Mid-Evening Muesli: Rankings, 84, Regal…

A couple of notes to close the day with…

* Check out my latest Media & Cultural Rankings at MMARated.com. I really enjoy doing these and think it’s kind of different from what everyone else is doing with that ever-so-popular rankings concept.

* I’m headed to Las Vegas tomorrow to cover UFC 84 for The Rated Republic (aka MMARated.com). We’ve got some potentially interesting things planned so keep it locked all weekend (and beyond, of course) for the latest and greatest.

* Quite the interesting conference call starring Gus Johnson, Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock and Karyn Bryant today. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, once again, that’s alredy the best announce crew in the combat sports world.

* I totally missed this one but, apparently, Versus is airing the Hatton-Lazcano fight this Saturday. Seriously, I had no idea but that’s pretty cool news. From HBO’s 24/7 to Versus…interesting. But, seriously, go to Versus.com, you’ll have to work pretty hard to find any mention of the telecast.

* What the hell happened to TNA? For the first time in a while, I am having a real hard time watching iMPACT! I was always able to stomach their stupidities in the past but I am simply bored by the current product.

* Preach on, Lovemore. Preach on.

* Finally, William Regal. I’m still not sure what he was suspended for but I don’t care to ever watch him on my television again. For a close friend of Chris Benoit’s to get suspended TWICE following that whole tragedy is a tragedy in itself. Actually, its a joke. How many chances is Regal going to get and what kind of monster push is he going to receive when he returns?

Random Muesli: FNR, RAW, Stamford…

* Yo, yo, yo…I’ll be a guest on Fight Network Radio today at 3 p.m. EST. Check ‘er out.

* RAW has definitely been must-miss-TV for me lately. I had a feeling this would happen once HHH became champion. Plus, the Regal power-hungry GM gimmick is so played out there is nothing new out there that has yet to be done.

* I took a trip to Stamford, CT, recently. Know of any good wrestling companies based out of there? One of these days, I will tell the tale of my journey to McMahon-land.

* I will be in Las Vegas for UFC 84 so expect some more videos in the very near future. And, yeah, I will try to squeeze in some time for this too.

* Oh, and have you heard of this site called MMARated.com?

Mornin’ Muesli: Late RAW Thoughts…

hbk.pngby Larry Palacios, JarryPark.com Contributor

* Obviously, the best thing going on WWE television today is the HBK-Batista feud. Interesting to see where things go now with the addition of Y2J.

* Santino stole the show again with his awesome mic skills. Seriously, when is he going to start hosting his own show? If Jericho can have “The Highlight Reel” then “Santino’s Casa” definitely needs to come to RAW.

* As far as Paul London & Brian Kendrick are concerned, I’m still curious to see if they will get a chance to grow much like their carbon copy, The Rockers. I’m not sure if they can be as good as them but they definitely have ton of potential that isn’t being realized right now.

* Very glad to see Mickie James capture the Women’s title as I can’t stand Beth Phoenix. Sure, she’s big and strong but what else is there to like? I know she’s a heel but she’s missing something that I can’t put my finger on it.

* Please wake me up whenever the Cryme Tyme-Cade/Murdoch is over.

* Did you notice Regal nearly suplexing Orton into an early retirement? Every time I see something like that I cringe because we’ve seen so many wrestlers have their careers cut short because of a some neck injury. Luckily, Orton recovered and was able to continue the match. Sure, he might be a bit sore, but other than that he should suffer no ill effects.

* I’ve got to give Hacksaw Jim Duggan credit. The man beat cancer and is still wrestling. No doubt, he’s a shell of his former self, but, hell, if you love to do something then why stop? Especially if someone will pay you for it.

* I’m really not that excited for this Fatal Four Way match at Backlash. Just doesn’t do it for me. First off, didn’t we just see Orton, Cena and Triple H at Wrestlemania? Throw JBL into that mix and it just makes me care less about the match.

* Where have you gone, part I: Jeff Hardy. It’s amazing how much more exciting he made RAW.

* Where have you gone, part II: Joey Styles. Mike Adamle? What a joke.

Weekend Muesli: Cotto, Dawson, Strikeforce…

by Matthew Blankenship, JarryPark.com Contributor

Random thoughts on busy weekend in combat sports…

* Friday night’s ShoBox card featured two come-from-behind victories. In the first fight, Carlos De Leon Jr. defeated James McGirt Jr. in the seventh after being saved by the bell at the end of sixth. Meanwhile, the main event featured Edgar Santana escaping with a majority decision over Josesito Lopez after suffering two knockdowns in the eighth. An overall good card worth viewing if you can catch it again.

* YAMMA Pit Fighting made its debut Friday night. That’s about the only positive thing that has been said about the card. The show did seem to prove some points though:
1. This tournament format won’t work in the US. It’s hard to argue anyone is a decisive winner when all they’ve won is one measly round.
2. In case it wasn’t clear before, Butterbean should retire right now. His fight against Pat Smith was one of the most depressing bouts I’ve ever seen.
3. On second thought, Mike Goldberg isn’t that bad of an announcer.
4. The YAMMA Pit produced the exact opposite of what they were hoping for. They should just rename the pit to Jake O’Brien’s Lair O’ Fun.

* Saturday’s HBO boxing card featured two violent displays of punching power. Antonio Margarito battered Kermit Cintron when a final thudding body punch ended their fight in the sixth round. While Miguel Cotto dominated Alfonso Gomez dropping him three times en route to a doctor’s stoppage before the sixth round began. It looks as though Cotto and Margarito will now meet in July in what looks to be a bloody unification war.

* HBO aired another solid Countdown show and I couldn’t be any more pumped for Calzaghe/Hopkins. Definitely worth checking out.

* Over on Showtime, fight fans were treated to an amazing fight between Glen Johnson and Chad Dawson. Dawson won a unanimous decision over Johnson much to the chagrin of those in attendance. Much credit should be given to Johnson for a tremendous showing at the ripe old age of 39. I thought Dawson won but by a smaller margin than on the judges’ scorecards. Elsewhere, Antonio Tarver defeated Clinton Woods via Unanimous Decision. It seems that Tarver and Dawson will meet in a unification bout this fall.

* The Strikeforce on NBC debut show also aired on Sunday Morning. Not sure if this was the case in the rest of the country but my telecast was troubled with terrible audio problems throughout the whole episode. (Ed. Note: The show never aired in New York City. Just a black screen for 30 minutes.) However, despite the audio problem, I thought the show was really good and made Strikeforce look like a big league fight organization. The episode showcased two solid fights: Cung Le vs. Brian Warren and Duane Ludwig vs. Tony Fryklund. Along with the fights, they aired a great package on current Strikeforce middleweight champion, Cung Le. A solid debut indeed.

* Also this weekend, K-1 held their World Grand Prix and provided some great fights. The highlights included:
1. Semmy Schilt being the first man to KO Mark Hunt. For being such a big fighter, Schilt is actually quite graceful and his spinning ack kick was perfect.
2. Badr Hari absolutely crushing Ray Sefo was almost painful to watch.
3. The second round of Noda-Vondracek was a total slugfest and a pleasure to watch. Vondracek’s refusal to go down was remarkable to watch.

Mornin’ Muesli: Random RAW Thoughts

picture-1.pngBy BOB BOYER, JarryPark.com Contributor

* Orton, Cena, Triple H & JBL for the WWE Title at Backlash.  Which one doesn’t belong?  Hmmm, I wonder. Why would they build JBL up the entire night, calling him “the longest reigning champ in Smackdown history,” and then make him look like a fool in the main event.  Strange…

* Put the tag straps back on London & Kendrick.  Of the four tag teams featured last night, they were the most impressive.  Although I must say that Santino’s post-match celebration was quite funny.

* Ric Flair was involved in the best segment of the show…..and he wasn’t even at the show!  Great job by WWE’s production team on that package.

* Here’s a tough one: What would you rather watch:  a) paint dry b) the Chavo\Kane contract signing on ECW.  C’mon guys do you really expect people to care about this nonsense?

* The Shawn Michaels\Batista “war of words” has been great thus far because it’s simple.  HBK retired Batista’s mentor.  Batista wants revenge.  Slow build to a match on Pay-Per-View.  TNA take notes…lots of notes.

* You would think they could get a better support structure for the obscenely expensive Jeritron 5000 HD?  I fully expect that thing to drop one of these days…

* The main event was OK, but again, at the end three guys were standing while one was laying not looking too good.  Hopefully JBL gets his heat back in a couple of weeks.

Mid-Afternoon Muesli: GSP, WEC, TNA, Roy…

It’s been a while since we had some muesli so let’s get back in the mix…

* I attended the Montreal Canadiens-Ottawa Senators hockey game last night at the Bell Centre and amongst the 21,000+ in attendance was none other than Monsieur Georges St.Pierre. Someone interviewed him during the second period and, boy, do the Montreal faithful love GSP. The moment he was shown on the big screen everyone began cheering and when he talked about bringing the title back to Montreal he received an even bigger applause. I’ll say it again: MMA fans have never heard anything like the ovation GSP will receive before the Serra fight. Montreal fans are famous for their extra-long standing O’s and I expect nothing else come 4/19. One would think that Jarry Park would be representing at UFC 83 but someone had the audacity to schedule the event on the first night of a fairly important Jewish holiday so, alas, I will have to watch from home. When I found out about the scheduling snafu I fell into a deep depression and seeing GSP at the Bell Centre last night conjured up some sad emotions but, regardless, April 19th can’t come soon enough. I will be shocked if Serra makes it past the first round.

* Tomorrow kicks off a pretty amazing week in the world of mixed martial arts. First, there’s WEC on Versus and while this card isn’t as stacked as some of the more recent WEC cards these telecasts never seem to disappoint. Of all the WEC champions, Doug Marshall strikes me as the most inexperienced of the bunch but, luckily for him, he’s facing a fighter in Brian Stann who only has four fights under his belt. However, the televised fight I am most looking forward to is Ed Ratcliff vs. Marcus Hicks as the winner will probably earn a shot at Lightweight champ Jamie Varner. Finally, it will be interesting to see how all the “will Paulo Filho fight or not” drama will affect Chael Sonnen in his bout against the undefeated Bryan Barker. If Sonnen loses this bout does he also lose his shot at Filho’s title? That would seem like a huge injustice but it would be strange to have him fight for the title after a loss.

* Following the WEC event, it’s Shamrock vs. Le on Saturday night and I’m very much looking forward to this one. I also agree with Sam Caplan in thinking that Cung Le has a much better chance than others have been giving him against Frank. Throw in Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, Nick Diaz and an always hot San Jose card and this should be just as good as Shamrock-Baroni last June. Update: I am considerably less excited for this card. No Jake Shields? What a bummer.

* Then next Wednesday marks another edition of Ultimate Fight Night headlined by Kenny Florian and Joe Lauzon. Die hard MMA fans have been waiting for this three-hour telecast for what seems like forever and I’m guessing it will deliver. UFN 13 will be followed by the season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 7 with coaches Forrest Griffin and Quinton Jackson. 32 fighters and a couple of quote-machines and I’m thinking that this will be another solid season. We did hear about some “major changes” to the format of the show and I am hoping for a few more surprises than simply doubling the cast.

* Oh yeah, I hear there is some sort of wrestling event going down in Orlando this weekend too. Actually, there are several wrestling events in Orlando. TNA will be shooting it’s first-ever live telecast and Ring of Honor will also be putting on a couple of shows. Is it me or does TNA’s first live show feel like it’s lacking a little excitement? I have always been a huge supporter of live wrestling but I feel like we are going to get the same old product on Thursday. Sorry, an “interactive vote” to determine Awesome Kong’s opponent just doesn’t do it for me. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

* As I mentioned earlier, I’m back home in Montreal for the next few days and, surprisingly enough, fighting is on everyone’s mind here. That’s because Jonathan Roy, the son of former Habs goalie Patrick, was involved in a pretty brutal hockey fight over the weekend. So brutal that the local authorities have gotten involved! As far as hockey fights go this one is pretty intense but I have to admit hat even I – lover of all things combat – get a weird feeling watching it. When a guy moves into the fetal/turtle position and you continue to land an extra 20 punches to the back of his head I think you deserve to have the police come looking for you. I mean, who does Roy think he is – Babalu?

Mornin’ Muesli: Hayemaker, Shamrock, Peter, Diaz…

003-img_0020.jpgA few thoughts from, once again, a great night of fighting. This time, though, boxing gets the unanimous victory over MMA…

1. Just in case you weren’t convinced, David Haye has finally arrived…and now he hopes to arrive in the heavyweight division. I had a feeling this fight wouldn’t go the full twelve but I surely didn’t expect a second round stoppage. Maccarinelli did seem to take a couple more shots than needed at the end but a brilliant performance by the Hayemaker.

2. Highlight of the night part I: Haye’s post-fight interview. Amazing promo. I loved that he called out Klitschko and the rest of the “Heavyweight bums” (his words not mine). This man has “it.” He talked in third person, called out everyone and even plugged Cage Rage!

3. Highlight of the night part II: Tom Watson’s knockout of Pierre Guillet via up-kick at Cage Rage 25. I guess that kick was the perfect kryptonite to neutralize the superman punch. (I actually wrote that line before Mauro used it in the Grove-Broughton fight so I guess great Canadian minds do think alike).

4. Hightlight of the night part II: Oleg Maskaev walking into the ring wearing a sombrero.

5. I thought it was a huge mistake to have Ken Shamrock fight before a potential bout against Frank Shamrock and/or Kimbo Slice and I sincerely hope that last night was his final appearance in a cage or ring. In other words, I have absolutely no interest in seeing him fight Kimbo on CBS or anywhere else for that matter. If 2007 taught us one thing it’s that if there’s a money fight to be made…MAKE IT. This sport is way too unpredictable to have tune-up fights before the big money ones.

6. Looks like we’re getting Klitschko-Peter next however it seems unclear as to which Klitschko that fight will be against. Here’s hoping it’s Wladi. Peter made strongest case to get a rematch against Wladi and no one can argue that it’s the most intriguing Heavyweight fight out there.

7. Hey MMA broadcasters, want to know how to get a fighter over? Watch last night’s profile on Juan Diaz. What a breathe of fresh air. I am so sick of all these black-backdrop pre-fight packages where two fighters talk about how this is their destiny and blah blah blah. Sure, the formula worked for the UFC but it’s time to think outside the box a little. Unfortunately, the fighter has to win for all that to matter.

8. That was one ginormous ring in Cancun.

9. One note from Friday night’s Ring of Combat event: What’s up with Krzysztof Soszynski and all his fights ending in controversy? Here’s what he wrote to me after the bout:

“How did you like the 6 nut shots? I was not a big fan. I thought at 1 point I was going to throw up my right nut.”

A little too much info but I feel your pain Krzysztof.

Mornin’ Muesli: RAW, Mayweather, Coleman, Heyman…

Random thoughts while dreaming of a fourth installment of Marquez-Vazquez

* Nice to see MMA finally make it’s way to Monday Night Raw…except what was up with the boxing gloves? Does this mean we’re getting a Money-Show MMA match at ‘Mania? You know, of all the options out there, that would actually make the most sense because it would allow Show to use wrestling moves in the match. I fear that if it’s a straight boxing or wrestling bout it will surely bomb.

* Speaking of Mayweather, didn’t he sound like one of those dolls that repeats the same thing over and over again when you pull on a string in that first segment. If he really is making 20 million dollars I don’t understand why he’s not appearing in front of the live audience. The second one was a bit better but, still, where’s this Money May?

* Loved the ending. Orton definitely needs to be booked the strongest leading up to ‘Mania.

* I’ve been meaning to mention how much I hate the WWE title. Am I the only one who thinks the spinning belt gimmick cheapens the title? It just doesn’t seem prestigious enough with all that bling on it.

* I’ve always felt that three hours of RAW was a bit much (and that goes for Nitro as well) but next week’s super-sized edition sounds pretty cool. Wrestlemania Rewind? I vote for ‘Taker vs. Giant Gonzalez.

* Far be it for me to tell the editors of WWE.com how to run their site but, seriously now, what the heck is up with that Industry News feature?

* An update on Mark Coleman thanks to John Pollock of The Fight Network: The former UFC Heavyweight champion has signed a four-fight deal with the UFC. Zuffa does have an option to end the deal after two fights, though. All things considered, it’s a great deal for both parties. If Coleman goes on a winning streak they have him locked up and, if not, they can send him back into retirement.

* I keep forgetting that tomorrow marks World Victory Road‘s debut show. Shame it’s not on HDNet but, nevertheless, plenty of interesting bouts in the form of Gomi-Ludwig, Yoshida-Barnett and Misaki-Bahadurzada. Although, I can’t help but think of a bad TNA pay-per-view when I hear that name.

* Anyone out there have any thoughts on the Heyman Hustle? I’ve always enjoyed Heyman’s work but something seems a bit off with these videos. I think it has something to do with the fact that I would much rather see him interviewing Balls Mahoney than Joumana Kidd.

* When you’re done spending time at the Park today here’s a couple of solid articles to check out: NY Times article on pro wrestling and an ESPN.com article on the history of boxers in wrestling. Always interesting to read the mainstream media’s views on the industry (thanks to Park resident B-Sei for the tip).

Weekend Muesli: Spider, Kos, Marquez-Vazquez, Bute…

* I very much enjoyed UFC 82. It wasn’t the most action-packed UFC but if anyone missed it (and still doesn’t know what happened) it’s definitely worth watching. If, for some reason you don’t possess a working television, give Yahoo.com‘s feed a try. I checked it out last night and it was probably the best quality live streaming video I have ever seen.

* While I still refuse to compare Anderson Silva to Mike Tyson, one can not argue that he is the most dominant champion in MMA right now. What a masterful performance. So, who does he fight next? Well, unless the UFC has another trick up their sleeve (see: Coleman, Mark) it appears to be Yushin Okami. Unless, that is, Wandy decides to move to 185 if he defeats Jardine in May.

* While Okami looked impressive against former Middleweight champion Evan Tanner, I don’t think he will pose much of a threat to Silva (shocking, I know). Would I like to see Silva-GSP? Absolutely, but not now. If GSP defeats Serra next month, he needs to reel off at least three or four wins in a row before earning a shot against Silva.

* It’s strange to look back on the site of Henderson walking into the Octagon nine months ago following Rampage’s victory over Liddell while holding two Pride titles and now both are gone from his grasp. Last night officially ended the Pride-UFC battle and, just in case you hadn’t done so, I think it’s safe to award the victory to Zuffa.

* I haven’t seen the dark matches so I can’t comment on those but I was probably most impressed with Josh Koscheck. He’s had a lot of time to think about that devastating loss to St. Pierre in August and he certainly put it behind him because he looked like a different fighter. Koscheck has always been known for his tremendous wrestling skills but last night he showed the full arsenal while defeating Dustin Hazelett with a beautiful high left kick.

* On the flip side, not a good showing for Jon Fitch. Considering he was supposed to cement his place as the number one Welterweight this had to be deemed a disappointment. No disrespect to Chris Wilson – he should be proud of his debut – but Fitch didn’t look as strong as in the past. I blame the same issue that caused Andrei Arlovski and Rich Franklin to look tentative in bouts last year. Knowing that a title shot is yours if you win can play funny tricks on the mind (so I’m told).

* What can you say about Cheick Kongo other than I think he was officially exposed last night. His striking didn’t look pretty not to mention his jiu jitsu. I’ll tell you what did look impressive: Kongo’s build. I watched the show with non-MMA fans and they were mesmerized by his look. So, at least there’s that.

* The most interesting part of UFC 82 is where do the main fighters go from here? What becomes of Arlovski and Koscheck whose UFC contracts have now expired? Is Herring the number one contender all of a sudden? Does Fitch still deserve that title shot in the Welterweight division? Where does Silva go from here? Does Hendo stay at 185? And on it goes. It’s all very exciting.

* So, Mark Coleman vs. Brock Lesnar. Not sure about you guys but I didn’t see this one coming AT ALL. I love when we are legitimately surprised by upcoming bout announcements. Sort of like Show vs. Mayweather. By the time they meet in August, Coleman would have been out-of-action for almost two years (a loss to Fedor). I can’t imagine the UFC has signed him to more than a one-fight deal because he’s simply being served up to Lesnar as his first high-profile victory. However, this fight will be so intriguing because you have the first-ever UFC Heavyweight champion battling “The Next Big Thing” to prove he is still relevant. Beautiful.

* Saturday’s fight of the night? Well, I just might have to give the nod to Rafael Marquez-Israel Vazquez III. Once again, these two engaged in another fight of the year candidate and just like the rematch, Vazquez outlasted the hard-hitting Marquez. No real surprises there other than the fact that the fight went the distance. When discussing the greatest boxing trilogies of all-time, these two must now be entered into the conversation. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind making their rivalry a best-of-seven and I would also like to nominate rounds four and twelve for 2008 round of the year.

* Earlier this year, Allan Green was an in-studio guest on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. He was very brash, insightful and critical of fellow fighters – particularly Jean Pascal. He repeatedly said that Pascal was “a joke” and shouldn’t be considered a top-10 fighter. Well, at least Pascal never backed out of a fight. Meanwhile, Friday night, Green was supposed to be featured on FNF until he unexpectedly failed to show up. Obviously it’s hard to pass judgment without knowing the entire story yet but, still, there is no excuse for not showing up without giving an excuse. I expect Green to get suspended for this stunt while Pascal prepares for a huge showdown with Edison Miranda in June. Funny how that works.

* Obviously I didn’t see it, but it sounds like Lucian Bute performed just as expected in his bout against William Joppy on Friday. The Montrealer(!) stopped Joppy in the 10th round of his first IBF Super-Middleweight title defense. So, you know, bring on Pavlik!

* My heart goes out to Pele. Geez laouise that was one of the worst sports injuries I have ever witnessed.

* Finally, Friday night’s IFL event was probably the best produced telecast in their short history but the fights just didn’t do it for me. They all seemed to drag on too long. By the way, I know they love the ring but why is it so damn big? It looks at least 1.5 times bigger than a boxing ring and that makes the fighters seem less impressive in my books. Get rid of the ring all together but, if not, make it smaller!

Mid-Afternoon Muesli: Money, DH Smith, Kofi…

* Not a bad episode of Monday Night Raw but certainly not a great one. I was disappointed we didn’t get an appearance from Mayweather or Big Show but at least we got that Press Conference video package which was effective.

* The one interesting thing I saw from the PC was that Mayweather was dressed in a full NY Yankees outfit. Are they turning him heel? I mean, why else would he be wearing a Yankees hat and jacket in Los Angeles. Hmmm…

* Speaking of Mayweather: 20 million?!?! Wow, good for him and Leonard Ellerbe. Think about it: When all is said and done, this whole deal will cost him 5 or 6 Monday nights and one Sunday night of work (not to mention the behind-the-scenes shoots but still). That has to be the easiest money he has ever made.

* It has come a week late but the mainstream media has finally picked up on the Mayweather storyline. No doubt the press conference helped because a quick Google News search shows A LOT more articles than just 24 hours ago.

* The whole Finlay-JBL-Hornswoggle storyline has gotten to be a little too TNA for me. All this illegitimate son talk really bores me.

* Who would have ever thought DH Smith would become such a jobber? I’ve got a couple of issues with the way his career has been handled but none bigger than that horrible name he’s been saddled with. Every time I hear it I can’t help but think of a certain book store.

* HBK better be turning on Flair at some point in the next few weeks because I can’t deal with all this lovey-dovey stuff.

* Best news of the day? Kofi Kingston and Santino Marella in the same ring tonight! Someone’s been reading the Muesli.

* In case you missed it, there was a press conference in NYC today to officially announce the May 3rd battle between Oscar De La Hoya and Steve Forbes. The most interesting part of that bout? De La Hoya is being trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. while Forbes will have Roger Mayweather in his corner. Brilliant. Someone needs to book Floyd Sr. vs. Roger with Jeff as special guest ref before it’s too late.