What were the top stories last week?
Last week, I mentioned how I don’t like to put deaths in the top five. However, last week, I had to. Muhammad Ali is one of the most historic athletes of all-time and his death was a top story everywhere.
I am not taking away anything from Kimbo Slice’s importance. I just don’t know how to rank the deaths of athletes, except when it’s the most famous athlete. So, instead we’ll add it before everything else.
The Ringer’s Sean Fennessey writes about how Kimbo was Internet famous.
Ryan Frederick wrote a short bio for the Observer, with quotes from Scott Coker.
Here’s the UFC’s statement about Slice.
RIP Kimbo; an absolute original.
Onto the stories that didn’t make the top five…
– John LaRocca wrote about one of his favorite matches as a kid – Ric Flair vs Brian Pillman.
– Bobby Roode made his surprise NXT debut at the Download Festival in Derby.
– If you were following any of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial, you know that Gawker filed for bankruptcy.
– WWE announced the field for the Cruiserweight Classic. Kota Ibushi! Brian Kendrick! Tajiri!
– Unfortunately for Matt Hardy, he couldn’t beat Brother Nero. Sounds like Slammiversary wasn’t must-see.
– Dave Meltzer writes a nice piece about Marc Ratner.
– The UFC is fighting the Muhammad Ali Act.
– Chad Mendes was flagged by USADA, but we’re not sure for what.
– Mark Hunt thinks that Brock Lesnar is juiced to the gills.
(By the way, he has every right to feel that way after USADA gave Brock an exemption to not have to be tested four months prior to his fight. But this will be Hunt’s biggest payday ever so I imagine he won’t be upset for long.)
– Billy Crystal talks about being Muhammad Ali’s little brother at Ali’s funeral.
– John Molina bested Ruslan Provodnikov.
– Keith Thurman has a lot to say about a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather.
– Check out this story on how Ali and pro wrestling crossed paths (though, we’re still unsure if it was Gorgeous George or Freddie Blassie).
And now, the top five…
5. WWE wants Paige Van Zant for SummerSlam.
Maybe it’s because WWE allowed Brock Lesnar to fight for the UFC, but according to the Wrestling Observer, WWE wants PVZ for SummerSlam.
At this point, I’m not sure what she adds. Even by doing so well on Dancing With The Stars, she doesn’t yet have the same name as Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Holly Holm, or Cyborg.
Plus, they already have Alexa Bliss who looks similarly. Maybe WWE has an idea. But can you imagine PVZ standing next to Stephanie McMahon?
4. Vasyl Lomachenko is the absolute truth.
In just his 7th pro fight, Lomachenko won his second world title, demolishing Roman Martinez. You can watch below.
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) June 12, 2016
3. Will Ospreay wins the Best Of The Super Juniors.
I think most thought from the beginning that Ospreay was winning it, but it’s quite a great feat for him. He’s one of the hottest names on the indies and cemented his status as a guy who should be on most everyone’s radar.
He’s also the first British wrestler to win the tournament.
2. Ariel Helwani and his MMA Fighting colleagues have been reinstated by the UFC.
Happy to report the UFC has lifted the ban on me and my colleagues. Cooler heads indeed prevailed. Now back to normal. Thank you again.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 7, 2016
The UFC had to know that mainstream media was going to pick up on the story of the most famous journalist in MMA being banned by the only game in town. But thanks to pressure from the media, and maybe a clearing of their own heads, Helwani and his colleagues are back. Thankfully.
1. Samoa Joe beats Finn Balor at NXT TakeOver: The End.
I wouldn’t call it the best NXT TakeOver show, or even in the top five. But it was entertaining enough with quality matches, that you should still check it out if you haven’t yet.
I’ve seen different matches listed as the favorite of the night, but I still think the main event was my favorite match. There’s just something about Samoa Joe that I buy as a fan. He feels legitimate.
I was slightly surprised to see the American Alpha lose their titles so quickly back to the Revival, though maybe that means they’re coming up to the main WWE roster shortly. They surely deserve to be there.
Nakamura vs Aries was exactly what it had to be with both men coming out of the match strong. The only semi-disappointment was Andrade “Cien” Almas’ debut. He was fine, but didn’t jump out in the same way that other debuting new stars have.
See you next week.