2024 NBA picks, January 15 predictions from proven model

We’ve got another exciting Eastern Conference matchup on the NBA on MLK Day schedule as the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat are set to tip at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center. Brooklyn is 16-22 overall and 10-9 at home, while Miami is 23-16 overall and 11-9 on the road. The Nets have dominated this series recently, winning six of the last seven meetings against the Heat.

The Nets are favored by 2 points in the latest Nets vs. Heat odds, and the over/under is 219 points. Before entering any Heat vs. Nets picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the advanced computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 12 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 112-62 roll on all top-rated NBA picks dating back to last season, returning well over $4,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Miami vs. Brooklyn. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA betting lines for the game:

Nets vs. Heat spread: Nets -2
Nets vs. Heat over/under: 219 points
Nets vs. Heat money line: Nets: -132, Heat: +111
Nets vs. Heat picks: See picks here
What you need to know about the Nets
Last Thursday, Brooklyn couldn’t handle Cleveland and fell 111-102. The Nets have not had much luck with the Cavaliers recently, as the team’s come up short the last three times they’ve met. The Nets struggled to work together and finished the game with only 18 assists. That’s the fewest assists they’ve managed all season.

Despite the setback, the Nets will enter Monday’s matchup confident they can secure the victory. That’s because Brooklyn is 6-1 in its last seven meetings against Miami. The Nets are led offensively by Mikal Bridges, who’s averaging 21.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

What you need to know about the Heat
Meanwhile, winning is just a little bit easier when you work as a team to post 10 more assists than your opponent, a fact the Heat proved on Sunday. They strolled past Charlotte with points to spare, taking the game 104-87. The win made it back-to-back wins for the Heat.

The Heat’s win was the result of several impressive offensive performances. One of the most notable came from Bam Adebayo, who dropped a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Adebayo has been hot recently, having posted 10 or more rebounds the last five times he’s played. For the season, Adebayo is averaging 22.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

How to make Nets vs. Heat picks
The model has simulated Nets vs. Heat 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Over, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in over 50% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Pat McAfee returns to beat The Miz with help of 49ers star George Kittle

Since the first WrestleMania, the annual supershow is known for surprises and plenty of celebrity appearances. The tradition continued on Saturday night at Night 1 of WrestleMania 39 when San Francisco 49ers superstar tight end George Kittle helped Pat McAfee to beat The Miz in an impromptu match.

Miz, who had hosting duties for the two-night event at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, was in the ring with Snoop Dogg to announce the night’s official attendance when Snoop told Miz the night would be better if Miz had a match.

This led to the surprise return of former WWE commentary member McAfee, who was also a punter in the NFL. McAfee challenged Miz to a match, which was eventually made official.

After McAfee got the upper hand, Miz attempted to walk away from the match. As he left ringside, Miz walked past Kittle, who booed the WWE superstar and received a shove in return.

The duo of @PatMcAfeeShow & @gkittle46 just took down @mikethemiz at #WrestleMania!!! pic.twitter.com/BsMmOsZBfL

— WWE (@WWE) April 2, 2023
Kittle quickly unzipped his jacket and jumped the ringside barricade before delivering a clothesline to Miz as McAfee distracted the referee.

After a big swanton from McAfee from the top rope to Miz at ringside, Miz was tossed back in the ring for the finish, after which Kittle and McAfee celebrated together in front of the rabid SoFi crowd.

2023 WWE WrestleMania 39 card, date, matches, Night 1 and Night 2 match card, rumors, start time, predictions

WWE’s biggest annual event returns to Hollywood for WrestleMania 39. A marquee match between undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns and Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes will headline the events from SoFi Stadium over two days in Inglewood, California on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2.

Rhodes punched his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania by winning the Royal Rumble and now is one match away from completing his promise to “finish the story” and win the world title that eluded his legendary father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Reigns, meanwhile, has held the universal championship since August 2020 and unified the belt with the WWE championship at last year’s WrestleMania.

There are five other matches set for the second night of the incredible spectacle in Hollywood. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair looks to extend her title reign when she welcomes her latest challenger in Asuka. Intercontinental champion GUNTHER is set to put his title on the line — along with his lengthy title reign — when he takes on the best friends of Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in a triple threat match. And Edge and Finn Balor look to end their bitter rivalry when they meet inside Hell in a Cell.

Take a look below at the confirmed matches for the 2023 WrestleMania 39, both Night 1 and Night 2. And don’t miss our WrestleMania 39 predictions for Night 2.

2023 WWE WrestleMania 39 card
Night 1
United States Championship — Austin Theory (c) vs. John Cena: A match between Theory and Cena has been discussed since Theory was on the independent scene. So, when Cena was set to appear on Raw ahead of WrestleMania, it seemed a no-brainer what the end result of that all would be. Indeed, Theory confronted Cena and laid out the challenge, which Cena refused before running Theory down on the microphone, saying Theory was not ready for that level of competition. By the end of the segment, Cena agreed to the match but to please the fans, not to give Theory what he wanted.

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley: Ripley was the frontrunner to win the women’s Royal Rumble match and did just that. Entering at No. 1, Ripley set the record for the longest performance in a traditional women’s Rumble match en route to winning the bout. Ripley officially challenged SmackDown women’s champion Flair the following evening over a match against Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair.

Undisputed Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens: Zayn and Owens have had their own issues with The Bloodline. Jey Uso stood by Zayn after Zayn’s falling out with the group but eventually turned on his best friend, berating him for thinking he would choose a friend over family. Zayn spent weeks trying to reunite with Owens before the longtime friends finally hugged it out. As expected, that reunion will lead to Zayn and Owens trying to finally get one over on The Bloodline by taking the tag titles from The Usos at WrestleMania.

Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul: Celebrity appearances have been tied to the fabric of WrestleMania since its inception. Paul has emerged as one of the most athletically brilliant celebrity crossovers in professional wrestling. His match against Reigns at Crown Jewel received rave reviews. Certainly, Reigns did the heavy lifting, but Paul over-delivered on his part. Paul returned from injury as a surprise entrant in the men’s Royal Rumble match and eliminated Rollins. Then, as Rollins was one of the last two men standing in the Elimination Chamber, Paul interfered, taking out Rollins and allowing Austin Theory to retain his United States championship. Paul has knocked out Rollins with a single punch multiple times, playing up his prowess as a boxer.

Becky Lynch, Lita & Trish Stratus vs. Damage CTRL: Lynch’s issues with Damage CTRL have been going for quite some time. Lita made her return to WWE to help Lynch defeat Bayley in a steel cage match, which led to the pair teaming to battle Dakota Kai and IYO SKY for the women’s tag titles. Lynch and Lita managed to take the belts with the help of a returning Stratus. This led to the expected challenge for a six-woman tag at WrestleMania, which Damage CTRL was quick to accept.

Dominik Mysterio vs. Rey Mysterio: After a long build that has seen Rey leave Raw for SmackDown to get away from his son, Dominik finally made an official challenge for a match at WrestleMania. Rey declined, leading to Dominik insulting him. While Rey insists he will never wrestle his son, Dominik pushed him over the edge by disrespecting Rey’s wife and daughter ringside. Rey smacked Dominik on the March 24 episode of SmackDown and accepted his challenge for WrestleMania.

Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy vs. Viking Raiders (Men’s Showcase): A special four-team match was announced for the card, giving some roster staples a chance to showcase their skills on the biggest stage in wrestling.

Night 2
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes: Rhodes returned at the Royal Rumble following a seven-month absence to heal a completely torn pectoral muscle. Rhodes entered the eponymous match at No. 30 and eliminated GUNTHER to punch his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania. Reigns and Rhodes have since engaged in a long series of mind games, as well as Rhodes picking up a big win over Solo Sikoa, ending Sikoa’s undefeated streak since joining The Bloodline on the main roster.

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka: Ripley’s decision to challenge Flair left Belair without a match at WrestleMania. Authority figure Adam Pearce announced that an Elimination Chamber match would determine the No. 1 contender for Belair’s Raw women’s championship at WrestleMania. Asuka was able to outlast Liv Morgan, Carmella, Raquel Rodriguez, Nikki Cross and Natalya to punch her ticket to WrestleMania.

Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre: McIntyre and Sheamus battled on SmackDown with the winner punching his ticket to a match with Gunther at WrestleMania. Imperium attacked both men during the match, which led to a disqualification with no clear winner. As a consequence, both men were named challengers for the title at WrestleMania. Sheamus and Gunther have already had a series of great matches.

Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell in a Cell): Edge and Balor have been engaged in a heated feud since Balor turned on Edge and took over The Judgement Day. After winning their “I Quit” match by threatening to have Rhea Ripley deliver a Con-Chair-To to Beth Phoenix, Balor seemed to have gotten the better of his rival. Phoenix and Edge came back to win a mixed tag match against Balor and Ripley at Elimination Chamber. Now the two men meet one more time, this time on the biggest stage in wrestling and inside Hell in a Cell. Adding more fuel to bout, Balor has indicated he will enter the match in full “Demon” persona.

Brock Lesnar vs. Omos: Despite not truly settling things with Bobby Lashley at Elimination Chamber, Lesnar was quickly shuffled into a new program when MVP laid out a challenge for Lesnar to face the towering Omos at WrestleMania. Lesnar appeared on Raw, asking MVP to sell him on the match, which MVP did to Lesnar’s satisfaction. After being surprisingly cordial, Lesnar did eventually hit MVP with the F5 after MVP accidentally spit moonshine in his face as they toasted to celebrate the newly official bout. Omos has gotten the better of every physical confrontation between the two giants to date.

Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Bazler vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville (Women’s Showcase): It was announced on the March 17 episode of SmackDown that a fatal four-way tag team WrestleMania showcase match would take place. Mogan and Rodriguez were the first to qualify by beating Emma and Tegan Knox. Natalya and Shotzi qualified by beating Xia Li and Lacey Evans; meanwhile, Rousey and Bazler were given free entry into the match. Green and Deville qualified on the final pre-WrestleMania Raw by beating Michin and Candice LeRae.

2023 WWE WrestleMania 39 live stream, start time, matches, card, how to watch online, viewing information

The biggest spectacle in sports entertainment touches down in Los Angeles. WWE WrestleMania 39 takes place over the weekend with a star-studded card featuring some of the hottest storylines in professional wrestling.

One of the most anticipated matches in recent memory headlines WrestleMania 39. Dominant, record-breaking champion Roman Reigns defends his undisputed WWE universal championship against Cody Rhodes to close out the weekend. The main event has even more interesting pieces now that The Usos have dropped the undisputed tag team titles to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.

Rhodes punched his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania by winning the Royal Rumble and now is one match away from completing his promise to “finish the story” and win the world title that eluded his legendary father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Reigns, meanwhile, has held the universal championship since August 2020 and unified the belt with the WWE championship at last year’s WrestleMania.

There are five other matches set for the second night of the incredible spectacle in Hollywood. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair looks to extend her title reign when she welcomes her latest challenger in Asuka. Intercontinental champion GUNTHER is set to put his title on the line — along with his lengthy title reign — when he takes on the best friends of Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in a triple threat match. And Edge and Finn Balor look to end their bitter rivalry when they meet inside Hell in a Cell.

Here’s how you can catch all the action on Sunday night.

Watch 2023 WWE WrestleMania 39 Night 2
Date: Sunday, April 2
Location: SoFi Stadium — Los Angeles
Start time: 8 p.m. ET (kickoff show starts at 7 p.m.)
Watch live: Peacock

2023 WWE WrestleMania 39 Night 2 match card
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes
Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka
Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell in a Cell)
Brock Lesnar vs. Omos
Liz Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville (women’s showcase)

2023 WWE WrestleMania 39 Night 2 predictions, card, PPV preview, matches, start time, date, location

While there is always excitement heading into WrestleMania, the second night of this weekend’s WrestleMania 39 has a little something extra. Roman Reigns’ record-breaking run as champion appears in more danger than ever before as he heads into battle against Cody Rhodes.

Reigns has held one half of his undisputed titles — the universal championship — since August 2020. He has bested some of the top superstars in the promotion, including Edge, Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, John Cena, Rey Msyterio, Brock Lesnar and more. He unified the universal title with the WWE championship at WrestleMania 38 when he beat Lesnar. Now, he takes on a hungry challenger in Rhodes, who enters as one of the hottest stars in all of wrestling.

There are five other matches set for the second night of the incredible spectacle in Hollywood. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair looks to extend her title reign when she welcomes her latest challenger in Asuka. Intercontinental champion GUNTHER is set to put his title on the line — along with his lengthy title reign — when he takes on the best friends of Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in a triple threat match. And Edge and Finn Balor look to end their bitter rivalry when they meet inside Hell in a Cell.

Let’s take a look at who the CBS Sports wrestling experts expect to pick up wins at Night 2 of WrestleMania 39.

WrestleMania 39 Night 2 predictions
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes

There is no real choice for WWE but to put the title on Rhodes here. It’s rare to have one babyface challenger that is red-hot with the fans and positioned perfectly to become champion. WWE managed to get two men in that position with Rhodes and Sami Zayn. Understandably, WWE did not put the belts on Zayn in the final pre-WrestleMania pay-per-view, but that decision was deflating for many fans. If they now don’t pounce with Rhodes, completing the story of his return to WWE, they will alienate fans while also likely never again having a moment so “right” to take the belts off of Reigns. Pick: Cody Rhodes wins the titles — Brent Brookhouse

It’s time for WWE to pull the trigger on Reigns’ title loss. There are too many sign pointing to Rhodes’ crowning moment. Rhodes has quickly established himself as one of WWE’s top stars, has crossover interest of the AEW audience, quickly became a top merchandise-seller and is red hot with momentum. WWE passed on giving Zayn the title and there’s not much room to press forward with Reigns. You could build to a Reigns vs. Jey Uso match; however, the Thunderdome-era story requires a lot of time to retell and Reigns appearances are infrequent enough as it is. The responsible choice is to give Rhodes a memorable WrestleMania moment to send the crowd home happy. Pick: Cody Rhodes wins the titles — Shakiel Mahjouri

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka

WWE has really dropped the ball with the introduction of Asuka’s darker side. The video package they presented on the Raw before WrestleMania was really good but too little, too late. Asuka has generally been presented more as a cartoonish villain than an unhinged killer. It’s a shame because this character could have been very refreshing as a heel champion. Pair that with the fact that Belair is a reliable champion and Rhea Ripley — who also has a dark, brooding persona — should be favored to beat Flair, and Asuka’s chances are slim. Pick: Bianca Belair to retain the title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus

No match sticks out as specifically booked to appeal to fans like me as much as the clash for the intercontinental championship. The match features three big men who specialize in blunt-force violence. We’ve seen the three men mix it up in tremendous singles matches and a triple threat should do well to add an extra layer of chaos to the mix. Sheamus, one of WWE’s most underappreciated talents, doesn’t seem as though he’s set for a run with the belt and McIntyre doesn’t need the strap. Gunther is having a long run as champion and that will likely continue as he closes in on the record for longest reign as intercontinental champion held by Honky Tonk Man since 1988. Pick: Gunther to retain the title — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell in a Cell)

Edge has been great in the ring and inconsistent on the microphone since returning from a seemingly career-ending injury. Balor is no spring chicken, but he’s in top athletic shape and one of the best superstars WWE has between the ropes. Judgement Day has had a remarkable resurgence thanks to the individual performers comprising the group. Dominik Mysterio’s snot-nosed brat persona has been a surprising hit and Ripley is in rare form. Balor winning has far more upside than Edge winning, pure and simple. Besides, WWE has so many “send the fans home happy” options that having Balor, particularly in his demon form, take the fall would be unwise. Pick: Finn Balor wins — Mahjouri

Had Balor not defeated Edge in an “I Quit” match before having Rhea Ripley hit Beth Phoenix with a con-chair-to, I’d shade toward Balor getting the win here. Yes, Edge and Phoenix beat Ripley and Balor in a tag match at Elimination Chamber, but a simple tag win doesn’t feel like appropriate payback for the attack on Edge’s wife, nor all the other times Balor has violently gotten the best of Edge. Edge takes this one. Pick: Edge wins — Brookhouse

Brock Lesnar vs. Omos

It has been fun watching Omos get the best of Lesnar in their limited physical interactions. Lesnar is rarely shown as at a disadvantage. Against men like Bobby Lashley or Roman Reigns, Lesnar is usually on equal footing but not physically dominated. Of course, this all leads to a WrestleMania match where Lesnar hits some big moves and a “How did he do that?” moment of hitting Omos with an F5. Pick: Brock Lesnar wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville

The fact that Rousey and Baszler were given a free pass into the showcase match says it all. They are by far the most cohesive team in this makeshift match and have the most star power. Kicking off the MMA fighters’ journey to women’s tag team champions is the best use of the former UFC champion if you want to keep her away from the singles title pictures. Pick: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler win — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

WWE merges with Endeavor, parent company of UFC, with valuation over $21 billion

Following months of speculation, a sale of WWE appears imminent. Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, has nearly finalized a deal to acquire WWE at a valuation of $9.3 billion, CNBC reported Sunday afternoon.

The deal will see Endeavor create a new, publicly traded company that will run both UFC and WWE. Endeavor/UFC would take a 51% ownership stake with WWE shareholders retaining 49% of the new company.

WWE executive chairman and long-time owner Vince McMahon, the largest current shareholder of WWE, will remain chairman of the WWE portion of the new company sitting only behind Endeavor founder and CEO Ari Emanuel. WWE CEO Nick Khan is expected to remain president of wrestling operations, while Dana White will continue to over UFC as its president.

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“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel said in a press release. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”

McMahon stepped away from WWE in July 2022 after payoffs of several allegations of sexual misconduct came to light. On March 23, he paid WWE back $17.4 million as reimbursement for expenses related to an extended investigation into the allegations.

Even after resigning as chairman and CEO, McMahon remained WWE’s largest shareholder. Unsurprising to many, he forced his way back into his chairman role in January. In the wake of that move, his daughter Stephanie McMahon, the interim chairman and co-CEO along with Khan, resigned from her position.

With a sudden desire to sell the company along with media rights negotiations about to open for WWE, McMahon announced his return in a press release as such: “The only way for WWE to fully capitalize on this opportunity is for me to return as Executive Chairman and support the management team in the negotiations for our media rights and to combine that with a review of strategic alternatives. My return will allow WWE, as well as any transaction counterparties, to engage in these processes knowing they will have the support of the controlling shareholder.”

Endeavor acquired controlling interest in UFC in 2016. In 2021, the company bought out the remaining shareholders to take 100% control of the world’s largest mixed martial arts brand.

UFC began a five-year deal in 2019 with ESPN, which acquired all of its media rights and became the exclusive home of its pay-per-views. That deal comes up at the end of 2023, in close proximity to when WWE’s television rights deals with NBCUniversal and Fox expire. WWE also signed a five-year deal in 2021 with NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which now hosts its network content, including live events, until 2026.

Endeavor’s purchase of WWE could be announced as soon as Monday, according to CNBC. That would come one day after WWE concludes the second night of it’s massive annual WrestleMania event, which is expected to be the most-attended and largest-grossing even of its kind in history.

Former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. charged in Mississippi welfare scandal involving NFL legend Brett Favre

Former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. has been charged for his involvement in the largest corruption case in the history of Mississippi. The entire welfare scandal is about the misappropriation of roughly $77 million intended for low-income families in the poorest state in the nation.

Court documents show that DiBiase, along with co-conspirators John Davis, Christi Webb, Nancy New and others, obtained federal funds from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and misappropriated the money for their own personal use.

After federal funds were issued, Davis — the former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services — would direct MDHS to sub-grant the funds to the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Inc. (FRC) and Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), which were two nonprofit organizations operated by Webb and New, respectively.

Davis would then allegedly direct Webb and New to give money to individuals and companies through sham contracts. According to the Department of Justice, at least five of those contracts were for DiBiase’s companies, Priceless Ventures LLC and Familiae Orientem LLC. DiBiase’s companies were given millions of dollars in federal funds for social services that he “did not provide and did not intend to provide.”

DiBiase allegedly used the money to buy a vehicle and a boat, as well as for the down payment on the purchase of a house, among other expenditures.

“DiBiase is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and four counts of money laundering,” read the document released on Thursday.

If convicted, DiBiase could be facing a a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count. Each wire fraud count has a maximum penalty of 20 years. There is also a maximum penalty of 10 years for each count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and for each count of money laundering.

Davis pleaded guilty for one count of conspiracy and one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds on Sept. 22, 2022. New and her son, Zach, pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges in April 2022. This past March, Mississippi Today reported that Webb pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning federal funds.

DiBiase’s brother, Brett, and father,Ted DiBiase Sr., were also allegedly involved. After a federal audit was completed, DiBiase was asked to return $3.9 million, while his father was ordered to pay $722, 299. Brett was asked for $225,950, but he pleaded guilty in December 2020 in a state court for making false representations to defraud the government, and then pleaded guilty to a federal charge in March of this year.

Another high-profile figured involved in the scandal is NFL legend Brett Favre. Here is a full explainer and timeline of Favre’s involvement in the Mississippi welfare scandal.

‘Tomorrow is not promised’

Omos is a physical marvel, towering at a legitimate height of 7-foot-3. His efforts in WWE are sometimes overshadowed by his stature with critics questioning his bookings opposite major performers like Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 39. Omos’ size has certainly expedited his climb, but that ladder was nearly yanked away before he took his first massive step.

Omos underwent two brain surgeries during his freshman year of college to remedy a tumor that could have caused cardiac arrest or blindness. If that wasn’t concerning enough, Omos also had a trio of rare conditions he says bestowed him with the unfortunate title of a medical marvel. Omos has acromegaly (the same condition that Andre the Giant suffered from), gigantism and partial Cushing’s disease, he previously told the “Out of Character” podcast. His health records were an Omos-sized red flag for WWE. The promotion nearly refused to sign Omos, who was financially broke at the time, because of it. That is why every opportunity presented — big or small — is not lost on Omos.

“It put me in a state where I truly appreciate everything that I am given and everything that I do,” Omos told CBS Sports ahead of his match against Seth Rollins at Backlash on May 6. “I have a passion for life and I understand that tomorrow is not promised. As an 18-year-old, I felt that situation where I didn’t know what to do and had to take everything day by day. It gives me the perspective of appreciating the loved ones around me and the moments that I experience. I make sure that I enjoy every single moment.

“Starting with AJ Styles and winning the tag team titles in Tampa. Breaking off and going on my own against Bobby Lashley [at WrestleMania] last year. I wrestled arguably the biggest draw in pro-wrestling today, which is Brock Lesnar, at WrestleMania 39 in L.A. I have accomplished so much in the last few years. For me, it’s having gratitude and being grateful and not taking things for granted.”

Check out the full interview with Omos below.

The path to WWE superstardom is unique to each athlete. Sami Zayn spent more than a decade on the independent circuit. Roman Reigns honed his skills for two years in WWE’s developmental territory. Big Show established himself as WCW headliner before jumping ship in the late ’90s. Kane endured an awful dentist gimmick before being repackaged as “The Big Red Machine.” Omos was thrown into the deep end much sooner than most.

“The Nigerian Giant” signed with WWE in January 2019 and made his Monday Night Raw debut 17 months later. By October 2020, he was teaming up with former world champion Styles. A vocal portion of professional wrestling fans have been hyper-critical of Omos’ in-ring skills. Fans were also very critical of Dominick Mysterio before he found his footing as a bratty man-child with a tongue-in-cheek prisoner gimmick. Omos keeps his thumb on the pulse of the industry and pulls from it as motivation.

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“I realized that I just need to go and perform for me, obviously, as long as the live crowd enjoys it,” Omos said. “I see everything online and on the Internet. It strikes the core sometimes. But at the end of the day, all you need to do is go out there to perform and make them shut up. It’s as simple as that… I see screenshots from various journalists and interviews. I use it as motivation to go out there and perform.”

2023 WWE Backlash predictions, card, matches, PPV preview, start time, date, location

WWE returns to Puerto Rico for the first time since 2005 when it brings Backlash to the island this Saturday. The first major event since WrestleMania features some big matches and a return to the ring for Puerto Rican music superstar Bad Bunny.

In one of the featured matches of the night, Bad Bunny will take on The Judgement Day’s Damian Priest in a San Juan Street Fight. The superstar’s first WWE match saw him team with Priest to win a match at WrestleMania 37.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens look to conclude their long-running rivalry with The Bloodline with a helping hand from Matt Riddle. Even after Zayn and Owens took the undisputed tag team titles off Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso, the rivalry continued and added both Riddle and Solo Sikoa. Now, all six men will meet in a pivotal match.

Plus, both women’s titles are on the line when Rhea Ripley looks to defend the SmackDown championship against Zelina Vega and Bianca Belair puts the Raw championship at stake against IYO SKY. And a grudge match is set to headline the event when Cody Rhodes takes on Brock Lesnar.

Let’s take a look at who the CBS Sports experts are picking to win in each match on Saturday’s card.

WWE Backlash 2023 predictions
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

Should WWE decide to put Lesnar over Rhodes here, it would be a death blow to Rhodes’ momentum. That momentum already took a hit when Rhodes lost to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania in a match where it had seemed Rhodes was destined to “finish the story” and win the world title his father never did. Rhodes was brought back to WWE as a big deal and beating Lesnar is about the only way to try and build back some of what was lost at WrestleMania. Rhodes needs the win, Lesnar doesn’t. Booking should be that simple sometimes. Pick: Cody Rhodes wins — Brent Brookhouse (also Shakiel Mahjouri)

Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest (San Juan Street Fight)

WWE loves celebrities taking part in their events and it’s so well-established in wrestling that you can throw logic out the window when it comes to these matches. Would it make sense for Priest to absolutely demolish Bunny? Yes. But Bunny is likely going to win this match with a little help from Rey Mysterio and the LWO. The show is in Puerto Rico, Bunny is a massive Puerto Rican superstar. This is a “send the crowd home happy” match. Pick: Bad Bunny wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega

There are few women on the roster with as much momentum as Ripley. She is firing on all cylinders between her fantastic match with Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39, her role as an enforcer in Judgement Day and her chemistry with Dominik Mysterio. Zelina Vega is the right opponent at Backlash: she’ll have tremendous support from her fellow Puerto Ricans, she’s a talented superstar and the pair have great chemistry. Pick: Rhea Ripley retains — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Usos & Solo Sikoa

The Bloodline are sorely in need of momentum, but that is exactly why they should lose on Saturday night. This appears to be the final meeting between the two parties, at least for now, after the two sides were drafted to separate brands. A win for Riddle, Zayn and Owens will give them momentum and star power on Raw; meanwhile, the friction in The Bloodline can continue on SmackDown. We appear to be headed towards another Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso rivalry, one that carried the promotion during the Thunderdome era and sorely deserved a live audience. A Jey Uso face turn would be warmly received by the crowd. Besides, it won’t take much for The Bloodline to regain momentum against new competition over on SmackDown. Pick: Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn win — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. IYO SKY

Belair has had a wonderful reign as women’s champion and even though her time may be winding down, there are few challengers well positioned to dethrone her. A well-received, competitive match will go a long way to building Sky as a future champion but it’s too soon to strap the rocket to her. Pick: Bianca Belair retains — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

United States Championship — Austin Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed

It’s time to take a break from Theory. The reigning U.S. champion has done his best with his most recent stint as champion but the results have been mixed. Falling short in a triple threat with two behemoths is a soft landing as far as title losses are concerned. Lashley is overdue for a win and can be positioned as a top-level fighting champion over on SmackDown. The brand is in dire need of a believable main event champion in the absence of undisputed WWE universal champion Reigns. Lashely could be that guy. Pick: Bobby Lashley wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Seth Rollins vs. Omos

Rollins is one of the leading contenders to win the new version of the world heavyweight championship. Omos is just a huge guy who builds up wins over lower talent and then gets fed to stars to beat in a “how did they do it?” moment. That’s not a knock on Omos, that’s a fact of how professional wrestling works and has always worked and it’s a good thing. Rollins isn’t going to lose to Omos so close to Night of Champions. Pick: Seth Rollins wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

2023 WWE Backlash card, matches, date, match card, predictions, start time, rumors, location

WWE returns to Puerto Rico in a big way. Three-time Grammy-winner Bad Bunny was announced as host for Backlash in his home of Puerto Rico for a stacked event featuring Cody Rhodes, Brock Lesnar, Sami Zayn and The Bloodline. However, Bad Bunny will now be in action as he faces The Judgement Day’s Damian Priest in a San Juan Street Fight.

Backlash marks WWE’s first major event in Puerto Rico since the company traveled to Puerto Rico for the now-defunct New Year’s Revolution event in 2005. Arguably the biggest match announced for the card is a first-time meeting between Rhodes and Lesnar. Lesnar shockingly turned on Rhodes to conclude the first Raw after WrestleMania 39. The betrayal delayed Rhodes’ attempts to secure a rematch against Roman Reigns for the undisputed WWE universal championship.

Plus, both women’s titles are on the line when Rhea Ripley looks to defend the SmackDown championship against Zelina Vega and Bianca Belair puts the Raw championship at stake against IYO SKY. And the United States championship is up for grabs when Austin Theory takes on both Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed in a triple threat match.

Take a look below at the complete match card for the 2023 Backlash.

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber matches
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar: A dream tag team was a nightmare in reality. Lesnar offered to help Rhodes map a route back to the world championship in a tag team match against Reigns and Sikoa. Shockingly, Lesnar turned on Rhodes in the main event and laid him out. Authority figure Adam Pearce made a match between Rhodes and Lesnar official for Backlash after Rhodes issued a challenge to the former WWE and UFC heavyweight champion.

Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Riddle vs. The Bloodline (Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa): The Bloodline are feeling the pressure and Reigns’ patience is wavering. Zayn and Owens put an end to The Usos’ historic undisputed tag team championship reign at WrestleMania 39. In the aftermath of the grand showcase, Riddle returned from injury and aided the new champs to level the playing field against The Bloodline. A big six-man tag team match was booked between the warring parties.

United States Championship — Austin Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed: There is nothing quite like two behemoths physically colliding in the center of the ring. A feud between Lashley and Reed has been teased for weeks and fans got a taste of what they could produce during the closing stretch of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. WWE appears to be doubling down on a meeting between the gargantuan athletes at Backlash. Theory found himself wedged between the two behemoths after it was announced that he would defend his U.S. title against both men in a triple threat.

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. IYO SKY: This story has felt more like a Damage CTRL tale than one involving Belair. SKY earned her shot at the title by winning a triple threat, an opportunity she received after SKY and Dakota Kai confronted Damage CTRL leader Bayley to ask why Bayley should receive another opportunity to face Belair, who has defeated her at every turn.

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega: Vega approached Pearce and requested a title shot against Ripley amid LWO’s ongoing feud with The Judgement Day. Vega expressed her determination to compete in Puerto Rico as the only Puerto Rican woman on the roster. The two recently tangoed in a mixed tag team match.

Seth Rollins vs. Omos: WWE announced a completely unexpected match between Rollins and Omos for Backlash. There have been no recent interactions between the pair on WWE programming and the booking came from left field. The match was announced on the April 21 episode of SmackDown.

Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest (San Juan Street Fight): Bunny and Priest teamed together at WrestleMania 37 but Priest has since turned heel as one of the featured members of The Judgement Day. As Bunny has supported Rey Mysterio against his son and Judgement Day member, Dominik Mysterio, it led to several confrontations between Bunny and Priest. Priest has put Bunny through a table and Bunny retaliated with a kendo stick attack before making the street fight official.