Cleat Geeks

The Lucha Lowdown (Season 4, Episode 2)

Welcome to the Lucha Lowdown, which recaps the latest edition of Lucha Underground!

The episode opens inside the lair of King Cuerno, which Catrina magically enters in pursuit of the gauntlet, only to find it gone from its case. Cuerno stated that even he knows how dangerous the gauntlet is, only for Catrina to reveal that her life force can’t continue without it. Cuerno only told Catrina that he gave it to someone, but wouldn’t reveal who it was.

Inside the temple, Melissa Santos introduces the first match of the evening, a defense of the Trios Championship! The Mack, Killshot, and Son of Havoc were put together last week after Dante Fox was missing in action, and they were set to face Famous B’s group, Infamous Inc. As usual, Famous B (with The Beautiful Brenda) interrupted Melissa and made his intentions to collect Trios gold, only to reveal that his clients, Dr. Wagner Jr and Texano were busy in Mexico. Famous B introduced his three new clients, beginning with Big Bad Steve, a mechanic, followed by a young star known as Sammy Guevara. However, B saved his best for last when he brought out Jake Strong, and if the face is familiar, it should be! The man entering as Jake Strong is best known as Jack Swagger, a former ECW and World Champion in WWE!

Killshot and Guevara started things, only for the latter to show his own swagger with a one-gun salute to Killshot. Son of Havoc is tagged in, and I apologize for not mentioning this last week, but he is actually in his second reign as Trios Champion, as he held the title before with Ivelisse and Angélico. Big Bad Steve enters and Killshot returns to the ring, only for Jake Strong to enter and display his strength before he is ejected by Killshot. After chaos outside the ring, Guevara picked up a near fall on Havoc, and was on the receiving end of a double team by Mack and Killshot. Strong tosses out the former, but ends up on the receiving end of kicks from the latter. A distraction by Famous B allowed Strong to put the Ankle Lock on Killshot, who tapped out, but it went unnoticed as Famous B was still busy with the official. Mack broke up the Ankle Lock and delivered the Stunner to Steve, and after a 360 splash from Havoc, the Trios Champions retained their gold. After the match, an infuriated Jake Strong took out his partners, much to the shock of Famous B, who attempted to calm down his blue-chipper. It was to no avail, as Strong took down B and put him in the Ankle Lock, even snapping the ankle!

Antonio Cueto appears and brings up his late son, Dario’s, concept, the Gift of the Gods Championship, and he announced that the first of the seven Aztec Medallions would be up for grabs tonight, and the first combatant to enter was none other than Drago, with the always deliciously evil Kobra Moon leading the way. His opponent is none other than Dragon Azteca Jr., and for both men, this is a very important battle. An Aztec Medallion is a golden ticket to compete in a seven-way match for the Gift of the Gods Championship, with the titleholder cashing the title in and fighting for the Lucha Underground Championship. Kobra Moon wastes little time getting involved by tripping up Azteca, only for Azteca to dodge Drago’s attack and go back on the offensive. The match becomes back and forth again, but we later see Drago begin the process of removing Azteca’s mask; a huge show of disrespect in lucha wrestling.

Azteca’s mask wasn’t all the way off, but he managed to get it back completely on and focus on his opponent. Drago picks up a near fall on Azteca, but Azteca gains momentum until he is kicked in the face by Drago, which leads to yet anohter near fall. However, Azteca was able to deliver a head scissors from the top rope to Drago, and gets the winning pinfall as well as an Aztec Medallion. One down, six to go, and Kobra Moon is left indignant at Drago for his failure. We later see Johnny Mundo enter and talk trash to Kobra Moon, allowing Taya to enter and take down the evil queen, while Mundo delivered a low blow to Drago.

Catrina later appears to Antonio and tells him that she’s stuck between the Temple and the spirit world. She demands Fenix, mainly out of revenge for him eliminating Mil Muertes in Aztec Warfare, and wants Mil to face Fenix in Grave Consequences next week. Antonio accepts Catrina’s request, and the match is on for the next episode.

It is now main event time, and for the second week in a row, Pentagon Dark will defend his Lucha Underground Championship, this time against the monster himself, Matanza. Pentagon enters the main event on the schnide against Matanza, losing both of their previous encounters, which included a battle at Ultima Lucha Dos. With Antonio, Matanza’s father, watching, Pentagon wasted no time going after his opponent, starting a chaotic brawl that took place outside the ring. Matanza ended up on the receiving end of one chop, but dodged another and went on the attack against the champion. Finally, champion and challenger both enter the ring, and it was the challenger, Matanza, who got the first near fall on champion Pentagon. Even after the kick out, Matanza continued his dominance until Pentagon took him down with a clothesline, leading to a near fall of his own.

Pentagon delivers a Codebreaker to no avail, and Matanza goes back on the offensive after kicking out at two. After back and forth deliveries, Pentagon went on the top rope, only for Matanza to deck him an attempt to take down his opponent from that same position. The champion fights off Matanza and later delivers not one, but two Mexican Destroyers! This is followed by a Package Piledriver, and three seconds later, Pentagon is still Lucha Underground Champion, handing Matanza his first singles loss in Lucha Underground! Of course, Pentagon is not done, as he attempts to break the arm of Matanza, only for Antonio to come out with the key, allowing Matanza to power out. Despite this, Antonio slapped his son, stating that Dario spoiled him and made him weak.

After this, Antonio returns to his office, where he is encountered by Jeremiah Crane, who wants to bury both Mil Muertes and Fenix, doing so to impress Catrina. This leads to Antonio modifying the Grave Consequences match, making it a three way for next week! Wow!

That’s the Lucha Lowdown! Until next week!

34 Facts You Might Not Know About Vader

As most of you know, we here at cleatgeeks like to look at an athletes accomplishments when they pass away instead of being sad. This article is no different. Vader gives us many years of athletic accomplishments in more than one sport, in more than one country, with more than one company. So let’s celebrate a lifetime of accomplishments with a one article where hopefully you discover something you did not know about Vader.

  1. Vader’s real name is Leon Allen White. White was a nationally ranked center who was recruited by forty colleges. He played offensive line at the University of Colorado, where he was a second-team All-American for the Buffaloes in 1977. He earned a business administration degree. In the 1978 NFL Draft, White was drafted as a center by the Los Angeles Rams with the 24th pick of the 3rd Round (80th overall). During White’s first season, he was put on the injured reserve list, but in his second season, he played in Super Bowl XIV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was forced to retire after only a couple of seasons due to a ruptured patella.

2) While working out at a gym, White was spotted by a man who remembered him from his college football days who suggested he look into professional wrestling. Trained by Brad Rheingans, White got his first national exposure in the American Wrestling Association (AWA). He went by the moniker Baby Bull.

3) On March 22, 1987, he won his first championship, the CWA (Catch Wrestling Association) World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Otto Wanz in Denver, Colorado, ending Wanz’s reign of nearly nine years in its only title change in the United States.

4) Although originally signed to All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), AJPW owner Giant Baba traded White’s contract over to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in 1987 after consideration. Upon joining NJPW, White was given the ring name Big Van Vader and began to wear a black wrestling mask. His new identity was based on a strong warrior of the same name from Japanese folklore.

5) As Big Van Vader, he actually caused a riot! After a match where Riki Choshu had challenged Antonio Inoki in a losing effort, Vader demanded a match with the already worn down Inoki, emerging victorious. This led the pro-Inoki audience to riot, resulting in NJPW being banned from the Sumo Hall, which was its home arena; the ban was rescinded in 1989, when NJPW did their first show back in Sumo Hall on February 22.

6) After winning the final match of an eight-man tournament against Shinya Hashimoto, Vader was declared the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He was the first gaijin (non-Japanese) wrestler to hold the title.

7) In February 1990, Vader faced Stan Hansen at an AJPW versus NJPW supercard show. Before Vader entered the ring, Hansen accidentally broke Vader’s nose with the bullrope Hansen carried to the ring for his matches. During an exchange of stiff punches, Hansen unintentionally poked Vader’s left eye with his thumb during their brawl, which caused the eye to pop out of its socket. After removing his mask, pushing the eye back into its socket and holding it in place with his eyelid, Vader continued wrestling Hansen until the match was rendered a no contest. As a result of the injury, Vader required a metal plate to be surgically placed under his eye.

8) On March 1, 1992, he and Bam Bam Bigelow began teaming as “Big, Bad, and Dangerous”, and the duo would go on to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Hiroshi Hase and Keiji Mutoh.

9) In May, Vader faced Mutoh, now known as The Great Muta, one on one and suffered a legitimate knee injury. This injury was a factor in he and Bigelow losing the title to the WCW World Tag Team Champions, The Steiner Brothers after a near four-month reign.

10) Vader’s first match in WCW took place on July 7, 1990 at The Great American Bash, where he defeated Tom Zenk in a little over two minutes.

11) When he began working for WCW full-time, Vader was paired with manager, Harley Race, and received a shot at Sting’s World Heavyweight Championship on April 12, 1992, and was disqualified. Sting suffered a pair of cracked ribs and a ruptured spleen in the match after taking a Vader Bomb.

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12) Vader received a rematch with Sting on July 12 at The Great American Bash, which he won to become the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. His reign was short-lived, as he re-injured his knee, forcing him to lose the title three weeks later to Ron Simmons, who substituted for Sting after he was attacked by Jake Roberts earlier that night.

13) Upon his return at Halloween Havoc, Vader sent Nikita Koloff into retirement and legitimately broke the back of jobber Joe Thurman, paralyzing him for a few hours.

14) Another fimiliar superstar also soon returned to WCW, his name was Cactus Jack. These two began a rivalry during the cable show WCW Saturday Night on April 17th. During the match, Jack suffered a broken nose and needed 27 stitches on his face. In a rematch on April 24, Vader powerbombed Jack onto the concrete floor outside the ring, resulting in Jack suffering a concussion and temporary loss of feeling in his left hand and leg.

15) But that was not the end of this feud. Vader and Cactus Jack’s feud was restarted as Jack was cleared to return for Halloween Havoc to face Vader in a Texas Death match. Vader won when Harley Race stunned Jack with a cattle prod that kept him down for a ten count. On March 16, 1994, Foley lost his right ear in a match with Vader in Munich, Germany; Foley’s head became trapped in the ropes, which were under excessive tension, causing his ear to be torn off. But, as you can see in the video below, it was not the ropes that actually ripped his ear off, it was Vader himself.

16) This incident actually almost got Sting arrested. As the story goes, when Foley was rushed to hospital the ear stayed behind, Sting realized it needed to be at the hospital if it was to be saved. Therefore, Sting got in a car with a driver who spoke little English,(rember the match took place in Germany) got to the hospital with the ear only to have them call the police on him. Basically confronted with a man wearing neon tights, a silk robe and matching facepaint clutching a severed ear they thought he was crazy. The driver explained he was a wrestler and they worked it all out. Although Flair and the others had some fun with Sting about his near trip to the mental hospital.

17) Between the two matches mentioned above, while Foley was recovering from his concussion, Vader did two other programs. First he began to feud with a new arrival to WCW, Davey Boy Smith. They met at Slamboree in May for the World Heavyweight Title. Vader lost by disqualification when he hit Smith with a chair, though he retained the title. Vader also teamed with Sid Vicious forming a tag team called, The Masters of the Powerbomb. They were defeated by Smith and his new partner, Sting, at Beach Blast in July.

18) Vader actually was one of the people who helped Ric Flair gain one of his record 30 total titles, he defeated Vader for his 2nd title reign as WCW Heavyweight Champion, but the circumstances were awkward to say the least. Vader was originally scheduled to face Sid Vicious at Starrcade. The real-life dismissal of Vicious after Arn Anderson stabbed him in England, however, forced WCW to find a quick replacement. Executive producer Eric Bischoff placed Ric Flair in the match, which was scheduled in Flair’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the storyline, Vader did not take Flair seriously until he agreed to put his career on the line against Vader’s title. Vader dominated the match, but Flair capitalized on failed interference by Race and Vader’s weakened knees to win the match with a rollup and end Vader’s third World Heavyweight Championship reign.

19) Vader was fired from WCW after he was involved in a locker room brawl with Paul Orndorff.

20) In 1996, Vader’s debut was heavily hyped on television as he was billed as “The Man They Call Vader” though Vince McMahon had originally wanted to rename him “The Mastodon.”

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Photo by; Sky Sports

21) He made his first World Wrestling Federation (WWF) appearance as a participant in the Royal Rumble match, as he entered at number 13 and eliminated Jake Roberts, Doug Gilbert, one member of the Squat Team, and Savio Vega; he also fought with his ally Yokozuna, but Vader was eliminated by Shawn Michaels before he reentered the ring and started assaulting everyone, including Michaels.

22) Much like in his WCW days, WWF decided to team Vader with a manager, but it might not be who you would think. Vader faced off against The Undertaker in a singles match at the Royal Rumble, and during the match, The Undertaker’s former manager, Paul Bearer, attacked him and helped Vader win; Bearer then became Vader’s manager.

23) During his time in WWF he never won a championship of any kind. He did win a Slammy Award, and participate in WrestleManias 12 and 13 where his record was 1-1.

24) Vader and Kane had a match at the Over the Edge pay-per-view with a Mask vs. Mask stipulation. Kane managed to defeat Vader, costing him his mask in the process. In a post-match interview with Michael Cole, Vader said, “I made the biggest mistake of my life. Maybe Vader time is over. I’m a piece of shit. A big fat piece of shit.”

25) Subsequently, Vader had a series of losses and was reduced to the status of a jobber to the stars, having a feud with Mark Henry which Vader lost. His final WWF pay-per-view match was a loss to Bradshaw at Breakdown: In Your House in a No Holds Barred match on September 27. He lost to Edge on Sunday Night Heat in his final televised WWF match. His last match in a WWF ring was on October 25 at a Madison Square Garden house show in a triple threat match with Mankind and Ken Shamrock, which Vader lost after he tapped out to Shamrock’s ankle lock. In a shoot interview, Jim Cornette said part of the reason that Vader’s WWF run was not as successful as what was hoped was due to the failure to properly book Vader. After considering retirement, Vader instead negotiated his own release from the WWF.

Image result for vader and his son jesse26) On April 29, 2010, White made a one-night return to wrestling under his Vader ring name at the event Vader Time 5 Return of the Emperor. At the event, he teamed with his son Jesse and former tag team partner Scorpio to successfully defeat Makoto Hashi, Tamon Honda and Tatsumi Fujinamiin the main event.

27) In the aftermath of the 2011 natural disasters in Japan, Vader and his son Jesse wrestled on special tribute cards for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) and Pro Wrestling Zero1.Image result for vader and his son jesse

28) Vader’s son Jesse White was signed to a developmental contract by WWE in April of 2011. In March 2012; he formed a tag team with Corey Graves. Shortly after, he won the Florida Tag Team Championship with Graves. Shortly after FCW made the transition to NXT in September 2013, it was announced that his contract with the WWE had been terminated. But Jesse must have liked announcers in WWE as he began dating JoJo Offerman. They celebrated their third anniversary in September 2016, and at the time, JoJo wrote on Instagram, “It feels like just yesterday 😍 Thank you for being you. Happy 3rd Anniversary to this man ❤.” They were also still together as of April 2017 as Jesse posted a picture of JoJo at WrestleMania 33. But, since all the rumors between JoJo and Bray Wyatt surfaced, she is keeping her love life quiet so we are not sure if they are still together.

29) Vader appeared in 3 movies and 2 television shows. Fist of the North Star in 1995 as “Goliath”, Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows andThe Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling appearing in both as himself. He also appeared in Boy Meets World (1995, 1996) in episodes “The Thrilla’ in Phila”, “New Friends and Old” and “Sixteen Candles and Four-Hundred-Pound Men” as “Francis Albert Leslie ‘Frankie’ Stecchino, Sr.” and Baywatch (1996) in episode “Bash at the Beach” as “Vader.”

30) While in Kuwait during a WWF tour in April 1997, Vader appeared on the television program Good Morning Kuwait along with The Undertaker, who was WWF World Heavyweight Champion at that time. During the interview, the host asked Taker and Vader if wrestling was fake. In response, Vader flipped over the table they were sitting at and grabbed the host by the tie, asking him if it seemed fake while using foul language. In December, White was fined $164 for this incident. Below is a video of the incident.

31) White was born in Lynwood, California, and grew up in Compton, California. He was raised with his sister in a rough area of Los Angeles known as South Central, where the siblings experienced a home break-in. His father was a US Marine. His father also was an underwater welder for the US Navy and invented an automobile hoist, which made the family wealthier and let them move to a safer neighborhood in Bell, where White attended Bell High School. In high school, he competed in shot put on the track and field team, wrestled, and played football.

32) Partially due to years of alcohol abuse and travel, White and his wife divorced in 2007, inspiring him to quit drinking and curtail his travel. White also became a born again Christian.

33) White had double knee replacement surgery, resulting in wound infection, and he was bedridden for six months. Soon after recovering, he passed out during a plane trip to Japan for an autograph session. He was in a coma for 33 days, during which he lost 112 pounds.

34) White went in for heart surgery on March 12, 2018 followed by another in May to treat an arrhythmia. On June 18 at approximately 7:25 pm, after a month-long hospitalization for pneumonia, White died. He was 63 years old.

We at cleatgeeks want to send out our prayers and condolences to the White family and that them for sharing Vader with us.




3 Impacts From Impact

Another amazing Impact is in the books! Who delivered the most amazing moments? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

Eli Drake and Moose faced off against each other in a match with huge Slammiversary implications. It was a #1 Contender’s Match; the winner would face Austin Aries for the World Title at the event. The match was actually months in the making, dating back to Eli defeating Moose to obtain the World Title briefcase from Feast or Fired. It was during the return of Fact of Life that the match was confirmed, and a confrontation between the two took place, with Eli on the winning end. However, when it counted, Moose emerged victorious, and he is off to Slammiversary to challenge Austin Aries.

Two Knockouts appeared on Impact for the first time in a while, with Rebel making her first Impact appearance in nearly a year, while her opponent, Taya Valkyrie made her second Impact appearance since her Redemption victory over Kiera Hogan in April. Taya’s only other appearance was a rematch against Kiera days later on Impact, but it was thrown out when Kiera was attacked by the evil Tessa Blanchard. As for her match against Rebel, the grueling bout ended with Taya victorious, and she decided to call out and challenge Madison Rayne to a match. As we know, Madison actually defeated Tessa Blanchard at Under Pressure, though Taya plans to let the former five-time Knockouts Champion know that things have changed in the Knockouts Division since she last competed on a regular basis.

Impact kicked off with Eddie Edwards calling out Tommy Dreamer, as he was still ranting about having Sami Callihan dead to rights, and accusing Tommy of preventing him from doing “what had to be done.” Eddie became even more heated (if that’s possible) when Tommy mentioned Alisha, and it resulted in Eddie assaulting Tommy with the cane he was wielding. It’s clear that Eddie is too far gone, and honestly, with Slammiversary looming, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a grudge match between the two at the event. With the Hardcore Legend involved, my guess is that the rule book would be thrown out.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

Straight Up Smack Down


Holy Toledo!  What an incredible 4 day span of events for the WWE! There were so many noteworthy moments from Money In The Bank weekend in Chicago all the way to Smack Down Live on Tuesday night from Toledo, Ohio. First, I want to start with a few happenings that were not covered on WWE programming during that span…..

On Tuesday it was reported that William Morrissey a.k.a. Big Cass, Cass, Colin Cassidy was released by WWE. I’ve read reports that Cass “went into business for himself” by purposely doing things in segments he was specifically told not to, had a lot of backstage heat, & underperformed all around. While that all seems pretty evident, something bigger seems to be missing. A lot of superstars had or still have backstage heat. Cass being in a program with Daniel Bryan says that WWE had big plans for him. I went back re-watched Cass & Bryan’s last match against one another at Money In The Bank. Outside of one blow to the head from Cass to Bryan, nothing seemed dangerous from Cass’s interactions with Bryan throughout the match. If I had to guess, this is a story that hasn’t really been told. WWE does not give up on homegrown talent this easily, especially not in a single instance like this. Releases tend to come annually & range anywhere from 5-10 performers. Right now, this seems like an issue that was dealt with in house. We’ll see if anymore news trickles out, but I fully expect Cass to be courted by Impact Wrestling & possibly New Japan Pro Wrestling. He is a polished WWE superstar & has years of live on-camera training that is immensely valuable to any major wrestling program. Plus he’s 7 feet tall AND YOU CAN’T TEACH THAT!

On a sadder note, Leon White better known as Vader, passed away Monday night. He was 63. Vader made his name in New Japan Pro Wrestling, before latching on to WCW, where he achieved great fame. Vader then parlayed that momentum into a WWF run, with I believe Jim Cornette as his manager. He was a solid all around performer, on mic & in ring. He also signified the last of a dying breed in WWF, as the Attitude Era began. His role in WWF became diminished & Vader was released, eventually ending up back in Japan.

He made various appearances on sitcoms, but how I will best remember Vader is the first time I saw him walk to the ring…..with this combat gear on. It was like some ancient samurai/ram/elephant armor. I just remember thinking as a kid, “Wow, that’s cool!” Then he did his Vader bomb & I was a fan. Rest in peace Leon White.


On to Toledo! Paige began the episode in a pre-taped segment backstage to recap how her roster performed at Money In The Bank on Sunday & to preview the night’s episode. One major announcement she made was that there would be a 5 man Gauntlet match to determine the number one contender to A.J. Styles. Those participants would be: The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Rusev, & Big E. I really like how everything was laid out in a simple manner by her. It also gave us, as the audience, a lot to look forward to over the next two hours.

Spoiler alert: Asuka lost to Carmella at Money In The Bank. Carmella was the first roster member to enter the ring on Tuesday night as she wanted to gloat about her upset win & title retention from Sunday. She claimed that she retained the title all by herself, but anyone who watched the match saw that the return of James Ellsworth was the main reason Carmella was able to retain. Ellsworth reappeared in Asuka’s costume on Tuesday night to add insult to injury……

Ellsworth stated that Carmella was better than Charlotte, Lita, Trish Stratus, Ronda Rousey, Mother Teresa, and “last but certainly least, Asuka”! James was sorely missed as a key part to Carmella’s character. She needs him as bad as she needs the title or needed the briefcase to stay relevant. I thought this was a solid mea culpa by WWE in re-hiring Ellsworth & positioning him back into the same exact role as when he was released.

In other Smack Down Live women’s news, Billy Kay faced Becky Lynch in singles’ competition. The IIconics gave a less than normally stellar promo before the match, insulting Becky Lynch. This only fired up Lynch, who charged down to the ring toward Kay:

Solid win for Becky & sloppy outing by Kay. She just doesn’t seem as in tune or crisp without Peyton as her match partner. I’m really glad that the fan push for Becky has gained a lot of steam in recent weeks. It seemed for a little bit like I was the only one championing her cause, but she seems undeterred toward Smack Down gold, despite coming up short in the women’s ladder match on Sunday. Following her victory over Billie, Lynch gave a passionate promo regarding her current position & what her future holds:


Gallows & Anderson were granted a rematch against The Bludgeon Brothers on Tuesday night, but the match itself wasn’t the biggest takeaway:

Same result as Sunday, but The Bludgeon Brothers’ interaction with Daniel Bryan in between matches would prove to be significant foreshadowing. Bryan began the Gauntlet match against Big E:

Great match by both competitors. Bryan’s next opponent would be Samoa Joe:

Smart decision by whoever booked this match to have Joe be eliminated this way. This preserved both he & Bryan’s upper tier status. Now, cue the payoff from that foreshadowed interaction earlier:

Ever the opportunist, Miz saw his moment to defeat an exhausted & “bludgeoned” Daniel Bryan. This was a form of karma for Bryan who took a shot at Miz in a backstage interview with Renee Young. The pin on Bryan set up the final pairing in the Gauntlet match, Rusev versus The Miz. By now, the commercial break count was up to 4 for this Gauntlet match. Ugh!

Wow, Rusev is the number one contender for the WWE Championship. As he would say, “Rusev is da best, Rusev number one!” The Bulgarian Brute conducted an interview following his victory & commented about the upcoming A.J. versus Rusev Day match at Extreme Rules:


Jeff Hardy had an “eye opening” promo to comment on the effects of Shinsuke Nakamura’s attack last week:

I’m not sure that he’s going full Brother Nero on WWE just yet, but he is instantly more entertaining than just normal Jeff Hardy. Shinsuke Nakamura also conducted an interview to comment on his situation with Jeff Hardy:

I loved this segment so much. I don’t even think “loved” is a strong enough word, but whatever the word is, both Young & Nakamura deserve it. Shinsuke’s character is still playing both mind & word games with Renee’s character and they both keep upping the ante in each instance. Every single word & mannerism by both Young & Nakamura in that segment was either funny or had meaning. Not a single throw away line & not a single throw away word. Bravo!


FINALLY, SAnitY debuted this week! I am so excited for these guys on the main roster, (if you couldn’t already tell) & it looks like they will be booked as heels on Smack Down Live, as their debut match was set to be against The Usos:

Another great, well thought out segment by the Smack Down Live staff. Bring out The Usos to do the mic work to promo themselves, the match & their opponents.  No match ever takes place, so SAnitY doesn’s have to get pinned in their debut & The Usos don’t have to be the sacrificial lambs in a pinfall situation & they were outnumbered in the attack. I really liked that SAnitY held both Jimmy & Jey in the direction of the attacks on the other Uso. That is how heels are supposed to act!

Another week goes by without the Sin Cara versus Andrade “Cien” Almas match. A frustrated Zelina Vega & visually irritated Almas had these remarks for Paige:

Until now, Almas has only had two matches on the main roster, both against jobbers. Hopefully next week we will get to see Almas in some real competition on Smack Down Live.


Until next week, thanks for reading!

3 Impacts From Impact

A wild and crazy Impact is in the books! Who had a wilder night than Alex Ovechkin did when he won the Stanley Cup? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

The big Impact came away from the Impact Zone and into the ugly underbelly of the woods. Eddie Edwards’ desperate attempt to take down Sami Callihan had him again dealing with the rest of oVe. Eddie was dead set on committing hideous harm to Sami, when Alisha Edwards and Tommy Dreamer arrived to again attempt to talk Eddie out of his vengeful obsession, but seeing Sami gone only angered Eddie to the point where he actually struck Dreamer. It’s safe to say that Eddie is far gone; his obsession with taking down Sami has completely consumed him, and it may be too late to drag him out of the depths of darkness.

Among other things, Tessa Blanchard is full of pride, and in a moment that defines the saying, “Pride goeth before the fall,” Tessa was defeated at Under Pressure by Madison Rayne. She was later interviewed about the loss before she was interrupted by Kiera Hogan, who decided to rub Tessa’s loss in her face. An already furious Tessa assaulted Kiera in response, continuing a feud that began shortly after Tessa’s debut. This is the best version of Tessa I’ve seen, IMO. She’s been great no matter what the character: the up and coming babyface, the intense face character, the arrogant heel, you name it. But in Impact, Tessa is actually playing a villainous arrogant powerhouse, as she is in the best shape ever and is using that physique to her advantage, while also displaying an entitled persona.

The seeds for Slammiversary are beginning to be planted, and one such seed has seen Eli Drake and Moose cross paths again. Eli brought back his Fact of Life segment, and when naming the top five dummies, he listed Moose at #1. This brought out the former Impact Grand Champion, and it was at that moment that a match was made between the two with huge implications: the winner will face Austin Aries for the World Title at Slammiversary. Of course, Eli delivered the first (cheap) shot, as he took down Moose during their brawl.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw and ending with Money in the Bank.

Raw featured a triple dose of women’s action, beginning with Natalya defeating Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, and Ember Moon in a four-way match. Later on, Ruby Riott defeated Bayley in singles action, and a confrontation between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey ended with Ronda placing Nia in the armbar submission. On SmackDown, what was supposed to be a summit featuring the blue brand’s MITB participants turned into an announced eight woman tag team match when Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and The IIconics got involved. It became a 10-woman match when Paige added Carmella and Asuka, and it would be Asuka making Carmella submit for the victory.

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On NXT, Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross went face to face just days away from their title confrontation, and later on, Bianca BelAir defeated Aliyah, and later interrupted Dakota Kai’s interview, leading to a match set for the next NXT. Lucha Underground returned with Aztec Warfare, with Mariposa as a participant, while Catrina and Kobra Moon made their presences felt. As for Impact, Tessa Blanchard defeated Kiera Hogan in a No Disqualification match.

At Takeover in Chicago, Shayna Baszler defeated Nikki Cross in a very entertaining bout to hold on to the NXT Women’s Championship. It was a match that saw Nikki use her manic demeanor in an attempt to disrupt Shayna’s flow, but she ended up on the receiving end of Shayna’s submission, opting to sleep instead of tap, while still smiling after her defeat. As for Money in the Bank the following night, Alexa Bliss climbed the ladder and became WWE’s second-ever Miss Money in the Bank, outlasting Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Ember Moon, Naomi, and Lana.

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Regarding the events title contests, Asuka appeared to have Carmella beaten when all of a sudden, someone donning Asuka’s attire came out and provided an odd distraction. When the mask was removed, the person was revealed as none other than James Ellsworth, the longtime confidant of Carmella, making his return to WWE after several months. The distraction led to Carmella actually pinning Asuka, joining Charlotte Flair on that short list of women who have pinned Asuka in a WWE ring. As for the Raw title, a hard fought battle between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey ended with Alexa assaulting both combatants with her newly won case, and after this, she quickly cashed in and defeated Nia to win her fifth overall championship. Let’s stay on that, shall we?

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Many people were upset with Alexa winning MITB, and were even more upset when she cashed in and won the title. The list of people outraged at this includes this intrepid writer. I don’t get it. Alexa has been on WWE’s main roster for just under two years and she has been champion five times already. WWE couldn’t even let the title breathe for two months before giving it back to Alexa. And it amazes me that the main complaint had WWE being accused of centering the Women’s Division around the Horsewomen. Charlotte will be taking time off after the PPV, Bayley’s getting underused, they won’t let Sasha have an actual fulfilling title reign, and Becky Lynch (who was the proverbial bridesmaid in all three Women’s MITB matches) hasn’t been champion in almost two years. Come on now.

Speaking of Becky, as I said before, she has been in all three MITB matches, and they have all ended the same way: with Becky within reach of the briefcase and having it taken away. Now, one has to think that enough is enough for the Lass Kicker; we heard it in her promo this past Tuesday. She had been starting statements with “I was” for too long, she wants to start saying “I am” again, but that chance was once again taken from her at MITB. Now it was a member of the Raw roster that took it from her, but even so, she could still take it out on someone from SmackDown. Who should that someone be? None other than Charlotte. As I stated before, Charlotte will take time off after the PPV, so it would mark the perfect time for Becky to have enough and turn heel with a vicious assault to her longtime friend, with the claim that it was Charlotte’s fault that she lost.

We will see what happens, as a new week begins with the aftermath of MITB! Until next week!

Straight Up Smack Down


Smack Down was live in Memphis, Tennessee this past Tuesday night as WWE looks toward Chicago this weekend for Money In The Bank. Being a Chicago native, its hard for me to hear the words “Chicago” & “Money In The Bank” in the same sentence, without immediately thinking of this:

I’ve watched that clip an unhealthy amount of times over the years & it never gets old. There are few moments like this in pro wrestling that will bring every single fan in & grips them in that moment. The Undertaker’s loss to Lesnar at Wrestle Mania. Taker’s loss to Reigns at Wrestle Mania & that beginning to Raw the night afterwards. Rock/Hogan at Wrestle Mania. Vince/Austin at the Royal Rumble. Edge’s return at the Royal Rumble & his retirement speech. These are special moments in the product that shine for everyone that can appreciate it. We can only hope for one of those special moments this weekend in Chicago.


Smack Down kicked off with a Women’s Money In The Bank Summit in the ring. It’s no coincidence that on Monday, President Trump (good friend of Vince McMahon), had a “summit” with Kim Jong In & now we have a meeting to begin Smack Down also labeled as a “Summit,”  I think Paige’s goal here was to publicly address the four women from Smack Down Live participating in Sunday’s ladder match & just let them know that she doesn’t care which one of them wins, as long as it’s ONE of them that wins for Smack Down Live’s brand. Although, in a locker room of big egos, this kind of attention for only a select group of superstars would not sit well with the other superstars:

So the night began a little of the rails for Paige. No worries, she’s a pro. She’ll just head backstage after that previous segment just cut away to the announcers, with no conclusion to it. Although she couldn’t escape the drama, as she encountered a blood-thirsty Asuka & The Miz, who claimed he was practicing for an audition:

So Asuka technically got what she was asking for & The Miz got what he never really asked for but apparently only implied. This set up just seemed so lazy. The sad part is that in reality, this wasn’t even happening in real time. This was pre-taped before the show even began. These premises irritate me as a viewer because I feel that a large majority of fans could map out a better segment than what they aired. I have no issue with Miz starting the confrontation in a referee’s uniform or Paige allowing him to be the special guest referee, but I take offense to everything that happened in between. I also believe that its because both characters are so over with fans that not many gave this a second thought. If this was a Roman Reigns & Kurt Angle exchange, I think fans would have lampooned this segment MUCH harder. At least she got a funny moment in, when she used Miz’s own “mouth goes shut” saying on him.

Renee Young caught up with Carmella, wanting to gauge her level of concern with Asuka & the impending 10 woman tag match:

So, in the episode we saw a few entrances before the 10 woman tag match began & then, oddly, programming was diverted to a video package about one of the upcoming Special Olympics competitors. I’m pretty sure they did it because they were pressed for time & had already cut the previously advertised Andrade “Cien” Almas match versus Sin Cara & didn’t want to also have to cut this video package. So they sandwiched it in between the women’s entrances. Honestly, they should have cut the Daniel Bryan Raw Takeover flashback earlier in the show.

Damn, that was a chaotic match that moved at a frenetic pace. Mandy Rose even had her forearm slashed open! Not shown was Carmella stopping mid-skip in her entrance to the ring, looking directly at a kid with his hand outstretched for a high five & she put her hand up in a “talk to hand” fashion to deny the fan. Subtle heel move, but it didn’t go unnoticed by me. The match had a very dumb ending. These are the moments where WWE loses me as a fan. I don’t need the unspoken symbolism by the superstars to be then narrated to me by the announcers. The moment is hokey enough & I hated that the four women surrounded Asuka, while glancing up to the briefcase. They might as well have done the “Wrestle Mania point” instead. Then to have Graves explain it just seems so rudimentary. Anyways, Asuka tapping out Carmella signifies to me that some sort of interference will shape the outcome on Sunday’s match between Asuka & Carmella. Carmella was interviewed later & seemed very confident in her chances on Sunday:


So, as promised earlier, Miz was the guest referee in the Rusev versus Samoa Joe match later in the evening. Just before this match began, WWE announced that The Bludgeon Brothers will face Gallows & Anderson on the kickoff show this Sunday….so there’s that. The beginning of this encounter started pretty bad. Aiden English proceeded Rusev, as usual, to do some horrible poetry slam type rap that he nearly tripped up on. Tom Phillips then made a comment afterward comparing English to the “hip hop star John Mayer.”  I think he meant to make a joke there about Aiden’s bad rap ability but it didn’t resonate on air & both Saxton and Graves left well enough alone. Samoa Joe now has a Mohawk that looked really weird on his way to the ring, but then seemed less odd once he stepped inside the ring.  It was kind of like that saying, “good from far, but far from good.”

I liked that Miz refused to count Rusev down after the collision with Joe & the subsequent confrontation between the two, but when Joe grabbed Miz’s finger & twisted it, that should have been a disqualification. You cannot purposely put your hands on an official without being disqualified & this was a small oversight that WWE should map out better in their finishes if they expect me to take these matches seriously. I have similar gripes about the VERY lenient 10 counts by referees.  Rusev scores another big victory & has a great deal of steam heading into Sunday. Even with Miz’s Skull Crushing Finale on Rusev here, I think it just further cements that Miz will not be winning the contact. Rusev was interviewed backstage & seemed like he did a shoot interview. He came across as genuinely happy & excited to be in this position:

As for this Sunday’s ladder match my pick to win that match is Braun, for obvious reasons. Although, this would give Joe a great platform as the briefcase holder to cut promos on the champ. Speaking of the champ, last week’s old school style Mean Gene type interview with Cass must have resonated well with everyone because we had a repeat this week. This time it was A.J. Styles with Jerry “The King” Lawler, instead of Cass with Renee Young…..

Short & sweet. To the point. That’s sure better than the opposite. I think WWE is pleased with how they’ve told this story between Styles & Nakamura so far & are reticent to push it any further, only a few days away from their match. Nakamura faced Jeff Hardy, in one of the two very good matches on this week’s episode:

I really thought Jeff Hardy’s neck paint was a neck brace at first sight. Nakamura mocked Hardy in the beginning of this clip & then again after his ten count.  I thought the disqualification low blow was apropos to his character in this feud with A.J. I think it makes a lot of sense to have Shinsuke win on Sunday. WWE can frame it as A.J. won in all the normal circumstances before, but Nakamura got into his head & that he eventually wore Styles down enough to sneak out with a win, under the rarest of circumstances.


Cass had another interview with Renee. This week they were backstage but, just like last week, Cass booted Renee almost immediately. He went to tell the audience how he stole a height requirement sign from a local Memphis theme park that employed him for the day:

So as you can see in the clip, that arrow is pointing to under 5 feet tall. Cass claimed that Bryan doesn’t meet the height requirement but Wikipedia lists Bryan at 5’8″. They might be off by an inch or two at best, but not a whole foot. Fail, WWE. So that was the last part of the build to Cass versus Bryan rematch this Sunday.  Shelton Benjamin faced Daniel Bryan in the second very good match on Smack Down Live this week:

Am I late to noticing prescription medicines as sponsors to individual WWE matches…..because this match was sponsored by Xyzal, a 24 hour allergy prescription.  If there goal was to plant that information in my head by mentioning the script name & its claim, mission accomplished.  I just don’t remember drug companies getting a medication as a match sponsor before…….weird. Anyways, solid match & nice win for Bryan. I really enjoyed this match & Bryan seems to be grateful for every week that he is able to perform.


So, for what its worth…..I have Bludgeon Brothers & Carmella retaining their titles this Sunday. Jeff Hardy isn’t currently scheduled to perform, so I have him retaining his title too. I don’t think a Smack Down Live male entrant will emerge victorious, but I think (maybe hope is a better word) that Becky Lynch ends up with the briefcase on Sunday. We’ll see……until then, thanks for reading!

The Lucha Lowdown (Season 4 Premiere)

It’s the middle of June, hockey and basketball are done, and that can mean one thing: Lucha Underground is back! Not only that, the Lucha Lowdown is back as well, and with a recap of the fourth season opener!

Following a recap from Season 3, Season 4 kicked off with the funeral service for Dario Cueto, while his father, Antonio, is told that the Temple in Boyle Heights cannot be used anymore, while it was revealed that he was the one who ordered the hit on his son! Season 4 barely getting its feet wet and the shockers are coming already! Wow!

We now see Melissa Santos conducting a 10-bell salute to Dario, only for Antonio to appear and interrupt the service. After a shot of announcers Matt Striker and Vampiro, Antonio introduces herself as the new owner of Lucha Underground, and even promised a new champion, as Pentagon Dark will defend the Lucha Underground championship in Aztec Warfare! Later on, we see Killshot and The Mack, two-thirds of the Trios Champions in the ring, with Antonio informing that the champions will be in Aztec Warfare, but with their partner, Dante Fox, MIA, Antonio stated that not only will the pair start the match, but the #3 entrant will be their championship partner! The #3 entrant was none other than Son of Havoc, and the three of them started the match.Image result for lucha underground season 4

The first countdown is on, and #4 is none other than the King of Sleaze himself, Joey Ryan! Like always, Joey brings out the handcuffs and chains himself to one of the ropes, a tactic he’s used many times. Entering at #5 is Mr. Pectacular, who we Impact fans know as Jesse Godderz, with Aztec Warfare being his debut for Lucha Underground. The first elimination came when Killshot rolled up his partner, The Mack, much to the Mack’s shock. Already, the defending champion Pentagon Dark makes his way in at #6! Joey, for some reason, decided to go after the champion after freeing himself from his cuffs. Bad move. Pentagon eliminates him quickly. Son of Havoc goes after him, only to get nearly pinned by Killshot. SOH does get the drop on Killshot, eliminating him.

And who enters at #7?! Tommy Dreamer!!! After Mr. Pectacular is eliminated, the Innovator of Violence stares down Pentagon before they fight, and we later see the match’s first female entrant, as Mariposa enters at #8. The demented sister of Marty the Moth took down Dreamer and swung the Kendo Stick towards the champion. Dreamer strikes Pentagon, leaving Mariposa to end up eliminated by Son of Havoc. Outside the ring, Dreamer brings out the thumb tacks, but he ended up tackled on top of them by Pentagon! Pentagon eliminated Dreamer, and Vinnie Massaro enters at #9–and receives a pizza. Massaro even offered a slice to Pentagon, only for Pentagon to shove it in his face and eliminate him. Only in Lucha Underground.

Image result for lucha underground season 4Entering at #10 is another former Impact Wrestling name, Hernandez! He briefly appeared for LU three years prior, including participating in the very first Ultima Lucha, and he quickly got in Pentagon’s face. It would be his undoing, as he would be eliminated by Pentagon, but not before getting his arm broken. Pentagon and Son of Havoc fight, with the former eliminating the latter. At #11, the former champion, Johnny Mundo, enters, and the two of them battle it out. #12, originally supposed to be Angélico, is actually Ricky Mundo, and he and Johnny team up on Pentagon before Ricky is quickly eliminated. The Triple Crown Champion, Fenix, enters at lucky #13, followed by Jeremiah Crane at #14. Crane delivers a chair to Fenix’s midsection, and later delivers a brain buster to Fenix, which doesn’t work in his favor. Mil Muertes enters at #15, with Catrina at his side of course. The second-ever Lucha Underground Champion mows down the competition, but the rest of the combatants fight back, ending with Fenix quickly eliminating Mil Muertes!

Daga enters at sweet #16, with the deliciously evil Kobra Moon at his side. He’s tossed out by Crane following a flurry of offense, and at that moment, Chavo Guerrero returns to Lucha Underground as the #17 entrant! Crane mocks Chavo, only to end up taken down and eliminated by Pentagon. Chavo enters and fights Pentagon before eliminating Fenix. As for the aforementioned Daga, his stay was short lived, as Mundo eliminated him. King Cuerno enters at #18, while Kobra Moon lets out her anger over Daga’s elimination. Dragon Azteca, Jr enters at #19, and he quickly goes after Chavo and Mundo, the former WWE guys, before delivering an aerial attack to Pentagon. Meanwhile, Kobra Moon returns with Vibora, who is not in the match, and sends him after Mundo–as he was the one who eliminated Daga. And who enters as the 20th and final entrant? Marty the Moth! The first time he’s seen after his humiliation, and he pins Mundo, capitalizing on Kobra Moon’s wrath.

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Chavo ambushed Azteca with a chair, but his attempt at the Frog Splash was thwarted by King Cuerno, who delivered his own splash and eliminated Azteca. Cuerno had Pentagon up on his shoulders, but Chavo takes Cuerno down with the Gory Bomb, eliminating King Cuerno. Chavo himself is eliminated by Pentagon, and we are now down to Pentagon, and an unlikely finalist in the form of Marty the Moth. Marty the Moth as Lucha Underground Champion? It almost happened on two occasions, as he picked up two near falls on the defending champion. We see Marty actually biting Pentagon’s fingers, and takes down Pentagon, but only for another two count! Pentagon delivers a flipping Piledriver to Marty, and a second Piledriver leads to a successful title defense for Pentagon Dark! Of course, this is followed by the breaking of Marty’s arm, Pentagon’s sinister symbol.

Antonio Cueto congratulates Pentagon, but announced that next week, he would defend the title against Matanza! Wow, what a way to kick off Season Four of Lucha Undeground! Next week, and the weeks to come, should be off the chain!

That’s the Lucha Lowdown! Until next week!


The 411 on 205 Live

Welcome back to my weekly 205 review/recap. Make sure to tell me what you thought of the show in the comments below and follow me on Twitter @VinPensabene.

This week’s episode opened up with a recap of last week’s main event between Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy where Hideo Itami interfered and took out both competitors. The recap includes a voiceover of 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick calling Itami’s actions “reprehensible and unbecoming of a competitor of his stature.” Maverick adds that those actions will not be tolerated and Itami will be punished by not being allowed to appear in tonight’s show. He adds that tonight’s main event will be Tony Nese vs Cedric Alexander. I really like the openings of 205 Live with Carter recapping the previous show as a refresher and would love to see things like that implemented on the main roster.

The actual show opened with the Lucha House Party vs in a six-man tag team match. Kalisto ran to the back during their entrance and grabbed a pinata with Drew Gulak’s face tapped on it. Dasha Fuentes asks Jack Gallagher, The Brian Kendrick, and Drew Gulak why they are teaming up and they say the numbers advantage has been apparent and want to end the Lucha House Party.

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The crowd didn’t really seem to be into the match at first but the athleticism of Kalisto, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik towards the end of the match got the crowd interested. Drew Gulak had a visible pin, but the referee noticed Gulak grabbing the tights and didn’t finish the three count. Kendrick had the Captain’s hook on Dorado but Dorado rolled through and reversed it into a rollup and with a grab of Kendrick’s tights got the pinfall. Really weird to give the faces a win via shadiness, especially that Maverick made it sound like this was the finality of the fued, but it seems like it will not be.

We next see a selfie promo via Hideo Itami’s twitter where he says he will be the next Cruiserweight champion and he that neither Buddy Murphy or Mustafa Ali respected him. I really hope that we are approaching the end of these selfie promos, but I fear we are only at the beginning of it. At least we don’t have words shooting at us as the wrestler says them.

We cut to Drake Maverick texting (because who doesn’t do that when they are in charge of a show and it is live) and Buddy Murphy comes in. Murphy comes in and says he will not wrestle until he gets a match against Itami. Maverick informs him that Mustafa Ali also had the same request and told Murphy as a word of advice when talking to his boss, to come in with requests and not ultimatiums.

We have another selfie promo, this time from Mustafa Ali and you can almost see the writer writing this promo as Ali is speaking it. Ali mentions that he almost defeated Murphy last week and says that he will be one step closer to the Cruiserweight championship match and that he hopes both Murphy and Hideo Itami are watching.

Next we have former Cruiserweight champion (remember that? not many do) Akira Tozawa against a jobber named Steve Irby. Irby’s idenity was revealed to be indy wrestler Joey Lynch, a student at Heath Slater’s wrestling school and does a decent job in his role. In the length of time it took to write this paragraph, Tozawa hit a senton from the top rope on Irby for the pin.

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After the match concludes, we get another vignette from Lio Rush from a rooftop. Rush says he feels disrepected since there have been two cruiserweight tournaments and the best cruiserweight hasn’t been involved. The aspect of time was obvious with Rush having an hourglass and prominently showing his watch at the end of the video. Big things for Rush seem to be in order and I can’t wait to see him with the title soon.

Tony Nese is shown backstage doing dips before cutting a two sentence promo before their match and continues to do dips afterwards. WWE does not have Nese in the correct role right now as a henchman but it’s only a matter of time. Speaking of promos, we get a selfie promo from TJP basically repeating his gripes from last week.

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Tony Nese vs Mustafa Ali came up next and Nese’s entrance always kills me as he counts his 8-pack as he says he has eight reasons why he is better than Ali. He says he has an additional one as Buddy Murphy walked out behind him. I always wondered how live crowds react to those as they don’t get to hear the dialogue. Murphy and Nese circle Ali before Cruiserweight champ Cedric Alexander comes out to ringside to even the odds.

This match failed to reach the heights that previous main events of 205 Live but both men put in a good match. Mustafa Ali picked up the victory with the 054.

Former NFL Cowboy Punches His UFC Ticket

Greg Hardy, the former NFL All-Pro defensive end punched his ticket to the UFC with an emphatic KO victory over fellow ex-NFL player Austen Lane on Tuesday night at Dana White’s Contender Series 9. The event took place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym and streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

“I’m ready for the big show,” Hardy said after his win. “I love the opportunity. I train at the best gym in the world, and I have full confidence and faith that those guys are there to get me ready for whatever comes next.”

What comes next will be up to UFC President Dana White, who awarded Hardy a contract afterward, though he hinted it could be a developmental deal.

Hardy (1-0), who trains with American Top Team, came out throwing heavy hands early, but Lane (4-1) responded, leading to a brief exchange between the two big men. An eye poke by Hardy just 25 seconds in forced a brief stoppage.

When they returned to action, Lane landed a solid two-punch combination that Hardy took well. Seconds later, the fight was over when Hardy landed a huge right hook across the chin that dropped Lane to one knee. Lane bounced back up only to get a left fpr his troubles that put him down for good, forcing the referee to stop the fight at the 57-second mark of Round 1.

It was Hardy’s first MMA fight as a professional. He’d had just three amateur bouts since November, with none of them exiting the first round.

White reacted to Hardy’s knockout on the Contender Series by letting out an “Oh (expletive)!” and jumping out of his seat.


Hardy landing a spot on the Contender Series was met with controversy given his checkered past. While still playing for the Dallas Cowboys he was convicted for assaulting his ex-girlfriend in July 2014, only to have the charges dropped after the alleged victim refused to testify in his appeal.

White is well aware of Hardy’s past, but the UFC boss believes the NFL veteran deserves a chance to rebuild his life.

“The reality is, if this guy stays clean for the next 10 years, goes on to win a world title, becomes one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever live, he’s always going to be looked at – he’s always going to hear it,” White told MMAjunkie.

“That’s always going to be in the story that’s written about him. Other opponents he fights are going to call him a woman beater. That’s going follow him for the rest of his life. You don’t shed that. That stays with you forever, and he’s done all the things right so far.

“The guy paid his dues. He hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, and the guy’s out there just trying to make a life and a living.”

Although he’s taking a risk in providing Hardy with a platform, White said Hardy will remain under the microscope, and even the smallest of errors will be noticed.

“He’s the type of athlete, and he’s the type of guy that, if he does anything wrong, there will be no mercy for him,” White said. “I mean, everybody’s going to jump on him. You talk to the people in his camp, they love the guy. Men and women. They think he’s a great guy and a guy who (was) probably doing drugs, drinking and made a big mistake.”Image result for greg hardy cowboys

Going forward, it doesn’t appear Hardy will make his official UFC debut anytime soon. He has just one pro fight, after all, and White said he wants to see Hardy gain some more experience before taking on the UFC heavyweight division, which includes some of the most experienced fighters in the sport.

White has a tentative plan in mind for Hardy’s developmental stage, though, but it remains to be seen exactly how it will play out.

“The way I see it is, what I would love to do, in a perfect world, this is not what I’m doing, but in a perfect world this is what I would like to do,” White said. “If he can turn around and come back, I would like to have him fight on the last episode of the Contender Series. Then I would like to put him on a bunch of ‘Looking For A Fight’ cards, get him some experience and then we’ll decide when we think he’s ready for the UFC.”

“If you see him, you see that he has power. He’s a big heavyweight. He needs to work more. He needs to get some more fights. We’ve done deals where, for example, Cyborg was under contract with the UFC but fought in Invicta. Alexa Grasso was under contract with the UFC. Mackenzie Dern was under contract with the UFC and fought in other places. I have a few ideas of what to do with this guy and let him develop. He’s with a great team already, he’s training with great guys. They say he’s a hard worker. They say all positive things about him out of that gym. We’ll try to build him up and see what he can do.”


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