Friday, April 29, 2011

UFC 129 Preview

With  UFC 129 coming up tomorrow night, I wanted to take a quick look at the five fights scheduled for the PPV and give some predictions.  Come back on Monday for my thoughts on the show, and see whether I can celebrate being smart and predicting well...or if I have to eat crow!

Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson – A really strong matchup between two strong lightweight contenders.  Bocek is looking good, winning 4 out of his last 5, with his only loss being to the red hot Jim Miller at UFC 111.  Henderson is, of course, the former WEC Lightweight Champion, who lost his title in his last fight (and the final fight in the history of WEC) to Anthony Pettis, but before that, had won a whopping ten fights in a row.  Both are submission artists, and each has only lost one fight in their career by that method.  I see this one going to a decision, with Henderson likely getting a 29-28 decision victory.  Should be a close fight for sure.

Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida – This is a dangerous fight for Machida.  At a quick glance, my first thought is, Machida without question.  But I’m just not sure.  If we’ve learned anything over the 14 year career of “The Natural”, it’s to never count him out.  Couture comes into this fight on a three fight win streak, with a decision win over Brandon Vera, and submission wins over Mark Coleman and James Toney.  He submitted last to an elbow shot in 2002, and the last time someone made him tap to a submission hold was 10 years ago.  The only guys who have knocked Couture out are named Lesnar, Liddell, Belfort, and Barnett.  I don’t put Machida’s stand up at that level.  Machida himself on the other hand is coming off a really rough three fight stretch.  He won the first fight with Shogun Rua, but many thought he lost that fight, regardless of the judge’s decision.  He then was knocked out in the rematch with Rua, losing the Light Heavyweight Title in the process.  Then in his last match, he lost a split decision to Quinton Jackson, which this time, many (including myself, and Rampage himself) thought Machida had won.  If Machida can find a way to end this fight, he gets it.  But if it goes to a decision, I think the old crafty veteran gets one more win before he hangs ‘em up for good.  I go with Couture, again with a 29-28 decision.  Should be a hell of a fight.

Jason Brilz vs. Vladimir Matyushenko – Brilz is 2-2 in his last four fights, trading wins and losses.  His last fight was a decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, which many people felt he won (including myself).  Brilz is a good wrestler, but so is Matyushenko.  Matyushenko has won four out of his last five, with his only loss coming to UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones (before Jones won the title).  Matyushenko has more power in his hands, and if he can negate the wrestling of Brilz, I don’t see a way for Brilz to win a striking matchup.  Brilz’s best shot is to get the fight to the ground and try to work for a submission, but that’s easier said than done, as Matyushenko has never been submitted.  I see Matyushenko knocking Brilz out in the 2nd round in this one. 

UFC Featherweight Title:  Jose Aldo © vs. Mark Hominick – This fight should be a stand up war!  Both are excellent, excellent strikers, and neither are very susceptible to being knocked out themselves, as Hominick has only been knocked out twice (not in 8 years), and Aldo has never been knocked out.  Hominick comes into the fight on a five fight win streak, and he finished four of those five fights (the only one he didn’t finish in was against the ever tough Leonard Garcia).  Aldo is on a super impressive eleven fight win streak!  He’s finished seven out of his last eight, the only decision win coming when he defeated a very tough Urijah Faber to win the Featherweight Title.  I see this being a war for all five rounds, and at this point, how do you bet against a guy on an 11 fight win streak?  Aldo by decision, but Hominick will look every bit as tough along the way as well.

UFC Welterweight Title:  Georges St-Pierre © vs. Jake Shields – Really the only fight left for GSP in the Welterweight division as he’s beaten just about everyone in the division worthy of title contention.  Fitch was a possible next contender (since at least he lasted five rounds with GSP), but he’s hurt, so that doesn’t seem likely (and he’s got a rematch looming with BJ Penn when he becomes healthy anyways).  If you think Aldo’s 11 fight winning streak is impressive, consider that Jake Shields is on a FIFTEEN fight win streak!  His last loss came in 2004.  GSP himself is on a six fight win streak, and has won 14 out of his last 15, with the only loss being that massive upset to Matt Serra.  Both are great on the ground, and Shields might have a slight edge when it comes to submissions.  That being said, GSP is super patient and does not panic, so he usually finds a way out of them.  This fight is the picture of a “pick’em” to me, and I do not see either guy being finished.  (Could be a night of decisions really).  GSP is seen as a fairly heavy favorite, which to me, is not at all the case.  I do think it will be a close fight, and I know I’m going against what I said in the Aldo fight, but instead of picking the guy with the 15 fight win streak…I’m going with GSP by a decision, and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see it be a 48-47.

Do you agree with my picks?  Who do you think wins this weekend?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WWE Draft and Brand Loyalty

I dislike the WWE Draft tremendously. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the concept of a wrestling draft but I cannot stand the execution by the WWE.

The reason is simple. There is no brand loyalty in the WWE. The cross over of wrestlers on each show happens so frequently that it doesn’t really matter if a person is on Raw or Smackdown. Yet last night I see wreslers wearing red and blue shirts and cheering with great ferocity at the workers coming to their brand. On the same show I watched John Cena be the first person drafted to Smackdown and proudly wear the blue, only to toss it on the ground as an afterthought when we was redrafted to Raw at the end of the show.

The WWE wants to pretend it’s a simulation of a sports draft. It’s not. The WWE Draft is a cheap way for writers to move wrestlers to different brands. End of story. It doesn’t need to happen every year. But it does and whatever I say won’t make the WWE change its mind.

If given the opportunity how would I change the draft? The whole process starts with brand loyalty. Keep wrestlers on Raw or Smackdown and don’t let them come on the other show unless there is a good reason. The exceptions are the Tag & Divas Champions who can compete on both shows (not Michael Cole) and building up to Wrestlemania and Night of Champions PPV.

If the writers need to switch a character have GM’s trade talent (which means scrap the silly anonymous GM story) or have a worker’s contract run out. This way when a worker changes from one show to another it means something. Its more than a worker wearing a red or blue shirt and switching it during a show.

And the stories to be had from setting things up this way are numerous. Plug in several sports related stories and turn them into wrestling angles. Bidding wars for a free agent wrestler. Contract disputes when a wrestlers rising through the ranks. There’s a lot of real life sport issues the writers could take a jab at and make witty commentary about.

So now we come to the Draft. You have a huge crop of talent in the developmental system. Maybe every year it’s a rookie draft. Put it on Superstars. Make up vignettes for some of the workers. Make a can’t miss rookie or the top diva or the guy with great ring skills or the talented prospect with personal demons. Again, instant storylines that practically write themselves. Ones that sports fans see all the time. Have each show draft 4-5 wrestlers each year. We’ve seen a lot of new faces on NXT, here’s a second chance and easy opportunity to reintroduce these workers.

Such a simple solution to a meaningless wrestling draft for two shows which have little distinction and too much cross over.


I'd like to thank Jim and Tom for allowing me to contribute on the Two Spot Monkeys Blog from time to time. It may actually get me to write some more of my wrestling thoughts down. But for now, it's great to be a part of the team and feel free to leave feedback.

(My one time website plug)

A Quick Look at the WWE Draft, Round 1

The annual WWE Draft kicked off on Monday Night RAW last night, April 25th. The idea that wrestlers are moved “permanently” to new brands/shows is rather exciting for the prospect of new matches that could result, even if WWE isn’t always as intentional as they should be in enforcing the exclusivity of the brand-specific wrestlers. Here is a quick recap of who went where and why for the portion of the draft that took place on RAW:

1. John Cena to Smackdown (pick won via Big Show and Kofi Kingston winning 20-man Battle Royal)

2. Rey Mysterio to Raw (pick won via Eve defeating Layla)

3. Randy Orton to Smackdown (pick won via Kofi Kingston defeating Sheamus)

4. Mark Henry to Smackdown (pick won via Randy Orton defeating Dolph Ziggler, worth two picks)

5. Sin Cara to Smackdown (pick won via Randy Orton defeating Dolph Ziggler, worth two picks)

6. The Big Show to Raw (pick won via Rey Mysterio defeating Wade Barrett, worth two picks)

7. Alberto Del Rio to Raw (pick won via Rey Mysterio defeating Wade Barrett, worth two picks)

8. John Cena to Raw (pick won via The Miz, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio defeating Christian, Mark Henry and John Cena)

With those moves made, I now offer a few quick thoughts on what I think it means for those wrestlers and a match-up that I am looking forward to seeing (pending of course, the way the remaining draft picks play out).

Rey Mysterio – I feel like he’s been a part of Smackdown “forever” and I have that belief because each time a Smackdown House Show has come to my local market, Rey is always in the main event. Rey is fantastic for marketing and for drawing kids. I think this is a way for him to have fresh matches with a good number of wrestlers. The match/feud that I think I would be most interested in would be Rey vs. R-Truth. Someone who is for the kids and someone who has now turned his back on them.

Randy Orton – Orton has always delivered to me, but with Edge departing, I think he fits perfectly on Smackdown. The match/feud for me that I think really needs to happen is Orton vs. Cody Rhodes. Yes, they have history as part of “The Legacy” and Cody has been rising quickly since February/March. I think this would be entertaining, provide great matches and continue to allow Cody to grow and Orton to be maximized.

Mark Henry – Henry is a guy that has been around so long, but still has so much left to offer. If his actions near the end of RAW were any indication, he’s coming to Smackdown with evil intentions. The match/feud that I see right off the bat is Henry vs. Kofi Kingston. Kofi has been hovering at the “middle ground” level for a little too long for my tastes. I think he has all of the tools to be a legit main event talent, but WWE just needs to pull the trigger on making it happen. Hopefully that transpires here and a feud with Henry, where Kofi overcomes abuse to succeed is part of that effort.

Sin Cara – The newest, flashiest and potentially popular WWE talent swaps shows less than a month after his arrival. The prevailing feeling on this is that his style and the matches he has are benefitted by the post-production polish that Smackdown can offer from being taped on Tuesday to airing on Friday. Another reason for the move, is that with Rey going to RAW, I think in some crazy logic, WWE wants only one masked wrestler on each brand. The match/feud I see in his future is Cara vs. Cody Rhodes. Again, Cody is rapidly rising and his protective mask gimmick has a lot of legs left. I felt like we were headed towards a Rey-Cody Mask vs. Mask match, but instead maybe we get that here with Sin Cara in Rey’s place instead.

The Big Show – One half of the Unified Tag Champions, Show has value in his team role and as a singles guy. Also, due to the structure of how the titles can automatically transition shows and the (unfortunate) undervaluing of tag team wrestling in WWE, it is not necessary that his Co-Champion partner Kane join him. That stated, I choose the match/feud for Show that I am eager for is against The Miz. Again, with the history of ShowMiz that they have, I think this is something that could be very interesting to see.

Alberto Del Rio – Since his debut late last year, Del Rio has been one of the more consistently hyped and developed wrestlers. His winning the Royal Rumble was the first significant feather in his hat. He seemed destined to capture the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania, but it was not to be. The title can still be in his very near future too, with the Ladder Match for the vacated belt this Sunday at Extreme Rules against Christian. Del Rio winning that title and subsequently joining RAW would be very significant. That would lead me to the match/feud I want to see – Del Rio vs. John Cena. Yes, Cena, who was draft to Smackdown and then back to RAW. This would be an absolute fresh feud and match-up, plus Cena would be pursuing a title he has not held for a good amount of time. They’ve only met one time previously (on RAW a few weeks back) and I was shocked that WWE would just “give away” that match, but it could’ve been just a foreshadowing of what we will see play out here. If we have Cena vs. Del Rio headlining SummerSlam, remember you read it here first.

There you have it. With more draft picks to occur today, will my thoughts and hopes be dashed? Do you agree or disagree? I will be back later this week or early next week to see how the shows finally shake out. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 25, 2011

WWE 2011 Draft Preview

Thought I'd take a quick look at who I think may get drafted tonight on WWE's annual draft show.  I'll be back later in the week to see how I did in my predictions, and look at the future of those who actually were drafted.

Possible New Raw Stars

Alberto Del Rio - It's fairly obvious that those in charge of WWE are very high on Del Rio, and I think they’ll bring him to the “A” show.  Del Rio is really strong in the ring, and is a great talker as well, so he'll do well on Raw.  

Beth Phoenix - Rumors are swirling that she's heading to Raw, and that would make sense, since the Divas title seems to be more of a focus there than on Smackdown lately.  Phoenix has been criminally under used lately, hopefully a new start on Raw would be a good thing.  This would also set up the possibility of Kharma (the former Awesome Kong, who appears headed for Raw) taking on Phoenix down the road, which has the chance to be all kinds of awesome! 

Cody Rhodes - His evolution into this darker, psychotic character has been very well done, and I think it's time to see him on the "A" show and see if he can fly.  Rhodes has a ton of potential, and I think we're just starting to see what could be a breakout year for him!

Drew McIntyre - He's not involved in any storylines on Smackdown currently, but judging from them booking him last week over Masters, it appears they are still high on using him.  McIntyre could freshen up the mid card heel side of Raw, and eventually could make his way up the ladder on Raw.

Heath Slater - I think The Corre is going to get split apart, and with Slater shoving Gabriel down last week, we could see him go out on his own.  He reminds me of a very young Edge...I'm not saying he'll be that good for sure, but let's see if he can hang as a singles guy.

Jack Swagger - He's involved in the Cole/Lawler storyline, which is a Raw storyline, might as well bring him back over to Monday nights.  Swagger deserves to get a push back up the card after this as well.  He's damn good, and with Cole as a mouth piece for him, he could go far!

Jim Ross - Don't know if he's even eligible to be drafted, but if Cole is going to move into full time character, as it appears he has...we need Ross back on Monday.  Nothing against Josh Matthews, who's done a fine job, but Ross is the best, period. 

Justin Gabriel - I think Gabriel completes the splitting of The Corre, but he'll come over and turn baby face rather quickly.  He's never really clicked as a heel, but I think has a future as a, let's see it happen here on Raw. 

Possible New Smackdown Stars
Daniel Bryan – We really haven’t seen Bryan much (and not in any real meaningful way) since he lost the US Title to Sheamus, challenged him to a rematch, and then got that match bumped off of Wrestlemania.  He’s a small fish in a big pond right now on Raw, so I think a move to Smackdown where he could have some great matches would be a good thing.

David Otunga – I see the Nexus being broken up much like The Corre, and I think Otunga needs to come to Smackdown.  It’s obvious they are going to keep him around due to his marriage to an Oscar winning actress, so put him on Smackdown where he can develop over time.  At times I think he might have the “it” factor…so, let’s see if it can shine on Friday nights!

Evan Bourne – Again, a guy who isn’t doing much on Raw, but has a lot to offer in the ring, so put him on Smackdown and let he and Mysterio have a series of matches with each other over who is the best high flyer on Smackdown. 

Michael McGuillicutty – I think McGuillicutty has a ton of potential, and is a good in ring worker.  But he’s buried as the fourth (at best) most important member of the New Nexus behind Punk, Ryan and Otunga.  Send him to Smackdown and call him “More than Perfect” or something.  Maybe drop the stupid McGuillicutty last name too.   Keep him as Michael if you want, but call him Michael Hennig then…please. 

Randy Orton – Losing Edge, and Undertaker not being around means Smackdown needs at least one top babyface in the draft.  Cena isn’t coming over, so I expect Orton to head over to Smackdown and be at the top of the heap for the next year. 

R-Truth – A new heel turn means a new life…and it will work better on a new show.  Truth blows off (no pun intended) his mini-feud with Morrison tonight on Raw and then gets drafted over to Smackdown where he can work on that cardio that seems to be an issue now for him! 

Ted DiBiase – A year ago, I figured DiBiase would be the breakout star between he and Cody Rhodes.  Obviously, I was 100% wrong.  I don’t think that’s DiBiase’s fault though, as he’s done well in everything he’s been asked to do.  Unfortunately, he’s been asked to basically get his ass handed to him for the better part of a year.  Send him to Smackdown and start the rebuilding process.  No more losing streak please!  This guy can be money….let him be that!

The Miz – I’m debating greatly on this one.  If Del Rio is to win the World Heavyweight Title and bring it to Raw with him, then the WWE Title has to go to Smackdown.  Honestly, the only way I see that happening is if they shock the world and put the WWE Title on Morrison, and he’s drafted here.  So, if Del Rio is going to win the World Title, then Miz has to come to Smackdown (again, let’s be honest, Cena ain’t leaving Raw).  But…Christian could win the World Title too (and I’m starting to lean that way) which would probably leave Miz on Raw, where I think he belongs…so consider this about a 25% shot in my mind.

Tyson Kidd – Had a bit of  HBK/Diesel thing going with Jackson Andrews, but lost his push totally when they decided Andrews wasn’t ready for prime time yet.  Send him back to Smackdown and let him feued with Kofi Kingston over the Intercontinental Title (once Barrett drops it).

Yoshi Tatsu – Need some mid-card movement.  Tatsu is never on Raw basically, so send him to Smackdown since he’s already on NXT each week, at least he’ll be touring with the right company. 

Do you agree with my picks?  Who do you think might move?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

EVOLVE 6 Review/EVOLVE 7 Preview (iPPV Tonight!)

EVOLVE Wrestling kicks off their 2011 campaign tonight; live on iPPV hosted by Please click the link below from Jim to order this show. The idea of a Tuesday night show is an interesting one. Definitely a non-traditional night for indy wrestling, EVOLVE is a non-traditional promotion with the way they’ve focused on Win/Loss records and a more personal background on many of the wrestlers they feature as drawing points for fans. 2010 was a year where EVOLVE really shaped and sculpted their identity and I feel tonight they will not only set the tone for 2011, but they take the spotlight opportunity that exists and make the most of it.

I quickly want to review EVOLVE 6 (available for purchase here:; $15) and then look at how EVOLVE 7 sets up.

EVOLVE 6 had three major themes going into and heading out of the show.

1. The first Wins Leaders in EVOLVE for singles and tag team divisions would be determined.

2. The debuts of Austin Aries and Homicide.

3. The story of Bobby Fish and his chasing his first win.

Three wrestlers (Jimmy Jacobs, Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano) all had sights set on being the Wins Leader (or holding a share of it) as they entered EVOLVE. Taylor had the challenge of well-traveled, often considered top level wrestler Austin Aries. Jacobs and Gargano opposed one another to upset the apple cart of the other and continue the rivalry they had with each other since EVOLVE 1. When the dust settled after EVOLVE 6, all three wrestlers were tied at 4-2 and all considered the Wins Leader. Another interesting development was Larry Dallas creating an “A-List” Group and sponsoring fighters in EVOLVE, with Taylor and Gargano being the first two signed respectively. This sets up EVOLVE 7 as the ground where a true Wins Leader will finally emerge.

Austin Aries and Homicide made their names for the better part of a decade across the U.S. and internationally, competing for a who’s who list of pro wrestling organizations. Both achieved one of the highest honors as well, becoming Ring of Honor World Champion, a title that was and still is a very well-respected championship. Each having done so much, both entered EVOLVE with new career motivations. Homicide was drawn in by the agitating, aggravating, and irritating Jon Moxley, who wanted to draw the fight out of “The Notorious 187” to prove that he was truly a bad man as well. Aries was looking to compete against a new crop of talent and prove that his abilities could continue to be un-matched, regardless of where he plied his talents in the ring.

EVOLVE 6 was a tale of two stories for these athletes. Aries was victorious in a hard-fought bout against Chuck Taylor (where Chucky T’s guts were on full display as he fought through a severe shoulder injury) and showed a measure of respect to Taylor post-match. Homicide and Moxley’s war of words came to a head in a brutal Relaxed Rules Match that saw a variety of weapons used, but ultimately Moxley’s psychological warfare along with nagging injuries were too much for Homicide. The Brooklyn native snapped after the referee stopped the match to prevent further injury, despite Homicide never giving up or tapping out. Homicide wailed away on Moxley, drawing blood with his “ghetto fork” and nearing a scary, sodomy approaching violation with a screwdriver. Yet, this entire scene played out and Moxley refused to fight back. The result, Homicide remains suspended by EVOLVE officials as EVOLVE 7 is set and Moxley will now battle Aries, with a lot on the line to be explored below.

Bobby Fish is arguably the wrestler who used the EVOLVE stage better than any other wrestler during 2010. He was a name who had a little more exposure than Johnny Gargano, Jon Moxley and others, but in the minds of many fans, he wasn’t someone that was given much, if any thought to. From EVOLVE 1 through EVOLVE 4, Fish’s string of absolutely incredible, competitive and dramatic matches against Kyle O’Reilly, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero and Bryan Danielson raised his profile without a doubt and proved that even in defeat; he was always just one maneuver away from victory. After taking stock of himself and EVOLVE 5 off, Fish returned to where he began and engaged in another memorable encounter (again) with the fast-rising Kyle O’Reilly. Both men traded hard-hitting strikes, kicks and high impact moves, which tested their will as much as it tested their fighting spirit. Fish was able to finally overcome his winless streak and was the better man that O’Reilly that night, setting his personal sights with a fresh approach for 2011. If his 2010 was an indication, when Bobby Fish graces the EVOLVE ring in 2011 (he unfortunately is not on EVOLVE 7), he will be worth watching.

Additional quick notes from EVOLVE 6: Silas Young returned after a 10 month hiatus and admitted substance abuse issues to gain a big win over the previously undefeated Drake Younger, Rich Swann, AR Fox and Tony Nese used a Four Way Match to showcase their abilities and provide a glimpse of what is to come, Up in Smoke continued their tag dominance, becoming the Tag Team Wins Leaders and Ricochet continued his 2010 rise, overcoming Adam Cole.

Now, tonight EVOLVE 7 becomes reality in Manhattan from B.B. King’s Bar & Grill. The main event is Austin Aries vs. Jon Moxley. Aries wants to continue the momentum of EVOLVE 6, while Moxley will say farewell, having recently been signed by WWE. Moxley’s star has constantly been on the rise across many promotions over the last 2 years. Can he steal Aries’ thunder and go out a winner or will Aries prove that he, as much if not more, than Moxley is deserving of a WWE opportunity and truly is the better wrestler/athlete?

As mentioned above, what was left unresolved at EVOLVE 6 will get settled tonight, as Wins Leader’s Jacobs, Taylor and Gargano all have “spoiler” matches against the debuting Shiima Xion, Akira Tozawa and Jon Davis, respectively. In the event all 3 win again in their schedule bouts, a Playoff Match will be held with any or all who have identical records to truly determine the overall Wins Leader. Jacobs winning would truly cement his efforts, along with serving as a small milestone of sorts as he continues to battle back from admitted addiction issues. For Taylor and Gargano, athletes both sponsored by Larry Dallas and his funding sources and coupled with the beautiful Reby Sky, a win for either would give more money, more power and an even higher profile for this rapidly developing group. The one wondering would be what happens if Taylor and Gargano are forced to face off? Will Dallas’ money talk or will B.S. walk?

Elsewhere on the card, Zack Sabre Jr. continues his impressive U.S. tour in what should be an incredible display of striking, athleticism and hard-hitting action against Sami Callihan. High-flyers Rich Swann and AR Fox will battle in a match that both men want. Who will be one step ahead of the other to get the “W” and can either Swann or Fox attempt to challenge Ricochet for the moniker “Future of Flight,” especially with Ricochet on tour with Dragon Gate? Silas Young looks to keep his positive momentum moving forward and targets Johnny Gargano, who he “charges” with part of the faltering of his sobriety. Before he can get to Gargano, he must first overcome Tony Nese, a man who is very similar to Silas in build and move set. Nese is also ready to breakout and would likely enjoy doing so at the expense of Young. Tag Team action rounds out the card, with the CHIKARA duo of Jigsaw & Frightmare battling the Midwest duo of Facade & Jason Gory in what is being touted as a potential show stealer and the only tag bout on the card.

Again, don’t forget to tune in tonight and check out EVOLVE 7. I will be watching live and will return with opinions and ideas in the aftermath of this exciting event! Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 18, 2011

DGUSA: 3 Things I'm excited about, and one not so much

So, finally had a chance to get back to my “3 Things” posts that I wanted to do.  To see my look at three things I’m really excited about in ROH, and one that I’m not, click here!

Today I’m taking a look at three things I’m really excited about in Dragon Gate USA, and one that I’m not as excited about.  I was live at both of the most recent shows for DGUSA in Atlanta, with Mercury Rising 2011, which was the first ever iPPV shown on, and Open the Ultimate Gate 2011, which will air on traditional PPV beginning at the end of May.  Lots of good things happening in DGUSA, so let’s take a look. 

1.  One word, simply…Pac:  Atlanta was my first chance to see Pac wrestle live, and to say I was impressed would be a HUGE understatement!  He had an absolutely outstanding match with Akira Tozawa at Mercury Rising that you should go out of your way to check out.  And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he and Masato Yoshino had what I think may have been the best match I saw that entire weekend (which covers a bunch of great matches) when they defended the Open the United Gate titles against the Blood Warriors duo of CIMA and Naruki Doi.  Pac has both the technical skill and the high flying ability to become a huge star.  He’s a bit on the short side for WWE down the road, but he’s obviously added some muscle mass since I last saw him, but it hasn’t slowed him in the least.  He’s also the Open the Brave Gate Champion in Dragon Gate over in Japan, and I think he could very well be the first non-Japanese Open the Dream Gate Champion down the road!

2.  Most DGUSA shows airing live on  This is a huge step in the wrestling business.  I think DGUSA has a better shot of making it work, since they run shows only every few months.  Other companies that run 1-3 weekends per month will have a tougher time putting every show on iPPV, due to the costs to the consumers, but with 2-3 shows every 2-3 months, I think this just may work for DGUSA!  I don’t know if I’ll buy every single show (due to financial constraints), but it’s awesome to know that if I want to, in most cases, I’ll be able to see any DGUSA show live as it happens in the future (with the exception of shows for traditional PPV).  Right now, I get a chance to see them about once a year live in person when they come to the Midwest, otherwise I have to travel (as I did for Atlanta), which isn’t always a possibility for me.  Now, I don’t have to go anywhere, instead, I can just relax here at home, and catch some great wrestling action!  While part of me wishes you could see the shows forever online, I also understand they are trying to sell DVD’s, so I get that.  Cool offer on the DGUSA shows that you can save $5 on the DVD if you order it on WWNLive as well.  If you’re interested in signing up for an account and purchasing any upcoming WWNLive shows, you can do so by clicking here.

3.  Akira Tozawa:  Another guy who had a huge weekend in Atlanta, but this guy has been having big weekends all over the US as he has been on his learning excursion here.  He had the great match that I previously mentioned with Pac on Friday night in Atlanta, and then had a quick fun Bunkhouse match with Jon Moxley and a Open the Freedom Gate Title shot against YAMATO on Saturday night as well.  I’ve yet to see this guy in a bad match, and he’s had some really stellar ones along the way (I personally can’t wait to see his match against Low Ki in Pro Wrestling Guerilla!)  Tozawa seems like the likely choice to eventually be the one to take the Open the Freedom Gate title from YAMATO, but I was glad to see they didn’t have him win it in Atlanta.  Let that story keep playing out.  Eventually, when he does win it, it will get a GREAT reaction!  Tozawa has a really high ceiling and will be a big star for many years for Dragon Gate.  I’m looking forward to seeing him in matches in the future against guys like Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, a rematch with Pac, and I’d also like to see what he could do with Shingo when he’s back in DGUSA as well. 

Now, those are three great things…but I do admit, there is one thing that just isn’t clicking for me, and I’m just not that excited about.

D.U.F of Sami Callihan and Arik Cannon:  I appreciate that DGUSA is trying to do something with Callihan and Cannon, and that they are giving them a purpose.  I’ve seen the teaming of these two coming for a while, and before Blood Warriors formed, I thought maybe Naruki Doi was going to lead them in a type of a Misfits group, but instead, we saw Blood Warriors form, and now the team of D.U.F. (which stands for Dirty Ugly F**ks) has formed as well.  I don’t know what it is, but Callihan just doesn’t click for me, and while I’m slowly coming around on Arik Cannon…it hasn’t quite happened yet.  Every show needs different things at different levels though, so I’m willing to give it a bit of a chance, but I hope we don’t see them get any sort of monster push at all, as I think they are far lower on the ladder than a lot of the American talent that DGUSA has brought in. 

All in all, 2011 appears to be a year with DGUSA on a roll and in a good spot as they innovate and potentially change indy wrestling with their shows on  I strongly encourage you to check out Mercury Rising over at, and check out Open the Ultimate Gate 2011 when it debuts on PPV in May, as you won’t be disappointed with your purchases.  There are far worse ways to spend $15! 

Evolve 7 Live on iPPV tomorrow night! iPPV

For those of you that are going to sign up for an account at and purchase Evolve 7, you can click the picture above and it will take you right to the sign up!

Evolve 7 is live on iPPV tomorrow night, featuring a great main event of Austin Aries vs. Jon Moxley in Moxley's farewell to Evolve as he heads off to WWE (ok, Florida Championship Wrestling first, but still, a WWE Developmental Deal).  Moxley has been on fire on the indies, and reminds me alot of Roddy Piper in that he makes you want to see him get his ass kicked!

Also on the card is a match that should blow the roof off of BB King's with one of the three men tied for the Evolve Wins Lead, Chuck Taylor, taking on the red-hot Akira Tozawa! Tozawa has been the talk of the indy circuit for the last few months, having great matches with Pac, YAMATO, Low Ki, BxB Hulk, and others!  This is his Evolve debut!

Two other matches feature the men tied for the Evolve Wins Lead against newcomers as well.  Jimmy Jacobs meets Shima Xiion, and Johnny Gargano takes on Jon Davis (of the Dark City Fight Club)!

Also on the card is Sami Callihan vs. a man many are talking about, Zack Sabre Jr. from the UK, Jigsaw & Frightmare team up to take on the debuting team of Facade & Jason Gory, high flyers collide when Rich Swann takes on AR Fox, and the talented Silas Young takes on Tony Neese.  Plus Reby Sky and Larry Dallas are sure to make an appearance as well with their two men (Taylor and Gargano) involved in major matches!

Click on that photo above, sign up for an account, and place your order for Evolve 7 live on iPPV tomorrow night!  We'll be back with a look at how the show turned out later this week here at Two Spot Monkeys!

Thanks for the memories Edge!

I remember when the vignettes started airing for a guy running around NYC in a trenchcoat, and we were told that Edge was coming to our television screens soon.  I was so excited for this new character.  Admittedly, I usually love seeing new guys that I'm unfamiliar with, as you never know when you might find a new favorite.  But for some reason, I just knew I was going to like this guy.  Wow, who could have known? 

4 time WWE Champion
7 time World Heavyweight Champion
14 time Tag Team Champion
5 time Intercontinental Champion
WCW US Champion
2001 King of the Ring
2010 Royal Rumble Winner
Winner of the 1st Ever Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Such an amazing career!  Memorable feuds with just about everyone who was at the top of the card in WWE, including the anonymous Raw General Manager!

I could try to run down more of his career, but there are many great pieces out there on the 'net about him.  I simply wanted to post "Thanks for the memories".  Edge has entertained me for years, and I knew it would be a rare occasion if he had a match and I didn't like it.  I hope that he decides to come back down the road as an announcer, or maybe a GM role, as he's great on the mic, and could add alot to that end of things, now that his in ring career is over.  Thanks for everything will be missed!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

RIP "Sweet & Sour" Larry Sweeney

I have every intent to get back to my “3 Things” articles soon, and am looking at the DGUSA one being the next post.  However, I wanted to write these two articles first, given the events of this week. 

First and foremost, we extend our most heartfelt condolences and our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Alex “Larry Sweeney” Whybrow.  While I only had the pleasure of meeting Sweeney on one occasion (and it was very brief at that), I’ve heard from a number of people who did know him how much they miss him already, and what a great guy he truly was.  His passing at the young age of 29 is just immensely sad and tragic, and I pray that those who were close to him can find some peace in this time of loss and sadness.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ROH: 3 Things I'm excited about, and one not so much

Thought I’d take a look back at the last weekend, Wrestlemania weekend, and take a look at the three companies I saw shows from (ROH, DGUSA, and WWE) and specifically look at three things that I am excited about coming out of the weekend, and one thing in each company that I’m not excited about at all.  Today we kick it off with Ring of Honor! 

Ring of Honor had two events, both on iPPV over Wrestlemania weekend, and I thought they hit a home run with both of the events.  Friday was one of the best shows I’ve seen from ROH in a long, long time!  Saturday was great as well, maybe just a touch below Friday, but you can’t go wrong with either show!  Here are three things I am excited about coming out of the weekend! 

1.  The elevation of Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole:  O’Reilly and Cole had two OUTSTANDING tag matches against The Briscoes on Friday and the Kings of Wrestling on Saturday.  They looked awesome in both tags, and in both cases, I absolutely believed they had a chance at winning, and they made me realize they are on the level of those two better known teams as far as match quality goes.  They are skyrocketing right now, and I easily see them as tag champs down the road.  Honestly, it won’t shock me if one or both of them don’t end up as the ROH World Champion before all is said and done.  The most likely thing to stop that will be if Cole gets a call from WWE, which I fully expect he may in a year or so.  O’Reilly’s size will always work against him a bit, but he’s going to be in the Davey Richards/Bryan Danielson mold if he continues to develop on the road he’s on right now.  So excited for both of these guys, and especially their team!

2.  Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards:  I like the way they started the build to this match.  It could have been so easy to have Richards turn on Edwards out of jealousy, but ROH didn’t do that, instead building it a bit like the Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair match was build for Wrestlemania 24 in Orlando, when Richards (Michaels in this case) said he didn’t want to be the one to end Edwards dream…and Edwards (Flair) wanted to know why Richards was so sure that he would win in the first place.  Love it, it’s built off of competitive fire and the desire to be champion.  Not every storyline has to be a blood feud, and Delirious seems to get that, and I love seeing a World Title contested in a simple storyline of “who is the better wrestler”.  Not to mention, the match should be amazingly good! 

3.  The return of the “old” Homicide:  Homicide has not looked like himself for much of his return to ROH.  It’s obvious he’s been battling injuries, and just hasn’t been the Homicide we’ve come to know and love.  Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of his match with Roderick Strong at the 9th Anniversary Show.  But this weekend he looked good again…looked motivated, and looked fluid in the ring.  Not sure if the injuries healed up, or if he just found a way to work around them, but there was no question, he looked so much better, and it was good to see.  I also love that they had him put over Tomasso Ciampa as well, helping to build a new star along the way.  Since he could be feuding with the Embassy going forward…could he bring in some back up?  Would be interesting to see! 

Now that we’ve taken a look at the good, let’s take a look at something I’m not so excited about…

Christopher Daniels joining the House of Truth:  Daniels as a heel is always a good thing, but the last thing Daniels needs to be is a follower in a group, following a manager who does most of the talking.  Daniels is light years ahead of Martini on the mic, and should be leading a group.  Now, maybe I’m jumping on this too soon, and maybe Daniels will end up being more of the mouth piece of the group, but with as great of a promo as Daniels is, it would be a shame if Martini started to do most of his talking for him.  I also hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle with Roderick Strong being the top guy in the group.  A Daniels/Elgin tag team is interesting in the short term, but not something long term for either guy I wouldn’t think. 

All in all, ROH is clicking on all cylinders right now, and I can’t wait to see where they go next!  Cary, Delirious, and all of the wrestlers in ROH deserve a huge pat on the back for a great weekend of shows in Atlanta!