Category Archives: MMA

Sports Can’t Breathe

What a start to the turn of a new decade, 2020 has been relentless. First, the sports world gets shook with a tragic helicopter accident killing nine people including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.  Shortly thereafter the world is hit with a Coronavirus pandemic deemed Covid-19.  An invisible menace that’s had us quarantined for the last three months and has claimed thousands of lives.

Then on Monday, May 25th, 2020 on Memorial Day, a day to celebrate our fallen servicemen and women, a police officer took the life of yet another unarmed black man named George Floyd.  You can say my community’s collective breath was taken away in eight minutes and 46 seconds.  Going into the sixth month of 2020, the second half of this year I’m sure we’re all wondering when will the director say cut!

Sports Can’t Breathe

This Is Supposed to Be About Sports

It took me a week to construct this piece because I was angry, upset, and didn’t want my emotions to completely take over my writing. You see, I’m a black man in my 40s, same as Mr. Floyd, and that could’ve easily been me.   I’ve had my experiences with racial profiling from police and civilians.

To see a video of officers of the law who took an oath to protect and serve the community hold down a human being and kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes watching him die is one of the worse crimes to witness.  The disturbing part is this was the third such incident in a month where a black individual was murdered.  What those cops didn’t know is that George Floyd was good friends with former NBA player Stephen Jackson and he would be the catalyst in leading a global protest for justice.

I understand that this is supposed to be a sports column and I can assure it is.  It will just be a little different approach on this one. Almost four years ago it was in a football stadium, 2016, that former San Francisco 49ers   quarterback Colin Kaepernick exercised his American right to protest.  His peaceful protest was to sit during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality of black people.

Even after people saw this as disrespectful to our military, he consulted with a serviceman and changed to more appropriate kneeling.  Players began following Kaepernick in this protest and the message was interrupted by President Trump making this issue about respecting the American flag.  The president even went to the lengths of insulting the players and the mothers of these exceptional athletes by calling them sons of b*****s.

NFL Had a Chance to Take a Stand

The NFL and owners had the opportunity to support its diverse players but instead decided it valued its bottom line more than human life.  In the process exiling Kaepernick from the league who never received another contract offer.  One of the most outspoken owners, Jerry Jones, had plenty to say about that protest in 2016. Fast forward to today, crickets.  Countless mothers and fathers being taken away leaving children without parents with no repercussions just doesn’t seem American.

Now the NFL wants to make statements of support for the black community when it’s convenient and is the right thing to do.  It comes off as disingenuous because it took protesting and rioting on a global scale to finally be heard as a community.  The league and its owners could’ve done like their NBA counterparts and given support when it was uncomfortable to the very people that make this a billion-dollar industry.  We’ve all heard the saying “get out of your comfort zone”.  This is supposed to represent growth within one’s self.  Time to get out of your comfort zones.

How Can Sports Make an Impact

One thing we’ve learned since March 11th, 2020 is how important sports are to our way of life.  We can see that from the most-watched documentary in history, “The Last Dance”.  In this instance, though this issue shouldn’t just be blanketed by the restart of the NBA or any sporting event for that matter.  Instead whenever the NBA starts all the players should refuse to play, same for when the NFL starts.

This stance may not happen but a more feasible impactful statement could.  The NFL taking accountability for the lack of understanding of what Kaepernick’s kneeling protest was bringing attention to.  Second, rectify this by teams offering Colin a contract giving him the opportunity, if he chooses, to exit the game his way.  Lastly, at the start of any sporting event letting the clock run for eight minutes and 46 seconds with no movement and displaying the statement, “I can’t breathe”.

This would serve as a reminder that our country as a whole has a lot of work to do eradicating systemic racism and ensuring equality for all Americans.

Stadium Stampede Match a Perfect Finale to a Stacked Card at Double or Nothing

In AEW’s first pay-per-view since the quarantine The Elite defeated The Inner Circle in the main event to cap a loaded show that featured a new Women’s champ, a variety of great matches, and the debut of former IMPACT star Brian Cage.

The Pre-Show

Best Friends vs. Private Party put on an entertaining match-up to kick off the buy-in. Best Friends were without Orange Cassidy as he prepared for the Casino Ladder Match. Private Party put on an impressive showing. All the usual spots and a few new ones mixed throughout including both teams trading Trent’s headband back and forth and an assisted moonsault Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy. Best Friends got the victory and became the number one contenders for the tag team championship. The date of the match against Hangman Page and Kenny Omega was not announced.

Main Card

As is the case for most AEW pay-per-views, the opening contest was full of high spots, comedy moments, and surprises. The casino ladder match began with Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky as the first two competitors. After 50-50 scrapping back and forth Kip Sabian entered at number three with Jimmy Havoc interfering before Sabian entered the ring. The first big spot of the match came from Darby Allin. Allin attempted and failed to crush Kazarian with a skateboard double foot stomp from atop a ladder outside the ring sending Alling crashing through a second breakaway ladder.

Orange Cassidy entered at number five doing what Freshly Squeezed does best…very little. The comedy spots continued at number six with Colt Cabana entering and promptly getting his fingers pinched in the ladder after nearly reaching the poker chip above the ring. The bad boy Joey Janela entered at number seven as the replacement to Rey Fenix Jr. who was injured on the previous episode of dynamite. Luchasaurus wiped out the majority of the remaining participants at number eight before Allin reemerged slamming the super heavyweight member of Jurassic Express with a code red leaving no one in the ring to stop Allin.

The mystery competitor was finally revealed with the ninth and final participant, Brian Cage. The former Impact star was led to the ring by Taz and the powerhouse Cage dismantled all other AEW stars before finally they rallied together and buried him beneath guardrails, pieces of the set, ladders, and other debris. After more interference from Best Friends, Marko Stunt, and a few more ladder attempts Cage exploded from beneath the wreckage leading to one final spot between himself and Allin. Cage gorilla pressed Allin lying helplessly on top of a smaller ladder and deposited him outside. Cage secured the victory ending the contest at around 28 minutes of near nonstop thrills.

Up next was MJF vs Jungle Boy. As a change of pace the two put on a technical clinic. This match was arguably the best-worked performance of the night. MJF won after referee Aubrey Edwards accidentally gave MJF the momentum he needed by inadvertently knocking Jungleboy into a vulnerable position. MJF won via pinfall at 17 minutes, keeping him undefeated in singles competition.

 The TNT Championship

The TNT championship tournament final between Murderhawk Lance Archer and Cody Rhodes was an excellent balance of storytelling, wrestling, and personalities. Iron Mike Tyson was at ringside waiting to crown either of the two men. Archer dominated Rhodes early on hitting the blackout in the first 10 seconds of the match. The narrative for most of the fight would be Rhodes struggling to hold on while Archer appeared to be toying with him most of the contest. A couple of the main highlights of this match were Rhodes hitting the Murderhawk with a DDT out of Jake Roberts playbook and Archer hitting an Arn Andersoninspired spine-buster. Despite Roberts defying ejection from referee Bryce Remsburg, Tyson kept the peace long enough to allow Rhodes to capture the first-ever TNT victory in just over 21 minutes.

Very little of note occurred for the next few segments. It was announced Dr. Britt Baker would inform the AEW audience live this Wednesday how long she would remain sidelined from her knee injury. Penelope Ford, her replacement for the match against Kris Statlander, did an admirable job subbing in for her. Statlander had her best performance in an AEW ring thus far beating Ford in a tidy eight minutes.

Arguably the only poor portion of Double or Nothing was the bizarre interaction between Shawn Spears and the natural, Dustin Rhodes. It isn’t fair to call this a match. Spears was embarrassed by Rhodes after calling out Cody’s older brother out of an assumed retirement. The chairman Spears was forcefully disrobed and exposed for having his manager, Tully Blanchard‘s face on his briefs. Rhodes pinned him for the victory in a thankfully short, but pointless, four minutes.

Hikaru Shida defeated Nyla Rose to win the AEW Women’s championship. Less than 24 hours after the tragic death of Hana Kimura, a wrestler for the Japanese promotion Stardom, Shida the former Stardom athlete won the no disqualification brawl against reigning champ and native beast Nyla Rose. Shida’s emotion, passion, and storytelling was overwhelming and won with an emphatic baseball-like swing of her kendo stick breaking it over the monster Rose, hitting her with a running knee strike and pinning her at 16 minutes.

The AEW Championship

Jon Moxley finally had his chance to exact his revenge on the exalted one Brodie Lee. AEW champ Moxley came out aggressively trying to tear the head off of the leader of the Dark Order. Lee in contrast, executed his offense in a very cerebral fashion. The referee gave a lot of leeway in this match allowing both wrestlers to leave the ring without counting them out, and not disqualifying Brodie Lee or Moxley for slamming each other through multiple barriers and stage equipment. When the action resumed in the ring the champ Moxley regained his title by referee stoppage via submission, although Lee did not officially tap. Likely, this feud is not over.

The Stadium Stampede

The Stadium Stampede match in TIAA Bank Field will be remembered for its fun and zany antics for a very long time. The less that is said the better. For those who like Matt Hardy‘s broken world, being the elite, and the bubbly bunch this main event may be the best product you watch from AEW this year. If you weren’t a fan of the more cinematic type of matches such as the boneyard match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker its best to skip this one. Kenny Omega pinned Sammy Guevara to win the contest for The Elite after 33 minutes for iconic spots and absolute insanity.