What were the top stories last week?
I contemplated not doing the Top Five this year, but I realized it would be a good reference tool if I need it down the line, so we’ll do it again for 2016.
I wanted to highlight our FGB Awards, which we’ve been doing since 2008. You can check out links below.
We also wanted to give our condolences to Howard Davis’ family on his passing. Kevin Iole had the story on Davis who passed away from lung cancer. I didn’t realize that Davis worked with Chuck Liddell and had some impact on MMA after his boxing career ended.
Let’s get to the stories that didn’t quite make the top five.
– Check out Vince McMahon hanging out with Jerry Jones at Jerry’s World, which hosts WrestleMania 32 in 90 days.
– Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge is back with its newest season.
– WWE will have a Network special on March 12 called The Road To WrestleMania.
– Rock gave his “Uncle Tonga” his truck.
Merry Christmas Uncle Tonga – enjoy your new truck! Cool Christmas story to share with y'all… Known my "Uncle Tonga" since I was 5yrs old. My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia helped train him to become a professional wrestler in the 70's. Throughout Tonga's illustrious wrestling career he changed his name to "King Haku" and became one the WWE's most sought after "bad guys" and still known to this day for being one of the toughest and legit most vicious man in wrestling history. Years later and I get a call from WWE saying "Vince McMahon wants to see you wrestle immediately. He's flying you to RAW tomorrow and you'll have a tryout match." I thought holy shit that's awesome, buuuut there's a few problems: For me, I wasn't just having "a tryout match", because I had never actually HAD a real match in my life. Ever. WWE thought that I already had multiple matches under my belt, but little did they know. What they also didn't know was that I was broke as hell and didn't actually own wrestling gear – no boots, knee pads or most importantly.. wrestling trunks. I went to Sports Authority and bought some bright ass white volleyball knee pads, called my Uncle and asked if he had ANY trunks I could use for my tryout. He said all I have is a pair of shiny purple trunks (purple was his signature color), I told him I don't care if the trunks are all the colors of Skittles, I'll happily wear them. When I picked the trunks up from him I'll never forget the monster hug he gave me, look me in the eyes and said, "I'm so proud of you. Go get 'em nephew!" Here's the picture of me wrestling my FIRST MATCH EVER in Corpus Christi, TX in front of 15,000 people – proudly in my lucky purple trunks. And the rest… was history. My Uncle Tonga is a family man, humble man and champion. Most importantly one of the greatest human beings I know. So we walk outside and I said "Uncle how do you like my truck?" He said, "Whoooaaa nephew it's beautiful… I love it!" I said "Good 'cause it's yours." He was speechless. Thru tears (manly of course;) we monster hugged 'cause I'll never forget what he did for me when I had nothing. Merry Christmas Uncle and ofa atu. #LuckyPurpleTrunks
– This isn’t the first time a WWE angle has confused people so much that they try to get authorities involved.
– Brock Lesnar will face Sheamus in Houston on a 1/8 house show.
– Luke Rockhold was in a suite with Stephen Curry at the 49ers game on Sunday.
– This is an awesome look back at the 1987 154-pound battle between Donald Curry and Mike McCallum.
– Andre Ward should be back in late March.
– Kell Brook vs Amir Khan is proposed for June.
– Mike Tyson bailed off his “hoverboard” and someone made it so Lil’ Mac knocked him out.
And now, the top five…
5. Breakfast with Fedor provides a fun start for Rizin FF.
Rizin held two shows during the week and Spike TV put together a broadcast that they called Breakfast With Fedor. I didn’t see the live show feeds, but the Spike TV broadcast was really fun. They showed 10 matches and didn’t waste any time. Since it was previously taped, there was no dead time, no hype, and not the lull that you see on UFC Fight Night shows.
The fighting wasn’t competitive for the most part, but the Heavyweight GP semifinal between Jiri Prochazka and Vadim Nemkov was excellent. King Mo looked good in disposing of Prochazka in the finals. Kron Gracie looked like a beast. And of course, Fedor easily beat Jaideep Singh.
The Spike show didn’t show Bob Sapp vs Akebono or Baruto vs Peter Aerts, but you did get the ridiculous Gabi Garcia and Lei’ D Tapa fight.
You can check out our write-up if you missed it.
4. Anderson Silva will face Michael Bisping in London on Fight Pass.
There’s lots of moving parts with this one. Right before Christmas Day, Dana White announced that Anderson Silva was taking on Michael Bisping in London on 2/27. But the fight wouldn’t be a PPV card. Instead, it’s a Fight Pass card.
Originally, it looked like Silva was going to take on Vitor Belfort in Brazil on March 5th. Silva said it was canceled in a press conference.
And then Dana White went nuts. Guilhemre Cruz from MMA Fighting reported it and Ariel Helwani was tweeting about it. Dana White called him guilty of clickbaiting. White came off looking like a big time jerk since Helwani only helps UFC business and rarely ever hurts it.
As of now, there hasn’t been a report or news from the UFC that the show isn’t canceled so we only have to go with what Silva stated at the presser.
3. The Rock will be at WrestleMania 32.
He posted it on Twitter and Instagram (and we have it on the website). He’s going to be at WrestleMania 32. It got reported everywhere too, so this was a big deal for WWE.
But the big question remains. What will he do? Will he be in a match? If not, he has to do something big and it won’t be like last year, which was a surprise.
WrestleMania 32 is in need of a big main event and it’s possible he’ll be in it, but with his shooting schedule, it seems unlikely that he’d be able to be on TV to build up the match. But he’s surprised us before with his commitment to wrestling. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
2. Robbie Lawler wins a close decision over Carlos Condit.
If this match doesn’t win fight of the year for 2016, then we’re in for a good year. The show was sink or swim based on this fight, which was put together to be an amazing action fight. It delivered better than promised and the ending was classic.
There was drama when the scorecards were read. Most people thought Condit won the fight, but Lawler got the decision. Watching live, it seemed that Condit clearly won the third round and that was the swing round on the judge’s scorecards. But re-watching the third round back, while Condit still outstruck Lawler, the round was close enough to where if you thought Lawler’s power overrode Condit’s volume, it was a valid argument.
1. Kazuchika Okada beats Hiroshi Tanahashi at the Tokyo Dome.
Early on, the show had a weird theme with lots of interference as a way to get heat and in most cases, it didn’t really work. Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin had a solid match that had a finish that the live crowd didn’t really get with Truth Martini’s Book of Truth being involved. The Young Bucks and Taguchi interfered in the Kushida and Kenny Omega match and while it didn’t hurt it because there is some comedy to it, the match would’ve been the same without it.
Shibata and Ishii had a really physical match based on who was tougher and could no-sell more moves. Shibata finally won with the Penalty Kick. Styles and Nakamura started out a bit slowly, but ended perfectly.
But it all set up for the main event, which was just as good as last year’s match, which I thought was the best match of the year. Finally, Okada slayed the Tanahashi dragon at the Tokyo Dome in a classic.
I don’t think this was as good as last year’s Wrestle Kingdom, but that was an all-time show. But damn, the final three matches on this show stood out.
See you next week.