Best Match: Orton vs. Bryan
Worst Match: Miz vs. Fandango
Wow, I thought I was a real cynic when it comes to modern pro wrestling, but I'm honestly surprised at all the negative feedback this show is getting. I think it was, overall, a good program. Some mediocre matches, but nothing that truly stunk. Lots of loose ends to be tied up on Raw and in the weeks to come, especially that whole fast count thing that was never acknowledged by the announcers. Perhaps referee Scott Armstrong really did just screw up the count, I don't know. Certainly gives Triple H an excuse to screw Daniel Bryan once more, not that I want to see that over and over again, mind you. Bryan holding the belt is good - like Steve Austin, a rare case of where the heels, with the backing of corporate, going after the super-over babyface champion will draw. We'll see if he still holds the belt after Raw, though. The Divas match was good for what it was, but I know that's really not saying much. ADR vs. RVD was entertaining, and I didn't mind the finish. Del Rio only becomes more heelish, and RVD got his heat back, let them work together for awhile. Ricardo is very likable as a babyface. Punk vs. Heyman and Axel was well done, though I think Ryback should have ran out there a bit sooner - before Heyman got handcuffed and such - to make it a little more believable. That guy really needs a manager, though, and Heyman can only help. Pretty sure Punk yelled out 'Gordie Howe' at one point while beating Axel with the kendo stick, which I loved. Perhaps the WWE, if they really want to get Fandango over as a heel, ought to stop showing the morons in the audience doing his dance when he comes out (and also stop taking the camera off of Summer Rae while she's dancing! Very beautiful girl and a highly underrated valet.) U.S. Title match went about as expected, as did the tag title match that followed. Titus ought to be getting a singles push as a badass heel, or at least as a badass. Darren Young is dead weight who is being pushed for all the wrong reasons, but at least Titus gets a boost out of it. And the Orton-Bryan match was not quite at the level of greatness, but very good. I think they did what 'best for business' in putting the title on Bryan, but we'll see if it lasts. So, for now, I give it up a thumbs up, but the follow-up on this week's TV is going to be key. If they did all this with Bryan just to screw him over again in 24 hours, then I don't know if I'll still feel quite as good about this show. BTW, when Ric Flair loses to Booker T and whoever else in a poll of greatest World Champions, then one knows those polls were completely rigged.
The redneck shoots off his mouth about how no girl could ever tap him, then is sent home with a badly blown hamstring and the Fissette kid is brought back in. They do what in hindsight was maybe a little TOO obvious job of editing the training and promo footage to make it look like Shayna is going to walk all over Julianna, which she does in the 1st but then inexplicably gasses and Julianna overpowers her and actually taps her with a rear chinlock. Ronda edited to come off as the heel, which is gonna be very easy because she has no emotional filters. It's good TV.
BELLATOR LAST WEEK
Thumbs up. Several fights including the Joe Riggs FM final scrapped by the Res commission in Connecticut but it saves us from having to sit through a Joe Warren fight so that's a 'plus'.
Best fight: Shlemenko-Cooper
Worst fight: Parlo-Rogers
Sub: Filkins by default
Missed the first three prelims because it was Secret Sam what time they started but they were all 1R finishes. Diekman finishes Porter quickly in an all out brawl of local HWs. Journeyman Jeff 'Scary Nickname' (not making that up) Nader has unbeaten Mike Mucitelli in some early trouble when he sustains an accidental eyepoke and is UTC after 5m and the fight is a NC. He is not allowed to rinse it out. Strange rules on the res in Connecticut.
Opening the top card Patricky Pitbull and much bigger and younger and unbeaten Derek Anderson fight a very close back and forth round. Both do some damage striking and Pitbull has a TD into a long triangle but Anderson able to escape and reverse but that was probably the margin in the round. In the 2nd Pitbull rocks Anderson early but loses steam and Anderson comes on as the round progresses and steals the round. Fight's even but momentum with Anderson. Just more same in the 3rd. Pitbull just wasn't there. Anderson didn't do anything brilliant but just outworked him. 29-28. Even the judges get it right. Keep ya know this ya know guy ya know OFF ya know the mic ya know.
Kicking off the new MW tourney, Jeremy Kimball nails Perry Filkins coming in and scores 4 TDs to sweep the 1st easily but Filkins keeps coming. Local yokel ref lets local fighter Filkins get away with repeated fence grabs---keeps going 'don't' but takes no action. Almost a 10-8 but not much visible damage. Jesus. 3 more warnings and he reverses a TD with another one and gets away with it with the ref right there. This is ludicrous. Kimball reverses him anyway. Filkins sits out, Kimball tries to jump Guillotine and Filkins gets the slam. That was fun to watch. Kimball pulls guard, sustains very little damage but loses points. Filkins tries a half gainer something and Kimball up but Filkins reverses a TD to back mount and whales away to make it a possible 10-8 round but the ref should be shot. It's probably even right now. Kimball back into counterpunching groove the first couple minutes but then gets taken down, misses a leglock and gives up side control. Tries an escape and Filkins gets back with hooks in and Kimball taps to what appears to be a rear smother. Sorry---that was a POOSAY tap. It wasn't even under the chin. Maybe getting in shape would be a plan. Filkins continually pulls his own nipples and seems to think he's the only fighter that does that. Creepy guy.
Next tourney fight is another sub making it a training partners (or ex or whatever) fight between Justin Torrey and Brennan Ward. Ward hits a good throw early but then kinda foolishly rolls for a heel hook giving Torrey top position which he keeps the rest of the round and improves position ending the round pounding from mount to take the round. Torrey's left eye is about shut though and the doctor is in between rounds and lets it go. Ward gets a throw and busts the eye open. This is nasty. A second throw and pounds on the eye and the ref steps in.
Next tourney fight is a matchup of JJ technicians with the 41 year old veteran 'Arm Collector' Giva Santana vs. unbeaten Jason Butcher who claims the 'best guard in MMA'. Santana early TD and controls almost the entire round, working position and threatening with arm tri, but Butcher survives and reverses late. Giva borderline maybe not quite 10-8. Butcher keeps it standing, stuns Santana, drops him, and finishes with G&P. Giva retires. Apparently that was prearranged if he lost, because I was wondering why the loser was being given a promo.
Brian Rogers vs. Mikkel Parlo is the final tourney fight. Rogers a lot bigger. Very even first with both landing bombs. Rogers maybe landed the bigger ones and edged the round but already looking a little gassed. Rogers shoots his bolt without doing major damage and Parlo able to take him down and plop and schmop all the rest of the round. Very wide 10-9. TD, plop, schmop, TD, plop, schmop. Major high knee KD at the end, Rogers saved by the bell. Parlo 10-8, 29-27. Don't see how that round could possibly be called 10-9. One judge does but all 3 gave Parlo all 3 rounds. This looks like a very lackluster tournament.
So Cooper backs into the title shot when Doug Marshall who KOed him to win the tourney gets hurt, Shelmenko having beaten Cooper already a couple years ago, and they've been teammates since and trained together regularly. 1: Shelmenko has his way most of it, landing almost at will and stuffing TDs, but Cooper rocks him late in the round but cannot capitalize and not enough to take the round. Shlemenko 10-9. 2: Cooper looks a division bigger. Shlemenko starting to bust up. Cooper gets a flash TD. Shlemenko comes on late and drops Cooper with a HK, but Cooper staggers him with a counterpunch when he comes in for the kill and has him wobbling and scores a last second TD and seals the round. 3: Shlemenko takes back over, beating Cooper to the punch. Just not big enough to hurt him with any one shot. Cooper manages one TD but can't do anything with it. Shelmenko 10-9. 4: Shlemenko drops Cooper early with a big left hook and nearly finishes him but can't. Cooper hanging in and lands some good shots of his own but can't turn the tide. Shlemenko keeps scoring and takes the round wide but looks tired at round's end. I'd go 10-8. 5: Shlemenko picking him apart early. SBF staggers Cooper midround. Shlemenko takes him down. Cooper looks done. Shlemenko lets him up. Another TD. Contemplates a Guillotine but lets him up and takes him down again. Finishes with big G&P. I'd go 10-8 on that also. 49-44, but terrific fight. Judges all go 48-47, giving Cooper the 1st which is understandable and no 10-8s, which is... whatever.
BELLATOR THIS WEEK
Thumbs sorta up. One great undercard fight and several good performances, but a few real stinkers too. btw the prelim stream on bellator.com >>>>>> the one on spike.com.
Best fight: Wilcox-Stepanyan
Worst fight: I thought the first prelim was bad until Matyushenko-Alexander
KO: Patricio Pitbull
First prelim is like the worst fight I ever saw, don't even wanna dignify it mentioning these guys' names. Worst reffing too, thanks to that Yosemite Sam Ox Baker goof. This one guy has gotten away with like 10 fouls. Ship him back to Montenegro. Hell, send the American guy too. Plus the ref. If somebody cut that goof's beard pigtails off, you think his brain would jumpstart? Next fight isn't great either as some English guy from Wolfslair with no idea of grappling ekes out a decision over a guy whose nic is 'The Tooth Fairy' after cutting him with an elbow. WHOA. 20 yr old, now 15-1 Japanese born Brazilian Yamauchi finishes journeyman Tolliver in seconds with an Omaplata into RNC after being taken down. HIGH tech ground game. Watch THIS guy. 9 RNCs. Blagov Ivanov coming back from a stabbing and 18 days in a coma, beat Fedor once in Sambo, hasn't looked like much in MMA IMO even though undefeated is fighting Lara, one of the Interchangeable Bald Fat Mexican Bellator HWs. Ivanov gets a quick tap off a Guillotine from clinch. That WAS impressive, even without the stabbing.
Top card has Matyushenko-Alexander 4 plus FW tourney fights. First one, Taimanglo looks like a flyweight. How did the other guy get into the tournament with no previous fights in Bellator or the US? Are these guys getting fights just because they're British? Guy half his reach with his hands down at his knees is beating him from the outside. He's not even throwing. This is about as pathetic a performance as I've seen. Three round of the same thing. Without even waiting for the decision it's a 30-27 UD. Herb Dean gave the English guy a round. Should stick to reffing.
Next tourney fight, overmuscled wrestler Justin Wilcox stupidly chooses to stand with Akop Stepanyan and gets his leg wrecked quickly to the point that he probably can't shoot if he wanted to. Stepanyan taking him apart. Wilcox tries to claim a SBK went low, Yosemite not buying. Several LK KDs. That's a 10-8 IMO. Stepanyan kicks Wilcox into an actual cartwheel. Wilcox limping now. High SBK and Wilcox desperately shoots and gets it. Wilcox cut on top of the head from the SBK. Stepanyan in prevent defense looking for standup, but then gives up his back and Wilcox snatches the RNC and Stepanyan goes to sleep. WHAT A GREAT FIGHT. Wilcox informs us it was all due to Jesus. Guess cause Stepanyan is a Commie and all.
Houston in the back doing oblique crunches. Little late for that. Combined age 83 and frankly they look it. Houston still looks physically impressive which I guess was the point of the oblique crunches. Looks skinny actually. Vladdy looks like the much bigger man. This is weird quick. Houston gets a TD and then escapes after Vladdy reverses it. But he seems to gas, big shock, and Vladdy clinches and throws him, Mount. Back. HOUSTON ESCAPES. Houston on his bike now and this is looking like the Kimbo fight. He doesn't have the endurance to be a mover, never did. Vladdy lands a couple punches. Pace dies. Vladdy 10-9. Inaction with occasional sloppy striking from both. Houston stepping in gopher holes. Action actually negative at this point. Both fail TDs. Occasional LK from Vladdy, Houston tries a counter right, nothing lands, both take a standing nappy, lather, rinse. This sucks even worse than I expected. 0-0 round. I refuse to give points for that. Fail TD fail TD LK counter R nothing lands. Vladdy finally gets a TD. Reversal reversal, that was some actual action. Vladdy riding with a cradle. Houston explodes to his feet but that may have drained him, Vladdy humps him back down. Ride ride. Pattycake pattycake. Audience tapped out a long time ago. Thank God, there's the bell. Vladdy will win the UD. Who cares. Dreadful. Yosemite gave Houston a round. He should stick to... no wait...
Back to the tourney and Des Green looks like a comic book. SuperRasta. Bizarre Mama's Boy. Fabricio Guerreiro was impressive in losing to Hasbulaev in the last tourney. Both only 23. Guerreiro dominates the 1st, much more effective striking and gets the midround hiptoss over the ex D1 wrestler. Green starts getting untracked late and gets a late TD. Guerreiro 10-9. Guerreiro again lands better, stuffs a TD, gets a TD and sticks to Green's back standing. Knees the thighs. Dean busts Green grabbing the fence twice. Another TD, back up right away, down up and Green breaks away. Green claiming a low kick and Dean goes along with it, MIGHT have grazed the cup but was to the stomach. Guerreiro just beating him to the punch. Green gets two last-10 TDs. Guerreiro 10-9. Green takes some strikes then gets back standing early and knees the thighs. Midround Guerreiro somersaults to triangle, cool move, and Green pulls out. Both tiring. Guerreiro the aggressor but neither landing clean. Green stuffs 2 TDs. Green lands a MK at the bell. Think Green edged that round so 29-28 Guerreiro. Judges agree.
So now Diego Nunes vs. Patricio Pitbull in the final tourney fight, which is odd seeding because logically they should have gone in as #1 and #2. Gee, if it ends up Nunes vs. Wilcox, whose side will Jesus be on? Patricio knocks Nunes cold with a short left check hook in the first real engagement and evens things up for the brothers. These guys are more or less teammates, with the Pitbulls being Team Nog and Nunes being X Gym.
Thumbs in the middle. 3 out of the 4 fights less than expected, and the fucking officiating...
Best fight: Cano-Theophane
Worst fight: Smith-Molina
First fight is Theophane, a Brit protege of Mayweather's, vs. Cano, who got totally screwed out of the decision against Malignaggi a few months back, in a 10. Cano beats Theophane up for the first 4, then in the 5th Theophane comes alive and they rock each other repeatedly. Great round. Midrounds are competitive. Theophane got a chin. But Cano coming on again to dominate the last couple. I would put it like 8-2, so 98-92. Judges go 96-94 for THEOPHANE? Next one had it like I did, the other 97-93.
Ishe Smith defends the 54 I Be Felonious vs. Carlos Molina. Smith looks at least one division bigger. Wow, do they stink up the joint. They just cancelled each other out. Molina was the aggressor but ineffective and Smith fought off his heels but landed most of what little clean punching there was and I guess should win. I was too bored to keep score. It's split 116-112, 117-111 Molina. *shrug* I had the ref ahead on points.
Garcia defends the Whichever Other 154s against Matthysse. Garcia is permitted to throw nutshots all night and not penalized a point until he actually knocks Matthysse DOWN with one in the last round. In the 11th he is given credit for a nonexistent KD and if that was a 10-8 it was the margin on two of the three cards. Matthysse did not fight that well although kept coming, and Garcia closed his eye and countered well enough to edge the fight legit, but the ref sure helped as much as he could. Not a bad fight but not up to the level expected.
The main, which btw was for the Remaining 154s was the most onesided boxing lesson I've ever seen. I truly do not see how anybody who can tell the difference between a landed punch and a missed punch could give Canelo even ONE round. Floyd stood right in the pocket most of the night and just pasted the kid. Made him look like First Day With The Gloves On At The Y. I thought the 9-3 and 8-4 cards were ludicrous, but the draw card absolutely strained even what little credulity I have left. I saw no possible score but 120-108. Floyd had a tougher time with Ortiz and Guerrero. de la Hoya knew what was coming---he checked himself into rehab rather than show up. Funny that couldn't have waited till Monday, innit.