WWE boss Vince McMahon fires Eric Bischoff and replaces SmackDown chief with Bruce Prichard – The Sun

ERIC BISCHOFF has been fired by WWE boss Vince McMahon just months after returning to the company.

The 64-year-old former WCW president, who attempted to put WWE out of business in the 90s, was appointed as executive director of SmackDown Live in June.



Now the company have confirmed he is no longer with them as they announced he had been replaced by Bruce Prichard.

A statement from WWE said: “Prichard brings nearly 40 years of experience in sports entertainment with an extensive background in character development and creative storytelling.

“Over the course of his career, Prichard has served in a variety of roles including announcer, producer, agent and on-screen personality.”

Bischoff, who is believed to have been informed of the decision at a creative meeting at WWE HQ in Stamford, Connecticut, responded to the news with a Twitter message last night.

He wrote: “Bruce is a great producer, good friend and I am certain he is going to thrive in his position.

“He’s going to be working with a great team of the most dedicated and hardworking people I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know.”

Prichard, 56, will be reporting directly to WWE Chairman and CEO McMahon.

The wrestling veteran, who previously performed on-screen as Undertaker’s manager Brother Love, worked for WWE for 20 years until 2008.

He was rehired in February as part of the creative team and will now oversee the storylines of the new Friday Night SmackDown on Fox.

The show kicked-off with a blockbuster premiere on the network a fortnight ago, with both Tyson Fury and UFC legend Cain Velasquez making shock appearances.

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7am Tottenham news LIVE: Vorm re-signs for Spurs, Bruno Fernandes for £65m, Eriksen offered new deal – The Sun

SPURS will look to get their season back on track when they face Watford this Saturday.

It's been a tough campaign so far for Mauricio Pochettino, having had to re-sign Michel Vorm following Hug Lloris's injury – while Christian Eriksen's future continues to remain unclear.

Get all the latest Spurs news here…

  • TOTTENHAM are hopeful all their stars have come through the international break without injuries.

    Heung-min Son, Christian Eriksen and Davinson Sanchez were all playing for their countries on Tuesday at the end of the lengthy October break.

    And all look to have come through unscathed, leaving boss Mauricio Pochettino breathing a sigh of relief as he plans for the return to Premier League action on Saturday.

    Spurs face Watford looking to get their season back on track following a dismal week leading up to the international break.

    First they were thrashed 7-2 by Bayern Munich before crashing to a 3-0 defeat at Brighton in a match which saw Hugo Lloris suffer a serious elbow injury.

    Pochettino is hopeful the break will have done his squad some good and they all return focused on delivering a much-needed victory over the struggling Hornets.

  • FORMER Leeds and Coventry striker Noel Whelan believes it would make total sense for Victor Wanyama to return to Celtic in January.

    Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “It looks like Wanyama’s Tottenham career is coming to an end.

    “He’s had a lot of injury problems in the last few years and he can’t get in the team.

    “No player can be happy not playing. He’ll want to get his career back on track and a move to Celtic on loan makes total sense.

    “He knows the club really well, he knows Neil Lennon thinks the world of him and he would be playing regularly. I can see him joining in January, definitely.”

  • SPURS have reportedly offered Christian Eriksen a new contract in a last-ditch effort to tie the Danish playmaker down to a new deal.

    The ex-Ajax ace will become a free agent at the end of the season.

    According to AS, Tottenham have offered him a four-year deal worth £5.25million-a-year.

    They also claim that Real Madrid are happy to match contract offer Spurs have put on the table.

  • MAURICIO POCHETTINO is targeting the Manchester United job, according to Duncan Castles.

    It is reported that the Argentine is ready to leave Spurs – but is keen to stay in the Premier League.

    On The Transfer Window Podcast, Castles said: “The information I have from someone close to Pochettino is he has very much targeted a new job.

    “In his head, he has made the decision he will be moving on from Tottenham Hotspur.”

    Before he added: “And the club I'm the told he is targeting at his next job is Manchester United.”

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Yankees must bench Gary Sanchez, demote Adam Ottavino

A manager spends a season building up trust particularly with his best players. He will show faith during a slump, endure a bad week with the big picture in mind.

But there only is a small focus in the playoffs, when every day feels like a full season. When each game sways momentum. One day you win the ALCS opener in Houston, improve to 4-0 in this postseason, feel like a team riding a magic carpet. Blink twice and the Yankees are now down two games to one.

“You don’t make friends in the postseason,” Joe Torre told me Tuesday before ALCS Game 3. “You try to win the games.”

Torre understands well having, you know, managed the most postseason games in history (142). In his first playoffs with the Yankees, 1996, he benched stalwarts Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill for World Series Games 3-4 and all but O’Neill for Game 5 too. He played instead Cecil Fielder, Charlie Hayes and Darryl Strawberry, who joined that season already in progress. The Yanks won it all.

“Zim taught me that during the postseason you can have no patience,” Torre said of his then bench coach Don Zimmer.

Boone has to lose patience now. He has to bench Gary Sanchez and stop using Adam Ottavino in anything that resembles high leverage.

They were not the only reasons the Yankees lost 4-1 Tuesday to the Astros in the first Bronx game of this ALCS. But they are hurting the Yankees too much to keep going with them.

Houston leads this best-of-seven. The Astros have won the games started by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole and they loom at least once more each.

The Yankees forced Cole to work Tuesday, but ultimately did not deliver a big blow. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the righty’s seven innings. After Jose Altuve homered as the second batter of the game, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge opened the bottom of the first with singles, but Brett Gardner flied out and Edwin Encarnacion popped out. Gleyber Torres walked before Didi Gregorius grounded to second.

That inning essentially encapsulates the Yankee offense in this ALCS. In the opening two games, LeMahieu, Judge and Torres were 10-for-27 with two homers, seven RBIs and three walks. The rest of the Yankees were 9-for-50 with two homers, two RBIs and three walks.

In ALCS Game 3, Torres homered for the Yankees’ lone run; Gregorius falling just short of a three-run clout in the fifth inning that would have given the Yanks a lead.

Sanchez hardly is alone in offensive malfeasance. It is just that he has essentially been a postseason dud his whole career. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 3. That makes him 1-for-11 with six whiffs in this ALCS, 2-for-21 with 10 strikeouts and without an extra-base hit in these playoffs and 16-for-92 with 34 strikeouts in his postseason totality.

He also failed to block what went for a Zack Britton wild pitch in the seventh inning. At this point, Boone has to ask if Austin Romine could be worse and just may be better? He may also ask after Aaron Hicks’ strong at-bats in his first start since Aug. 3 if he would be a better option hitting third than Brett Gardner (2-for-13 in this series).

That seventh inning was set up for failure by Ottavino. He entered with Houston ahead 2-0 after six innings and walked George Springer leading off. Then with Springer running, Altuve bounced a single to the vacated second base to put runners on first and third. Ottavino was removed, but the two runs scored.

Boone had bemoaned the soft contact that has hurt Ottavino in this series — and Altuve’s ball probably is a double play without Springer moving. But Springer is moving because Ottavino is slow to the plate (15 out of 16 successful steals against him this year. And it all has not been soft contact. Springer’s homer on Ottavino’s first pitch of Game 2 — a hanging slider in the fifth inning — tied the score 2-2.

Ottavino has now allowed nine of the 16 batters he faced to reach safely in these playoffs. The only time he has lasted to pitch a full inning was when the Yanks led the Twins by seven runs and the Astros by five. That feels like his role for now. But Boone has kept insisting that the Yankees can’t get where they want to go — think Canyon of Heroes — without Ottavino getting big outs.

But they have been derailed from that route, in part, because Ottavino has not gotten key outs. This isn’t May or June when you let a talented player work though through this. It is October. No time to make friends. Time to win the games.

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'I didn't have a great game' – Aaron Connolly disappointed with full Ireland debut

Aaron Connolly admitted he was disappointed with his performance as he made his first start for Ireland in the Euro 2020 defeat against Switzerland in Geneva.

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy answered the call of many Ireland fans by handing Brighton teenager Connolly a start on a night when a win would have secured Euro 2020 qualification, but Connolly could not hide his disappointment after the 2-0 defeat as he gave his reaction to Sky Sports.

“I was proud to make my full debut but at the end of the day it ended in defeat and personally I didn’t have a great game,” said Connolly. 

“I will go back to Brighton and try and keep my performances going there and hopefully come back in November.

“I thought we played well in the second half but the first half was not good enough and we know that. The pitch was tough to play on, it was tough to get a set of passes going. It was a disappointing night but there is still all to play for. I believe we can play against Denmark and get three points and qualify.”

Ireland’s improved second-half display may fuel hope ahead of next month’s final qualifier against Denmark despite suspensions ruling Seamus Coleman and Shane Duffy out of that game in Dublin, with former Ireland manager Brian Kerr defending McCarthy’s contribution in his post-match analysis on Virgin Media Sport.

“Mick won’t like the result as it’s his first defeat in the group,” said Kerr. “Mick had no build-up games to evaluate the squad and up to that point, he was working with us in this TV studio.

“From his point of view, he will say that was a good honest performance. His back four were very good, Darren Randolph was excellent and we tried to take the match to them late on with the ten players. 

“If we are going to beat Denmark, we need the type of performance we saw in the second half. We can’t allow them to dictate the game to us in Dublin.”

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Hong Kong protesters slam LeBron James for comments about China, free speech

The King no longer reigns supreme in Hong Kong.

Lakers superstar LeBron James took a hit in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, where basketball fans trampled on jerseys bearing his name after the four-time MVP waded into the NBA controversy involving the country.

On Monday, James touched a nerve among protesters in the former British colony for suggesting that free speech can have negative consequences.

They have been protesting for months in support of the same freedom that James argued can carry “a lot of negative.”

The demonstrators chanted support for Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, something of a hero among protesters in Hong Kong for having tweeted in support of their struggle — infuriating authorities in China.

“People are angry,” said James Lo, a web designer who runs a Hong Kong basketball fan page on Facebook.

He said he’s already received a video from a protester that showed him burning a No. 23 jersey bearing the hoops great’s name.

“Students, they come out like every weekend. They’ve got tear-gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend,” he added. “Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then he (James) just comes up with something (like) that. We just can’t accept that.”

James made his comments in response to a question about whether Morey should be punished for his controversial tweet.

“Yes, we do have freedom of speech,” James said. “But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, when you only think about yourself.”

He added: “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”

Protesters said his comments smacked of a double standard, because he’s used his clout as a sports superstar to press for social causes in the US.

“Please remember, all NBA players, what you said before: ‘Black lives matter.’ Hong Kong lives also matter!” one of the protesters, William Mok, 36, told a crowd of hundreds.

Others said James’ comments made it seem like he’s more worried about money than people.

“James was trying, you know, to take a side, on the China side, which is like ridiculous,” said Aaron Lee, 36, a marketing director. “He was being honest, financially. Financial is money. Simple as that. LeBron James stands for money. Period.”

In a pair of damage-control tweets posted late Monday, James asserted that he was not commenting about the political substance of Morey’s tweet.

“Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that,” he wrote.

“My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.”

With Post wires

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Devastated boxer Charles Conwell writes emotional letter to opponent Patrick Day as he fights for his life – The Sun

DEVASTED boxer Charles Conwell has written an emotional letter to his injured opponent Patrick Day as he fights for his life following their super welterweight bout in Chicago.

Day, 27, is in a coma and "extremely critical condition" after suffering a serious brain injury during the bout on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk's debut heavyweight fight.



He had to be stretchered from the ring before he was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for surgery following the brutal 10th-round knockout.

American compatriot Conwell has now posted a letter on social media to explain his thoughts after the fight alongside the hashtag #champpatrickday.

The 21-year-old wrote: "I never meant this to happen to you. All I wanted to do was win.

"If I could take it all back, I would. No-one deserves this to happen to them.

"I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you.

"I can't stop thinking about it myself. I prayed for you so many times and shed so many tears because I couldn't even imagine how my family and friends would feel.

"I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you.

"I thought about quitting boxing but I know that's not what you would want.

All I wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back, I would

"I know that you were a fighter at heart so I decided not to, but to fight and win a world title because that's what you wanted and that's what I want so I'll use you as motivation every day and make sure I leave it all in the ring every time."

The 2016 Olympian signed off with "#ChampPatrickDay. With compassion. Charles Conwell."

Day's coach Joe Higgins later replied to the post saying: "Thank you for your kind words. Patrick was born across the street from me so our relationship is special.

"He would have wanted you to continue. I'm am rooting for you to reach your dream, the same one he had.

"I too am distraught because I feel responsible but do realise there is no fault. Stay strong and please don't think we blame you."

Several boxing figures have also spoken highly of Day's character and bright personality since the knockout.

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn wrote: "Our thoughts and deepest prayers are with Patrick Day and his family right now. We have been in constant communication with his promoter Lou DiBella, who will provide further information at the appropriate time. Please keep Pat in your thoughts."

Super feathweight boxing champ Gervonta Davis added: "Damn man praying for Patrick Day."

Respected trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas posted: "A special kid, Patrick Day, is hurt and needs our thoughts and prayers. We’re with you, Patrick. And we won’t give up."

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Rugby: More than half of Japan tuned in for World Cup victory over Scotland

TOKYO (REUTERS) – More than half of Japan tuned in to watch their team’s 28-21 Rugby World Cup win over Scotland on Sunday (Oct 13) that earned the Brave Blossoms a place in the knockout stage for the first time, figures released by a ratings tracker showed.

Latest estimates put Japan’s population at around 127 million.

Peak audience share clocked in at 53.7 per cent of households in the Kanto greater Tokyo area and 52.2 per cent in the Kansai western Japan region for the broadcast on Nippon Television, Video Research told Reuters on Tuesday (Oct 15).

The average over the course of the match was 39.2 per cent in Kanto and 37.2 per cent in Kansai.

The peak was reached at 9:41 pm, a Video Research spokeswoman said, at the end of the match as Japan’s win sealed top spot in Pool A and set up a quarter-final clash against South Africa next weekend.

That surpassed the high of 46.1 per cent reached during Japan’s match against Samoa, which World Rugby had said was a record audience and local media had called the most-watched sporting event of the year in Japan.

The figures will be welcomed by World Rugby, which 10 years ago made the decision to bring the tournament to Asia for the first time, hoping to promote the sport beyond its traditional heartlands.

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Nationals Bowl Over the Cardinals Again in the N.L.C.S.

WASHINGTON — The first League Championship Series game held in Washington, D.C. was a party for most of the 43,675 fans who attended on Monday night. The second one could be a long-awaited coronation.

The Washington Nationals, heirs to almost a century of baseball anguish in the nation’s capital, beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-1, to take a three-games-to-none advantage in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

Stephen Strasburg continued the Nationals’ pitching dominance over the Cardinals with seven superb innings, striking out 12 and allowing only one unearned run, in the seventh. Offensively, the burden fell to Howie Kendrick, a new Mr. October who hit three doubles, knocked in three runs and scored twice for the Nationals, who have never trailed in the series. Kendrick has nine runs batted in this postseason and is batting .314.

“He’s the greatest ever,” said third baseman Anthony Rendon, who made a glittering defensive play and added two hits, including an R.B.I. double. “You see the man. He’s what, 36 years old? And he’s still doing it.”

With one more win, the Nats will capture the first National League pennant in franchise history and become the first Washington team — there have been three since 1901 — to earn a trip to the World Series since the Washington Senators of the American League did it in 1933 with players like Heinie Manush and Goose Goslin.

That team lost in five games to the New York Giants. The Senators had beaten the Giants in 1924 for the city’s only World Series title. That franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961, becoming the Twins, eight years before the advent of league championship series. (Another incarnation of the Senators, an expansion team, moved to Texas as the Rangers in 1972.)

“We’re not trying to look at the big picture here,” Adam Eaton told reporters after the game. “You guys all do and it’s really cool and all that, but as the players that actually have to go out there and do it, you’ve got to keep it simple or you’ll get overwhelmed.”

For the Cardinals, one of the sport’s giants, the chances of recovering are almost negligible. Only one team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. The Boston Red Sox did it against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, and went on to beat the Cardinals in a four-game World Series sweep.

“We’ve got to get a lead at some point in this series,” said Mike Shildt, the frustrated manager of the Cardinals. “Hard to win a game if you can’t get a lead.”

But that has been impossible against a starting rotation that has become almost untouchable, including Strasburg, whose combined a live fastball with an excellent changeup on Monday. When he came out of the game after striking out the final two batters in the seventh he was greeted by his teammates Gerardo Parra and Anibal Sanchez, who wrapped him in a double bear hug of joy and appreciation.

“I’m not much of a hugger,” Strasburg said, “but they just surrounded me, so I just had to take it.”

Strasburg and many of the Nationals seemed to feed off the energy of the fans, who wore red jerseys and waved red towels and started making plans for the first World Series in Washington since the Great Depression.

The Nationals moved to the nation’s capital from Montreal in 2005. As the Expos, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the franchise’s only previous appearance in the N.L.C.S., in 1981. The Nationals played in a division series four times and never won until this year, which has been remarkable almost from the beginning.

They lost Bryce Harper in free agency and found themselves 12 games under .500 on May 23, but came back to win 93 games, then won the N.L. wild-card game. They trailed the Dodgers, 3-1, in the eighth inning of the decisive Game 5 of their division series, then tied the score and ultimately won with Kendrick’s grand slam in the 10th.

In the first two games of the N.L.C.S., starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer both took no-hitters into the seventh inning, and the series has been completely one-sided. Including the regular season, the Nationals have won 15 of their last 17 games.

On Monday, Strasburg gave up a hit to Marcell Ozuna in the second inning to eliminate the possibility of another no-hit bid, but it was the Nationals who did the early scoring, pushing four runners across the plate in the third inning, two of whom came home on Kendrick’s double.

Kendrick went into the game with six R.B.I. in the postseason, four of them on his grand slam in Los Angeles. This time he drilled a 2-1 sinker from Flaherty that was on the outside corner, and sent it into the gap in right-center field. The ball traveled all the way to the wall, allowing Rendon and Juan Soto to score as the fans roared.

“We were 19-31,” Kendrick said of the Nationals’ low point in May. “People were counting us out already. I feel like, from that point on, we took off.”

And they keep getting better. Ever since that eighth inning against the Dodgers in Game 5, the Nationals have played almost perfect baseball. It has put them on the brink of something their city has not seen in 86 years — the same amount of time it took the Red Sox to end their championship drought.

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Switzerland vs Ireland FREE: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and team news for Euro 2020 qualifiers – The Sun

SWIZERLAND face Ireland in a crunch Euro 2020 qualifier.

Mick McCarthy's side sit top of the group and a win here would put them in pole position for next summer's tournament.

What time does Switzerland vs Ireland kick off?

This Euro 2020 qualifier will take place on Tuesday, October 15.

It will kick off at 7.45pm UK time – that is 8.45pm in Switzerland.

The match will be held at Stade de Geneve in Geneva.

What TV channel is it on and can I live stream it for FREE?

Switzerland vs Ireland will be shown live on Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix.

While Football and Main Event channels require a subscription, Mix is FREE for all Sky and Virgin Media customers – no matter what package you have.

The game will be available to live stream via the Sky Go or Virgin TV Go apps on your computer, mobile and tablet devices.

If not, you can also purchase a Sky Sports Day Pass from NowTV for £9.99.

What is the team news?

SWITZERLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer, Yvon Mvogo, Jonas Omlin

Defenders: Stephan Lichtesteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schar, Michael Lang, Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi, Kevin Mbabu, Loris Benito, Eray Comert

Midfielders: Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Remo Freuler, Edimilson Fernandes, Renato Steffen, Djibril Sow

Forwards: Admir Mehmedi, Haris Seferovic, Josip Drmic, Breel Embolo, Mario Gavranovic

IRELAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Kieran O'Hara, Mark Travers

Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Kevin Long, Enda Stevens, John Egan, Derrick Williams

Midfielders: Glenn Whelan, James McClean, Jeff Hendrick, Callum O'Dowda, Conor Hourihane, Alan Browne, Jack Byrne, Josh Cullen

Forwards: Callum Robinson, Alan Judge, Scott Hogan, Sean Maguire, James Collins, Aaron Connolly

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Rugby World Cup: Billy Vunipola trains with England, but Jack Nowell is missing ahead of huge Australia quarter-final – The Sun

BILLY VUNIPOLA trained with his England teammates ahead of their huge Aussie showdown.

However, Jack Nowell was missing from training in Beppu this morning – throwing his chances of playing on Saturday into huge doubt.

Both England stars suffered injuries after the Pool C win against Argentina at Tokyo Stadium – with Vunipola coming off at half-time against the 14-man Pumas.

But no.8 Vunipola's ankle problem seems to be less serious than winger Nowell's issues.

England also recruited a local Japanese player to help boost training numbers with Exeter Chiefs star Nowell unable to take part.

Back-rower Mark Wilson was also absent from the start of the session at the Jissouji Multi-Purpose Ground just outside of Oita.

However, Aussie rugby league legend Ricky Stuart was down at training – a day after Wallabies Michael Cheika labelled Eddie Jones' decision to bring him in as "weird".

The 52-year-old said: “Ricky and Eddie would be mates I imagine.

'MUST BE WEIRD FOR ENGLAND'

"I’m friends with Gareth Southgate but I don’t know if I’d be wanting him in here the week that we’re playing England.

“It must be weird for the players having an Aussie, because Ricky is a legend.

“I know Ricky too, have known him from way back. He’s a good guy and very passionate about his footy and I love his passion for the game.”

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