|I give UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou a thumbs up.
Best match: Baily vs. Dunham.
Good show. Ellenberger beating Shields wasn't the biggest upset ever but it should be on the list. It would have been huge if it happened before GSP beat him but perhaps Shields wasn't psychologically where he should have been. Next fight for both him and Ellenberger will be significant. Brookins vs. Koch was a close fight although not as good as some of the other close fights on this card which seemed to be the theme of the night. I thought Brookins had it 29-28. Perealta vs. Lullo was good and I had it 29-28 for Peralta. I agreed with the other decision even though the crowd unnecessarily booed some like Benoist. Only the last round of McGee vs. Yang should have counted.
Two thumbs up. A +VERY+ good value for only $14.99.
Best match: Ringmaster Challenge - Strong vs. Edwards.
Second best: Ladder War III. (That's by a NARROW margin.)
The video quality was better than any GoFightLive event I've ordered so far. The only problem at any point was that Prazak and Kelly lost audio on commentary went down during the first fall of Strong vs. Edwards. I'm surprised they didn't blame it on Steen when it finally returned (more on that in a minute). Intentionally or not we got to hear fans razzing Truth Martini at ringside and some of Truth's banter in return, so in a way the minus actually turned into a plus. I like the way Prazak and Kelly have gelled on commentary - Kelly plays a Jim Ross role of selling the physical brutality and wrestling competition and Prazak is GREAT at giving big reactions and making jokes. Team Viggity got a shoutout on air too, to my surprise from Kelly, who said we should ask Roddy about his diet sometime! Anyway they did a great job of building up the drama, but not nearly as much as the wrestlers themselves. There was no Super Cena here - both guys milked the idea they were killing each other trying to win and having a hard time even standing up to continue. Cornette came out to demand a sudden death overtime when the third fall ended in a draw, which babyfaced him and both guys in the match. More than anything ROH has done this summer, this match made me blue that I don't have a Sinclair Broadcasting station in my area.
The Ladder War only rates a quarter star lower, and that's because the Ringmaster Challenger was such a pure athletic competition that the idea of people just trying to make each other bleed as much as humanly possible suffered a bit. Nevertheless this match had all the hallmarks of a classic TLC from a decade ago, including an incredible spot where Mark Briscoe went up a ladder so tall he was eye to eye with the balcony seating in the Manhattan Center, then jumped off it to wipe out Rhett Titus. It was left up to Kenny King to save the day for their team in the end, and since he bled the least of all four men, it made sense for him to have just enough left in him to get the win. Smartly booked, intensely brutal, and if you want a match where wrestlers are left laying in pools of their own blood like an ECW hardcore match, this won't disappoint you.
Other notes - I was surprised at first that neither member of WGTT lost their solo matches, but on reflection it makes sense to put them over strong to make the All Night Express title shot that much more meaningful in Chicago Ridge. I'm not sure why but Rhino seems a bit out of place in Ring of Honor - not that he did anything wrong but that he's so physically different from the rest of the roster. Bennett got the John Cena treatment from the crowd and I'm not sure he deserved it. He might be greener than the ROH regulars but he didn't botch anything and I like the subtle way Prazak played up his "minimalistic style" in that he doesn't hit a suplex until it's truly warranted. Imagine that - announcers trying to play up strengths and hide weaknesses. Hmm, who DOESN'T do that on Monday nights? Oh never mind, we all know. Speaking of a much BETTER Cole, much respect to Adam & Kyle O'Reilly in the three way tag - they were over huge in New York. Young Bucks as you might expect played heel and REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS after the match. Smart to use real life drama and work it into the storyline. That's why I'm never disappointed by a ROH PPV or live event - things build up in a way that the stories make sense and the conclusions are always satisfying. I have a feeling that as much as I appreciate wrestling right now, Night of Champions will drain it all out of me by this time tomorrow.
- Steve Juon (Stevie J)
STING VS. FLAIR
Seeing Sting vs. Flair on Impact this week, really made me see yet another opportunity wasted in wrestling. If TNA’s overall goal was to just put out one match, this should’ve been the main event of a PPV, and probably even Bound for Glory.
You wouldn’t need any angles, just Sting and Flair going back and forth over the course of weeks on the mic. Even twenty three years after the 1988 Clash, you can see how strong the chemistry still is between these two. Give it weeks for them to remind fans of their deep history, and their iconic status, the fact that their last match was WCW’s last match in 2001, and it would’ve built major interest and would’ve been a positive bright spot for TNA when all that people talk about with TNA these days tends to be negative.
No one would expect a five star barnburner, but they are good enough (and can get away with enough) to do a basic match with their old spots that would get the fans into it and everyone would’ve been happy, and might’ve gotten even more attention in the industry as a successful match done without “creative” angles. Instead we get a free match on Impact, with a screwjob finish, that ends up as a backdrop for the feud between Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray. If this doesn’t exemplify how out of touch today’s wrestling power people are, I don’t know what does.
I tuned into Impact tonight right at 10:45 to watch the Flair-Sting match and I wish I didn't. I know he is 62 years old, but Flair looked way too old, he no longer has thinning hair but a nice big bald spot right on top and he could barely do a damn thing outside of chops. Watching him do the Figure Four was painful and I was afraid he broke something doing a superplex, hell that may have been when he hurt his shoulder.
But yeah, stop after the series of interviews with Austin Aries, Robert Roode & Kazarian and Bully Ray & Jerry Lynn, you'll be happier.
I heard Angelo Mosca on with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt last night. They mostly discussed his time in the CFL. He talked a bit about playing the bad guy role while in football and how he got himself over with the fans by being colourful in interviews. They briefly mentioned wrestling. They asked if he worked for Vince McMahon and he said he worked for both Senior and Junior and the he likes to say that he was the “less of the evils”. Not sure which McMahon he was referring to there. He also said that he made considerably more money in wrestling than in football. One note on money when Mosca started out the CFL was paying very well compared to the NFL and he came to Canada because the money was bigger (it sounds crazy but apparently it's true).
The big bombshell in this book is that he is a quarter black (his mother was half Italian half black and his dad was Italian). He had to keep it a secret growing up in Boston. He also had some incredibly harsh things to say about his parents.
MICRO CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
Watched the debut of Hulk Hogan’s Micro Wrestling show. Didn’t expect it to be great, but this was surprisingly minor-league. Was shot like a documentary but clearly scripted, and had--surprise!--Brian Knobs all over it. But the very worst part is how astoundingly OBVIOUS it was that they were using amateurs in all the acting spots.
For example, they had three “investors” show up, one of whom looked like he was in a Scarface costume (gaudy shirt and shades on the whole time), and another supposed “rich guy” had poorly groomed hair and beard and a cheap brown suit that didn’t fit him--as in blue-collar worker wearing the one suit he owns for funerals, purchased 12 yrs ago.
Arena crowd was bogus, too. Far too many roughly the same age (and overreacting), exactly like who shows up when a casting call for non-union extras goes out.
PS BTW, did you know Knobs sold out MSG and the L.A. Coliseum?
ORTON VS. RHODES
Just read this weeks Obsever and in last weeks Smackdown show you said about the Orton v Rhodes match on Smackdown that "Cody brings out the best in Orton." What? So youre saying Cody carried Orton? Or that Orton isnt any good unless he's in there with a "talented" wrestler like Cody? If you watch the match you can see Orton talking and calling all the spots leading the match the whole way.
Like they say,it takes two to tango(and make a great match). Cody is good no doubt but if they feud soon it'll be all Orton leading the way,not Cody.
DM: I didn't say Rhodes carried Orton. I said he brought out the best in Orton, in the sense Orton looked better in that match than he does most of the time.
I was fortunate enough to be present at Dragon Gate’s ‘Way of the Ronin’ in Milwaukee this past weekend, and I wanted to take the time to send you feedback. First, I was the fan who was “super close” to the action in the Akira Tozawa vs. Jon Davis match. I was front row VIP; my chair was broken during this match and I was inadvertently clocked. I shook Tozawa’s hand after I fell off the stage and was hit during the melee. Let me say, if you proclaim to be a wrestling fan and you missed this show you are no wrestling fan. This was the best live show I’ve ever been to, and after the perfect feed becomes available on www.wwnlive.com, and people have time to digest the show, I have no doubt it will receive votes for Show of the Year. I haven’t missed too many wrestling shows on PPV this year (this includes the shows on www.gfl.tv) and I thought this was a better overall show than Money in the Bank. If anyone had any doubts about Gargano coming into this show, they were quenched. Johnny Gargano delivered in a big way! The main event was a 5-star match that had the fans believing the near-falls at the end of the match were really the ending!
What will I remember most about this show? Pac, CIMA, Yamato, Tozawa, and some other wrestlers who don’t immediately come to mind showed up to the venue after 5 PM (with a 7:30PM belltime); all involved in matches that were complex, and one would think had hours to plan out. Sabu returned to ECW form; Brodie Lee had one his strongest matches evew, and the main event should be considered for Match of the Year!!