Kings Reign Supreme?

July 31st, 2011

The rumours have been doing the rounds for a few weeks now, and it seems that it is just a matter of time before they become a reality. Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, (AKA: The Kings of Wrestling) are WWE bound. The latest information on this story is that both men will bypass development and be promoted to the main roster. Needless to say, we here at The Boston Crab are huge supporters of both men and have been saying for quite some time now that they should be brought into the big leagues. But how will both men be brought up? Will they come together as a team or will they be both on separate tracks? We believe that these two could lead the way for a revival of the tag team scene in the WWE, but it will take a lot of work.

Fans and critics have been speaking for years about the problems associated with the tag team division in the WWE, the number one complaint being that there really isn’t a tag team division at all. Over the past few years, the WWE Tag Team Titles have been used as more of a story line prop rather than showcasing tag-team wrestling. How many times have we seen two wrestlers who have been feuding end up winning the tag titles just to make people go “Oh but they are enemies that have to co-exist”?  Tag teams lately have been just random pairings of guys on the undercard who creative seem to have nothing for. It’s almost like someone from creative put random wrestler’s names on a dart board and threw darts at them to create teams and hoping for the best. Other times the tag team that wins the belt are just forgotten about or have no other tag team to battle against.

The WWE has had glitters of hope though. Every once in awhile they strike gold, such as John Morrison and The Miz. But the problem is that the WWE puts all their focus on one tag-team and makes it impossible for you to believe another team can beat them. So with The Kings of Wrestling making their debuts in the WWE by October at the latest according to latest reports, how can the team bring about a new age of tag-team wrestling in the WWE?

The WWE needs to start having solid tag teams that actually look like a team, such as The Usos. Give them similar trunks and gimmicks and you are on to the right track. There are plenty of guys on the roster who this can work with and other guys who are already paired together that just need to give slight changes to their image and it’s the easy part of the jobs done. A roster of The Kings of Wrestling, The Usos, Slater and Gabriel, McGillicutty and Harris, Rhodes and Dibiase, Hawkins and Ryder would make a great start to the division.

The most important thing for the WWE to do to ensure that their tag team division returns to its glory days is another simple one, but one that they keep messing up is this: keep your main event single wrestlers away from the tag team division. There is nothing worse for the image of a tag team than having John Cena or Randy Orton destroying them alone and without breaking a sweat. It makes those teams look incredibly weak and does nothing for the division. Gabe Sapolsky always believed that tag titles should always be made to look like an equal to a world title, as it is the only title that can be made look incredibly strong without taking away from the world title since they are in completely separate divisions and showcase a different style of wrestling.

If the WWE follows these then we could be looking at a new age for tag team wrestling. If they followed this with signing other successful tag teams on the independent scene such as The Briscoe Brothers, The American Wolves or The Young Bucks then we could once again see exciting tag team wrestling on our TV screens once again.

Seán Reid

Remembering The Macho Man

May 29th, 2011

On May 20th, we lost one of the most influential wrestlers the world has ever seen. “The Macho Man” Randy Savage passed away after a tragic car accident in Florida, were he was rumoured to suffer a heart attack before colliding head on with a tree. His wife Lynn was also in the car but only suffered minor injuries. At the time of writing, toxicology reports have been ordered and we are awaiting the results.

Randy’s death has united the wrestling world, as companies both at home and abroad have begun to show their respect for one of the very best men to climb into the ring. Dublin Championship Wrestling recently had a ten bell salute to pay tribute to someone that touched each member of the roster in a different way. But why was Randy Savage such a poplar character and what made him stand out and be years ahead of his time?

Randy brought about a rare mixture of pure athletic skill and unparalleled show-man ship. Before he entered the ring, his entrance music of Pomp & Circumstance set the tone perfectly for him. Savage would enter with brightly coloured attire, with tassels hanging off from every possible spot, a large cowboy hat decorated with an over the top bandana and his large sunglasses and play up to everyone in the ring. He may have begun life as a cocky heel, but these antics made it impossible for the fans to boo him. And that level of respect was before he even opened his mouth or stepped into the ring.

Randy was a fine technical wrestler, but knew how to apply great complex moves without boring the crowd. He could make you care about every single move he did in the ring, which was a rarity for a technically gifted athlete. Before his time, there were two types of wrestlers; those who could make you care about their every word but wouldn’t not performing anything technically amazing and those who would performing dazzling moves but lack the ability to make the fans care about them. Savage was part of a very small, elite group that could combine the two without loosing any footing.

To pick a single highlight from Randy’s career is a very difficult task, because there are just so many. In the ring, he has been involved in some classic contests. He brought a very limited Ultimate Warrior to the best match of his career at Wrestlemania VII and somehow managed to hide all the failings of the overrated Warrior, wrestled a classic with his in ring equal Ric Flair at Wrestlemania VIII which saw Macho Man lift his second WWE Title in a match that was originally supposed to feature Hogan taking on Flair. But there at three moments which will truly stand the test of time in professional wrestling.

Macho Man’s first WWE title win was one of the most emotional in the history of the WWE. Randy was part of a 14 man tournament at Wrestlemania IV to crown a new champion that featured the very best the company had to offer. Savage had a hard time progressing to the finals, having to go through Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and The One Man Gang (Who lost via DQ after his manager Slick began to beat Savage with his cane) before facing Ted Dibiase who had received a buy to the finals and was a lot more fresh than the Macho Man. Randy was clearly exhausted but he someone manager to beat the odds and pin The Million Dollar Man to a huge reception from the crowd. The image of Randy hosting the love of his life and manager Miss Elizabeth onto his shoulders while holding the title is one of the greatest pictures in the history of the WWE.

But a year before, a heel Randy Savage entered Wrestlemania III as the Intercontinental Champion to face up against one of the worlds greatest babyfaces Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in a match that is widely accepted as one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, if not the greatest. The two men had a technically classic that featured reversal after reversal but also told a brilliant story of a man who has desperate to do anything to hold onto his title and a man who wanted revenge for the devastating injury that he suffered from the champion. Both men scripted the match down to a very fine detail before hand in a way that seemed unnatural as most wrestlers would call a lot of their match on the fly. But with both wrestlers sticking to a very tight script that they both worked on, it ensured that they stole the show from the highly publicised main event between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant from what is considered one of the greatest Wrestlemania line ups of all time.

The final moment that will stand the test of time has nothing to do with wrestling, but still takes place within the ring and that has been imitated several times over but has never been topped; the in-ring wedding of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. It is something that wrestling fans, on paper, shouldn’t enjoy so much. But seeing Macho Man coming out in his all white ring gear, the ring becoming a stunning alter and the beautiful Miss Elizabeth coming out to the ring in her dress, it proved that wrestling is about more than just the in-ring talent. We as fans love and buy into the characters. We support them, watch them grow before our eyes and become invested in every part of their lives. The wedding made us all realise that a great wrestler doesn’t just leave us amazed at their in ring skill. They make us believe again, and that’s what Randy Savage did better than anyone before him, and ensures that his influence can be seen on any wrestler in the ring.

Thank you Randy for everything you have done. Rest in peace.

Seán Reid

Train With The Best in The World…

March 9th, 2011

Anyone who visits The Boston Crab or listens to our Podcasts knows that we rate our own Fergal Devitt as being one of the best wrestlers in the world at the moment, if not the best. It seems that everything he touches he can turn to gold and already has put on a handful of amazing contests this year and it’s only March! The former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion is doing his country proud, but with recent news from Fight Factory Pro Wrestling it’s clear that he hasn’t forgotten about us.

Fergal will be returning to our shores on April 2nd and 3rd for a weekend training seminar with FFPW. This is a huge opportunity for anyone interested in becoming a pro wrestler or for those already in the game that want to learn how to become even better. Usually these high profile sessions can cost an arm and a leg, making them tough for you and I to attend. However the whole weekend will cost an unbelievable €35, a shockingly low price!

Sessions run from 12-6 each day, and FFPW are willing to let people stay overnight in their gym. And for those of you who are newcomers to wrestling, there will be a special class with FFPW trainers on the Saturday for you from 12-2, so you’ll have the basics before joining the training with Fergal. There will also be a show from 6pm on the Sunday in the gym, and some of the weekends lucky trainees that impress will be asked to perform. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in wrestling, and a foolish one to turn your nose to.

The Boston Crab will be there to take a bump or two, we hope to see you there too! For more information about the weekend and for securing your spot with a €10 deposit, email INFO@FIGHTFACTORYPROWRESTLING.COM. Places are limited so contact them now!

Seán Reid

Wrestlemania XXVII: Youth vs. Experience

March 8th, 2011

Wrestlemania season is here once more, and with only a few short weeks left till the supposed “Grand-daddy of them all”, the developing card has come under a lot of scrutiny. Most notably, WWE has had to try and strike a balance between displaying sheer star power through big names and raising some of the younger wrestlers into important roles. This can easily be seen when we take a look at the main events which are going to be put on display.

Both the main championship matches (as they stand at time of writing) are going to pit a relative veteran of the current product against a newly ascended superstar. On the red brand, we will be getting John Cena going against The Miz for the WWE title and on the blue, we will see Edge facing Alberto Del Rio. This could perhaps be seen as proof that WWE has taken on board one of the biggest criticisms lobbied against it in recent times; that they no longer have the ability to truly create new top tier superstars. Here, we’ve got not one but two matches at the top of the most important card of the year with two relative newcomers to the title scene. And yet, how the show comes across on paper and how it actually is in reality paint two very different pictures.

Starting with Smackdown, we have Edge, who has been with the company for twelve years. He will be going against Alberto Del Rio who has only been wrestling on WWE television for nine months. Big difference. Del Rio’s rise has been meteoric, debuting with a lot of hype, a strong showing against big-names like Rey Mysterio, being given the rub in the Royal Rumble and wrestling on both Raw and Smackdown in recent weeks. It is obvious someone likes Del Rio, be it due to his charisma or his drawing power in Latin quarters.

And yet, he’s not really being given the chance to help carry the headline Smackdown feud. We are not getting a straight forward story detailing the conflict between Edge and Del Rio. Instead, Edge has been busy dealing with the firings and hiring of Vickie, Dolph Ziggler, Kelly Kelly, Drew McIntyre and Teddy Long, while Del Rio has had the threat of Christian looming over head. Yes, there have been confrontations between Del Rio and Edge but these have not really be the focus of the show in the way a headline Mania match should probably be. It could be argued that although Del Rio was given the chance to prove himself with his Rumble win, the powers-that-be don’t have enough faith in him to participate in a straight forward one on one storyline. Rather, we are presented with constant distractions and obstacles which separate the two as it appears both wrestlers are more interested in other problems and are only really fighting each other because it’s expected of them.

Whatever excuses can be made for the Smackdown brand, over on Raw, things are worse. It goes without saying that Miz’s title reign thus far has been something of a rollercoaster. While he has enjoyed strong showings in impressive matches against Daniel Bryan and John Morrison, he has struggled to beat a man twice his age in Jerry Lawler, and has yet to be given a real chance to prove himself with a win over Orton or Cena. It’s quite clear that the two top babyfaces of the company are set on a level well above all other prospect main eventers; no one is allowed to get an advantage over either for long. Easy examples for Cena include Miz, Nexus and Sheamus. All feuded with him and were meant to be serious threats. Yet none ever really got the upper hand on him. Even when Cena was forced to work for Nexus, he was shown to be fully in control of his own actions, and one does not even need to bring up the fiasco that was his “firing”…

The problem then lies in the fact that there is no one who really believes that The Miz can beat John Cena, especially with the “firing” of Alex Riley last week on Raw. The Miz has not been built up as someone capable of getting a win over John Cena in a fair fight. The Miz has not been built as someone who can beat a 61 year old commentator who wrestles three times a year in a fair fight. Meanwhile, John Cena has been portrayed as someone who can easily dispatch five men at once should he feel like it. Amazingly, The Miz, the heel of the story, is going into the match as the underdog, the champion in peril with the odds stacked against him!

And to top it all off, The Miz verses John Cena is not even the real story despite being the headline match for the “A-Show”. That privilege belongs to John Cena and The Rock. Now, I should state that I love The Rock. I marked like a little baby when he returned, I sang the catchphrases from my sofa and I laughed merrily when he admonished Michael Cole.  But it does not seem likely that The Rock will stick around past Wrestlemania, and it certainly does not look like he will engage in another wrestling contest. In other words, there is not going to be a solid pay-off for the war of words being waged between the two. As such, The Miz, the top champion in the business today, is playing second fiddle to a storyline which has no possible climatic conclusion. Yeah, Miz is main-eventing Wrestlemania, and that deserves admiration based on how far he’s come in recent times. But once again, the youthful superstar is not being given a chance to show he can hang in the upper echelons of WWE.

It may appear as if WWE has taken a leap forward in terms of booking and creating new superstars. But this is all for nought if when push comes to shove, you shove them aside to push established stars with only a short shelf-life left. The placement of fresh faces in the main events is for lip-service only, plain and simple.

David Dunne

FFPW joins UEWA

March 1st, 2011

Irish based group Fight Factory Pro Wrestling has long been considered the breeding ground for some of the best talent to come out of this country. Just a quick glance at our Irish Top 30 supports this, with the vast majority of the top 10 either been trained in FFPW or have spent time with the group. Now FFPW has added even more strength to its name by becoming the first Irish wrestling group to join the Union of European Wrestling Alliances.

The UEWA is a Europe Wrestling Union, holding ten different  groups under it banner from nine different European countries. This move allows FFPW wrestlers easier access to showcase their skills abroad, as they now will have strong connections with some of the best wrestling groups in Europe. This is a huge opportunity for our local talent to showcase why we are building a reputation at turning out some of the best wrestlers globally, not just Europe.

Other groups which feature in the UEWA are:

- Association Biterroise De Catch (France)
- All Star Wrestling (England)
- Catch Wrestling Norddeutschland (Germany)
- Danish Pro Wrestling (Denmark)
- Fight Factory Pro Wrestling (Rep. Ireland)
- Italian Championship Wrestling (Italy)
- Norge Wrestling Foresund (Norway)
- Premier Bristish Wrestling (Scotland)
- Shooting Star Wrestling (England)
- Welsh Wrestling (Wales)

But with this comes another opportunity, as the UEWA also boasts The European Heavyweight Championship. This title is recognised by each member promotion as being the elite title in Europe, and for a wrestler to hold this belt is a huge honor. Now FFPW looks to send its best to Europe to try bring the belt to were it truly belongs.
The move also means that FFPW  have guaranteed  a spot in the 1st ever 8-man UEWA Cruiserweight Championship Tournament in Oslo on the 21st of May 2011 for one Irish wrestler. In response they will be holding a show on the 26th of march in their gym where theywill have a qualification match to see who will represent FFPW & Ireland in the tournament.

FFPW are having an open invitation to all trained wrestlers in Ireland that wish to be considered/complete for the spot in Oslo. Just E-mail info@fightfactoryprowrestling.com. All participants must be under 95kg/210 lbs.

Seán Reid

A message from Seán

March 1st, 2011

Hi all, and thank you for checking out The Boston Crab. We have been a bit quiet for the last two months, but we getting back into the swing of things full force and are ready to make this website as great as it can be.

We are bringing more writers on board (two of which have already have pieces below this post that I recommend checking out) making our content is more fresh and up-to-date, ensuring that when you visit the website each day there will be something new for you. We also have been looking at the Podcast and are just about ready to bring the first episode of 2011 to air.

I also wanted to comment on the Irish wrestling scene. Ireland is a hot bed for wrestling talent, and I know this may be biased but I firmly believe that we have some of the finest wrestlers in Europe. We have one Irish man flying the flag for his country on Raw every week, and another in Japan who is currently rated as being one of the best junior heavyweights in the globe, if not the best. At home the talent is top class, and we recognise this. Therefore we are making a promise to every Irish company and every Irish wrestler that we will increase the coverage the Irish scene gets on this website. Our last few pieces were testing the waters to see if people would read something about Ireland, and the numbers are loud and clear: people are starting to wake up to what we have at home.

So to every promoter or wrestler, email us, let us know what we can do for you, and we will help. I know I have spoken to some of you in the past and you haven’t been forgotten. Today is the first step towards making the scene as big as it can be and deserves to be.

So thank you once again for checking our website out, and please support Irish wrestling.

Seán

An Introduction to Puro

March 1st, 2011

We here at The Boston Crab will be kicking off our coverage of Japanese professional wrestling with an overview of the art form and the differences that can be found in the way it is presented in Japan. This will be for the benefit of fans unfamiliar with the Japanese wrestling product and might be interested in starting to follow it.

To begin with, the Japanese term for pro wrestling is Puroresu (プロレス). How do you pronounce it you ask? Simply take the first syllable of the word “professional” and combine it with the first syllable of the word “wrestling” to get a word which phonetically sounds like “pro-wres.” Easy!

For all intents and purposes, Puroresu is a sport. Weight classes hold far more importance than in Western pro wrestling, and traditional Puroresu promotions use both heavyweight and junior heavyweight divisions. The vast majority of matches end with a clean finish, and though there may be storylines and gimmicks, they are no substitute for the impression that a wrestler makes in the ring, bell to bell. You’ll also see coverage of events in the major Japanese newspapers. Can you imagine the results of a WWE or TNA pay-per-view being printed in the Irish Times? That happens regularly in Japan.

The WWE’s format is to broadcast weekly television that promotes monthly pay-per-view. This is not a widely used format in Puroresu. The exception is Dragon Gate, which has a TV show called Infinity that builds towards pay-per-views which air irregularly throughout the year. The only other company that makes use of pay-per-view is New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

Currently, NJPW is the only company with a major TV deal that reaches a large audience. For other companies, syndicated television is widely used to broadcast events.

The Puroresu format is to embark on a tour that lasts for approximately two weeks, with a show being held almost every day. The last show of each tour is held in a major venue and has a major card to go with it. The tour is followed by a brief period of rest, and then the company will hit the road again.

A cultural difference can be seen in the way fans react to the matches. Ring of Honor fans might find them subdued, but the quiet attentiveness of the crowds is their way of showing respect to the wrestlers and the story they are telling in the ring. When a match reaches a climax, any good crowd will come alive for it, and it can make the pinnacle of a match that much better.

The Puroresu promotions that attract a mainstream audience are:

  • New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJP)
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH
  • Dragon Gate

Pro Wrestling Zero1 is seen as the threshold between mainstream and independent. They can be best described as the largest independent promotion in Japan, similar to how Ring of Honor is the largest independent promotion in the United States. Below Zero1 you have a number of other well known independent promotions including:

  • Big Japan Pro Wrestling (BJW)
  • Dramatic Dream Team (DDT)
  • Michinoku Pro
  • Kensuke Office

The Boston Crab will soon be giving a brief introduction to some of the major Puroresu promotions. These will include bios on some of the main stars in the industry and some of the most acclaimed matches that have taken place in the past year. Until then, Sayonara.

Aaron Mc Nicholas

WWE: The PG Debate

March 1st, 2011

“Can we stop with the TV14 questions? (…)I’m not a guy who lives or dies by a TV rating but rather judges a wrestling, TV show by what I see in the ring headlined by high quality, physical wrestling action and not by the use of edgy language even though I do enjoy that too when effectively utilized.

- Jim Ross, 22nd Feb 2011

It’s very easy in this day and age to sit at a computer and moan about the wrestling industry. And since WWE reigns at the top of the wrestling hierarchy, they tend to become the target of a lot of hate, most of which can often be illogical. This is not to say that fans should not be allowed to complain about the aspects of a product they invest time and energy into. More that the annoyances which some fans, and in particular a contingency of online fans, express can often be misdirected.

Take WWE’s current status as a PG show as a prime example of something which has drawn the ire of a large portion of the internet wrestling community. For quite some time now, we have been reading and watching as people complain that the PG rating will be the death of the wrestling industry. However, it is our belief that the problems people attribute to the rating have nothing to do with the classification given to the show but rather with the weaknesses which exist in the current booking of the product; weaknesses which would likely exist regardless of a switch back to TV-14.

A bit of blood or swearing may add a little to a product, be it wrestling, television or movies. It makes it slightly more realistic and can add a grit to a storyline or a situation. However, blood and swearing should not make a product, and nor should it particularly break a product. A removal of such things should not be a huge determinate to a show, as the main focus of a show should be on providing strong storylines and credible characters. Especially in a wrestling show, credibility should be established via their in-ring actions and abilities as well as out of ring dialogues. However WWE, it can be argued, is failing to produce the results on either in or out of ring activities at this time, at least on a consistent basis.

Take John Cena for example, the personification of the PG rating and the main target of the internet critics attacks. It would be foolish to say that his character would not improve if he was given the chance to ditch the poopy jokes and revert back to the cutting edge character he portrayed on his rise to the top, and certainly in this regard, he is an example of a wrestler who would benefit from a TV-14 rating. However, his promos are only one reason people have a problem with his character. The other two major faults are his in-ring abilities (e.g. his punches) and the booking of him as a superman character. Neither of these faults would be addressed if WWE dropped the PG rating; if they were so inclined to book him as an unstoppable machine who refuses to sell anything, then a more mature rating would not change this. Nor would it help his ability to throw a punch; if Cena has not made the effort to make them more realistic now, there is nothing about a higher classification which would make a difference.

Some may clamour that the PG rating holds some wrestlers back, but again, that simply is not true. Dodgy yo-yo booking holds wrestlers back. The likes of Evan Bourne or Kofi Kingston do not need to start swearing to get over with the crowds. They need the chance to have a consistent push behind them. The likes of Jack Swagger, Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio do not need mature language to be hated; they can do that by building their credibility in the ring or getting stronger characterisations. However, sustained pushes are very much a rarity these days, as wrestlers are pushed into the main event suddenly and then dropped violently down the card two weeks later without a chance. Anyone under the main event struggles to even get a small story to provide their characters with some realism and thus fans have no reason to get behind them at all.

As far as blood is concerned, we are of the opinion that it can help a match every now and again. however, the real problem lies in the overuse of blood; does anyone care when Ric Flair bleeds anymore? Does it add anything to his matches? A little bit of blood on occasion can add a bit of drama but it should not be a substitute for strong work rates and a connection with the fans. The likes of Rey Mysterio can work crowds into frenzies with his underdog routine without the need for blood. As much as it can contribute to a story, it can also be a tool for lazy wrestlers who struggle to connect with the crowd and that can display a weakness in their abilities.

If people want realism, if people want characters that are believable, then swearing and blood will not help change the current problems, because the current problems are seeded far deeper than the rating. The booking department either will not or cannot provide stories for everyone. Few are given any time to develop and give fans the reasons to care, as time is dedicated to pushing two or three stories and ignoring everyone else. This is not PG’s fault. It’s the fault of poor writing. A change in classification may help a handful of wrestlers but it will not change the booking team’s flaws.

Dave Dunne

The Boston Crab & Boards.ie Irish Wrestlers Of The Year 2010

February 20th, 2011

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally reached the end and we are ready to release our Top 30 Irish Wrestlers of the Year 2010. We have had a few set backs and we thank everyone for being so patient with us. The top 30 is as follows:

30: Carl “Shooter” O’Rourke

29: JDP

28: Danny Deans

27: Irish Dragon

26: Wayne Daly

25: Lycan

24: Insano

23: JC Williams

22: Tucker

21: The Ballymun Bruiser

20: Danny Butler

19: Red Vinny

18: Bonesaw

17: Kev Rocks

16: Working Class John

15: LA Warren

14: Andy Phoenix

13: Sean South

12: Vic Viper

11: Mandrake

10: Jordan Devlin

9: Bingo Balance

8: Philly The Kid

7: Mad Man Mason

6: Justin Shape

5: Omen

4: Duncan Disorderly

3: Paul Tracey

2: Paddy Marrow

1: Sean Maxer Brennan

Thanks to everyone who voted and well done to everyone who made this years top 30! Also thanks to everyone at the Boards.ie Pro Wrestling Forum for taking part.

Seán Reid

TUF 13-A Missed Opportunity

January 15th, 2011

Two new divisions enter the UFC and their high powered chariot of bandwagon also known as The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show will NOT be assisting them.

Despite TUF1 being the platform that launched the sport into the mainstream and TUF5 being the series that brought the lightweight division back into the consciousness of the masses. The UFC has opted to give TUF 13 to the Welterweights and to be coached by two of the biggest bodies in the sport in Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos.

Now I get the positives: Cain Velasquez is out till late summer, JDS needs a fight before then, it wouldn’t be right for his fight to not be for at least an interim title, No other HW stands out as a clear contender. So seeing as how Brock Lesnar is coming off a loss but at least a loss to the Champ, that fight does make sense. Add to this the fact that Lesnar is the biggest draw in the sport and the only way in hell you’d get him to leave his cabin and family for 6 weeks of hell in Vegas with cameras following him is by dangling the title on a stick.

Yes, TUF13 makes sense in so far as the coaches line up for a significant contenders match (let’s call it what it is). However, neither coach is really coaching or TV material. JDS’s English is far from fantastic and the only real draw to the show is to see whether or not Lesnar explodes and F5’s a petulant protogeé.

So the coaches probably aren’t going to be compelling, so what? The real crime here is the Bantam and Featherweight classes being completely overlooked. With existing stars Urijah Faber, Dominic Cruz, Jose Aldo, et al finally in the big show and ready (and required) to bask in the limelight: it’s a crime that the already shinning Heavyweight division should get the nod ahead of the new boys.

Whether a pair of new class coaches or a new crop of talent, the little guys badly need some love in the media department. Most casual fans a few months from now are probably going to watch the likes of Aldo and Cruz and think: ‘wow, when did these guys show up?’ And if The Ultimate Fighter would have stuck to its original brief, they’d know.

Colm Ivers