Cleat Geeks

The Ultima Lucha Lowdown (Part III)

Welcome to Part III of The Ultima Lucha Lowdown!

Part III kicks off with the long awaited Last Luchadora Standing contest between Sexy Star and Taya, two women who have been at each other’s throats for so long! Taya has cost Sexy quite a bit this season, that and the recent real-life issues elsewhere have led to this match that should settle things between these two phenomenal women. To the surprise of no one, both women took this fight outside quickly, with Taya ramming Sexy’s back to the railing. The brutality plays an important role in this match, as the winner has to make sure that her opponent cannot answer the referee’s 10 count. We later see Sexy dish out some punishment of her own; ramming Taya’s face onto the gate. Taya’s already bleeding, but Sexy isn’t done, as she gets the table (in Dudley Boyz fashion) and rams Taya’s face on that as well! The table finally comes in to play, as Taya sent herself and Sexy through the table from the stairs! However, Sexy managed to barely beat the 10 count, and win the match, serving as the Last Luchadora Standing!

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Next up, the Trios Championship is on the line, with Vibora, Pindar, and Drago (with Kobra Moon) defending against the makeshift team of The Mack, Dante Fox, and Killshot. The Mack won this title opportunity last week during Part II of this event, but it was Dario Cueto who threw the proverbial curveball of teaming him with Fox and Killshot: two combatants who not only can’t stand each other, but went through hell in Part I of this fabulous event! However, winning can cure all ills, and the rivals worked together with Mack, who got into the match and brought the fight to Drago! Fox and Killshot came together to take down Vibora, only for Kobra Moon’s largest minion to fight back against the pair. Mack took down Vibora, and Fox and Killshot delivered an aerial assault to the champions! And in the end, a shocker: the unlikely trio won the titles! All Kobra Moon could do is stand in shock at what had occurred.

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The main event commences, and it is Son of Havoc and Pentagon Dark facing off in a ladder match for the Gift of the Gods Championship! This match was made weeks ago after the traditional seven-way match ended with Havoc and Pentagon gaining pinfalls at the same time, prompting Dario Cueto to have the two of them face each other for the title. The title means a guaranteed shot at the Lucha Underground Championship, a title NEITHER combatant has ever held. For Pentagon, that title means he’s one win closer to pure dominance. For Son of Havoc, the title means he’s one win away from ultimate redemption. The two warriors put each other through hell to get the title, and in the end, Pentagon Dark climbed the ladder and took possession of the Gift of the Gods Championship!

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Next week, Ultima Lucha Tres concludes with Prince Puma fighting for his career and his second Lucha Underground Championship. We see the challenger with Vampiro, preparing him for his ultimate battle next week.

It all concludes next week! Until then!

Straight Up Smack Down

 

Just a few short days after Hell In A Cell (that seemed like a week), Smack Down was live from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both cell matches lived up to their hype at HIAC & much of the fallout was addressed in Grand Rapids. The first segment of the show was led by The Usos, who reclaimed their Smack Down Tag Team titles on Sunday in an entertaining, innovative cell match against The New Day. In fact, The Usos invited New Day to the ring tonight to show their respect to Kofi, Xavier, & Big E.  They all seemed to bury the hatchet in a ….Truce-O?

These 5 performers even make these same old, recycled segments become interesting. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched an A-B conversation between 2 Smack Down tag teams quickly morph into the entire tag team division on camera…but it’s a lot of times. A funny part of The Usos interaction with said tag team division, was not in this clip.  The teams were told to get to the “Back of the Line!” Instead, they competed in the aforementioned Fatal 4 way match to decide the number one contenders for the Smack Down tag team titles:

As expected, Gable & Benjamin were victorious. They will eventually challenge The Usos for the tag team titles. We also learned of another tag team that should make some waves within the division upon their return: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. They have been renamed as the Bludgeon Brothers….

Looks like they discovered World of Warcraft or something.

 

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn were given a chance to explain the ending to Sunday’s Hell In A Cell match with Shane McMahon, which if you haven’t yet seen Zayn rescue Owens from Shane’s incredible elbow drop….here you go:

That’still amazing for me to see, even though I have watched that an unhealthy amount of times. Shortly before that, Shane had sent Owens crashing through a table, from the cage:

That thumbnail above just shows how outrageous those spots really were. Owens appeared on Smack Down, still showing the effects of his Hell In A Cell match:

Ok, so now let’s get to Sami’s motivation for saving Owens. I think any fan would agree that Zayn needed a fresh coat of paint for his character. His in-ring work was phenomenal in NXT & he’s one of the best ever to compete there. Since moving to the main roster, Zayn has not been able to have those long one on one high stakes matches. Except against Owens, but even those matches were better on the pay-per-view events than on weekly TV. Plus, Zayn’s character was not compelling for TV. So someone at WWE decided to attach Sami to the hip of the Kevin Owens rocket ship & send him along for the ride. It’s probably the right move & Sami gave a list of reasons for his sudden change of heart:

This will undoubtedly be fascinating to watch evolve over the next few weeks, but I have more faith in attaching Zayn to Owens than letting Zayn get over on his own at this point.

 

Baron Corbin faced A.J. Styles in a rematch for the U.S. title & retained! With a clean win nonetheless!!

This seemed like the final encounter for these two, much like The Usos & New Day. Corbin looks like he will be champion for awhile, leaving Styles to challenge for the WWE title?  I don’t think any fans would argue with that booking.

 

Next week should provide more answers as to where Smack Down intends to head with their roster of superstars. Until then, thanks for reading!

Is Ferguson The Perfect Dance Partner For McGregor’s Return?

With UFC 216 over, Tony Ferguson can finally breathe a small sigh of relief. His third-round submission win over Kevin Lee was the culmination of an exciting, drama-filled weekend in the UFC. In a scene that is all too familiar with Ferguson, his opponent struggled to make weight for their interim title fight with Kevin Lee weighing in at the 25th hour of the weigh-in only to be a pound over. Due to a rather unknown rule in Nevada, the doctors cleared him to cut the additional pound with an extra hour of weight cutting opportunity. Lee hit the mark three hours after his opponent, weighing in at 154.5 pounds, making their interim title fight official. Lee joked with Ariel Helwani the day prior that he was 19 pounds over and had had eaten tiramisu. It seemed like a jab at Khabib Nurmagomedov and his weigh-in failure from UFC 209, but Lee apparently wasn’t kidding about being 19 pounds over and struggled mightily. He appeared to have a staph infection as well, which would certainly affect his ability to cut weight.

Ferguson may not have the charisma and drawing power that Nate Diaz offers, but Dana White shot down rumors of a trilogy fight quickly, stating that McGregor vs Ferguson “has to happen.”

Ferguson did what he usually does—start off slow, find an opening, wear his opponent out and wrap up a choke. He reminds me a lot of Tim Duncan, who will go down as one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA. He didn’t have any real finesse to his game, he just stayed quiet and let his game do all of the talking for him, much like Ferguson. Tony’s ripped off 10 straight in one of the thickest divisions in the UFC right now and it hasn’t always been pretty, but he continues to find ways to win. He found himself in somewhat unfamiliar territory in the closing seconds of round one with Kevin Lee raining elbows and punches from full mount. He bounced back once Lee started to slow down and was able to lock in a triangle choke after an unsuccessful armbar just a few seconds prior in the third round. He wasted little time in his post-fight interview to call out “McNugget” in an expletive-filled callout.

 

Image result for tony ferguson and conor mcgregorFerguson may not have the charisma and drawing power that Nate Diaz offers, but Dana White shot down rumors of a trilogy fight quickly, stating that McGregor vs Ferguson “has to happen.” I agree. Had Nate Diaz not beat McGregor the first time, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. He’s one of the most unreliable UFC fighters on the roster, fighting just 4 times in the last 4 calendar years. He’s 2-2 in those 4 fights, coming in 5 pounds over for his December 2014 affair with Rafael dos Anjos and getting beat handily. His other 2 wins were the first over McGregor and a one-sided beating of Michael Johnson. He’s made some ludicrous demands in regards to money as if he’s the draw and McGregor isn’t.

 

A fight between Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor needs to happen not only to unify the lightweight titles, but also because it’d surely be a fun fight to watch. Prior to his win Saturday night, Ferguson’s last 5 fights had won some form of Performance of the Night bonus. He’s finished 7 of his current 10-fight win streak and he continues to evolve inside of the Octagon. He’s more than comfortable off his back, although that’s not something he’d have to be too concerned with against McGregor, and has a very diverse striking attack on his feet. From a technical standpoint, he isn’t as precise or powerful as McGregor, but he seems to get stronger as the fight goes on. Few fighters in the UFC could match his pace over the course of a five-round fight and McGregor is not one of them.

 

For all of his accomplishments, Ferguson does have a weakness that’s been seen in his last few fights, he absorbs a lot of punches. Lando Vannata had him all but beat in the first round of their fight when he landed a flush head kick. He somehow bounced back and found a second wind in the second round but he was in all sorts of trouble. Kevin Lee, whose striking is far from great, had some success early on finding his chin with punches and even kicks. That’s great news for McGregor, who’s one of the best ever at finding his opponents’ chin. Ferguson has started slow in 3 of his last 4 fights and McGregor, by comparison, starts off fast and slows down as the fight goes on. As is the usual narrative, McGregor has his best chance of success early in the fight and that makes this fight extremely dangerous for Ferguson.

When looking at the landscape of the lightweight division, Ferguson, aside from the fact that he’s now the interim lightweight Champion, is the only suitable dance partner for McGregor. McGregor’s made it well-known that he doesn’t trust Khabib to show up for a fight on weight, and as well he shouldn’t. He’s already beat Eddie Alvarez, who’s currently booked for a match-up with Justin Gaethje. The process of elimination in the top-5 of the division leaves Edson Barboza as the only other potential match-up and that’s just not in the cards. He receives a lot of criticism for his choice of opponents but McGregor is simply looking for someone consistent who can move the needle like him. Although Ferguson wouldn’t be the biggest name in the division, to quote Dana White, ”it doesn’t just make sense, it has to happen.”

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Ferguson’s pressure has made many of his opponents wilt, including former lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos, who’s a great pressure fighter himself. McGregor likes to apply pressure himself but he’s also pretty comfortable counter punching, even from his back foot as we saw in the Aldo fight. Both fighters use great movement, fight with their hands mostly down and use odd angles to land shots. They’re very similar in style but McGregor is the far superior striker while Ferguson is the far superior grappler. Ferguson was being outstruck on the feet against Edson Barboza when they met in December of 2015 and he had to resort to his grappling. If there’s one area where we know McGregor isn’t supremely confident, it’s on the ground. His takedown defense against Diaz was good but he struggled against Chad Mendes at UFC 189, taken down multiple times in the first two rounds. Ferguson has sneaky takedowns and trips and that would be where he wants the fight to take place. It would, and should, be an interesting clash of styles if they meet in the Octagon to unify the titles. I look for this fight to be booked in the coming weeks and headline UFC 219 in Las Vegas on December 30. It could end up playing out a lot of different ways but it would draw the masses and it would leave one of them as the undisputed lightweight Champion.

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 Hell In A Cell.

Fresh off the verbal confrontation on Raw, Mickie James was looking to get physical with Alexa Bliss, especially after the cracks on Mickie’s age continued. Instead, she ended up facing Nia Jax (while WWE makes us forget that Alexa and Nia were actually feuding), and ends up winning via DQ after Bliss gets involved. After Mickie takes out Bliss, she is encountered by Kurt Angle, who gives Mickie a Raw Women’s Championship opportunity against Bliss at TLC on October 22. Later on, Bayley and Sasha Banks team up again and win, this time against Emma and Alicia Fox.

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SmackDown saw Natalya and Carmella victorious over the Charlotte and Becky Lynch, and on this past Wednesday’s NXT, a double dose of women’s action, beginning with Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross defeating Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Kairi Sane, the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner, made her NXT TV debut and defeated Aliyah. Lucha Underground featured Part 2 of Ultima Lucha, which saw Ivelisse defeat Catrina, and Mariposa turn against Marty the Moth during and after his loss to Fenix, resulting in Fenix and Melissa Santos shaving his head. On Thursday’s Impact, a Knockouts Championship match was set for Bound For Glory: Sienna will defend against Gail Kim, Taryn Terrell, and Allie at the event on November 5.

The Hell In A Cell event featured Charlotte vying for the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Natalya, and as stated in the pre-show, Charlotte has a chance to become the first to have held the NXT Women’s Championship, the now-defunct Divas Championship, and both Raw and SD Women’s Titles at least once. Natalya, who also made history for breaking Trish Stratus’ PPV match record, prevented Charlotte from doing so, as she intentionally got herself disqualified by using a steel chair. Clearly this thing isn’t over.

Natalya is disqualified after savagely attacking Charlotte with a steel chair, but is still the SmackDown Women's Champion.

The Bayley/Sasha team-ups have been interesting as of late; it has me wondering if this is the moment that they’ll finally go through with the Sasha heel turn that had been rumored and planned for about seven months. If WWE is going though with Horsewomen vs Horsewomen at (most likely) Survivor Series, then we may have to wait on that. Charlotte’s face turn after WrestleMania puts all four WWE Horsewomen on the side of good for the first time ever, and while the UFC Horsewomen aren’t established heels (though it may seem like they are), WWE wants to keep their own quartet as babyfaces for the time being.

A pair of former Mae Young Classic combatants made the news, as Serena Deeb visited the WWE Performance Center, mainly to mentor the up and comers. Serena participated in the tournament this summer, defeating Vanessa Borne in the first round before she was eliminated by Piper Niven. On the flipside, it was reported that Impact may be interested in indy sensation Tessa Blanchard, who has competed in several indy promotions and even appeared on WWE’s NXT a few times. Tessa’s MYC participation was brief; she was eliminated in the first round by eventual tournament winner Kairi Sane.

A new week beginst with Raw, and will include a Triple Threat pitting Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross, and Peyton Royce against each other, with the winner joining Kairi Sane in the NXT Women’s Championship contest at Takeover. Until next week!

The Ultima Lucha Lowdown (Part II)

Welcome to Part II of the Ultima Lucha Lowdown!

We kick off with Jeremiah Crane backstage with Ivelisse, with Crane finally revealing to Ivelisse that he’s in love with Catrina, her opponent for tonight. Ivelisse tells Crane that she doesn’t need him, and she’ll deal with Crane after she’s done with Catrina. She even delivered a superkick to Crane for good measure.Image result for pimpinela escarlata lucha underground

Into the temple, and we have the first match of Part II of Ultima Lucha Tres: a Unique Opportunity Battle Royal! Joey Ryan, The Mack, and The Rabbit Club were among those in the ring, and the last entrant introduced was none other than the returning Pimpinela Escarlata! We see Vinny Massaro eliminated by Worldwide Underground members PJ Black and Ricky Mandel, while the Rabbit Club took out Son of Madness. A huge elimination saw Mascarita Sagrada take out both Joey Ryan and Cortez Castro. Pimpinela and Sagrada ousted all of the Rabbit Club, but Pimpinela ended up eliminating himself while taking out another competitor. With Sagrada out, it was down to the WU members and The Mack, who eliminated both WU members for the win!

Out comes Dario Cueto, “El Jefe,” who tells Mack that he will receive a Trios Championship match due to his victory. However, like all of Cueto’s “Unique Opportunities,” there’s a price: Cueto will choose Mack’s partners, and they are none other than Killshot and Dante Fox–the same men who KILLED each other last week! Oh, and the title match is next week. Oh boy.Image result for pimpinela escarlata lucha underground

Next up, the match fans (myself especially) have been waiting for:  Ivelisse vs Catrina! This match was a year in the making, though, it was actually longer than that, as Catrina has been a thorn in Ivelisse’s side dating back to the first Ultima Lucha! It was after Catrina cost Ivelisse against Taya at Ultima Lucha Dos that Ivelisse laid out the challenge, which Catrina accepted. This is Ivelisse’s first match back in months, while it’s the first time that Catrina has ever competed in the temple. The sinister siren brought the fight to Ivelisse in very violent fashion, which included Catrina hiding out in Cueto’s office and ambushing Ivelisse with not one, but TWO glass bottles to Ivelisse’s head. Even covered in blood, Ivelisse was not deterred, and she delivered an onslaught that sent her running back to the ring!

Even Catrina’s double underhook finisher was not enough to take down Ivelisse, prompting Catrina to unleash the very stone she uses to control Mil Muertes. Ivelisse took the stone out of her possession, leading to a tug of war for the weapon. Ivelisse wins that battle, and strikes Catrina to pick up the pinfall victory! Three years of redemption was awarded to Ivelisse, as she finally defeated someone who had been plaguing her for so long. It was at that moment that Jeremiah Crane resurfaced and attacked Ivelisse with a hammer, and later striking one of Ivelisse’s previously injured ankles in the process!

At long last, the main event is underway: Fenix vs Marty The Moth in a Mask vs Hair contest. This has been building for so long; solely based on Marty’s long and documented obsession with ring announcer Melissa Santos. Fenix catching Melissa’s eye has made Marty more unbalanced than he already is, causing him to develop another obsession:  removing Fenix’s mask. Fenix agreed to put his mask on the line, but only if Marty risks his hair, and this match is underway. Of course, Mariposa is always a wild card, and she got involved early as she hooked the leg of the Triple Crown champion. She got involved again as she thwarted Fenix’s aerial attempt, but her brother failed to get the pinfall. Not only that, we see Fenix take out both siblings with a high flying attack, and apparently, that set off Mariposa to the point where she flipped off Marty and walked off, leaving Marty on his own!

Taken aback by his sister’s abandonment, Marty slipped on his own two feet, but got back in the fight. He decided not to waste time and decided to try to tear Fenix’s mask, prompting an angry Fenix to fight back. Marty delivered a vicious assault to his opponent, which included sending him to a turnbuckle that Marty exposed earlier, much to Melissa’s immense dismay. Despite the punishment, Fenix kicked out and stayed in this match, later delivering a modified cutter to Marty. Fenix continued to fight off and kick out of everything Marty delivered to him, but every shot was countered by his opponent. We later see Fenix deliver a Springboard from the top rope, but even THAT wasn’t enough to take down Marty! The combatants fought back-and-forth, even with Fenix weakening and bleeding still. After Marty’s latest pin attempt was unsuccessful, he went to the lunchbox and took out a pair of scissors, and it was at that moment that Melissa attempted to appease Marty to save Fenix. Marty brought Melissa into the ring, and received a slap for good measure. Not only that, Melissa delivered a Mason Crosby-like kick between Marty’s uprights, and that led Fenix to victory–with both Fenix and Melissa covering Marty!

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Marty got out of the ring looking to renege on the bet, and he joined his sister upstairs. However, Mariposa struck her brother with a chair, and later handcuffed her brother to the bannisters! We now see Mariposa assisting Melissa with her brother’s humiliation:  having his hair cut off in front of all of the Believers! All Marty could do was just sit and take it, as Fenix and Melissa cut and shaved Marty’s hair, leaving him embarrassed, broken, and furious!

Ultima Lucha Tres continues next week!!! Until then!

3 Impacts From Impact

The fallout from Victory Road has come and gone, and has featured some shaping up in the Bound For Glory card. What stood out the most in this thrilling aftermath? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

As a Knockouts fan, I had been anxious to know what the KOs will be doing at BFG in Ottawa. Apparently, Knockouts Champion Sienna was even more anxious, as she appeared to be upset over not having a match at BFG, though she later beamed when she figured it meant a Hall of Fame induction. This prompted Hall of Famer Gail Kim to throw her name in the ring, reminding Sienna that Taryn Terrell cost her the title. Speaking of Taryn, she was quick to remind everyone that she was the longest reigning Knockouts Champion in history, and even Allie set her sights on the title she once held. It was at that moment that Karen Jarrett appeared and announced that the four of them will face each other for the title at Bound For Glory. Now, I figured a multi-woman title match would happen, but I was surprised that Taya and Rosemary weren’t part of it. Though the reason could most likely be that Taya and Rosemary will probably face each other in singles action at the event. A lot of us are expecting Gail to get the championship send-off in her native country.

Things are getting interesting in the World Title picture. Eli Drake claimed that he was done with Johnny Impact and that Impact wasn’t in the arena. Sad to say, he was 0-for-2. First off, Johnny went after Chris Adonis during his match with Garza Jr, and later on, as Johnny and Garza were going at it, Jim Cornette announced that the two of them will face each other, and the winner gets Eli at BFG for the title. So it looks like Eli Drake may have to deal with Johnny Impact in GFW’s biggest stage, and if so, it may not end well for The Defiant One.

The X Division Championship picture is getting interesting. First off, GFW did something that I often accuse WWE of doing: believing that we all have bad memories. A six-man tag pitted Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williams, and Matt Sydal against Caleb Konley, Andrew Everett, and X Division Champion Trevor Lee. Lee and Everett? Weren’t they feuding? Now they’re together again? Anyway, the babyfaces won, but the unity ended when each of them attempted to get a shot at Lee’s title. Even Cornette couldn’t come up with something that night, but something tells me that we may see Ultimate X make a return at Bound For Glory–with the aforementioned six combatants going at it.

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

WWE: Hell In a Cell Predictions

 

This Sunday WWE goes to Hell in Detroit Michigan at the brand new Little Caesars arena for Hell in a Cell. This is the smackdown brands exclusive Pay-per-view how will it stand up to the Raw Brands No Mercy where we had two WrestleMania caliber matches and a very surprising title change. We won’t know the answer to that until Sunday but here are the matches, lets break them down and see who will make it out of Hell and who will go down in flames.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

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This will be the third instalment in this rivalry, the quote on quote rubber match which in all honesty there rivalry could be watched in about 20 seconds. At Summer Slam Orton won with an rko ten seconds after the match started then on Smackdown Live Rusev won with a kick to the face after a distraction and nine seconds into the match. So hopefully this match will go somewhere because both men are very talented performers and together they could put on one hell of a show.

My Prediction: Randy wins

 

Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler

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This will be Roodes debut on pay per view on the main raster and he is going up against a man who as of late has been disrespecting the greats of WWE history by impersonating their entrances and saying all they had was a flashy entrance and no in ring skill. This new gamic of his won’t last long and neither will this feud with Roode. It seems like if you come from NXT your starting feud is with Ziggler and you always win.

My Prediction: Roode wins

 

United States Champion AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin

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After weeks of interference and cheap shots Corbin will get his one on one shot at Styles’ United States Championship. Corbin has been determined to redeem himself after being one of only a hand full of people to cash in his money in the bank and lose to Jinder Mahal. He has interfered in Tye Dillinger’s attempts to win the title so that he could be the one to take Styles title from him.

My Prediction: Styles retains

 

SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. The Usos (Hell in a Cell Match)

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As much as I despise the new days gimic and I believe that it has become stale, there is no denying that when the New Days steps into the ring with the Usos that their matches are one of the best, if not the best match, on the card for the night. The past matches have been full of high spots and false finished and amazing moves but now you add the element of the Hell in a Cell and this could be a match of the year contender. Inside the cell there will be no numbers game for the New Day. There will only be two of them in the cell which the Usos will turn into the Usos Penitentiary and tear the house down. But will the Usos prevail or will the New Day reign supreme inside the Devils Playground known as Hell in a Cell?

My Prediction:  the New Day retains

 

SmackDown Women’s Champion Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair

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After taking close to a month off to be with her dad during his recent severe medical scare where they feared the worst, Charlotte Flair maid her triumphed return to Smackdown Live where she laid out the challenge to Natalya for her Championship but before any decision was maid GM Daniel Bryan told Flair that this is the land of opportunity and she must earn her shot at the title in a multi women match that night. Flair went onto win the match that night to become the number one contender to the title. Whether Natalya retains her title or Flair wins the title yet again we must not forget about the unknown variable in Carmella and her Money in the Bank Contract to be used anywhere any time.

My Prediction: Flair wins the Women’s Title yet again

 

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

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Since their first meeting at Summer Slam where they had very anti climatic match Mahal as slung nothing but threats and racial biased insults towards Nakamura even getting to the level where WWE had to issues an official statement apologizing and having Mahal somewhat apologize on air without damaging his heel charter. Over the last two weeks however their rivalries have become more violent where two weeks ago Mahal was going on another one of his rants about Nakamura’s crazy facial expressions and showed what he thought was a still picture but turned out to be a live video, then Nakamura came to the ring and attacked Mahal and the Sings leaving them laying in the ring. Then this week Mahal returned the favor and blindsided Nakamura in the ring. This rivalry has been very one-sided promo wise do to Nakamuras limited English and putting the title on him without a manager would make it very difficult to get a believable feud going. On the other hand, WWE hates having to issues official statements it makes them look bad and that could fall on the superstar how was in the wrong so that promo may cost Mahal.

My Prediction: Mahal will retain

 

Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell Falls Count Anywhere Match)

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This match is as preanial as it can get and has been building for months since Owens came over from raw. Owns believes Shane has been screwing him out of title opportunity’s anytime he defends or attempts to win the title. Shane has denied the allegations and as it looks he is right every time Owens had lost it was his fault not Shane’s and to prove it Shane even let Owens pick his own ref for his title match with styles where he picked Corbin and then Corbin left the ring side area so Shane took over and of cores owns lost. The next week owns called out Shane a verbally ran down his entire family in front of Shane even saying his kids would have been better off if he had died in the helicopter crash and that set Shane off and he beat down Owens. After the refs separated the two owns said he was going to sue Shane, all the McMahons and all WWE after these comments Shane was suspend by Mr. McMahon and it was announced that he would be on Smackdown live the next week. The next week Mr. McMahon reinstated Shane and made the match for hell in a cell and after that owns made Mr. McMahon promise to him that he could beat a McMahon senseless and not be fired and after they shook on it Owens head butted Mr. McMahon busting his head open the fallowed it up with a frog splash. After this week’s Smackdown it’s been changed from a regular hell in a cell match to a fall count anywhere hell in a cell match which can lead to only one thing and that is some big spots and the cell will be broken out of.

My Prediction: Owens wins

 

UFC 216 Predictions

Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham

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The main card kicks off with a lightweight bout between top-15 ranked fighters Beneil Dariush and Evan Dunham. The latter has had 17 fights in the UFC, winning 11 of those, while dropping 6 to only the elite competition in the 155-pound division. Dunham is good everywhere but I wouldn’t say he’s great anywhere. He’s also a four-time Performance of the Night winner and has won four straight. Dariush is 7 years younger at 28 years old and boasts an impressive 8-3 record as a lightweight in the UFC. Both fighters are black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but Dunham has only one submission victory while his opponent owns 3. Both fighters are 5’10” while Dariush will own a 2-inch reach advantage and does have the power to end this fight on the feet. He was doing well against Edson Barboza before he caught a flying knee that rendered him unable to continue. Dunham has struggled with the upper echelon of the division for too long, and while the jury is still out on whether or not Dariush is elite, he does hold notable wins over Jim Miller and Michael Johnson, who are much better than any fighter Dunham has beat in his time. Dariush wins a close, back-and-forth decision.

 

Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis

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2 of the biggest guys on the entire roster look to get back on track, both coming off losses in their most recent performances. Both fighters really underperformed, Werdum found some success with his punches and had Overeem all but finished on his feet but opted for a takedown instead of follow-up shots that earned him a split decision loss. Lewis wore out over the course of his four-round affair with Mark Hunt and fell victim to a Hunt TKO, which there’s no shame in. Werdum has lost 2 of his last 3, the other loss coming at the hands of current Champion Stipe Miocic in a first-round knockout shocker. He’s improved his standup dramatically but he did nothing to push the pace in the Overeem fight, even though he seems to have a better gas tank than Overeem. He’s still much more comfortable on the ground and should look to get this fight to the mat as soon as possible. Lewis has an underrated gas tank but that wasn’t the case in his last fight, wearing himself out and getting finished more from exhaustion than from punishment. Prior to the loss to Hunt, he had won 6 straight, finishing 5 of those 6 fights. He had a brief retirement after the loss to Hunt but now finds himself still very close to a title shot. A win over a former Champion like Werdum would put him within reaching distance of a shot at gold. Fortunately for him, every fight starts standing up and let it be known that is where he wants this fight to stay. If Werdum is able to drag him to the ground, he’s in big trouble. His last 3 fights have all been scheduled for 5 rounds and I think a 3-round fight suits him better. Lewis likes to push the pace and chase his opponents down and throw combinations. He’ll have to be careful doing that against someone as seasoned as Werdum, but he will evade the takedowns en route to a unanimous decision.

 

Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray BorgImage result for demetrious johnson vs. ray borg

 

Demetrious Johnson may very well be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC. Although the idea of a superfight with TJ Dillashaw would likely have served a much better fight on paper, I’m sold on Ray Borg. Borg is only 5-2 in the UFC and has struggled to make weight in a few of his bouts, most recently his scheduled title bout from last month at UFC 215. Both of his losses came by way of decision and he’s never been put in trouble in his young UFC career. He’ll have his hands full with the best flyweight of all time, by a wide margin I might add. Johnson has slick submissions, great takedowns, the gas tank to go for days and the striking to compete with anyone in the division. Borg possesses all of those same skills, but doesn’t have anywhere near the experience that Johnson has. Mighty Mouse comes into this fight looking for his 11th consecutive title defense, with the opportunity to pass Anderson Silva for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history. Borg was quoted as saying that TUF 24 Winner Tim Elliott laid the blueprint to beating the Champion. While Elliott did enjoy some early success and had the Champion in trouble with a submission attempt, I don’t think a blueprint exists to beat a guy as well-rounded as Johnson. His resume speaks for itself and aside from his first fights with Ian McCall, Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson, he’s beat the majority of his opposition with ease. For as great as he is, I think Mighty Mouse avoided the fight with TJ because he saw the bout with Borg as an easier road. I also think he’s distracted by multiple things, including but not limited to, not headlining a PPV and taking a back seat to an interim title that really means nothing at this point. I wrote months ago about how I believed Borg was the guy to dethrone the Champion and I still believe that to be true. Borg is younger, hungry and extremely confident. He’s also coached by Greg Jackson, whose fighters always have a great game plan in Championship fights. I’ll stick to my guns and pick Borg to shock the world and win a unanimous decision.

 

Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee

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I want to get excited about this fight but I just can’t. I love the trash talk that’s ensued between these two and I think Kevin Lee is a great talker, but I’m not sure he’s a great fighter. Watching him fight, I don’t see any areas where he can be problematic for a guy like Tony Ferguson. Aside from a minor setback that came in the form of a unanimous decision loss against Michael Johnson, Ferguson has looked unstoppable. He overlooked Lando Vannata when he stepped in on late notice to replace Khabib Nurmagomedov and found himself in early trouble but he rebounded in the second route and choked him out with a D’Arce choke. In the last 2 years, Ferguson has beat Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, Vannata and Rafael dos Anjos. In the same 2 years, Lee has defeated 6 guys but none of them are as good as the competition Ferguson has fought recently. His last win, a submission win over Michael Chiesa, was very controversial and ultimately got him this fight. Both fighters are well-rounded and are very evenly-matched when it comes to height and reach. Lee doesn’t have what I consider to be big fight experience and Ferguson has had his fair share of big fights, having gone five full rounds with former lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos. Ferguson fights long and keeps his opponents at the end of his jab but has the grappling skills to compete with the best in the division. Both fighters grew up in Michigan and attended Grand Valley State University as wrestlers. Ferguson is 8 years older and for that reason, they never faced each other in any form of wrestling nor did they spend time together on the same team. Ferguson’s chokes are some of the best in the division but he proved his standup is lethal as well when he beat Edson Barboza back in December of 2015. Lee certainly has the tools to upset the favorite but Ferguson looks poised to take over the lightweight division. The winner of this fight, although they will be the interim lightweight Champion, may have to sit out while Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz settle their score, although that’s not been made official yet. Ferguson will use his boxing and striking at range to pepper Lee and wear him out over time, mixing in some takedowns throughout the fight. Ferguson will finish the fight via submission in the third round and make a strong case for a fight with McGregor to unify the lightweight belts.

Straight Up Smack Down

 

We are just days away from Hell In A Cell & tonight’s go home episode took place in Denver, Colorado. The episode began in the exact same way that Raw did, the night before. All of the present WWE wrestlers, even Shane & Vince McMahon, appeared on the entrance stage area. They gathered to stand in a moment of silence, honoring & remembering the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. WWE has always been mindful in these tragic situations & this seemed like a thoughtful way to pay their respects to the victims.

 

As the show began, Renee Young appeared in the ring to invite Shinsuke Nakamura out for an interview. As you might guess, that interview did not last long.  Shortly after the interview began, the Singh Brothers interrupted to announce the WWE champion…..

It took a few weeks, but the main title program was finally treated like the main title program. It felt important. This was, again, the first segment featured on the program. The interview with Renee, the misdirection by the Singhs, and the following sneak attack by Mahal, gave this feud a much needed spark as we approach Hell In A Cell.

 

One championship feud that has a lot of buzz heading in to Hell In A Cell is the Smack Down Tag Team title card: The New Day & The Usos. Both teams confronted each other & were surprisingly complimentary of each other, referencing their recent matches that always seemed to steal the show….

Sunday’s match has been billed as the final chapter in the saga of this long feud. I have no doubt that these two teams will have an unforgettable Hell In A Cell match together & quite possibly, steal the show, again.

 

The feud that has been given the most attention over the past weeks, has not had a championship attached to it. The United States title initially began the feud between Shane McMahon & Kevin Owens, as the friction started months ago. In case you need a refresher or just want to watch what the full saga looks like, Smack Down created this video montage of the McMahon/Owens rivalry:

It’s a pretty incredible story that these two have written thus far, but there was one more chapter to write before Sunday….one of their best parts yet:

That was simply awesome. Logically, I’d say that Sunday will provide the best opportunity to mark an end to this feud. But I’m not sure it ends there. This feud has so much momentum behind it, there’s a real possibility that this could continue on past Hell In A Cell.

 

Baron Corbin lost to Tye Dillinger, as Corbin prepares to face A.J. Styles at Hell In A Cell. It’s unclear what’s next for Tye Dillinger….

 

Bobby Roode quickly defeated Mike Kannelis in under 2 minutes. Roode is set to make his WWE main roster debut at Hell In A Cell against Dolph Ziggler. Dolph continued his extremely annoying, sarcastic characterization of WWE superstars following Roode’s victory:

 

In a somewhat surprising outcome, Charlotte Flair tapped out to Natalya’s sharpshooter as the tag team of Carmella & Natalya defeated Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair:

 

As it stands, the pay-per-view Hell In A Cell looks pretty good. New Day versus The Usos should be great, as well as Shane versus Owens. Natalya & Charlotte have had great matches against each other in the past, so there’s the potential for another really good match on the card. A.J. Styles doesn’t know how to have a bad match, so I’m expecting an entertaining title defense against Baron Corbin. That leaves 2 other matches: the WWE title match between Nakamura & Mahal and Roode versus Ziggler. At worst, these are opportunities to refill salsa, take a bathroom break, or tweet with me about the pay-per-view so far. With any luck, one or both of these matches will be compelling.

Thanks for reading & enjoy HELL IN A CELLLL!  (Vince McMahon voice)

The State of the MMA Division — Featherweight

The State of the Division – Featherweight

 

The featherweight division got a lot more interesting back in June when interim Champion Max Holloway defeated Jose Aldo by 3rd-round TKO to become the unified Champion. Although neither fighter has fought since, the landscape of the division looks good with a lot of solid competitors at the top. Alarmingly, there are currently only two top-10 fighters in the division with bouts scheduled. Although a rematch between Aldo and Ricard Lamas has been rumored for UFC 217 in November, nothing has been made official by the UFC. Holloway is in the middle of a contract dispute with the UFC regarding his pay but has said that he expects that to get done sometime soon. His first title defense will come against perennial contender and former lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar when they headline UFC 218 in December. That fight will create a good stylistic match-up and a great fight for the fans between two guys who rarely disappoint in the Octagon.

Cub Swanson, Chan Sung Jung (aka Korean Zombie), Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, Darren Elkins and Renato Moicano round out the rest of the top-10 in the division. As I mentioned above, only two of these fighters currently have a bout scheduled and most have not been in the ring in a while. Swanson seemed to be sitting on the sidelines awaiting a title shot after his defeat of Artem Lobov in a main event in April, improving his win streak to 4. His match-up with Brian Ortega should net one of them a title shot or at least put them within reach. Chan Sung Jung had his first fight in 3+ years when he beat Dennis Bermudez via first-round KO in February. He was scheduled to fight Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214 in an important battle but pulled out of the fight due to injury. We haven’t heard anything about him since that time, but he’s battled injuries for the majority of his career.

Brian Ortega is coming off a submission win over Renato Moicano in July and has finished 5 straight if you count his win that was overturned due to a positive drug test. He’ll get the toughest test of his career against Cub Swanson, with the chance to prove he belongs in the title discussion. Yair Rodriguez is coming off his first UFC loss, a doctor’s stoppage TKO to Frankie Edgar at UFC 211 in May. He said this week that he anticipates having another fight before the end of the year although he doesn’t have an opponent in mind. He’s a very marketable fighter and has 4 Performance of the Night bonuses in just 7 UFC fights.

Jeremy Stephens beat Gilbert Melendez earlier this month via unanimous decision against the former lightweight title challenger in his featherweight debut. Prior to that, Stephens dropped two straight to Frankie Edgar and the aforementioned Moicano. He’s just 3-5 in his last 8 in the UFC, losing to all of the top contenders he’s faced recently. Darren Elkins has rattled off 5 straight victories with his most recent win being a split decision against Dennis Bermudez back in July. He also earned his first finish since 2013 earlier this year in March. With 17 fights in the UFC, the time is now for Elkins if he looks to make a run at the featherweight title.

 

Ideal Match-ups:

 

 

Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

 

These two met back in at UFC 169 in February of 2014 when Aldo was able to take a unanimous decision in a one-sided win. The rematch would be much more interesting with Aldo having lost two bouts by finish since then, while Lamas has still hung around the top-1o of the divison, losing only to Chad Mendes and Holloway. This fight shouldn’t be a title eliminator but should get the winner into a title eliminator.

 

Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez

 

This fight would boost the winner into immediate title contention and would likely provide some serious fireworks. They’re both aggressive with slick submissions and great striking while this fight could easily headline an event in South America or Asia.

 

 

Jeremy Stephens vs. Myles Jury

 

Stephens has proved he can’t hang with the top-5 of the division and Jury needs a chance to get back on track at 145. He lost his featherweight debut vs. Charles Oliveira but rebounded nicely with a first-round TKO of Mike De La Torre. These two could kick off a PPV main card or even co-headline a free TV card.

 

 

Renato Moicano vs. Darren Elkins

 

Moicano shocked the world when he beat Jeremy Stephens by split decision in April of this year. He was submitted by Ortega in July and Elkins would be the perfect veteran to welcome him back into the Octagon. Elkins has fought just about every prospect in the division and those who’ve beat him have gone on to do great things in the division.

 

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