. He lands a flying back elbow in the corner. White catches Beretta with a flatliner. White follows with a German suplex. White charges in the corner and misses. Beretta hits a Tornado DDT for a 2 count. Beretta hammers white with some forearms. White covers and gets a break. But Beretta follows up with a dropkick that sends White down. Beretta charges for a javelin, hitting White with a knee. White puts Beretta in an open folding chair on the floor. White rolls Beretta into the ring. White rolls Beretta into the ring. White lands a uranage for a 2 count. White grabs Beretta from behind. Beretta elbows out and lands a backdrop driver. Beretta charges straight into a bladerunner attempt, but Beretta escapes into a half-and-half suplex. Beretta hits a running knee and that gets a 2 count. @trentylocks on #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK! Tune in @TNTDrama now! https://t.co/z17Guqxn8A Beretta tries to get White on Strong Zero but his back gives out. White and Beretta trade forearms in the middle of the ring. White appears to be taunting Beretta, but Beretta finishes with a big clothesline. Beretta hits a modified pile driver for a near fall. White gets a reversal out of nowhere and hits the bladerunner for the pin. #Switchblade @JayWhiteNZ Takes Victory in the #AEWRampage SLAM DUNK on TNT Tonight! https://t.co/Unu8f51cIk White stands above Beretta post-match and takes on Orange Cassidy post-match. White decides to roll out of the ring and walks away instead of letting things escalate further.

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Congress sends Biden spending bill to avert government shutdown

Lawmakers weren't panicking just yet, but Congress was scrambling to reach a bipartisan agreement to avert a government shutdown before funding expires Friday night. (Author: Gardener)

CongressWASHINGTON -- The Senate passed short-term spending legislation Thursday night to prevent a government shutdown that was due to take place on Saturday if Congress doesn't act. Senators voted 65-27 to pass the funding measure that will keep the government running through March 11. The House of Representatives last week passed the short-term bill known as the rolling resolution by a vote of 272 to 162. President Joe Biden signed the measure on Friday. Senate leaders from both parties said repeatedly this week there was no real risk of a shutdown. But a quartet of GOP senators had delayed the bill's quick passage by calling for votes on key Conservative priorities. That infuriated senior Democrats, who warned that partisan internal fighting had sent the wrong message to the world community -- and to Russian President Vladimir Putin -- at a critical moment when U is at the helm. Everyone has the right to represent any kind of political point of view for any group. S. Senators! War is breaking out in Ukraine!” Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., thundered in the Senate on Thursday. "What we're saying is that we're going to start building in all of these things to slow down an ongoing resolution so the United States government can close tomorrow night." Three or four people can go to their Senate floor and shut down the government.'” The four GOP issues delaying passage of the funding bill were all national in nature. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wanted a vote on a bill -- also supported by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. — to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from funding crack pipe distribution. Biden administration officials say a $30 million HHS program to fight substance use and the overdose epidemic isn't paying out crack pipes. Rubio took the floor Thursday to try to pass the crack pipes legislation by a simple vote, but Democrats protested. Democrats also rejected three amendments offered by conservative Republicans. The first, by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., would have required the government to balance its budget each year. Two other amendments focused on Covid-19 mandates. Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, called for a vote to remove funding for enforcement of all remaining federal vaccine mandates, while Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held an amendment to vote to block funding for schools and child care centers, where children must receive Covid-19 vaccines. “President Biden's vaccination mandates are illegal. And they're abusive," said Cruz, a former Texas attorney general who spearheaded the 2013 government shutdown in an unsuccessful attempt to undermine Obamacare. "We see petty authoritarians saying, 'Mom, you have no right to decide whether or not your 5-year-old, your 6-year-old, your 7-year-old gets this vaccine,'" he added. The delay was due in part to some Senate absences. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also took care of a family issue. Because of this lack of lawmakers, Democrats feared some of the GOP amendments could pass in the 50-50 Senate, where the party has no room for maneuver. So Democratic leaders paused and waited until a handful of GOP senators left town on Thursday night to ensure Democrats had just enough votes to push back the GOP proposals. The Lee amendment fell by just one vote, 46 to 47, while the Cruz amendment fell by 44 to 49. For the total spending bill, all 27 votes against the measure came from Republicans. Immediately after Thursday's vote, about a dozen senators rushed to catch a flight to the Munich Security Conference, which begins Friday and is likely to center on the escalation of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

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