Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Quintessential Breakdown of Brawl for All - Part 3

Brawl For All was one of the most fascinating ideas in WWE history. It's when the WWE took the reality era to a logical place, having real fights, under extraordinarily stupid rules. You may think the WWE did this to capitalize on the popularity of the UFC, and I'm sure that was kind of the case, but there was just one problem. WWE is always like five years behind on things, so instead of the UFC being fresh and exciting, it was actually at its lowest point in popularity since starting in 1993. It was literally the worst time to have Brawl For All, but as it turned out, there was never going to be a good time to have Brawl For All.

Finally, we have made it to Round 2. In round one, we saw Steve Blackman, Bradshaw, Savio Vega, Bart Gunn, Dr. Death Steve Williams, Dan Severn, and 2 Cold Scorpio win their matches. that's only seven, as Hawk and Darren Drozdov fought to a draw, so it was impossible to know who would be advancing in that one. Actually, it was nearly impossible to know who was going to advance in any of the matches as we will get to as we move through a totally nonsensical second round.

Round 2: Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. Bart Gunn
This was the most memorable fight in Brawl for All, as Dr. Death was the guy that the WWE wanted to win this thing, as they could then push him forward like a legitimate badass, much like he was when he was successful in Japan. Dr. Death started out well as he easily landed a takedown in the first few seconds of the match. He actually didn't do that bad in the boxing aspect of that first round either despite having his hips as far back behind his body as possible and leading with his head while throwing all of his punches, which is probably the worst possible striking strategy as you will have no power and your chin will be completely exposed to counter strikes. Even in the second round, Bart Gunn didn't do much striking wise, but he did surprise Williams with a takedown near the end of the round. Then the third round happened, and towards the end both guys started throwing as many punches as possible, and Gunn eventually landed with a left hook that turned out the lights on Dr. Death.

Brawl For It All Fight 6 by xusername26x
Looking back, I think the rules really hurt Dr. Death. Anytime they were in the ropes they broke, and in fact, anytime that Dr. Death worked a tie up so he could go for a takedown, the ref immediately broke things up, because he had no concept of how most takedowns occur. Had Dr. Death been allowed to work his strength, he could have won, but Bart Gunn instead would move on to the semifinals. .

Round 2: The Godfather vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
You may remember The Godfather from his loss to Dan Severn. Dan Severn withdrew from the tournament after dominating his first match, which was kind of nice, because now we wouldn't know who was definitely going to win the damn thing. Nearly as sad was 2 Cold Scorpio, who won his match, but they didn't bother televising it and only showed highlights. Still, the pre-match was fantastic as The Godfather offered Scorpio all of his hoes if he would walk away from competing in Brawl for All. Scorpio declined, and we were left with black-on-black violence. The Godfather actually looked rather impressive in this fight, as he he utilized his jab, pushed Scorpio back to the corner and really worked the body over when he got him there. On top of that, he had his hoes rub him down in between rounds to keep him fresh. That's a pimp move.

Brawl For It All Fight 7 by xusername26x

Round 2: Darren Drozdov vs. Savio Vega
Drozdov fought to a draw in his opening match against Road Warrior Hawk, who was battling alcoholism in real life at the time. Drozdov moved on, because the WWE decided they would exploit Hawk's issues with alcohol into a television storyline. It's almost as uncomfortable as watching promos of Chris Benoit stealing Woman from Kevn Sullivan. Savio Vega at least won his first round match.

The first round was fairly even, although not all that good, as Savio Vega kept slipping, and neither guy really landed anything of significance. Savio had cleaner boxing, but Droz's hooks were finding their mark, and Savio got a little too obsessed with takedowns, as his wrestling was not good enough to secure them. Droz started going for takedowns in the second and third round, and that was more than enough to secure his victory. They both only won one match, but Drozdov won his at the right time and moved on to the semifinals of Brawl for All.

Round 2: Bradshaw vs. Marc Mero
"Marvelous" Marc Mero had the chance to be the third guy who did not win his first round match to somehow, inexplicably, make it to the semifinals of Brawl for All. He lost to Steve Blackman, who outside of Dan Severn, probably looked like the favorite after the first round but had to withdraw from injury. So he took on the big Texan, Bradshaw. These guys probably had the best staredown, which was good, because that was the only thing they were the best at.

In the first round, Marc Mero basically lit him up on the feet as he was the only one who could land any sort of significant strikes. But Bradshaw got a takedown, so they went into round two all tied up. The second round was basically the exact same thing. Round three was when controversy hit, as Mero totally lit up Bradshaw on the feet again, Bradshaw clinched, the referee wanted a break, started counting, got to three and then Bradshaw got a takedown. The ref counted the takedown which meant that it was all tied up at 15 at the end of regulation.

Mero was rightfully pissed, especially since he would lost in overtime after Bradshaw hit a takedown and I'm not sure if either guy landed a punch int he fourth round since they were both completely winded from three one-minute rounds.

Brawl For It All Fight 8 by xusername26x

And we have made it to the end of round 2. Onto the semifinals where half of the contestants didn't win their first round match, another one only won his second round match on an illegal takedown, and one guy who had a legitimate knockout, but no worries on that last one as his story will get some kayfabe added into it to make this a complete shitshow. I love Brawl for All.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Quintessential Breakdown of Brawl For All - Part 2

Brawl For All was one of the most fascinating ideas in WWE history. It's when the WWE took the reality era to a logical place, having real fights, under extraordinarily stupid rules. You may think the WWE did this to capitalize on the popularity of the UFC, and I'm sure that was kind of the case, but there was just one problem. WWE is always like five years behind on things, so instead of the UFC being fresh and exciting, it was actually at its lowest point in popularity since starting in 1993. It was literally the worst time to have Brawl For All, but as it turned out, there was never going to be a good time to have Brawl For All.

The rules allowed punching and takedowns with most punches landed in a round worth five points, each takedown worth five points, and a knockdown being worth 10 points. The entire fight was three one-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest between each round.

We left after the first four fights of the first round. I should point out that the referee from the first four fights, legendary wrestler and shooter, Dan Hodge, is no longer refereeing, probably because he's embarrassed to be watching this. But I'm not embarrassed, so let's continue the action of these glorious first round battles.

Round 1: Bart Gunn vs. Bob Holly
Bart Gunn was one half of the Smoking Gunns until his teammate, Billy Gunn, decided to become a new-aged Honky Tonk Man known as Rockabilly, and eventually would move on to Degeneration X. Bob Holly started off as Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, a NASCAR themed pro wrestler, and he just slowly moved away from that but was still completely inconsequential at this point. The most interesting aspect of this was that these two were currently tag team partners but would have to square off in Brawl for All. It started off great as Bob Holly gave a shove to Bart Gunn's back before the match started. Then the fight started, and it was by far the cleanest fight that I had seen up to this point. It wasn't great by any means, but Bart Gunn threw a pretty clean jab, and Bob Holly tried to work inside to attack the body. Unfortunately, Bart was able to do damage with a hooking uppercut that you never see from professional fighters, because it's about the easiest angle to block imaginable, but it worked fairly well against Holly. Bart Gunn outpointed Holly in every round in what was the most technically skilled fight, but as I mentioned, it still wasn't a great fight.

Oh yeah, and the greatest part happened after the fight when Bart tried to congratulate his tag partner for a hard fight, and Bob Holly threw a sucker punch, and they started brawling. Somehow, this match was one of the few I couldn't find online, so here's video highlights from a hardcore match they had a year later.

Round 1: Dan "The Beast" Severn vs. The Godfather
So, unfortunately, I found the video but can't embed it, but you really need to watch it because the commentary really makes the match. The Godfather had a pimp wrestling gimmick where he came out with "hos" (local strippers) to the ring. He went up against Dan Severn, who earned his "Beast" nickname as a former UFC Champion who was an incredibly high level Greco Roman wrestler. Yep, just a UFC Champion vs. a Pimp in a real fight. The fight went as you would expect, where Godfather actually looked okay on the feet, but he couldn't stop a takedown. Severn clearly had two takedowns in every round, but the commentary is possibly the most clueless bullshit in the history of the WWE, which is saying a lot. Jerry Lawler and Shawn Michaels know about as much about fighting as my aunt. I'm not sure if they have ever seen any form of amateur wrestling in their lives. Every time Severn took him down, both of them were like, "Well, I don't think that's a takedown." Severn was literally pinning Godfather, and they both agreed, "Well, that may be a pin, but that's not a takedown." Also amazing was the fact that the production truck was listening to the guys on commentary for scoring, so they somehow had Godfather up 10-5 after two rounds. The real judges got the score right as Severn advanced with relative ease.

Round 1: Quebecer Pierre vs. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams
I know every review of these fights is, "Holy shit, this one is somehow even crazier than the one before," but holy shit, this one is even crazier than the one before, and it cannot possibly be topped. Quebecer Pierre wore an eye patch to the ring. This wasn't a gimmick eye patch either; he legitimately only had one eye. They let a man with one eye get in a legitimate fight against probably the second biggest favorite in the tournament, Steve Williams. Williams was afour-time All-American wrestler and football player at the University of Oklahoma. He's about as legit of a badass as you can possibly be without being a professional fighter. They matched him up against a one-eyed man. Dr. Death just tooled him with takedowns, which was good because it was pretty clear that ol' Stevie was not too strong with his boxing. Ol' Pierre was completely exhausted about ten seconds into the second round but he continued to take a beating until the ref eventually called a standing knockout with five seconds left since Pierre never fell to the ground, he was just really tired. Also, he only had one eye. Enjoy it in all of its glory.

Brawk For it All 5 by xusername26x

First Round: 2 Cold Scorpio vs. 8-Ball
Brawl for All was so consistently getting booed out of the building that they put this match on before Raw started and just showed about thirty seconds of highlights. 2 Cold Scorpio was a high flyer  who gave up about sixty pounds to 8-Ball who was part of a biker gang tag team. 8-Ball apparently beat on him early but then faded as Scorpio was able to take the final two rounds and win the match. It looked like there were some fun flurries, but since the WWE was worried about their precious ratings, we never got to see this match in its entirety.

But that wraps up the first round. Next time, we will go over the second round, and oh yes, it will continue to be a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Quintessential Breakdown of Brawl For All - Part 1

Brawl For All was one of the most fascinating ideas in WWE history. It's when the WWE took the reality era to a logical place, having real fights, under extraordinarily stupid rules. You may think the WWE did this to capitalize on the popularity of the UFC, and I'm sure that was kind of the case, but there was just one problem. WWE is always like five years behind on things, so instead of the UFC being fresh and exciting, it was actually at its lowest point in popularity since starting in 1993. It was literally the worst time to have Brawl For All, but as it turned out, there was never going to be a good time to have Brawl For All.

The rules allowed punching and takedowns with most punches landed in a round worth five points, each takedown worth five points, and a knockdown being worth 10 points. The entire fight was three one-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest between each round.

Before we get started with the "fights," I'd like to point out that this tournament is officiated by a 70 year old dude who seems pretty spry. That's because he's Danny Hodge, a legend in amateur and professional wrestling, and I would probably pick him to beat at least half of these guys. And that's not in his prime. That's 70-year-old Dan Hodge just schooling fools. In his prime, he wins the whole tournament.

1st Round - Marc Mero vs. Steve Blackman
This was probably the most interesting fight of the first round on paper. Marc Mero was a Golden Gloves boxer and Steve Blackman was some sort of kickboxer who seemed to be good with numbchucks. Unfortunately, there were no numbchucks allowed for this one. I'm guessing the WWE thought this would be a good slugfest to get things going. Instead, Blackman put on a wrestling clinic, and there were only about seven punches thrown in the fight, as Blackman landed ten takedowns over the three minute fight. Honestly, Blackman's blast double looked pretty good, and he believably could have fought some real fights. I'd totally take Blackman over CM Punk in a fight. Unfortunately, the crowd booed the fight the entire time, so it was not an ideal start to things. Also not ideal, Blackman got hurt training for his next match and Mero got put back in the tournament despite losing his first fight 65-0.

Brawl For It All Fight 1 by xusername26x

1st Round - Mark Canterbury vs. Bradshaw
Canterbury was formerly in a white trash hillbilly gimmick as Henry O. Godwin (HOG, get it?) but wanted to go by his real name, so he could get all the fame from winning Brawl For All. Bradshaw thought he was the toughest guy in the WWE but would later get punked out by ECW announcer Joey Styles. This was more what the WWE was looking for, but it was still fairly shitty. These guys came out swinging for the fences and throwing haymakers but generally not looking like they knew what they were doing. After about 30 seconds, they came to a scary realization: Fighting is super tiring. So they both rested for the second half of the first round. Then Bradshaw threw some decent punches in the second round and rocked Canterbury, but it still wasn't enough to get a knockdown. Before the third round, the fans had started a "Boring" chant, and the third round delivered on that chant as neither guy had any energy.

Brawl For It All Fight 2 by xusername26x

1st Round - Brakus vs. Savio Vega
Poor Brakus. He was a massive German who had the look that Vince McMahon loves. They had vignettes building him up, but he got put in the Brawl for All and got his face smashed by Savio Vega, because Vega was a legitimately tough Puerto Rican. He fought like you would expect a bodybuilder to fight, big punches with thuds but no snap in them, and Savio was much quicker and repeatedly punched Brakus in the face. He tried using his strength for takedowns, but that only worked in the first round. Then, Savio adjusted, and repeatedly punched the guy in the face. This was basically the end for Brakus.

1st Round - Hawk vs. Darren "Puke" Drozdov
This may be my favorite fight of the entire tournament. It wasn't good by any means, but it was hilarious. Hawk was a tag team wrestling legend, and Darren Drozdov could puke on command. Hawk came out as Hawk with full wrestling attire and face paint for his fight. I think all UFC fighters should start wearing face paint, because it is totally awesome. Then to start this fight, it looked like Drozdov did not want to throw punches. Then Hawk kept punching him in the face, and Drozdov just kept taking punches. In the second round, Drozdov just repeatedly threw right hands but they connected a good amount and he rocked Hawk a couple times to win the second round. Then, they both threw punches in the third round. Since Hawk had the cardio of an obese 70 year-old, he had to spit his mouthpiece out to breathe, and Drozdov decided to do the same. They threw more punches at each other, and it was bad but mildly entertaining. Then, the most amazing thing happened. They called it a Draw. In the third round, they landed the exact same amount of punches. No fourth round, no nothing. I have no idea how they planned to decide who was going to move on. Luckily, Hawk was injured in the fight, so they had to keep Drozdov in the thing.

Brawl For It All Fight 3 by xusername26x

This is just the first half of the first round. There is so much more to come.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Tiny Asian Woman Gave Me the Key to Happiness

The other day I took Casey The Dog to the park so we could both get some fresh air and stretch our legs. Casey had adoring fans all over the park who thought she was such a good looking dog, so cute, and so sweet; three compliments I never receive myself.

After talking with how cute Casey was to a mother with her two small children, they walked away as Casey stared down a squirrel. When she got bored with that, I turned around and a small (definitely under 5 feet tall) Asian woman appeared out of thin air. I had pretty good sight lines all around me, but somehow she snuck up on me.

She was smiling and seemed friendly, and yes, I understand that typing that sentence makes me sound like I'm talking about a stray dog, but weird shit happens to me, so I've learned to embrace it. I'm an incredibly approachable person, because I'm 150 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal, and I rarely wear underwear. So my new friend struck up a conversation with me.

Although she had a heavy accent, she was committed to teaching me. And teach me she did. I found out that the key to happiness is a simple phrase that, if repeated, will take all of your troubles away. We went over this phrase together repeatedly, and I wasn't sure if we were ever going to part ways, or if I was going to just keep chanting Nam-Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo until the end of time. But she had such a happy demeanor, I really wasn't anxious to get away, no matter how many times we repeatedly went through the phrase. I was achieving inner peace.

Finally, Casey The Dog saw a squirrel, and we were forced to part ways. When I turned around, she was gone, leaving me with nothing but this card.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kutztown's Finest - Jordan Morgan

The Bears final pick of the 2017 NFL Draft was their third small school prospect. This time, going out to Kutztown, which I'm just going to assume is in rural Pennsylvania and drafting offensive lineman, Jordan Morgan. I took a look at his game against East Stroudsburg which is definitely not a made up school and instead one of Kutztown's world famous opponents from this last season.

The first thing you should know about Jordan is that despite that name, this is actually not a hot chick. Jordan Morgan definitely sounds like a hot girl's name, and, no offense Mr. Morgan, but a hot chick you are not.

So there isn't a ton to analyze here. Morgan was big strong and moved well on his feet. Sometimes he seemed to lunge into his blocks and kind of bury his head instead of keeping his eyes up. But overall, he was very aggressive and looked to dominate his competition instead of just doing enough to get the job done. There were times where he was blocking a guy 10 yards away from the play, so I really liked the aggression.

He straight up ate the right defensive end's lunch all day long; there's not a whole lot more you can ask for out of a prospect. He definitely seems worth the cost of a fifth round pick.

The Bears must really trust their scouting, because there wasn't anything conventional about their entire draft. Yes, a lot of words have been expressed about Mitch Trubisky, but outside of the trade, that was probably their most conventional pick. All that said was that they took the best quarterback in the draft really high. After that they took a giant small school prospect, then a safety recovering from injuries, then a tiny small school prospect, and finally Jordan Morgan, a normal sized prospect (for his position) from yet another tiny school. The Bears clearly trust their scouting department. Right now, the world is laughing at the Bears. Only time will tell whether the Bears will get the last laugh.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tarik "The Freak" Cohen - The Chicago Bears New Running Back

With the Bears second pick in the fourth round, they went to add depth as they selected Tarik Cohen out of North Carolina A+T. Running back is undoubtedly the Bears strongest position as Jordan Howard showed that he can be a bell-cow for the offense. But surviving on one back isn't really an option in today's NFL, so the Bears went to add depth with their second small-school prospect of the draft. To get a better feel for him, I took a look at his game against Kent State.

The two things that stand out about Cohen is that he is very small and very fast. At just 5'6", he is going to be one of the shortest running backs in the NFL, but despite the diminutive size, he can get those little legs moving fast as he ran a 4.42 forty.

Cohen is only going to be used as a change of pace back, but he still shows good power in his legs. He also excels where you would expect, and that is making tight cuts to avoid defenders.

One thing I worry about is his vision as a runner between the tackles. He never really hit a hole, and was always make cuts and jukes behind the line of scrimmage. Most of that was out of necessity as the Kent State defense overwhelmed his offensive line, but it's never good to be in the habit of dancing that much in the backfield.

He also showed a good ability to run routes and has good habits with his catches as he can catch the ball away from his body.

And here's your obligatory, "Holy Shit" play.

Hoo, that spin move is special.

Overall, I really liked what I saw from Cohen. He basically single-handedly sent a game into a fourth overtime against a team that is on another level from his own. He showed he can break tackles, run routes, and make catches, so I think he will be a great change of pace back for Jordan Howard. The only real concern I had was his habit of always looking to bounce things outside. Sometimes it can turn into something special, but it is far less likely to work in the pros. The Bears are hoping they got the next Darren Sproles, and even if it's a poor man's version, that's still a real nice pick in the fourth round of the draft.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Action Eddie Jackson - The Chicago Bears New Safety

I'm doing some quick looks at the Bears draft picks. The Chicago Bears first move got all the publicity, but the rest of these guys are going to be incredibly important on whether this was a successful draft for the team. Since the Bears did not have a third round pick, we move on to the fourth round where the Bears first selected Eddie Jackson, a safety out of Alabama. I checked out his games against Tennessee and Texas A+M to get a better look at him as a player.

The first thing to note about Eddie Jackson is that he was good enough to start at Alabama. That's a pretty great start for any prospect. He's already got to have a pretty high floor. He's an in the box safety as opposed to a center fielder, and although I didn't see any thumping hits, he certainly didn't shy away from contact. He seemed solid in his role.

Another thing that I was excited to see was that he was also a returner for Alabama, which gives you an idea of his athleticism, which is good since he wasn't able to do any of the speed drills during the combine. And yeah, stuff like this is pretty cool.
I can definitely get behind that.

As for how he performs in coverage, there wasn't a ton to go off of. He seemed solid in man coverage, but gave quite a bit of cushion when he was running a deep zone where there was enough room for receivers to make plays. It's always tough to judge safeties off of limited looks, as that may have been the design of the play.

Overall, you have to love the athleticism, and you have to hope the coverage skills are there enough for him to be a starting strong safety. I mean, he was good enough to start for Alabama, so there's likely less competition to be a starter for the Bears. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Adam Shaheen - The Ashland Dream

The Bears shocked the world in the first round by trading a boatload to move up one spot to take Mitchell Trubisky, a quarterback that they worked out once and never spoke to again. I am finally done talking about that transaction and going to move on to the next move that the Bears did to surprise many, when they drafted Adam Shaheen, a tight end out of Ashland University. No, I did not misspell Alabama, as they took a guy from a school called Ashland. Since I am a massive nerd, I had heard quite a bit about him leading up to the draft, but even that information could be summed up with 6'6", 270, and moves well. I decided that I needed to know more, so I watched his games against Wayne State and Northwood.

Let's go back to that size, because he's the biggest damn player on the field most of the time. He looks like an extra lineman as opposed to a tight end. Still, I didn't really see him using his size to dominate guys. He was a fine blocker, but I came in thinking that he was going to take people to Slamtown in his blocking.

The next thing I noticed is that I hate how he runs. He seems really choppy when he gets started off the snap, but he does much better once he gets going. Still, it's not the smoothest process. I also felt like he didn't utilize his length enough. He seemed like a T-Rex out there.

All that being said, he was a good enough athlete to consistently be open for Ashland. Like, I have a tough time understanding how the quarterback didn't throw his way more often. Instead, the Ashland got Rex Grossman Syndrome occasionally and just wanted to fire the ball as far as he could. It usually didn't work out too well.

He does seem to adjust to the ball well, and with his frame, he's going to be a tough matchup for any team. Here was the best highlight I saw in the two games I watched.
And I'm sure that's what excited the Bears front office. Overall, I see potential, but considering he was the 45th pick in teh draft, there are still way more question marks than I am comfortable with, especially in a draft so loaded with tight end talent that the Broncos were able to get Jake Butt in the 5th round.

Anytime you are dealing with a small school prospect, the biggest question is how his skills translate to a much higher level of competition. That frame should translate anywhere, but there is also a lot of refinement necessary for him to be successful in the NFL. Here's to hoping that he can improve his game and give Mitchell Trubisky a reliable target in the passing game.