Thursday, March 8, 2012

Captain Carrot's Colossal Card Round-Up

Quick thoughts on all the recent MMA and wrestling activity from Earth-C's most beloved superhero!

TNA Against All Odds 2012

Potentially one of the lousiest crowds in Impact Zone history (which is covering lots of ground). Sorensen nearly being paralyzed in the opener was a tragedy. Looking back over the card the bulk of the in-ring was good; only match that was glaringly bad was Gunner vs. Garrett Bischoff and that's due to it running way too long. Aries vs. Shelley (two of my favorite ROH exports) was top-notch and I dug the physicality of Kazarian vs. Styles. Four-way main was on par with a longer iMPACT! main event and I've seen people more excited standing in the line at the post office than this audience.

UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger

Great show and hell of a debut on Fuel. Nice to see nice guy and TUF winner Jonathan Brookins get a big KO on the preliminary card. Menjivar's submission of Albert topped a fantastic round of scrapping. Stipe Miocic has deadly hands. Diego Sanchez puts into yet another FotY candidate. Can this guy have a non-exciting fight?

ROH TV 2/18/12

Another good show and video quality seemed improved. Apron bumps are dangerous and undeniably painful so I found it surprising even on a throwaway episode of TV we got at least three on this one show. Steen's monster push continues. The build for the tenth anniversary show is accelerating. I can't wait for that one. Main event didn't have much spark as Charlie Haas and Mark Briscoe lamely brawled and the roll-up finish seemed unimaginative like Once Upon a Time.

WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

A decent show. The last few years have seen legitimate MotY candidates birthed from "Satan's Prison". I dug all the nutty bumping in the Raw bout. I thought Ziggler was going to maim himself. Loved seeing Bryan in such a marquee bout and he was really the glue that held it together. Dare I say I enjoyed Kane's ambulance match with Shane McMahon more than the one here versus Cena?

WWE Raw 2/20/12

Usual slapdash show but built WrestleMania well. Undertaker's promo bombed. He seemed unsure, nervous and rattled like a guy cutting his first promo in-front of 30 people in an armory. Henry shouldn't have been beaten so decidedly. That battle royal was an ugly freeway crash -- all sorts of guys getting visually banged up. Barrett's arm getting shattered felt like something from an animator's demo reel.

WWE SmackDown! 2/21/12

Live SD! felt like a continuation of Raw. Sheamus gets another clean win over a major heel. Lots of matches ran real short. The Punk vs. Bryan match went 20+ and was a real treat (even with the overbooking).

MMA Uncensored Live 2/23/12

Debut episode of Spike's new MMA talk show. Production seemed slick, doing it in Time Square gave it a Total Request Live feel, seemed a bit rushed as they raced from topic to topic but squeezed a lot in there. Surprised they got such big interviews given the Zuffa/Spike war with guys like Diaz and Henderson. The live concept is interesting and that interaction is a plus. The story of the mafia and Pride FC was definitely something different and borderline dangerous. I'll be adding this to the list of roughly a half-dozen MMA shows I watch weekly (Inside MMA, MMA Live, UFC Tonight, UFC Ultimate Insiders, and UFC Central).

UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

One of the most stacked cards in recent memory and it somehow found a way to over-deliver. Prelims were tits: Night kicked off hot with Tamura's blistering KO of Tiequan. Mizugaki got robbed, just like Spike Lee at the Oscar's, nice to see Riki Chosu's trainee Fukuda doing work, and how good did the "Fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi look? He was throwing hands streets of Detroit style. And the main card? Get the fuck out of here. Too good. Pettis' 80 second brutal head kick KO of ugly Joe Lauzon was outrageous. Hatsu Hioki looked like one of the best in his division. Okami and Boetsch, as Rogan said, "Greatest comeback in the history of the UFC!" Yushin was looking so good those first two rounds then Boetsch went all barbarian on his ass and pulverized his face into jerky. I dug Akiyama vs. Shields but think the judges' scores were a bit too one-sided. Oh yes, there's more. Mark Hunt getting the nasty KO on Kongo in a little over two minutes! That was beast. Rampage doing that gnarly Pride FC-era slam on Bader was so gross but Quinton gassed and Bader rode it out. Main event was a five round classic but Henderson looked so dominating it almost felt like a bully manhandling the smaller guy for his lunch money. Congrats to Ben, I'm a big fan from way back, so very happy to see him and his post-fight celebration with his mother that had Rogan crying was a swell moment. I'd love to see him defend first against either Guida or Pettis as both of his fights with them were outstanding.

UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann

Rarity but the prelims may have been even better than the main card. Pineda in his second fight in only six weeks made short work of Semerzier -- very impressive. He's won 17 in a row and finished every fight via sub -- this kid's the truth. Waldburger was robbed of Submission of the Night as his 55 second win via armbar of former boxer Hecht was just outrageous. Aussie Noke got beat by newcomer undefeated Texan Craig. Craig has a good look with the long hair and if he keeps improving could be a star. Siler versus Miler was actually the biggest grudge match of the night stemming from Siler smashing Cole's younger brother Micah on TUF. A real good battle with blood and lots of blows. Aussie Perosh annihilated newcomer Penner and got the TKO victory with one second left in the first round. Facebook fight aired with two tanks throwing cinder block fists seeing Jordan win in a joyous slugfest. Prelim main was so vicious -- Te Huna beat and bloodied and bludgeoned Rosa into oblivion in the first round. A phenomenal set of prelims.

The main card kicked off with Court McGee getting beat -- hopefully he doesn't turn back to alcohol. Both of the Flyweight semifinals were awesome! "Mighty Mouse" and "Uncle Creepy" was a close, close fight, but I agreed with Demetrious getting the "W" even if the crowd apparently didn't. Benavidez, one of my favorite guys on the current scene, made it look easy versus former Shooto star Urushitani. Main event had lots of hype but didn't blow me away, Alves looked a little flat, but hats off to a bloodied Kampmann for pulling off a late guillotine to move up the ladder. Awesome free show. I also really dug the team of Bonnar, Sonnen, and Glazer on the Fuel post-show.

ROH TV 3/3/12

Edwards versus Strong was real good, even with the restart, but compared to their violent "no holds barred" bout I saw live in Cincinnati last month it paled in comparison. Yet another solid episode of what's quietly becoming the best wrestling show on TV.

Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey

Went up to Columbus to see the show live with some buddies. Hit up Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant for dinner pre-fights on N Front St. for some seared tuna, garlic fries, and pilsner. Had amazing seats and the atmosphere was a lot different than a wrestling show.

Couture's dad beat Slyvia in this same building in a classic, Ryan's performance was sizably less memorable, although he looked better than past fights I've seen of his getting the TKO victory over Heun. I was really looking forward to Healy vs. Fodor. Pat smothered Caros in the 2nd and the crowd started getting restless while we chatted 2011 PWG MotY candidates and NOAH in the throes of death. Very workman-like fight. Next up was the battle of the native Ohioans and this was a blast. Nice slugfest in the 1st. Nothing like a steady diet of left hands. I didn't think Saling was getting out of that round. Second round and Saling's head was bouncing off the ground like a basketball due to ground and pound. I'd love to see Bowling get bumped up to the UFC in the next year. The prelims rounded out with in my opinion the fight of the night Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis just bringing it! Can't wait for Kaufman vs. Rousey later this year. Both women's faces looked like they'd been married to Brett Rogers. All kidding aside, seeing two beautiful women with gigantic, gaping wounds and deep bruises on their faces not wanting to quit shows that women's MMA is for real and their just as dedicated as the men. Just an absolute slugfest and war of attrition -- shame those watching at home didn't see this. I'd have collapsed and withered into a ball after a couple of those shots and these two stood up and ate punch after punch for fifteen minutes. I tip my hat. It's a bowler.

Ronaldo Souza kicked off the main card dominating a way overmatched Bristol Marunde. Then, Scott Smith, "Hands of Stone" looking very doughy and slow, got tapped in 90 seconds by Lumumba -- crowd was a little surprised but I just laughed and the big slam Sayers hit made me choke on my bottled water. Kazuo Misaki had the FotY in 2010 as awarded by both Sherdog and Inside MMA versus Jorge Santiago which I've watched a couple times so I was gleeful to see his US debut. Daley seemed surprised by Misaki's striking early so resorted for a late takedown. Third round saw Kazuo get cut and start bleeding like a Takashi Miike blood opera. From my vantage point it looked like he was wearing a red tank top like Daryl did on walks to Eastview swimming pool in Hamilton, OH circa '90. I was very happy with Misaki being awarded the decision.

K.J. Noons versus Josh Thomson I liked apparently more than the victor Thomson who said post-fight his performance was "shit". He fought smart but as a real MMA enthusiast I liked watching the grappling applied successfully even if it robbed Noons of his trademark boxing. Main event Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey was just electric, really woke the crowd up, a true buzz and I was amped knowing I was seeing something special. Tate rushed her at the start with a flurry but then my girl Ronda put in work and just started judo tossing her and going after limbs. The armbar was sick.

Post-show we looked for a bar to close out the night at and ended up at Mozaik Lounge on Vine St. I had to have the Violet Beauregard which was one hell of a cocktail. They also had an Oompa Loompa but I opted for the Dragonfruit Mojito instead (dragonfruit rum, fresh mint, lime, and strawberry purée). I had a great time, wild night, lots of laughs, and am attending several more live shows upcoming.

Wow! So much good stuff. And this week sees new seasons of The Ultimate Fighter and Bellator! And Victory Road is right around the corner. As Belinda Carlisle once crooned, "Heaven is indeed a place on earth!"

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