Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Head 2 Head Winner/Podcast Tonight!

What a great weekend of wrestling?

Ring of Honor's Final Battle was memorable and brought their year to an end by answering questions and asking new ones.  Jim and I will be *live* around 9:30pm EST tonight to recap and chat about our Final Battle thoughts and more on ROH.

WWE's TLC pay-per-view also delivered, with a great main event featuring Dolph Ziggler and John Cena as well as the in-ring PPV debut of The Shield, as they were part of a crazy TLC match against Ryback, Daniel Bryan and Kane.  Those were easily the top two matches, but the card was solid from bottom to top.

Coupled with our interest on TLC, was the culmination of our year long Head 2 Head Competition.  Jim entered Sunday with a 1 correct pick lead and his choice of The Shield to win their match was enough to seal the victory for him.  Congratulations to Jim, with the final score being Jimthy 44-27 to Tom's 42-29.  Tom will honor the conditions of this wager and at some point in 2013, when he and Jim are at a wrestling show together, he will wear a Chicago Bears t-shirt (which will hit him in the gut as a life-long Detroit Lions fan).

Thanks for following along with us all year and do know that something will be wagered for 2013 as well.  We might even begin chatting about it tonight.  Please feel free to listen live as we hold our conversation or connect with us after the fact, by leaving a comment here or over on our Facebook page.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Final Battle 2012 - 8 Things We Think!

Thanks for coming back to Two Spot Monkeys!  A quick plug before we get into today’s column – if you have not checked out our interview with Michael Elgin from earlier this week (our first ever!) or our final 2012 Head 2 Head WWE preview as we go back and forth on TLC.  Both podcasts can be accessed as a stream or download – here on the blog or via iTunes.

We wanted to take a look at 4 things each that we’re thinking about as we head towards Sunday’s ROH: Final Battle 2012 iPPV.  So, here we go! 

Tom’s Thinking About…

1. Ladder War IV
I gotta start with the main event because for the arguments out there that exist opposing this match taking place, the two wrestlers – Steen and Generico – are ingrained in the fabric of one another’s wrestling careers and this is a feud that transcends promotion boundaries.  I have no idea how they can top their WAR from Final Battle in 2010 or their insane match from PWG just a year ago, but I do think they will.  I think we see a new level of innovative violence and it will have fans talking.

2. Breakout Star for 2012?
More so on the podcast versus here in print, I have voiced loudly my belief that for Indy Wrestling alone, there no two wrestlers more equally matched for consideration here than Adam Cole and Michael Elgin.  Will either have a performance on Sunday that allows one to edge the other?  I do not know.  Cole against Matt Hardy might have the factor going against it that Matt Hardy is again in a Ring of Honor ring and the fans might not react favorably.  Elgin against Strong is a fresh match that has taken nearly the entire year to build to these two incredible wrestlers getting into the ring.  By a narrow margin, I think that Elgin has a bigger shine coming out of Sunday and possibly solidifies himself as this year’s Breakout Star.

3. Embassy Forever or Never Again?
Another feud with a lot of backstory and build will also see blows get thrown when Prince Nana and Barrister R.D. Evans settle their score in the ring.  Nana, the originator of “The Embassy” in Ring of Honor has been a part of each and every incarnation.  Evans came into the picture and attempted to turn the faction into a revenue generator as “Embassy Limited.”  In doing so, he forced Nana out of the group and out of the scene.  Nana is coming for his revenge and I believe he gets it on Sunday and so will begin a new chapter for “The Embassy.”

4. The Hunt is….ON?
The potential tag match of the re-united American Wolves of Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards vs. Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish is one of the matches I am most looking forward to.  I like what ROH has done here, bringing in Edwards and Fish’s history in NOAH to the story, the saga between Davey & O’Reilly and of course, the long-standing history between Davey & Eddie, both as partners and competitors.  The way it is set going into the weekend is that Eddie has stated he would be there, but as of yet he has not committed to teaming with Davey.  I do think that Eddie and Davey re-unite, but I am not sure if it lasts longer than just this one match.  I see it two ways:  The Wolves stake their claim as a dominant team and give a new focus to Davey & Eddie or Eddie plays the role of the partner really well, only to screw Davey in the end and create a new group with O’Reilly and Fish, establishing a fresh approach and fresh match-ups for Davey in 2013.  I cannot wait to see how it plays out!

Jim’s Thinking About…

1. A Lethal Fight?
Jay Lethal has been saying now for a few weeks, and again on TV last week that he is pissed off about having to wrestle Rhino in a “meaningless” match on Sunday.  He’s promised that he’s going to fight the ROH Champion, whomever that is, after the Ladder War.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the main event and how they might go with it this Sunday (I love that it’s not totally obvious!).  At this point, I’m thinking that they have Generico win the title, but, that begs the question, would they put the title on someone who is (presumably) not under contract?  That’s where Lethal comes in.  I think Generico wins the title, but then Lethal demands his Survival of the Fittest title match right now, and we end 2012 with Jay Lethal as the ROH World Champion.  If they do that, I would only have Lethal hold it until the 11th Anniversary Show, and have Michael Elgin win the title there, setting up Elgin vs. Davey, Steen or Generico for Supercard of Honor as your main event. 

2. Can Hardy hang?  And how long will he be around?
I am curious about Matt Hardy and his involvement here at Final Battle.  Is he just here for a one shot to get a boost with Final Battle?  Will ROH be booking him at all regularly as we go into 2013?  His match here with Adam Cole will likely go a long way to determining that.  I expect that the Hammerstein crowd is going to be ruthless on him, but if he can show them he can still hang and have a strong match with Adam Cole, he could turn them in his favor, which would be very interesting to see.  Cole has been a huge breakout star this year, and may very well be a future ROH World Champion if he doesn’t end up in NXT first, this will be one of (if not) his most high profile opponents to date, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it plays out!

3. 8-Times?  Or First Time?
I strongly feel that the Corino/Jacobs tag title reign is coming to an end here at Final Battle.  To me though, there is a heck of a question as to which team will be the ones to end the reign.  Certainly an argument can be made for moving in a totally new direction with Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman.  There are plenty of fresh matchups there (especially as tag title defenses) and they have been very good most of the time in the ring.  But, do they have the “star power” to be tag champs?  Or, if they win the titles, will that come with the win?  On the other hand, we have the 7 time ROH Tag Team Champions, ROH legends, The Briscoe Brothers.  Do they need an 8th reign?  Absolutely not.  But, they certainly carry more star power than C&C, and when needed to, could main event shows with tag title matches, which I don’t think you can say for C&C at this point.  I’d like to see them go with Coleman and Alexander, and I think they probably will, but I won’t be shocked if we’re hearing “Man Up” at the end of this match either! 

4. Where do we go from here?
Where is ROH heading in 2013?  I strongly suspect we’ll see something happen here to setup a major program or two for the first part of 2013.  Whether it’s a World Title change (or two), or a turn such as Eddie Edwards turning on Davey Richards and joining O’Reilly and Fish, or a surprise we haven’t heard of yet, I think that this show will give us not only closure to some stories of 2012, but also open up a whole lot of ideas and questions for 2013.  ROH feels like it’s on a slight upswing to me lately, and I hope that continues on Sunday afternoon as well as into 2013!  Best of luck to all involved, and go out and have a great show! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Spot Monkeys PODCASTMANIA!

We've got TWO new podcasts up in the player over to your right!  Just click on the arrow next to "Select a Past Episode" and then click it again to open the drop down menu.  You'll see Episodes 5 and 6 are up! 

Episode 5 is a our first ever audio interview as we are joined by ROH star Michael Elgin.  We cover alot of ground in about 25 minutes with one of the biggest breakout stars in 2012.  We are thrilled with the interview and look forward to having Michael back on the site in the future as well! 

Episode 5 is our final Head 2 Head competition of 2012, as we preview this weekend's WWE TLC PPV.  Jim has a narrow one match lead in the competition, so listen for their picks and come back Monday for our React article, where you'll learn whether Jim has to wear a Detroit Lions shirt, or Tom gets to don a Chicago Bears shirt!

Leave us a comment here on our new podcasts, or head on over to our Facebook site and "Like" us there!  Remember you can also subscribe to our podcasts over on iTunes! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz Preview

The Ultimate Fighting Championship presents its 5th show on Fox this coming Saturday night, and for the first time since the very first show, a title is being defended on Fox, as Benson Henderson defends the Lightweight Title against Nate Diaz in what is sure to be a barn burner of a fight!  Tom and Jim take a look at the four fights scheduled for the Fox broadcast (there is a 3 hour Prelims special airing on FX as well, so 5 hours of fights on Saturday night!!!)

“The Immortal” Matt Brown vs. Mike “Quick” Swick

JIM:  Mike Swick came back in a big way in August, knocking out DeMarques Johnson in just 1:20.  Matt Brown meanwhile is 3-0 in 2012, with TKO wins over Chris Cope and Luis Ramos, and a decision win over Stephen Thompson.  Both of these guys are KO artists, so expect to see the leather fly in this one!  I want to say Swick wins by TKO, but in 11 career losses, Brown has NEVER lost by KO or TKO, but 9 of those 11 have come by way of submission, so I expect a knockdown from Swick, and he’ll follow to the ground and get a submission win.

TOM:  It was that August fight that Swick won which may have been his saving grace for his UFC career.  Can he capitalize on the momentum from that to overcome the cagey Brown?  Brown is a guy familiar with halting momentum as he did, specifically, in the win over Stephen Thompson earlier this year as well.  I think Swick is coming into this match ready to do damage and think that is what occurs.  Even with the history that Brown carries having not been defeated by KO or TKO, that streak ends Saturday.  Mike Swick via TKO.

Rory “Ares” MacDonald vs. “The Prodigy” BJ Penn

JIM:  MacDonald is a star waiting to burst through, and this is the fight to do it in.  Of his 13 wins, 12 of them have come by way of stoppage (6 KO/TKO and 6 Submissions) and his only loss was a TKO loss to Carlos Condit right at the end of the fight.  Penn meanwhile has lost 3 of his last 5, and the only win in that (there was also a draw with Jon Fitch) was a TKO of an over the hill Matt Hughes two years ago.  Penn’s tough, and might be able to hang on for a decision loss, but I think MacDonald wins this one by TKO. 

TOM: This is the first of the FOX televised fights that have a common theme: A “gatekeeper” vet poses a legit challenge for the rising fighter.  As Jim alludes to, Penn has the toughness and skill, but his best days in the Octagon may be behind him.  MacDonald can use this fight to likely lock up a revenge bout against Condit and hope to keep his road to a Welterweight title shot forging ahead.  That is exactly what I think he will do.  BJ will give his all, but won’t be able to halt MacDonald here.  Rory MacDonald via TKO is my pick as well.

Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson vs. Maurico “Shogun” Rua

JIM:  Gustafsson probably puts himself in title contention (after the Jones/Sonnen fight) if he beats Rua here as he’s been working his way up the ladder and has won 5 in a row, but this is a definite step up in competition for him.  Rua on the other hand has been trading wins and losses over his last 6 fights, and is coming off a TKO win over Brandon Vera the last time the UFC was on Fox.  This one can go either way, and might very well be the fight I am most interested in on Saturday night.  I have been a big fan of Gustafsson for a long time, and I think this is his moment to climb up and become the top dog awaiting the winner of the Jones/Sonnen fight (bad part being, it could be late summer, early fall before he’d get that title shot).  Gustafsson by TKO is my pick here.

TOM:  It is really an interesting dilemma that is being presented in the Light Heavyweight division.  After virtual domination in the last 20+ months by Jon Jones, UFC is using a pro wrestling tactic in their booking of the Jones-Sonnen fight after a brief war of words from the two just a few months back when Jones had to withdraw from his most recent fight.  I agree that waiting in the wings should be Gustafsson if he can overcome “Shogun” on Saturday.  I am amped for this fight and the main event, without a doubt.  Do not forget as well, that should Dan Henderson be able to overcome Lyoto Machida early next year, Jones-Henderson would also be a pretty marketable title fight in the event it could come together.  Rua is such a warrior and I think back to his war against Dan Henderson from a year ago and overcoming a very game Brandon Vera from earlier this year when I think of him in this fight and again “gatekeeper” comes up when I think of him opposing his opponent.  I think that with the additional “mileage” of the last year will prove to be too much for Rua here and I, too, feel it is a Gustafsson win.  Alexander Gustafsson via Decision.

UFC Lightweight Title Fight
“Smooth” Benson Henderson (Champ) vs. Nate Diaz

JIM:  The Diaz brothers frustrate me.  I hate the way they carry themselves, but damn if they aren’t really good fighters.  On the other hand, I respect Benson Henderson a lot, and have become a fan of his since his move over from the WEC.  Henderson has won 5 in a row, all by decision, while Diaz is coming in on 3 fight win streak, and has finished two tough guys in Gomi and Miller during that run.  Honestly, I don’t see a finish coming in this one, so I hope the “casual” fans that tune in are ready for a 25 minute chess match.  If anyone can play the ground game with Henderson, it’s likely Diaz, but I’m going to go with my hopes here and pick Benson Henderson to retain the title by Decision, but I’m going to guess it could be a 48-47 win for him.  It should be a close fight!

TOM:  I’ve been a big fan of Henderson for a while.  I think he proved a lot in this past year in his fights with Frankie Edgar.  He may not have won new fans because of his close wins, but to win both fights and survive Edgar, he very well established his title-worthiness and championship pedigree in UFC, carrying it over from his WEC days as well.  As for Nate Diaz, his mouth writes checks that his skills can cash!  That might make him disliked or as Jim put it well “frustrating.”  He will give Benson a great test and as I mentioned above, I cannot wait for their duel inside the cage.  Benson Henderson via Submission.
There you have it...we agree on winners across the board, but not on the finishes to the fights.  Check out UFC on FOX 5, beginning at 8pm EST on Saturday night and the prelims as well on FX, which begin at 5pm EST.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chikara "Under The Hood" iPPV Preview!

Chikara has it’s third iPPV this weekend, with their Season 11 Finale, “Under the Hood” taking place in Philadelphia, PA.  The show will certainly see the culmination of several feuds, while also perhaps setting the tone for what is to come in Season 12 as well.  Here’s a look at each of the matches scheduled for this Sunday’s show!  

Dasher Hatfield vs. Icarus

This is a rematch from Cibernetico, as they’ve built a little feud here.  Icarus really doesn’t do much for me in the ring, but I love Dasher Hatfield, such a fun character, and a really nice guy to boot.  I think this is the opener, and Hatfield gets the win here to start of the show on a fun note.

Mike Quackenbush, Fire Ant, Green Ant & assailANT vs. Jigsaw, The Shard, deviANT & Soldier Ant

The story here is that Jigsaw super kicked Quackenbush at Cibernetico, and has apparently aligned with The Shard and deviANT.  This HAS to be the end of the “Soldier Ant with the Swarm against his will” and “assailANT with the Colony against their will” stories...really, it does.  Jigsaw’s blog this week is an interesting read about where this might be going, saying that he’s mentoring The Shard and showing him a different way (check it out here:  http://www.chikarapro.com/blog/11-29-2012.php).  Is it really a different way though with him cheap shotting Quack?  This will absolutely setup a huge storyline one would think for Season 12, and I’m interested to see where it all leads.  I’d guess that the Jigsaw team should probably win this one to get his apparent heel turn off to a good start.

Young Lions Cup Mach
Mr. Touchdown (C) vs. ACH

ACH is one of the hottest prospects on the indy scene right now, and lost to Mr. Touchdown in the finals of the Young Lions Cup Tournament, so this is a rematch of their finals match from Indianapolis back in August.  I have to say I’m a bit shocked that we don’t have Mr. Touchdown vs The Mysterious and Handsome Stranger here on this card, but this will be a heck of a match regardless (and I’m guessing we’ll get the confrontation between those two when they announce “Homecoming King & Queen”).  Touchdown should keep the cup here as he’s the one they are obviously building up here in Chikara, and ACH isn’t a regular.  That being said, I could see the Stranger costing Touchdown the Cup too.

3rd Point on the Line
3.0 vs. F.I.S.T

Each team here has 2 points, so the winner will be in line for a shot at the titles after this show.  3.0 defeated F.I.S.T. for the titles earlier this year, and then lost them right back to them in their first defense, so this is a rubber match of sorts between these two.  It’s so interesting to see Gargano in F.I.S.T. here, instead of at the absolute top of the card like he is in DGUSA and Evolve as I’ve mentioned before.  This should be a perfectly good match, and with The Young Bucks as the current champs, 3.0 winning here would make sense.  Another one I can see going either way though.  

The War to Settle the Score!
Ultramantis Black, Hallowicked, Frightmare, Crossbones & Blind Rage vs. Delirious, Ophidian, Kodama, Obariyon & Kobald

This war has been building all year, but Delirious has said it would be a 2 year reckoning for Ultramantis Black, so perhaps it doesn’t really end here.  This will be all over the place, and should be a heck of a brawl.  I don’t know alot about Blind Rage, but those who have followed Chikara longer than I have seem excited about it, so I’m good with that!  I had hoped for Amasis (and wouldn’t be shocked to see him show up with a run in or soething anyways), but Blind Rage works too.  If it really is the end of the war, than the Spectral Envoy has to win.  But, if it’s only the mid point of the feud, and it really is going to go into 2013 as well, then Delirious and his army will get the duke by some cheating method, and the pin probably won’t include Ultramantis.  So, it’s all about where these teams head in Season 12!

Campeonatos de Parejas - 2 out of 3 Falls
The Young Bucks (C) vs. 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty

Having Kid and Jannetty, former WWF Tag Team Champions challenging for the tag titles is pretty cool!  These two teams should be able to put together a fun match, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it go 3 falls (most 2 out of 3 falls matches tend to anyways).  But, in my eyes, unless The Young Bucks are headed back to TNA or something (which was rumored at one point, but I haven’t heard anything in a while on it), there’s no reason to put the titles on a nostalgia act, keep them on the Bucks and let them enter Season 12 as the champs, and build to another team taking them from them (I’m begging ya...the Bravados, PLEASE!).  

Chikara Grand Championship
Eddie Kingston (C) vs. Tim Donst

This has been building since King of Trios, and it’s the most interested I’ve been in Tim Donst in...well, ever!  Kingston won the title at the their season finale last year and looks to try and make it through all of Season 11 as the Grand Champion.  Part of me thinks he will, and that he’ll eventually lose it to a newly heel Jigsaw.  But, a short run for Donst could work here too.  I think this will be a war back and forth, but in the end, I see Donst coming close, but Jakob Hammermeier finally snapping from all the times Donst has treated him badly, and Jakob turning babyface by costing Donst the Grand Championship, setting up Donst/Hammermeier as a feud in Season 12.  Perhaps after the match we’ll also get an idea of who will be gunning for Kingston next year as well.  Should be a great end to a good show!

Chikara’s “Under The Hood” iPPV comes to you live from Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon at 4pm Eastern time on SMVOD.com for just $16.99.  Head on over there to order it today, or if you’re still on the fence, they are airing a live, free pre-show preview on Saturday night at 8pm Eastern time on the same site to make sure everything is working perfectly for Sunday, so give that a look as well! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Survivor Series 2012 React!

The 26th edition of Survivor Series is in the books!  Jim and I both ended up 3-3 in our picks on Sunday night, so the deficit for Tom remains the same (down 1, with 1 pay-per-view remaining) and the overall records are as follows: Jim 40-24 to Tom 39-25.

Here are our thoughts in the aftermath of Survivor Series:

3MB of Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal vs. Santino Marella & Zack Ryder

TOM:  As expected here, 3MB pick up the win.  Will it be built on in the coming weeks or not.  I think this group against Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel or Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara would be a lot of fun.

JIM:  Well, I thought they’d go with a “faces start the show winning” formula, and clearly, I was wrong!  We almost lost this match from our picks as after we’d recorded the podcast, WWE had changed it to 3MB vs. Gabriel/Kidd, but then switched back, presumably to add the extra elimination tag.  Wish they hadn’t…or I’d have had a 2 match lead going into TLC!  Darn WWE!  3MB was the right pick though for going forward. 

Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Tensai, The Prime Time Players of Darren Young & Titus O’Neil, Primo & Epico

TOM: Nice little added match and would have been better if they had done more on TV to build it up.  Rey, Cara, Kidd & Gabriel being the sole survivors is the right move.  Can we get a good, competitive tag match between those two teams?  It could do a world of wonder for Kidd & Gabriel.

JIM:  Man, how far has Brodus Clay fallen?  First he was being built on Superstars as a monster heel, then they finally debut him (After teasing him for what seemed like forever), and give him the “Funkasaurus” gimmick.  He gets a bunch of squash wins and seems to be firmly entrenched in the mid to maybe even upper mid card, and now, I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets released in the next few months.  When you’re the only one eliminated on your team, it’s not a good sign.  Once the Team Hell No thing runs it’s course, I fully expect to see Rhodes Scholars (who will win the belts from them) feuding with Mysterio/Cara and Gabriel/Kidd, which will be really fun matches. 

Divas Title Match: Eve Torres (C) vs. Kaitlyn

TOM: Pick was wrong here, as I guess WWE does not see Kaitlyn ready to hold the Divas Title.  Appears as well she moves into a feud with Aksana.

JIM:  Yeah, it seems they are headed towards Aksana/Kaitlyn, though I still think Aksana is working with Eve.  Rumors of Eve vs. AJ coming down the line, which would be a fun Divas Title feud (as AJ is by far the most over Diva they have right now).  I figured Kaitlyn would get a short run, but it appears it won’t be anytime soon if she does. 

United States Title Match: Antonio Cesaro (C) vs. R-Truth

TOM: Match and outcome as expected.  It is almost too bad that Rey Mysterio and/or Sin Cara are in their tag roles, because I could see both being terrific opponents for Cesaro and give an even bigger, bolder and more meaningful United State Title feud to the WWE Universe.

JIM:  I’d love to see Mysterio or Cara feuding with Cesaro too, but alas it’s not to be for now.  Maybe this would be a great spot for Christian to return and feud with Cesaro, those would be good matches.  Cesaro is obviously headed places in time.  Easily the right call to keep the title on Cesaro. 

World Heavyweight Title: Sheamus vs. The Big Show (C)

TOM: I figured Show would retain here, but clearly WWE showed that they did not want to have Sheamus look weak by taking another loss.  The post-match aftermath set up just as I anticipated and alluded that it might and I expect we get a re-match for the World Title in a Chairs Match at TLC next month.

JIM:  Yep, good call on that one Tom!  I like that they’ve given Sheamus back his edge lately.  His “aw shucks” demeanor just didn’t fit, so it’s good to see a harder edge to him again.  While I hate Big Show holding the title, it made sense to leave it on him at least here, and then setup for the gimmick match at TLC, which I believe will also be a Chairs Match as well.  Regardless as to who wins there…I think it might be time to cue Dolph Ziggler after the match, much like Daniel Bryan last year at TLC.

Team Ziggler vs. Team Foley Elimination Match: Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga & Damian Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Team Hell NO of Kane & Daniel Bryan & The Miz

TOM: This match made great sense and I think all of the eliminations were spot on, though I was surprised by the Miz elimination of Wade Barrett.  The final two should have been Ziggler & Orton, so I was really happy it came down to them.  As you know if you’ve followed my thinking all year here, I’ve been waiting for Dolph to get his “true” shot and maybe we really saw it here and perhaps it is his road to cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase next month and ending 2012 as World Heavyweight Champion.

JIM:  I actually figured I’d get this wrong after I thought more about it after the podcast, as it seems they are pushing The Miz and are getting behind him as a babyface, so I thought to get him over in that role, he could be the sole survivor.  But, Ziggler needed the big win, especially if he is (as Tom and I both suspect) going to be World Heavyweight Champion by the time the year ends, so this was absolutely the right call, and I’m glad I stuck with my guns and made it!  Good stuff here with everyone. 

WWE Title Triple Threat Match: CM Punk (C) vs. Ryback vs. John Cena

TOM: This match was  the expected vehicle I stated it would be last week on the podcast; Punk retains, ends his feud with Cena, we get good teases of Cena & Ryback and we even got the bonus of the NXT talent Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns all debuting and laying waste to Ryback.  I am really eager to see how they are featured in WWE and what role(s) they play.  Are they aligned with CM Punk or are they just anti-Ryback?  Is this a new wave of a Nexus-type group?  I very much look forward to what comes next and also send congratulations to CM Punk in completing 1 full calendar year as WWE Champion.

JIM:  I too loved the debut of Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns.  I would have loved it even more with Kassius Ohno in Reigns spot, but that’s ok, Reigns has the pedigree being Afa’s son, and they probably wanted a powerhouse in the group too (whether the group is aligned with Punk or not).  This is a nice way to remove Ryback from the title situation for a bit too if they decide to, while also keeping him strong since he’s had the title won twice now, but outside forces have kept him from winning it.  I’m curious who challenges Punk at TLC though if they move towards Cena/Ziggler (involving the AJ/Vickie thing), and if Ryback gets sidetracked with Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns.  What does Punk do next month?  Clearly whatever it is, it’s academic, as we’re headed towards CM Punk vs. The Rock at the Royal Rumble, which I can’t wait to check out!  The promos alone leading up to that are going to be a ton of fun to watch! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Head 2 Head: Survivor Series!

Check out our latest podcast for our Head 2 Head picks for Survivor Series this Sunday!  You can listen in the player to the right, or it's also available at Talkshoe.com, and also on iTunes!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chikara: Zelda The Great Live Review!

Chikara returned to Chicago, IL this past Saturday night to a standing room only crowd at the Logan Square Auditorium!  They actually had moved the merchandise tables down to a narrow hallway downstairs (in front of a dentist’s office) so they could fit more chairs in the venue, but even that wasn’t enough as there was a decent crowd still standing throughout the night.  

1. The Batiri d. Da Soul Touchaz:  Da Soul Touchaz are local to Chicago, but have appeared for Chikara a number of times before.  Marshe Rockett in particular was pretty impressive from the Touchaz, and The Batiri were their normal creepy selves.  Before the match, Kobald got a picture of President Barack Obama and was insinuating that Marshe Rockett looked like Obama.  He then tore the picture up and stomped on it, which got a huge heel reaction in Chicago as you might expect.  After a brawl on the outside, Kobald hit the Demon’s Toilet on Acid Jazz to get the pin.  Good opener.  

2.  Devastation Corporation d. Wayne Campbell & Garth Algar:  Sadly Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey were replaced by two guys who obviously are very new to the business.  In fact, as they came out, one of them even remarked “and you have no idea who we are, yay!”.  Devastation Corporation are managed by Sidney Bakabella, who does an old school greasy hair gimmick.  They are HUGE guys, and absolutely destroyed the two local guys, almost killing each of them in the process, though it looked like the local guys didn’t quite take the moves right.  They won with their finisher (one guy holds the opponent in a bear hug laying out and the other comes off with a splash from the top).  Match lasted maybe 90 seconds if that.  The big guys are impressive in size (one in particular), but it would be interesting to see them in a non-squash situation and what they’d do there.  

3.  El Generico d. The Shard:  Probably the match of the night, though the main event was certainly in the mix for that award as well. Generico was absolutely awesome here (as he is almost all the time), and The Shard more than held his own too, he has alot of potential as well if and when this Gekido thing ends.  Generico teased the turnbuckle brainbuster a number of times before finally hitting it for the win.  Just great stuff, well worth checking out when it’s available on DVD!

4. Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano d. Soldier Ant & deviANT:  I’m not a big fan of these forced together teams that Chikara has done this year, and as you’d expect, the troubles between Soldier Ant and deviANT continued here.  It’s also interesting to watch Gargano be featured in such a different spot on the card than he is in DGUSA/Evolve.  Eventually Solider Ant almost accidentally hit deviANT, but stopped himself in time...thought about it....and hit him anyways.  That distracted him long enough though that Gargano got him from behind hit a wheelbarrow gutbuster on Taylor’s knees with Soldier Ant and then into the Hurts Donut for the 3 count.

5. Colt Cabana d. Mike Quackenbush:  This was a rematch from their great technical battle in Milwaukee back in August.  This started out much the same way, with each man countering the other’s offense, it was clear that they knew each other well.  Then, just as it started, it ended just as quickly as Cabana got a roll up on Quack in probably the 2nd shortest match of the night (after the Devestation Corp’s squash).  If this went 7-8 minutes I’d be surprised.  It was good while it lasted, but I felt like it never had a chance to really get going before the abrupt end.

6.  Jimmy Jacobs & The Bravado Brothers d. Fire Ant, assailANT & Jigsaw:  Jigsaw filled in here for Green Ant who missed the weekend due to illness.  That made me happy as I was disappointed that Jigsaw hadn’t been on the card up until Green Ant had to bow out.  assailANT is making the best of this “forced together team” thing, as he’s really overplaying the “good guy” role and “wants to get along” with Fire Ant.  It actually comes across pretty funny.  But in the end, again there was miscommunication between that team, and the Bravados were able to hit their finisher for the win on Fire Ant.  The Bravados have gotten really good since coming back from Japan, and Lancelot seems to have put on some mass as well.  

7.  Tim Donst d. Gran Akuma:  Really, I don’t have alot to say about this match, Akuma was not on at at all here, and unfortunately, that’s been my feeling about him more often than not.  I do like Donst’s new direction though, and he is ruthless in his abuse of Jakob Hammermeier.  Hammermeier also should be commended for his portrayal of the abused lacky, often heard saying “that was ok, it was my fault” after Donst would smack him around.  Hammermeier is going to snap at some point though (likely at the iPPV I would think) and when he does, it should get a HUGE pop.  Donst got the win here after hitting Akuma with a loaded bag and locking on a submission on the unconscious Akuma.  

8.  3.0 d. Icarus & Sugar Dunkerton, The Mysterious & Handsome Stranger & Sapphire, and The Throwbacks in a 4 way Elimination Match:  Sapphire was the story of this match.  Sapphire was Stranger’s tag partner, a plastic pigeon.  Of course, this led to chants of “tag the bird”, which after the first few minutes of the match going back and forth between the other combatants, the Stranger obliged and tagged the plastic pigeon into the match.  He clipped the pigeon to his shoulder and hit shoulder blocks (Sapphire headbuts?) on the rest of the competitors and was going bezerk until he hit Dunkerton and the pigeon got caught in Dunerkton’s afro.  Dunkerton ran all over the ringside area screaming like a girl because the “bird” was stuck in his hair, absolutely hysterical.  Eventually they first elimination happened when Shane Matthews forced Icarus to tap to the Boston Crab.  Shortly after that the Stranger and Sapphire took control again, and it led to Stranger setting Sapphire on a downed Mr. Touchdown for a pin attempt.  Touchdown kicked out at 2, and then took ahold of the plastic pigeon, placed it back in the pillowcase that the Stranger had brought “her” out in and proceeded to smash the pillowcase on the mat 5-6 times viciously, while everyone (including El Generico & Fire Ant who were watching from the balcony) were blown away by the actions of Touchdown.  He then performed his up/down spalshes on the “fallen bird”.  Stranger came in the ring and charged at Touchdown only to be hit with a spinebuster and pinned by Touchdown, eliminating he and Sapphire.  Even Veronica (Touchdown’s cheerleader girlfriend) looked horrified at how far he’d gone this time.  Eventually 3.0 got the win over The Throwbacks to earn themselves 2 points in the hunt for a title shot!  As Touchdown left the ring he got massively booed and Veronica walked away from him as well shaking her head.  

9.  The Young Bucks d. Ultramantis Black & Hallowicked 2 falls to 1 to retain the Campeonatos de Parejas:  The Bucks got a really quick pin in about 2 minutes with a spike tombstone on Ultramantis Black to take the first fall.  For the 2nd fall, Hallowicked had to go it alone for the most part, until Black finally regained his senses.  Hallowicked hit Nick Jackson with Go 2 Sleepy Hollow for the pin for the 2nd fall.  Once the third fall started, The Batiri came out and watched, with Ophidian directing from the balcony.  They attacked Hallowicked on the outside which led to a series of awesome dives to the outside by just about everyone!  Ultramantis finally hooked in the Chikara Special, but just as it appeared the Spectral Envoy would win the belts, Ophidian came from under the ring (absolutely no idea how he got there) and spit mist in the eyes of Ultramantis Black.  Nick Jackson hit a big super kick, but Ultramantis kicked out!  At that point the crowd was going crazy thinking they’d see a title change, but alas, it was not to be as the Bucks hit More Bang for your Buck on Ultramantis Black to get the win and retain their titles.  An awesome main event to cap off a really really fun show!  

Chikara always delivers the goods when it comes to the live experience, if you get a chance, go check them out live if they are in your area, you won’t be sorry!

Friday, November 2, 2012

DGUSA Preview on the latest podcast!

Check out the embedded player to the right for our latest podcast, looking at this weekend's DGUSA shows! 

All our podcasts are also available on iTunes!  Just subscribe there and get them as soon as they are out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

REACT: WWE Hell in a Cell

It’s time to take a look back at this past weekend’s Hell in a Cell pay per view presented by WWE, and how Tom and Jim fared in their picks on the Head 2 Head podcast!  (Special note: all Two Spot Monkeys podcasts are now available via iTunes, so head there and subscribe to be sure you get the newest ones as they come out!). 

Tom and Jim each went 3-3 in their picks.  Tom got the WWE Title Match, Women’s Title Match, and Intercontinental Title Match right, while Jim got the Tag Title, Women’s Title and IC Title Matches right, thus leaving Jim still with a one match lead in their year long Head 2 Head competition, 37-21 to 36-22.  With two PPV’s left, the time for Tom to catch up is running short!  Let’s take a look at what each of us thought of the direction they took with Hell in a Cell. 

Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio

Jim’s Take:  This was a match that could have made Del Rio, they’ve spent ample time building up his cross arm breaker as a devastating hold, why not have him go over with it and finally get him right in the top of the mix again, but this time much more dangerous than it was portrayed he was before?  Instead, you took Orton, who could lose for the next month straight and not have it affect his over-ness, and put him over basically cleanly.  So, why do I care about Del Rio at this point?  WWE just doesn’t get it when trying to “make new stars”, they get so locked in on a certain few guys that they just don’t get it. 

Tom’s Take:  When this match happened it made zero sense in the moment for why Orton would get the win over ADR.  Thinking to what would happen later in the night, seeing Orton as the next title contender as a result of this win, that could make sense…but let’s see if that actually happens.

Tag Title Match

Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars

Jim’s Take: While I’m fine with having Rhodes Scholars get the DQ win, if you wanted to keep the belts on Kane and Bryan (thus not having them pin either Rhodes or Sandow clean), why not have it where Kane hits one with a chair or something other than attacking in the corner until the ref throws it out.  That’s always been a lame DQ in my eyes.  Obviously the story between these two isn’t over yet, and I still think Rhodes and Sandow will end the reign at some point.  So, it was ok, but kind of a weak finish if you ask me. 

Tom’s Take:  Absolutely a weak finish.  The continued deepening of both teams and their respective characters could have really taken another step here and it did not.  I look forward to seeing where they go next in this feud.

Intercontinental Title Match

Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz

Jim’s Take:  As both Tom and I said, there was no way Kingston could lose here, and he didn’t.  I like that they are putting a spotlight on Kingston and I hope they continue to, as he’s someone I’ve long felt they could make alot of money off of in a top spot, so let’s see the build to that start.  As for The Miz, he’s been great in this as well, and if he’s done with Kingston now (not sure that he is), I hope he still has a prominent role as well, because he’s more than earned it.  He’s so charismatic, he can help get guys over without much trouble at all if given the shot. 

Tom’s Take:  Kofi is the man.  He proved it again here and The Miz gets a lot of credit and respect for me too.  These two could continue to feud, but again going back to a comment from above, I don’t know that I have the faith of WWE to allow for the depth to continue it to happen.  I do have hopes for Kofi to have meaningful feuds and issues so that the WWE Universe can really see Kofi as a main event player.

United States Title Match

Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel

Jim’s Take:  The Cesaro train keeps on rolling as he avenges his non-title loss from Monday night with a defense here against Gabriel.  As I said on the Head 2 Head podcast, I’m really high on Cesaro’s chances to be a main event level player in WWE in the next year or so, so I obviously approve of the win here.  If this can lead to Gabriel getting a bit more of a push, that’d be fine too as I think he is a heck of a hand who just can’t seem to get a chance to really shine in a program with someone.  Maybe continue this feud somehow?  Or move him into a feud (with Tyson Kidd) against the 3MB (where they win please). 

Tom’s Take:  Cesaro does continue to roll on and it is fun to watch.  Having watched NXT from last week, there is something coming from Cesaro vs. Kidd on that show within the next few weeks, so I am eager to see things there and hope it comes to either RAW or Smackdown.

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. The Prime Time Playas

Jim’s Take:  It seems that the rose has come off of the Prime Time Playas with their loss here, as well as a loss to The Usos on Superstars last week.  There was a time when it seemed like a title run was absolutely in the cards for them, but I don’t know if they upset someone backstage or what has happened, but they are a total after thought right now in the tag title picture.  That being said, it’s completely the opposite for Mysterio/Cara as I fully expect them to be the first feud for Rhodes Scholars once they win the tag titles.  Rhodes Scholars vs. Mysterio/Cara will be alot of fun (it already has been) and could lead to Sin Cara getting his first taste of WWE gold. 

Tom’s Take:  I agree with much of what Jim shared.  I do see Rey & Sin Cara as the team who is ready to challenge for the Tag Team Titles when Team Hell No and the Rhodes Scholars conclude their issue.  If WWE were to go with it sooner than the conclusion of their feud, I could see all three teams in Ladder Match for the Tag Titles in December at the TLC pay-per-view, a spot where Rey and Cara could really shine in their high spot element.

World Heavyweight Title Match

Sheamus vs. The Big Show

Jim’s Take:  This one makes me want to bang my head against a wall.  Sheamus should have gone over here to continue to put over the Brogue Kick as a devastating finisher that even put down a giant.  Show did not need the title win here...not at all.  Unless Sheamus is hurt and taking time off, or failed a drug test or something (and I’m not at all suggesting either), there is NO reason to have Sheamus lose his title to Show here, none whatsoever.  And then on top of it all, you have Ziggler saying he’ll cash in at Hell in a Cell, only to show him backstage watching and then....oh wait.  That was it.  No follow up.  At least have him come out and have Show look at him threateningly and then have Ziggler decide against it.  Or have Vickie say now the briefcase could be used for either title and Ziggler comes out after the main event.  Something!  No payoff at all, no attempt at cashing in, just Ziggler watching from the back.  UGH.  WWE, seriously, get a damn clue. 

Tom’s Take:  Sheamus has had a really good reign.  It is really too bad that somehow, some way he has not just taken the next step to really break out and become a top level superstar, specifically in the eyes of fans.  It is a challenging situation: who is at fault – Sheamus or WWE?  Could either side have done more to make this reign more successful?  The idea that Big Show is something of WWE’s “fall back” champion at times like this shows two things; one, their respect for him and his place in WWE hierarchy and two, the lack of young building up of new talent and new stars that they feel confident in (see: Del Rio, Alberto) to hold and be successful as champion.  When this result occurred, the Orton win made more sense in hindsight.  Gotta say, though, that a possible Big Show vs. Randy Orton feud isn’t getting me excited.

Divas Title Match

Eve vs. Layla El vs. Kaitlyn

Jim’s Take:  Pretty much what we expected, Eve finds a way to sneak herself a win and keep the title.  I like that she didn’t pin Kaitlyn, and hopefully we get another one on one between them where Kailyn finally gets revenge.  Not much else to say here.

Tom’s Take:  Storyline-wise, things made sense.  I really think they should have given Layla a title run, even if she lost it on RAW or Smackdown.  With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the partnership with Susan G. Komen and Layla’s personal story (you’ve had to seen it on WWE TV over the last few weeks), it would have made for a feel good moment. 

Hell in a Cell - WWE Title Match

CM Punk vs. Ryback

Jim’s Take:  Well, I went out on a limb and picked Ryback, and was wrong, it certainly happens!  While the ref hitting a low blow seems a bit of a weak way out, at least they had Ryback come back and look strong by laying out Punk on top of the cell, that should be a good visual and kept Ryback as a strong contender and someone who is hot on the heels of CM Punk as he continues his reign.  It also continues Punk’s way of finding a way out of everything that gets put in front of him.  If he’s going to do the cowardly heel thing (which he’s so much better than and shouldn’t be doing), at least he’s really, really good at it.  I liked them having Punk and Heyman trying to get anyone they could to cancel the match throughout the show as well, as it made Ryback seem even more of a monster and more of a man not to be messed with, especially inside a cell.

Tom’s Take:  I know I made the Punk pick on the podcast and I was confident, but there some shadow of doubt as well.  I think the time we are in with Punk right now is a special time, one that defines an era of WWE history.  To have Ryback win the title would have been damaging to that.  Whether people were satisfied or not with the ending, it was necessary to keep Punk as champion and keeps Ryback strong.  I do not think the story is done here and hope that Punk can really do wonders to help continue Ryback be the best he can be.

Don’t forget, our next podcast is coming this week Thursday night, November 1st at 9:30pm EST.  We will be talking about the upcoming Dragon Gate USA shows scheduled for this coming weekend. Please join us or listen once uploaded via the link here or at iTunes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Head 2 Head: Hell in Cell

Jim and Tom recorded their second Podcast last night, going through their Head 2 Head picks for this weekend's Hell in a Cell PPV from WWE!  Give it a listen on the embedded player just to the right here! 

Please note, Jim's audio has an echo for the first 16 minutes of the show, (while we recapped ROH's iPPV) and then we got it fixed, sorry about the technical glitch. (Tom however sounds stellar throughout!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two Spot Monkeys Podcast Now Available!

You can now listen to the first Two Spot Monkeys Podcast in the player located on the right side of this page!  For now, we only have that podcast up obviously, but in the future, all of our podcasts will be available to listen to there!  So, if you have a favorite, you'll be able to go back to it! 

Give it a listen and let us know what you think!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Two Spot Monkeys *LIVE* Podcast Reminder - Tonight 9:30pm EST

REMINDER: Two Spot Monkeys is excited to announce our very first LIVE podcast! We’ll be doing the show LIVE this Thursday night at 9:30pm Eastern Time as Tom and Jim preview this Saturday night’s Ring of Honor Internet Pay Per View, Glory By Honor XI!

To listen tonight, go to www.talkshoe.com, and in the search field, search for call 123112. That should take you to our show once we are live! You can listen along live, and even interact with us via the chat room that will be provided there, that’s right, we’ll take questions and comments live from the chat room during the show as well!

The show will be archived as well, and late Thursday night or Friday morning, we’ll post a link here to listen to it online or download the MP3 as well, for those who may not be able to join us LIVE on Thursday night!

We hope you’ll join us this tonight at 9:30pm Eastern Time for our first LIVE podcast and Ring of Honor conversation!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two Spot Monkeys LIVE Podcast This Thursday!

Two Spot Monkeys is excited to announce our very first LIVE podcast!  We’ll be doing the show LIVE this Thursday night at 9:30pm Eastern Time as Tom and Jim preview this Saturday night’s Ring of Honor Internet Pay Per View, Glory By Honor XI! 

To listen, go to www.talkshoe.com, and in the search field, search for call 123112.  That should take you to our show once it’s live on Thursday night!  You can listen along live, and even interact with us via the chat room that will be provided there, that’s right, we’ll take questions and comments live from the chat room during the show as well! 

The show will be archived as well, and late Thursday night or Friday morning, we’ll post a link here to listen to it online or download the MP3 as well, for those who may not be able to join us LIVE on Thursday night! 

We hope you’ll join us this Thursday evening at 9:30pm Eastern Time for our first LIVE podcast!