QOTD – August 1st, 2013

Greetings.

Today’s question comes from Phil TCA, and it’s about the recent going-ons with A-Rod.

Philippe TCA here with a very simple question with a no doubt complicated discussion attached

http://deadspin.com/can-baseball-actually-ban-alex-rodriguez-982446662

Should the commissioner of baseball be able to ban
Alex Rodriquez for life? As a Yankees fan, I’d love to see him go but
that’s more for salary reasons than anything else. Thoughts?

Honestly, I have no idea about any of this. I don’t have cable, and I don’t follow the news, since it’s all a bunch of depressing BS. From what I’ve read here today, it’s regarding PEDs. Man, Americans need to get the fuck over this whole ordeal with PEDs. EVERYONE is doing them, hence it isn’t cheating. They need to quit blowing money, time, and effort on crap like this. Who cares? Let some healthy athletes inject some anabolics & stimulants if they should so choose to.

I don’t get it though, why do Yanks fans hate A-Rod? Isn’t he the jam? I sure know as a guy from Seattle that people lost their MINDS around here when he left. He was completely vilified. 

How say you?

Stone Cold Daniel Bryan

Hey Scott,

Do you think there's a future in a Bryan/McMahon long-term feud? Because these two seem to be recreating the Austin/McMahon feud by accident, in so far as having an owner who absolutely doesn't want a wrestler as champion.

The general rule of wrestling is that if the fans believe it, it sells, and if there is one thing fans seem to, at least want to, believe, it's that McMahon, in real life, HATES Daniel Bryan. Sure, that's probably the furthest thing from the truth but plays to the myth that McMahon always and forever will push bigger guys. It also plays to the legend of Bryan as the man who overcomes obstacles. You could have McMahon come out and run down Bryan as small, trollish and an embarassment and Bryan can come out, kick his head in and say, "Yeah, I'm small. But I will kick your head in!"

Yeah, I'm a Bryan mark, but I still think there's potential in a Bryan/McMahon long-term feud with or without the belt. Thoughts?

I think clearly they're leading to Orton cashing in as Vince's avatar at Summerslam, while Bryan is HHH's guy and we'll say Cena is Stephanie's person so they can recreate the McMahon In Every Corner nonsense at some point.  Vince's wish that Bryan and Cena both leave Summerslam without the belt is pretty big foreshadowing that Orton is getting the belt there, at least.  

Cucch’s Book Review: “Chris and Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death.”

Well, my last book review had someone allege that I had fallen off the wagon and was back on drugs. So WHY NOT this book?

No wrestling fan will ever forget where they were on Monday, June 25, 2007. It was a day that evoked some pretty tangible memories. I have stated my own as such in reviewing two of the books authored on the wrestler once known as Chris Benoit. I say once known, because WWE canon has all but erased the man, ex-sponged him from history.  The unfortunate thing is that many of us who were fans of the man cannot simply do that. The horrible reality still stares us in the face, strikes us in the heart like a flaming dagger. Here was a man celebrated for being an in-ring maestro, an absolute artist who took the medium of pro wrestling to its rarest of heights, a man who was never truly appreciated by whatever American organization was pushing or de-pushing him, a man not necessarily understood by the so-called “unwashed masses” of wrestling fans, who ascended to the top of the organization’s mountain, and provided a orgasmic release from many longtime fans, real fans, inside fans who truly understood, or thought they understood, what pro wrestling was all about. Here was a wrestler’s wrestler, the heir apparent to the thrones of both Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart, a man who personified the in ring craft as the truest form of art, who gave his all for the fans, who paid his dues. Chris Benoit was every wrestler’s favorite wrestler. That is a statement many have made. I was one of those die hard fans who enjoyed everything Benoit had to offer, left on the table, sacrificed for. And now…as far as my friends go, I look like the biggest moron in the world. All because of one horrific weekend in 2007.

That is a paragraph that, more or less, not necessarily word for word, that I have had to write when discussing the relative merits of my favorite wrestler for six years now. The events of that weekend not only shook WWE to its core, but all of wrestling and its many fans, and all of America, and I dare say Canada and Japan. The Benoit double murder suicide was catastrophic in a sense that it destroyed the psyches of so many people in so many places, from so many walks of life. It was an unthinkable act perpetuated from the most unlikely source. So we thought. And to this day we still grieve.

Now, I have reviewed both “Ring of Hell” and “Benoit”, and both are recommended reads. I have steered clear of reviewing the nameskae of this website’s book for a while now, but, trust me, it will be forthcoming. What I want to address, what needs to be reviewed, is Irv Muchnick’s “Chris and Nancy.”

It is, by and large, the most salacious book published in this post 6/27 world. While many who read my reviews probably know of my distaste for Irv Muchnick, this is one book where I can lay most of my bias aside and acknowledge the facts. Irv has written a hell of a book here. It is detailed and fairly accurate. Yet, there are aspects of the book that I still find distasteful and loaded with anti-wrestling hubris.

This book is not so much a life history of Benoit, or even a history of Nancy Toffoloni.  It isn’t even necessarily a character study. The basic gist of this book barely has anything to do at all with Chris, Nancy, or Daniel Benoit, really, God rest two of the three souls. No, this book is more about the investigation of Fayette County Georgia police officials, the ineptitude of DA Scott Ballard, and WWE’s reaction to the whole sordid mess.

The book features two quick and dirty chapters on the life’s of Chris Benoit and Nancy Toffoloni. Like 50 pages worth. Not much, and other books have done their lives justice better, like “Ring of Hell”, “Benoit”, and, yes, “Dungeon of Death.” All do a better job of describing the humanity of the individuals who perished better than this book. Even if none directly deal with the most tragic figure of the tragedy, Daniel. What Muchnick does is expose the holes in the whole shitty investigation by the Fayette County Sheriff’s department. It depicts a police force not equipped for the crime that happened, and a complete ineptitude from the office of the District Attorney Scott Ballard. Muchnick actually does an amazing job of laying out the issues that any sane person, wrestling fan, non wrestling fan, would allay in terms of the evidence provided. For that, it is just an outstanding read, and one I recommend whole-heartedly.

Another aspect of the book, as Muchnick strays from the actual history of the Benoit family, is the link between Benoit and Dr. Astin, which, do not get me wrong, is significant. But if you are to write a proper story on this whole sordid mess, you NEED that backstory. Muchnick merely plows ahead, ignoring the humanity of what happened and delves straight into the why, what and how instead of the more significant WHO and WHY. Now, Astin was no angel, a complete asswipe drug dealer with no conscience or fear of repercussion, which may be the one positive that came out of this whole nasty mess. A corrupt Doctor off the streets means less drugs funneled to dependent addicts without a script. For that, I applaud Law Enforcement.

The largest portion of this book, like most else, is devoted to the Media Circus surrounding the whole affair. It was a joke. But whereas other books deal with the Press following the crisis, this one details Congress’ handling of the shit. And, much like the hearings of Major League Baseball? It is absolutely laughable. I will not get into details, because no detail is needed. All that needs to be asked is these: Has Pro Wrestling been charged? Has MLB been charged? NO. I sit here on a night where a lifetime ban of Alex Rodriguez (justified) is being bandied about. What wrestler has truly been called out? NONE. And it will sadly remain that way.

Irv Muchnick’s “Chris and Nancy” is a fine book, but far from the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But it IS must read. The only thing that pisses me off about it is the fact that he constantly, CONSTANTLY, in footnotes throughout the book, makes reference to the materials he came across in studying the case. And they are available for $25 from Irv AFTER the fact.

A true journalist, that Muchnick.

Newman’s Take: PRIDE 1

-Alright, so the original plan was to continue with the UFC reviews where I left off, which meant UFC on Fuel 7 from London in February was next. Buuut plans change and drqshadow’s been pestering me for a while to do these old PRIDE shows so here we are. Basically I’ve got a bit of a confession – sure, I’m as hardcore an MMA fan as you’ll find….but I’ve never actually seen the early – pre-2000 Grand Prix – PRIDE shows. Why? Not sure really – I blame the guys who got me into MMA in the first place as I’m sure I remember them saying to start with PRIDE 10 and run from there. I could be wrong. Anyway I never got around to getting hold of the older PRIDEs until I spotted that FightDVD were selling them very cheaply last month, so I ended up picking up the double-disc sets for PRIDE 1 to 8. And here we are. Bear in mind, I know approximately squat about Japanese culture and/or Japanese pro-wrestling, and so I’ll be trying my absolute best not to come off as a racist or a bigot. Ignorance? Yeah, you might be able to accuse me of that! Here goes.

PRIDE 1

10/11/97
Tokyo, Japan

-We begin with this weird video that shows shots of Rickson Gracie (I think!) intertwined with shots of a Chinese dragon. No intro segment which is odd for me as the older PRIDE shows I’ve seen always had Quadros and Bas breaking down the card. Instead we go right into the first fight.

-Your hosts are indeed Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten. Bas’s English sounds, well, slightly shaky here I think compared to how he became later on.

Kazunari Murakami vs John Dixson

Never heard of either of these guys. Quick check of Sherdog tells me Murakami was 3-3 coming in with both a loss to and a win over Akihiro Gono which is WILD. I legitimately had no clue Gono was around in 1996. Dixson was 3-5 with losses to Igor Vovchanchyn and Dan Severn which at this point weren’t exactly bad losses. Dixson is wearing a t-shirt in the ring which is never good.

Fight begins and they bull into an early clinch before Dixson breaks and glances on a high kick. Single leg from Dixson and he lands in the guard. Looks like it’s half-guard actually. Murakami appears to be going for a sweep, but Dixson is a big dude and he avoids it. He chooses to stand and they come back up to their feet. Couple of jabs from the Japanese fighter but Dixson clinches. Big hip throw plants Dixson on his back though and from there Murakami takes a straight armbar and extends it for the tapout.

Perfectly acceptable opener around the same level as your standard midcard UFC fight of this time period I guess. Throw and armbar were nice at least.

Gary Goodridge vs Oleg Taktarov

These two were of course coming over from the UFC where they’d seen some decent success, with Taktarov winning the UFC 6 tournament and Goodridge making the finals of UFC 9. Goodridge is HUGE here, not steroid-looking huge, just like a very strong dude who pushes very heavy weights. Looking at his record this was quite a while after Oleg’s UFC run actually – right after that loss to Renzo Gracie where Renzo KOd him with an upkick.

They begin and circle around a little, with Goodridge really hanging his hands low for some reason. Nothing happens for a while before Goodridge lands a low kick but stumbles back, and Oleg quickly closes in and trades for a second. They back out and Goodridge pops Oleg with a right hand that cuts him under the left eye. Action slows right down as Goodridge continues to drop his hands. One-two misses for Goodridge. This is swiftly becoming a staring contest. A really bloody one as Oleg has this movie-esque trickle of blood coming down his face. Oleg closes in, but eats a short right hand that drops him. Another one follows and Oleg looks in trouble as he turtles up and eats some more clubbing blows. Knee to the head and Goodridge lands some wild hammer fists before Oleg rolls onto his back again. Goodridge decides to stand over him, then kicks the legs hard as Oleg can’t seem to decide what to do. Dude is still chilled though. He gets back up and goes back to circling. Lot of blood covering Oleg’s face now. Takedown attempt from Taktarov but Goodridge sprawls nicely and avoids it. Jab glances for Goodridge. Oleg attempts to clinch, but Goodridge counters with a HEAVY RIGHT HOOK and the Russian goes down face-first, totally unconscious. Wow. Goodridge adds two really cruel shots for good measure before the ref can stop him. Post-fight poor Oleg goes out on a stretcher like this is a Van Damme movie.

Man, that was a pretty vicious knockout actually. Punches on the ground were horrific as Oleg’s body was knocked across by the force of them as he was already out. Not much of a fight prior to that if I’m honest as it was a ton of staring, but who cares when you’ve got a knockout like that?

Renzo Gracie vs Akira Shoji

Comical stuff prior to the fight as Quadros is like, this is Shoji’s MMA debut….oh, actually it isn’t, he’s fought a couple of times before. No clue if someone suddenly clued him in or he just forgot, or what. He’s more accurate when he describes Renzo as one of the most feared men in martial arts, as he was unbeaten at this point and from what I know had a reputation second only to Rickson himself, as he was far more violent than his cousin Royce and had won several fights with strikes.

Fight begins and Shoji circles around as Renzo stalks forward. Renzo gets a clinch and looks for the takedown, but Shoji leans all over the ropes to avoid. Pretty blatant stalling tactic from Shoji as he keeps grabbing the ropes whenever he can. Eventually Renzo muscles him down and then takes full mount in a scramble. Looks like he might be looking for an armbar as Shoji keeps flailing his arms, but the ropes are in the way. Refs move them into the center of the ring and Renzo has the mount really tightly locked in. Shoji gives his back and Renzo lands some punches and goes for the choke, but Shoji stands with Renzo clamped to his back! Koala position reference from Quadros, word! Eventually Shoji gets desperate and DIVES OUT OF THE RING and of course there’s tons of confusion over this. Can’t believe some idiots STILL maintain the ring is better than the cage for MMA. Anyway this being Japan they decide to restart the fight standing. Good knee from Renzo and Shoji shoots into the clinch and muscles him into the ropes. They jockey for position and the ref CONSTANTLY has to mess around with the ropes to keep them off the fighters. Headbutt from Renzo which is evidently legal, and then he gets a guillotine variant but can’t quite lock it up. Commentary is hilarious as they’re barely even speaking at points. You can tell Bas is REALLY green at it actually. Renzo finally goes for the arm-in guillotine and jumps to guard to attempt the finish, but Shoji works his head free to a big pop. Gracie looks to hold him from the guard now as Shoji punches the body. Fight has now lulled into a ludicrously slow pace. Bell sounds for the end of Round One and that seems to shock Quadros, who perhaps wasn’t aware this was a multi-round fight? Who knows.

Into the 2nd and they circle and look to exchange some punches before Renzo shoots for a takedown. Shoji blocks it and so Renzo pulls guard. They exchange some punches and more headbutts from there and then Gracie looks to be setting up for an oma plata. Announcers totally no-sell that for ages by the way until it’s almost locked. Shoji manages to slip free nicely and stands over him, leaving the Brazilian in the butt-scoot position. Renzo gets back up and stalks forward as Shoji stays on the outside but doesn’t really throw much. Punches largely miss for both men but Gracie does land with a nice chopping leg kick. Shoji answers with one of his own so Renzo shoots for a takedown. Shoji defends with a sprawl and a possible guillotine pops the crowd, but he doesn’t go for it. Ref calls a “stop! Don’t move!” deal to get them out of the ropes but at this point evidently they hadn’t perfected it as it takes FOUR GUYS to move them. They restart and Renzo gets the single leg and puts Shoji on his back in guard. Renzo passes to mount and Shoji bucks, but gives his back in the process. Armbar attempt from Gracie as Shoji slips out the back door and it looks locked, but somehow the Japanese fighter slips free! Wow. Crowd are going crazy over this. Renzo stays in the butt-scoot position again and Shoji stands over him, but does nothing. We’re getting basically zero action outside of a couple of crappy kicks from Shoji here which sucks. Bell sounds to end the round and Bas is outright like, thank God for that. Ha.

Third round and unfortunately the announcers don’t mention how many rounds this is. Good leg kick from Shoji as they circle around. Body kick from Renzo answers. Renzo closes the distance and looks to clinch but Shoji shrugs him off. These guys are literally throwing one strike at a time. Shoji does land a pair of nice leg kicks though. This is becoming painful to watch and the worst part is there’s no on-screen clock so I have NO IDEA HOW LONG IS LEFT. Takedown attempt from Renzo but Shoji blocks and grabs a front facelock to land some knees to the head with Renzo in the turtle position. Ref warns Shoji for that as apparently they’re illegal. Renzo decides to pull guard anyway. He wraps Shoji up and the action slows to a crawl as Shoji lands some short punches to the body. Couple of solid knees to the tailbone land for the Japanese fighter. Renzo works for the possible oma plata again, but he actually uses it to hit a sick sweep into full mount. Shoji gives his back though…and then slips out the back door to standing. Crowd pop loudly for that and the announcers love it too. Renzo’s leg is horribly marked up from the kicks. Nothing happens for a while as Shoji makes some INTENSE FACES towards Renzo but doesn’t throw any punches. Low kick from Shoji and Renzo shoots and then pulls guard. Short punches from Shoji on the ground and Renzo kicks him away and narrowly misses an upkick. Shoji stands over him again and the bell sounds to end the round. Bas then reveals that it’s the end of the fight, too.

Judges score it….well, there are no judges I guess so it’s a draw. Decision probably would’ve been Gracie’s but whatever. There was some good action in this fight actually, but the problem was that added together it would’ve lasted for like five minutes and the whole thing was THIRTY MINUTES. Which made it a real chore to sit through. Still, I’ve seen worse fights from this period. Granted I mean Severn/Shamrock II and Gracie/Shamrock II, but the point still stands!

Koji Kitao vs Nathan Jones

You might remember Kitao from a brief UFC run where he had his nose broken by Mark Hall. He’s a sumo guy for those wondering. And yeah, you might remember Australian Nathan Jones from his brief WWE run as the COLOSSUS OF BOGGO ROAD!~! which was a character I thought had some potential until it became obvious the dude couldn’t wrestle worth a lick. He was also infamous for being detained in an airport after cracking a shoe-bomb joke from what I remember. Non-wrestling fans might recognize him from the beginning of the movie Troy, as he’s the big dude in the opening scene that Brad Pitt offs. Jones does not look anywhere near WWE shape here, that’s for sure.

We get underway and Jones springs around on the outside as Kitao stands in the center of the ring with his hands way low. Spinning crescent kick misses for Jones. Left high kick also misses and Kitao clinches. Jones grabs a front headlock but doesn’t really go for the guillotine, instead just holding the sumo. Couple of knees from Jones but Kitao grabs the leg and drops him to the ground, landing in side mount. Jones starts grunting and it sounds like he might be panicking a bit. Kitao looks to lock up an arm and gets a keylock for the tapout. Huh. Didn’t even look locked up correctly to me but I guess Kitao is a big, strong guy.

Don’t really know what to say there. Really odd fight. Nathan Jones in MMA is about as good as Nathan Jones in pro wrestling I guess. It was a curiosity fight and it didn’t last long so hey, no complaints from me really.

Branko Cikatic vs Ralph White

This is apparently a kickboxing bout according to Quadros. Cikatic was the first ever K-1 World Champion which is obviously a big achievement and he KOd Ernesto Hoost to win that title which is an even bigger achievement. A look at his record shows he fought DENNIS ALEXIO too. For those unfamiliar with that name, he’s Van Damme’s brother in Kickboxer and was a top level kickboxer in the 80’s and early 90’s. No clue about White, sorry. He’s a big intimidating-looking black dude, though.

First round (?) begins and Branko FAKES A GLOVE TOUCH TO LAND A SPIN KICK TO THE BODY! Boo! White fires back with a combo but it doesn’t land cleanly. Branko looks unbelievably calm here. Couple of jabs and a low kick from White. Chopping low kick connects for White. Nice right hand lands for Cikatic and he drops White with a left hook before NAILING HIM WITH A SOCCER KICK! In a kickboxing match, yeah. OH MY GOD says Bas and Quadros questions the legality. Well yeah.

White gets up and there’s a HUGE LUMP STICKING OUT OF HIS HEAD. Holy fucking shit. Looks like he’s growing horns like a demon or maybe there’s an alien growing under his skin or something. Announcers are cracking the same jokes as me here which is brilliant. Well, it would be, except poor Ralph White has this sick deformity coming from his head! Seriously, Quadros is coming out with all sorts of stuff here, making jokes about everything from Rocky (doing a Mickey impression) to cracks about Clearasil. The lump is GETTING BIGGER SOMEHOW as Bas discusses Branko’s filthy reputation. Ralph has about four or five doctors checking him over. The officials take forever to decide what to do as Quadros keeps on cracking jokes about Ralph starring in a horror movie. Finally they decide to DQ Cikatic and he throws a hissy fit which is ridiculous. He SOCCER KICKED A GUY IN A STAND-UP FIGHT. Branko finally apologises and that’s that.

Calling this weird would be the understatement of the century, seriously. It’s must-see if only for the freakishness of the lump coming from poor Ralph White’s head and for the bizarre and hilarious commentary of the whole thing. I’m lost for words here, honestly.

Dan Severn vs Kimo Leopoldo

Like Goodridge and Taktarov these pair had obviously made their name in the UFC, although both men had fought elsewhere since. Severn looks in really good shape for this fight and Kimo is his usual intimidating self. I’m guessing Severn would’ve been the favourite here as Kimo has always seemed more hype than substance to me.

Fight begins and they exchange some punches early on before settling into a circling pattern. Decent right lands for Severn as Kimo pushes forward. Kimo is swinging some really wild hooks here. Takedown attempt from Severn and he forces Kimo into the corner of the ring. Kimo defends and they spin around a couple of times before breaking off. Wild right hook glances for Kimo. This striking exchange is awful. Left hook connects for Kimo and forces Severn back. They continue to circle with little action before Kimo avoids a half-hearted takedown attempt. Haymaker right misses for Kimo. Severn appears to be throwing slaps almost. Really horrible exchange comes for a second before they break off. Low kick from Kimo. Terrible striking continues. Couple more leg kicks land for Kimo. He’s dropping his hands totally and swinging wild haymakers that keep missing. Ankle pick from Severn and Kimo goes down for a second before popping up. Blatant low blow from Kimo but the ref ignores it for some reason. Bas suddenly realizes that Severn looks like Freddie Mercury. More bad striking follows as the announcers come to the conclusion that there’s too much respect between the two. Bas outright says he’s getting frustrated. This is getting worse by the second.

Severn connects on a right hand but it doesn’t do much. Finally Severn goes for the takedown but Kimo does a very good job of defending it. I’m legitimately struggling to stay awake watching this now. Granted I’m tired but god damn. I don’t know how to play-by-play this really as there’s so little action, it’s like the shoddiest kickboxing match you’ve ever seen. Pair of body kicks from Kimo. Both guys look exhausted. Kimo tries a flurry but it doesn’t land clean and so we’re back to throwing the odd haymaker and staring. Kimo’s cut somehow and I have no idea how it happened. Normally I’d be bothered about that and rewind to find out but there’s NO WAY I’m doing that here. Severn lands with a right hand and the announcers are amazed. Takedown is blocked by Kimo. Kimo appears to be getting the better of these exchanges but I mean, it’s not like he’s landing a ton. AWFUL flurry from Severn backs Kimo up for a second but it doesn’t last long. Finally Severn catches a kick and gets Kimo down, but he falls through the ropes and the ref decides to restart them standing. Urgh. Quadros calls it a “marathon of inactivity”. Amen! You know a fight is bad when the commentators are doing nothing but cracking sarcastic jokes. Worst bit is that I have NO IDEA how long is left. Could be a fucking year or anything. Lame punching exchange continues between longer portions of DANGEROUS STARING. Single leg from Severn but Kimo sprawls out to avoid and grabs a front facelock. Naturally he lets go and they pop back to their feet, DISGUSTING Bas who is all like JESUS CHRIST. At least it’s funny at this point. More crap striking follows. Severn starts to push the pace but he’s still throwing his terrible slapping punches. He manages to bull Kimo into the corner and goes for the takedown, but can’t get it and slaps him around instead like his name is Chris Brown. Takedown FINALLY from Severn and he gets side mount where he lands some shots. Few knees from Severn and I wonder why the hell he didn’t do this earlier? Bell sounds there and we’re done, thank the lord.

Fight is called a draw and well, I guess that’s fair as neither man warranted the win. This was a horrible, HORRIBLE fight and it felt like the longest 30 minutes ever. I’d compare it to Shamrock/Severn II or Shamrock/Gracie II in fact. Which is the worst? That’d involve me rewatching them and I’m not doing that in a million years. My head hurts.

Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada

This was the fight that the whole PRIDE promotion was built around putting on – top Japanese shoot-style pro-wrestler Takada stepping up to face the most feared member of the Gracie family, Rickson. There’s a longer backstory that involves one of Takada’s students (Yoji Anjoh) getting the hell beaten out of him by Rickson in a dojo, but I’m not that hot on that type of history and you’re better off searching for Jonathan Snowden’s (or someone of that ilk) explanation on it. Needless to say Rickson looks like a bad dude. We get full national anthems pre-fight here which almost makes up for the Kimo/Severn debacle as the Brazilian one is a great piece of music.

Fight begins and Takada circles on the outside as Rickson stands dead in the center of the ring with his hands pretty low. Gracie just looks totally unfazed by anything Takada might do. Right hand glances for Rickson. Low kick answers for Takada but doesn’t land cleanly. Rickson manages to close the distance and forces Takada into the corner of the ring, where he grabs the ropes to stop a takedown. Ref calls a break which is shady. They restart and Rickson throws a couple of jabbing-type kicks at Takada before going for the takedown. Takada actually defends and lands a knee to the head, but Rickson isn’t affected and he hits a HUGE SLAM and lands in side mount. Full mount follows immediately and Takada is in deep trouble. He tries to hold on for dear life, but Rickson breaks free and lands some shots to the body. Takada looks lost from his back. Armbar from Rickson and he extends it comfortably to force the merciful tapout.

Well, there can be no doubt that Rickson Gracie looked like a total killer there. Got to question the opposition of course as Takada well, sucks, but hey, he didn’t play with his food and he got Takada out of there quickly and probably got paid a fat cheque, so what does it matter? It is, however, a real pity that we never got to see him step up and fight Sakuraba when Saku was on his Gracie killing run as that would’ve been an INCREDIBLE fight.

-Show ends abruptly with Rickson celebrating in the ring.

Final Thoughts….

I’m not really sure what to say here. By today’s standards, or by the standards that PRIDE would eventually reach in the early 00’s, this show undoubtedly stinks. But really, it isn’t fair to judge it against a later PRIDE show or one of today’s UFC cards. Remember this was 1997 and MMA was still largely a spectacle rather than a sport. With that said though, even by 1997 standards this was not a good show. You expect cards full of crude squashes in that era and while this had a couple of those (the opener, Goodridge/Taktarov, Kitao/Jones) it also has two of the worst fights I’ve ever seen in Renzo/Shoji and particularly Kimo/Severn which is a strong contender for worst MMA fight of all time. It’s super-interesting to see Rickson Gracie in action and as the first PRIDE show it’s worth a look for historical reasons alone, but don’t go into it expecting greatness. And if you value your sanity, skip over Kimo/Severn. Mild recommendation. (Note – I won’t be giving star ratings to these old PRIDE cards as it isn’t fair to compare them to modern stuff I don’t think)

Best Fight: Gracie vs. Takada
Worst Fight: Kimo vs. Severn

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
[email protected]
The Oratory
TJR Sports

QOTD – July 31st, 2013

Greetings.

Today our question comes from the man who shall inherit the Earth, Mr. Paul Meekin.

Caliber my man! Here is a question of the day!
Have
you ever seen a trailer for a sequel, adaptation, or spin-off of a
series, and got excited it for it despite not liking it’s source
material.
Case and point I saw the Amazing Spider-man 2 trailer, and loved it, despite hating the first film with a passion.

 I loved the first one. I thought it was a lot of fun and they really nailed the character of Spider-Man.

I hated Batman Begins when I first saw it [I’ve lightened up on it over the years] but was very excited for The Dark Knight once I saw the trailer, which was mostly due in part to Ledger’s Joker, of course.

How say you?

Send in your QOTD to [email protected] Also, if you want to be super-awesome facebook buddies, you can send it to me via msg. Find your boy here – http://www.facebook.com/calibertholomew.winfield

Monday Nitro – March 9, 1998

Monday
Nitro #130
Date:
March 9, 1998
Location:
Lawrence Joel Memorial Veterans Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North
Carolina
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the go home show for Uncensored and the card is almost entirely set.
Tonight is going to be about finalizing everything for Sunday with
the focus likely being on Savage vs. Hogan instead of Sting vs. Hall.
Other than that there might be some time spent on Page vs. Benoit
vs. Raven but it’s going to pale in comparison to Age in the Cage.
Let’s get to it.

We
open with a clip from Thunder of Savage saying he’s the real man and
Hogan’s wife knows it. Hogan freaking out over possibly being thrown
out of the NWO is a nice bit of storytelling.
The
announcers hype up the show and Larry gets a very nice response from
the crowd.
Ernest
Miller vs. Damien
Damien
is unmasked here which I don’t think was always the case, although it
might have been face paint. Miller is in shorts instead of his usual
attire and it’s a striking contest to start things off. Damien puts
him on the middle rope for a hurricanrana but dives into a kick to
the chest. Miller runs up the ropes and hits a spin kick to the face
for a quick pin. This was an odd choice for an opener but the kick
to end it looked great.
Here
are Bischoff and Hogan with something to say. Eric sucks up to
Hogan, saying that no one will ever be half of what Hogan is now.
However, Bischoff wants to talk about ingrates like Randy Savage. If
it wasn’t for Hogan, Savage’s family would be out of a job and out on
the street, so it’s now time for Savage to pay the price. Hogan
talks about Savage dragging Liz into this business and implies she
did everyone in the locker room. That draws a big gasp from the
crowd. Hogan goes on about how great he is until it’s time to pose.
Gene
is at Duke University with the Nitro Girls.
Lenny
Lane vs. Sick Boy
Lane’s
music starts when he’s halfway down the aisle. Lenny hits some basic
stuff to start but the much taller Sick Boy comes back with some
right hands. Lodi has the words Go Heels on his back. Lane dives
over the top to take both Flock members down and gets two off a
missile dropkick back inside. Sick Boy comes back with a layout F5
and some right hands to the head.
A
running elbow in the corner puts Lane down but he avoids a top rope
elbow. Lane gets a rolling cradle for two followed by something
resembling a Skull Crushing Finale. Back up and Lane horribly
botches a standing Lionsault, making it more like a springboard back
clothesline. There was no rotation at all and they’re lucky Lane
didn’t land on his head. Thankfully Sick Boy rolls over Lane’s back
and hits a quick Pedigree (the Cure) for the pin.
Rating:
D. Lane was trying but he was
in over his head with the moves he was going for. Sick Boy’s size
got in his way here as he wasn’t able to do much against the much
smaller Lane. The match would have been better with a better
pairing, but with the two guys we had it was bordering on a disaster.
Here’s
Giant, still in a neck brace, with something to say. Giant has been
looking for Kevin Nash to get a head start on Sunday’s match but he’s
nowhere in sight. He mentions having buddies, which brings out
Savage and Sting, FINALLY holding the belt. Savage says he doesn’t
feel alone because Giant is about 8,000 feet tall and Sting is the
world champion. Sting beats on the ropes with the bat as Savage
challenges Hogan and any other two guys from the NWO to a six man
tonight.
Goldberg
vs. Barry Darsow
Darsow
is more famous as Smash from Demolition or Repo Man. He’s just Barry
Darsow, guy in trunks here though. Goldberg immediately takes him
down by the leg before running Barry over with a shoulder block. A
lariat sends Darsow to the floor and Goldberg rams him into the
barricade and post. Goldberg misses a shoulder into the post though
and Darsow goes after the arm. The arm is sent into the buckle but
Goldberg snaps awake and hits the spear and Jackhammer for the quick
pin.
Gene
is still at Duke University.
Here’s
Hall with something to say. There’s no survey tonight, because he
needs to talk about Savage running down Hogan. If Hollywood needs
him, Hall is in his corner tonight. As for Sting, Hall will prove
he’s better on Sunday. Thanks for throwing in something about your
first WCW World Title shot. Nash comes out and says he’ll have
Hogan’s back as well and Giant will get what’s coming to him too.
Dean
Malenko vs. Kidman
Dean
quickly takes him down and tries the Cloverleaf but Kidman rolls to
the ropes. A dropkick gets two for the itchy one and he kicks
Malenko in the head a few times. Dean misses a dropkick and it’s off
to a chinlock. Kidman shoves Malenko chest first into the buckle and
stomps him down in the corner in a surprising show of aggression. A
slingshot legdrop gets two on Dean and a middle rope bulldog gets the
same. Here’s Jericho to watch Malenko as Kidman slams Dean down for
two. Kidman goes up top but gets caught in the middle rope
gutbuster. The Cloverleaf is good for the submission.
Rating:
C. Not bad here and the
gutbuster is always cool to see. Jericho didn’t really do anything
here but his presence alone is usually entertaining. Dean is a great
foil for Jericho with the serious vs. goofy natures battling each
other. Kidman is good but he’s almost playing his gimmick too well
as the lack of interest makes for less than thrilling matches.
Jericho
and the Flock gets in to stare down Malenko but the Flock beats
Jericho down instead. Chris and Dean escape separately.
Here
are Hogan and Bischoff with something else to say. Bischoff says
Hogan has had to draw straws to pick his partners. Hogan talks about
Savage being cool with the NWO for a long time before everything fell
apart. The NWO is better than ever without Savage though, which
brings us to tonight. Hogan has picked Hall and Nash as his partners
(shocking) because they would never stab him in the back. This
didn’t need to be done in the arena.
More
Gene and the Nitro Girls. Are these segments supposed to be
interesting?
Bryan
Adams vs. Kaos
From
Bret Hart to this for Adams, which is much more appropriate for a guy
of his caliber. Adams jumps Kaos to start and lays him out with a
quick piledriver. A kick to the shoulder puts Kaos down again and a
gutbuster gets two. I’m leaving out the walking around between each
move to avoid redundancy. Kaos comes back with a jawbreaker and a
clothesline for two before his partner Rage goes up top. Adams
fights Kaos off with ease and kicks Rage down before hitting a
tilt-a-whirl slam on Kaos for the pin.
Rating:
D. WAY too long here with Adams
showing how limited his offense is at this point. That flat out
shouldn’t be the case for someone with the kind of experience that he
has. Adams didn’t look good out there other than the tilt-a-whirl
finisher, but at least it was against a jobber and not anyone of
value. Also what was up with High Voltage trying to double team like
that? It came off like Adams was the good guy fighting off cheaters
here.
Post
match Adams hits the tilt-a-whirl on Rage for a pin as well.
Here’s
Konnan who talks a lot of trash about Juventud Guerrera and says he
has an opponent for him of the same size and weight. If Juvy can
beat this guy, he can have a match against Konnan.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Scott Norton
Juvy
tries to dive on Norton and just bounces off. Chops have no effect
either and we head inside. Norton launches him into the air for a
great looking crash. Guerrera comes back with a missile dropkick but
a springboard spinwheel kick is caught into a backbreaker. Off to a
bearhug followed by a full nelson to make Juvy scream. Guerrera will
not give up and Norton lets him go, only to hit the shoulder breaker
for the pin.
Rating:
D+. What in the world was the
point of this? Juvy can’t beat a guy he shouldn’t be able to beat
and Konnan gets to laugh a lot? Guerrera not giving up was a nice
idea, but having him destroyed by a shoulder breaker a few seconds
later doesn’t make him look that great. This didn’t do much for
anyone.
Video
on Raven vs. Page vs. Benoit.
Chris
Benoit/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Perry Saturn/Raven
This
should be good. Benoit and Saturn slug it out to start and Perry
gets two off a northern lights suplex. Chris takes him into the
corner and makes the tag off to Page for a swinging neckbreaker.
Raven gets the tag but Benoit tags himself in before Page can get
himself a piece. Benoit runs Raven over and Saturn is knocked to the
floor as well as we take a break.
Back
with Page being double teamed in the corner….which has switched for
some reason. As in the teams have switched corners during the break.
Raven snaps Page’s throat across the ropes for two but Page comes
back with a sunset flip. No count though as Benoit is making a save,
allowing Raven to put on a front facelock. Page fights his way over
to Benoit but the referee is with Saturn so it’s no good. Saturn
comes in for a bearhug on the bad ribs which lasts for a good long
while.
Page
finally breaks free but Saturn trips him up, allowing Raven to stop
the tag. A great looking guillotine legdrop gets two for Saturn but
an elbow drop misses, allowing for the hot tag off to Benoit. The
Canadian cleans house but Raven breaks up the Rolling Germans with a
low blow. The Evenflow is countered into the Crossface but Page
Diamond Cuts Saturn onto Benoit to break the hold. Page and Benoit
get in a fight and brawl to a countout.
Rating:
B. For once this is the right
ending as it builds up to the PPV match perfectly well. This was a
really solid tag match which followed the formula to perfection and
had the fans losing their minds for the hot tag. It’s another
example of what should be the first rule of wrestling: when things
start to go bad, have a good wrestling match and things will get
better in a hurry.
Goldberg
and Disco Inferno went to Duke University hospital earlier today.
Gene
gets some Dominos Pizza as the Girls keep dancing.
Hour
#3 begins.
Konnan
vs. British Bulldog
Konnan
starts a USA chant in a funny bit. The Bulldog rolls and spins out
of a wristlock and hooks a chinlock a minute into the match. Konnan
fights up and takes Bulldog down with a clothesline and a back elbow
to the jaw for two. A low dropkick gets two on the Bulldog before he
gets up and…..rolls himself up for two? Bulldog was the one doing
the move but rolled onto his shoulders with his feet in the air
before kicking out. Odd indeed. Anyway Konnan comes off the ropes
but walks into a horrible powerslam for the pin by Bulldog. This was
really, REALLY bad while it lasted.
Here’s
Flair and remember we’re in North Carolina. Flair talks about how
the last time he was in this city, Curt Hennig slammed a cage door on
his head. This time though, it’s Hennig’s turn to take a beating.
Tonight Hennig will be Carolina Dreaming. Flair didn’t have much to
say here.
Cruiserweight
Title: Disco Inferno vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho
grabs a headlock to start but Disco takes him down with a hiptoss.
Disco sends him over the top and out to the floor but Jericho blocks
an ax handle from the apron with a dropkick to the ribs. Back in and
Disco gets two off a sunset flip but the champ drops him throat first
across the top rope. Disco catches a charging Jericho in something
like a spinebuster for two. A swinging neckbreaker gets a VERY close
two but Jericho comes right back with the double underhook
backbreaker and the Liontamer retains the belt.
Rating:
C. This was better than I was
expecting with Disco continuing to impress in the ring. Jericho was
playing it straight tonight and came up with a decent match as a
result. The match with Malenko on Sunday is getting overlooked for
some reason but it should be good as well. Nice match here.
Remember
how Gene was at Duke University with the Nitro Girls? He’s still
there.
TV
Title: Booker T vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Eddie
follows Chavo out and tries to talk some reason into him before the
match. Booker yells at Eddie, allowing Chavo to get in a cheap shot
before the bell. A dropkick to the leg takes Booker down but Eddie
has the referee during the cover. Booker hits the spin kick to take
Chavo down but the ax kick mostly misses. The missile dropkick is
good for a quick pin for Booker in an abrupt ending.
Post
match Eddie gives Chavo a brainbuster for losing.
Curt
Hennig vs. Ric Flair
Before
the match, Flair tells Hennig and Rude that he’s going to do this for
every Horseman ever. Flair hits a quick hiptoss to send Curt to the
floor and the fans freak out. Back in and Curt fires off some chops
before sending Flair out to the floor for a beating from Rude. Ric
gets back in and slugs it out with Flair knocking Hennig down to the
mat. A low blow has Hennig in even more trouble and Flair brings in
a chair. He puts Hennig in the Tree of Woe and picks up the chair
but the NWO runs in for the DQ.
Rating:
C. This didn’t have the time to
go anywhere but Ric in North Carolina is always worth a look. Flair
vs. Hennig had gone on for months and then just stopped cold for the
sake of a DDP vs. Hennig match at Starrcade. It’s good to see them
bring things up again but the fire was gone at this point.

Post
match the NWO runs in for the beatdown but Bret makes the save.
Scott
Steiner/Scott Norton vs. Rick Steiner/Lex Luger
For
the sake of simplicity, Scott Steiner will only be called Scott,
Scott Norton will only be called Norton and Rick Steiner will only be
called Rick. Rick comes out with a bulldog (Heenan: “He brought
his sister!”) and chases off the NWO before the bell. We start
with Rick vs. Norton and the NWO member being thrown down with a
belly to belly. Scott bails to the floor from a glare from his
brother and it’s Luger coming in with an ax handle to Norton’s
shoulder.
Off
to Scott who is run over by a few clotheslines and it’s time for the
brothers to fight but Scott bails to the corner. Norton runs over
Rick and it’s finally time for Scott to come in and pound away. Rick
gets in a single right hand to the ribs and Scott bails to the
corner. A backdrop puts Norton down but Scott breaks up the Steiner
Bulldog. Luger beats Scott up the aisle and apparently it’s a double
countout despite not hearing the count at all.
Rating:
D+. This was storyline
development as we build towards the eventual Steiner showdown. Luger
and Scott have a match on Sunday which was barely mentioned here but
at least they fought to end things. Norton was the odd man out and
I’m not sure why they had him work twice tonight.
Hollywood
Hogan/Outsiders vs. Sting/Randy Savage/The Giant
Thankfully
Sting actually wears the belt again. Giant is in a neck brace and
street clothes but goes after Nash anyway. It’s a big brawl to start
with the three pairs fighting all over the arena. Sting and Hogan
get things going with the champion pounding away and getting two off
a right hand. Hogan sends him into a few corners and hits Sting in
the back but the champion blocks a ram into the corner to get control
back. Hall and Nash have their arms stretched out but Hogan doesn’t
seem interested in tagging.
Giant
gets the tag and Hogan staggers away, falling right into Nash which
counts as a tag. Hall and Hogan try to jump Giant from behind but he
picks both of them up AT THE SAME TIME in a double bearhug. That guy
is so strong it’s unreal. Nash breaks it up though and Giant is in
trouble. The NWO goes after Giant’s bad neck and the beating goes on
for a good while. Hogan puts on a front facelock but can’t get the
brace off.
Sting
finally comes in without a tag to give Giant a breather but the brace
has been removed. A triple beatdown has Giant in trouble but he
shoves all three guys down and makes the hot tag to Savage. Giant
gets back up and Nash runs off as Savage pounds on Hogan. Sting and
Hall finally have some contact with the champion hitting a few
Stinger Splashes before they fight to the floor. In the melee the
Disciple comes in with the Stunner on Savage to give Hogan the pin.
Rating:
C-. Not a terrible match but it
was much more hype than actual substance. I’ll let the shock of a
Nitro main event fitting that description sink in for a minute.
Anyway the Sting vs. Hall match continues to be given less attention
than even the TV Title match but any other solution might take some
of the spotlight of Hogan vs. Savage and we couldn’t have that.
Overall
Rating:
C. This is an
interesting show as they covered most of if not all the matches for
Sunday but I really don’t care to see the PPV. At the end of the day
the card just isn’t all that good and the Hogan vs. Savage issue does
nothing for me. A lot of the other matches sound ok but not good
enough to want to watch the show. The wrestling on here was ok but
the storylines that dominated things dragged it down.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of Complete 2001 Monday Night Raw Reviews from Amazon for just $5 at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HXYM2

BoD Daily Update


 
Former Memphis Wrestling Announcer Cory Maclin Dies in Car Accident

He was 43 years old and leaves behind a wife and six children.

http://pwinsider.com/article/79309/corey-maclin-passes-away.html?p=1

TNA Announces Champion vs. Champion Match for Tomorrow’s Impact

Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin will face off against X Division Champion Manik.

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/100-tna/32437-impact-main-match-for-thursday

WWE.com “Where are they Now” Article on Mideon

It talks about how he is now a chef and is writing a screenplay featuring the Undertaker

http://www.wwe.com/classics/wherearetheynow/where-are-they-now-mideon-26136284

DC Comics Action Figures

———- Forwarded message ———-

Hey Scott, I know there's a ton of other comics fans on your blog. Every year, Mattel does a subscription service for DC figures – one figure a month, with the first three for 2014 scheduled to be 90s harpoon-hand Aquaman, Superboy Conner Kent, and Ice, with a Doomsday subscription-exclusive figure. Since the sub needs a certain number of subscribers to go through each year and is only available on the barely-advertised MattyCollector.com site, I was wondering if you could let everyone who reads your blog know about it. Subscription period ends August 19th.

More information is available in this flyer: http://24.media.tumblr.com/9dc8667d4b9bbeead41944ded2156208/tumblr_mqiyy89IBl1rh91t7o1_1280.jpg

Thanks!

Joel