Sunday, May 1, 2016

The 10 Best Things In The WWE: April 2016

As the old saying goes, April showers bring May Flowers. In the WWE, the saying goes, April Shaners bring May Kaners. That's right, Shane O'Mac is going to bring back Kane to keep him in power for April. Did I come up with this opening very late at night while needing to get some sleep? You betcha, but April had WrestleMania, and the most debuts ever. It's been crazy, and this will definitely be the most competitive month that we have had in 2016.

Honorable Mention: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, The Vaudevillains, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Stardust, Apollo Crews, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and New Day. Yeah, this month was so stacked that I couldn't include The New Day. That's insane, but it was partially helped by them taking the month off. Now onto the top 10.

10. Zack Ryder (Last Month: Uh, was he even employed?)
Let us never forget his Intercontinental Title reign. It was a great moment. Scott Hall held his belt, and we learned that Ryder overcame cancer as a child. Zack Ryder is great. Woo Woo Woo, You Know It!

9. Shane McMahon (Last Month: 10)
He went through a dang table. Yeah, the rest of his match was garbage. But still, that table spot made me ill to my stomach watching him on top of the cage. That's good work right there.

8. Baron Corbin (Last Month: Feuding with midgets)
It was always just a matter of time for Baron Corbin, as the guy really started to get it once he became a heel, and he was already blessed with a frame that the WWE loves. He made an impact with his debut, winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Now he's feuding with Dolph Ziggler which is just about the best possible feud for both guys. It doesn't matter who wins, because both guys will look good for being involved in it.

7. The Miz (Last Month: Bring back Mizdow)
So we have the most stacked month of WWE greatness, and still, The Miz makes the list? Yes, and deservedly so as The Miz has quietly been kind of excellent lately. His in-ring stuff is only solid, but they're accentuating what he does well. In a ladder match, he can pop up for short periods, hit a big spot and disappear for a while, and now he just does talking where he tricks poor Zack Ryder to take the title and is a total shitheel which is perfect as everyone wants to see Cesaro annihilate him from this Earth. On top of that, Maryse is a great addition for The Miz, as him having his wife accompany him is somehow an awful heel move when done by Miz. Just a great month for him.

6. Chris Jericho (Last Month: 6) 
Bad Jericho is back, which is great for business. Let's face it, Jericho was always best as a heel, and lately, he hasn't really found a good niche as a good guy or bad guy. But he's finally found that niche as a heel who hates guys who were beloved on the independents, and it looks like he's having a lot of fun with it, so it's been fun for everybody. Jericho is still putting on great matches, and his character work has been great lately. He'll probably be gone soon, so take a moment to enjoy how great of a professional wrestler Chris Jericho is.

5. AJ Styles (Last Month: 7)
Styles has quickly adjusted to the WWE style, and he might even win a World Title in a couple days. He keeps putting on fun matches, and he has the whole crowd behind him. Is he great at speaking? No, but he doesn't have to be to still be great.

4. Cesaro (Last Month: Probably saving the world with his freakish strength)
Cesaro is another guy who doesn't have to be great at speaking to still be great, but pairing him with The Miz is a really good call. Cesaro could wrestle a broomstick and get a great match out of it, so that's never an issue, but since The Miz is such a nerd, it's easy for Cesaro to play the cool guy. Suitsaro is a character I can definitely get fully behind (almost as great as US Champion Cesaro who loved the USA but hated Americans). But Cesaro's the greatest. He should never lose, ever, and we should enjoy every day that we get to share the Earth with him.

Oh, and how awful was it that the day before Cesaro debuted his ripaway suit, The Rock ripped away his clothes to reveal his wrestling gear underneath? Damnit, Rock, you somehow unintentionally buried someone almost as well as you intentionally do it.

3. Kevin Owens (Last Month: 1)
Kevin Owens continues to be great. He was a central part of that incredible ladder match at Mania, and he has continued to be great with every interaction he has. Finally, he gets to face Sami Zayn, and, well...let's just get to the next guy.

2. Sami Zayn (Last Month: 8)
I have made no efforts to hide my love for Sami Zayn. He's wonderful, and it's great to see him on the main roster. He has fought back to take on his arch nemesis, so this is finally time for his revenge. So we all know what's going to happen? Yeah, Sami is losing. He has to lose; that's what Sami Zayn does. He makes us care and loses, and somehow we never stop caring, because, man, do we want the best for Sami. He's put on nothing but fun matches since he got moved up, and that's not going to stop anytime soon.

1. Enzo and Cass (Last Month: Realest guys in the room, now realest guys in largest room)
Enzo has been the hottest of fire on the microphone since getting promoted. They could not have done any better with any second of the opportunity that they have been given. They didn't even wrestle on the biggest card of the year this month, and they still take the top spot, and I must say that it has a lot to do with Enzo having maybe the best one-liner of the last decade, "We're like A cups, because we're real, whether you like us or not." I don't even have the words to describe how perfect that line is. Bless you, Enzo and Cass. You are the realest guys in the room.

How you doin.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 NFL Draft: Most Underrated Prospects

I've been busy with a variety of things lately, so I haven't produced any NFL draft related content, but I figured I should get something out before the first round happens tonight. I have some hot takes, as there are a lot of guys that I feel are greatly underrated in this draft. I will go position-by-position to show who are the most underrated prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Quarterback: Cardale Jones
Had Cardale Jones come out last year after three games as a starting quarterback (and a National Title), he would have likely been a first round pick. He then proceeded to go undefeated as a starter this past season as well. Yes, he got benched because J.T. Barrett fits the scheme better, but it's not like he was having any monumental struggles, and he was never really given the opportunity to make adjustments. It seems like most people see three quarterbacks in the first round. Is there any reason Cardale Jones shouldn't be the fourth QB off the board? I mean, couldn't Cardale done at least as well as Paxton Lynch in Memphis? And, come to think of it, would North Dakota State lost anything by having Jones instead of Carson Wentz? I sure don't think so. All quarterbacks are risks, but Jones has the type of talent that makes that risk worth it.

Honorable mention to his total opposite, Vernon Adams Jr. who is small, quick, and super accurate on his throws. The guy just makes plays, and after a slow start at Oregon, he really put it together and was one of the best quarterbacks in college football by the end of the season. I know he's small, but he's worth taking a flyer on in the seventh round.

Running Back: Keith Marshall
Let's remember something about Keith Marshall. During his freshman year, there was no real difference seen between him and Todd Gurley. Now he has struggled with injuries since then and never really got things going, but his athleticism is still there, and I think he just needed an extra year to fully recover from his injuries. Although he's a different style back, he reminds me of Frank Gore as a guy who couldn't stay healthy in college, but if he does stay healthy in the pros, he's going to be one hell of a late round pick for somebody.

Honorable mention to Jordan Howard who runs through contact better than just about any back in this class. He absolutely crushed Iowa, which was sad for me but also super impressive to watch. He's big, fast, and strong. Indiana played to those strengths, so I'm not sure about the vision, but he has all of the physical tools to be successful.

Extra honorable mention to Daniel Lasco who was the best running back at the Shrine Game. I honestly didn't see much from him outside of that exhibition, but that has to count for something.

Wide Receiver: Tyler Boyd
Tyler Boyd just makes plays. He finds ways to get open, and he knows how to catch the football. Let's not make this any more complicated than it has to be. Boyd will be a good pro.

Honorable mention to Corey Coleman who is a damn freak. 
Yeah, I want that guy.

Tight End: Henry Krieger-Coble
Is this a homer pick? Hell yeah. Will it be my last? Hell no. Also, HKC had a nice ability to get open and he has good hands. He's not the most athletic guy, but I think he offers enough to be a solid #2 tight end.

Offensive Tackle: Joe Haeg
He played with Carson Wentz. I figure he must have done a good job of protecting him.

Offensive Guard: Jordan Walsh
He was really good for Iowa last year. This isn't just a homer pick. He could be a quality starter.

Center: Austin Blythe
Yes, just about everything that could go right did for Iowa so I have a soft spot for, like, everyone. Still, this is the type of guy that I like. He's undersized, which is worrisome with the rise of nose tackles, but he consistently played well against everybody that stepped in front of him, and although size may be a concern, he's worth taking a chance on.

Defensive End: Drew Ott
Okay, so not everything went well for Iowa, but let's not forget how great Drew Ott was before he got injured. This dude massacred Iowa's offensive line to the point where I thought Iowa would be garbage this year, and Kirk Ferentz could no longer turn under-recruited players into absolute studs. He's the best player Iowa has in this draft class, and he's going to make a team very happy. The dude eats raw eggs and offensive linemen for fun. He gonna get after it.

Defensive Tackle: Javon Hargrave
Hargrave was another guy who impressed at the Shrine Game, and I think he's going to be one of the standouts from a small school that surprises people.

Linebacker: Joe Schobert
Joe Schobert is one of those guys that just makes plays. He's not the most athletically gifted, but he makes up for it with his instincts. It's probably going to be stupid how far he falls, and he's going to make teams feel stupid when he has a 10-year career as a starting linebacker.

Honorable mention to Scooby Wright III who basically does the same stuff as Schobert. Like he had Heisman hype coming into this past season. People forget that. I didn't. Scooby has the skills to solve any offensive mystery.

And another honorable mention to Jaylon Smith. I'm not sure how toast that knee is, although some have compared his injuries to Marcus Lattimore which is...not ideal. Still, how far can you let a talent like this drop? I mean, he was seen at worst as a top-10 pick and maybe worthy of being in the top-5. If he's there in the third round, I'd have a really hard time passing on him when the guy has that much upside.

Final honorable mention to Eric Striker, because Oklahoma linebackers try to play the game like The Ultimate Warrior, so I ain't messing with that.

Cornerback: Kendall Fuller
An injury is the only reason he really fell. He was seen as the best cornerback in his family, and his brother was drafted in the middle of the first round. I mean, yeah, as a Bears fan, I am aware that the pick hasn't quite turned out all that well, but corners mature later than most other positions, so it's certainly not hopeless. Had he not gotten hurt, he would have easily been a first round pick, yet I haven't seen anybody with him higher than mid-second. Hell, if Kyle had only been a second round pick, Bears fans probably wouldn't be nearly as worried about him, so getting the more talented Fuller at that point should be a steal.

Honorable mention to Zack Sanchez who made a bunch of plays early on in 2014 and got on everyone's radar, and then fell off that radar. I mean, he was never as great as the hype, but he's also not not talented.

Safety: Karl Joseph
Karl Joseph gets interceptions and hits people hard enough for their grandma to be in pain. Karl Joseph is awesome, and I am super bummed that he is getting a lot of late hype and won't be there for the Bears in the second round. Love Karl Joseph, but more importantly, fear Karl Joseph.

Honorable mention to Jordan Lomax, because he's a Hawkeye, and I gots to represent. I mean, he could be a special teams player, maybe, possibly...sort of?

Kicker: Marshall Koehn
Koehn is able. I mean, even if he isn't a great kicker, that sort of marketing slogan is enough to justify using a pick on him. If teams could expand rosters to like 75 and have a kicker who specialized in 50+ yard field goals, he would have a great future in the NFL. Anything inside of that, and uh, it goes down quickly, although he may fare better with the longer distance extra points than he did with the super close college ones. Still, Koehn is able.

And that wraps things up. The draft starts tonight. I can't wait to see how the Bears screw it up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

At Home with David Schultz

David Schultz may be the greatest wrestler that you have never heard of. Now, I must admit I have probably barely seen him wrestle in my life, but this man was a GOD when it came to promos. He's probably best known for slapping the shit out of John Stossel when Stossel said that wrestling was fake. His best moment was probably this interview he did on Hulk Hogan, which is probably my favorite promo in wrestling history.

If I were Gawker, I would definitely present this video as evidence that Hulk may have wanted his sex tape to come out to prove to David Schultz that he has been with a woman.

But I'm not here to focus on that today. I want to look into the everyday "Dr. D" David Schultz. Luckily, back in 1984, the WWE got to spend a day with Schultz and get a look at what his life is like at home. The results were predictably amazing.

It's one of the most amazing pieces I have ever seen. Like, we know Dr. D David Schultz is a character, but he's probably not that far from David Schultz the man. His home life is exactly what you would expect his home life to look like, starting with his children.
Yo, Dr. D, your kids don't look alike. I mean, I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin. I feel like the ginger with the dead eyes is probably yours. Red shirt, well, he kind of looks like a young Mean Gene Okerlund.

I can't say it's too surprising, as his wife nearly accuses him of lying in front of the cameras, and then has the nerve to interrupt him during his interview.
It is impossible to side-eye anybody harder than Dr. D just side-eyed his wife. At least dinner is done, and I'm sure the kitchen is spotle...oh no.
"What is this? The city dump?" is something I would love to say to my wife when I see a mess in the house, but then she would probably proceed to hit me and make me start doing more cleaning. Schultz knew how to keep his lady in check; I'm just happy my lady keeps me around.

Maybe the most amazing part of this video is that the dinner on the table is some fried chicken, like three pieces of pizza, and a bottle of A-1 Sauce. Nobody is eating fried chicken or pizza on their plates. Instead, they're all just eating plain white bread. It's so wonderful.

After he realizes that his family is a bunch of ass clowns, Schultz kicks the camera crew out of his house so he can go about his day.
Never change, Dr. D. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fantasy Booking the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

In my neverending quest to be employed by the WWE, I have come up with a new plan.  Not a lot of people know that Vince Russo started out his career by fantasy booking for the WWE under the name Vic Venom.  While I lack the racism and non-sensical writing style of Vince Russo, I feel I can provide well thought out stories that actually accomplish things like getting wrestlers over.  With that in mind I present my fantasy booking to be presented as a job application to the WWE.

I'm going to start it off with a bang and fantasy book the World Title scene.  The WWE needs this advice, I sincerely hope they take it.

I actually had to rewrite this a bit, but the main points remain the same.  Reigns continues to act like a tweener while people boo the hell out of him.  At Payback he and Styles fight a hard fought match where towards the end there’s a ref bump, Styles accidently catches the ref with a boot while hitting the Phenomenal Forearm.   Styles has him pinned but there’s no ref to count.  Styles tries to get the ref up then Reigns hits a superman punch.  All three men are down when Anderson and Gallows come out.  The crowd is going crazy assuming they’re going to attack Reigns and make Styles the champ.  Instead, they pick up Styles and hit him with the Boot of Doom.  They slide out, Reigns makes the cover and retains.  He gives Anderson and Gallows a confused look, then smiles.  All three men beat down Styles after the match and pose as the show goes off the air.

On RAW the next night, Reigns comes out with Gallows and Anderson and cuts a heel promo about how the crowd didn’t like him, so he went out and got two of their favorites from Japan, so how do you like him now?.  He goes full crazy and calls the group the New Shield.  Reigns then calls out Ambrose.  He says Ambrose is his brother and he wants him in the New Shield.  Ambrose says he still loves Reigns but he can’t support what he did, he can’t join his group.  The New Shield brutally beatdown Ambrose and hit him with a triple powerbomb.  Styles comes out to make the save and is beatdown too.  This sets up the next few months of main event program with Ambrose trying to take down Reigns, but eventually falling to the numbers game, even with Styles help.  Styles also gets his chances but suffers the same fate as Ambrose.

After a few months, Reigns is in the ring doing a heel celebration with his New Shield.  Ambrose comes out on the ramp with Styles and challenges Reigns to a multiman tag team match where if their team wins, they get a Fatal Four Way Match for the title in Hell in A Cell.  Reigns cockily responds that it doesn’t matter who Styles and Reigns find in the back, no one can hang with the three of them.  Cue the hard hitting guitar and out comes Seth Rollins.  They go down and clear the ring.  The crowd goes nuts.  When the match happens, Rollins is the equalizer that Ambrose and Styles have been looking for and Reigns is pinned after a curbstomp.  This sets up the main event at Summerslam, a Fatal 4 way for the WWE Title inside Hell in A Cell.

Reigns is entrenched as a heel who is actually over, meaning that his eventual face turn will be actually well received.  It gives him a reason to turn heel which the WWE has needed for months, but they couldn’t exactly have him join the Authority since they were fighting each other.  It gets Ambrose in the main event where he belongs judging by the crowd’s reaction to him and keeps AJ Styles in the main event where he should be for the rest of his career.  Anderson and Gallows are also elevated as a clearly dangerous tag team that should be near or on top of the division for years to come.  Seth Rollins gets to make his triumphant return where he will clearly get a huge face reaction and you have a huge main event for Summerslam to push buys of the network.

I had written this before Anderson and Gallows had been interacting with Styles.  If I had complete control, there would have been no mention of the three and their history before Payback, making their appearance more of a surprise and more of a big moment.  Now it seems that Anderson and Gallows will almost definitely be involved in the match in some form, but you can still follow the story the rest of the way and make sure that everyone involved is elevated.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Macho Man Randy Savage Is The Greatest: Volume 3 - The SpokesMan

Macho Man is great. Maybe the greatest. In fact, if you don't have Macho Man as one of the five greatest of all time, all of your opinions about pro wrestling are invalid. He was a master in the ring, he was a master with promos, and he was even a master commentator and spokesperson. In fact, although it was not critically acclaimed, I can still listen to and enjoy his rap album. But people know the highlights of his career, instead, I want to celebrate the less famous moments and bring light to these accomplishments, as they are just as impressive as the highlights.

Today, I want to focus on Macho Man as a Macho spokesMan, who would make you Randy for any Savage product that he decided to endorse. Now, everyone is aware of his work with Slim Jim where his intensity made you want to SNAP INTO THAT BEEFY JUICY TASTE. But Macho also had a softer side.

In a world where our heroes constantly disappoint, Macho Man was there to assure us that everything would turn out just fine. Now, I must warn you: Before watching this commercial, you may want to get some tissues, because it's about to get real dusty up in here.

The emotion in this commercial is raw. A child walks alone on a baseball diamond, and...wait, hold up a second. Let's take a look at that jersey.
Yep, that is a "Sport 93" jersey right there. They never fully show the front of the jersey, but I'm nearly positive it just says "Baseball." That has to be the most generic jersey in the history of commercials. So Little Billy Sport, playing for the "Baseball" team is coming out to throw the rawhide around.

Unfortunately, little Billy is met with this sign:
You see, this commercial was made in 1994, during Major League Baseball's strike, and if the pros are on strike, that means little league must follow its lead as part of the MLBPA union and cancel their games as well. Back to the jersey for a second, why is it number 93? The only thing that I can come up with is somebody else used this generic jersey a year earlier, and the WWE decided they could save a few bucks if they didn't get an updated one. I admire that level of frugality.

There is only one man that can save this dire situation, and I think we all know who that is.
OOOOOH YEAH! I mean, just look at that long, majesctic mane that he is sporting. This is a man of pure inspiration.

Macho Man throws some balls for Billy Sport to hit, because baseball should never die. Finally the child turns to Macho Man.

Billy: Do you guys ever go on strike? 
Macho Man: No way, never!

And that, my friends is the beauty of pro wrestling. That was the beauty of the Macho Man.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Greatest Post That Never Was

I have a draft in my folder that has no title, but it contains a quote that I overheard. That's the only thing I really know, because I faintly remember hearing it, and I put quotations around it. I put in no context, so I have no idea where I heard it, or who the person who said it was, although I suspect that she was a female. It's a magical quote, so I'd still like to do my best to salvage what happened here and share it with the world. Without further adieu:

He was a sweet boy, but I need some mayonnaise. I'm a hot grandma.

Where do you go from here? "He was a sweet boy," seems like a friendly way to start any sentence. I have been called a sweet boy before, and it was endearing.

But then things take an ominous turn. "But I need some mayonnaise." I shutter every time I read that sentence. It could mean a variety of things, like maybe the boy liked sweets, hence he was a sweet boy, while her snacks included the use of mayonnaise, but we all know that's not it. We all know that this is sexual, and still mayonnaise could mean a variety of things. you could go with the obvious and say that mayonnaise is a euphemism for ejaculate, but I'm not totally on board with that. Instead, I think she's saying that this sweet boy was all stroke but no poke.

What really brings things together is that final sentence, "I'm a hot grandma." This is where I wish I had more notes. Was she a hot grandma? I don't know. But I do know that hot grandmas need some mayonnaise, and sweet boys just can't give it to them.

Unfortunately, that's all I know. You've heard of people turning coal into diamonds. Well, I did the opposite, I had a true diamond of a quote, but I let it sit, and it turned into a lump of coal. My only goal is that I salvaged this enough to be a cubic zirconia; it may not be a diamond, but it can fool the untrained eye.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Comprehensive Breakdown of the nWo's Parody of the Four Horsemen - My Spot

The nWo was influential for many reasons. They were bad guys that got cheered. They were self-aware wrestlers which was not a thing back then. And they also created impersonations of other wrestlers. Now I'm not talking about the Fake Sting impersonation where they try to pass it off as real, but impersonations where everybody knows that they are fakes and are mocking their rivals. As the saying goes, "You always remember your first time," and the first time the nWo mocked another group will always stand out as the best, as they did an impeccable job of mocking The Four Horsemen. Let's get to the actors involved:

Every great comedy bit needs a straight man, Mean Gene Okerlund plays himself as the straight man.
He is essential in this role, as it would be easy to be fooled by the nWo impersonators who look so much like their Four Horsemen counterparts. Also, they actually got Mongo to play himself, so that added credibility to everything.
Look closer. Do you see it? I tricked you. That is actually Konnan playing the role of Steve "Mongo" McMichael. The resemblance is uncanny. I mean, he's even got a football, but trust me, that is not a former Super Bowl Champion, it's a Mexican Gangster who wants you toss his salad and peel his potatoes.

Next up, we have Syxx playing the role of Ric Flair.
He nailed the hair, but keeping the goatee is a dead giveaway that this is not The Nature Boy. Still, he was kind of ahead of his time in his impersonation, as he "Woos" every other word, which became a signature of 60-year-old senile Flair.

Playing the role of Curt Hennig is Buff Bagwell, who I have deemed Buff Perfect.
He's got a ponytail (not seen but trust me, it's there), a towel, and gum, so yeah, I'd say he nailed it.

And finally, there is Arn Anderson, played by Kevin Nash.
Nash really commits to the role with a bald cap and balding wig, a pillow under his shirt, and a cooler full of beer to truly embody what Arn Anderson had become. He commits to the role, and that deserves credit.

But this entire skit depends on the "spot." It is the word that ties everything together, and Buff Perfect gets to that point very early on.

Syxx Flair didn't mean to put him on the spot, and there was no way that wouldn't remind Buff of his dog spot. This is only the slow build for what is coming later.

They then bring out Arn Nash, and he tells them the beer is on ice. There is nothing more important to a Horsemen than cold beer, and Syxx Flair reacts appropriately.
Arn Nash then makes a failed joke about labor before going into his accomplishments as a wrestler.

I laugh at the carpentry skills line every time. Then Nash got back into the real issues he is having, and how he lost the feeling in his left hand, the importance, of course, being that the left hand was the hand he used to open beer. A Horseman who can't drink is a Horseman who can't party, and that really means he isn't a Horseman at all.

Arn Nash then starts talking about fat broads, which to 13-year-old me was hilarious, but looking back, does not quite hit the same notes it did. So thanks a lot maturity and respect for all people, you've made me a better person but made things from my childhood less funny.

They get back to their comedic wheelhouse and close it by talking about spots.

"Not a liver spot, not your dog spot, and not anybody else's spot, but MY spot." After watching this nearly 20 years later, my list of the best things about this have changed from my 13-year-old perspective. Here are the top three things.

3. Everything involving the word spot.
Some jokes never get old, and I still enjoy this. I mean, yeah, I understand Arn Anderson's spot is important, but if they have to give out specific spots, that means that somebody took Paul Roma's spot. That person was definitely Mongo but still.

2. It would be an honor.
After Nash goes through his big diatribe about a spot, Buff Perfect tells them how terrible the Four Horsemen are, and then gives an over the top, "It would be an honor." I wish that this moment was more relevant as I would use it to respond to any request that somebody gave me.

1. Konnan as Mongo
There is nothing more perfect than this.
nWo 4 Life.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Folkstyle Is Better Than Freestyle Wrestling

The US Olympic Trials were held this past weekend, where men's and women's freestyle and Greco were decided on who would represent the US in the Olympics (if the US qualifies, as only half of the weight classes had been qualified so far). There were some absolutely incredible matches, and it was a ton of fun to watch. However, there were also some frustrating matches where when the match was over, you didn't really feel like the better wrestler won the match. That is the biggest issue I have with freestyle, and it's why my preference is still folkstyle (the type of wrestling you see in college (and basically all levels before that as well)).

My biggest issue with freestyle is exposing the shoulders to the mat. If you expose an opponent's shoulders to the mat, even if they are nowhere near those shoulders being pinned, you get two points. I get very frustrated when I see a guy go for a takedown, and the opponent reaches through his crotch, flips him upside down for a second and gets two points while the guy who initiated the action is still looking to score off that move. And yes, maybe it is extra frustrating because this is how every American loses in international competition.

But I see wrestling as the physical domination of your opponent. The ultimate goal is to pin your opponent's shoulders to the mat, and I really don't think anything that does not get you closer to that goal should be rewarded. Nobody gets pinned off of a leg lace, but Jordan Burroughs scored 8 points in about two seconds doing that to win his Olympic spot against Andrew Howe. And here's the thing, it was fun to watch, but I just feel that the points awarded far outweigh what Burroughs was actually accomplishing.

There are issues with folkstyle wrestling. Mat work can be incredibly boring, and I scream at my television anytime I see a top guy throw in a leg, the bottom guy stands up, and the ref just resets the guy to stay on the bottom with no stall call. But I still see the essence of dominating your opponent leads to victory. There are some exceptions where the guy with the takedown loses, but it's pretty rare, and the NCAA is making steps towards preventing that.

And maybe this is all just because I’m bitter about Brent Metcalf losing. He gave up two points when he shot in for a takedown, and basically did a one man gator roll to escape from a bad position. Molinaro had good defense, but he didn’t initiate any real action. Still, he got two points for a back exposure and won the 3-3 match on criteria. Now I’m not going to count out Metcalf for the 2020 Olympics, but I think this was his best shot to make it (well, 2012 actually may have been better). Zain Retherford has shown massive improvement over the last couple years, and giving him four more years, two of which he will completely be focused on freestyle make him the early favorite at that weight (Stieber would be an ideal guy at 61 kg, but that’s unfortunately no longer an Olympic weight, but hopefully they bring it back). Metcalf will go down as one of the greatest American wrestler to never make an Olympic team.

What were we talking about again?

Oh, yeah, folkstyle and freestyle. My big issue with freestyle is that you can beat an opponent without trying to pin their shoulders to the mat. Just turning a guy is more flash than substance (and I 100% understand that it is incredibly difficult to turn someone who does not want to be turned). And I’m even down for an exposure on a takedown attempt getting an extra two points, because it takes away a huge defensive maneuver for the guy being taken down, so it does lead to more action on the feet. And since turns are impressive, I’d rather just see a turn getting an extra two points, and then you stand them back up instead of racking up points off of the turns. I’d love folkstyle to look into the same thing to help with their issues of boring matches where guys just rack up riding time.

Overall, I just want to see the best wrestler win in an action-packed match. Both freestyle and folkstyle are great. I’ll admit that freestyle has more action, but folkstyle does a better job of proving who is the better wrestler, and that’s why I still prefer it to the Olympic style.