Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ronda Rousey has a Wrestlemania Moment

Note: This is an article I wrote for MMA Latest News

Brock Lesnar wasn’t the only UFC champion to step into a WWE ring at Wrestlemania. UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey walked into a the squared circle during a segment with her “Furious 7” costar and former WWE champion, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Rousey is a longtime professional wrestling fan. She attends independent wrestling shows, shares the Four Horsewomen name with Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. She took her nickname from WWE Hall of Famer and legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. So it wasn’t a surprise when Rousey came in and gave Triple H and McMahon a beating, much to the delight of the WWE universe.

It was a great moment for the Rowdy one. Many fans know her – as McMahon pointed out – that Rousey is the most dangerous woman in the world. But for tonight she was a wrestling fan who got the opportunity to stand on the biggest stage with two of the biggest names in sports entertainment. Part of Wrestlemania is about celebrities getting themselves into the thick of things and Rousey did just fine for her first time in the ring.

Former WWE broadcaster Jim Ross on his blog and an episode of Taz’s “Human Podcast Machine”, proposed a match between Rousey and McMahon at Wrestlemania 32, which will be in Dallas next year. Ross got a lot of flack from fans for this idea. While it wouldn’t be the most technically sound match, it would make money.

I’m sure the WWE would be on board with Rousey vs. McMahon at Wrestlemania but what about the UFC? Would president Dana White be alright with his golden-haired goose-stepping into a WWE ring?

The UFC puts restrictions on its fighters doing extreme sports, yet they seemed fine with Josh Barnett wrestling in Japan on New Year’s Eve. What about the business side? White said he was happy for Lesnar resigning with the WWE and he respects Vince McMahon but is there a grudge or a rivalry between the two big companies? Or was this part of a plan? Did White and Vince McMahon come together on some sort of business deal with Rousey?

Fans know Rousey would destroy McMahon in an actual fight. McMahon has some decent hands and a little experience in jiu-jitsu, but Rousey is leaps and bounds above her. And while professional wrestling is scripted, injuries can happen in the ring. I’m sure Rousey would be careful, but McMahon wouldn’t mind getting pummeled by the UFC champion’s fists or even a broken arm if it meant putting on a great show.

MMA fans feel the same way about pro wrestling that the Archie Gang does when Homer Simpson shows up to town – “Stay out of Riverdale” but the WWE Universe liked the idea of Rousey being in the same ring as The Rock, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. While most MMA purists would consider this a black spot on mixed martial arts, I bet Rousey thinks it was one of the greatest moments of her life.

As a longtime wrestling fan – and the guy who sent the tweet and wrote the blog that coined the phrase “Four Horsewomen,” this was a special moment. While the 15-year-old mark in me was hoping Stephanie McMahon would get the upper hand, the MMA fan was happy. It wasn’t the way I envisioned Rousey entering the WWE – you can read my fantasy booking with the angle between her and Paige right here – but it works.

The UFC women’s bantamweight champion already has one Wrestlemania moment under her belt. Will her encounter with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and The Rock lead to more down the road? Only time will tell.

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Beers of Digital Middle-Earth: Forsaken Ale

Forsaken Ale

“There are many fabled brews in Middle-Earth. This is not one of them.”

When I had my champion Almaris mail all of his items to Calumbo, it left little room in the hunter’s inventory.

One of the items that cluttered the space was five pints of Forsaken Ale. I have no recollection of how Almaris ended up getting the ale, except I think it was part of a quest at the Forsaken Inn.

I can see why the ale is not well-known. Although it has the word “forsaken” attached to its name, the beer itself is not all that strong.

To make room in his inventory, I had Calumbo drink a pint after he left the crafters’ house. Then I had him drink one while he was swimming in a lake. I had him drink his third before he fought a bear, his fourth after he killed the bear and his final one after he turned in the quest.

Beers

Forsaken Ale
“There are many fabled brews in Middle-Earth. This is not one of them.”

Alman on Maureen Riordon’s journey leads her to Invicta cage

As a journalist and a follower of mixed martial arts, it’s always great to see someone who has worked hard get their shot at a big opportunity. Invicta Fighting Championships is a place where women, of all levels of experience, get a chance to compete on a big stage and at Invicta FC 12, fans will get a chance to watch a warrior named Maureen Riordon take the next step in her career.

Riordon, 0-1, is a three-sport professional athlete with boxing and kickboxing experience. She’s also a parent and someone who looks at the positive aspects of life. She made her pro debut against Marion Reneau back in July 2014, losing via first-round submission. Before that fight she went 3-2 as an amateur with all of her wins coming by TKO.

The Baby Faced warrior faces a tough opponent in Shannon Sinn (1-2). She’s riding a two-fight losing streak. She’ll be hungry and looking for that first Invicta win.

If Riordon can capture the win, it could be the fist step in what could be long Invicta run.

Al’s Quick Picks – Wrestlemania 31

We are hours away from Wrestlemania. Here are my quick picks.

Tag team title match – Cesaro and Tyson Kidd will retain. They haven’t had the titles long but they mesh really well as a team.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – I have three picks for this: Mizdow, Ryback and Curtis Axel. One spot that will be guaranteed is Mizdow throwing the Miz over the top rope.

Divas tag team match – The Bella Twins will win.

Intercontinental title match – Wade Barrett. The deck is stacked against him and while the WWE wants to elevate the IC title, you can do that with a good heel champion as much as you can with Daniel Bryan.

U.S. title match – John Cena. It’s Wrestlemania so the odds of Cena losing are slim. This will also set up the rubber match between him and Rusev at Extreme Rules, assuming Rusev isn’t the first heel to go up against the world champion after Wrestlemania.

Orton vs. Rollin – Seth Rollins. Orton has gotten his revenge in the form of a vicious beatdown so I see Rollin winning this match.

Wyatt vs. Undertaker – The Dead Man wins this one. There is no way he’ll lose back-to-back Wrestlemanias.

Triple H vs. Sting – Sting will win this. It will be a classic heel vs. face match. HHH will stack the deck but Sting will make a comeback. Expect Stephanie McMahon to cost the match for her husband in some way.

Reigns vs. Lesnar – Reigns will win in typical fashion much to the chagrin of fans. I expect this to be a physical encounter, which some fans like to criticize … unless another promotion besides WWE puts one on.

Invicta FC preliminary card features veterans and future stars

Note: This is a column I wrote for MMA Latest News

Women’s MMA fans can start placing their bets as Invicta Fighting Championships revealed the full card for Invicta FC 12, April 24, at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

The main card features several marquee bouts, including the strawweight title match between Katja Kankaanpää and challenger Livia Renata Souza and the 125-pound title eliminator bout between Roxanne Modafferi and Vanessa Porto. Invicta veterans Amanda Bell, Peggy Morgan and Ediane Gomes also return to the Invicta cage.

Like all the promotion’s preliminary cards, Invicta FC 12’s lower portion features faces that are known to Invicta and hardcore WMMA fans, as well as competitors who will compete in the Invicta cage for the first time.

Lacey Schuckman and Cassie Rodish, who competed in early Invicta events will both return to the cage after a lengthy absence. Schuckman faces Idaho-native Jenny Liou Shriver, who lost to Jamie Moyle at Invicta Fc 9. Shriver rebounded from the loss to defeat Susy Watson at SFL 36.

Rodish, who is coming off a first-round submission over Raquel Magdaleno back in October, welcomes journeyman Stephanie Skinner to the Invicta cage. Skinner has won three of her last four fights.

Delaney Owen returns to Invicta to take on Sharon Jacobson. Owen, who recently defeated Amber Stautzenberger, is still looking for her first Invicta win. She lost her Invicta debut to JJ Aldrich back in September. Jacobson has won her last two fights, one of those in 44 seconds.

Shannon Sinn is another fighter who is looking for her first win in the Invicta cage, as well as hopes to snap a two-fight losing streak. She takes on Maureen Riordon, a three-sport professional athlete who hopes to capture her first professional MMA victory. Riordon is a journeyman who gained notoriety on the regional circuit. She also has professional kickboxing and boxing experience.

At the bottom of the card – but certainly not least – is prospect Roma Pawelek taking on Sijara Eubanks. Pawelek, who went 5-1 as an amateur, won her professional debut against Ashleigh Heustis back in November, via second-round TKO. Although Eubanks has professional mixed martial arts experience, she has a brief, but successful 2-0 amateur, is an accomplished grappler and a multiple-time IBJJF champion.

The preliminary card has some potential to be exciting. Many of the competitors are known scrappers and aren’t afraid to get dirty or bloody in the center of the cage. While it’s good to see veterans like Schuckman and Rodish return to Invicta after some time away, it’s nice to get some new blood and there is a lot of potential with the fighters competing on a big stage for the first time in their careers.


Invicta FC 12 full fight card

MAIN CARD
Invicta FC strawweight championship bout
Katja Kankaanpää (10-1-1) vs. Livia Renata Souza (7-0)

Invicta FC flyweight title eliminator bout
Roxanne Modafferi (17-11) vs. Vanessa Porto (17-6)

Amanda Bell (3-2) vs. Faith Van Duin (4-1)
Ediane Gomes (10-3) vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi (4-4)
Peggy Morgan (3-2) vs. Latoya Walker (4-0)

PRELIMINARY CARD
Lacey Schuckman (10-8) vs. Jenny Liou (3-1)
Cassie Rodish (5-4) vs. Stephanie Skinner (4-5)
Delaney Owen (3-1) vs. Sharon Jacobson (2-1)
Shannon Sinn (1-2) vs. Maureen Riordon (0-1)
Roma Pawelek (1-0) vs. Sijara Eubanks (0-0)

Cheney girls’ tennis picks up wins over Shadle Park, Medical Lake

K Smedley 1

The Cheney High girls tennis team is blazing through the beginning of its season.
They went 2-1 at the March 13 jamboree with wins over Othello, 4-3, and Moses Lake, 4-3, and a loss to Ellensburg, 2-5. On March 18, the Blackhawks defeated Shadle Park, 4-3, then picked up a 6-1 win over Medical Lake the next day.

“We were relying on our doubles to come out on top,” head coach Jason Overland said regarding the Shadle Park match. “It was the first time in a while, that all three doubles won. It was a team effort.”

At No. 1 singles, Katleynn Smedley started her senior season in a flurry, going 4-1 in her first two weeks of the season. After she went 3-0 in Moses Lake, she lost a tough match to the Highlanders’ Audra Spargo (3-6, 1-6). Smedley rebounded from the loss and defeated the Cardinals’ Alyssa Fitzgerald (6-1, 6-4).

Bridget Calvert, a newcomer to varsity this season, is undefeated at 5-0 with three shutouts.

Grace Pohl, who is playing her third year on varsity, is at 3-2. Rachel Hansen, who missed the jamboree, is 1-1 this season with a win over Annika Gahan (6-2, 6-4).

“I was very happy for the singles players who bounced back from their losses (at Shadle Park),” Overland said. “It shows a lot of character and toughness.”

Linsay Sweitzer, who went 2-1 in singles action at the jamboree, teamed up with Sarah Fillmore at No. 2 doubles. The pair went 2-0 with wins over Jillian Froves and Emma Wagley (6-1, 6-1) and Emma Ransom and Alyssa Pena (6-3, 6-0).

At No. 3 doubles, Sadie Knutson and Shayla Payne are 2-0 with wins over Shadle Park’s Ebba Lovestrom and Bailey Fiechtner (6-1, 6-1) and Medical Lake’s Jasmine Uribes and Taylor Ruggles (6-2, 6-0).

At No. 1 doubles, Leanna Eik and Kaitlyn Sweeney are 1-1 with a win over Shadle’s Aalay Lopez and Anna Wood-Garnes (6-2, 6-1).

Alannah Lewis and Emily Howard were the only Cheney doubles team to win a match in Moses Lake.

After their March 24 match against Central Valley, the Blackhawks travel to Lewis and Clark March 27 to play the Tigers.

Cheney High School seniors Ryan and Katelynn Smedley finished their season — and high school tennis careers — at the 2A state tennis championships in Seattle, May 30.

Ryan Smedley, in his first trip to state, lost a first-round match to Suncrest’s Nishaant Limaye (6-1, 6-0). Boy’s head coach Jesse Erickson said Limaye got Ryan Smedley on the defensive early and controlled the match.

“Ryan was playing well, but when you get to state, it’s a whole new competition,” Erickson said.

Ryan Smedley was eliminated from the tournament after his loss to Mark Morris’ Riku Kusakabe (6-4, 6-4). Erickson said Ryan Smedley was more aggressive and utilized good drop shots but could not “close it out.”

“Although he didn’t win, Ryan was happy with his performance,” Erickson said. “He ended his season on a high note. I was proud of him.”

Katelynn Smedley, in her second state tournament appearance, lost her first-round match to North Kitsap’s Dayna Wallis (6-0, 6-2), then defeated Mark Morris’ Jamie Isaacson of Longview (6-3, 6-2). She was eliminated after her loss to Sedro-Woolley’s Kassidee Beuse (6-1, 6-4).

The boy’s tennis team is coming off their strongest season in years, with a 7-1 Great Northern League record, 12-2 overall and a regular season championship. Although the team loses top players such as Ryan Smedley, Britton Williams and JT Gould to graduation, Erickson said there are many juniors returning next season.

“With (Ryan) Axtell leading the way, we should have a good chance of repeating as league champions, especially if Clarkston and Pullman lose many of their key players,” Erickson said.

The girls team ended their regular season with a 6-2 GNL record, 10-4 overall and a second-place finish in the league. They lose seven seniors to graduation: Katelynn Smedley, Grace Pohl, Kaitlyn Sweeney, Leanna Eik, Rachel Hansen, Sarah Fillmore and Linsay Sweitzer.

Cheney boy’s tennis tops Shadle Park, ML

Ryan Smedley 2

The Cheney High boys tennis team continued to breeze through the early part of the season after they won 5-2 matches against Shadle Park, March 18 and Medical Lake, March 19.

Ryan Smedley continued his winning streak at No. 1 singles, with a close victory over Ian Stein (6-2, 4-6, 6-1) followed by an impressive win over Noah Ray (6-0, 6-2).

“Smedley struggled in that second game in the Shadle Park match but he was able to come back and was on cruise control from there,” head coach Jesse Erickson said.

Ryan Axtell won both of his matches at the No. 2 spot, defeating Nathan Boucher (6-3, 6-4) and Tyler Krivolavy (6-2, 6-0).

“Axtell’s returns have improved, and he’s been working on his strategy,” Erickson said. “Not just hitting but also making his opponent move around on the court.”

Britton Williams also continued his winning streak with victories over Jacob Bernardi (6-2, 6-0) and Nikolaj Beuchart (6-3, 6-1).

Shogo Starr returned to the No. 4 singles spot at the Medical Lake match, defeating Kyle Hawkins (6-0, 6-0).

In doubles action, Adam Passey won both of his matches with different partners. At the Shadle Park match, he and Aleksandr Chernega defeated Tavin Barrington and Ashton Lawson in a close match (6-4, 7-5). At Medical Lake, Passey teamed with Brandon Foster, who lost his singles match at Shadle Park, to defeat Isi Farmen and Austin Brown (6-4, 6-4).
Jay Gould and Dirk Ray went 1-1 last week, with a win coming over Kyle Collins and Colin Strout (6-2, 6-0).

“Our doubles teams are communicating well with each other,” Erickson said. “We just need to focus on getting a higher first-serve percentage and not rely so much on our second serve.”

Erickson added that Ben Sanchez, who played for Cheney as a freshman will return to the Blackhawks for his junior season and may play the No. 4 singles spot.

Cheney is now 2-0 in nonleague action this season. After their March 24 match against Central Valley, they host Lakeside today (March 26).

“We’ve had good support from the parents so far this season,” Erickson said. “Some parents came out to the Moses Lake jamboree. We had a lot of support for the Medical Lake match and we’re looking forward to seeing some parents at our home matches.”