Thursday, February 28, 2019

Philly Opera House

Saturday night fights at the opera house does not sound right. Especially when you are speaking about North Philly. That is exactly what happened when Hard Hitting Promotions displayed their wares at “The Met” on north Broad Street. Considered at one time to be in disrepair, the former Metropolitan Opera House has been restored down to the final detail of its original luster. Any one of the estimated 3,700 fans who entered the venue for the first time were awestruck by the forty five million dollar refurbishing.

Partners Manny Rivera and Will Ruiz of Hard Hitting Promotions staged the event with house promoter Live Nation. Trying to deliver a quality slate, Hard Hitting matched their charges Samuel Teah and Jeremy Cuevas in with tough opposition. Both of them lost eight round decisions by wide margins. Each of these forays were for Pennsylvania State Titles.

The Main Event saw Steve Ortiz, 134.2, drop Jeremy Cueves, 134.1, twice on his way to earning a unanimous eight round decision. This all Philly encounter pitted two young men with similar undefeated records. Ortiz showed more poise out finessing his hometown adversary. Throughout the bout, Cuevas utilized a in your face steam engine piston firing style. Why for his biggest fight did Cuevas come out imitating Mean Gene the Dance Machine was baffling. This approach diminished Cuevas' chances and Ortiz took full advantage of this by picking his spots, and settling down and teeing off.

Cuevas is now 11-1 (8 Ko’s), while Ortiz stays undefeated at 10-0 (3 Ko’s). By picking up this win, Ortiz's career continues to prosper as his stock rises. Cuevas did suffer a small setback and after a win or two he will return to hot prospect status.

Squaring off for the Pennsylvania Super Lightweight Championship, Samuel Teah, 139.1, was nearly shutout by Tre’Sean Wiggins,140, over eight heats. It looked like Teah may have underestimated Wiggins for he did not have a answer for anything thrown at him. Teah slides to 15-3 (7 Ko’s). Wiggins' record stands at 11-4-2 (6 Ko’s). Being a road warrior for most of his career, Wiggins has been on the wrong side of a couple bad decisions, with a couple of those losses and draws should be w’s.

As usual Baltimore based welterweight Malik Hawkins, 144.9, looked good battling Gledwin Ortiz of Bronx, NY. Hawkins won an eight round unanimous decision over Ortiz, 146.3. Always trying to obtain victory, Ortiz pushed Hawkins the entire way. Due to Ortiz's effort, Hawkins was able to showcase his talented repertoire.

Hawkins remains undefeated at 14-0 (9 Ko’s). Power punching Ortiz left the ring possessing a slate of 6-3 (5 Ko’s). 

When speaking of hot prospects out of the City of Brotherly Love, and there is a lot of them, Branden Pizarro's, 138.8, name is one of the last to be mentioned. As a young bad ass out of North Philly, Pizzaro may achieve more success than his contemporaries. Physically more mature than he was two years ago when he made his pro debut while still in high school, Pizarro exploded on poor Zack Ramsey of Springfield, Mass. Poor Ramsey, 140.1, took a sound thrashing before succumbing at 1:50 of round one.

Charismatic, exciting, with crunching power and fast hands, Pizarro is a real “Kid Blast” lifting his record to 14-1 (7 Ko’s). Getting to spend a weekend in Philadelphia, Ramsey goes home with some cash while he licks his wounds owning an 8-6 (4 Ko’s) mark.

Organically growing Hard Hitting Promotions, using their own hands, Rivera and Ruiz are now reaping a bountiful harvest with an estimated gross gate of almost a quarter million dollars that evening. Not only have these two young men helped maintain the Philly fight scene, they have made it thrive. Hard Hitting brings boxing back to The Met on April 26th.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Branden Pizarro Post Fight Interview

By Luis A. Cortes III, Ringside

Check out my interview with Philadelphia super lightweight boxing prospect, Brandon Pizarro (14-1, 7 KOs) following his first round TKO victory over Zack Ramsey (8-6, 4 KOs) on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hard Hitting Promotions Presents Boxing on Broad: The Successful Return of Prizefighting to the Met

By Matt Ward, Ringside

Professional boxing made its highly successful return to the Metropolitan Opera House (The Met) in Philadelphia last night. For the first time since 1954, Hard Hitting Promotions brought a ten fight card to the beloved and historic venue on North Broad Street.

The main event pitted two Philadelphia fan-favorites against one another for the Pennsylvania State Lightweight Title. Steven Ortiz (10-0, 3 KOs) and Jeremy Cuevas (11-1, 8 KOs) did not just suit up for their first state title shot as professionals, the two gladiators also put their undefeated records on the line in front of a capacity crowd in North Philly.

Both men put their speed on display in the opening round, as they felt one another out during this round. Following this round, Cuevas returned to his corner with blood trickling out of his nose and mouth. Ortiz rocked Cuevas with a nice left hook that slowed Cuevas down in the second round. Ortiz sent Cuevas crashing to the canvas in the second round with a right hand to the body, followed by a left hook to the head. The two fighters exchanged big shots in the third round, which were at time punch-for-punch. The pace of the fight slowed in the fourth and fifth rounds as both men appeared to tire. 

In the sixth round, Cuevas got caught with a left hand to the jaw that reminded him he was still in a fight. Ortiz scored a second knockdown with a right hand to the side of Cuevas' head as time expired in the seventh round. In the eighth round, Cuevas, knowing he was behind on the cards, desperately tried to apply pressure on his opponent. Half way through the eighth round, Cuevas cracked Ortiz with a big left hand to the head. Unfortunately for Cuevas, that was too little, too late as he lost on all three judges scorecards by scores of 78-72, twice, and 79-71. 

Welterweights, Malik Hawkins (14-0, 9 KOs), Baltimore, and Gledwin Ortiz (6-3, 5 KOs), the Bronx, fought in an eight round contest. Both men engaged in a nice opening frame in which they exchanged big shots in the center of the ring. Hawkins utilized his strong defense and body work in the second round to effectively control the tempo of the round. The pro-Hawkins' crowd were on their feet in the third round as Hawkins put pressure on Ortiz by moving forward, and letting his hands go on his game opponent. During this offensive onslaught, Hawkins snapped Ortiz's head back with a straight right. Ortiz responded to this attack with a big combination of his own that caught the attention of Hawkins. 

The fourth round was a real crowd-pleaser, filled with outstanding action. Ortiz connected with a solid left-right hand combo during this round. Hawkins, not wanting to be outdone by the Bronx native, responded with a series of hard body shots that pushed Ortiz into the ropes. The tempo of the fifth and sixth rounds slowed down, understandably so, after what both men had gone through in earlier frames. Heated exchanges in the seventh round led to both men wrapping one another up. The intensity of the battle could not be contained by this clinch, as both men went crashing to the canvas. Ortiz landed a big right hand to the head that pushed Hawkins into the neutral corner. Ortiz followed up on this shot with several hard shots to the head and body. This abuse continued until Hawkins was able to squirm out of the neutral corner. Ortiz again snapped Hawkins' head back with a straight left in the final round. Hawkins landed a big left hook to Ortiz's jaw as time expired. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Malik Hawkins, 77-75, 78-74, and 79-73. 

Philadelphia's Samuel Teah (15-3-1, 7 KOs) fought Tre'Sean Wiggins (11-4-1, 6 KOs) in an eight round contest for the Pennsylvania State Super Lightweight Title. The first two rounds of the contest were evenly matched, until Teah's head was snapped back as the final bell in the second round rang. Wiggins put his foot on the gas in round three as he landed several nice right and left straights to Teah's head and body. The crowd became energized in the fifth round as both men exchanged big, clean shots. Wiggins snapped Teah's head back in the seventh with a hard left hand. Teah entered round eight a man down on the cards. He fought valiantly, looking for a knockout, but in the end lost by unanimous decision by scores of 78-74, 79-73, and 80-72. 

Philadelphia super lightweight boxing prospect, Brandon Pizarro (14-1, 7 KOs) continued his return to his winning ways last night as he stopped Springfield, Massachusetts's Zack Ramsey (8-6, 4 KOs) in the opening frame of a scheduled six round contest. Pizarro's sole career blemish was on December 1, 2017 against Christian Rivera at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Pizarro dropped Ramsey with a left to the body in the first round. Ramsey pulled himself up from the canvas only to be finished off by a Pizarro left uppercut. The end came at the 1:15 mark of the first round. 

Gadwin Rosa (10-0, 8 KOs) won his fourth straight victory in front of a Philadelphia crowd over Jorge Luis Santos (5-3-1, 2 KOs). Rosa, the NBA Intercontinental Super Featherweight Champion, controlled the opening round of the contest by repeatedly backing Santos into the ropes with straight right and left hands to the head and body. Santos, looking to catch Rosa with a knockout punch in the first, missed his mark on several big shots. Rosa dropped Santos with a left hook to the body in the second round. Santos recovered from the knockdown only to be be beaten down with viscous shots to the head and body. Referee Eric Dali saw enough of the massacre at the 1:28 mark of the second round of a scheduled six, and waived off the fight. 

Christian Tapia (8-0, 7 KOs) continued his winning ways against David Veras Pena (0-2-1). Despite punching upwards at his taller opponent for a bulk of the first round, Tapia, a Puerto Rican super featherweight, pummeled his opponent with hard lefts and rights to the head and body. In the second round, Tapia punished Pena with multi-punch combos, highlighted by consecutive straight right hands to the head. Referee David Franciosi saw enough of the beat down in the second round of four when he stopped the fight at the 1:28 mark. 

In an all Philadelphia light heavyweight contest, Benny "The Jewish Bulldog" Sinakin (3-0, 2 KOs) made quick work of his opponent Ronald Lawrence (0-4). Both men answered the bell swinging for the fences. Sinakin landed crushing right and left hooks to the head and body in the opening frame. The end came at the 2:42 mark of the first round when Sinakin brutally beat his opponent into the ropes with a right-left hand combo.

Female featherweights, Karen Dulin (3-16-1, 1 KO) and Tamar Israeli (2-0-1, 2 KOs) competed in a four round bout. Israeli struggled to land clean punches on her 43-year-old opponent throughout the contest. Israeli, who became more and more frustrated as the bout went on, looked sloppy against Dulin, and allowed her to dodge clubbing right and left hands throughout the contest. The judges scored the bout 39-37 for Israeli, and 38-38, twice, a majority draw.

Philadelphia bantamweight, Josue Rosa (1-0, 1 KO), making his professional debut, fought and defeated his win less opponent, Willie Anderson (0-4). Anderson, who had a clear height and reach advantage over his opponent, cracked Rosa with a straight right hand to the head that sent his opponent stumbling backwards in the first round. Rosa, despite appearing to be hurt, stayed on his feet. Despite winning the first round, and not appearing to be hurt by his inexperienced and unpolished opponent, Anderson quit on the stool after the first round of a scheduled four rounds.

Emanuel Rodriguez (4-0), Newark, NJ, defeated Jose Lopez (0-1-1), New York, by unanimous decision in a four round, bantamweight contest. The judges scored the bout 38-37, 39-37, and 39-36.

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Iron Boy 49 Recap

By Steve Ward, Ringside    

Iron Boy Promotions presented Iron Boy 49 from the storied Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, AZ this evening. The six fight card offered the capacity crowd in attendance a bevvy of young talent, local fan favorites, grizzled veterans, and a special treat not often witnessed on a professional card - two amateur fights that featured fighters from the Phoenix chapter of USA Boxing. 

The co-main event featured Fidel Hernandez (19-5-1, 10 KOs) as he did battle with Ulises Jimenez (23-23-1, 15 KOs). This fight marked “OG’s” 2019 debut after a very busy 2018 which saw him enter the squared circle four times with a grab bag of decisions as he finished the year 2-1-1, all decided by the judges. Fidel last stepped in the ring just four months ago as he fought Andrew Hernandez (a man eight years his junior who’s gone toe-to-toe with stout talent such as Caleb Plant and Jesse Hart) to a 10 round majority draw. Hernandez’s opponent tonight was Ulises Jimenez, a fighter who’s engaged in combat with top tier fighters such as Roberto Garcia and Samuel Vargas, who at only age 35 entered his 48th professional fight.

The main event pitted newly signed Top Rank boxer Francisco De Vaca in his last fight for Iron Boy Promotions against Ernesto Guerrero, a veteran of 55 professional bouts. The 24-year old De Vaca, also known as Panchito El Centenario, made his first appearance of 2019 after a flawless 2018. De Vaca’s last fight emanated from the Gila River Arena back in August on the undercard of the Ray Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza ESPN clash (one I was lucky enough to have a ringside seat for) as he earned an impressive unanimous decision victory over Jesus Serrano.

Amateur Fights

Mario Ruiz vs. Adrian Rodriguez
Three Rounds, Bantamweights
Decision: Adrian Rodriguez via UD

Both of these young men took full advantage of the opportunity to participate on a professional card as they came out ready to put on a show. Rodriguez was able to work around the jab of Ruiz, who had a substantial reach advantage, to do some nice inside work as he landed some crisp uppercuts. Rounds two and three saw Rodriguez start to walk down Ruiz as he began to take control of the fight with some very effective feints that kept Ruiz on his heels in conjunction with some additional well placed uppercuts. The judges were all in accordance as Rodriguez took the bout via unanimous decision.

Jacob Girardot vs. Thomas Valerio
Three Rounds, Featherweights
Decision: Thomas Valerio via SD

In the second, and final, amateur bout of the evening, both young men displayed unwavering tenacity as they stood toe-to-toe and gave 100% effort for three rounds. Girardot displayed excellent head movement and a solid left hook whereas Valerio, much like Mario Ruiz, was able to overcome his reach “disadvantage” to move inside and score what turned out to be significant points. I personally felt Girardot had done enough to win the fight by a narrow margin, however, two of the judges saw it differently as Valerio earned the split decision.

Professional Fights

Jose Castanon (0-1-0) vs. Eduardo Ayala (4-0-0, 1 KO)
Four Rounds, Light Heavyweights (175 lbs)
Decision: Eduardo Ayala via UD (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)

The first bout of the professional portion of the card pitted a pair of Phoenix natives against each other as the debuting Jose Castanon squared off with Eduardo Ayala. Round one saw Ayala come out and press the action as he landed some solid body shots, while Castanon looked primed to go but was a bit gun-shy which could have been attributed to first pro fight jitters. In round two, Castanon begin to establish an effective jab that was able to draw blood from the mouth of Ayala, however, Ayala answered with several vicious combos highlighted by some powerful body shots. Round three saw Ayala slow down a bit but Castanon was unable to capitalize as he still allowed himself to be walked down and thus opened himself up to some additional punishment and the development of a prominent mouse under his right eye. In the fourth and final round, Castanon came out reinvigorated and let his hands go while he continued to utilize an effective jab, however, it was too little too late for a four round contest. The judges viewed this bout unanimously as a clean sweep for Ayala.

Tim Ruiz (1-2-0, 1 KO) vs. Trini Ochoa (5-0-0, 2 KOs)
Four Rounds, Junior Welterweights (141 lbs)
Decision: Trini Ochoa via TKO in round 3

Tim “The Toolman” Ruiz attempted to overwhelm Ochoa with a dose of reckless abandon in the opening round, however, Ochoa displayed great patience and landed a right hook to Ruiz’s ear that dropped him to his knees. Ochoa came out in round two and delivered much of the same as he continued his tactically sound onslaught. Ochoa’s well placed right hooks and straight rights bloodied the mouth of Ruiz, ejecting his mouthpiece in the process. In round three, just seconds after Ochoa reintroduced Ruiz to the canvas, his continued assault led Ruiz to take a knee leading to an impressive victory for the Mesa, AZ native.

Ulises Jimenez (23-24-1, 15 KOs) vs. Fidel Hernandez (20-5-1, 11 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Super Middleweights (168 lbs)
Decision: Fidel Hernandez via TKO in round 3

In the co-main event of the evening, Fidel “OG” Hernandez immediately brought the hometown crowd to their feet as he made his way to the ring donning his sunglasses to the classic War song “Lowrider.” From the opening bell, Jimenez did not exude the body language of a man that wanted any part of this fight as “OG” Hernandez continued to walk him down and cut off the ring leaving him on his heels. Round two delivered much of the same as Jimenez continued to play keep away, a tactic that almost backfired as he caught a right hook on the chin that he was lucky to absorb. Jimenez entered round three like he was a different fighter as he attempted to mount some offense, unfortunately for him, it exposed a window of opportunity for Hernandez to walk him into the corner. OG was able to brutalize Jimenez with body shots that drove Jimenez to his knees leading the referee to call a stop to the action.

Ernesto Guerrero (30-26-0, 20 KOs) vs. Francisco C. DeVaca (20-0-0, 6 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Featherweights
Decision: Francisco De Vaca via UD (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)

Round one was an extended feeling out process for the two pugilists as De Vaca walked down Guerrero repeatedly and stayed busy enough to seemingly have taken the round. Round two saw an uptick in the action as De Vaca quickly landed a stiff, straight right that propelled Guerrero into the ropes with such velocity that I thought he was going to land in the judge at ringside’s lap. Rounds three through eight saw Guerrero enter survival mode as he seemed more interested in wrapping up De Vaca than attempting to inflict any kind of punishment. De Vaca on the other hand demonstrated a proficient jab and when he was able to engage Guerrero, he landed body shots with sniper-like precision. The fight overall was rather frustrating for the fans in attendance as De Vaca literally begged Guerrero to engage him to little avail. In the end, it was no shocker that all three judges agreed that De Vaca pitched a shutout as he was awarded the unanimous decision.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Philly Dynamite

By Frank Bartolini

Lighting the fuse to what will be a dynamite schedule of fights in Philly over the next couple of months, Michele Rosado’s Raging Babe Promotions sold out the 2300 Arena early in February. This was Raging Babe's first promotion in Philadelphia. Working tirelessly in the weeks prior, Rosado was able to deliver a good undercard regardless of the Sonny Conto pro debut debacle and the travesty of hometown heavyweight Darmani Rock’s conditioning. The Main Event made it a night to remember when “Can't Miss” prospect Christian Carto was starched by faded Mexican has been Victor Ruiz. Via social media, Rosado stated she had a paid attendance of 1,433 patrons. That figure tallies to approximately $100,000 in gate receipts. A respectable take for the nubile promoter in The City of Brotherly Love.

After refurbishing The Metropolitan Opera and rechristening it as “The Met,” the new owners are committed to a active entertainment schedule. Hard Hitting Promotions host the first professional prize fights at the venue in many years. Featured in the main event, Steve Ortiz squares off against Jeremy Cuevas in a all Philly showdown. These two undefeated battlers will be contesting for the Pennsylvania Lightweight Championship over eight rounds. Most certainly, this heated matchup will combust. Another fight worth mentioning is Samuel Teah of Philly pitted against Tre’sean Wiggins. Pennsylvania Super Lightweight belt will be on the line when Teah and Wiggins trade blows in a scheduled eight. Also, very talented undefeated welterweight Mailk Hawkins of Baltimore, Maryland is slated for eight rounds verses Gledwin Ortiz. The Met is located on North Broad Street and the doors open at 5:30 pm on Saturday night February 23rd.

On Friday, March 1st, two different venues just miles apart will hold a evening of professional pugilism. In South Philly at the 2300 Arena, Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions will deliver a nine bout night of fights. Pennsylvania State Super Welterweight laurels are on the line when two seasoned veterans and Philly natives Tyrone Brunson and Jamaal Davis brawl. This donnybrook will be produce mayhem. The first fight starts at 7 pm.

Just outside of the city limits, Joe Hand Promotions' Xcite Fight Night III takes place at the Parx Casino in Bensalem PA. BAM Promotions is working with Hand, and J. Russell Peltz is doing the matchmaking. Two of Philadelphia’s most beloved boxers Garrett Wilson and Jerome Conquest will combat in separate affairs. Heavyweight Wilson takes on Brian Howard over eight heats. Jerome is set to eight sessions against Vinnie Denierio in the lightweight division.

It is a “Smokin” three weeks of action the city... Consider this with Raging Babes receipts already recorded, and there is no doubt these other three events will be held in front of crowds of over one thousand fanatics. That adds up to close to a half a million dollars in gate receipts. No other municipality in America can put up those digits, and it proves Philadelphia is the ultimate club fight scene in the country.

To be continued... Next up, global promoters Matchroom and Top Rank bring world championship boxing into town from one end to another.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Iron Boy 49 Preview

By Steve Ward

Pugilistic mayhem returns this Saturday evening to the historic Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, AZ as Iron Boy Promotions presents Iron Boy 49!

The Celebrity Theater should be packed to the rafters as fight fans are drawn to this venue because of the intimate setting that offers an impeccable view from any seat, not to mention if you’re fortunate enough to be down at ringside, there is a distinct possibility that a well-placed left hook could land a fighter’s mouthpiece in your lap. Iron Boy Promotions, known for offering fight cards packed with a healthy array of up and coming prospects, local fan favorites, and grizzled veterans, is ready to deliver again this weekend.

The main event will feature Fidel Hernandez (19-5-1, 10 KOs) as he does battle with Ulises Jimenez (23-23-1, 15 KOs). The 41-year old Hernandez should find himself with a significant level of fanfare being a resident of Phoenix. This fight will mark “OG’s” 2019 debut after a very busy 2018 saw him enter the squared circle four times with a grab bag of decisions as he finished the year 2-1-1, all decided by the judges. Fidel last stepped in the ring just four months ago as he fought Andrew Hernandez (a man eight years his junior who’s gone toe-to-toe with stout talent such as Caleb Plant and Jesse Hart) to a 10 round majority draw. Hernandez’s opponent, Ulises Jimenez, should pose an interesting challenge. On the surface, one may say, “This guy has a .500 record, he’s won 23 fights, with 15 by KO, but also lost 23 fights and ironically has been KO’d 15 times as well, and he’s won only two of his last ten fights.”

This is a compelling argument for a casual fight fan to discount Jimenez in this bout. A more critical evaluation of “El Cerillo,” however, will show that he’s engaged in combat with top tier fighters such as Roberto Garcia and Samuel Vargas, and there’s something to be said about the fortitude of a 35-year-old who’s entering his 48th professional fight.

The co-feature will pit Francisco De Vaca (19-0-0, 6 Kos), who recently signed with Top Rank, against Ernesto Guerrero (30-25-0, 20 KOs). The 24-year old De Vaca, also known as Panchito El Centenario, is an exciting young prospect from Phoenix making his first appearance of 2019 after a flawless 2018. De Vaca’s last fight emanated from the Gila River Arena back in August on the undercard of the Ray Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza ESPN clash (one I was lucky enough to have a ringside seat for) as he earned an impressive unanimous decision victory over Jesus Serrano.

De Vaca’s opponent, Ernesto Guerrero, brings a wealth of experience beyond his years as he enters his 56th bout at only 30 years of age. Guerrero virtually lived in the ring last year as he fought an astonishing six times breaking even with a 3-3 record. Guerrero’s most recent appearance saw him drop a unanimous decision to Javier Padilla back in December. One other interesting note about this fight is it’s actually a rematch. These two men squared off in July 2014 when De Vaca was only 19, a fight De Vaca took on the cards unanimously.

If you find yourself in the Phoenix area this Saturday, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you miss this card. Tickets are still available for what should be an exciting evening of boxing at and start at just $30!

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Monday, February 18, 2019

TOP 10 LIST GREATEST HOLIDAY FILMS OF ALL TIME (Just in time for Presidents Day...)

By Justin Dohnson, The People's Red Head

Finally! The real People’s Red Head has come back to The Weigh-In!

This shit is coming to you live from somewhere deep within the Finger Lakes. Following the holidays, we felt we needed a Top 10 List of our favorite holiday movies of all time. Further, now that the holidays are being missed by all of us, we thought this would remind you all of the good times.

As you read this, I want to welcome you all to weigh in on your favorites. It’s now time for another TOP 10!

10. The Grinch (it’s classic and Boris Karloff kicks ass out loud)

9. The Christmas Chronicles (Kurt Russell is my shit)

8. Home Alone (This one could be replaced by Christmas Story but that is so over played now)

7. Elf (Classis Will)

6. Fred Clause (Vince in his element)

5. Why Him? (This one is recent but fucking hilarious)

4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Hand is between 2 pillows)

3. Just Friends (Slapping the ham)

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Was my # 1 for years until Fubar came out)

1. Fubar Balls to the Wall (No one knows this one, watch it people—2 Canadians being Canadian—awesome flick)

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

WWE Elimination Chamber 2019 Recap

By Steve Ward

WWE Elimination Chamber emanated from The Toyota Center in Houston, TX this evening. The card featured six matches with five titles defended. Two of the bouts were contested in the awe-inspiring Elimination Chamber structure with one most notably to crown the first ever Women’s Tag Team Champions. On a personal note, I will say that I found this to be one of WWE’s most entertaining “non big four” pay-per-views in quite some time - could it be because they are starting to feel the pressure from AEW or is it simply because we are on the Road to Wrestlemania? Only time will tell. Nonetheless, I’ve always held a soft spot for the Elimination Chamber ever since I was in attendance at The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, for it’s inception at the 2002 Survivor Series. This match saw the final two competitors come down to Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a classic contest. Without further ado, here are the results from this evening.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Carmella & Naomi vs. Riott Squad - Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan vs. The Iiconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) vs. Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley
Winners: Sasha Banks & Bayley via submission

The first bout contested in the ominous Elimination Chamber this evening was to crown the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Deville and Rose kicked off the match against Banks and Bayley as the remaining four teams were locked in their respective pods. Jax and Tamina entered the ring shortly after the Iiconics scored the first pinfall of the bout on Naomi. The imposing tandem, who remind me of the female version of the Faces of Fear (Barbarian and Meng), quickly laid waste to all of the competitors except for the Iiconics who attempted to take shelter in a pod.

Their seemingly clever tactics didn’t last long as Jax and Tamina broke open the pod and flung them back and forth against the chamber wall like they were rag dolls. They then proceeded to simultaneously deliver Samoan drops to the Iiconics for the pinfall. The next elimination came after Tamina delivered the top rope splash made famous by her father Jimmy Snuka onto both members of the Riott Squad to secure another pinfall elimination. After Jax missed a spear on Bayley, she went through one of the pods in the corner leaving Tamina susceptible. This proved to be the turning point of the bout as the other two remaining teams proceeded to beat down Tamina.

 Bayley capped off the assault as she delivered a nearly flawless elbow drop and all four women then piled on top of Tamina for the pinfall. The matched reached it’s conclusion as Sasha Banks locked Sonya Deville in the Bank Statement to claim the submission victory and solidified Bayley and herself in the annals of sports entertainment history as the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Shane McMahon & The Miz (c) vs. The Usos
Winners: The Usos via pinfall

After winning the titles from The Bar at the Royal Rumble, Shane-o-Mac and The Miz made their first title defense this evening against the new number one contenders, The Usos. It was quite evident from the get-go that the champs had put in some serious work as they functioned as a cohesive unit. Shane McMahon delivered a Coast to Coast and an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle to the announce table at ringside and The Miz connected with the Skullcrushing Finale but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. After The Miz executed his patented finisher, his pinfall attempt was reversed and in a shocking turn of events, the Usos are new tag team champions!

WWE Intercontinental Championship 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Bobby Lashley (c) & Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall

The odds were seemingly stacked against the leader of the Balor Club as he was forced to fight both Lashley and his hype man Lio Rush. Lashley had this match in hand and appeared to sizing up Balor for a spear when Rush reached over to tag himself in. This was the window of opportunity Balor needed as he ran roughshod over Rush and sealed his victory with the Coup de Grace to become the new Intercontinental Champion.

RAW Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Ruby Riott
Winner: Ronda Rousey via submission

This was a statement match for Rousey as her Wrestlemania opponent (as it currently stands) Charlotte Flair sat at ringside. Riott attempted to play games with Rousey as she continued to duck out of the ring. When she finally did engage Rousey, Ronda hoisted her up for the Piper’s Pit and transitioned it into her signature armbar submission for the quick tap out.

As Flair and Rousey stood face to face in the ring after the match, “The Man” Becky Lynch made her way through the crowd on a pair of crutches and entered the ring. First, The Man obliterated Flair with one of her crutches leaving her in a pile of mutilated flesh. Then after Rousey took a crutch and appeared as if she was going to join the party and continue the assault on Charlotte, Becky took out The Baddest Woman on the Planet with her crutch as well. We’ll see if this will have any bearing on the Wrestlemania Main Event since Becky was removed by Mr. McMahon and subsequently suspended for 60 days earlier in the week. If I was a betting man, I’d say we’re about to have a triple threat match on our hands for Wrestlemania.

No Disqualification Match
Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Baron Corbin

Strowman for the most part dominated Corbin up to the point where he drove him through a table with a running power slam. Just then Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley hit the ring and assaulted The Monster Among Men with a pair of steel chairs. The carnage finally reached it’s climax as the trio stacked two tables on top of each other, then with Lashley standing on a ring step positioned next to them, Corbin and McIntyre hoisted Strowman onto Lashley’s shoulders and the three power bombed him through the tables. At this point, Corbin was able to easily win the match via pinfall.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan (c)
Winner: Daniel Bryan

The first two combatants to participate in the visceral chamber were Daniel Bryan and “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe. After these two exchanged several strikes and chops that left Daniel Bryan’s chest looking like ground beef, the next competitor to join the fray was Kofi Kingston who was coming off a taxing performance Tuesday night in a grueling gauntlet match.

Still with no eliminations, only three weary sports entertainers stood in the ring, A.J. Styles entered the match. As Samoa Joe and Kingston were exchanging blows in the center of the ring, The Phenomenal One propelled himself into the ring with a Phenomenal Forearm to the skull of Samoa Joe. Styles quickly pinned Joe for the first elimination of the match. Shortly after Joe’s elimination, Jeff Hardy entered the match and went right after Styles. After Hardy delivered an awe inspiring Swanton Bomb from the top of one of the pods onto Styles who was laid out across the top ropes, Bryan wasted no time delivering a running knee to Hardy that allowed him to steal a pinfall for the second elimination of the match. 

The last man to be released from his temporary confinement was “The Viper” Randy Orton who earned this position with a victory in Tuesday night’s gauntlet match. As Styles attempted a Phenomenal Forearm from the top rope with Kingston in his sights, Orton executed an RKO Outta Nowhere to pin Styles. As Orton appeared to be in control of the match, Kingston hit Orton with the Trouble In Paradise to shockingly eliminate him.

The conclusion of the match saw Bryan and Kingston jockeying for position on top of one of the pods. It appeared that Kingston was in a prime spot to win his first WWE Heavyweight Championship as he kicked Bryan down into the ring. Kingston went for broke as he attempted a splash from the top of the pod but nobody was home as Bryan rolled out of the way. Bryan quickly recovered to hit the running knee to earn the pinfall victory and successfully retain his title.

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