Mild thumbs up.
Solid PPV overall. Great job elevating Henry as a monster who can now be
Champion. Del Rio an excellent wrestler; spry they took the belt off of him this fast.
4 way well done; divas fine. Miz & Truth tag match was a very strong opener.
Triple H-Punk a disappointment; proved nothing.
Had the chance to go to Saturday's ROH show in NYC. First ROH show I've been two in two years; in fact the last one was the goodbye show for Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson.
Crowd was pretty good. I've been to shows with hotter crowds in NYC, but it held its own. I know ROH announced a sellout. Each of the four sections on the floor had 180 people, plus however many they had in GA and up in the balcony. Definitely a legit 1,000, maybe 1,200.
Heat was great for the opener. As Bryan mentioned, the heat for Mike Bennett was off the charts. And it wasn't you're-a-heel-so-we're-going-to-boo-you heat, this was legitimate we-don't-like-you-at-all-and-we-think-you-really-do-suck-so-don't-try-to-win-us-over-because-you-never-will heat. It was merciless. Bennett definitely looked green out there, but Shelton carried him to a pretty good match.
The Elgin/Haas match also lacked heat. Going on after the intermission probably didn't help. The drink line was long and people were probably resting up for the last two matches of the night.
The three-way tag was unreal. Just incredible action. Was super entertaining and I liked the Young Bucks not shaking hands after the match. This will be interesting how crowds respond to them. The fans love anything that makes TNA look bad, so they'll keep up the "Fuck TNA" chants, but they also like the "honor" part of what they're seeing, and after nine years it's good to see that guys can go heel in this promotion with as simple a gesture as not shaking hands.
Strong/Edwards was one of the best matches I've ever seen live.
Ladder War was a great way to end the show. Pure insanity and very entertaining. There were a few times I genuinely feared somebody might get seriously hurt.
As usual, the ROH crew and wrestlers were friendly and appreciative when approached. Makes it an easy company to root for.
Not nearly as much merchandise available as I've seen in the past. The economy has clearly eaten into people's ability and/or desire to spend $20 on a DVD at the show. And really, the ROH crowd is one where multiple people would spend anywhere from $60-$100 on DVDs every time they went. Definitely not happening anymore.
The company has done an absolutely incredible job with the Steen angle. Prime example of ROH working an angle for the long term and letting it build. They have the fans eating out of their hands right now. Steen completely comes off as the asshole prick who doesn't give a fuck about authority and is really a mean son of a bitch, but the fans are taking to him because of it. WWE could've done something like this with Punk but as usual they fucked it up.
Definitely a great show and experience and looking forward to Final Battle in December.
Thumbs in the Middle
Best Fight: Jake Sheilds vs. Jake Ellenberger
Worst Fight: Johnathan Brookens vs. Erick Koch
Ellenberger really made a name for himself here. Jon Fitch at one
point did not want to fight him because he did not think he was a
contender, but now its a fight he can't avoid. I am sure Jake is fine
from his fight, so I wouldn't surprised if they announce Fitch vs.
Ellenberger in San Jose. My heart really feels for Sheilds who has
had a rough three weeks since losing his father. Much respect goes to
Sheilds for still going out and fighting.
It pains me to put Johnathan Brookens in the first fight of the night.
That was borefest. It could have gone either way, but I am glad they
gave it to Koch. He did land more of the big shots and even though
Brookens controlled him on the cage, he really didn't do much other
then one hard elbow.
Great to see Alan Belcher back and get a great win over a tough Jason
McDonald. Poor Belcher was close to getting a Middleweight title shot
and then got injured. Curious to see who he fights next.
Best Fight: Bryan Baker vs. Jared Hess
Worst Fight: Sam Alvey vs. Vitor Vianna
Bellator 50 was a good show, but also not one of their best. The
highlight for me was Alexander Shelmenko submission over Zelig Galesic
with standing guillotine. Seeing Shlemenko since Season 2 put on
exciting fights with his strikes, it was a shock he won by a
submission. Bellator booked these two strikers so it would be wild
stand up fight, but that did not happen. This fight should have went
on first, as the opener of Sam Alvey versus Vitor Vianna was a snoozer.
Vianna did not want to engage, and Alvey really didn't do much. The
only exciting part of the fight was in the second round when the two
went to the ground and Vianna showed a hint of world class bjj. Even
Vianna wins the tournament ( I don't see this happening) he will get
killed by Hector Lombard the current Bellator Middleweight Champion.
My second highlight was Brian Rogers defeated Victor O'Donnell.
O'Donnell protested the stoppage, but to me it looked justified.
O'Donnell might have been out, but recovered quickly and thus why he
thinks he the fight should have been continued. Rogers looks like real
prospect with a great look, charisma and promo ability. The fans booed
the decision to call the fight, but Rogers took it at them jeering him.
So Rogers, got heeled himself up the Hollywood, Florida crowd. Love
to see Rogers win the tournament and take on Lombard. I believe
Lombard will win, but Rogers seems like a guy who will come right at
Lombard and thus have an exciting fight.
Bryan Baker is one of the most amazing stories in MMA. Coming back
from being diagnosed with leukemia and coming back to fight. Jared
Hess is an early Bellator favorite the company was pushing to be one of
their cornerstones, but looks to have come on tough times since he
injured his knee against Shelmenko back in Season 2. I am sure he
will be around Bellator still, but is now no longer a for sure thing
for future Middleweight tournaments. Baker is looking to revenge his
Season 2 Middleweight tournament loss to Shelmenko so that should be
interested if they are seeded in the semifinals. Shelmenko destroyed
him last time and the way Shelmenko is focused on winning the
tournament, I can see that happening again.
My hope is they rematch Baker vs. Shelmenko and Rogers vs. Vianna. One
I want to the Baker/Shelmenko rematch and I also want to see Rogers
destroy Vianna. My hope for the finals is Shelmenko vs. Rogers and I
think that can possible one exciting fight.
Another thing I want to note is the production value has really gone up
this season of Bellator. You really get the feeling they are moving to
Spike really soon. Next week show is Bantamweight tournament and that
is the most stacked tournament of Season 5. Joe Warren vs. Alexis
Villa is one fight you do not want to miss.
San Jose, CA
Watched Bellator first on DVR this morning, which might tell you something.
I think I understand why I like Bellator so much. Instead of bringing in Tim Sylvia, Ken
Shamrock, or Sakuraba, they rely on the best guys they can find and put them in the best
matchups. I don't think anyone thinks Alexander Schlemenko would stand a chance against
Anderson Silva, but that's not really the point. They're not the best guys out there but
they fight their asses off. It may not equal ratings and money, but damn it's fun to
That said, I wish Smilin Sam Alvey would have been more aggressive. I see what he was
doing but avoiding the takedown wasn't going to get him the win in the judges eyes.
Brian Baker and Jared Hess are just awesome to watch. I am betting that Hess came in
with a head issue, be it concussion or illness, because he looked out of it. Still, he
could have easily won that fight even with any injury he had.
The battle of the men with the two worst nicknames in UFC history!! And why does Belcher
have Chazz Bono tattooed on his arm? Or wait, is that Jay Leno? And does it hurt more
when Belcher hits you with a left elbow because you have the power of the Man in Black
behind it? Kind of like Lex Luger's bionic forearm?
Brookins messed up by going for takedowns. Clinching against the fence and throwing
elbows and knees would have eventually given him the space to finish. That said, I think
he won anyway and I'd be willing to bet Joe Rogan does too.
Just once I'd like Court McGhee to look in the camera and yell "CHICKENS!!!"
Didn't watch the Sheilds fight. Waiting for a time when I can't get to sleep. Sheilds
should sell a DVD of his matches with the label "more effective than Lunesta!!"
Hate on my if you like. I speak the truth.
Thumbs in the middle. Was heading for an 'up' before Floyd, Ortiz and Cortez embarrassed the sport once again.
Best fight: Alvarez-Gomez
Worst fight: Mayweather-Ortiz (and it was pretty good up till the finish)
Erik Morales adjusting real well to being the older fighter winning on skill. Did a real paint job on the much younger Cano and forced the corner stop.
Alvarez and Gomez put on a sprited go with the younger champ opening and closing strong and the veteran contender more than holding his own in the interim. Some are bitching about an early stop but it was gonna happen eventually.
Mayweather was uncharacteristically aggressive and putting on one of if not the most exciting performance of his usually-safety-first career, actually risking getting hit back in order to get his shots off, and was nailing Ortiz pretty much at will. Then Ortiz actually landed something decent, drove Floyd back into a corner, and let fly about the most blatant billygoat headbutt I ever remember seeing, and that was where Joe Cortez, who has been senile for like 30 years now, lost control of the fight. He called time and properly penalized Ortiz a point, but then let the fighters approach each other and talk, then either did NOT call time in or DID but while paying no attention to the fighters, and Floyd cocked a 3-2 Sunday on Ortiz, whose hands were down and who was looking at Cortez, who was looking Into An Abyss, and who then proceeded to wake up and count him out. I'll tell you my inital reaction was 'wow, that looked scripted', but that was live and Cortez' bumbling was not evident until the replay from another angle. First time around it looked like the babyface reacting to the heel's foul by putting him away with one move, like they were turning Floyd babyface. But then the replay made the cheap shot clear. Floyd then proceeded to make the mess bigger by cussing out Larry Mushmouth, who has had it coming for decades, but Floyd managed to make him look like the babyface. Another rolling clusterfuck for boxing.
Best fight: Baker-Hess
Worst fight: Vianna-Alvey, and it wasn't bad
4 MW tourney fights. Vianni opened with a close decision over Alvey in a tightly contested match with no major fireworks.
Shlemenko, known mostly for spinning kickboxing techniques, upset PRIDE/DREAM veteran Zelg Galesic with a Front Standing Guillotine in the 1st, actually having him lifted in the air by his neck for the sub. Highlight reel material.
Brian Rogers, who has a great look (sort of a bigger Ben Henderson), quickly flattened Victor O'Donnell with a HK and finished him with punches. O'Donnell protested the stoppage but it looked like his head and neck went momentarily loose.
Jared Hess put up a good fight early but looked like he had not recovered from his horrible broken leg, and Brian Baker (who only had to beat leukemia) dominated him on the ground before stopping him with ground strikes in the 2nd.
Entertaining card and it looks like it will be a fun, competitive tourney.
UFC FN 25
Thumbs up. Another card that was lackluster on paper but delivered in real time.
Best fight: Like half the card was really good fights. I'll go with Waldburger-Stumpf for the heads up grappling. Riddle and Benoist really cranked it up, too.
Worst fight: Brookins-Koch wasn't much fun to watch.
KO: Jake E
Sub: split it between Waldburger, Baczynski, Stone and Rocha
Edwards and Lopez kicked off the undercard with a tight three round battle. Edwards' aggresivenes and better cardio edged it for him. Lopez carrying too much muscle.
Peralta and Lullo turned in another good distance fight, with Lullo surviving an early battering and coming on at the end, but not enough to take the fight from Peralta. Peralta sent Takaya running back to Japan.
Waldburger and Stumpf despite having the two worst names in the history of combat sports really lit it up with opportunistic fighting and acrobatic grappling. Waldburger was just that much sharper and got the tap. To me this is the kind of fight that makes MMA unique.
Baczynski in as a late sub and totally took Harvison to school in all aspects. Outstanding performance.
Ken Stone, not thrown to the wolves vs. a top contender for the first time in his Zuffa career, showed that he will probably be on that level someday with a one sided dismembering of Walker.
Benoist and Riddle tore it up. The much smaller and up from the minors Benoist looked on paper to be in way over his head for his UFC debut but served notice about two seconds into the fight that he had dropped in from another planet and is sporting some serious talent and skill. Fight was going his way until Riddle wrecked his nose with a knee partway through the 2nd. Enough blood to satisfy a rasslin fan. Riddle's blond hair turned orange. Benoist was in survival mode in the 3rd but had put the first two in the bank and got the deserved decision, which for some inexplicable reason got him booed by the crowd. Hey, boo the decision, fine, although you'd be wrong, but how could you not love this guy's performance?
Dunham and Shamar was good too. Dunham had something to prove after being unjustly dropped from the upper rankings and he did it, putting a three round paint job on Bailey, who nevertheless did himself a lot more good losing this fight than he he did winning his previous fights with Lay & Pray. He took everything Dunham threw and just kept coming. It was like the Fighter's Nightmare where you hit the guy with all your best shots and he just walks in and never even blinks.
Rocha vs. Cody was sort of fun, with Rocha's world class BJJ allowing him to nullify Cody's one move, but Cody proving to be pretty slippery himself, until Rocha finally tied him in a knot he couldn't get out of and sunk the choke for the tap.
On the main card, Alan Belcher was just too strong and quick for Jason McDonald, who played right into his hands by pulling guard, allowing Belcher to pound him goofy for the quick TKO. Long layoff didn't seem to hurt Belcher at all.
Brookins, who maybe DID appear a little rusty after HIS long layoff, and Koch had a real clash of styles that did not make for an entertaining fight. Koch scored from long range when he could but couldn't keep Brookins off him, and Brookins couldn't do that much damage inside or get Koch grounded. I gave Brookins the 1st and had it a draw, but it could have gone any possible way and not been too wrong. Just one of those fights.
McGee and Yang was another fight not to write home about, with McGee dominating through being busier and in better shape, until the brief explosion late in the third, when Yang dropped McGee but shot his bolt doing so and nearly allowed McGee to finish him. They were saying how McGee wasn't even breathing hard at the end---maybe he should have fought harder during the fight. Card was sorta heading downhill at this point.
Ellenberger (note to Buffer: 'Ellen' is not his middle name) saved the card by sending Shields on a quick trip to Mars courtesy of a knee strike from clinch. Shields was orbiting for several minutes and did not realize either in the moment or after that he had been trying to take down the ref after the stoppage. Big upset and a big plus for the division, with the MUCH more exciting fighter rising the ranks.
I gave the show a slight thumbs up
Best Fight: Shields vs Ellenberger
Worst Fight: by default I would have to go with Brookins vs Koch, wasnt a bad fight just the least exciting of the ones broadcast
Best KO: Jake Ellenberger
Best Sub: n/a
Alan Belcher vs. Jason MacDonald - I was really looking forward to this fight as I really like Belcher. He looked great in his return. MacDonald is usually another fighter who is very entertaining but he could do nothing to get Belcher off of him. Great G&P within the guard especially some of those Muay Thai elbows with the intent to cut..
Jonathan Brookins vs Erik Koch -I was impressed that this one went to the decision as I was expecting a KO by Koch. A testament to Brookins abilities. Koch didn't seem to get his usual striking prowess going.
Court McGee vs. Dongi Yang - 3rd round was a lot of fun and if the whole fight was like that they could have taken fight of the night for sure. Even in the first couple of rounds but was surprised that the one judge called a 30-27 round. I thought Yang's low kicks did a lot of damage in the 1st
Jake Shields vs. Jake Ellenberger - wow. I had picked Ellenberger in this one as I thought Shields may have been a bit mentally off with the unfortunate passing of his father. Didn't think it would go this quick. Ellenberger looked impressive and that was a great knee that put Shields down.
Check out my current ebay auctions with vintage Observer, Wrestling, beer clothing and more auctions. Seller name is grantsindex or search Wrestling Observer for my items.
Looking forward to watching a replay of Bellator Sunday night on The Score here in Canada, should be a good tournament.
Have a great night and enjoy the rest of your weekend.