Thursday, August 18, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About USA Wrestling in the 2016 Olympics

The Olympics have now been underway for nearly two weeks, and if you have missed any of the action, don't worry; you still haven't missed much (Greco and Women's Freestyle wrestling did start earlier this week). That's because tomorrow starts the men's freestyle wrestling competition. It may last three days, but these are wrestlers, which just means that they only do two weight classes from start to finish in a day. Within about eight hours, you have to clean out the best in your division to earn a gold medal. It's beautiful, it's wonderful, and it's the only sport you need to watch in the Olympics. And judging by the demographics of this website, you're probably most interested in how the USA is going to do at each weight class, so let's break it down, starting with the lowest chances and working our way up to who has the best chance of claiming Gold in Rio.

65 KG - Frank Molinaro
Am I a Frank Molinaro hater? Yeah, pretty much. Even when he won a NCAA title at 149, it was against a fairly weak class that year. The fact that he tied two of his matches but won on criteria to get the US spot didn't inspire a lot of confidence (I was also bitter about that first tie taking out personal favorite, Brent Metcalf). Then he went to Turkey to qualify the US for the Olympics and lost a must-win match. So that was that, and the US will not have anyone in Rio at 65 KG.

But wait, he managed to get in because somebody else got busted for doping. And to be fair, he's wrestling way better than he ever has. Sure, a lot of matches, he's pulling something out of his ass, but you have to be incredibly good just to be in position to pull something out of your ass. I don't see that luck continuing, and I'd be surprised if he got a win this weekend.

57 KG - Daniel Dennis
You have no idea how badly I would like to put Daniel Dennis higher on this list, but I can't do it. If there is one American that even non-Americans could get behind, it's Daniel Dennis. The guy had the most hearbreaking NCAA Finals loss in history. I'm not talking about one of the most heartbreaking, it is the hands down winner for most heartbreaking loss.

I still get ill watching it; I cannot imagine what he went through when it happened. And that's not the craziest part of his story. He gave up wrestling for years where he lived in a trailer with no television or internet; that was a step up from the half year that he spent living in his truck. And somehow, after all of that, he came back better than ever. He had to beat his own teammate in the US Trial finals, and he went out and dominated. With a story like that, he's probably got a pretty impressive Wikipedia page. Well, here's a screenshot:
That's the entire thing. You don't even have to scroll down to fit it all in, and about half of that is the table of contents and references. This is the difference between wrestlers and other sports stars. Hell, The top E-Gamer at 57 KG in the US probably has a Wikipedia page 50 times this long (of course I'm pretty sure e-gamers only come in at 57 KG or super heavyweight, so maybe it's a bigger deal).

To make it to the Olympics from where he was is incredible. But I'm going to be pulling for an even greater climax in his story. He's not going to be favored, but I'm definitely not going to count him out.

125 KG - Tervel Dlagnev
I know he doesn't sound like an American, but trust me, he is, and he's definitely the best heavyweight the US has. He has constantly been in the mix at World Championships, but it seems like he kind of stalls out in that 3-6 range and can't quite make it to the elite of the elite. He has also struggled with some injuries over the past year, and the current rankings reflect that (currently #14) so I can't really see him taking a step forward. It's tough to envision him making the podium, but he's had far more international success than everyone but the top two guys on this list, so it wouldn't be crazy to see him wrestling for a Bronze.

86 KG - J'Den Cox
J'Den Cox is probably the biggest wildcard on Team USA (I mean, he's the only guy on the team with a shorter Wikipedia than Dan Dennis). He could easily be eliminated immediately, and that will be that. But he's also incredibly athletic, and also incredibly big for 86 KG. He's long and strong, so I guess he's down to get the freak shit on. But he's just such a different matchup from the other guys in this weight that he could cause some issues. His technique is not going to be nearly as polished as some of the Eastern European countries he'll be squaring off against, but if there's an American that can come out of nowhere to make it to the championship, this is the guy to pick.

As for winning the gold...um, no. Unfortunately for Cox, there's this Russian named Abdulrashid Saulaev. Even if Cox gets eliminated early, you should watch Sadulaev, because he is that awesome. He might be the best wrestler at any weight class right now, although I favor the guy at the end of this list.

97 KG - Kyle Snyder
Snyder won the World Championships last year at the age of 19. That is so stupidly impressive and amazing that I still haven't totally wrapped my head around it. He comes into these games ranked number four as he has had some close losses at international tournaments. Even those losses were questionable as the reffing at some of these international tournaments are...less than fair. Oh, and in between those international tournaments, he bumped up to heavyweight and won a National Title. What I'm trying to say is Kyle Snyder is really freaking good at wrestling. Even with that, when you search Wikipedia for Kyle Snyder, this is what you get:

The first result is a pitcher who played three seasons in the mid-2000s and had an ERA of nearly 6.00. He outranks the World Champion Wrestler.

Anyway, if I was betting on this weight class, I'd take Snyder. He's so young that he's constantly improving, and he was already good enough to win a World Championship. Without questionable officiating, I don't think anyone can knock him off, and he has the potential to become a generational talent.

74 KG - Jordan Burroughs
Speaking of generational talents, that is exactly what Jordan Burroughs is. He's accomplished so much in wrestling that it's absolutely stupid at this point. Some have referred to him as the Michael Jordan of wrestling, and that's not an outrageous statement. I mean, the guy once won a World Championship with a broken ankle. On top of that, he's an ideal ambassador for the sport as a whole. Sure, he's not quite as explosive as he was four years ago, but what he's lost in that area, he's gained in technique as he's far better at turning guys and racking up points on the mat. I can't explain Jordan Burroughs. He's the best wrestler in the world. but even that doesn't do him justice. No matter what the sport is, to watch someone special in his craft is a religious experience. Jordan Burroughs wrestles tomorrow. Don't miss it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Love Camp WWE

Camp WWE is an adult animated series made by WWE for WWE fans on the WWE Network. I absolutely love it. It is in the running for my favorite show on television; hell, it may be one of the greatest television shows ever made.

Now, don't get me wrong. Camp WWE is not a good show. I'm not sure if it's a bad show, but it's probably a bad show. So why do I love it? To me, this show is some sort of wonderful white noise. If I put on this show, I am asleep within five minutes. It's amazing. It has taken me a month to get through four episodes. And I remember practically nothing from the show. Little John Cena got homesick, Vince McMahon thinks Triple H is stupid, and Ric Flair tries to have sex with everything, including inanimate objects. I'm pretty sure I learned all of those things in the first episode, so I've taken nothing from the other three so far.

I always watch television to help me fall asleep. Sometimes it'll be old episodes of Parks & Recreation, which help after a while, but I usually make it through a full episode, because they're so good. With bad shows, I start hoping to fall asleep which only makes me stay awake even longer. 

I don't know what it is, but Camp WWE is just that perfect sweet spot of me wanting to pay attention while delivering nothing noteworthy to laugh me awake. To be fair, unlike a lot of WWE programming, it is not so bad that it is groan inducing, so that's commendable on its own. But the value of the sleep that this show gives me makes me love this nothing show. Like, if you asked me what will make me sadder, the end of Camp WWE or the end of Game of Thrones, I'd have to think long and hard about it, and honestly, I think Camp WWE might win. Jon Snow's great and all, but when it comes to a good night's rest, he simply can't match up with a homesick child John Cena. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Country Music Taught Me That Stockholm Syndrome Is Real

My musical tastes went down quite a path as I grew up. My first tape (yeah, I had tapes) was MC Hammer. After that, Weird Al reigned supreme. Then I became a big Def Leppard fan, and then settled in like many angsty teenagers with Metallica and various other metal groups. 

But I'm from Iowa. And in Iowa, one type of music reigns supreme. That music is country music. Since I was inundated with country music every time I did any sort of social activity, I rebelled against and hated it. But eventually it beat me down. It grew on me, some would say like a rash, but it grew on me nonetheless. I actually began to like the stuff, like, it became my go-to music choice. I even defended it to people who didn't like it. "It's a lot better than you think...They sing about fighting...It's not all about dogs and guns."

This lasted for a decade. A full decade of listening to country music. Man, if only I could get those years back. 

But after a decade, I got married, and more importantly, I moved to Florida. Now Florida is just as much of a white trash haven as Iowa, but luckily, I didn't have friends. And not having friends meant that I could always choose what I wanted to listen to. As time went on, that became less and less country music. It went that way because country music is garbage, and my brain now understood that.

It was very freeing. I started to listen to good music like The Sheepdogs, The Struts, The Record Company, and Run the Jewels. You know, legitimately good music. I didn't even know how evil my country music captors were until becoming free for a while and realizing how good music (and life) could truly be.

Life is short. Far too short to listen to country music. I know it's scary to find new music out there, but trust me, there is music that you will truly enjoy listening to. I did it, and you can do it too. I promise.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Garage Day 2016

With the mold issue that we had at the house, we really didn't feel like staying inside and getting terribly sick. We also couldn't go far, because we needed to be there to let people in to work on the house. This led to a great compromise, Garage Day 2016. A day spent in the garage with my wife, while celebrating my dog's ninth birthday.

Since our house was full of mold, we really didn't have the option of staying in the house. We were hoping to do a beach day at the local dog friendly beach, but we had to stay at the house in case someone actually came over to work on it. This seemed like it would be a huge bummer for Casey the Dog, but Casey may have had the best birthday ever with Garage Day 2016.

Garage Day 2016 led to constant throwing of the ball for her. She could take breaks as she pleased, but we were always there waiting when she wanted to resume chasing her ball. I mean, it was either that or have conversations with my wife, so of course Casey got plenty of attention. What also helped was a mid-day rainstorm that cooled everything off for a while.

So I sat and chatted with my wife while throwing the ball for Casey. We never talk this much during the day, just because we have things to do and don't want to just sit around all day. But when forced to sit around all day, it was actually pretty nice just hanging out and conversing. I mean, it's not like I forgot, but it really reminded how well I get along with my wife where we could just chill and chat it up all day without getting bored.

Occasionally, we would take turns walking down to the community pool to take a dip and cool off. Since the community has archaic rules that do not allow pup dogs, we'd spray Casey off with the hose, which she didn't love at the time but probably appreciated being cooled off a bit. Overall, this plan lasted from about 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. It was A LOT of garage time.

Finally, at 4:00, the amateur mold specialists that were coming in and out of our house said they were done for the day. The problem was by no means fixed, but it was at least better than before. Oh, and since we made them pull up a bunch of carpet so they could actually dry it and what was under it, we had to move our couches to the kitchen which meant that it was impossible to make a meal. So we did the only thing we could do and followed Garage Day with a good ol' fashioned brewery tour where I was the designated driver so my wife and pup could party hard.

Unfortunately, Garage Day 2016 took a toll on the old pup, and she literally just lied down to pass out by the time we made it to the second brewery (lightweight). She was so tired looking that a guy who also owns a weimaraner thought we had given her Benadryl to tire her out, but no, we just did it the old fashioned way of play all day. At that point we called it a night to head back to our mold house. Casey the Dog had a good long sleep that night, and overall, I'd say that Garage Day 2016 was a huge success.

I can't wait for 2017, this time, preferably, without the mold.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What's Mold Is New Again

Right now, my wife and I are close to purchasing our first home. It's a nice home. We're excited about it. This is especially true, because we are living in a shithole currently. A shithole could be fine, as long as it was safe, but our landlord has seemingly gone out of her way to not help in any of those matters.

A week and a half ago, our air conditioner stopped working. This being the summer in Florida, it did not make the house very pleasant to live in. Even my sweet puppy was irritable. Our landlord, who is a crochety 70-something dipshit will only book one air conditioning company to come fix the issue. The first night we persevered, but we weren't going to do that again. So after numerous calls to her, she finally relented and found someone who could come and fix our A/C.

Since she took two days to get someone to fix it, it obviously caused some other issues. All of a sudden, our indoor unit was leaking so much that it was drenching the carpet for about a five-foot radius. We were used to this, as this was the second time this has happened. It took her two weeks to clean up the mess last time, but this time, that was not going to be acceptable, especially since we found out the problem was that mold was causing a backup in the system, and that is why it was flooding.

Of course, this took a few days before she actually sent someone to check on it, and that created the further issue of mold. She said she'd by one of the next couple nights to use oregano spray on it. Even though that's a home remedy and not a professional one, I would have been fine had she actually followed through on that promise. Instead, she did not show up either night, and our house smelled awful.

By Saturday morning, I started getting headaches just being in the house, and I am someone who very rarely has any sort of sickness, so needless to say, I was none too pleased. My wife and I agreed that we needed a professional to come in, so my wife called and our landlord refused to bring in anyone, and that she would just take care of it later that day.

But I was beyond that point. I called back, texted back, emailed her, called again, and finally called from my wife's phone to get a hold of her, because this shit was unacceptable. What followed was one of the most batshit insane conversations I have ever had in my life.

I told her that tonight was not going to work for her to come over, and she needed to hire a professional to come in and inspect for mold, because I wasn't going to mess with my health. She claims that she does this for people all the time, so she knows what she's doing. I said that I didn't care, and that I wanted a professional. I said that I wasn't going to mess around with my health.

It's honestly tough for me to explain this next part, as she then claimed that she cured herself of a mold allergy in 1965, and we didn't need to worry about the health effects because she knew what she was doing, but also since she had that allergy, she knew how serious the health issues could be. There's so much to take out of that as shit's changed in the last 50 years. Also, if she's cured of a mold allergy, can she just breathe that shit in and get stronger? Is she like a superhero? MoldWoman or Grandmold? Grandmald? I'm still workshopping it. Oh, and this doesn't get into her saying how serious the issue was but how we don't need to worry. I reasonably stated that she still needed to bring in a professional.

She then started screaming at me that I needed to trust her, and I told her I didn't need to do that at all, and a professional needed to come in. She then claimed she didn't have the money to hire someone, which I know is straight up bullshit, because she gets $1250 in rent from us every month. Maybe she could dip into that money. She cried poor, so I told her that I would get a lawyer if she wouldn't get the house checked. That really got her upset, which was good. She went back to her expertise, so I finally said, "Hey Helen, do you have a certificate to do something like this? Because if you do, I'm fine with that." She finally relented, as she knew that she was just a dipshit trying to save money and had no real expertise in that area.

Finally, she had her helper friend come in to rip up the nasty ass carpet that she is trying to save instead of just replacing, even though this carpet could have reasonably been replaced a decade ago. And her whole, "We don't need to worry" advice was kind of thrown out the window, as her helper friend refused to sit inside the house when he wasn't ripping up the carpet, as he just went out to his car with the A/C blasting as he waited for things to dry. We hung out in the garage all day and declared it Garage Day 2016. It wasn't the most technical thing in the world, but at least it was something.

They did finally start to use real methods as in putting a solution down to kill the mold and to bring in a dehumidfier and industrial fan to dry the area out. It was enough for us to not feel ill every time we spent more than five minutes on the side of the house that was infected, which, sadly, was good enough for us. We are leaving soon, and thank god for that.

Later this week, I'll talk about Garage Day 2016, the one positive that came from this experience.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Comprehensive Breakdown of Kevin Greene's Wrestling Career

WCW was all about star power in the mid-to-late 90s, and legitimate athletes were often the objects of their desire. Kevin Greene was a guy who was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of this. Greene was one of the coolest players in the NFL during his prime. Him and Greg Lloyd were probably the coolest outside linebacker duo of the last 25 years. WCW was hoping that his persona would carry over from the gridiron to the pro wrestling ring. I would say it had mixed results.

For the positives, let's get one thing out of the way: It was awesome to be Kevin Greene. It's kind of amazing how much money he was able to make in WCW. From 1996-mid 2000, Kevin Greene was the 26th highest paid wrestler, and he only wrestled FIVE TIMES from 1996-1998. Bill Goldberg was the hottest wrestler WCW had in 1998, and Kevin Greene made more money than him that year. Throughout that five year span, Greene made more than Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko. It was a really great time to be Kevin Greene. But let's not just focus on the money. Let's focus on what the impact he had on WCW.

Greene's first feud was teaming up with another footballer in Steve "Mongo" McMichael. Mongo had beef with The Four Horsemen, especially Ric Flair, because Flair kept trying to fuck Mongo's wife, and this was despite the fact that he already had two girlfriends. It was really great. She would turn him down week after week, and Flair would just continue to hit on her in every town, because apparently she traveled the country to watch her husband announce wrestling. Even Arn Anderson had to compliment Flair on his ability to get every woman he ever desired. Finally, Mongo got fed up and decided he was going to fight Flair and Arn Anderson. He needed a partner, and since he had no experience in wrestling, he decided to find another guy with zero experience in wrestling and tag up with Kevin Greene.

Kevin Greene was very adamant that Ric Flair and Arn Anderson remember their jock straps and mouthguards, because it's gonna be an all-day affair (and safety first).

Let me warn you about this training video. There is gay pornography that is not as homoerotic as this workout video.

Let's just focus on the quotes from this masterpiece:

"We're coming hard all day long."
"He's pulling that thing like he's gonna pull your head off."
"It's yours, Mongo. Pull it in there, baby."

Now, that is how you do a workout video right. So Kevin Greene's wrestling career is off to a resounding start before he's even had his first match.

Which is good, because this workout video is one of the highlights of his career. His first match didn't go so well for him as Mongo took a briefcase full of cash, hit Greene over the head with it and joined The Four Horsemen. Greene had been played by the dirtiest player in the game, and it was clear that Kevin Greene would forever remain enemies with The Four Horsemen.

He tagged with Flair in his next match. Yes. those two teamed up with Roddy Piper to take on Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Syxx. Now it was nearly a year later (something called the Carolina Panthers got in the way), and Greene said that he didn't trust him, but his love of Roddy Piper, despite admitting to be a Hulkamaniac as a child, apparently also loved Hulk's arch nemesis. Somehow, they won, because WCW for some reason decided that Piper, well past his prime, was an unstoppable force that must never take a loss. It was a really weird time.

A month later, Greene got his revenge when he took on Steve McMichael. If you ever wanted to watch two football players take their shot in a wrestling ring, well, you'd have some other options outside of this one as Mongo also took on Reggie White later on, but this was one of the best. It was obviously not good, but Greene did get the win.

Then football season got in the way again, and it was another year before he got his final feud in WCW. Since a year had passed, he was basically an honorary member of the Four Horsemen at this point, just hanging with his best bud, Mongo, and all of his friends who helped to completely screw him over in his first wrestling match. Still, it was his biggest feud yet, literally, as he squared off against The Giant.

The actual match only lasts about a minute, but it still manages to be a pretty impressive shitshow. Somehow Kevin Greene does not get disqualified for a blatant low blow, but The Giant does get disqualified for the nWo interfering in the match. But before all that happened, my favorite Kevin Greene moment of his career happened.
This is the gif for that feeling when you're about to have sex for the first time and her Dad comes home.

A couple weeks later, The Giant got his revenge and defeated Kevin Greene at Bash at the Beach. During that offseason, NFL teams put in a "No Wrestling" clause into Greene's contract and effectively ended his career.

Was Kevin Greene a great wrestler? No. He wasn't a good, or even average wrestler, but he had a lot of energy, and the main got paid. I mean, he was basically a super successful version of Mojo Rawley, and that ain't too bad for a part-time gig. Sure, wrestling fans probably won't look back on his career fondly, but if I were Greene, I'd be pretty damn pleased with myself. He went into another sport, had fun while doing it, and got paid. We should all be so lucky.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I'm So Happy Jobbers Are Back in the WWE

Pro wrestling is one of the greatest and most awful things on television. Like, this entire season of Lucha Underground should be enough to make anyone a wrestling fan. And then a 30 minute soliloquy by a McMahon is enough to just wish that you never got involved in the stuff. Still, the good outweighs the bad, and that is why I continue to watch each and every damn week. But the WWE is bringing back something near and dear to my heart: Jobbers.

I love jobbers. I grew up with jobbers. Jobbers are one of the most important aspects of pro wrestling, and I'm so glad they are back. Jobbers are a great way to make people look dominant. In the kayfabe world, WWE wrestlers are better than 99% of anyone else who wrestles. If that's the case, then it would make sense that it would be very rare for anyone to look dominant, as they are only going up against the absolute best in the world. Even Heath Slater should be seen as someone who could go down and dominate anywhere else. But since he only goes up against the best, he is never able to show that, and even top guys struggle, because they are only facing top guys.

That's where jobbers come in. You bring in a jobber and you can actually build someone as a dominant force without making anybody important look bad. Jobbers are totally unimportant, and they are completely interchangeable. Every town can have a couple go-to jobbers to get dominated. And how awesome is that? Like, a guy who can't even sniff a second-tier organization like Ring of Honor gets a chance to be on WWE television. Look at how great this must have been for this jobber.

That is a win-win situation. Jobber gets a great opportunity for one night in the WWE, and Braun Strowman gets to look like The Mountain on Game of Thrones. 

So WWE, I ask of you, neigh, I beg of you. Please keep at least 1-2 jobber matches every week. Yes, I know they are the worst, but that is what makes them the best.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cutting Your Losses in Fantasy Baseball

Since I spend an unhealthy amount of time following sports, I am pretty good when it comes to fantasy sports. I have won far more than I have lost, and that makes me happy. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but that's because I don't really believe in fantasy experts. It always takes some luck. But it also takes the ability to understand weaknesses. And not just others, but your own. I have learned that one of my biggest weaknesses is cutting my losses.

If I invest in a guy, I don't give a shit how bad of a season he is having, I put stake in him, and I fully assume that he will bounce back from whatever season long slump he has been in. I know it's stupid, but I can't even control myself in the moment. These are players that I am sticking by and are probably going to be my downfall in this fantasy baseball season.

Round 3 - Carlos Gomez
I'm not sure if I have ever felt worse about a draft pick as I was making it than I did when drafting Carlos Gomez. Max Scherzer got taken one pick before him, and I was down to Carlos Gomez and George Springer for the pick. I don't know why I didn't consider Buster Posey; it was just poor preparation, and I picked the wrong guy. But Carlos Gomez is still on my team, still starting for the most part, and still sucking ass. But maybe he'll turn the clock back a couple years for the final few months. That won't happen, but I still don't have the testicular fortitude to just cut his ass.

Round 6 - Jason Heyward
I didn't feel great about this one either, but Strasburg got taken one pick before him which really messed up my plans. I'm pretty sure he had more home runs in Spring Training than he has had in the regular season. If only there were years and years and years of evidence that Spring Training stats don't matter. Welp, couldn't have seen this coming. At least he has 8 stolen bases, so if he picks up the home run pace, he might become a 10-10 guy this season.

Round 11 - Michael Wacha
I keep thinking he's going to get to peak version of Michael Wacha, but that guy appears to be gone. He's just fine enough that I will never take the chance to upgrade from him.

Round 14 - Brett Lawrie
This is actually the guy who helped me write this. Lawrie has been a totally average player this year. He's not really good in any way, and he's definitely a guy you'd want to upgrade, but he wasn't so bad that I ever needed to upgrade. But as luck would have it, he got hurt. And it was right after Trea Turner started getting regular playing time for Nationals. My team had a desperate need for speed, so Turner is likely going to keep his spot, and Lawrie's gone when I need to free up a spot on my disabled list. I would have never just picked up Trea Turner, but sometimes luck is just as important as being good.

Trade - Ben Revere
I can't end on a high note. I traded for Ben Revere a couple months ago, thinking he'd turn it around. I traded a pitcher who I thought would start to go downhill. That pitcher was Aaron Sanchez who continues to dominate. Ben Revere has gotten better, but he's only a part-time player at this point, and I still hold onto him. It still sounds like Sanchez won't be a starter late in the season, so maybe it won't turn out so bad for me, but yeah, this is bad, and I will continue to only see the positive in Revere. 

I'm a stupid person. I guess the real key to fantasy is playing with people more stupid than you. That's my true key to success.