Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Prediction for Georgia/Clemson Later Tonight

College football's first game of the week could be a real fun show.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Writing for 8/24/2013

My preseason Heisman Trophy favorites. These are the guys that stand above the rest in college football and are the men most likely, in my opinion, to be the finalists for this year's Heisman Trophy.

Two quick spoiler alerts: anyone who follows college football even a little bit will be familiar with these guys, so no surprises, and 2013 is going to be another "Year of the Quarterback" in a long line of them over the last 15 years.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Writing for 8/20/2013

The top two matches of last Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view from The E featured ROH vs. OVW matches. In both big matches, both participants famously came from either Ring of Honor (ROH) or Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) before coming to The E.

The matches were the main reason (practically the only reason) I bought the PPV in the first place, and boy was I glad I did. Punk/Lesnar ended up being an instant classic with Bryan/Cena being in the same area of awesomeness. These were easily the two matches that stole the show, even though everyone knew that was going to happen the moment the matches were announced.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Writing for 8/15/2013

Last week Darren Young came out as the first openly gay active WWE wrestler. This is the article I wrote in reaction to that decision.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chael Sonnen: I Love it When This Man Talks

Watch this and tell me that Sonnen is not the best interview in MMA, possibly in the sport's history.

And any wrestling fan that sees this and doesn't get a vicarious thrill out of it doesn't know the mostly lost art of being great on the mic. Sure there's still C.M. Punk, John Cena, Kevin Steen, and Steve Corino that are great on the mic; there's also a host of others that would be good on the mic if given the proper time. However, mic work seems to be a lost art these days in American pro wrestling. Quite sad if you ask me. Kinda makes me wish that Sonnen goes to The E when he's done in MMA. Even if it's for a little bit, the mic work would be PRICELESS. A potential Punk/Sonnen face off on the mic would be the stuff that dreams are made of.

My Writing for 8/14/2013

Nevin Shapiro definitely spent a lot of money in Coral Gables. He's in jail for running a nearly $1 billion Ponzi scheme and is the one responsible for the scandal that the Miami Hurricanes football team has faced over the last couple of years. He deserves to be in jail because he's a scumbag and the fact that he basically stole that much money from many people proves that. Ironically, I'm not really that pissed about Shapiro's spending in Coral Gables, except for one thing that he bought. That is something I'm very pissed about.

My take on the Biogenesis scandal that resulted in Ryan Braun's suspension for the rest of the regular season, the suspension of a dozen other players for the rest of the regular season, and the attempted suspension (that still has to go through arbitration) of Alex Rodriguez. In typical fashion, MLB blew it when it came to making this case a platform for real change in the game and how it treats those who use performance enhancing drugs.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tetsuya Naito wins G-1 Climax 23

Today Tetsuya Naito won the 23rd annual G-1 Climax tournament in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Naito is supposed to be one of the hopes of the future for the promotion and for the most part, he has embodied that inside the ring. Naito won the final in what was not quite a torch-passing moment, but definitely a symbolic moment as Hiroshi Tanahashi, current ace of the promotion and of Japanese pro wrestling as a whole, put Naito over for the tournament win. Tanahashi is still tremendous in the ring and may be currently in his apex years, so it was big that Naito got the win over him, but the torch is still firmly in Tanahashi's hands.

I should have had more faith in Naito. Hell, I picked him to win it all last year, and even though that didn't happen, I probably should have seen it coming this year. Naito came back just a few months ago from knee surgery that stemmed from an injury he suffered in last year's G-1 tournament and hasn't been booked in any distinct way to make you think there were big plans for him in the second half of the year. This win, even though it looks like he'll go after Masato Tanaka and the NEVER (an offshoot brand of New Japan's) openweight title instead of the recent G-1 tradition of going after the IWGP title right away, is huge for Naito and means that plenty of attention will be given to his major matches for a while. Hopefully this means that Naito has finally arrived in the main-event scene of New Japan after being so close to that position over the last couple of years.

As for me and my picks, I ended up 41-48-1 (.456) for the tournament. Not bad considering I didn't have the results in my hands before they happened ala an interesting story regarding WWE pay-per-view results this year being leaked prior to the events. I wasn't able to call either finalist either, but I still think I did okay for myself. The injuries to Hiroyoshi Tenzan (rib) and Hirooki Goto (broken jaw) caused each of their final three matches to be automatic losses via forfeit weren't disastrous to my picks, but since we'll never really know how those matches would've gone if Tenzan & Goto were healthy, that could've kept me from .500 for all I know.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pro Wrestling: Mitsuharu Misawa Vs. Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW 9/1/1990)

The Rematch.

Misawa had won in June and his singles push to the moon and beyond had begun. So had the Jumbo's Army versus Misawa's Army feud, resulting in a time for All Japan when they were having six-man tags that were legitimate match of the year candidates on a regular basis. So imagine what the singles and tag matches in this feud were producing in the ring.

This is, of course, the next big Budokan Hall show after Misawa/Jumbo I, so what other match could be the main-event?

I personally think this is a better match than their match in June, but nothing can beat that moment of Misawa getting the pin on Jumbo. However, this match more than makes up for the fact that it doesn't possess a history-changing ending. It still had the big match feel the first match had, probably more than the first match because of that match's result.

From YouTube:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pro Wrestling: Atsushi Onita vs. Genichiro Tenyru (Explosion Bomb Barbed Wire Cage Death Match) (FMW 5/5/1994)

Back to the glory days of hardcore wrestling. This was the usual Onita deathmatch at Kawasaki Stadium at the beginning of May. In this case, needed a major name for Onita for this card. Thanks to Onita's connections to All Japan, where he formerly wrestled, and that Tenryu was pretty much a freelance wrestler by this point despite being part of WAR (Wrestling And Romance), they got him. Obviously this isn't Tenryu's norm, it definitely is Onita's by this point, but he makes the best of it.

From YouTube:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pro Wrestling: Mitsuharu Misawa Vs. Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW 6/8/1990)

Welcome to the true beginning of the 90's for All Japan. Just months after Genichiro Tenryu's shocking departure from the promotion for a big payday with Super World Sports, Giant Baba (All Japan's President and booker) needed a new star, and though he had a foursome that would dominate the decade, there was still questions about who would become the star to lead the promotion. This match sealed Misawa's fate as that man and history has shown Baba made the right choice. Granted Toshiaki Kawada or Kenta Kobashi would have been just as good choices, but Misawa did have a special connection with the fans almost from the beginning.

Ironically, this was Misawa's first major singles match as himself and not Tiger Mask II, who he'd been wrestling as pretty much since his debut in 1981. Jumbo had been arguably the best worker on the planet for basically his whole career (he debuted in 1972) and was the perfect man to not only put Misawa over in a major singles match at the famed Nippon Budokan Hall (where this match takes place), but make him a star in the same match.

There was also an awesome story I read in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter regarding this match where Baba was still conflicted as to the result. Then he was told about how Misawa's merchandise was flying off the shelves that night and he made up his mind that Misawa was going over. The plan had been for Misawa to go over, but there was always time for an 11th hour decision going the other way. Someone, it may have been Jumbo though I'm not sure at this moment, asked if it would be a countout of some kind--a cop-out finish and almost a standard one for big matches in AJPW during the 80's. Baba's answer said it all: "No."

Oh, and I forgot to mention the incredible run of business this match started for AJPW. The promotion went on a run of about 200 straight shows in Tokyo with sell-outs and sold-out Budokan Hall for almost every major event for the next decade. And the Jumbo's Army versus Misawa's Army feud became, in my opinion, the archetype for how a truly good & effective young versus old feud in any promotion in any country is supposed to be booked.

From YouTube:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Writing for 8/6/2013

Johnny Manziel might be in trouble because he may have profited from signing autographs. Personally, the rules against this are complete bullshit and I finally had to write something about it. The fact that Johnny Football is at the heart of this because of this particular incident is just simple coincidence. This has been an issue that has been building for years and hopefully will get more attention and backlash against the NCAA soon.

My take on the Riley Cooper controversy. Simple as that. Quick spoiler alert: I don't understand or agree with the outrage.

Kickboxing & MMA: Jerome Le Banner Vs. Bob Sapp (K-1 12/31/2004)

This was an interesting fight in that it was a four round fight with two rounds of kickboxing and two rounds of MMA with the rules and gloves changing for each round. Considering Sapp had some MMA experience and Le Banner had one career MMA bout three years to the day before this, and Le Banner was of the more accomplished kickboxers in history at this point while Sapp was on the downswing, it's not that hard to see which rounds would be dominated by each fighter. Still, it is an interesting concept and very fitting for a New Year's Eve show in Japan. Interestingly enough, this concept wasn't used again to my knowledge after this.

From YouTube:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pro Wrestling: Genichiro Tenryu Vs. One Man Gang (AJPW 1986)

Here's a little something to bridge the gap between fans of Japanese pro wrestling and fans of WWE, at least old-school WWE. Fans of The E in the 80's likely remember Gang, or maybe hardcore WCW fans remember his brief run in 1995-96. As for Tenryu: he hits hard, but was still coming along at this point, best known for being Jumbo Tsuruta's tag partner. By this point in his career, Tenryu was visibly destined for bigger things. This match, however, is more about Gang.

Art Donovan Dead at 88

Donovan was long before my time, but I have seen my share of film from those days and am very aware of his career. He was part of a couple of NFL championship teams in the late-1950's with the (then) Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas. Donovan was on the Colts for the "Greatest Game Ever Played," also known as the 1958 NFL championship game.

From everything I've ever read or heard about him, Donovan seemed like a very nice and funny guy who made people laugh and made people happy to be around him. My personal memories of Donovan consist of three things: interviews and game film of him that I saw, him being a guest announcer for WWE's King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1994, and a cameo on the Nickelodeon show "Pete & Pete" when I was a kid.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Writing for 8/3/2013

My recap of a trio of bouts from China last weekend. The bouts were broadcast on HBO and featured the second pro bout for Zou Shiming, who won two gold medals in boxing at the Olympics while representing China.