Mailbag: Hall of Fame, Weekend boxing & MMA, Punk vs. Ryback


As 2012 draws to a close and I struggle to watch TNA wrestling, I can't help but wonder why Sting is not in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame. He is headlining in 2012 just like he did 25 years ago. His competetive longevity as a main eventer for a major promotion is as good if not better than just about anyone in the Hall.

Dave, I won't bore you with details about Sting and his career. You and your readers know everything there is to know about him. I do want to add that if Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, Rey Misterio, Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero are in the hall then Sting should have his own wing.

The best part about my writing this to you is that I am not even a fan of his. But let's be realistic. A guy who was main eventing in 1988 and and is still doing it is the epitome of what a Hall of Famer is.

While I am lecturing you (lol,) Moolah not in your hall is an even more egregious omission. After Mildred Burke she should have been the first one to follow her. That includes every Japanese women wrestler. Yes, I went there. She is more Hall worthy than any other woman's pro wrestler save Mildred Burke.

Thanks for your time,

John Pasqualino


Hi Dave:
For some inexplicable reason, per Wrestling Observer, the fact Mike Graham's death was caused by a self inflicted gun shot has hit me very hard.
Maybe I feel great sadness that both Mike and his father died the same tragic way.  It seems both had demons in their lives.
Maybe it's because I feel a connection to both Mike and Eddie for sparking my life long love of Professional Wrestling.  I was drawn to Professional Wrestling through Championship Wrestling from Florida.   Professional Wrestling has given me great joy in my life.  I had hoped they would have attained a level of happiness.
It just seems wrong that I have gained enormous entertainment from their efforts and the end result of their lives was misery and suicide leaves me empty.
I sit here very very sad for Mike Graham and his family.
God Bless.
David Kaplan


Thumbs up.
Best/worst/KO: Held-Machaev sucked, the other three were very and about equally good. No KOs.
Sub: Tirloni
All LW tourney fights. Tirloni taps world BJJ champion Nazare with a D'Arce in the 2nd capping an astounding flurry of back and forth action after an even first.
Grapplers Held and Machaev decide they're strikers and stink out the joint with three rounds of Girl Scout Kickboxing. Held takes the UD.
Jansen jumps Guillotine at the top of the 3rd to finish Saadulaev after an entertaining two rounds of grappler grappling.
Clementi gets something of a hometown decision over Sarnavskiy. The veteran grappler controlled most of the fight and threatened with subs, but the Russian prospect did damage every second he wasn't tied up. Clementi flopped his way through the third and IMO that tactic should not be rewarded by the judges. Interesting fight anyway and close enough to have been called a draw.
Thumbs slightly up. One great fight, one good fight, one outstanding performance, one stinker, as usual some dubious hometown judging. But better than the usual boxing squashfest as all the fights were competitive on paper. All some kinda alphabet soup title fights. New arena in Brooklyn.
Randall Bailey follows Devon Alexander around for 12 rounds and never lands the bomb and loses a very lackluster UD and whatever belt.
Local Peter Quillan takes whatever strap from Hassan N'Dam after a dramatic, skilled war. N'Dam IMO won 8-3-1 in rounds but the problem was the three rounds he lost were all 10-7s with 2 KDs, including the last 20 seconds of the 12th. I had Quillan 112-111. The judges all had 115-107, which means they even had Quillan 7-5 in rounds, which is asinine. Great fight as N'Dam until that last 20 kept coming back and taking the play away from the much harder hitting challenger.
Local Paulie Malignaggi gets a gift decision over Cano. Malignaggi wins the first two rounds and Cano wins the rest of the fight, including what should a 10-8 in the 11th with a KD. Cano came in over the weight so Malignaggi's title was not at stake. If Malignaggi swatted a fly, the fly would be 6-5 to get up and swat him back. One judge was watching the same 118-109 fight I was, the other two somehow had to have had 7-5 in rounds the other way for 113-114s, which is BEYOND asinine. Good fight though.
Morales had a hard cut and also apparently failed the prefight drug test, and in whatever case just looked old, fat and slow, as the usually slow starting Garcia was all over him from the jump, setting the table with body shots, staggering Morales late in the 3rd, then finishing him with a perfect left hook early in the 4th to retain.

Crimson Mask


  I have come up with the perfect ending for the Punk vs The Ryback match at HIAC. After The Ryback and Punk beat on each for fifteen or so minutes a superplex spot or something along those lines happens and both men are left laying in the ring. Then the light go out and Kane's music hit's just like the very first Hell In A Cell. Kane and Daniel Bryan appear and make their way down to ringside, obviously still mad about losing the Tag Team titles earlier in the night. Kane proceeds to tear the door off the Cell and then Bryan and Kane go to town on Ryback and Punk. The Referee throws out the match and the ppv closes with Kane and Bryan proclaiming themselves the WWE Champion. You can then have a multi man main event at Survivor Series with these four men and possible Cena if you wanted.
- Bill Riccio from Cleveland

I agree that almost every finish to Punk v Ryback could kill upcoming big money matchups.

Unless they use the opportunity to divert Ryback into some big matchups of his own.

A bodyguard gimmick for Punk is one way to go - but bringing Drew Hankinson back is not the answer.

The best potential solution would be Heyman making a frantic phone call, "Money is no object," on RAW.

Then at the end of the episode, he gets a text or a voice message and looks relieved, as a tease.

Cena should be announced as the special guard for the door, to prevent interference from Heyman or anyone else.

At some point late in the match, Ryback hits his finish.

A rip appears in the corner of the fabric covering the ring, distracting Ryback.

A hand grabs his leg and pulls Ryback through the ring.

Punk recovers and heads for the door.

Cena is going nuts outside the ring, demanding the ref unlock the door, so he can keep Punk inside the cell.

A man climbs out from under the ring, in a hoodie, carrying a pipe.

He tosses down the pipe and throws back his hoodie: BIG DAVE BATISTA.

The crowd goes nuts. Heyman laughs. Cena is stunned.

The ref opens the cell, Heyman distracts Cena and Punk bolts past him and stumbles up the ramp, losing by DQ,

Cena and Batista do a stare-down as the PPV goes off the air. No sign of Ryback.

Ryback does not appear on TV in the buildup for Survivor Series. The main event should be a three-way between Batista, John Cena, and CM Punk.

For the finish, Cena hits the AA on Punk but Batista breaks it up. Before he can hit his finisher on Cena, Ryback's music plays and Batista bails as the big man runs to the ring. Ryback speaks Punk (who gets the win via DQ).

This leaves the WWE in exactly the same place it wanted to be when Cena was injured:- Punk is positioned for Rock.

But now they have a ready-made feud program for Ryback (with Batista) to cement him as a main eventer.

And Cena is "free" to set up a match with Undertaker, if that's the direction they want to go.

Batista also gets a tremendous six-month payday for working limited dates and headlining multiple PPVs (Survivor Series, TLC, Rumble, Elim Chamber, and WM). If he wants to stick around, there's a built-in babyface turn so he can be programmed against Punk post-WM, to get Punk's heat back after losses to Rock and possibly Undertaker.

Jeff Cohen
Flushing, NY

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