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.