Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The 10 Best Things in the WWE: March 2016

This is all about positive, but just three months in, and the WWE is definitely challenging my patience. Absolutely nothing has happened in this last month, and still, I find myself incredibly excited for WrestleMania. They pull out all the stops for Mania, and when I look at the card, I do see great potential for every match on the card. I mean, even Ryback/Kalisto could be a lot of fun. For a reminder, here's how February looked, but now it's time to look at what happened in March.

1. Kevin Owens (Last Month: 4)
Owens worst nights are good, but man, when he is on, it is truly some incredible stuff he is pulling out. He's able to get good matches out of anybody, and his plan of having a triple threat of jobbers to get a shot at the Intercontinental Title was wonderful. Also, it brings up his poor history in ladder matches, as that is how he lost to Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. But this 7-way ladder match has me excited for everybody in this match (except for Sin Cara), and it's my pick for match of the night for WrestleMania.

2. Triple H (Last Month: Unranked)
I am a giant Triple H hater, you could even call me a HHHater, if you were so inclined. Still, he's had an important month. He took out Roman Reigns, had a nice feud with Dean Ambrose that ended in a really entertaining match. He had another entertaining match with Dolph Ziggler, and he's taken some Roman Reigns beatdowns along the way. Triple H has become a far more entertaining in-ring performer since he retired, and it's why I actually think the main event will be good, although I definitely think there are going to be some hijinks involved.

3. Dean Ambrose (Last Month: 7)
Ambrose has been on fire these last few months, and even though I have been down on him in the past, he's starting to make a believer out of me. He had a fun two-week feud with Triple H that further developed his character, not as a crazy person, but just as a tough dude who doesn't care about how much of a beating he's going to take. That sets up nicely for his feud with Brock Lesnar, where it is a street fight, and that actually adds a chance that he could beat Lesnar, especially as he has gotten help from hardcore legends the last few weeks. The only downside this month was his match with Braun Strowman, which was..not good.

4. Jonathan Coachman (Last Month: Unranked)
I am one of the world's biggest Coach marks. In fact, if you factor in my love for the 1990s sitcom starring Craig T. Nelson and Damon Wayans Jr.'s character on New Girl, I may be the biggest Coach mark. So yes, I was very excited to see Coach back on Raw, and yes, I also considered putting him at the top of this list, so consider putting him at 4 as me showing restraint.

5. The New Day (Last Month: 2)
I feel like the reason the New Day is this low is not that they have taken a step back, but our expectations have taken a step forward. There are rumblings of people getting tired of them, and I am not there yet. I still sit up and pay attention when they are doing something, but a 3 vs. 4 feud that doesn't seem to have any point outside of New Day becoming good guys just doesn't excite me in any way. And although it seems like it was months ago, I'm pretty sure they had their tag match against Jericho and Styles in the last month, and that was probably the best match this past month. New Day still rocks; their current feud though? Not so much.

6. Chris Jericho (Last Month: Unranked)
I am so happy that I can actually put Jericho on this list. I was a huge mark for Jericho growing up, but he has seemed to get less and less appealing every time he comes back. This most recent time he has found a good niche, and he's showing why he was so good for so long. The guy can still put on good matches, but with great character work, he can still be one of the most valuable assets the WWE has, even in a part-time role.

7. AJ Styles (Last Month: Unranked)
AJ Styles has been in a ton of good matches this month, and he's made a seamless transition to the WWE roster. Even though I'm enjoying this new version of Jericho, you already know that Styles has to win the feud, because Jericho is likely gone shortly after Mania. We'll see if he can take a step forward and get in a more prominent feud after that.

8. Sami Zayn (Last Month: Unranked)
I have made no secret of my love for Sami Zayn, but I still can't put him any higher than this for the month. I'm excited for what's going to happen, but I'm not necessarily excited with what has happened. Although Sami got a taste on Monday, so far he has just been chasing down Kevin Owens. Next month is when he likely catches him, and that's what I'm excited about.

9. Charlotte (Last Month: 8)
She has had some really good matches this past month, even having a really fun match with Natalya, someone who I usually do not care about at all. The thing that hurts the Divas division is that they have just drug things out and made them unnecessarily complicated. It's kind of the same thing everywhere, as they have to announce matches early enough to hype them for WrestleMania, but they struggle to keep things interesting in the weeks between the announcement and the match actually happening.

10. Shane McMahon (Last Month: 5) 
Makes the list for dropping that elbow on The Undertaker on Monday night. I'm still not really looking forward to the match, but I'm not dreading it as much as I thought I would be. That's a little thing called progress.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Which Sport Has The Dumbest Athletes?

Athletes are very physically gifted. People want to talk about hard work and grit, but even your Danny Woodheads are far greater natural athletes than anyone you know. The good news is there is balance in this world where they are also very dumb. This does not include all athletes, as there are some chosen few who are incredibly gifted and self-aware and intelligent people. But even these people realize that most athletes are very stupid human beings. Still, their specific skills have led them to incredible riches, so good for them. Still, I wanted to take a look at which athletes are the dumbest of the dumb. Let's count it down from ten.

10. Soccer
I'm not necessarily a soccer fan, but soccer players seem like they have this whole thing figured out. Their sport is pretty safe, and they make tons of money off of it. Plus, it is a worldwide sport, so they have their pick of the litter when it comes to females around the world. The great thing about it is that there are so many levels of soccer that they can just go to different countries with worse soccer leagues, and be treated like a god until they're finally in the MLS where they compete against local elementary school teams.

This doesn't even include the flopping, which is very smart. You get credit for faking injuries, and then once the referee punishes the other team, you can just go about your day like you weren't acting like you got shot a minute ago. But hot chicks and plenty of outlets to continue to make lots of money. That's a smart sport to get into.

Oh, and just so I'm not too nice to soccer, this sport is balanced out by their fans who are probably the dumbest people on the planet. They murder people over soccer; that is very, very dumb. Stop doing that, soccer fans.

9. Tennis
Tennis players have it pretty great. They travel the world, stay in 5-star accommodations, and make really good money for what is not a physically taxing sport AT ALL. And then when it's all over, they can fade into a normal life. You know what Pete Sampras is up to these days? I sure as hell don't, because tennis players just get to go on and live their lives. The only reason they didn't get the smartest athletes is that Andre Agassi not only wore a wig, but he wore a mullet wig for years. Like, he made that decision.

8. Hockey
Hockey is a pretty violent sport, but there isn't a ton of tragedy in it, and they get to live as normal human beings. They can just kind of cruise around and be normal guys, but then they can get around beautiful women, casually drop that they are professional hockey players and easily seduce a girl that Mystery was running a gambit on before he even has a chance to do a magic trick.

7. Pro Wrestlers
I would have put pro wrestlers as the smartest if there wasn't such a crazy death rate. They're the only athletes that are actually expected to talk intelligently, so they all have to have a decent amount of brains in their heads. Unfortunately, there's simply too many tragedies of head trauma and guys thinking they're invincible to put them in a better spot.

6. Golfers
Golfers are incredibly far up their own ass. That more makes them pricks than stupid, but trust me, these are stupid pricks. Golfers are all secretly and sometimes outwardly racist, and they seem to hate women. Also, any sport that has people trying to hold onto "honor" and "integrity" is a sport full of morons. The thing that saves them is a lack of any physicality in the sport and a pretty sweet travel schedule.

5. Basketball
Basketball players are a harmless sort of stupid. Like, they're not intelligent, but they also are pretty relaxed about that fact. They're kind of in on the fact that they are stupid, but also stupid athletic, so they know the balance of the world. It's a charming sort of stupidity, like a dog with boots on.

4. Football
This is mostly due to getting in a sport where your brain is going to be scrambled by the time that you are done. The only reason it is not higher is some guys still have to take it as a way to get their families out of poverty, and they are kind of the great hope. I am sympathetic in that the sport kind of requires you to feel as if you are invincible. As bad as getting in a brain scrambling sport is, it probably pales in comparison to former players talking about "protecting the shield" as if getting drunk or doing drugs is nearly as bad as messing up people's brains to the point where they feel the only option is suicide.

3. Combat Sports
It's like football with the brain scrambling but without the great payoff when you become one of the best. Yes, some guys are making millions of dollars, but even in the UFC, you have guys making $8,000 to fight and another $8,000 to win. Some guys only get two fights a year, so, yeah, that's not a great living. Also, as someone who trains at an MMA gym, I can tell you that it is a very stupid place. Anything that was funny to you in high school is still funny to everyone at an MMA gym. My belief is that this is true in all sports, but I can only give firsthand knowledge of the combat sports world.

2. Crossfitters
Now a lot of people like to shit on crossfitters, but I'm not here to (totally) do that. If you find a workout that you enjoy, and it doesn't injure you, that's wonderful. The second part is the problem with Crossfitters. I'm not amazed that people who do Crossfit suffer serious injuries; I'm amazed that they still rave about Crossfit and promise to start doing it again. That is very stupid. Also, Crossfit acts as a cult, and looking through history, no cult members are ever lauded for their intelligence.

1. Baseball
Baseball players top the list, because they are not only stupid, but they are also babies. They are stupid babies. Like golfers, they crave a simpler time when people just kept their head down, did their job, and fought for segregation and the right to beat their spouses. One thing that adds to their overall stupidity is how young baseball players get into the professional side of things. For Latin Americans, they get in at age 16, and there are many Americans who get in at 18. This is not a matter of education, as I don't equate education to intelligence. It's just that many people stop maturing from the time they get in that locker room. It's a collective stupidity

They also cannot handle that somebody would be happy and find it worthwhile to show their happiness when they do something well, because everything done in baseball is conceived as a personal attack against the opponent. That is because they are babies. Baseball wants to be a "man's" sport, but it's the sport of petulant children.

Speaking of children, Adam LaRoche quit baseball because his 14-year-old son couldn't hang out with him in the clubhouse EVERY SINGLE DAY. Now, it is one thing for Adam LaRoche to quit baseball for this reason. He decided the only way he could continue to play is if his son was around all the time. But Chris Sale screamed at the Team President, and Adam Eaton called the 14-year-old a "leader." If you consider a 14-year-old a leader, you are a very stupid person. Even when I was 14, I didn't consider 14-year-olds leaders, because I knew they were dumbasses. The last time I thought a 14-year-old was a leader was probably when I was 12. At that point, I didn't like girls, had poor hygeine, and was nWo 4 Life. The last one never changed, and apparently 12-year-old me was still smart enough to not only survive, but thrive in a baseball locker room.

Congratulations, baseball players. In the land of idiot athletes, you reign supreme.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Macho Man Randy Savage Is The Greatest: Volume 2 - The World's Greatest Threat

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.

Hulk Hogan turning heel at the Bash at the Beach in 1996 is one of the most iconic moments in pro wrestling history. It was an incredible shock to this 12-year-old Hulkamaniac, but it also spawned the coolest stable in pro wrestling history. What people don't remember is how WCW responded the next night. Sting gave his speech about Hulk letting everybody down, and it was very ho-hum. Then Macho Man took the microphone and shit got real.

In case you are at work, or if you need someone to help you digest what you just saw, I am going to break down every line from the Macho Man.

I got a message for Hollywood Hogan. 

Okay, that makes sense. He just turned his back on WCW, and especially Macho Man, more than anyone else, so I it is totally reasonable that Savage would have a message for Hogan.

But what I want to tell you and what I want to do to you, I can't say here on television, especially here at Disney. 

Hey-o! Macho's coming in hot, but honestly, this makes sense. He has every right to be angry. The problem is that if he can't say what's on his mind, how will he articulate what he wants to do to Hogan? But you should never question Macho's ability to get his point across, because this man has articulation oozing out of his ass.

But you take the worst thing that you can think about and you multiply it by the number nine million...

Okay, hold up just for a second. Let me do the math here. Worse thing...times...9,000,000...equals...oh man, that's some bad shit right there.

...and then you multiply it by infinity...

Oh, wait, just give me one more second. Times ∞. okay, it looks like that equals 9,000,000 ∞. That seems like a lot.

...and beyond. 

Hum. I can't seem to find the "and beyond" button on this thing. But it's got to be more than 9,000,000 ∞. That was already more than I could count, so it's gotta be pretty intense. And let's not forget that this is how much you should multiply the worst thing that you can think about.

It would be just like one grain of sand in the Sahara Desert, brother. 

Oh, WOW. So even with that large number we just discovered, that would only represent one grain of sand in the Sahara Desert. Doing some quick research with the always reliable Yahoo Answers, I learned that there are eight octillion grains of sand in the Sahara. That means that to figure out what Macho Man is thinking, we have to think of the worst thing we can think of, multiply it by 9,000,000 ∞, and then multiply that by 8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Because it's really really scary what I'm thinking and gonna do to you, YEAH.

Uh...yeah, I'd say so. After doing the math, we have to take the worst thing we can think of and multiply it by 72,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ∞. What could this possibly mean? How is this possible? Well, after weeks of this question haunting me, the answer finally dawned on me. The key is not who is saying this, but who he is saying it to. What Macho Man understood better than any of us was Hollywood Hogan's former nickname. Not just Hulk, but The Immortal Hulk Hogan. That takes care of the infinity, as this torture that Macho Man wants to put on Hulk Hogan will last for all eternity. That giant number before the infinity? Well, that will always remain a mystery as only Macho Man had the mental capacity to dream up something so awful that it would be 72,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 than your worst nightmare.

It is the greatest threat recorded in human history, and it's another reason why Macho Man Randy Savage was the greatest.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Best and Worst of the Iowa Hawkeyes at the 2016 NCAA Tournament

So the NCAA Tournament did not exactly work out how Hawkeye fans had hoped it would. Penn State was expected to win, and they went out and dominated. It seems as if there is nobody better than Cael Sanderson in prepping his team for the NCAA Tournament, and this year was no different. Even though there were some disappointments for the Hawkeyes, there were also things to celebrate. Let's break it down in chronological order to get through the muck early, so we can celebrate late.

141 - Brody Grothus - N/A
Iowa didn't qualify anybody for the tournament, and there was no Vince McMahon to bring in a brand new Iowa wrestler, Grody Brothus, to liven things up at the Nationals. So, yeah, nothing to note here.

165 - Patrick Rhoads - 0-2
Rhoads was unseeded, and he lived up to that in the tournament. He lost both of his matches. He just didn't have the necessary skills to generate any offense. He wrestled hard; it just wasn't enough.

Heavyweight - Sam Stoll - 0-1
I knew this was a possibility. Sam Stoll's injured knee just couldn't hold up. If he was healthy, I think he would have become an All-American as a freshman, which would have been an incredible accomplishment. Only his knee did give out, and it's a what if as opposed to what actually happened. Wrestling is a hard sport, and it always sucks to see a talented guy not be able to showcase what he has worked so hard for because his body simply can't perform (Brian Realbuto was another example from this year). I'm guessing he'll still struggle early in the season next year, but he will hopefully be back to 100% by the time the matches get meaningful.

157 - Edwin Cooper - 1-2
We knew Cooper was going to need some good matchups to do much damage in this tournament, and unfortunately, he did not get those matchups. He got to his offense early in his first round matchup and took care of business with an 8-3 win. After that, he got matched up with Ian Miller, who nearly beat Isaiah Martinez in the semifinals, and Miller just ran right through Cooper. After that, he was in a match against Austin Matthews from Edinboro, and he started off really well as he got into a shot immediately, but he couldn't finish his shots. After that, he lost some scrambles, ended up on his back repeatedly, and finally got pinned as he knew it was basically the end for him. Obviously, it would have been preferable for him to win another match or two, but he beat the guy he should have, lost to a guy he should have, and didn't find the breaks in his the match that was pretty even going into it. It happens.

174 - Alex Meyer - 4-3 - All American (8th)
Alex Meyer came much closer to having a bigger impact in the tournament. Unfortunately, he got off to a slow start where he was in a match that was seven minutes long, and about six minutes of that were scrambles. He lost 10-9 to Gordon Wolf in a match that he would definitely win the next time around, but that's what makes winning the NCAAs so tough. You face a mystery opponent and one slip up and you've lost your shot at a national title. After that, Meyer really started wrestling great. In the consolation round, he took out the 4, 6, 9, and 14 seeds on his route to become an All-American, and I think he may have trailed in each of those matches. He finally lost to Zach Epperly who took third place in the tournament. Even that was on Friday night after Meyer had a match while Epperly advanced by medical forfeit. On Saturday morning, he lost a hard fought match against Cody Walters from Ohio who pulled out the victory in the final seconds. It was disappointing to end with a couple losses, but considering how he battled back after his first match, it was a really strong performance for Meyer and gives Hawkeyes a reason for excitement for his senior year.

184 - Sammy Brooks - 3-3 - All-American (8th)
Where Alex Meyer bounced back to become a happy surprise as an 8th place finisher, it seems that 8th place is what happened for Sammy Brooks because everything went wrong. He won his first two matches, and then had his third match with TJ Dudley of Nebraska. It was an issue of falling behind early and then not having enough time to catch up. He did make it interesting though as he continually went for upper body throws and actually put Dudley on his back for a second, but he couldn't hold the position, and Dudley held on to win and eventually make it to the finals. That easily could have been Brooks going up against Gabe Dean, but alas, it was not meant to be. On the back half, things continued to get screwy. Brooks faced Dominic Abounader from Michigan and put him on his back in the first period. Right before he is about to complete the pin, the second ref stops the match because he thought there may be an illegal hold. There wasn't, but Brooks lost the position and an extra two points. On top of that, Iowa lost another team point because Assistant Coach, Ryan Morningstar, would not stop screaming at the officials. Iowa would have made the podium as a team with those points, but fourth place isn't really all that important to the Hawkeyes despite what the announcers were saying on Saturday night. Back to Brooks, instead of having a two minute match, he had to go seven hard minutes and then wrestle again later that night against Mat Miller who did get a two minute pin and got up early on Brooks. Sammy went for a big move but got put on his back and pinned. The next morning it was more of the same where Brooks got down and never came close to coming back against Nathaniel Brown from Lehigh. It was a disappointing end to what had been a very good season for Brooks. Still, I think he's a top competitor at 184 next year.

197 - Nathan Burak - 4-2 - All-American (4th)
Burak did exactly what he was supposed to do. He was seeded fourth and he finished fourth. Really, there's nothing to complain about. He won his first three matches, went up against Morgan McIntosh and lost his sixth match to McIntosh. He couldn't generate any offense, and that's the way it has always gone against McIntosh. In what was the only match between Iowa and Iowa State wrestlers, Burak bounced back to beat Patrick Downey in sudden victory. He then lost to Brett Pfarr, a guy he had split with in their previous two matches. Burak was an incredibly solid wrestler for all four years, but he just never had the athleticism to take out the top guys. Iowa would be lucky to get anything close to Nathan Burak for their next starter at 197.

149 - Brandon Sorensen - 4-1 - All-American (2nd)
Brandon Sorensen came in as the #2 seed, and he lived up to that seed. Ultimately, it was a really good performance from Sorensen. The guy is not a point scoring machine, but he is solid everywhere, and he finds ways to win. After a major decision in the first round, he won by two points in his next three matches, one of which went to the second sudden victory period against Jake Sueflohn. It's not flashy, but it gets the job done, and it got him into the finals. That earned him a second match against Zain Retherford, and Retherford is just on another level right now. I think he deserves the Hodge Trophy for best wrestler at any weight class, and he completely overwhelmed Sorensen in the finals. Still, Sorensen did the best of any of his opponents as he was the only one to last all seven minutes. Retherford won by tech fall, pin, pin, and pin before the finals. I feel like second place was his ceiling, and he reached it. Unfortunately, Zain is only a sophomore, so I don't really see that ceiling changing in the next two years.

133 - Cory Clark - 4-1 - All-American (2nd)
Clark wrestled a smart tournament. And by smart, I am implying safe. He got a major decision in his first match and then just plugged along with enough offense to win each match. It got him to the finals where he met Nahshon Garrett, and Garrett is a different sort of wrestler. Technique wise, Clark can hang with anyone, but Garrett's athleticism gave him a lot of problems. Garrett did an excellent job of finding open spots to take his shots, and he was very successful in doing so. The match ended up 7-6, but it really wasn't that close, as Garrett took a large lead and played it safe to hang on to win in the end. Next year, this weight class opens up as the guys who have beat him the last two years (Garrett and Cody Brewer) both graduate. There's a good chance he opens the year as the top ranked wrestler in the 133 pound weight class.

125 - Thomas Gilman - 4-1 - All-American (2nd)
Although he was one of three Hawkeyes to be runner-up in his weight class, Gilman had the best performance of any Hawkeye in the tournament. He absolutely steamrolled his way into the semifinals with a tech fall and two major decisions. He then faced top-ranked Nathan Tomasello and battled for seven minutes. Tomasello almost got a takedown at the end, but Gilman managed to hold him off. Then in overtime, Tomasello looked pretty gassed, and Gilman was not only able to get a takedown, but he got the pin as well to give Iowa even more bonus points. Tomasello was the only top-seeded wrestler to not make the finals, so it was a great job by Gilman. As for the finals, Gilman had a good shot early on, but Megaludis was able to reverse the advantage and get two himself. It changed the whole dynamic of the match, and Gilman wasn't able to make up the deficit. Still, Gilman had a great tournament, and he'll be a co-favorite with Tomasello to win the National Title next year.

This was a disappointing season in many ways for Iowa. Not winning the National Title was not one of them, as Penn State was absolutely stacked, and it was going to take not only Iowa performing well but Penn State to perform poorly to rise to that standard. Still, fifth place is about as low as this team could have finished. The most disappointing part were all those even numbers in the All-American finishes. Every single Iowa wrestler ended his season with a loss. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but maybe it's just what they need to take a big step forward for 2017.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hoody's Deep South Praline Pecans Are The Greatest Snack Ever

I try to live a fairly healthy lifestyle. I'm pretty dedicated to working out to keep my body on point, and I make smart decisions with my diet. No pop, very little fast food, and only eating out about once a week keeps things moving in the right direction. But I'm not here to talk about my successes; I'm here to talk about my failures, and there is one snack that brings my diet to its knees as it begs for mercy.

Hoody's Deep South Praline Pecans. Oh, you sexy beast. I first laid my eyes on you at Costco. I figured one canister couldn't hurt; it could last me months, but instead it lasted me mere days. At first, it was just you and me, but then I invited Cool Whip, and things got kinky. I loved seeing you in Cool Whip, but I was always more excited to taste what was underneath.

I was always gentle at first, using my tongue to go deep south on your deliciousness. But I'm a naughty boy, and eventually biting down was a necessity.I let your flavors overwhelm my mouth and swallowed you whole as if you had a Macrophilia sexual fetish. We both leave the experience with nothing but thorough satisfaction.

What I'm trying to say is that if you're going to indulge in a snack, you really can't top Hoody's Deep South Praline Pecans. And Hoody's, I have shown a lot of love for you, and I am hoping that you will reciprocate that love and send me some of those delicious pecans. You can reach me on Twitter or by email. Thank you, Hoody's; I love you, and I promise not to do anything to your product that I wouldn't also do to my wife.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Iowa Basketball and the NCAA Tournament

Recently, I've had a few posts about Iowa wrestling. It's always fun to talk about Iowa wrestling, as they are always one of the top five teams in the nation. Iowa basketball is far different. Although they spent some time as one of the five best teams in the nation, they have come back to Earth. Actually, they've crashed back to Earth. In fact, it seems that they've crashed through the Earth to a bottomless pit where they just keep falling and falling...and falling. But let's get excited and talk about Iowa basketball.

Iowa has basically been the same team for 2/3 of the season. The only weird part about that is they were the same team in the first third as they have been in the final third, but they mixed in 1/3 of the season where they destroyed everything in their path and looked like a legitimate national title contender. If they are that team for the tournament, they're going to set the world on fire. If they are the team that they have been at the beginning and end of the season, they might win one game, but let's face it, they'll probably find a way to lose their first game.

And oh, man, does this team LOVE to find ways to lose. A common theme in losses is getting cold for a while, digging themselves a massive hole, somehow catching fire and taking the lead, only to fall apart in the final few minutes. I saw this in person when they played Notre Dame in Orlando, and it is also how they got eliminated in the B1G Tournament. But don't worry, they can also lead an entire game, only to blow it at the very end. The most egregious example of this is their game against Iowa State. A prominent theme in nearly every loss they have had this season is a total lack of contributions from their bench. Fran McCaffery loses faith pretty early in anybody from the bench unit outside of Dom Uhl, and the starters get fatigued which leads to a very up-and-down performance that inevitably is down at the worst possible moment.

And that's really what the NCAA Tournament is going to come down to: Bench play. The only game where Iowa actually got good bench contributions and lost was their second game against Indiana. If the bench can give them solid minutes, they can give anybody a run for their money. Uhl is the star of the bench, but that's really not saying much. Ahmad Wagner is the only other guy that can compete inside, but he has limited upside because of his lack of size. Baer is the best bench scorer, but even that praise only really tells you that he's inconsistent but at least he's always willing to try to make something happen. Christian Williams had one nice game, and the backup shooting guards have looked lost all year, so maybe they're ready to break out? There's four seniors in the starting lineup, and I cannot imagine Iowa not being one of the worst B1G teams next year.

And about that starting lineup, it really has everything that you would want. Woodbury and Uthoff give them length, Uthoff and Jok give them shooting, Clemmons acts as a stopper for the opposing team's best perimeter player, and Gesell is the facilitator. That's a really strong mix of talent.

So, as long as the starting five performs with Uthoff and/or Jok catching fire, one of the other three stepping up to put in double digit points, and getting contributions from the bench, they will be a very dangerous team. That's what middle of the season Iowa did, when they won 10 of their first 11 Big Ten games, and the only game they lost was on the road at Maryland, and even then, it took Uthoff going ice cold and Jok leading the team in points with just 14.

But that's a very optimistic viewpoint. The negative, or realistic, viewpoint is that Iowa will continue to find a way to lose and get bounced from the tournament in their first game.

But I'll take the former. Iowa cruises to a national title in basketball, just a couple weeks after Iowa wrestling wins the title this weekend.

Hey, a boy can dream (even if he is a 31-year-old boy), can't he?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Do the Iowa Hawkeyes Have a Shot at the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championship?

Does Iowa have a shot at the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championship? Well, the short answer is yes. They have a shot, but they are going to need some help to pull it off. Iowa failed to qualify all ten weight classes this season, in fact; they barely qualified nine. That puts them in a slight hole, although tournament favorite, Penn State, has just as many wrestlers competing this weekend. I touched on which guys had the best shot of winning a National Title a couple weeks ago, so I'd definitely check that out, but now that the brackets are out, I wanted to quickly thoroughly look at how things shaped up for each Iowa wrestler before addressing their chances of winning the team title.

125 - Thomas Gilman - #4 Seed
After losing to Nico Megaludis of Penn State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, this was as good of a seed as can be expected for Gilman There are four elite talents at this wegiht, so Gilman was going to have to go through two of them either way. I don't see any real chance of Gilman not making it into the semifinals (obviously, anything could happen, like Gilman getting caught in a cradle in the semifinals last year, but it's very doubtful). He has beaten #1 seed Nathan Tomasello before, and he has the skills to do it again. Joey Dance beat Megaludis earlier in the year, and that match could go either way. I had Gilman as having the best chance of winning a National Title, and I'd say that he has probably become 1B in my current rankings, but that is mostly because of how things shook out for Iowa's next wrestler.

133 - Cory Clark - #2 Seed
Cory Clark moves into that 1A spot based on him winning the Big Ten Tournament but also because he got a great draw for the tournament. The biggest benefit that despite Cory Clark beating Zane Richards in the finals of the B1G Tournament, Richards stayed at the 3 seed which means that the gy who beat Clark in last year's NCAA Tournament, the defending National Champion, Cody Brewer, is at the 4 seed on the same side as Nahshon Garrett, whom Brewer lost to earlier this season. The biggest dark horse in this weight, Ryan Taylor, from Wisconsin, got a 12 seed which also puts him on the opposite side as Clark. The biggest threat up until the semifinals is probably 10 seed, Johnni DiJulius, who has beaten Clark previously, but it seems like Clark has his funk figured out, and I expect him to cruise into the semifinals. This was a great draw, and that's why I'm even more excited about Clark's chances of getting an asterisk next to his name.

141 - Brody Grothus - Did Not Qualify
Brody Grothus got a tough draw in the B1G Tournament. He drew the top seed in his first match and lost a close match. Then the #3 seed got upset and met him in his first consolation match, and he lost another close match. Had things broken a little more favorably for him, he could have shown he has the talent to compete at the NCAAs, but it's an unfortunate end to an up and down career for Grothus.

149 - Brandon Sorensen - #2 Seed
Sorensen lost in the finals to Penn State's Zain Retherford, who has run through everyone this year. Sorensen maintained a #2 seed which is good, but his side of the bracket is no joke. He should cruise in his first two matchups, but that likely sets up another matchup against Jake Sueflohn, who Sorensen handled in the B1G Tourney but who is a very tough out. His side of the bracket also includes Lavion Mayes from Missouri, Anthony Collica from Oklahoma State, and former National Champion Jason Tsirtsis, who appears to be struggling with injuries this year but is still a guy who can make a match against anybody. Sorensen has the skills to make it to the finals; there's a reason he's ranked #2, but he never really threatened Retherford when they wrestled, so it's really hard to see a National Title coming his way.

157 - Edwin Cooper - #13 Seed
Edwin Cooper has made tremendous strides this year, and it's a great accomplishment to get seeded at this weight. That being said, it's going to be tough to rise up and become an All-American, because this weight class is DEEP. As long as he wins in the first, he takes on Ian Miller, who is a returning All-American whose only loss was due to a concussion suffered in his conference tournament last weekend where he was forced to injury default in his match. This weight class is stacked on paper, but that's the beauty of this tournament, in that anything can happen in seven minutes of wrestling.

165 - Patrick Rhoads - Unseeded
Well, I'll be damned. Patrick Rhoads made the tournament. He is unseeded, but got a favorable draw in that he goes up against the #13 seed. Rhoads wrestled really well in the B1G tournament outside of taking a beating from the top seed, Isaac Jordan. He has the skills to make matches tight against all but the top level of competition, so maybe a couple matches will go his way. He's not making the podium, but he has the potential to score some points, and Iowa needs all of the points they can get in their efforts for a team title.\

174 - Alex Meyer - #13 Seed
More than any wrestler on Iowa's roster, Meyer has put Hawkeye fans through an emotional rollercoaster this year. He has raised expectations, only to dash them later on. When he is aggressive early on, he can take out anybody, but sometimes he digs himself large holes early and doesn't have enough time to make up the deficits. Predicting what he is going to do is a fool's errand. He's just had so many close matches this year. Since I'm an eternal optimist, I think the aggressive Meyer will show up and put points on the board and cause major issues for anybody he goes up against. He has the skills to be an All-American, but he could just as easily play with fire and burn out before the Round of 12.

184 - Sammy Brooks - #2 Seed
Sammy Brooks receiving the #2 seed seems...generous. I'm not complaining, but I do believe this seeding was only partly from him winning the B1G Tournament; a lot of the credit has to go to the power of his mullet.

Outside of Gabe Dean at #1, 184 is a wide open but very deep division, and that is why Brooks got the 2 seed for the NCAAs despite only being the 3 seed for the B1G Tournament. Full disclosure: Sammy Brooks is my favorite current Iowa wrestler, and so I am even more blinded by my own bias when it comes to predicting his results. He can beat anybody at this weight class. He wrestled Gabe Dean last year and only lost 3-2. All of his losses to college wrestlers this season have come to guys that he has also beaten this year. I'd say he cruises through his first two matches before meeting 10 seed, Nate Brown in the quarters. I'm then favoring Blake Stauffer (6) to make it to the semifinals. He was the guy who eliminated Brooks in the Round of 12 last year, but I'm hoping Sammy can reverse his fortune this year. I'm not guaranteeing a National Title, but I just want to let everybody know that it is in your best interest to not doubt the power of the mullet.

197 - Nathan Burak - #4 Seed
The one inexplicably bad seed for Iowa, as it makes no sense that Pfarr from Minnesota would be ranked ahead of Burak considering he lost to him in the B1G Tournament. He did beat him earlier in the season, but even that was controversial, and the NCAA valued tournament performance very highly when coming up with seeds. One spot may not seem like much, but it puts him on the side of Morgan McIntosh, who he is 0-5 against, and the 5 seed is Conner Hartmann who is 26-1 this year and appears to be a much tougher matchup than the 6 seed, Jared Haught. Burak has taken care of business this year, but with his previous history against McIntosh, it's tough to see him doing any better than a third place match when it's all said and done.

HWT - Sam Stoll - #11 Seed
I think this is about as good as we could have expected for Sam Stoll after crapping out at the B1G Tournament. What happened? A significant knee injury, possibly a torn ACL, so the fact that he won any match is pretty impressive. But if it is as significant as it sounds, this is an awful way for Stoll to end his year as before this injury, his only losses were to the #1 seed, Nick Gwiazdowski and the #4 seed, Austin Marsden, who, between the two, have one loss this season. A healthy Stoll is an All-American, but if this version of Stoll can gut out 1-2 victories, it'd be a great performance.

So what does this all mean? Does Iowa have a legitimate shot at an NCAA Title? Yes, but they're going to need some breaks. Both Clark and Gilman have legitimate shots at National Titles this year, and if they can both pull it off, that is a huge boost to their chances. Even with that, Penn State is the clear favorite, and they're going to need some of their wrestlers to falter.

Zain Retherford isn't going to lose, and he's probably putting up a ton of bonus points. Morgan McIntosh is the second most likely to win a title, so you've got to hope that J'Den Cox can prevent that from happening. Bo Nickal doesn't have a single guy who looks most likely to take him out, but there's a reason Freshman don't win a lot of National Titles, so maybe he gets caught in a bad spot like he did against Nate Jackson and takes a loss well before he should. I think Nolf is their second best wrestler, but Isaiah Martinez beat him the B1G Finals, and he is set to face off against an undefeated Thomas Gantt before he even makes it there, but I have trouble seeing him not making the finals. Even Nico Megaludis, who is ranked 3, is somebody I could only see dropping to fourth place in this tournament. That's a lot of points in the worst case scenario, especially with how many bonus points those guys have put up this season.

As I said, Iowa needs those first two guys to take home titles for a legitimate shot at the overall title. After that, it's about having guys peak at the right time. Penn State has had their guys peak at the NCAAs for the last five years; Iowa has pretty much done the opposite. Those fortunes need to reverse this year. Iowa's always in the title hunt; hopefully this is the year they get number 24.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hulk Hogan's Presidential Run

With the 2016 election heating up, there is no better time to look back on the presidential campaign that was truly ahead of its time. If all you need now is celebrity status and a willingness to say and do stupid things, there was one candidate who was ready before all the rest. That candidate? The Immortal (and possibly racist) Hulk Hogan. I mean, just imagine if Donald Trump would have said what Hogan got in so much trouble for, we wouldn't have batted an eye, and there would have been plenty of Backwoods Iowans ready to say, "He's just saying what we're all thinking." But alas, Hogan tried to run for President in 2000 instead of 2016, and that was truly his biggest mistake. Still, let's take a look back on the greatest presidential candidate that the United States has ever seen.

In 1998, Hulk Hogan knew his career was over and decided to announce his retirement. There was no better time and place to do this than Thanksgiving Night on the Jay Leno show.

When Leno asked Hulk what he was going to announce, Hulk responded, "The big announcement is, since it's Thanksgiving and everyone's at home watching, I kind of come to the crossroads here and I've accomplished everything I wanted to do in wrestling. My family's secure, I've had a great career, and I wanted to officially announce my retirement."

Let's quickly break down the most ridiculous things from this short response.

3. "Since it's Thanksgiving and everyone's at home watching"
Wait, is that a thing? Is this a tradition that we celebrate to honor Native Americans? Like, we stole their land and infested them with disease, so we will watch late night talk shows to pay our respects? I don't remember that being a thing.

2. "I've accomplished everything I wanted to do in wrestling...I wanted to officially announce my retirement"
Hulk Hogan wrestled for another FIFTEEN years, and he has still been squawking about getting one more match in the WWE.

1. "My family's secure"
And the reason Hulk Hogan is still trying to wrestle is because he's still trying to make money. Your wife filing divorce, trying to support your daughter's musical career, and your son paralyzing someone has a way to drain your assets rather quickly. Hence, a lot more wrestling, plenty of public appearances, and racism, although the racism doesn't seem to be paying off.

But the Hulkster still had plenty to say about his potential Presidency, and Jay Leno was asking the tough questions:

Jay: But have you had any experience at all in this field?
Hulk: Well, I've been making decisions all my life.

The man has a point, and try to prove him wrong...you can't. He'd been making decisions his whole life, so how was he not ready to be president?

Jay: I'm glad you're not coming into comedy. Now what about your past? Any secrets? Cause they invesitgate you.

Hulk: We all make mistakes, and thank God we learn from those mistakes. I mean, I'm beyond this mid-life crisis that Clinton is going through now.

This is probably my favorite line from Hogan's brief Presidential run. He's beyond a mid-life crisis. The last twenty years of Hulk Hogan's life has been one giant mid-life crisis. He calls out Clinton for cheating on his wife, but this is a man who had sex with his friend's wife, which is...uh, better? This doesn't even bring up the much weirder aspect of his mid-life crisis. He has a weird obsession with his daughter to the point that he is now married to a woman who looks EXACTLY like his daughter.
And they both look like him, which does not help his case, but hey, to each their own. As for his policies, all he said was that he wanted to go into Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein (although he couldn't pronounce it right), which is dumb, and he wanted a flat tax which is somehow even dumber.

But did anyone take this seriously? Well, CBS News reported it, so yeah, people did take it seriously.

Hulk Hogan was ready to save America through training, prayers, and eating vitamins. Unfortunately, a larger mission was on the horizon.

Yes, just six weeks after Hulk Hogan announced his bid for the Presidency, and on the night he had planned on letting the world know who his Vice President would be, he gave it all up to save WCW (and also to call Bill Goldberg a sexual deviant).

What was so big that Hulk had to come back to wrestling? Well, a shot at Kevin Nash and the WCW title, which of course led to this:


When I began writing this piece, I imagined how much better the world would be if Hulk would have spent eight great years in the White House. We'd have no debt, there would be no childhood obesity, and terrorists would no longer exist as they would have long ago converted to Hulkamania. But we also wouldn't have The Fingerpoke of Doom, and quite frankly, that's not a world I want to live in.

You made the right choice, Hulk.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Alex Wright - The German Hulk Hogan

Alex Wright is not a name that sticks with the casual wrestling fan. He is most known as being a dancing, German jobber and didn't make a huge impact on the sport. But he was a dancing, German jobber, so I obviously loved him. I mean, just look at this guy:
And that was in preparation to take on Triple H. He straight up punked The Game. What's not to love? Alex Wright could have been so much more in different circumstances. Just with his dancing, he's one of the most charismatic Euorpean pro wrestlers in history; I mean, he's basically the Hulk Hogan of Germany.

But he wasn't just a master on the dance floor; he was also a master on the microphone, with many claiming he was the most influential German orator since a certain unnamed 1940s dictator.

I'm always a big fan of when foreigners make fun of Ameicans for only being able to speak one language, as it is a COMPLETELY legitimate claim, because Americans are so xenophobic that ehy only learn to speak Murrican. Also, I am 100% guilty of this, as I did not care to learn Spanish when I had the chance.  He then calls out DDP, which is probably a good call, because DDP's Vegas White Trash look really was the epitome of stupid Americans, but without looking it up, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Alex Wright did not beat DDP and go on to challenge for the World Heavyweight Title at Halloween Havoc. Must have been some interference.

But why pick on DDP when you can pick on Tony Schiavone?

He calls Schiavone a "Pig of a man. An overweight, out of shape, LOSER." This man was basically German Donald Trump. Das Wunderkind for next German Fuhrer. He does get a little lost when he calls out Americans for being losers, but then individually calls out every European wrestler, who are also losers. He was mostly right, but dead wrong when he included Norman Smiley in that group.

Obviously, he was great cutting promos on cable television, so the only question left was whether he could take it to the most important medium of them all. Could Alex Wright, Das Wunderkind, convince you to select him in a video game? I think this video gives a definitive answer.

Oh, hell yeah. I want high-flying acrobatics and total wrestling action, so I am definitely going to find out what Alex Wright is all about.

So what did the dancing and the mic skills lead to? Probably three of the most unforgettable title runs in WCW history. He won the Cruiserweight Title and feuded with Jericho for about a month before losing the belt. Then, less than a week later, he won the TV Title from Ultimo Dragon before losing the title to Disco Inferno who would later become his tag partner as they formed the Dancing Fools, which, shockingly, did not lead to a run with the titles.

Then Alex Wright dyed his hair, got a mohawk, and became Berlyn. It did not work out well, as you can see here.

Luckily, Alex Wright reformed his tag team with Disqo Inferno (who changed his name to be more like Sisqo) and they became Boogie Knights. They had a feud with the Natural Born Thrillers, but Disqo got hurt. It didn't matter thought, as General Rection subbed in for him and he and Alex Wright won the Tag Titles together. Since this was late era WCW, Wright defended the titles with Elix Skipper as his partner a few days later and lost it to different members of the Natural Born Thrillers. He remained on the WCW roster until the bitter end but never transitioned to the WWE.

He was known as Das Wunderkind, Berlyn, and The German Hulk Hogan. In the end, he was just Alex Wright, and although it was a goofy career, maybe it was just Wright.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Macho Man Randy Savage Is The Greatest: Volume 1 - Buster Douglas

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.

In the summer of 1990, WWE had big plans for Saturday Night's Main Event, as Hulk Hogan was going to take on the Macho Man. To make this match even bigger, WWE was going to bring in Mike Tyson to be the special guest referee. There was just one problem. Mike Tyson didn't quite come through on his end of the bargain as he got knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas two weeks before the event. This meant the WWE had to switch to boxing's current Heavyweight Champion, and Mike Tyson wouldn't make his WWE debut for another decade.

Although there was a change in plans, Savage still did everything possible to put on a show. I'm not even going to touch on the match with Hogan, but instead focus on what Macho Man did after the match. Savage taunting Buster Douglas after losing to Hulk Hogan is amazing. The amount that Macho Man does here is absolutely incredible. He turned what should have been a disaster into an amazing moment that shows just how incredible he is.

Do you think Macho Man is scared of Boxing's Heavyweight Champion, a man who just knocked out Mike Tyson? Hell no.
Macho slaps Buster Douglas with a left and then immediately runs back to lay on the ropes while wagging his finger in the air. That is the definition of a boss maneuver. But do you think that's the only awesome thing he's going to do? Haha, think again.
Then he dances around the ring ready to box Douglas, because Macho Man (technically Macho King at this point) does not give a shit. The only problem is that Macho gets bored since he knows Douglas is an easy win for him. Since Buster is clearly out of his league, Savage challenges Hogan for a while before it is clear that Hogan is scared of Savage as well.

Finally, Macho Man gets bored and decides he can float like a butterfly while intimidating the champ. This is a great plan that would work if Hulk Hogan treated him like a decent human being. Instead, Hogan chooses the coward's way and shoves Savage from behind putting him in Buster Douglas's range for a knockout punch, and...
He whiffs, badly. Hogan still celebrates, but Macho isn't willing to let this turn into a debacle and go down from a phantom punch, so he clinches up with Buster Douglas, and clearly has to tell him, "Hit me again," in order for Buster Douglas to actually do a reasonable job of throwing a punch.
Basically, what I'm saying is that if Macho Man wanted to, he could have been a World Heavyweight Champion in boxing. Instead, he was one of the greatest pro wrestlers ever and deserves every bit of appreciation that he receives. Every move he makes in this minutes is magical, and it simply can't be overstated how amazingly in control he was of every single moment.

Macho Man is the greatest. Expect more evidence in the near future.

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's Time To Charm MusclePharm

I know what you're thinking. You thought that this Adonis-like body was all natural. Unfortunately, at age 31, I need a little help to keep up my image as the personification of perfection. Since I'm too cheap to pay for the good stuff (steroids), I turn to my good friends at MusclePharm. They make a wide variety of products, but I keep it simple with a daily vitamin, pre-workout, protein powder, and protein bar. Luckily for me, MusclePharm makes great products in each of these categories.

Daily Vitamin: Armor-V
Daily life is hard, as there are always people trying to take you off your game, whether it be giving you extra assignments at work or shooting you, Armor has everything you need to survive the day. It gives me both inner and outer strength, and I feel much better when I have had my daily vitamin.

Pre-Workout: Assault
This is where we get into the awesome names that make you feel manly and give you an uber-workout-boner. Assault is what I do to any weight that dares stand before me thanks to the energy boost I get from this product. The other great thing about it is the price continues to drop on Bodybuilding.com, so it's a super cheap pre-workout supplement. That is very important to me, as I'm not exactly setting the world on fire with my cash flow, so being reasonably priced is real nice for a fella like me. Oh, and like all pre-workouts, make sure you build in some time after taking it to take a dump before working out.

Protein Powder: Combat
Combat Protein Powder is a tasty treat in both chocolate and vanilla (I'm a very plain flavor sort of guy when it comes to my proteins). I'm a believer that protein powders are basically all the same, so if you like the taste and it comes cheap, you should go for it. The only one I wouldn't recommend is some brand that has a Jay Cutler sponsorship. It was the bodybuilder, not the quarterback, but I feel like the stink of the quarterback got involved in the flavor making process, so it'll leave you pouting on the sidelines.

Protein Bar: Combat Crunch
I know I said I was a big fan of MusclePharm products, but this one is off the chain by any standards. If you want a premium protein bar, it does not get any better than this. I scoff at people who are eating Quest bars like they are any good. Combat Crunch Bars (Peanut Butter flavor) are better than crack. I've never had crack, but I feel pretty safe in saying these are better. It's basically like eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that is topped with a nestle crunch bar. These are the one MusclePharm product that is a little costly, but it is well worth the price, as they are that damn good.

The only downside with MusclePharm is that they aren't sponsoring me. I mean, I'm not a professional athlete, but I lift, train in MMA, and go for runs and would gladly be a walking/rolling/running billboard for their company for the low cost of some free products and some swag to stroll around in. So MusclePharm representative, add me to your stable of sponsorships by reaching out on Twitter or by email. Together, we can have a beautiful relationship. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Dog Punked Me On The Basketball Court

I decided to go to the local park and shoot some hoops the other day. I hadn't shot in a while, and my shot is usually pretty bad, but it was absolutely busted the first few times I threw the ball at the basket, as it literally looked like that was all I was trying to accomplish. Luckily, I had my dog there for moral support, as she loves me no matter how bad my skills are on the court.

But after a few shots, I started to get back to my old level (which is still very bad, but it at least looked like I was aiming at something). And although she was tired from chasing her ball earlier, she was still curious to watch me play on the court, and she even decided to step up and play some defense. At first, she was just crowding my space, so I couldn't jump forward on my shots. It was incredibly effective.

After that, she took it to another level. She started crying at me to give her more attention, because my friend, the basketball, was getting all of my sweet touch, at least that's what I thought. She got tired of playing defense shortly after that and decided to hang out under the hoop for rebounds. That is when she took it to her final level of intimidation.

I rose up to take a picture perfect three point shot and right as I was about to release the ball, my dog used all her might to bark as loud as she could. It came out of nowhere, and surprised the hell out of me, causing my shot to go about three feet to the left. I started laughing, because it was a good prank by my dog. I grabbed the ball, lined up to shoot, and went to fire when she barked at me again and completely threw off my shot. This was no longer a game to her as she was in my head and throwing off my entire game. She was out there punking me on the playground, and I was losing my rep as a true baller.

I did the only thing I could do at that point. I started working on dunks (layups), so I couldn't be taken out of my game. Still, the damage had been done. My dog punked me out on the basketball court, and she's not going to let me hear the end of it.

Now I just need to work on catching a frisbee in my mouth so I can have my revenge.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sami Zayn Is The Perfect Professional Wrestler

I went to NXT in Largo at The Minnreg Hall this past weekend, and this was probably the strongest NXT house show that I have seen. They put a lot of top level talent out there like American Alpha, The Vaudevillians, and Bayley, while complementing it with some hilarious talent like Alex Riley, Angelo Dawkins, and Patrick from Tough Enough. But most importantly, it included Sami Zayn, and his match against Manny Andrade, more than any other, showed why Zayn is the perfect professional wrestler.

Now I guess that before I start talking about Zayn, I should probably let you know who Manny Andrade is. Right now, he's a nobody, because I don't think he's been on television before, but he is, like many, a guy who tore it up in smaller organizations (as La Sombra) before moving on to developmental, and seeing him go against Zayn made me feel very good about his future. That being said, I saw him once earlier and thought very little of him besides him laying in the ropes once and looking like a "cool guy."

But Sami Zayn vs. Manny Andrade showed me that Sami Zayn is the best professional wrestler for so many reasons. When I saw Manny Andrade come out, I started to hypothesize who would dominate him in the upcoming match. I was guessing Baron Corbin or maybe even Apollo Crews, but when Sami's music hit, the entire crowd erupted in cheers. There is no question that Sami Zayn is the most beloved NXT Superstar out there, and the whole crowd immediately perks up with happiness and sings along with his song making it an incredibly positive place to be. My wife isn't a huge wrestling fan, and had really only seen parts of his matches on NXT, but just watching his entrance and his interaction with fans made her remark, "He seems nice. I'd like to hang out and have a beer with him." And here's the thing: Obviously I would want to go, but if my wife said that she was going out for drinks with Sami Zayn without me, I'd be totally fine with it. I mean, I'd be jealous, but I wouldn't worry about any funny stuff going on.

So I got prepared for a squash match where Sami Zayn would dominate this little known wrestler. It was not that. With other top wrestlers like Finn Balor or Apollo Crews, you always kind of know that they will prevail, but with Zayn, it's different. He doesn't always win, so there is always that small sense of doubt that he might not pull it out. It adds so much drama and excitement to his matches that other top stars simply can't match. He's in that sweet spot where you'll believe he can beat anybody, while simultaneously believing he could lose to anybody.

And this match was incredible. Had I gone to four hours worth of NXT tapings, this could have easily stolen the show, and I would have felt lucky to have seen it. The fact that I saw this at an NXT house show at a place that is basically the size of an elementary school gym made it all that more amazing. There were 4-5 times where I could have seen the match ending, only to have it continue with just a split second before the three count. I mean, sure Sami Zayn was 99.9% going to win, but it was just a house show, so maybe he could take a loss? With other top guys, you don't get that feeling; you know they'll win. Sami Zayn is different, and it makes it so much better.

And yes, Sami Zayn did end up hitting the Helluva Kick for the win. But I was on the edge of my seat (which I guess would be on my toes, since I was standing) the entire match. That is why Sami Zayn is the perfect professional wrestler.