I have been asked a bunch of times, what with my penchant for the odd altercation now and then, how come I don't enter the now mega popular world of Mixed Martial Arts? My answer is somewhat complicated, in that there's a number of reasons, but suffice it to say I have already given myself to one sport, yes there may be crossover, but it is all consuming for me.
But the popularity of MMA and the UFC in particular cannot be denied anymore. With currently more mainstream appeal than wrestling and an ever-expanding young fan base, more and more people are being drawn to MMA. And I love it.
This weekend's UFC pay-per-view is a perfect example of some of the best aspects of MMA. In the main event of Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock there is such a wondrous build up of emotion and excitement that you can't help but get caught up in the frenzy. Will Tito lay another beat down on Shamrock, the last one being a horrendous beating that Ken came away from looking like his face was on fire and someone put it out with a rake, or will Ken buck the odds and pull off what has to be considered a HUGE upset? If you watched their last outing you have to be firmly believing that Tito will repeat history. But the unpredictable world of MMA leaves room for so many surprises.
I thought the build up on The Ultimate Fighter 3 couldn't have been done better. In truth I believed that Tito was there to train the younger talent and give them the best instruction possible, whereas Shamrock was there simply to get himself over and try to put more dollars in his pocket. I mean really, did those kids need a bodybuilder for an instructor? I am sure they would have loved to have a good grappling coach or at least some kind of jujitsu trainer to help them. The lack of good training on Shamrock's side really showed in the finals which were dominated by Team Ortiz.
I have had the displeasure of meeting and talking to Shamrock on a couple occasions and personally I want to see him get his ass handed to him. He was an arrogant and off-putting douche. Tito on the other hand is the exact opposite. A great guy with a good sense of humour and all-around fun guy that you can't help but like. But like any good wrestling storyline somebody has to be the bad guy and someone the good guy. It's just funny how much like a wrestling storyline this is!!
And that's another thing that the UFC and TUF has done sooo well is give us great characters to love or hate and follow. Forrest Griffin is without a doubt my current fav. Brother is just double tough and has TONS of charisma. His epic war with Stephen Bonnar was easily one of the best fights ever seen. But you can't forget guys like Chris Leben, or Josh Koschek who can so easily get under your skin but are so fun to watch.
I think my list of top draws for me are Chuck Liddell, Tito, Matt Hughes, Forrest, Canadians David Loiseau and George St Pierre, and Diego Sanchez. These guys to me are good TV. Period. I am sure people will debate their favourites all day, but in reality it doesn't matter who your favourite guy is because everyone just loves a good fight. And my hat's definitely off to the Dana White and the rest of the brains behind the new UFC and MMA, they are the wrestling alternative and are kicking ass. Literally.
I mean I would do it, get into MMA, but in truth my ground game isn't the strongest and I would get owned by a good Olympic wrestler, but I could probably hold my own toe to toe in standup. My vote for TNA's MMA entrants go to Samoa Joe, Senshei (Low Ki), or Chase Stevens who has hands like bricks. STIFF!!!!!
Make sure you are all tuning in to Victory Road on Sunday the 16th. I believe that TNA hasn't put out a weak monthly PPV yet and Victory Road will be no different. Plus it will have the draw of the NEW addition to Paparazzi Productions that is making all heads turn!! And don't forget Impact every Thursday at 11 on Spike TV. This week's episode is a "killer!"
For those of you in the southern Ontario, you can catch some Devine intervention at Saturday's New Vision Pro Wrestling show at Club Social in Welland (www.nvpwrestling.com). Or at GCW's Beyond the Limit at the Legion Hall in Oshawa Thursday night the 13th (www.canadianwrestlingexpo.com). And even though I won't be there BCW's return to Windsor on the 15th is a must see with Christian Cage, Petey Williams and Showtime Eric Young headlining! (www.bordercitywrestling.com)
As always feedback is welcomed and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.johnnydevine.net or to myspace at
www.myspace.com/canadiandevine. Booking inquiries can email the same.
In the mean time and in between time wrestling fans, that's it, another edition of Devine Intervention. Bye Now.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Hotshot" Johnny Devine's column will run on Saturdays (or whenever he delivers) on SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to visit each week!
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