Friday, February 25, 2011

Future Hall of Famers

With the Hall of Fame coming up on Wrestlemania weekend, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the current roster and see who has a shot – in my eyes – at being in the Hall of Fame.  Now, this is just based on their past and current standing in the company.  Rather than go through the entire roster person by person (and making this the longest post yet on Two Spot Monkeys), I figured I’ll focus on those I see who have a shot.  So, without any further adieu, here we go! 


John Cena, Randy Orton, Vince McMahon, Triple H, Edge, Big Show, Booker T, Rey Mysterio & The Undertaker

What more can be said about these guys?  World championships all over the place, and main eventing major cards…these guys all deserve it, and without question, will be in the Hall.


Kane – I almost put him in the shoe in category, as I do see him getting in without question.  A long run with a gimmick that when it started, I thought would last a year or two.  He went through many gimmicks, and finally found one that worked, and has been a upper mid card to main event guy ever since. 

Teddy Long – I think with as long as he’s been Smackdown GM, McMahon will put him in down the road.  He had a little success as a manager in WCW as well as his referee career as well, so, a long time member of the business who’s always reinvented himself when needed. 


CM Punk – Who would have thunk it?  Barring some sort of major injury that ends his career prematurely, this guy is headed for the hall.  He’s the best heel in the business right now, and honestly, I don’t see him letting go of that moniker for a long time.  Another WWE Title run or three and it’ll cement his place.

The Miz – I place him here because while he hasn’t done enough yet, he really does strike me as this generation’s closest thing to The Rock.  If he can have half of the success that The Rock had in his shortened wrestling career, he’ll waltz into the Hall after a long and hopefully great career. 

Michael Cole – Now, let me say that I don’t personally think he should make it…but, Vince McMahon is obviously a huge fan of his…so, I assume he’ll continue to be pushed (to the detriment of, you know, actual wrestlers), and eventually “the voice of WWE” will enter the Hall.  Blah.

Sheamus – I debated on him.  I think he’s got a shot…and if he can stay healthy and not get lost in midcard hell like he seems to be now, I think he’ll be a Hall of Famer down the road…but, he could slide off the list depending on booking for sure. 


Goldust – Long career, won plenty of titles, and has been a good worker.  He was really helping younger guys on Superstars before his last injury.  I could see him making it certainly.

Mark Henry – Longevity plays in here…never has been pushed as a real World Title contender…but, if Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Koko B. Ware can get in…Mark Henry just might make it.

William Regal – Really should get in even though he’s never been a world champion in a major organization.  One of the best in ring hands ever, and has had a hand in training guys as well.  When Regal is focused, I’ve rarely seen a bad William Regal match (again, when he’s focused). 

So, who did I miss?  Disagree with anyone I have here?  Think Regal is a shoe-in?  Think Sheamus doesn’t belong?  Comment and let me know!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ring of Honor Celebrates 9 Years! (part 2 of 2)

Ring of Honor turned 6 in New York City and on their official birthday in 2008. This show was really the beginning measure of Nigel McGuinness as ROH World Champion, as he met his long-time rival Bryan Danielson. Fans were rabid in their hopes of Danielson regaining the ROH World Title and McGuinness stepped closer to being a man the fans hated. In another great match, Austin Aries battled Go Shiozaki in what still should be considered one of the all-time, underrated matches held on an Anniversary Show.

By the time the 7th Anniversary Show came around, Nigel McGuinness had solidified himself as an incredible ROH World Champion. At this show, a dream match of sorts for many fans against Pro Wrestling NOAH star KENTA, was scheduled and proved to be a fantastic international challenge for Nigel. There is no doubt that this match added to the legacy of McGuinness' reign. Also at this show, Kevin Steen & El Generico battled The American Wolves. The war between these teams in 2009 was captured here in this match and gave fans a peek into what was to come the rest of the year.

The 8th Anniversary Show marked the third consecutive year that ROH exclusively celebrated in New York City at The Manhattan Center. This venue has been the location for so many memorable moments and this event was no different. Tyler Black was a man and wrestler who had heard "Next World Champ" chants at live ROH events beginning in August 2008. Despite many splintered opinions about everything that Black had faced and had overcome headed into this match, Black challenging Austin Aries - there was more than just an outcome of a title match on the line. Of course, Black finally overcame all of the odds that were placed before him and dethroned Aries for what will likely be the finally time. Interestingly as well, Black and Roderick Strong faced off, again offering the fantastic foreshadowing that ROH has always done - about 7 months before Strong would take the title from Black.

All of these moments and memories take us on the road to Chicago Rdige, Illinois this weekend. Again, on iPPV, a blossoming concept that ROH has seen bring them great exposure and success, will bring the 9th Anniversary Event. There has been so much discussion and debate on this card, especially at and many of my opinions have been offered there. I know that I will be tuning in from my laptop and eager to see what transpires before my eyes. I am definitely looking forward to Jay & Mark Briscoe against Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas. Jay Briscoe has continually given so much of himself in ROH. Of course, he and Mark are a terrific tag team and the most decorated in ROH history, but Jay has answered the call so many times - I look for him to have a tremendous showing here. On the flipside, Shelton Benjamin is one of the more spectacular wrestlers out there. Recently, I've been re-watching WWE Money in the Bank Matches from WrestleMania and of course, there was Shelton, doing something amazing. I equally look to him, like Jay Briscoe, to have a great showing.

Hopefully you too find a way to enjoy this show on Saturday - whether live or via - and I will look forward to some thoughts on this show in my next entry.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ring of Honor Celebrates 9 Years! (part 1 of 2)

I consider myself one of the fortunate few fans still around and actively following Ring of Honor to say that I was in Philadelphia at The Murphy Recreation Center 9 years ago today. Truthfully, I shake my head in amazement that it has been that long. Honestly, I am thankful that ROH has weathered their challengers and still provides a pro wrestling alternative today. Really, I could take this entry in many different directions. I could look back at every significant moment in ROH history (might be more than JUST a single entry to do that...). I could talk about the 50+ live shows that I was able to attend from 2002-2009 and those experiences from being front row and getting exposed to some things most fans probably never will. I could discuss the countless friendships and personal relationships that are a direct result thanks to Ring of Honor, either from live events, fan gatherings or message boards. While I feel all would be entertaining and worth your time to read, I am going to go a different route. I will highlight a moment or two from each of the anniversary celebrations from year 1 in Queens until year 9, which is celebrated this Saturday night in Chicago Ridge, IL and will be broadcast live on iPPV.

I traveled to Queens with my good friend Scott and his wife Wendy for the 1st Anniversary Show. At that point, it was the first ROH show outside of Philly that I was going to attend and of course, the New York debut, so we had to be there. Unfortunately, by the time we decided to go, all of the front row tickets were gone! At this time, front row tickets were only $35 (I believe), but we decide to go later than originally had hoped and the best we could do was 2nd row. That sounds arrogant, but really when we traveled 12-14 hours to shows via car and stayed in cheap hotels to cut costs, we valued greatly the front row experience.

There is so much I could write about when it comes to this event. The Scramble Main Event being the cluster of all clusters (!), The incredible ROH Title Match (Xavier-London) and the 3-Way that preceded it (London-Low Ki-AJ Styles) or The Infamous Riot with Steve Corino & "The Group" and Homicide and his Brooklyn Familia. I will say this - I am very challenged to think of a time, either before this show in 2003 or since that time, that I have ever feared for my personal safety more at a pro wrestling show. This angle was magnificently done and the elements of realism, the blurring of the line so much and the atmosphere created probably can never be duplicated. Seeing Wendy cry non-stop and feel like I might need to duck and cover if it got more violent was a feeling I will never forget. It was a terrific rush!

One year later, ROH ventured to Braintree, MA to present the 2nd Anniversary Show and crown the first ever Pure Wrestling Champion. This was the first ROH show that my wife attended with me, so that is a good memory of course. Anyone who knows her - she really can't stand wrestling in general. However, having Scott and Wendy join us made for a fun weekend getaway with wrestling mixed in. Interestingly, my biggest memory of this show was that Alex Rodriguez was traded from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees over this weekend and of course, being in the Boston-area, there was chatter about that everywhere. ROH specific, Low Ki was a late, late addition to this show - like announced Tuesday or Wednesday before the show. I don't know if that was the plan the whole time or if it was needed to boost ticket sales, but it got me excited and while the ROH World Title Match he was in (Samoa Joe-Low Ki-BJ Whitmer-Dan Maff) was not a classic, it was a fun, hard-hitting match. Low Ki would then not appear again for ROH for 5 months.

For ROH's 3rd Anniversary, they had established themselves well enough to do a 3 city "Anniversary Celebration," hitting Elizabeth, NJ @ The RexPlex, Dayton, OH and Chicago Ridge, IL. I, again, had the fortune to attend Dayton and Chicago Ridge live. My memorable moment on this weekend was the Jimmy Rave upset of AJ Styles in Dayton. Rave had been gaining a ton of momentum with The Embassy and Prince Nana since becoming "The Crown Jewel" in July 2004, but never really beat any major name. He was also using "The Rave Clash" as his finisher, stealing it from Styles. Styles, with many TNA commitments and having been pulled by TNA due his contract and other issues in 2004, was finally going to return in Dayton and I was SO excited to see him exact his revenge. Then, after dastardly spraying bug spray in his eyes, Rave stole the pin and left me wondering if, not when Styles would ever get his revenge, but also truly elevating Rave's stock in the eyes of many and becoming a truly hated wrestler.

The 4th Anniversary Show was the first I had to miss. I haven't watched the DVD in many years, but the main event of Austin Aries and Roderick Strong against AJ Styles & Matt Sydal in a ROH Tag Team Title Match was really awesome and was without a doubt a dream tag match at that time.

ROH's 5th year was celebrated with a "Festival." A six show series that marched from NYC to Philly to Dayton to Chicago Ridge to Liverpool in the UK for a double shot. So much happened on these shows and they are a great series of matches/shows that stand on their own and connect important parts of ROH history together. Again, I defer to the moments I saw live for my best recollection and in Dayton and Chicago Ridge, being live for Samoa Joe's United States ROH farewell was fantastic. Samoa Joe is a Ring of Honor legend and his work in ROH was fantastic. I have no doubt that Joe was truly one of the best wrestlers in the world during his 2004-2006 ROH run and being able to be part of the crowds to wish him well as his career opened a new chapter was awesome.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jim's Elimination Chamber Picks

With the Elimination Chamber PPV coming up this weekend, I thought I’d take a quick look at my predictions for the four matches announced thus far. 

The Miz (C) vs. Jerry Lawler for the WWE Title – Well, we all know that there is no chance Lawler wins the title here.  At least…he shouldn’t.  It would be the biggest mistake WWE could make to have Lawler win here.  There is a slight part of me that wonders if they’d have him win, and then have Riley cost him the title tomorrow night on Raw so it would go back to The Miz.  But, that would be a TERRIBLE booking decision for The Miz, so I certainly hope they don’t go that way, and I don’t expect them to either.  The best thing to do building The Miz into Wrestlemania is him winning clean, but with the way they’ve booked him, I expect that Alex Riley will cost Lawler the match, leading to a screwjob win for The Miz, and setting up Alex Riley vs. Jerry Lawler for Wrestlemania. 

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. R-Truth vs. John Morrison vs. Sheamus vs. John Cena in an Elimination Chamber bout to determine the WWE Title challenger at Wrestlemania 27 – This is all about how do you get to the win for John Cena.  Unfortunately, no one else has a shot of winning and main eventing Wrestlemania against The Miz.  I’m hoping everyone comes out looking strong though.  Orton and Punk should have some good interchanges to continue their feud towards a match at Wrestlemania.  John Morrison will likely have some amazing cool spot off the Chamber, and hopefully they let Sheamus get at least one elimination (and not just over R-Truth either).  No question in my mind though, Super Cena gets the win here, probably eliminating CM Punk last (or Orton).

Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Rey Mysterio in an Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Title – Again, given that Alberto Del Rio is facing the winner at Wrestlemania, I just don’t see any way anyone but Edge wins this one.  An argument for Mysterio could be made, since they had a good (and seemingly unfinished) feud when Del Rio came in…but, I see Mysterio and Cody Rhodes heading into a feud, so I don’t expect him to win here.  So, again, this is all about how does Edge get there.  I’m going to go with Edge vs. Ziggler at the end, as that has been a good feud right now on Smackdown.  I actually kind of wish Ziggler would be getting the shot at Mania, but it’s not to be.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston – This should be a really good match, but again, there is just no way Del Rio loses to Kingston on PPV heading into Wrestlemania.  It kind of makes me wonder why they had Del Rio beat Kingston clean on Smackdown a week ago.  It would have made more sense to have Kingston get a quick win on him then leading to this…or have Del Rio get a dirty win setting up Kingston looking for revenge, but as it is, Del Rio already won clean, so other than it being a good in ring match, and keeping Del Rio on PPV before his Wrestlemania title shot…there isn’t much reason for this match to take place.

So, my predictions are Miz, Cena, Edge and Del Rio.  And I’ll be shocked if I don’t go 4-0, I don’t know that I could be more confident in those picks.  Do you all see any other way this goes?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breakout Stars of 2011

Wanted to take a second here at Two Spot Monkeys and look at possible break out stars for 2011.  Now, I think it’s important that we first look at what I mean by “breakout star” as each person may have a different definition for that term.  In this case, I am looking for stars who have the chance to become a regular part of the main event picture in their particular company.  For instance, Jon Moxley was a breakout star to me in 2010 because he was elevated to the main event level in both DGUSA and potentially Evolve.  So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at it! 


John Morrison – They seem to have been ready to pull the trigger with him a few times in the past, and I think that 2011 will be his year.  Morrison reminds me a ton of a young Shawn Michaels (though HBK was a better promo guy than Morrison is at this point).  Morrison has crazy agility, and does seem to have the crowd behind him.  Hopefully he wins Money in the Bank either at Wrestlemania, or at the Money in the Bank PPV (if they do that PPV gimmick again) and can be elevated into the top of the mix.  I think he’d be a fresh face who can have some great matches. 

Dolph Ziggler – This one is kind of already happening, but I think Ziggler will stay in the top mix going forward.  I don’t see him as just a placeholder to get to Wrestlemania.  Along with Morrison, I see Ziggler as one of the favorites to win Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania.  With Vickie Guerrero by his side, and her willingness to abuse her power at every turn, I would be surprised if Ziggler isn’t World Heavyweight Champion by the time the end of summer roles around. 

I would LOVE to add Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston to this list…but just don’t see them breaking through unfortunately.  Also, I considered Alberto Del Rio to already be in the top mix, so not eligible for this category at this point. 


Honestly…the top of the card is so oversaturated in TNA right now that I just don’t’ see any new names making it there.  I wish D’Angelo Dinero would get there…I wish Samoa Joe would make it back there, but I just don’t see it.  For that reason, I’m going to take a pass on trying to predict anyone from TNA, as I just don’t think we’ll see any. 


Chris Hero – Now wait just a moment before you rip my head off and tell me that Hero has main evented a ton of shows.  He has…but his only main event level runs (outside of an occasional title shot) have been as a member of the Kings of Wrestling.  I believe this is the year that Chris Hero breaks out and up to the top of the pack as a singles competitor as well.  Hero has all the tools and would make a GREAT ROH World Champion, so I can only hope they put him in the mix with Strong, Daniels, Richards, and Homicide. 

Kyle O’Reilly – I’ve been a fan of this guy since I saw his match in DGUSA vs. Adam Cole.  Definitely reminds me of a cross between Davey Richards, and perhaps a really early Bryan Danielson.  Now, before you rip me a new one that he isn’t on Danielson’s level, of course he isn’t.  But, he could get there.  He just might have a shot.  I look forward to the matches  he’s in on any ROH show almost as much as any on the card.  Definitely a guy to keep an eye on in ROH. 

Mike Bennett – I’m not sure that the fans will let him break out, because it’s obvious ROH is strapping the rocket to this guy.  But, if they do accept him in his role, he could have a big year with the company behind him.  He’s got some skills, and is good in promos it seems…so, I’m willing to give him a shot. 


Ronin (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano & Rich Swann) – These guys have already been pushed to the top of the card and are the top babyfaces in the company right now it seems.  They have a ton of charisma, and are a great mix of high flying and technical wrestling.  I’m really excited to see what these guys do together as a unit, and am really looking forward to being in Atlanta live for their six man against Blood Warriors in April.  That should be amazing! 

Akira Tozawa – Another “after the fact” prediction kind of here as it seems he broke out in the January shows, but I think the rise will just continue.  I think Tozawa will be the one to take the Open the Freedom Gate title from YAMATO later this year.  Tozawa is on the rise big time, and could become one of the very best in the world before long.  He’s great in the ring, has amazing facial interactions, and also knows how to use comedy.  This guy has ‘it”, and he has it in bunches. 

So, do you agree?  Disagree?  Who do you think breaks out this year?  Who on my list do you think doesn’t have a shot? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

When There Is So Little Time to Watch Wrestling, How Can I Write About It?

I certainly meant to return here sooner than today.

First a couple orders of past business:

1. Congratulations to The Green Bay Packers. It was a really good Super Bowl. I am very happy for Charles Woodson (former Michigan Wolverine). I will be interested to see my Detroit Lions test themselves twice next year against the reigning and defending champions.

2. I have had the two newest Dragon Gate USA DVD's Untouchable 2010 and Way of The Ronin for little more than 10 days, but have not had the chance to watch them like I would want to. I actually did watch Untouchable but was doing other things at the same time, so I don't feel that it would be fair to give an opinion on it until a viewing with my full attention devoted to it

That brings me to the theme of today's post - time.

Being a husband and father of 3 (soon to be 4), I find the time that I can devote to watching wrestling and MMA often very challenged. Clearly, I am up to that challenge or I likely would have dropped out of being a fan a long time ago. Now, I certainly don't write that because I expect any reader who comes across this to be sympathetic to my plight. I share it just simply because I think it is a challenge not limited to just me. We all have different passions and avenues to explore hobbies and recreations. We have ways we are committed to time with family, friends and loved ones. The challenge can be finding time to fit in time to watch what we want to, uninterrupted. With the bulk of what is available from wrestling companies I follow being delivered on DVD, the challenge is increased in finding that time to dedicate and creating regular viewing habits. It can however be done and hopefully in the weeks and months to come, you'll see that challenge be met through the thoughts and opinions I share.

Quick hits:

~About the only regular WWE TV I watch is Superstars because I have very limited cable. Quit laughing! I do really like what WWE puts out on this show for the most part and it does give wrestlers a good platform that don't get the same time on RAW or Smackdown. I gotta say though, that last week I was crushed. Before I tell this story, you need the backstory.

I had the great opportunity to attend a FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) house show last summer when I was in Florida. It was a really good show and I enjoyed it with some great friends, include my fellow Spot Monkey, Jim. In the main event, Trent Baretta teamed with his DudeBuster partner, Caylen Croft. That team, who had already exhausted their WWE push, was just great as part of a 4 team elimination match. Above all, Trent Baretta really impressed and I walked away thinking and arm chair booking all of the great things that could be done with him. If you are not familiar, please check out this great video, featuring The DudeBusters. That is a great song too. All props to essarios187 for that.

The main event for Superstars was Jack Swagger vs. Trent Baretta...and when I saw that I was immediately pumped. My expectations were SO high.

Then, the match began at 5 minutes to the hour and end of the show. The realization that this would not be the match I wanted it to be played out before my eyes. Disappointed might not be the right word, but bummed sure is. I think it realistic for fans to have expectations and hopes to see wrestlers do well. It is just a shame when you know that the potential is there and is not given the full opportunity to be displayed.

~I was able to watch 95% of TNA's Against All Odds PPV last night. Colored me unimpressed. As a fan, I feel that TNA has burned their bridge far too many times with me as a fan. I find it challenging to find their product entertaining when what I see on PPV could likely mean nothing by the next IMPACT! TV show. I cannot recall any other form of entertainment doing that or following that kind of model, where you change direction so many times and it feels like you are in a spinning vortex and don't know which direction your going in. Have I seen the last of TNA? Likely no, but I am sure glad I was hosted by a friend versus having to pay for the show.

~I am expecting some new ROH DVDs in the next few days, including Tag Title Classic II pitting The Kings of Wrestling v. The American Wolves. Once I get the DG USA watch down, that is on deck.

Tonight on RAW, the WrestleMania 27 host will be announced. All signs seem to point to "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson being that person, I am think it is a great move. It would definitely be a boost to a WrestleMania card that should begin to come together soon, yet isn't setting the world on fire in it's rumored form. I will look forward to discussing that and more the next time around! Until then, take care of yourselves and feel free to post a comment!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Looking at the ROH TV Title Situation

For a myriad of reasons, I don’t see Christopher Daniels holding on to the ROH Television Title for a long period of time.  So, let’s take a look at the contenders for that title (or at least those I consider contenders!) and see who is most likely to beat him for the title. 

Eddie Edwards – The first ever ROH Television Champion, who had a good run with the title.  Edwards seems ready to break through to the main event level in Ring of Honor, so I’m not sure a return to the TV Title would be in his best interest at this point.  That being said, once the 10 Minute Hunt silliness was over, Edwards did have some good TV Title defenses, but I’m not sure he ever had that epic defense that would have defined his reign.  His best match as champ was likely the match he lost the title in.  So, a return to the title, this time looking to have a more memorable reign, could be a possibility. 

Mike Bennett – “The Prodigy” has already been inserting himself in Daniels’ business, so it’s clear he’s in the picture here.  Bennett has come in with a ton of fanfare and is obviously someone the company is behind and is going to push.  Could a TV Title reign be part of the plan to push him up the card quickly?  It could be, but I’m not sure Bennett is ready to hold a title in ROH.  Earning a title so quickly in ROH is something very few have done, so it could work to push him as something special…but it also could backfire and have him met with resentment for pushing Bennett down the fans throats too quickly. 

Steve Corino – While Corino hasn’t made any comments about becoming a champion, with his new “I want to do the right thing for business and the right thing for the young guys” persona, could he win the TV Title and show the young guys the “right way” to be a champion?

El Generico – It seems right now that ROH is going to have El Generico in the main event mix, so he might not fit here, but without much trouble I could easily see Generico as TV champ, and could see him having great matches along the way.  Generico seems to adapt well to whoever he is in the ring with, and could be a great person in the role of a great worker who could work with the younger guys in feuds around the TV Title, seeing then who was ready for the move up the card. 

TJ Perkins – Perkins is a dark horse in this discussion right now, but ROH has apparently been impressed with him.  I’m not sure they’d push him right to the top of the card right away, so a stop off in the TV Title “division” might not be a bad spot for him.  Perkins against almost anyone else on this list would be a really fun match to watch!  If Perkins commits to ROH more regularly, I could see him in the TV Title mix rather quickly. 

So, who do you think will take the title from Daniels?  How soon do you see him losing it?  Do you like him as TV Champ?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Before last night's Raw, I was planning this post, and was planning at looking at the different possibilities for who the 2-21-11 videos might be for on WWE programming.  But, after last night's video, I think it's pretty clear, it's The Undertaker.  As soon as I heard Johnny Cash's voice sing "Ain't no grave gonna hold my body down", my blog post went out the window. 

So, the question for me now becomes, if it is The Undertaker, then what is the plan for him?  Why is he returning on Raw, when the most likely Wrestlemania opponents for him (if he's able to work 'Mania at all) are Wade Barrett and Kane, both firmly planted on Smackdown?  Now, a friend of mine mentioned that Undertaker was on Raw last year every week leading up to Wrestlemania, and that is true.  However, his opponent was a member of the Raw roster.  So, what's the point this year of bringing him back on Raw?  Get the ratings pop?  Maybe. 

And then there is the question of Sting.  Could 2-21-11 be him coming...and maybe somehow be tied to The Undertaker's return as well?  Sting was quietly removed from the TNA roster page today.  That is an interesting development to say the least.  Makes me think that TNA doesn't expect him back.  Is that because he's signed a deal with WWE?  Could be. 

Here's what we know for sure...the 2-21-11 videos have got people talking, and have people wondering what is coming on that date to WWE.  Is it a debut?  A return?  Both?  I know what I'll be doing that evening, I'll be sitting in front of my TV, watching it and seeing it unfold live.  Will you?

Monday, February 7, 2011

My UFC 126 Round Up

Got a chance last night to sit down and watch UFC 126, so as promised, here are my quick thoughts on it! 

Miguel Angel Torres was a beast in the WEC for a while, until he ran into Brian Bowles, who knocked him out and took his title.  Then he ran into rising star Joseph Benavidez, who choked him out.  He has rebounded now with two wins, but his performance on Saturday night didn't set the world on fire.  I don't know if it was a bit of UFC jitters...or if it was really Baneulos' fault as Dana White seems to think...but I hope we see more out of him next time out. 

Carlos Eduardo Rocha showed a TON of BJJ skill in his first round with Jake Ellenberger, and then it was gone.  I don't know if he gassed or what happened, but WOW, talk about the fight totally changing.  And how the hell did one judge give Rocha all three rounds?  Was that judge even watching the fight?  Did he take a bathroom break after the first round?  No way Rocha won either round 2 or 3.  I totally agree with the two who scored it 29-28 for Ellenberger.  Nice comeback from him, as he looked like he was going to get dusted in the first. 

Jon Jones...what more can be said?  The guy is amazing, and is now getting a title shot in just six weeks due to the injury to Rashad Evans.  He's opened as an early favorite against Shogun, which blows my mind a bit.  I mean, Shogun has beaten Lyoto Machida twice (come on...he won that first fight...even if the records don't state it!) in a row as far as I'm concerned...and Jones is great, but is he ready for this level?  We'll find out in six weeks.  That's a fight I really want to see!  And kudos to the UFC for the way they got things put together and creating that really cool moment in the cage where they told him about the title shot.  Very cool moment! 

Not much more I can say about the Griffin/Franklin fight that Tom didn't already say...totally agreed.  Griffin looked rusty and Franklin looked like it's time to hang 'em up. 

The main event started and I wasn't sure what to expect.  After a horribly boring first two minutes where they just circled, they finally engaged, and Silva hit the sickest front kick I have ever seen!  I was blown away by that kick and it was obvious that Belfort was totally out!  Great win for The Spider, and it potentially sets up that HUGE matchup between he and GSP, provided GSP beats Jake Shields in April, as I expect he will. 

Good show, with some good finishes, and a couple of "OK" decisions.  Nothing too controversial, which is nice too!

Quick wrestling note back to Tom - you are going to LOVE those two shows from DGUSA, I had the privilige of being live at both and had a blast!

I'll be back later today, or perhaps tomorrow with a look at the WWE's 2-21-11 videos!  Thanks for visiting Two Spot Monkeys!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quick UFC 126 reaction, DG USA and my Super Bowl pick

UFC 126 from Las Vegas delivered last night. I had the fortune to watch it with my brother in law and 2 other friends who practice martial arts actively. I always enjoy watching MMA in general and often more so when there is a diverse group of people to watch it with. They all bring their own unique perspective and opinion to what transpires inside the Octagon.

Last night was about Anderson Silva and his Middleweight dominance coming up against the fistic fury of Vitor Belfort. My opinion on this fight going in was that Belfort would engage Silva and push the pace. This would force "The Spider" to do more than just posture, juke and jive. Taking nothing away from the man because he has proved it...but the paying UFC fan has had the right to be a little fed up with seeing Silva do that when they tune in to see him in the main event and in his past bouts there has been a little too much of the former and not enough of a killer instinct that Silva has displayed before.

Well, that killer instinct was on full display less than 4 minutes into the bout last night and holy cow did he do enough to at least silence me for the time being. Hopefully you've seen the bout or at least the highlight of that wicked front kick that buckled Vitor and signified the end. With the Middleweight Division now virtually all run through (maybe Michael Bisping could challenge), it looks like a date for Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre is inevitable (GSP needs to beat Jake Shields first) and I could see that fight possibly as early as December and it could very well be the biggest fight in MMA history.

A few other quick hits: Forrest Griffin seemed rusty and he should have, but Rich Franklin just looked old to me. I will be interested to see who Forrest gets next. He against Rashad Evans is very marketable, but I don't know if that is the most balanced match making considering Evans is a title contender now and is being hampered by his knee injury. That leads me to Jon "Bones" Jones and his dominance over Ryan Bader. Bones just completely controlled the entire bout last night and took Bader, who I was really impressed with in all of his previous fights, to make him look way out of his league. By virtue of the win and the previously mentioned Evans injury, Bones skyrockets to the title fight for the light-heavyweight title against Shogun Rua in just 6 weeks. That bout should be excellent.

I wanted to share that I did just get the two newest Dragon Gate USA DVD releases, Untouchable 2010 and Way of the Ronin from last September. I will likely be diving into these this week and will be back with thoughts on those shows here, of course. These were the final shows where Bryan Danielson appeared for this company.

Lastly, of course, today is Super Bowl Sunday. Green Bay Packers v. Pittsburgh Steelers. I am expecting a great game and hope it lives up to my expecations. I am having some great food and beverage with family during the game and really am excited for it all. Of course, I can't wait for the commercials too! Here is my pick: Steelers 30, Packers 24. I will either come back to gloat over that successful pick or will eat crow...but that is the next entry. Where ever you are planning to watch the game, enjoy and be safe!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Welcome, Part 2

Following up on Jim's entry, I too echo his thoughts and sentiments about this blog. Without attempting to repeat what he has already shared, I do want to state that I am very excited about this venture and hope that it can be an enjoyable read for those who come by here and possibly choose to follow us.

I've been a fan of pro wrestling for over 24 years. I think of that as I type those words out and it really strikes me that for nearly a quarter century I have been enamored by this crazy sport and crazy business. My first ever memory and the angle I credit as the beginning of my "fandom" occurred on TV in November 1986. I was at my Dad's house on a Saturday and flipping around the channels. Without question, 90% of the pro wrestling memories from my childhood are connected to my Dad. After my parents divorced, the weekends with my Dad were highlighted by pro wrestling...but that is another story for another time. WWF Superstars was on whichever syndicated network carried it in our area and I saw Randy Savage crush the larynx of Ricky Steamboat with the blue ringbell against the barricade. I was completely blown away by what I was seeing unfold before me! Savage was a mad man and no one could stop him to help Steamboat. From that moment on, I was hooked and both Steamboat and to a lesser extent Savage always carried a special place in my pro wrestling memory reserve. Interestingly enough, because of lack of opportunity to see "live" wrestling either in person or on pay per view at that time, I would not see the legendary match at WrestleMania III between the two, which that angle was the beginnings of, until 1989/1990 on VHS.

Since that initiation to this sport, I've followed as much as I can (and even too much, in some cases) though today. WWF Magazines, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter, Wrestling Observer Newsletter and then finally the expansion of the internet have all been my vehicles to follow, get my information and feed my appetite. I've traveled to numerous states and seen numerous shows, from WrestleMania to a local indy in a middle school gymnasium (with a pre-WWE D'Lo Brown appearance)...and there doesn't seem to be any sign of stopping, just evolving, as it has year after year.

I feel that is a good intro and a good start for now. I too, like Jim, also follow MMA, with UFC getting 90% of that. I am excited for UFC 126 tonight. Can Anderson Silva finally finish a fight and not "toy" with his opponent? Is Vitor Belfort the challenger to unseat "The Spider?" Which young star is ready to take the next step: Bader or Jones? Can Forrest Griffin or Rich Franklin keep building themselves back up as they work towards another title shot? I'll be headed to Buffalo Wild Wings with family and friends to watch the PPV portion and will also come back with post-show thoughts as well.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome to Two Spot Monkeys!

Welcome to Two Spot Monkeys!  This blog is a long time coming.  My friend Tom and I have been talking for quite a while about doing something where we could share our thoughts on the worlds of Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts.  We’ve talked about podcasts and other ideas…and we finally came to this, a blog where we can both post our thoughts, and hopefully interest you enough that you’ll come back and keep checking us out, and hopefully you’ll also want to engage us a bit on our thoughts…feel free to leave comments in the comments section to do that! 

So, for those who might not know who I am, a bit of history for you.  I’ve been a wrestling fan ever since I saw King Kong Bundy break Hulk Hogan’s ribs setting up the main event of Wrestlemania 2.  That, along with Col. Debeers hitting face first piledrivers on Jimmy Snuka are my earliest wrestling memories I believe.  I suppose that may have something to do with why I’ve always found myself more enamored with the heels in pro wrestling.  Now, having said that, my favorite all time wrestler makes no sense, but deal with it!  My favorite all time is easily Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.  Other favorites of mine over the years and today include Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Taz, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Davey Richards.  I enjoy the in ring product a bit more than the outside the ring gaga stuff…but, I do want stories to keep me involved as well, I just want that part to make sense (TNA/WWE…I’m looking at you….)

As for my history with MMA, I have been watching since UFC 1, and was blown away by Royce Gracie, and how he was able to take down anyone at will and submit them.  I’ve followed it throughout the years, even when it didn’t have cable clearance, I’d still follow along on the internet.  Now, I’m a huge MMA fan, and especially a UFC fan.  Let’s see…favorite fighters right now would include GSP, Shane Carwin, Jon Jones, and Jose Aldo. 

As for Tom and I…we met through fan gatherings at Ring of Honor events.  We first met at the events surrounding Wrestlemania 22 in Chicago, so we’ve known each other for about 5 years now, and have become great friends.  Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t disagree on here from time to time…we will…but that’s part of the fun right? 

I am planning to do a blog post after seeing UFC 126 this weekend.  So, until then, thanks for reading, and again, welcome to Two Spot Monkeys!