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THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT

Welcome all to our kind-of-live-ISH UFC 97 report. That's right, we here at The Wrestling Fan have decided to take that daunting first baby step out of the realm of make-believe hurt-ery and into the highly lucrative vessel of legit brutality. And before all of you unwashed "purists" out there start complaining that this isn't "wrestling-related", it's not like we're trying to permeate other aspects of popular, non-sports culture, like posting reviews of modern-day slasher reboots or archaic action films from the 80s. . . oh, wait.

Now, I know a lot of you are somewhat frightened by this new territory. Contrary to what nerd-a-lingers like Davey Meltzer and that faggot Bryan Alvarez may spew forth from their no-doubt semen encrusted gullets, typically, MMA fans and professional wrestling fans are NOT one in the same. Go ahead, run this test for yourself: go into an MMA message board and say ANYTHING positive about Brock Lesnar. You have time, I can wait. Typed? Good. Now wait. . . just a little bit longer. . . wait . . . wait.and there! Instantaneously, some knuckle dragging fightin' fan just vaunted the fellatio-skills of your deceased grandmother. Goodness, 21st century living sure is SWELL.

For a lot of you reading this at the concurrent, this may very well be your first encounter with the world of mixed martial arts. For the common wrestling fan, transitioning into the quote en quote real stuff can be a bit trying, but that's why I'm here; to navigate you into an exciting, new realm of sports-entertainment. Well, that, and deliver unto thee totally non- sequitir, off-base jokes about cancer and infant mortality, but I digress (really, I will!)

Needless to say, I've been wanting to cover MMA for TWF for the longest time, and since the opportunity for crossover has never been more agreeable, I handpicked this show as the first UFC PPV recap for a couple of reasons. Number one, I suppose, is the notion that several of the biggest stars in the promotion are featured on the card, so for those of you that think Anderson Silva is a hoary-colored Horsemen, you'll get a gander at the big names you've heard so much from those people that wear such crappy looking tee shirts all the time.

Anyhoo, tonight's subtitle is "Redemption", because. . .you know, I have nary the foggiest. Maybe it has something to do with Easter, or better yet, the fact that a guy with a really shitty W-L record is getting an undeserved shot at title contention (But more on that later, kind reader.)

All right, we are coming to you LIVE from Montreal, Quebec, the really, really suspect officiating capitol of the known universe. A couple of months ago, the Quebecois equivalent of the ATF tried to shut down this show for being a PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARD. Yeah, that Ultimate Fighting is really Lucifer's nectar, I tell you. BUT GO AHEAD, SERVE AS MUCH MOLSON AS YOU WANT AT A CANADIENS PLAYOFF GAME, I'M SURE NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN, ESPECIALLY IN A LOSING EFFORT TO THE BRUINS. So anyway, after weeks upon weeks of pissing, moaning and/or bellyaching, the Froths finally allowed the show to take place barring the illegalization of ONE move, the lethal, the dreaded, the potentially FATAL. . . foot stomp. As in, stepping on another guy's foot with your OWN foot. So yeah, face kick and drop as many mother fuckers on their spine as you want, but DAMN YOUR SOUL TO HELLFIRE if you crinkle a man's toes. So, to our English speaking Canadian readers out there, why the hell DIDN'T you let those assholes secede?

Anyway, we're calling this one AS IT HAPPENS from the quaint and lovely Sidelines Grille in picturesque Acworth, Georgia, and fuck that $10.15 cover charge and HARD. Regardless, I can tell you from experience that one hasn't really lived until he's screamed at a multitude of television sets alongside a small contingent of drunken students from the state's third largest university for a Brazilian to choke another Brazilian dude unconscious, for it is positively fucking beautiful, man.

Show's on, so no more fiddle-fuddling around. . .just as soon as the waitress can figure out how to operate the remote controller. . .and she's blonde, and apparently an UGA fan. Folks, we might not have a recap for the night.

The technical difficulties have been alleviated, and we are joined in progress right before the show's opening salvo is fired.

As always, our hosts are Mike Goldberg and that one guy from "Fear Factor". Due to the noisy strings of Kool and the Gang, we'll be doing the first half of tonight's presentation sans audio. But hey, it's not like we're missing any veritable pearls of wisdom from those two, eh?

Another video montage is on display, showcasing Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva doing things that can be construed as "superstar-ish". There's a pretty loud pop from the edifice during the promo, but after closer examination, it was just two transplant patrons cheering a Blackhawks goal against Calgary. Oh well, close enough.

More jibber jabber from Goldberg. Sheesh, we get it, nobody cares about the heavyweight division! We quickly go over the rules, and its time for tonight's opening battle, which is between a guy that bragged about ripping another dude's arm out of his socket on live television and a chap that once got DQ'ed on PPV for trying to curb stomp a motherfucker. That's right; our curtain jerker for tonight's festivities is a veritable ASSHOLEMANIA.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Luiz Cane vs. Steve Cantwell

Luiz Cane is out first, performing the ceremonial "I'm going to run in circles in the cage like a retard flying a kite" routine. It's in the rule book, it must occur. Cane is also rocking some neon purple pants, which reminds me of "The Phantom". Did I really just make reference to a 1996 Billy Zane movie? I did? Well, fuck.

Steve Cantwell is out second (as if he had any other options, right?), and the on screen graphics remind us that he's NEVER gone to a decision before, which in UFC spoiler speak means the following: "This fight IS going to decision". That's the cardinal inverse rule of the Ultimate Fighting Championship; anytime an exceptional stat is brought up, that means that the ensuing fight will negate said statistic and HARD. Per, if a fighter is championed for having an 80% striking accuracy, in the next fight, he'll lob only 40 percent. If a guy is vaunted for stellar takedown defense, then by Job, he will be stuffed like a bell pepper in his next fight seemingly at will. If a competitor says in a pre-fight interview "You know, Joe, I've been fighting on and off for 18 years, and not once has a helicopter ever crashed into the arena in which I was fighting", you better put money on the notion that A GOSHDAMNED HELICOPTER WILL CRASH INTO THE ARENA that evening..

Erstwhile, my companion for the evening notes that Cantwell has a set of eyeballs plastered on the seat of his pants. I'm not sure how that would help him win, but it could. Somehow.

Round One

It's all stand up in the first round, with Cantwell going KER-AZY with the high leg kicks; Wisely, Luiz kept his distance for the duration of the fight, throwing in some peppered knees (new to the menu, I've heard) when he had the opportunity. At the end of the round, Cantwell has a pretty nasty nose gusher going on, which can be quantified as only this: Icky.

Round Two

It was pretty much a sandwich performance by Cane in the second round. Luiz dominated in the beginning, landing some solid jabs whilst Steve just kind of took it. Halfway through the round, Steve made a brief comeback of sorts, peppering Luiz with some SICK kicks and knees, but only one out of four actually landed, and that's an EXTREMELY liberal estimate. With about a minute and a half to go, Cane quickly takes the upper hand in the fight, so as far as points awarding, I'd say it's very much his round.

Round Three

It was a pretty even contest in the third round, at least until the final 90 seconds. Cantwell broke out some flashy moves, including the oft-utilized yet rarely effective Superman punch, but Cane's body shots KEPT connecting whereas Steve's, uh, didn't. Easily Cane's round, fight, day, week, month, even year (he'll be there for you).

Winner: Luiz Cane, Decision (Unanimous)

Pretty good little fight there. Hey, Japanese fighting phenom Akiyama is in the house! No word on whether or not he brought his Vaseline with him for tonight's gala, however. Also heavy in rank for tonight's show is a sizeable Brazilian fan base, and that includes the little rinky dink pub I'm calling this show from. THE PORTUGUESE UPRISING, IT IS EMINENT. They sleep in pods, you know.

Time for a brief bumper for UFC 98. Backstage, Chucky is in the locker room swatting at air. We'll at least, that means he'll be hitting something tonight.

Heavyweight Bout: Antoni Hardonk vs. Cheick Kongo

Up next, we've got two heavyweight kickboxers from Europe ready to tango. Antoni Hardonk is riding a three fight win streak, and Cheick Kongo is an impressive 6-2 in the octagon, despite being French and therefore a coward.

Hardonk out first, sporting the requisite Tapout tee.

Kongo comes out sporting Cage Fighter trunks.

This means but one thing: FASHION WAR 2009 IS UPON US.

Round One

Wow, who'd thunk that the French guy would be so popular in Quebec? Regardless, it was a molasses slow first round, with Kongo absolutely dominating Hardonk like the repugnant stank of an unwashed Parisian courtesan. At one point, Hardonk even went into the vaunted Fred Ettish defensive position, which is quite the display of heroism, if I may say so myself. Kongo concludes the round by scoring a takedown, and keeps the Dutchman pinned down for the duration of the first rounder.

Round Two

Kongo continues to dominate early, and Hardonk eats many a fist burger until the takedown. Hardonk tries to anchor a sub attempt from the ground, but Kongo says "Fuck you!" and Donkey Kong punches Antoni until the ref jumps in at

Winner: Cheick Kongo, TKO (Ref Stoppage) Strikes (2:29, R2)

Light Heavyweight Bout: Brian Stann vs. Krzysztof Soszynski

Remember back in the heyday of the Monday Night Wars, when Vince was letting non-contracted Indy guys duke it out on Raw just for shits and giggles? Well, the ensuing bout is kind of like watching Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor grapple on cable TV circa 1997, as these two fighters are darlings of the "independent" (read: non-UFC North American) circuit and getting their first slake of the big time limelight.

The gimmick here is that Brian Stann is some sort of war hero, and So-Su-Sin-Ski is simply a mere Pollock. Boy, I wonder who the incredibly jingoistic UFC fan base will be rooting for in this one? Stann, in addition to being a massive propaganda tool for the United States Marine Corps, is also a former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion. (Ironically, he ended up dropping the title to Steve Cantwell, on a controversial disqualification. (Apparently, one cannot "water-board" under the Unified Nevada State Athletics Commission Rules). So-Su-Sin-Ski's greatest claim to fame (and, wow, is that ever stretching the connotation) is the notion that he had a modicum of success in the doomed Independent Fighting League enterprise from a few year's back. You remember that one, don't you? The one with teams that came on the shitty network that replaced UPN? Well, to truncate, it sucked. Needless to say, So-Su-Sin-Ski hasn't had a lot of sunshine beaming on him since then, so he needs this win like Rihanna needs a harder orbital bone structure.

Round One

Oops, I forgot that we are in Bizzaro World, AKA Canada, so everybody that would normally get booed in the States is HAILED AS LORD AND SAVIOR in the Great White North. AND THE POLE TAKES DOWN THE MIGHTY AMERICAN MILITARY COMPLEX! Seriously, who'd thunk that all it takes to bring the globe's mightiest militaristic presence to its knees is two body slams and an armbar? AL QAEDA MUST NEVER FIND OUT.

Winner: So-Su-Sin-Ski, Submission Kimura, (3:53, R1)

Either Clay Guida or a wild bear is the audience tonight.

UFC Undisputed 2009 is coming out on Xbox, Playstation, and Sega Nomad on May 19th. . . MAY 19TH!!

Plug for UFC 98, UFC99, The Ultimate Fighter, and Mama's Family. Market over saturation? NO, NEVER.

The penultimate bout of the evening is a glorified joke of a match-up, and I'll be the first to state it. Neither of these guys are worthy of title consideration, but a victory here would shoot the winner straight back into the title fray, despite the presence of far more deserving guys on the roster. And you want to know why? Because that's the way UFC head booker Joe Silva constructed it. You see, Chuck Liddell is the poster boy of the UFC, and his name on the marquee sells a lot of tickets. Unfortunately for Zuffa, Inc., Chuck really hasn't been worth a shit as a fighter in almost two years, going a paltry 1-3 since 2007. Therefore, he's being placed in a match-up that would undeservedly place him in championship contention, as he's being fed a past-his-prime, injury-plagued three-legged dog of a fighter that could barely put away a senior citizen in his last bout. For the sake of our industry, I'm praying that Shogun knocks Chucky's head clean off his fucking shoulders in the first round.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio Rua

Shogun's out first., repping the mighty people of Brasilia.with his floppy dong. In perhaps the worst wardrobe selection imaginable, Rua elected to fight tonight while sporting Tighty whities, so in effect, it appears as if Mauricio is cradling grape fruit in his banana hammock.

Liddell gets the sports-entertainment entrance, as to be expected. The Montreal fans go ape for the American, in sort of a Hogan-esque pop. It's definitely a sight to behold that's for sure. . . Until you remember that Rua is sporting vacuum tight ball clingers. Way to ruin the moment, Mauricio.

Hey the audio, is actually working now. Fantastic, we have access to 20th century faculties now. Maybe water fountains are going to be installed in the establishment next quarter.

Round One

Back and forth trading off to begin, with Chuck swinging wildly at the fences. Shogun manages to take him to the mat TWICE, Shogun feeds Randy a mean left and positively RAPES Liddell with the hammer fists. AND THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE, FOLKS! The ref jumps in at 4:28 in the very first round, and it looks like this may very well be Chuck's last hurrah in the Octagon. . . Until he comes out of retirement six months later for "one last run", gets his ass kicked again, re-retires and repeats the cycle until he's 1-17 since '07.

Winner: Mauricio Rua, Ref Stoppage (TKO) Strikes (4:28, R1)

A raucous little brawl with little to no technical substance, but emotional and enthusing as all hell. Post bout, Shogun swallows the knob of Dana White whilst Chuck remains mum about his future in the industry.

Lightweight Bout: Sam Stout vs. Matt Wiman

Stout brings the ruckus as the local boy, while Wiman is sporting an I'm-so- ironic lumberjack beard and bushwhacking across the cage pre-battle. My compatriot for the evening keeps calling Stout "London', so I guess that's what we'll be referencing him as well.

Round One

Pretty much a spotfest here, with a multitude of face-rocking (albeit fairly harmless) punches getting lobbed left and right. Towards the end of the fight, things take a U turn into submission attempt city, with headlocks, armbars, and a near guillotine choke coming into play. Incredibly even round, so I'm not even going to try to choose a winner based on points for that one.

Round 2

An absolutely awesome round, with submission attempts galore. Stout, in particular had a killer escape from the half guard, when he was close to getting tapped by the great bearded one. In betwixt those near submissions, the high kicks, and the dreaded liver punches, this is turning out to be the fight of the night. Way too close to call, so I shan't even bother.

Round 3

This was a great fight. Both guys are busted up at this point, and Wiman is registering an easy 7 on the Muta Scale by the midway marker. Stout rocks him a few times, and then Wiman, a bloody mess, shoots in and makes a miraculous comeback, eventually scoring a takedown and landing a flurry of punches and kicks that come dangerously close to ending the bout. Even so, both guys hang in there, and this one is going to decision.

Winner: Sam Stout, Decision (Unanimous)

A damned good fight right there. Mikey Goldberg is chatting it up with "actor" Cung Le about some shitty martial arts movie coming up at the end of the month. Wow, what a way to bury the competition. That would be like WWE having Abyss on call and addre

ssing him as "Fatass" instead of TNA alum. Dana White = The Vicious. "Fight". This year's "Red Belt". Any year's "Piece of shit".

EVERYTHING gets hyped before the main event. I think I may have even seen Dukakis '88 plug in there somewhere. Weird.

UFC Middleweight Championship Bout: Anderson Silva (Champion) vs. Thales Leites (Challenger)

Pretty much all non-retards are of the mind that Anderson Silva is the baddest motherfucker on the planet, and his sterling 8-0 record in the UFC kind of validates that. In fact, Anderson is gunning for a record shattering 9 consecutive wins in the octagon, and more than likely, his opponent, Thales Leites, is going to end up sacrificing his own life for the prestige. That's not to say that Thales is by any means a tomato can, but when your opponent is Anderson fucking Silva, yeah, you're pretty much a tomato can.

Thales comes out dressed like Super Calo. Well, no that's too much of a compliment. He looks more like he's wearing an Autistic child's homemade replica of Super Calo's uniform. That's certainly more fitting, without question.

Here comes Silva. Sadly, he's not bedecked in the sharpshooter garb he's been wearing in press coverage for the event. Disappointed, am I.

Georges St. Pierre gets his mug shown on TV, and the Montreal crowd ERUPTS. Wait, there are volcanoes in Quebec? RUN!

Round One

Oh, boy this was a shitty first round. Maybe not exactly the 2009 remake of that one Severn / Shamrock bout from UFC 9, but still UNBELIEVABLY SHITTY. These fans are booing as if Shawn Michaels was elected Prime Minister over Wayne Gretzky while Rush declared American beer superior to Canadian domestic. Inaction City.

Round Two

This was a way better second round, but still ALL Silva. Anderson went for an armbar on the ground, but Thales somehow survived. After that, Thales began playing the chicken shit role, falling on his back every time Silva threatened forward movement and rubbing his eyes to draw a corner time out. Thales, you are a no good, worthless piece of shit and the whole world knows it.

Round Three

DEAFENING GSP chants throughout this pathetic round. This is quickly nearing Brock / Goldberg levels of sublime awfulness. Thales continues to utilize his formula of "every time I think Silva may do something, I'll drop to my back like a wounded tortoise". Silva is absolutely disgusted by Thales brazen cowardice, and this crowd lets him have it (rightfully so, if I may state so). God, I'm getting flashbacks from that one Sakuraba / Arsene fight. Ugh.

Round Four WEC champ Mike Brown is shown on camera. . . To virtually no ovation. That was highly comedic in nature.

Silva came pretty close to ending this one or two times, and its obvious that Leites has NOTHING left in his tank. Therefore, do you expect him to fight valiantly like a Spartan, or. . .well, this is Thales Leites we're talking about, so I think you already know the answer. Back plop!

Round Five

I believe the fans best summed up this fight with the resounding chorus of the final round: "Bullshit! Bullshit!" Indeed, a horrendous end to a most horrifically boring contest. Silva attempts to ground and pound, but lets up because Thales has to be Thales. It's kind of obvious how this one is going to be scored, and I for one couldn't be happier for its finalization.

Winner: Anderson Silva, Decision (Unanimous)

Loser (Now and Always): Thales Leites, Decision (Unanimously regarded as a piece of shit from here on out).

Post bout, Silva and his translator get booed. Obviously, after such a lackluster performance, Thales is about as popular in Montreal as English. Or soap. A HIDEOUS disaster of a main event. Now let us never speak of it again.

Goldberg and Hulk Rogan try to play damage control afterward, stating that the bout didn't suck, it was just that the fans didn't appreciate "tactical" fights. So, we have a shitty main event, play by play guys insulting the intelligence of the viewers, lighter weight athletes that steal the show, a guy undeserving of a push that gets his ass kicked but gets vaunted anyway, and total and complete suppression of non-English speaking competitors? Yes, Ultimate Fighting is NOTHING at all like professional wrestling. Nope, no resemblances whatsoever.

The Verdict:

Eh, I had a pretty enjoyable time. It was pleasurable as hell seeing Chuck L. eat it against a guy that pretty much sucks, and watching self-righteous prick Brian Stann get tapped by a tattooed elf-looking Pole was likewise pleasing to a jaded, multiculturalist fight connoisseur such as I. Kongo provided a decent ass stomping, the curtain jerker was pretty entertaining, and Stout and Wiman fucking BROUGHT IT with their bout.

Then, we have to talk about the Main Event. No doubt, that was one of the WORST main events in UFC history, and I once saw Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock walk in circles for thirty minutes straight. Truly, that bout was a Hindenburg / Don Johnson musical career level disaster, and Silva's stock is going to drop considerably after such a shitty showing. Oh, and Thales? You might want to seek HBK's traveling advice, because after your "performance" this evening, you are about as welcome in Quebec as Major League Baseball. Or deodorant. You pick 'em.

Show Highlight: Stout and Wiman bringing da mother fucking ruckus like two WCW cruiserweights circa 1996, knowing full well it's either they put on a good show or nobody will.

Show Lowlight: Hmm. . . Guess.

Rogan-Ism Of The Night:
"Ive never seen a guy punch a guy in the leg from the standing position before", The OTHER good old JR on Silva's ability to lob punches at will on Piece Of Shit Leites.

Five Things I Learned From Tonight's Show:

(X) The IFL has a better track record in the UFC than the WEC.

(X) Apparently, wearing Dick Stranglers increases your ability to throw over handed jabs.

(X) NEVER fuck with a guy that's man enough to do the Bushwhackers strut IN PUBLIC.

(X) If you're looking to dance, always aim for the Brazilian girls.

(X) Thales Leites is Portuguese for "Worthless Piece Of Fuck".

Good times, good times. Crank up 'Tyler" by The Toadies and "Miss World" by Hole and I'll be seeing you at the next PPV.

Locking it up,

Your friendly neighborhood J. Swift.

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).