Royal Rumble Predictions

The Road to Wrestlemania starts Sunday!

With two ‘Mania main event berths and a slew of titles on the line, Downey Patriot Staff Writer Alex Dominguez and Editor Eric Pierce weigh in on who they think is destined for victory.


Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Towaza vs. Hideo Itami for the Cruiserweight Championship –

AD: I don’t watch 405 Live, nor do I attempt to follow up on it at all. So, with that in mind…
Eeny, meeny, miny, Itami.
Prediction: Hideo Itami

EP: I don’t know much about these guys either, but I do know Buddy Murphy is the boyfriend of Alexa Bliss. The goddess is back!
Prediction: Buddy Murphy


Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the United States Championship –

AD: I’m not too terribly invested in this feud, because I tend to zone out whenever Rusev is involved. Still, the WWE Universe seems happy enough with him as champion, so why not keep it on him a little while longer.
It is my firm belief that Nakamura should be in the main event mix anyways. You can’t do that as easily with the US Title weighing you down.
Prediction: Rusev

EP: I’m a big Nakamura fan, but he had his run after winning the 2018 Royal Rumble, and I can’t see him recapturing the title after relinquishing it less than a month ago.
Like Alex said, Nakamura is probably off to bigger things anyway. His job Sunday will be to make Rusev look good.
Prediction: Rusev


Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship –

AD: Look, I was right there with much of the WWE Universe last year when I wanted Asuka to take home the gold, but it didn’t happen.

Does Asuka deserve a title run? Yes absolutely. But 2018 was the year of Becky Lynch; she’s the hottest act not only in the women’s division, but in the WWE and practically all of wrestling as a whole. If anyone deserves the belt right now, it’s The Man.

Prediction: Becky Lynch

EP: Poor Asuka is a casualty of Becky Lynch’s exploding rise in popularity. Becky has to head into WrestleMania as champion. HAS TO.

Prediction: Becky Lynch


Shane McMahon and The Miz vs The Bar (c) for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships –

AD: I’ve been clamoring for another Miz run with the WWE Title, so this is going to be less a prediction and more just fantasy booking.
Miz and McMahon win the title. Things are great for them for let’s say, a month. However, somewhere along the line Shane manages to win the WWE title at the expense of the Miz (I know, gross). Shenanigans ensue, a feud follows. Miz wins WWE Championship at Wrestlemania.
Likely? Not really, but it’s the only way I can make sense of this wacky tag team combination.
A guy can dream at least.
Prediction: Miz and McMahon

EP: To be clear, the only time I want to see Shane McMahon in a ring is in a Hell in a Cell match.
Making him a tag team champion is aggravating, especially with so much under-utilized talent toiling as mid-carders. Hey Vince, maybe this is one of the reasons you’re losing talent to the indies and AEW?
Prediction: The Bar


Ronda Rousey (c) vs Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship –

AD: Like the Universal Title match, there’s no way in hell that Rousey is dropping her title. She WILL be the main event of Wrestlemania.
Wishful thinking, but let’s let Bailey cost Banks the title and end the god-awful Hug ‘n’ Boss Connection team.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey

EP: This match feels weird, awkward, and forced. Ronda is obviously going on to bigger things at WrestleMania, and Sasha is probably better suited in the tag-team ranks. (Despite my colleague’s disdain for the Hug ‘n’ Boss Connection, I believe they’re destined to win the inaugural women’s tag titles at Elimination Chamber.)
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

AD: Hey Eric, you misspelled The Riott Squad.


Daniel Bryan (c) vs AJ Styles for the WWE Championship –

AD: While a heel Daniel Bryan is definitely fresher and more entertaining in my book, I still don’t consider myself a fan. That being said, as much as I adore AJ Styles, he already had a pretty lengthy run with the belt that only just recently ended.
It’s time for both men to move on to other feuds, and frankly it’ll be more interesting to see the “new” Daniel Bryan mix it up with a few other contenders.
DB retains, and AJ gets set up for a high-profile match at Mania, whatever that ends up being.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan

EP: I personally don’t buy Daniel Bryan as a heel, maybe because I’ve seen him in too many episodes of Total Divas. (My wife watches the show, and I just happen to catch a scene or two. Whatever.)
AJ Styles is the best wrestler in WWE as far as I’m concerned. Give him the belt. Give him all the belts.
Prediction: AJ Styles


Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar (c) for the Universal Championship –

AD: Brock is going in to ‘Mania as Champion; that’s not a prediction, it’s a spoiler (and it’s barely even that). The only thing else I have to say on this match is that I hope they don’t put Balor in his demon gimmick. I love the Demon, but it needs to be treated like Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak: special, protected and damn-near unbeatable. Let Balor go out and give a strong showing so he looks good in defeat.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar

EP: I have a feeling this will be similar to Brock’s match against Daniel Bryan at Survivor Series: total domination by Brock in the first half of the match, followed by a rally by Finn that ultimately falls short. If there’s one thing WWE does well it’s repetition.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar

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Women's Royal Rumble –

AD: In all honesty, Becky Lynch should be the winner of this match. However, Lynch is already scheduled to face Asuka on Sunday, so she’s out. That leaves the most logical winner to be Charlotte, in my opinion.
Charlotte wins, then goes on to main event ‘Mania with Ronda Rousey.
Prediction: Charlotte

EP: It’s hard to argue against my colleague’s logic; Charlotte Flair is indeed the most logical person to win the rumble. But with news that Alexa Bliss will make her long-awaited return as a Royal Rumble entrant, I can just as easily see her pulling out a win and getting a huge push to reclaim her title.
It’s the return of the goddess!
Prediction: Alexa Bliss


Men’s Royal Rumble –

AD: This is tricky, because from a storyline perspective there’s nothing really tangible to hang onto yet. There are a few rumors flying around, but one in particular makes the most sense…
It seems as though that the backstage rumblings are that Seth Rollins is the one being positioned to dethrone Lesnar at ‘Mania. My only issue with this proposition is that Rollins is currently tied up in a feud with his former shield brother Dean Ambrose, however there is still plenty of time to tie up those loose ends before April.
If you’re going to aim Rollins at the champ, this is the most logical way to do it.
Also, let’s just pretend that the WWE didn’t waste the number 30 spot on R-Truth…
Prediction: Seth Rollins

EP: Seth Rollins just doesn’t do it for me. Excellent wrestler for sure, and he’s a nice enough dude, but he doesn’t elicit any sort of passion from me.
None of this means anything of course, and Alex is right on with his prediction.
Prediction: Seth Rollins

Lupita Infante performing at Joseph's Bar & Grill

DOWNEY — Lupita Infante will be performing at this year’s annual Ferias Legales Holiday Party taking place Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Joseph’s Bar & Grill. It is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. and is free to attend.

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A first generation Mexican-American, Lupita Infante is the granddaughter of beloved Pedro Infante, one of the greatest stars to come from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and music.

Lupita grew up in the suburbs of Downey, a city associated with musical history. It was here where Lupita began her creative development with music classes. Her excitement for the stage, along with inspiration drawn from her grandfather and father, led her to pursue voice and the study of music. Lupita graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2017, with a B.A. in ethnomusicology.

Lupita’s music is an artistic expression of her musical upbringing, paying tribute to her grandfather and her father accompanied by Mexico’s traditional mariachi sounds.

Her recorded music can be found on digital platforms worldwide. To celebrate this holiday season she’s releasing a mariachi version of Bing Crosby’s famous rendition “White Christmas” along with a Spanish version titled, “Blanca Navidad”.

Metropolitan Opera singer joins cast of 'It's Christmas in Downey' show

Christopher Job, a baritone singer with the Metropolitan Opera, will perform at the “It’s Christmas in Downey” show Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Downey Theatre.

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A graduate of Mater Dei High School and Cal State Fullerton, Job has been a house favorite at the Metropolitan Opera since the beginning of his career. He has been featured in six of their “Live in HD” broadcasts and has appeared in numerous other productions such as “Tosca” and “Macbeth.”

Other career highlights include creating the role of Sen. Thomas Jordan in the premiere of “The Manchurian Candidate” by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts with the Minnesota Opera and his debut with Ash Lawn Opera as Olin Blitch in “Susannah.”

Job made his Italian debut at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna as Sparafucile in “Rigoletto” and Il Podesta in Rossini’s “La Gazza Ladra.” He made his French debut as Alidoro in “La Cenerentola” with Le Festival Lyrique de Belle-Ile En Mer.

His concert appearances have included the Verdi and Mozart Requiems at Carnegie Hall and Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica Catalana, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall.

Tickets to see “It’s Christmas in Downey” are now on sale and can be purchased online or by calling the Downey Theatre box office at (562) 861-8211.

Paul Delgado chosen as chorus master for Downey concert

DOWNEY — Paul Delgado has been tapped as chorus master for the upcoming “It’s Christmas in Downey!” concert, taking place Dec. 16 at the Downey Theatre.

Paul Delgado

Paul Delgado

A resident of Whittier, Delgado has been an active choral musician since the age of 6. He attended the Biola University Conservatory of Music and currently serves as choir director and music director at Rancho Community Church of Temecula. He is founder of the Paul Delgado Singers, an auditioned high-level chamber choir located in Orange County.

For the Downey concert, Delgado has the responsibility of gathering singers from all over Southern California. There is still room in the choir for people interested in participating in the Dec. 16 concert; previous experience with Handel’s Messiah is preferred.

For more information, or to purchase concert tickets, visit or call (714) 883-7987.

'The Nutcracker' playing two shows at Downey Theatre

DOWNEY – Southern California Dance Theatre will present the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” at the Downey Theatre right before Christmas.

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 23, at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased at the Downey Theatre box office or online at

Also available is a $100 VIP package, which includes premium reserved seating, a special Victorian tea before the Sunday matinee, and a behind-the-scenes backstage tour of the theatre.

Symphony performance earns standing ovation, calls for encore

DOWNEY – “Good concert etiquette is not to applaud after the second movement of Oscar’s Concerto, no matter how much you want to,” said Lars Clutterham as he interviewed David Van Maele, the evening’s virtuoso clarinetist. “The second movement is slow and melodic, and you want to let the poetry of it sink in.”

Oscar Navarro

Oscar Navarro

Before the program began, in the pre-concert remarks, Lars interviewed composer Oscar Navarro, who flew in from Spain for the North American première of his Third Concerto for B Flat and E Flat Clarinet. Lars is a Downey composer himself and audiences will hear his new piece, “Arc of My Life,” at the Jan. 19 concert.

“This is the Downey Symphony’s 60th year,” said Don Marshall, president of the Downey Symphonic Society, as he welcomed the audience. “And sixty years ago something else happened: the Dodgers came to town. Right now they’re up by one run in the seventh game of the playoffs.”

Don had another first to announce: Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard came on stage to congratulate and thank the Symphonic Society for their program which contributes to National Hispanic Heritage Week. “This proclamation shows that I have put this Downey achievement into the Congressional Record,” the congresswoman said.

State Senator Vanessa Delgado also presented an illuminated proclamation congratulating the Symphonic group on its sixtieth year. Mayor Sean Ashton, a staunch supporter of the Symphony and of the arts, presented President Don with a citation from the City Council recognizing the Downey Symphonic society for its 60 years of providing excellence in music for Downey. Josh Bell, the most recent baton winner, received a plaque for his contribution.

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Even before the audience began filling the auditorium, early-arriving patrons enjoyed the art show in the lobby. Board Vice President Carol Kearns and husband Frank, a poet and publisher of the boutique Los Nietos Press, checked out the oils and pastels and water colors in the show, which was curated by Andrew Hernandez of the Downey Arts Coalition. Javier Herrera’s depicted the evening’s theme of Viva el Arte with a field worker harvesting sugar cane with a machete. Lindsay Yost and Debbie Davidsohn also showed.

The Ugandan artist Emmanuel Lugano who also showed at Glennfest, was the art coalition’s featured artist and he had a corridor of his paintings on the patio. One of his personal favorites is a giclée “Broadway” ballet scene, all graceful shapes and flowing colors.

No show is complete without a work by Carolina Estrada-del Toro and she had two on display, as well as a painting by husband Jorge. No ceramic this time. Carolina will curate the art show this weekend for Downey’s Dia de los Muertos.

“This will be my second Bolero with Sharon conducting,” said Andrew Wahlquist, founder of the Downey Arts Coalition. “The first was in 2011.” Andrew’s wife, actress Lana Joy, introduced the artists from the stage, and they stood so we could recognize them. They mostly were wearing red, while Lana was splendid in a long flowered gown.

Emmanuel Lugano.

Emmanuel Lugano.

Spotted before the music began were Anna and Harold Tseklenis, talking with Ryan Keene and Tom Hutchinson, all Rotarians. Kiwanian Larry Lewis, a former president of the Symphonic Society, attended with wife Marge, long-time Assistance League member.

Board members Mary Stevens and JoAnne Gronley held forth in the lobby, distributing the evening’s program and also pencils for the audience survey to be found interleaved in the program. It’s important for the Board’s Marketing Committee to know how they can reach a wider audience.

While the stage was still empty, one noticed that the percussion section held some unusual instruments. There turned out to be six percussionists, one who had three tympani plus two other large drums to manage. There was a xylophone, and two keyboard marimbas (the marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala), which kept one more percussionist busy. Plus hanging chimes, bongos, a cymbal and a gong.

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Oscar likes his percussive sounds: any instrument that makes a sound when it is hit, shaken, or scraped is percussion. A harp completed the section, but the players also played the occasional castanets, clackers and other unexpected instruments.

Off-stage voice Mark Keller, just after asking the audience to check the nearest exit, and unwrap those candies now, not later, then announced, “The Dodgers are up by one run and they have the bases loaded.” It was time for the concert to begin.

Dorothy Pemberton.

Dorothy Pemberton.

Sharon Lavery
came out and conducted the National Anthem which sounded like cannon and fireworks, with the heavy artillery in the percussion. Oscar Navarro’s Downey Overture, by now an international favorite, displayed a gorgeous combination of Latin tempos and L.A. traffic.

Oscar studied music at USC and then worked here for a year, arranging and composing for films. At the conclusion of the piece, Maestro Sharon, who has conducted it at Carnegie Hall, held out her hands toward the audience where the composer was sitting, and Oscar rose and blew kisses to her and the orchestra, then turned to bow to the applauding audience.

Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s Suite Andalucia had lively and lovely melodies, and ended by gliding into the fiery Malagueña. Conductor Sharon surprised us by announcing a Cuban encore, the widely beloved freedom song by Jose Marti, Guantanamera. The audience received it enthusiastically.

The big piece of the evening was Navarro’s Clarinet Concerto #3, for both the standard-range B Flat instrument, and also the much rarely played E Flat one, which is in a higher register with a clear piercing quality. Belgian soloist David van Maele displayed his dexterity, alternating gracefully between the two.

Navarro wrote the piece specifically for Van Maele and he knew what a difficult task he was setting for his friend. The labor deserves the rich rewards. The first movement began with a tempest of tympani booms, and then the clarinet appears almost bird-like and quick, with showy cadenzas and a shower of light in its wings.

Frank Kearns.

Frank Kearns.

Soloists appreciate playing for conductor Sharon because she is always aware of their movements, and ready to turn them over to the audience in the difficult and showy passages, of which this Concerto had plenty. The entire orchestra became involved, louder and softer and louder again.

The music glides into the Second Movement, dedicated to the son the clarinetist lost when he was 6. “I am happy when I play this,” David said, “because I see Mattiece and I am with him again.”

The melody becomes almost a lullaby and at the moments when the orchestra took the development of the theme, David stood, head bowed, and waited. The high pitch and clarity of the E flat clarinet lifts the orchestra to almost a heavenly plane, as the movement ends on a high note and then silence.

The moment was held without interruption, and then the lively, quick and complex Third Movement began. The E flat instrument is brilliant and edgy, and the piece ends with the brass leading the ensemble in a triumphant statement, flutes valiantly striving to match the clarinet, strings soaring.

The audience gave the piece and the performer a standing ovation, and standing O’s are difficult to get in Downey – and a curtain call. Shouts of “bravo” were heard as composer Oscar Navarro came up to the stage to embrace his good friend David the clarinet player, and to hug the conductor, whom he has known since his USC days, where Sharon is a professor at the Thornton School of Music.

To send the audience into the intermission happy, Mark Keller’s voice announced, “You can go out knowing that the Dodgers won.” That put them into the World Series. Later Mark confessed, “If they had lost, I never would have said anything at all.”

The buzz on the patio at intermission confirmed the success of the new composition. Bernice Mancebo Stumps, with Roy and Barbara Briley Beard, praised the performance, as did Nancy Ramage and Ruth Hillecke, board secretary. Greg Welch, president of the Rotary Club of Downey was spotted, with Adam from Senator Delgado’s office.

We missed Barbara Risher Welch, Greg’s wife and a past District Governor of Rotary. Also seen were Dr. Jose Torreblanca and wife Carmen, whose support helped bring Osar and David to the concert.

Dorothy Pemberton looked snappy in black to match the black sling holding her right arm immobile after her recent shoulder surgery. Dorothy now heads PTA HELPs, a food pantry for needy families, and her other arm was scratched, having been mauled by her own cat Cosmo when she tried to rescue it at midnight from neighbor dogs. Never a dull moment with Dorothy.

Frank Kearns commented that he had met David during rehearsals. “Great performers are transformed when playing,” Frank said. It’s like what Allen Ginsberg said about meeting Bob Dylan in his early electric days at a Newport Folk festival when Dylan performed his first electric concert.

For the second part of the program, Alberto Ginastera’s Estancia had Conductor Sharon practically dancing on the platform to the Argentine rhythms. And then the 17-minute show piece of the evening, Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” began, innocently enough, with just a flute carrying the melody and a single snare drum tapping a quiet beat.

The cellos and basses pluck their strings, as does the harp, signaled by delicate finger gestures from the hand of the conductor. The shadows and tension grow deeper as more instruments, a saxophone, then the brasses and woodwinds, join in. The bolero is a dance rhythm, and the audience unconsciously nods and begins to sway, tapping their fingers or toes in time to the beat.

Still the violins and basses hold off and pluck their strings, the players cradling their instruments like a ukelele. Oboes and bassoons take up the insistent melody, and the uninterrupted plucking and tapping became more demanding, as Sharon’s arm movements and shoulders grow heavier.

Cellos held back, as do the big drums until at last the suspense is broken and the full orchestra, strings leading, takes up the melodic theme and everything rises to a crashing crescendo with tympani, bass drum, cymbal, gong and a high piercing E flat clarinet wildly changing key in the last few phrases until, with a flourish of the baton, it is over. The audience applause was deafening.

At the champagne reception on the patio afterward, to which all the audience was invited, artist and host of the Green Salon Roy Shabla commented how “the Bolero is so familiar, no one takes it seriously. Until tonight, with Sharon’s interpretation.” Bill Hare, Treasurer of the Symphonic Society Board, allowed as how the evening was a success.

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What a gift to Downey, great classical symphonic music presented by a fine regional orchestra, a hard-working Board and Guild helped by ticket sales, memberships, and donations and grants. The other side of the effort is the comprehensive Music in the Schools Outreach Program, aided by the Downey Unified School District, the City of Downey and Kiwanis Foundation. But tonight was the night for the orchestra to shine, through the works of great composers like Ravel and Oscar Navarro.

Tonight it was all about the music, an emotional evening. It’s not a bad thing for the 60-year old Downey Symphony to be to be linked with the Dodgers. The Dodger might say the same thing about Downey.

Dia de los Muertos Festival to feature new film festival

DOWNEY – This year’s Dia de los Muertos Festival in Downey will feature a film festival, organizers announced.

Photo by Pam Lane,

Photo by Pam Lane,

Presented by Cinema Culturas, “From Indo to Downey” will feature short, entertaining films relevant to Mexican society, family and culture.

Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is an age-old tradition in Mexico and Central and South America. The day celebrates the spirits of the dead, who are said to return to earth for one day to rejoin their loved ones.

Families welcome the spirits by building altars (ofrendas) that include mementos and reminders of the deceased, such as photos, favorite foods, hobbies, music, etc.

Customs include eating sweet bread (pan de muertos), decorating sugar skulls (calaveras), face painting, and decorating doorways with colorful papel picado.

City officials are anticipating 30,000 people to attend Downey’s Dia de los Muertos festival, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in and around the Downey Theatre.

The event will feature continuous ballet folkorico and film inside the 738-seat theater, along with facepainting and arts and crafts in the theater patio.

Also planned:

  • A sampling of Mexican music formts on the Zocalo stage in the theater courtyard

  • Variety acts on the Community stage, including ballet folklorico, mariachis, and singers

  • A fine art exhibit in the theater lobby, curated by the Downey Arts Coalition

  • An “urban art alley” featuring 20-ft. tall “found art” sculptures and the “Parade of the 10-ft. Cantinas”

  • The Casa Calaveras Experiences, a multi-media exhibit

  • “Car Altar Avenue,” the merging of Southern California car art and traditional altars

  • Papel picado demonstrations by renowned artisan Aurora Sanchez. Festival goers can also make a papel picado luminaria to take home

  • The Mercado, approximately 50 vendors selling Dia de los Muertos themed merchandise

  • Calaveras decorating

  • 20 booths for local merchants selling their products and services

  • Food trucks and food carts

The festival officially opens when a troupe of 35 Aztec dancers imbue the area with good spirits.