Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rampage vs. Hamill, for UFC 130

While the main card for May's UFC 130 event has been a bit uncertain as of late, the promotion is starting to firm up the plans.

UFC executives today announced a pair of previously reported contests for UFC 130, as Matt Hamill meets Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Thiago Alves faces Rick Story.

Featuring a lightweight title rematch between champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, UFC 130 takes place May 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Jackson (31-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) had been expected to face Thiago Silva at the event, but the Brazilian's status became an issue when the Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed the fighter's UFC 125 drug screen was still under investigation. While the NSAC has yet to file a formal complaint against Silva, the promotion has chosen to err on the side of caution.

Hamill (10-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) enters the matchup on a five-fight win streak, albeit a bit of a dubious run with the inclusion of a disqualification victory over Jon Jones in December 2009. Nevertheless, "The Hammer" also counts wins over Tito Ortiz, Keith Jardine, Mark Munoz and Reese Andy during the run.

Meanwhile, Jackson is 3-1 in his past four bouts with wins over Lyoto Machida, Jardine and Wanderlei Silva and a lone decision loss to Rashad Evans.

Alves (18-7 MMA, 10-4 UFC) enters the fight on the strength of a unanimous decision win over John Howard at UFC 124. The victory was a much-needed result for the Brazilian striker who had struggled in back-to-back losses to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch.

Meanwhile, Story (12-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) looks to step up to the upper echelon of the 170-pound division after racking up five consecutive wins over the likes of Johny Hendricks, Dustin Hazalett, Nick Osipczak, Jesse Lennox and Brian Foster. Including his pre-UFC efforts, Story has earned victories in 11 of his past 12 outings.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raw felt like a bit of a rerun

I feel like I’ve seen this one before.
John Cena vs. The Miz, Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole, Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio.
I always hate the time periods when WWE has very little time to build programs for a pay-per-view that is only a couple of weeks after the previous ones because it doesn’t give them long enough to build any good, new programs for the next show.
So now, based on last night’s Raw, those first two matches are happening, and if not for the injury to John Morrison, the third would have happened too.
Last night’s Raw, I thought, was by and large a negative wrestling-wise.
• Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, The Miz and R-Truth all came out to plead their cases for being the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. This was essentially the same segment that ran on SmackDown on Friday with Randy Orton, Mark Henry and The Great Khali, only with better talkers. Del Rio complained at how much time The Rock was given last week. The Miz gave some questionable racial comments about Mysterio and Del Rio, but then Truth did the same thing.
Too bad for Truth that Morrison is hurt because I don’t think that program will have as much oomph when Morrison returns. The anonymous Raw general manager chimed in (I can’t believe there is still an anonymous Raw GM. That’s been going on for almost 11 months. Also, I don’t think anyyone cares anymore) and said that Mysterio, Del Rio and Miz would compete for the spot and that Truth would not. Truth is doing an excellent job as a heel.
Anyway, the match was pretty good, and a storyline throughout the show was that Alex Riley (who was drafted to SmackDown) wanted to make it up to The Miz that he cost him the title last week. (Incidentally, Riley got dropkicked by Ricardo Rodriguez of all people in the opening segment). Riley challenged Cena and was subsequently squashed pretty badly. In the main event, Riley pulled Del Rio out of the ring, setting up Miz for a rollup (thanks to reader Jay for the correction) and the win.
For some reason (and this is almost TNA level here), Cena was allowed to pick the stipulation of the match and said it was an “I Quit” match at Over the Limit. For some reason, Cena said there would be no submissions, but I am fairly certain that yelling “I quit!” and submitting are synonymous. I can’t see Cena losing this match, but it is an important match for Miz to prove he is still a main player.
Truth laid out Mysterio after the show, perhaps leading to an Over the Limit match between them.
• Kelly Kelly & Eve Torres defeated The Bella Twins in a rather terrible match where Kelly pinned Nikki with an inside cradle. After the match, Kharma came to the ring, the Bellas snuck away, Kelly ran away and Torres got laid out with the Implant Buster.
• Kane defeated Mason Ryan by disqualification. Boy, do Kane’s matches with this guy remind me exactly of his matches with a green-as-grass Dave Batista from 2002. That’s not a compliment. Hopefully for the Welshman’s sake, he can get to the level of the Animal. I’m not confident. They hid him and protected him as well as they could, but this was still quite bad. Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga ran in and were taken out by Kane and Big Show. So Kane and Show go from working with Corre to working with Nexus. Not a good move. For those keeping score at home, CM Punk was treated mostly as an afterthought here, getting knocked out by Show.
• Dolph Ziggler defeated Santino Marella with the Zig-Zag. They have taken away basically everything from Ziggler that made him unique. Not only does he have the boring short, dark hair, but he know comes to the ring with black trunks and white boots. He doesn’t boast or gloat or show any emotion. It would be nice if they explained to us fans what makes Ziggler “new and improved.”
• Michael Cole set up his match with Jerry Lawler for Over the Limit by mocking Lawler’s mother’s death (tasteless). Lawler tried to goad Cole into wrestling him by offering to induct Cole into the Hall of Fame (he can decide that?) and putting his Hall of Fame ring on the line. After Jack Swagger attacked Lawler, Lawler came out and distracted Swagger in his US title match against Kofi Kingston, costing him the win. Lawler sort of strangled Cole with his tie through the Cole Mine (odd that they’d allow that), and Swagger accepted Lawler’s challenge.
On Tough Enough this week, Ivelisse Velez was eliminated due to being injured. I thought it was odd that the person who injured her (Christina Crawford) was not really chastised that much. Also, Eric Watts was eliminated. He struggled on a ropes course that had nothing to do with wrestling, and seemed to get winded really easily, as most big men would doing the style of training they are doing.