WWE News: Cesaro In Hot Water Over Orton/Cena Comments

Cesaro has been in a bit of a rut for a while. It can be argued that his woes began when he jumped off of the Zeb Colter team to join forces with Paul Heyman. That seemed like such a slam-dunk of a decision but he’s done not much other than stagnated since. It might even be hard to believe that the King of Swing actually competed for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View earlier this year. By the time he slammed Big Show out of the ring to win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30 it seemed like he had nothing but green pastures ahead of him.

While he’s not found himself being pushed up the ladder like it appeared he would have during 2014, recent events indicate that WWE is actively trying to give him a raw deal. Shockingly, he lost his Intercontinental Championship 2 out of 3 Falls challenge against Dolph Ziggler without scoring a single fall. When does that ever happen? Then on the following  night on Raw he suffered a beat down by Dean Ambrose like he was nothing more than an enhancement talent. What gives?

While an explanation for much of Cesaro’s 2014 booking would be nice, at least the poor booking of the past week might have an answer. News has been circulating online that Cesaro might actually be experiencing a punishment for an interview he gave to the Liverpool Echo that was published on October 22nd. Here is the incriminating part…

Liverpool Echo: It’s certainly a time when the likes of yourself, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, the new wave of guys coming through, are proving that you are performers who can ‘go’ in the ring, just as much as you can talk on the mic.

Cesaro: “Exactly. It is a new era of guys, it’s a new generation, and it’s a lot of fun to watch that because there are fresh match-ups. I mean I’m sick of seeing John Cena against Randy Orton for the 500th time. It’s great that we have some new, young guys that can come out and provide absolutely great match-ups and for the fans there are fresh, exciting matches and things to watch.”

The belief is that because Cesaro spoke out against Orton and Cena, his booking reflects WWE’s disdain. I do understand why a company wouldn’t want an employee bashing the product, but his opinion is shared by a significant segment of the WWE Universe. Additionally, his current plight seems eerily similar to that of Dolph Ziggler when The Showoff was de-pushed throughout the latter half of 2013 and early part of this year. Ziggler’s never ending stretch of punishment-booking was also credited to negative comments that he gave in an interview about WWE’s top talent. Is Cesaro experiencing a similar situation now?

Let me know your thoughts on the current state of The Swiss Superman by leaving a comment below. And as always, make sure to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson.

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Mitch and Al Radio Ep. #7: UFC 179 Review

Welcome back to Mitch and Al Radio, your 30 minute fix of pro-wrestling awesomeness. Al N Jaxson is missing this week BUT DON’T WORRY! Resident UFC writer Sgt. Damage joins Mitch as he talks about the recent UFC 179 event. It’s a great conversation that you’ll be glad you listened to.

To listen to this week’s episode…
1. Click the Play button on the player at the top of this page.
2. Check us out directly at the site that hosts us (libsyn)…CLICK HERE.
3. Look up Mitch and Al Radio on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe! (This is how I listen to it. Give us a good rating! Hosting issues has set us behind on iTunes, but we’re still on Stitcher Radio!

Leave a comment below or even ask a question for myself and Al N Jaxson. We’ll answer your questions on the next podcast. And as always, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson to keep up with all things Mitch. Take care.

Main Event Review For October 28th, 2014

(Just a quick reminder that my Main Event Review is my regular gig over at TJRWrestling.com. This article you are reading is what is published over there and I’d encourage you to check that site out. There is a plethora of amazing writers that cover all aspects of professional wrestling.)

Welcome to the best wrestling show on Tuesday nights, WWE Main Event! This week’s show is broadcast out of Houston, Texas. Announced prior to the show is a MizTV segment featuring Mark Henry, which doesn’t end up happening.

I recap this show by writing about all of the highlights, sprinkling in my opinion whenever I see fit. I won’t do any in-depth play-by-play, but I’ll try to cover the good stuff. At the end, I’ll wrap things up with a snazzy Final Thoughts section. Lets get to the action.

MizTV Featuring The Usos

As The Miz and Damien Mizdow were making their way to the ring, JBL was telling Byron Saxton and Michael Cole that he’s joining them on commentary on Main Event because he’ll be going on vacation to Bermuda after this. He says it’ll cause him to miss Smackdown later this week, which is in actuality taped Tuesday night immediately after Main Event. I like how dedicated WWE is to the kayfabe of Smackdown being on Friday.

Miz is still angry over the tag match on Monday night when The Usos pinned Miz illegally. He asked Jimmy and Jey why they cheated and they simply denied knowing what he was talking about. As they responded to him, they mimicked the stunt double schtick with each other. Having an actual set of twins doing it is funny. Miz acknowledged that they were poking fun at him then grew frustrated as they joined in as stunt doubles for Miz. The segment culminated with Miz demanding a ref come out for an immediate rematch while all three guys in the ring copied all of his mannerisms. I’m sure that some are getting tired of the stunt double joke but I think they can drag out for another month or so by adding elements like this to it.

Referee Charles Robinson came out before the break. The match is up next.

The Usos vs. The Miz & Damien Mizdow

As the match starts out, JBL points out that everyone has a stunt double except for Charles Robinson and Byron Saxton. Burn on Michael Cole.

Miz did a good job of playing off the crowd dynamics when he went to tag Damien into the match. When he’d point to Mizdow like he was asking the crowd if they wanted him to tag him in the crowd would cheer loudly. Then he’d raise his arms in the air for himself (mimicked by Mizdow) and the crowd would boo passionately. He did this back and forth several times in a row to really show the contrasting reactions that they were getting.

While The Miz was hurting on the outside, Damien went over to him to copy the pain he was in. This led to a flying Uso dive to the outside that only connected onto Sandow. Miz followed it up with a kick to an Uso jaw.

Near the end of the match, Jimmy was hurt and looked like he might suffer a pinfall. As the ref had his back turned Jey tried to insert himself into the match for his brother. Charles Robinson caught and prevented him from doing so but then had to briefly turn his attention to Miz and Mizdow. Jey then tried to switch out illegally again, this time successfully. When Miz came over he rolled him up for the win.

Winners by pinfall: The Usos

The Miz and Damien Mizdow argued with the ref as The Usos left the ring, celebrating their win.

John Cena was asked to join The Authority on Raw, which is recapped at this point. This setup the Team Cena vs. Team Authority match that will happen at Survivor Series.

Michael Cole tells JBL that it’s a shame that he’s going to on vacation because he’ll miss a big Divas Halloween Costume Battle Royal on this Friday’s Smackdown. JBL says he’ll be watching the match from Bermuda because he’s still trying to convince the audience that Smackdown isn’t taped.

Paige vs. Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd)

The footage of Paige beating on Alicia Fox viciously from Raw is shown before the match. Byron Saxton said that being friends with Paige is like being friends with a wild animal; you do so at your own risk. Tyson Kidd joins the announce table and JBL compares him to Stedman (Oprah’s husband or whatever)  and Todd Palin. They rib on him that Natty is the breadwinner in the family.

The announce team spent most of of their time talking to Tyson about his marriage, which is a shame because this is a way better than average match. Paige does what she can to appear super creepy by licking the side of Natalya’s face at one point.

The ending came by Paige teasing that she’d put Natty in the Sharpshooter. Natalya reversed it before she could lock it on and attempted to do the Sharpshooter as well. Paige kicked her out before she could lock it on, then rolled her up for the win. Wow, pretty much every Divas match does end in a rollup. They need a new ending for the ladies.

Winner by pinfall: Paige

Natalya looked disappointed with her loss. Tyson said that he’s embarrassed for his wife before he went into the ring to ‘comfort’ her after his loss. I really hope this leads to Natalya and Tyson becoming a heel power couple.

There was a really odd video of a pair of eyes on the Titan Tron. The voice that accompanied it said, “Sometimes I see things that just ain’t there…I’m going to piece myself back together with pieces of you.” The announcers couldn’t explain whatever that was. Bo Dallas and Sheamus are seen walking backstage. They have a match, which is next.

Sheamus vs. Bo Dallas

Bo talks before the match about Team Cena vs. Team Authority at Survivor Series. He said that if he could split himself into two people, he’d help both teams. But unfortunately human cloning hasn’t been perfected yet. Bo says that in the meantime he is offering his services to whoever Bolieves.

Bo was all about celebrations during this match. After a drop kick that connected with Sheamus, Bo exited the ring to do a lap with his hands in the air. Later, when he kipped up out of a head scissor attempt by Sheamus he immediately raised his arms in victory. Sheamus responded to the second celebration with a slap to the face. There were quite a lot of stiff slaps in this match.

Dallas went for the Running Bodog onto Sheamus, but couldn’t follow through with it. He gives another slap across the face of Sheamus who replies with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus covered his opponent for the win.

Winner by pinfall: Sheamus

Sheamus celebrated with his U.S. Title after the match. Michael Cole tells JBL to enjoy his vacation as the show comes to a close.

Mitch’s Final Thoughts

I can gladly say that this was an above average episode of Main Event. The MizTV segment that opened the show led directly to the tag match, which was about 20 minutes of the show. I like the rivalry and it will give The Usos something to do for a month other than challenging for the tag titles again. Hopefully Damien’s antics keep the attention of the fans as WWE holds off his turn against The Miz.

The Paige/Natalya match was way better than what is typically shown on Main Event. Natalya could easily bring new life to the Divas Championship scene. I don’t mind the marriage drama that she’s involved in and I’ll reiterate that I hope it leads to the heel couple of Tyson and Natty.

The main event was okay but it was the weakest part of the hour for me. Sheamus was stiff like usual and I felt bad for how many slaps he traded with Bo. Sheamus is always a crowd favorite and Bo still gets heat so it works.

Thanks for reading my review this week. Feel free to share your thoughts on the show in the Comments section below. Also, you can find me on Twitter @MitchNickelson and on the web at MitchNickelson.com. I don’t typically put my email address out there, but here it is if anyone would want to chat that way – leonardbeats@gmail.com. Take care.

Ryback Returns On Raw!

“The WWE Universe needs a hero right now more than ever.”

The above quote was spoken by The Big Guy during a Raw Fallout segment on YouTube. As a huge fan of the Ryback, I’m delighted that he’s back and apparently better than ever. Check out his emotional comments from Monday night…

To be honest, I’m not sure how excited I am to see Ryback as a babyface. The ‘meathead bully’ schtick is what I really liked about him; he was funny at it. But if his interaction with Bo Dallas is any indication of what to expect during this run, I can rest assured that plenty of chumps will still be getting their heads knocked in.


Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Also, check out the most recent episode of SBP Wrestling which can be conveniently heard simply by clicking Play on the link below…

SBP Wrestling Ep. #6

Welcome back to Mitch Nickelson’s premiere pro-wrestling podcast, SBP Wrestling! Like usual, I’m joined by two the two witty and intelligent wrestling minds of Ronnie and Bryan. Here is this episode’s show description…

Join us as we discuss our predictions of the Hell in a Cell matches. Who’s going to come out on top? We also discuss some new rumors concering Brock Lesnar, Bully Ray, and Kurt Angle. Also….Legos and Jolly Ranchers.

To listen to this week’s episode, simply do one of these simple tasks…
1. Click the play button on the player at the top of this page.
2. Direct Download…CLICK HERE.
3. Check us out on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe! (This is how I listen to it. Give us a good rating!)

Thanks for listening! Check me out on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Take care.

NEW Rick Rude “‘Simply Ravishing” Outside The Ring T-Shirt Now Available at WWEShop.com!

The Damage Plan: Your Comprehensive Analysis and Preview for UFC 179

First off wrestling and fight fans, I would like to extend my thanks to Mitch for inviting me to come on as a writer for this site. I’ve known Mitch about 8 years, and recently I saw on my Facebook news feed that he was providing links to his blog, where he and other writers would discuss the world of professional wrestling. As a long time wrestling fan myself, I immediately became interested in wanting to become a part of the project. About two weeks ago, after Mitch’s interview with Amazing Kong (great interview by the way, check it out if you haven’t already), I spoke to Mitch and told him that I would like to contribute to the site in not only the professional wrestling analysis but also provide analysis in another of my life’s great passions, mixed martial arts. Mixed martial arts and professional wrestling often go hand and hand with the showmanship and extensive training that has produced such crossover athletes as Antonio Inoki, Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and recently Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley.

So presto chango, here we are. As part of my contributions to developing the mix martial arts section of the site, I will provide analysis and predictions for upcoming UFC fight cards, as well as profile the hot topics and fighters in the world of mixed martial arts and much more. I am an experienced martial artist in my own right with over ten years’ experience in a hybrid style of martial arts that encompasses techniques that many fighters implement, with six years of coaching and teaching martial arts under my belt. Aside from being a practioner, I am a fan as well. So thank you Mitch for inviting me to join the staff, and without further ado, let’s get to the reason we are all here. THE FIGHTS MAN!

*****

UFC 179: Aldo vs. Mendes 2

Location: Maracanazinho Gymnasium, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Broadcasting partners: Pay Per View (Main Card), Fox Sports 1 (Preliminary Card), UFC Fight Pass (Opening Bouts)

LIVE from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil is the UFC’s next major event of the 2014 calendar year. UFC 179: Aldo vs. Mendes 2 is the UFC’s fifth of a scheduled seven trips to Brazil in 2014. Getting everyone up to speed before I go into my analysis and predictions, the main event features a 145 pound featherweight title rematch between Champion (and number 2 in the pound for pound rankings Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, who is ranked number 2 in the division according to ESPN’s latest divisional rankings. This is a rematch of the pair’s 2012 title fight, which also took place in Rio De Janeiro at UFC 142. Aldo, the defending champion at the time, won the fight via first round knockout, albeit with some controversy as a cage grab by Aldo stuffed a late round takedown attempt by Mendes and set up the fight ending knee strike. Since that fight Aldo (24-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has been simply continuing to assert himself as the class of the 145 pound division, turning back the challenges of former 155 pound champ Frankie Edgar (decision), Chan Sun Jung (injury), and Ricardo Llamas (decision), bringing his UFC unbeaten streak to six fights and his overall unbeaten streak to a staggering 17 fights in a row.

Mendes (16-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) has earned the rematch off the strength of a five fight winning streak, winning four them by knockout, three of which have come in the first stanza. Late replacement or scheduled opponent, Mendes stopped Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins, and Clay Guida before a decision victory over Nik Lentz snapped his consecutive streak of knockout victories in route to his second crack at the title. Redemption is certainly a major storyline going into this main event as Mendes looks to hand Aldo his first loss since 2005 and gain some measure of revenge against the man who handed him his only professional defeat.

Redemption is also on the minds of the two fighters in the co main event of Saturday’s card as a pair of light heavyweight contenders look to put themselves back on the short track to a shot at the 205 strap when number 6 ranked Glover Teixeria (22-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) takes on number 7 ranked Phil Davis (12-2 1 NC MMA, 8-2 1 NC UFC). Both men are coming off huge losses at UFC 172 in April, Texieria in a failed attempt to win the 205 title against champion Jon Jones and Davis against a then-unranked Anthony Johnson. Neither can afford a loss in the UFC’s most competitive and active division as far as rankings are concerned.

Rounding out the five fight main card is a fun 205 pound tilt between Brazilian slugger Fabio Maldonado (21-7 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Dutch prospect Hans Stringer (22-5-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC),  a 145 pound bout between American wrestler Darren Elkins (17-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) and multi division Brazilian standout Lucas Martins (15-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), and a 155 scrap between undefeated Brazilian Carlos Diego Ferreira (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Iranian submission ace Beneil Dariush (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). Next, I’m going to give a full analysis of each of the main card’s five fights and a little later on, I’ll put myself on the coach’s hot seat before wrapping up with my predictions for the card.

Analysis

Starting out my analysis of the fights, we’re going to look at each of the three major aspects that fighters must be proficient in to have prolonged success at the highest levels of mixed martial arts: striking, grappling, and submissions. Let’s get started!

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush

Striking

Neither guy is going to be mistaken for Mike Tyson or Badr Hari as far as striking fear into the hearts of opponents with their violent knockout power. What both guys are carry with them into this fight is serviceable striking that’s always improving. That’s what makes this fight very interesting, is that when you have two high level grapplers they tend to cancel each other out and it turns into a glorified kickboxing bout. Both men have faced a common foe, Ramsey Nijem (9-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) with completely different results, with Ferreira winning his bout with Nijem via TKO and Dariush losing his fight with Nijem by TKO. Now MMA Math, which is A over B, B over C equals A over C, doesn’t work in most cases. However here I believe it tells a lot, especially when you consider that these three men have pretty much done a round robin with each other this year. I give Ferreira a slight advantage due to having more comfort on the feet in his most recent bouts.

Advantage: Ferreira

Grappling

This is where this fight gets interesting, as both are black belts in Brazilian Jujitsu. However, looking at how they utilize their grappling skills to their advantage in a fight, Dariush has a bigger advantage here due to his slick and stifling top game. If it hits the mat, I see a chess match unfolding with many counters, scrambles, sweep and submission attempts. Truthfully, this is a tough call to make in this department. Ferreria has a solid grappling game in his own right, using a lot of tricky scrambles to get top position and look for submissions. Dariush is the more disciplined grappler, using the position before submission philosophy to grind opponents down. As of recently, he also relies more on his grappling prowess than Ferreira does, as evidenced by his UFC debut win over Charlie Brenneman (19-7 MMA, 4-6 UFC). That discipline on the mat gives Dariush the advantage here.

Advantage: Dariush

Submissions

Both men are adept at finishing the fight by submission, with majority of their wins coming by way of tap out, but they have very different ways of going about it. Ferreira holds the advantage in total submissions with a 6-5 advantage. He also seems to have a more quick strike approach with submissions, often catching guys in transition (which is often times harder to do), whereas Dariush uses a more methodical, grinding style to set up submissions. This I believe gives Ferreira the slight advantage due to his ability to capitalize on mistakes.

Advantage: Ferreira

Prediction

This is the kind of fight that you want opening your main card, between two exciting, hungry prospects looking to make an impact in a very deep division. To me, it comes down to the being well rounded and I feel as though at this point Ferreira is the more versed of the two. This is a very close fight to call and it wouldn’t surprise me if it went to a judge’s decision, but I think Ferreira gets it done here. How does he do it? Simply by exposing the holes in Dariush’s standup attack to hurt him on the feet and then finish him on the ground with a rear naked choke toward the end of round 2. In mixed martial arts, everyone eventually loses, but Ferreira is not quite ready for that first loss. He’s faced better overall competition in his career and he brings a better overall game to the table.

Prediction: Carlos Diego Ferreira via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Rd. 2.

Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins

Striking

This fight features two of the larger fighters in division as far as height in reach are concerned, which is always a plus to have, considering that fights start on the feet. Both guys have good fundamentals and can put opponents away with their fists, as evidenced by their combined 17 knockouts in 32 combined victories. Elkins mostly uses a boxing based standup attack as opposed to Martins, who uses a sharp Muay Thai attack to chop down opponents. That versatility does provide a difficult, but negotiable, challenge for Elkins. Elkins is the more seasoned veteran of the two, so he isn’t going to put himself in a lot of dangerous situations in search of the knockout. I have to worry about a 10 month layoff in between fights and how it will effect Elkins’ timing, especially in the first round. Martins is the younger, rangier, and faster fighter with a more versatile attack. That gives him the advantage here.

Advantage: Martins

Grappling

Both guys are solid grapplers here. Martins trains with Chute Boxe, which houses number 1 heavyweight contender and former multi time Abu Dhabi (Submission Grappling) Champion Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1 MMA, 6-2 UFC). That means he is versed in the ability to be successful on the mat, despite having a preference to be on his feet. He’ll need that against Elkins who boasts a successful amateur wrestling pedigree.

If this fight hits the mat, Elkins will look to utilize his wrestling to keep Martins down and utilize his ground and pound attack to score points, inflict damage and possibly set up a submission. Martins will look to use his grappling prowess in defense in order to get the fight back to standing position. I give the advantage in the grappling department to Elkins based on the fact that his top position attack is relentless and he uses that same discipline on the feet on the ground.

Advantage: Elkins

Submissions

Each guy has shown a knack for eliciting a tap out from opponents, and Martins leads the head to head count 4-3. That being said, I have to give Elkins the advantage here because more of his fights end up on the ground. So if either fighter is taking advantage to get a tap out, I imagine The Damage will be the one that gets the tap, especially if it goes to the later rounds.

Advantage: Elkins

Prediction

A little over a year ago, Darren Elkins was ranked in the top 10 at 145 pounds by many MMA outlets. His time off however has seen him fall from the rankings at the moment, and this fight is a great chance for him to showcase that he is indeed still in that conversation. For Martins, he’ll be looking to shed the title of prospect to contender and a win over Elkins is just the kind of name he would need on the mantle. This is after wins in the 155 pound and 135 pound divisions,  becoming a member of the three weight class club (where a fighter has a victory in three weight classes). However on this night, I think Martins runs into a brick wall with Elkins, who survives the early onslaught and uses his decorated wrestling background to shut down and frustrate Martins for the victory.

Prediction: Darren Elkins via unanimous decision (29-28 across the board).

Fabio Maldonado vs. Hans Stringer

Striking

While both guys are pretty good on the feet, this is Maldonado’s world and he’d be happy to let Stringer live in it. Maldonado through eight UFC fights lands an average of 57 percent of his strikes, utilizing his professional boxing background to mark up opponent’s faces and batter their bodies with an absolutely brutal body attack. Stringer, in his victory over Francimar Barroso (16-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), landed 72 percent of his total strikes, but also got hit with 66 percent of his opponents strikes. That’s pretty much taking one to give one. Newsflash people, getting punched in the face hurts and it does affect you, if not now then eventually. Just ask his opponent, who was knocked out in his last appearance by number 6 ranked heavyweight Stipe Miocic (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC). This is of course because he moved up in weight to fight a guy who was bigger, stronger, and faster than he was and had a very similar skill set. When he’s fighting guys his own size, Maldonado is known as a tank of a man who will take a punch to land five. It’s that volume and varied attack to the head and body that gives Maldonado the advantage here.

Advantage: Maldonado

Grappling

Both guys like to stand and trade, but the real interesting factor is if it goes to the ground. If it does go to the ground, who is going to be the one to get it there? My guess would be Stringer, who has shown the ability to get the fight to the floor when needed. Maldonado has shown to have good defensive grappling to keep the fight on the feet, as he did in his fight with Gian Villante (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) where he stuffed 9 of 12 of the former Hofstra football star’s takedown attempts. That being said, I give Stringer the advantage just simply based on the fact that he will mostly likely be the one to initiate the grappling exchanges.

Advantage: Stringer

Submissions

Stringer is an equal opportunity finisher, finishing 8 of his 22 career wins by way of tap out. Maldonado does boast a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jujitsu, thought we don’t see him utilize it often because his striking prowess is so much more advanced than his grappling. That’s why Stringer has an advantage here, because if he can effectively utilize his grappling, he can wear Maldonado down and force him to make a mistake later on in the fight.

Advantage: Stringer

Prediction

This by all intents and purposes should be the Fight of the Night here, just because styles make fights. That is unless Stringer fights not to lose. He has the advantages in the grappling department and there is a good chance that he will use those advantages to take the home country crowd out of the fight. This will be easily the loudest environment he’s ever been in and that could potentially cost him in this fight, as he may not be able to hear his corner’s instructions during the rounds and get caught in a slugfest with a better striker. I predict Maldonado follows his gameplan against Villante here, using sprawl and brawl tactics to utilize his volume boxing game, which will excite the raucous Brazilian crowd. This will frustrate and tire Stringer out and set him up for a TKO finish late in the third round.

Prediction: Fabio Maldonado via TKO Rd. 3

Glover Texieria vs. Phil Davis

Striking

In this fight, fans and analysts alike will notice some major discrepancies in certain skill levels, and this is one of the skill levels that will be exposed. Davis has developed his striking by leaps and bounds since his UFC debut almost four years ago. But in his last fight against Anthony Johnson (19-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) he was outclassed on the feet by a more technical striker and it showed early on, as he was hurt early and hesitant to stand afterward.

Texieria may have been outclassed and battered by 205 pound champ Jon Jones (20-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC), a couple of factors presented themselves against Jones. A massive 9 inch reach advantage and the speed advantage to close the gap whenever he wanted. Those factors aside, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he is still a world class kickboxer with absolutely brutal power in his hands that he can land either going forward or in a countering position as he did against Ryan Bader (18-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC). That ability to still be dangerous when pressing the action or even when hurt gives Teixeria the decisive advantage here.

Advantage: Texieria

Grappling

This is the second of the major advantages here. Davis is a four time All American wrestler out of Penn State, which includes a 2008 National Title at 197 pounds. Texieria was once a member of the Brazilian National Team in freestyle wrestling. But it’s how these guys use their wrestling to their advantage that determines who is better in this category.

Texieria uses his wrestling in defense so that he can keep the fight in the kickboxing realm, usually only scoring takedowns to put a stamp on a round and make a lasting impression on the judges. It’s not to say that he isn’t effective at getting the fight to the floor when he wants to, it is a preference to get the fight to the floor after he’s already put his anvils for fists on your face first.

Davis on the other hand, utilizes his wrestling to dictate the fight’s pacing and position, utilizing it to either shut down a striker like former 205 pound champ Lyoto Machida (21-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) or a jujitsu whiz like Vinny Magalhaes (12-7 MMA, 1-4 UFC). Davis’ biggest advantage on the ground is that he uses his superb wrestling to gain control of the fight in top position, patiently waiting to lock up a submission. That superior top control is also crucial in a close round as he’s used that wrestling ability to sway judges calls. That ability to control the fight’s pace gives Davis the nod here.

Advantage: Davis

Submissions

Both men are excellent in the submission aspect of the game, but what’s interesting is how each of them set their submissions up. As stated earlier, Texieria likes to hurt guys on the feet before utilizing his black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. Davis likes to use his collegiate wrestling background to get opponents down and either control them until a submission opens up or to even force a submission from the front headlock (or chancery in catch wrestling terms) such as an Anaconda Choke, showcasing his still respectable Purple Belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. This is incredibly close to call, but I give Davis the advantage here, albeit slightly because he has meshed his high caliber wrestling to make himself an even bigger threat in the submission game.

Advantage: Davis

Prediction

This fight is the closest to call of the whole entire card, and that’s the reason it is the co-feature bout. Davis is currently 2-0 in Brazil against Brazilian opponents, while the Brazilian native Teixeria is wanting to extend his own streak on home soil. I give Texieria the advantage in this fight for two reasons. 1. Superior Standup and 2. Better Competition. He has fought the best in the world and while he lost badly, he knows what it takes to get back to that level. Davis has struggled when he gets to a fight with an opponent in the top 5, as he did against Johnson and former 205 pound champion Rashad Evans (19-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC). I look for that trend to continue as Texieria hurts Davis early and submits him with an arm triangle choke in the second round.

Prediction: Glover Texieria via Arm Triangle Choke, Rd. 2

Jose Aldo © vs. Chad Mendes

Striking

Chad Mendes has improved his striking immensely since the first fight with Aldo, knocking out four of his last five opponents, three in the first round. Doing that at any level of professional mixed martial arts is impressive, let alone at the high caliber of the sport. That’s a direct reflection of former coach Duane Ludwig’s work with the Sacramento based Team Alpha Male. That being said, Mendes still happens to load up his power punches which would make any striking coach pull their hair out in frustration.

Aldo is a Muay Thai monster, and he uses his techniques to absolute devastating precision. It starts with his jab and axe-like leg kicks that he uses to render opponents completely immobile and defenseless, often times with the opponents looking up at the lights at the end of the night. Aldo has the reach and speed advantage as well as the technical advantage that gives him a major edge against any opponent at 145 pounds  and will continue to give him that advantage until someone is able to stop it.

Advantage: Aldo

Grappling

This is where the fight gets interesting. Aldo is a black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu, even though it is rarely seen because of his dominant stand up attack. Mendes is a Division 1 wrestler out of Cal Polytech. Mendes in his early career utilized that strong, explosive wrestling to take opponents down and keep them there. The only problem in this fight is that Aldo has some of the best takedown defense in any division of the UFC, defending just a shade under 90 percent of his takedowns. So getting Aldo to the ground is going to be a difficult challenge in its own right and that is a problem that Mendes is going to face Saturday night. But if anyone in the 145 pound division can get Aldo to the ground, it’s Mendes, and that is what gets him the advantage here.

Advantage: Mendes

Submissions

Neither guy is going to be a Royce Gracie as far as tapping opponents out, but both guys are proficient in submission offense and defense. In the cage, we’ve seen Mendes use his submission skills a little bit more than Aldo. Now keep in mind, just because he uses the skills more, doesn’t mean that he possesses more skill. The black belt that Aldo has in Brazilian Jujitsu is a legitimate skill set, one that he uses his skill set to set up positions in which he can land ground and pound damage and only looking to lock in submissions when he absolutely has them. That is a smart way to fight, which is what both fighters do with their submission skills. I don’t normally give ties in a specific category, but this one deserves it.

Advantage: Tie

Now to further break down the keys to victory in tonight’s main event title fight, I’m going to put myself in the coaching hot seat as I go IN THE CORNER!

In the Corner!

For Chad Mendes

The last time you were in Brazil, things didn’t go your way. That was two and a half years ago man, let it go! You earned your way to a second title shot, and you know that you are a completely different fighter than you were back then. We obviously know that Aldo is expecting us to come with the same game plan as the first fight, which is to get the fight to the floor. Because of that he’s going to keep a lower stance to fend off the takedowns, but still comfortable enough to unleash those lethal strikes. In order to implement our game plan, you have to make him respect the other aspects of your game. So stay relaxed, don’t load up your punches, and straight up hit him in the mouth. Do that and he will respect your striking ability. Look at what your friend TJ Dillashaw did when he took the 135 pound belt from Aldo’s buddy Renan Barao. He didn’t sit right in front of him and try to make it a boxing match, he used his angles, got off the center line and made him pay for openings. They fight pretty much the same way, so you know how to beat this guy. This will get Aldo thinking twice about the strikes and will allow for us to have the wrestling game open. If you initiate grappling exchanges, chain the takedown attempts together. A lot of Aldo’s past opponents go for one takedown and when they don’t get it, they give up. You know several different ways to get him to the floor, so don’t hesitate and remember to keep your feet moving. Once it’s on the ground, ground and pound and look for a submission at the end of the round.

Remember this is a five round fight, so it is not a sprint. Aldo has been known to gas in the later rounds, and I know you’ve been doing your conditioning. Keep the pressure on him and he will break later in the fight. Remember to put your hands up and tuck your chin, and you can bring the belt back to the States.

For Jose Aldo

Listen man you’re the champion, and you have yet to be challenged. So if it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it. Keep your hands up and stay at a kicking range, and set your kicks up with punches. We don’t want to fight in a phone booth with this guy because he does have power, and his hands have improved since the last time you fought him. Be prepared for knees and uppercuts up the middle because it’s just a matter of time before he shoots for a takedown, especially after you start knotting up that front leg. Stay disciplined in your attack and try not to get too crazy with your strikes. There’s no reason to force a knockout and put yourself in a bad position to get caught. In the event that you do get taken down, well you know what to do down there. Be aggressive and look for what’s open.

Remember champ, he has to beat you to win the title and not the other way around. Do what you need to do to keep the belt in Brazil.

Prediction

This is a different set of fighters than the last time they met in Rio. Mendes is hungry, while Aldo is looking to cement is legacy as one of the greatest to ever put on a set of four ounce gloves. Aldo honestly has more ways to win, although it has been over a year since we’ve seen Chad Mendes and I’m sure that he been putting the work so he doesn’t squander this second chance. However, Aldo has been putting in the work as well and already holds the all-important psychological advantage heading into this grudge match. Unfortunately for Chad Mendes, this fight goes longer than their last fight but it looks very similar. Mendes will be competitive in this bout and he’ll take him to the championship rounds, but he will be outclassed, battered and eventually stopped in the fourth round by a head kick with punches on the ground. The belt will stay in Brazil and then it’s just a matter of seeing what’s next. It could be Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson, or Dana White’s new BFF Connor McGregor.

Prediction: Jose Aldo via TKO, Rd. 4

Final Thoughts

And there you have it folks, my complete analysis and predictions for Saturday nights UFC 179 main card! Check back with me in two weeks as I see how I did with my predictions and preview the upcoming UFC Fight Night 55 fight card, featuring a middleweight headliner between number 6 ranked Luke Rockhold and number 8 ranked Michael Bisping. Take care and enjoy the fights!

Main Event Review For October 21st, 2014

Welcome to WWE’s Tuesday night subscription spectacular, Main Event! This week’s show is broadcast out of Wichita, Kansas. The next Pay-Per-View, Hell In A Cell, is this weekend so I should expect tonight’s show to be a boat that doesn’t get too rocked.

While Michael Cole and Byron Saxton are your announcers, I am your show reviewer. I don’t get too thorough with recapping, but I’ll make sure you leave here informed of everything that went down. I throw in my opinion where I want to and wrap things up with a snazzy Final Thoughts section at the end. I have fun, I hope you do too. Let’s get to it.

“How Well Do you Know Your Bro?”

What an incredibly odd segment to start the show. This was a game show where both sets of brothers answered questions to find out who knew their brother better. JBL was the host of this show and he seemed to take the gig pretty seriously.

In the first round, JBL asked both sets of brothers what they’d be doing if they weren’t WWE Superstars. Jey Uso wrote that he’d be a football player, which Jimmy guessed. Goldust wrote that he’d be Stardust, which Stardust guessed. Next, JBL asked the teams who the biggest influences were in their lives. Jimmy Uso said his biggest influence was his dad and Jey got it right. Stardust’s answer was Yo, which Goldust got right. When JBL pressed him on the non-answer of Yo, the Dusts explained that it meant Yo-Mama. They laughed and celebrated the burn and I died laughing as well.

The final round was a ‘Password’ round, which worked like the old game show. Jey Uso had to guess the word ‘nasty,’ which Jimmy got him to say by asking him about JBL’s mom. Poor Mrs. Layfield. Goldust was supposed to guess the word ‘milkshake’ and at first Stardust gave him a bunch of nonsense facts about stars and the galaxy. Finally, Stardust gave him a clue about bringing all the boys to the yard. Stardust acted terribly appalled when Goldust fired back with ‘Uranus.’ Goldust tried to explain that he was talking about the planet, but time expired and the Dusts lost the game before Stardust could give any more clues.

After the game was over, a brawl erupted with The Usos clearing the ring. The whole segment was strange and the crowd didn’t really know what to make of it all. I liked it, but I’m more likely to dig WWE humor than the average viewer.

R-Truth vs. Tyson Kidd (w/Natalya)

This is a rematch from last week’s Main Event. R-Truth won last week after Tyson became distracted by Natalya.

At one point in this match, R-Truth came out and did a little dance next to Natalya. Natalya giggled a little over this just like she did when Truth pulled the same stunt last week. It seems like Ron Killings might have a thing for the married ladies.

Tyson seemed to tweak his knee at one point and the action stopped while he favored it. He used this all as a distraction to grab Truth by the waist and pull him toward the ropes where Natalya was perched. Truth narrowly avoided a collision, reminiscent of when Tyson actually collided with her last week. Still cautious from almost taking out Natalya, Truth slowly turned around and got dropped by a Swinging Neckbreaker. That was enough for a successful pin.

Winner by pinfall: Tyson Kidd

A creepy Wyatt video aired. I hope those Soska twins convince someone at WWE to make a Wyatt Family movie. There’s so much of a story that could be told.

Bo Dallas vs. Big E

Bo rightfully bragged about his three consecutive wins against Mark Henry and said that that makes him the new World Strongest Man. Sure thing, Bo.

Bo controlled most of this match and the crowd didn’t really respond to him much. It’s an uneventful matchup, so it’s not Wichita’s fault. But as Big E started to mount his comeback, the crowd rallied with him. Bo tried to do his Running Bodog but Big E was able to counter by raising him up onto his shoulders and dropping the Big Ending. He pinned the new World’s Strongest Man and that was it.

Winner by pinfall: Big E

Michael cole called this a pivotal win for Big E after his loss to Rusev on Monday night.

During the Raw Rebound segment the stuff on Raw concerning the two Hell In A Cell matches this Sunday were recapped. I’ve found myself marking out over every Randy Orton match for the past few months so I’m rooting for him to become the Number One Contender.

Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)

John Canton has been using the J & J Security name for Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. It’s catchy, so I’ll do my part to help it stick. The Mick Foley Raw appearance with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose is briefly played before the match.

While it didn’t amount to much, there was a pretty cool stare-down between Rollins, Noble, and Mercury on one side and Swagger and Colter on the other. The Real American side of the face-off did a “We The People” chant before the two wrestlers battled back into the ring.

While the Kansas crowd does get behind Swagger in this match a little, it suffered because nobody believes that Swagger will defeat Rollins when he’s in a main event match on Pay-Per-View this Sunday.

Swagger had Rollins in his Patriot Lock near the end of the match and Rollins was able to get to a rope to break the hold. Swagger was reluctant to break the hold and Jamie Noble was yelling into the ring. He was near Zeb and Joey Mercury was also nearby. It was a little tense and Swagger noticed. This caused a little bit of a distraction that became his downfall. Several kicks to Swagger by Rollins led to his Curb Stomp and a pin.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Zeb and Swagger are still in the ring as Seth clutches his briefcase while being escorted by his two cohorts up the ramp.

Mitch’s Final Thoughts:

This was merely an average night of Main Event. I will give some credit to the opening segment for it’s overall weirdness. Much of the humor missed its mark but I like that something so different was on the show. As long as they don’t bring it back anytime soon, that is. That is definitely a one and done segment.

None of the three matches really wowed me, but they were still decent. I like the Tyson Kidd presence on Main Event but I hope that the R-Truth chapter in his story is over. Although I do find the times that Nattie giggles at R-Truth to be funny. And I like Bo Dallas and Big E, but both are stuck in a creative rut where they just don’t do a whole lot. I’m not sure how to tell WWE that I’d like to see a real go with the Smart Athletic Friends but I do want it. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a silly thing to hope for because it’s just not going to ever happen. Rollins and Swagger are both good in-ring but like I mentioned earlier, no one is buying the idea that Swagger will win on this night. Decent match, though.

That about does it for me. I’ll keep the plugs simple by asking everyone to follow me on Twitter and to please check out the latest episode of Mitch And Al Radio by clicking Play below…

Mitch And Al Radio Episode #6: HIAC Picks

Welcome back to Mitch and Al Radio, your 30 minute fix of pro-wrestling awesomeness. This week, the fellows spend a lot of time previewing this Sunday’s WWE Hell In A Cell Preview. Also, Mitch debuts a new skit called Win/Loss Record while Al brings the ever-popular Favorite Match segment.

We’ve had slight issues with our regular podcast host, so we’ve switched things over to the very reliable Soundcloud. Simply press Play on the player above to listen to this week’s show.

Edit: Okay, we’ve found a reliable host.To listen to this week’s episode, simply do one of these simple tasks…
1. Click the play button on the player at the top of this page.
2. Direct Download…CLICK HERE.
3. Look up Mitch and Al Radio on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe! (This is how I listen to it. Give us a good rating!)

Leave a comment below or even ask a question for myself and Al Jaxson. We’ll answer your questions on the next podcast. And as always, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson to keep up with all things Mitch. Take care.

WWE’s New Domestic Abuse Policy

WWE has been making many positive advancements in bringing its corporate environment into the modern age. From stricter anti-drug policies to the enactment of progressive anti-discrimination programs, WWE is on the cutting edge of what a 21st century business climate should look like. Now, WWE is taking a stance on several more serious issues, including domestic abuse and sexual assault. (Before going too deep into this news piece, I’d like to point out that Roman Reigns is pictured with his daughter above because he’s being a good example.)

In an Interview with Yahoo Sports that was released on Monday, Stephanie McMahon addressed newer policies that have been added to WWE’s Wellness Policy:

Yahoo Sports: We’ve seen professional leagues crack down on players accused of domestic abuse the last couple of months. What’s the WWE’s policy on domestic abuse and has the company addressed the superstars on this topic?

Stephanie McMahon: We have a zero tolerance policy for domestic abuse. Upon arrest for such misconduct, our superstars are immediately suspended and should there be a conviction, that superstar or diva would be terminated.

Under the “Talent Programs And Policies” section of the WWE corporate website, the following has been recently added:

“WWE has zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Upon arrest for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately suspended. Upon conviction for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately terminated.

WWE’s ability to fine, suspend or terminate a WWE talent will not be, however, limited or compromised in any manner in the event incontrovertible evidence of such illegal misconduct is presented to WWE. Section 9.13(a) of the WWE booking contract, commonly known as the “morals clause”, provides WWE with broad discretion and authority to act under such circumstances.”

WWE should be applauded for taking such a strong stand against domestic abuse. To leave everyone with a slightly warm and fuzzy feeling, I’ve decided to post that great video of Roman Reigns taking time to be a dad.

– – – – –

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. And here’s a plug for my most recent podcast, episode #5 of SBP Wrestling. Just click play to hear myself, Ronnie, and Bryan talk about the events leading up to Hell In A Cell and Ronnie’s review of TNA Bound For Glory…

Shop The Shield Official Merchandise at WWEShop.com!

Ryback “Unlimited Energy” T-shirt Collection Now available at WWE Shop! Available for men, women, and children. Shop and Save Now!

Stephanie McMahon Interview Highlights

WWE’s Billion-Dollar Princess sat down with Yahoo Sports for an interview on Monday. Here are many of the highlights, coupled with whatever witty banter I feel like including with it…

YS: We saw a shift in the wrestling industry when the No. 2 promotion, WCW, went out of business in 2001. Thirteen years later, the fate of another No. 2 promotion in TNA appears to be in limbo. Are you of the belief that a healthy competitor is good for the WWE’s bottom line?

SM: I think competition is always healthy, but what we look at as competition is everything out there —all entertainment and sports programming because we really are such a unique hybrid — there’s nothing like us in the world. Monday Night Football is a competitor to Monday Night Raw. Yes, I think competition is incredibly healthy, no matter where it comes from.

Competition is a very good thing, but TNA doesn’t really threaten WWE. WWE is in a tough spot as far as pushing their creative boundaries. There are about 4 million people who seem to watch Raw consistently. It would be nice if they rocked their own boat a little bit more than they do but that would be a risky business move if too many chances are taken. They have a hard time attracting new viewers, so there’s no reason to shake up what the fans seemingly eat up over and over again. Bottom line, we’re stuck with John Cena for a long while.

YS: You mentioned Monday Night Football — has the programming on Monday Night RAW shifted this year (ie: The Rock’s return earlier in the month) based on when halftime was taking place on Monday Night Football?

SM: We always try to be strategic in terms of having our best content on when we know the most fans are available to watch.

A fun pop from a surprise visit by The Rock is a useful spot to put in the ‘halftime’ slot. A bad idea is when they built the big John Cena segment around when the NFL break was about a month ago. It didn’t really spike the ratings and it made the Rusev/Mark Henry segment that main evented instead seem way out of place. But it seems like WWE learned their lesson from that move.

YS: Renee Young has been a great addition to WWE. Do you think she will be the first “voice” of RAW or Smackdown at some point during her WWE career?

SM: Renee has become an incredible force in terms of being an announcer and yes, I certainly hope she will become the first female play-by-play announcer. I think she is absolutely capable and has the opportunity in front of her.

Make this happen. Renee Young is fantastic and the WWE audience gets way too much of Michael Cole and JBL. Don’t get me wrong, I love JBL as a color commentator, but don’t have Cole and him announce everything. A little absence will help my heart grow founder, even for JBL.


Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. And here’s a plug for my most recent podcast, episode #5 of SBP Wrestling. Just click play to hear myself, Ronnie, and Bryan talk about the events leading up to Hell In A Cell and Ronnie’s review of TNA Bound For Glory…


New Curtis Axel “Better Than Perfect” Authentic T-Shirt at WWEShop.com!

Ryback “Unlimited Energy” T-shirt Collection Now available at WWE Shop! Available for men, women, and children. Shop and Save Now!