Monthly Archives: March 2014

Cris “Cyborg” should get back in the ring

Lion Fight 14 showcased one of the best women’s kickboxing bouts in recent history as Cris “Cyborg” Justino, current Invicta FC Featherweight, stepped into the ring against Dutch fighting sensation Jorina Baars.

In a heated contest, Justino grinded through five rounds against Baars, who dropped the Cyborg several times throughout the match. Although sports fans may have been surprised that Justino was getting tagged at various points in the fight, Baars has the experience and kickboxing background that warrants her having an advantage against Justino. Still, what surprised me was how quickly the Cyborg rose to her feet after getting hit.

Baars was awarded the decision and as usual, social media was ablaze. Several writers say Justino’s loss has nothing to do with her standing in MMA while others claim that Justino’s marketability may take a hit because of the defeat. Then there’s the one foolish journalist – i.e. me – who said that Baars could have a future in MMA. Several skeptics were quick to point out that the Dutch star is 1-3 in MMA competition. I was quick to point to out that she would always improve over time.

As for Justino, her record in MMA shouldn’t be affected at all, however, this could be something potential organizations – mainly the UFC – could use as a reason not to sign her.

But what about Muay Thai? Although she was handed her first defeat, making her record 2-1, this is in no way the end of the Cyborg’s rise in a sport that could become more popular in the United States in the next couple of years. With a few more victories under her belt, Justino could find herself back in title contention.

Personally, I would like to see Justino get back in the ring and win a world championship in kickboxing or Muay Thai.

She wouldn’t need to fight Ronda Rousey if she became the first woman fighter to win world championships in mixed martial arts and Muay Thai.

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The voice of the Fink

I’ll keep this one short though I’ll warn you – I tend to go into long rants when I’m discussing professional wrestling characters and figures who were staples of my childhood.

I tend to use this phrase a lot when it comes to professional wrestling, but recently I listened to the “30 Years of Wrestlemania” podcast featuring Howard Finkel, who is one of the voices of my childhood.

Also known as “The Fink,” Finkel is the longest tenured employee in the WWE, going all way back to 1977. When I started watching wrestling at age 3, The Fink was the announcer in every match. He was the first voice you would hear when superstars were making their entrances to the ring.

During my youth  when I had aspirations of being a professional wrestler, I imagine Finkel announcing my hometown and my name as I walk to the ring at Wrestlemania in Madison Square Garden, as well as his phrase  “and new World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental champion!” Or it would be my and my best friend’s name when he said “and new World Wrestling Federation tag team champions.”

Although my aspiration of being a wrestler were replaced with different goals, I still kept that image in the back of my mind and would replay it whenever I felt down.

The Fink has also been involved in some angles such as when he was a self-professed Jerichoholic or when he had a tuxedo match with Harvey Wippleman at Wrestlemania X … which really weren’t’ some of my favorite Fink moments, but at least he was getting TV time.

Finkel would be inducted in WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2009 and it was more than deserving. He has a one-of-a-kind voice that can never be duplicated and I think he’s one of the most underrated announcers in the history of sports and entertainment.

Cheney girls’ tennis photos

And here are some photos of the Cheney girls’ tennis team during their match against Medical Lake.

No 2 singles 5

Katelynn Smedley 1

Katelynn Smedley 3

 

STEM Lab photos

I haven’t been good about posting photos I’ve been taking, so here are a couple of shots from the STEM lab I shot last weekend.

This student created a machine he called “The Spider”

stem1

stem 3

stem5

 

‘Mists’ makes Al a happy pandaren

One of my favorite aspects of “World of Warcraft” is the music.

In several areas throughout Azeroth, I found myself almost moving along to the music. I’ve almost told my friend Tom that he could come up with a dance for the continuous loop that plays in Orgrimmar. Almost being the key word here, as my friend’s dance moves tend to get obnoxious after a few minutes.

In accordance with my recent “Warcraft” kick, I’ve scoured the internet looking for podcasts to listen to on my commute around Spokane County. I decided to try “The Instance.” While the episode mostly pertained to the upcoming “Warlords of Draenor” expansion and the cons of the automatic boost to level 90, the hosts had a Q&A session where one of the questions they answered related to their favorite “Warcraft” soundtrack.

The vote was unanimous. “Mists of Pandaria” was a favorite among the hosts. Prior to leaving for Medical Lake, I went on Youtube and found a video that featured the “Mists” soundtrack.

At this point, the intro to “Wrath of the Lich King” was my favorite “Warcraft”-inspired piece. Although it’s similar to the music that’s played on the other login screens, Wrath’s has a menacing feel to it. But after the first few minutes of Mists’ soundtrack, I was pretty hooked.

The music still has the fantasy and Celtic inspired sounds, but it adds a bit of flavor that you hear in movies or television shows based out of Japan, Hong Kong and China.

There’s one song – the video didn’t exactly provide a detailed list – where one of the characters is actually singing and it’s beautiful.

I enjoyed the Mists soundtrack so much that I put it on my Editor’s Playlist. It will go nicely with Styx, AC/DC and Hootie and the Blowfish.

What are some of your favorite video game soundtracks?

 

The Four Horsewomen have transcended MMA

I’ll just come out and say it. I never knew how far the whole “Four Horsewomen” thing would go. I knew that Shayna Baszler, the “Queen of Spades” – or “The Enforcer” – and Ronda Rousey – Ric Flair, Woo! – would have liked it while Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir would have gone along with it. I never knew that these four amazing warriors, as well as the rest of the Armbarnation, would embrace it as much as they did. And for that I’m grateful.

A few weeks ago, Jessamyn tweeted a picture of UFC President Dana White doing the “Horsemen” sign along with Marina, which spurred some responses … well a response from the UG forums, but those don’t count.

I thought seeing the UFC President doing the sign couldn’t make this movement any better. That is, until I Jessamyn retweet something from WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross saying he’d be the manager of the Four Horsewomen. To understand how means to me, I grew up a fan of wrestling and heard J.R. calling match after match in various promotions. His play-by-play was as much part of my childhood as Kevin Conroy’s and Mark Hamill’s Batman and Joker roles on the Fox animated series.

To say that this made my day would be a bit of an understatement.

I think this is also a big a compliment as Ross has seen several incarnations of the Four Horsemen over the years. Outside of “The Nature Boy” and other members of the stable – except for Paul Roma, Sid Vicious and Jeff Jarrett whose opinions matter as much as the UG’s – this is probably the biggest endorsement the Four Horsewomen could get.

Besides the endorsement of good ol’ J.R., I’ve seen some posts about seeing the Four Horsewomen compete at Wrestlemania against the WWE Divas. Back in December, Shayna challenged the Bella Twins to a match.

Although the gals on the WWE roster are not fighters, there are some who are pretty tough and would put on a solid match against The Four Horsewomen. Here would be my picks for their opponents. Keep in mind, this is for a wrestling match on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

A.J. Lee

A.J. is the current WWE Diva’s champion. Don’t let her small frame fool you, she’s tough and vicious in the ring and she can put on a good match when she has a chance. She’s also currently dating C.M. Punk, which could help build part of the program with her and Ronda.

Natalya

Natalya is a former Diva’s champion, but more importantly she is a member of the Hart Family. She has the pedigree and toughness that comes with being a Hart and is a solid performer in the ring. Personally, I would love to see Natalya and Shayna lock horns.

Tamina Snuka

Like Natalya, Tamina has wrestling in her blood. She’s the daughter of “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and is a part of the Samoan wrestling family that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Recently she’s been the Diesel to A.J.’s Shawn Michaels, which she’s strong and can take care of Lee’s light work. Tamina and Ronda could reinact the Piper’s Pit where Roddy Piper busted a coconut over Snuka’s head.

Paige

Paige is the current NXT Diva’s champion. Although she’s currently in development, she’s a solid performer. Her matches against Emma – especially the one at NXT Arrival – have been some of the most well-rounded diva’s matches in memory. She’s also a second-generation wrestler and has held several championships in Europe. She’s probably one of the few – if not the only – woman’s wrestler who can say they defeated their mother in a best 2 out of 3 falls match.

The one where Al gushes over the WWE Network

A word of warning, this could be considered a PR/fluffy piece – but this is a blog after all and I think I can be as fluffy as I want.

For the last several weeks, I had seed advertisements for the WWE Network. You couldn’t escape it – it was on TV, Youtube and the radio. On a night where I had just finished covering a Beekeeper’s meeting in Medical Lake, I decided to order it and I haven’t looked back since.

One of the benefits for fans who order the WWE Network get to watch Wrestlemania XXX, as well as the other pay per views. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ve seen some folks express their disinterest and disgust – these are the same folks who always bash the Federation for whatever reason – while others – mainly good ol’ Jim Ross – have tout the good things about the network.

Since I’ve been a subscriber, I haven’t had any problems with the service. The network is exactly what you would expect. There are numerous hours of content that can be enjoyed, not only by WWE fans, but also WCW and ECW folks. I’ve been watching mostly the “Legends of Wrestling” program and older shows.

In addition to the good memories, I watched the NXT Arrival and I was more impressed. From top to bottom, the card was pretty solid. NXT gave kind of an old-school feel where you had lots of wrestling, numerous characters, and a smaller venue or television studio – similar to ECW and the World Championship Wrestling tapings.

So there you have it fight fans. This is my endorsement for the WWE Network. If you have the money to spare, you should get it. It’s a wise investment for any professional wrestling fan, especially those who enjoy the days of NWA, AWA and other territories.