The View From Down Here #68 – Riot City Wrestling!… and a lot of cricket…

Cricket is well and truly upon us with more games than you can shake a stump at. Plus there’s some representative rugby and professional wrestling.
            All in all, another week of too much sport.

Cricket
International
Australia-India Series
This has been quite the up-and-down, back-and-forth series, with first one team dominating, and then the other. Some good cricket as well.
Game 5: India v Australia
            Australia 4/350; India 347 (47.1 overs) – Australia won by 3 runs
            Holy cow, what a game! 7 runs an over for the Aussies (better than a run a ball) and yet India almost did them; they just ran out of wickets. The batting from both teams was great. And with Australia’s ever-increasing injury list, especially in the bowling stocks, the fact they bowled a side as strong in the batting as India was a surprising but good sign.
            A rant here, if I may… (Why am I asking? It’s my column…) Excuses have been put forward for Australia’s diminishing bowling ranks. I reckon we could count the amount of matches Brett Lee’s had for Australia in the past two years on our fingers, and yet he’s injured again. Some have said it’s because of the amount of cricket the national team plays, others that the constant travel is the issue. But there are two other theories which some of the people I’ve spoken to seem to think have more credence.
            First is the fact that many of these players had a chance for a break, but decided to play for the big bucks in the Indian Premier League. If that was the case and the money was important to them (and I am not going to sit here and say they should not look after themselves financially), then they should not let their country down by making themselves available for the national team. Give their position to some younger, more hungry guy. This will give those others a break and let them fill their bank accounts, while at the same time prep the next generation of cricketers for national duty. Sure, there might be more losses, but if the future of the national team can be seen to be in good hands, then people will tolerate it a little better.
            Second is the fact that the bowlers live in the gym apparently. They pump weights and do not bowl anywhere near as much as previous generations had. While they might be physically stronger, the issue here is that you need to practice the skills specific to the sport. And lifting weights may make you faster, but if it also decreases your flexibility that fraction more through sheer muscle bulk to change your technique and place more stress on your joints, then what’s the point?
Game 6: India v Australia
            India 170 (48 overs); Australia 4/172 (41.5 overs) – Australia won by 6 wickets
            After all the injury concerns, a young bowler stepped up and took the opportunity with both hands, giving Australia an unassailable 4-2 lead in the series. Doug Bollinger took 5/35 after Mitchell Johnson took 2 wickets in his first over. India just had no answer to these two and their score was easily chased down by a tired looking Australian batting line-up. Well, after looking out of it completely, the Aussies have hit back hard. Trying to guess what will happen next is anybody’s game. But it does make for interesting cricket.
Sheffield Shield
Queensland v Tasmania

            Tasmania 156 & 219; Queensland 382 – Queensland won by an innings and 7 runs (pts Qld 6)
            Yet again Queensland are proving themselves to be a front-runner in this domestic season. They totally embarrassed Tasmania. Queensland’s bowlers dominated Tasmania. Queensland looks like the team to beat this year, even if South Australia are going okay in the Shield and Victoria and New South Wales are always around the place.
New South Wales v Western Australia
            Western Australia 8(dec)/499 & 2/24; NSW 402 – match drawn (pts WA – 2)
            The wicket was as much to blame for this result as anything. A wicket that gave the bowlers nothing, and both team’s batting line ups took complete advantage for a match that was all over after two days as a draw was inevitable with New South Wales yet to bat.
Ford Ranger Cup
South Australia v Victoria
            South Australia 9/247; Victoria 5/248 (42.4 overs) – Victoria won by 5 wickets
            A good game, but South Australia fell short. Again, that experience Victoria gained has served them well; the other teams are still playing themselves into the season while Victoria and New South Wales have already been in the heat of things, including finals. Still, no excuses. South Australia were outplayed.
Victoria v Tasmania
            Tasmania 7/300; Victoria 6/301 (49.2 overs) – Victoria won by 4 wickets
            Four balls remaining! A good game from both teams as Tasmania finally put on a performance that we all knew they were capable of. Yes, they still lost, but they posted an excellent score and Victoria had to fight for every inch of their innings before eking out the win. Great game.
Women’s National Cricket League Twenty20
New South Wales v Queensland

            Queensland 8/82; NSW 1/83 (7.4 overs) – NSW won by 9 wickets
            Queensland did not play well in this match and NSW took advantage. They dominated from the start.
Women’s National Cricket League
New South Wales v Queensland

            NSW 198 (49.4 overs); Queensland 9/183 – NSW won by 15 runs
            Better effort from Queensland, especially with the ball, but they still fell short.
New South Wales v Queensland
            Rain reduced the match to 37 overs a piece.
            Queensland 7/108; New South Wales target: 127, 7/127 (34.2 overs) – NSW won by 3 wickets
            Don’t ask me to explain the scoring; Duckworth-Lewis is not for people like me with post-grad university qualifications. It’s for people who take very large amounts of drugs.

Soccer
A-League – Round Fourteen
Adelaide United 0 def by Brisbane Roar 2
            Not just a home loss by Adelaide, but a bad one. And it should have been 3-zip but for a refereeing mistake. Adelaide are throwing away what could have been a good season.
Melbourne Victory 0 def by Central Coast Mariners 4
            A bad home loss to Melbourne. After some excellent results, this is not a good one.
Gold Coast United 1 def Sydney 0
Wellington Phoenix 1 drew with Perth Glory 1
Newcastle Jets 2 def North Queensland Fury 0
W-League – Round Six
Canberra United 1 def by Brisbane Roar 2
Perth Glory 1 def by Central Coast Mariners 2
Newcastle Jets 3 drew with Adelaide United 3
            Good match between these two.
Melbourne Victory 1 drew with Sydney 1
            I’ve stolen this from the W-League’s official website: “Melbourne Victory women endured stoppage-time drama for the second week in a row, conceding a late own goal to high-flying Sydney FC and ending the match 1-1…” The women’s league is proving to be more interesting than the men’s this year for the most part, I have to say.

Golf
Yes, golf. For the first time in memory an Australian golf tournament has apparently sold out before the game has even started. And why, you may ask? One man – Tiger Woods. For the first time in 12 years (or so) he is back in this country, gracing us with his presence. Why he is here one can only imagine – it’s not for the meagre prize-money and his appearance fee would hardly amount to a Nike sponsor’s cheque. But he’s here and this can only do wonders for the image of the sport in this country, something no amount of John Daly melt-downs or fashion faux-pas ever could. So, thank-you, Tiger Woods, from golfers everywhere.
            (I would like to point out that I find golf a boring sport to watch and boring to play and I am very bad at it. Having said that, the fact that golf alone is responsible for most of the exercise men over 50 in this country get – apart from lawn bowls – makes it worthy of some sort of attention and kudos from me.)

Basketball
NBL Round Seven
Wollongong 92 def Melbourne 80
New Zealand 96 def by Gold Coast 110
Cairns 89 def Wollongong 78
Adelaide 80 def Gold Coast 77
Townsville 69 def by Wollongong 93
            Townsville were outplayed at home. Wollongong have put themselves forward as one of the teams to beat this season.
Perth 94 def New Zealand 74
            This is the trip from hell – New Zealand to the opposite end of Australia. What’s that, 6 hours in the air? Wow… But it does make for exciting road trips between these two teams and gives the competition an aura of scale.
WNBL Round Five
Bendigo 89 def Adelaide 66
            And Adelaide’s Jeckyl and Hyde season continues…
Canberra 89 def Townsville 69
AIS 52 def by Townsville 85
Perth 66 def by Logan 79
Dandenong 51 def by Sydney 90
Bulleen 84 def Adelaide 77

Rugby League
International – Four Nations
France 4 slaughtered by Australia 42
            Australia are really hitting their straps now. The draw with New Zealand seems to have snapped them out of whatever malaise they were feeling and this is what happens next.
England 20 def New Zealand 12
            England went with a beefed up side and they defeated the world champs to book themselves into the four nations final against the rampaging Australian side. England seemed to catch New Zealand off guard, but they never let up and did not allow New Zealand to really get back into the game. The score line, if anything, flatters, New Zealand a little.
            Should be a good final.

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
England 9 def by Australia 18
               Australia have hit Europe with hopes of a grand slam of wins, and coming home undefeated (the loss to New Zealand not counting as New Zealand are a southern hemisphere team and decidedly not European). But they were lucky in this first match to beat England. The Northern hemisphere teams play a different, more defensive sort of rugby and their referees seem to penalise the three Southern Hemisphere teams (Aust, Sth Africa and NZ) mercilessly. But Australia still won and the grand slam dream remains alive.

Autoracing
V8 Supercars – The Island 300
               Held at Phillip Island, Victoria, home of the famous motorbike race. This is the third to last race of the year, and with the championship open, they will be pulling out all stops.
Race 21
1st TeamVodafone – Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon FG)
2nd Toll Holden Racing Team – Will Davison (Holden Commodore VE)
3rd Jack Daniels Racing – Rick Kelly (Holden Commodore VE)
4th Toll Holden Racing Team – Garth Tander (Holden Commodore VE)
5th SP Tools Racing – Shane Van Gisbergen (Ford Falcon FG)
Race 22
1st TeamVodafone – Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon FG)
2nd Jack Daniels Racing – Rick Kelly (Holden Commodore VE)
3rd Toll Holden Racing Team – Garth Tander (Holden Commodore VE)
4th Jim Beam Racing – James Courtney (Ford Falcon FG)
5th Fujitsu Racing – Jason Bright (Ford Falcon FG)
               And after this weekend, Whincup has started to stamp himself as the one most likely to take out this year’s driver’s championship. But it’s close and that makes for some damn fine racing.

Professional Wrestling
Riot City Wrestling – Powertrip III (Nov 7, 2009)
               First, let’s get 3 negatives out of the way.
               First – the douchebags in the US basketball tops who thought they were funny were arseholes who tried to ruin the show, making sure that no-one could hear what was going on. They are proof that maybe there should be a 2 drink maximum or that retrospective abortion should be legal. It may seem like something little, but even in a sell-out crowd, they stood out. I understand some people go to abuse the wrestlers and that’s how they have fun; but this went way beyond that.
               Second – it was long again. Sure, it didn’t feel like 3 hours as a spectator, and it’s good value for money, but it’s still long.
               Third – the guys need to learn to talk on the mic. Mimic and Grimm do it well, the rest not so well. Sure, it’s hard when 2 idiots are leading their friends in duelling chants, but still that is something that needs to be improved as storylines progress as they are.
               Okay, now that’s out the way…
               After last month’s disappointing show, this one fired on all cylinders. A loud sell-out crowd was on hand to witness some great wrestling. And match of the night honours were split. I could not pick between two of them. Let’s go!
Match 1 – Plasma v Del Taurino
               Following on from Plasma’s unmasking, he is out for revenge. The match was a little slow, and the crowd did not get into it at first, but Plasma managed to get them behind him and a tight little power match ensued. In a good touch, Marvel did not come out, just Del Taurino and the manager El Presidente. Taurino got the pin.
Match 2 – Freddy Fuzion v Hangtime (Brodie Archer and Brett Reynolds)
               Much like last year when Fuzion fought Luke and Brad, he again decided to take on the rookies in a handicap match. But he came to the ring with Savannah Summers, and she helped him get the pin. Kudos to Brodie for selling the shoulder for the rest of the night, and Fuzion is looking trimmer.
               Bruce Davies from New York state is announced as a guest referee. Marvel comes out with Taurino and El Presidente. Mimic then comes out and manages to get the pres and Taurino to leave ringside.
Match 3 – Mimic v Marvel
               First ‘match of the night’. Last month they fought a technical match that the crowd did not ‘get’. This month the crowd were ready for it and they really got into it. Counters and submission holds with the occasional big move, but it was another technical piece. And it looked like Marvel was going to hit the win again, but Mimic kept finding counters for the dragon sleeper. The end came with a Mimic super mega driver. Ouch. It felt like the wrong guy may have gone over, to build Marvel as strong, but then Mimic would have lost for like six months in a row, and that’s not how the crowd wants to perceive him, and how the number one face should be seen. And the crowd’s explosion when he won had to be heard to be believed. One of the loudest pops I’ve heard in local wrestling.
Match 4 – Miami v Savannah Summers
               Savannah came out with Fuzion. Miami has to be one of the most improved wrestlers of the year, and certainly rookie of the year. The match between these two former friends was intense and the crowd – of which some elements have turned on the female matches of late – were right into it. The end came when Fuzion gave Miami a spinebuster while the ref was distracted, allowing Savannah to pick up the pin.
               Bruce Davies is out again to give his opinion, as an American, of RCW. But he is interrupted by Warship from Victoria who runs everyone down and puts out an open challenge. Bruce takes it up.
Match 5 – Bruce Davies v Warship
               This was weird because neither guy had ever wrestled in RCW before and the crowd is normally dead for that dynamic, but after Warship’s abuse and Bruce’s heroic comebacks during the match they had the crowd eating out of their hand. They not only wanted Warship to be beaten, but wanted Bruce to win. They worked that crowd well. And Bruce got the pin to a good pop.
Match 6 – GD Grimm & Jacko Lantern v Voodoo & Jim Raze
               The two big men against two of the most unpredictable. And Raze looked cut here, physically a good specimen. It was a good match with the differing styles meshing well, especially when it came to some of the nasty double team moves. Jacko’s comedy schtick does wear a little, but this time it was done to play off against Grimm. And it also featured post-match when Jacko stopped a Grimm beat down on the fallen Voodoo (pinned after an awesome double move). The crowd were ready to turn Jacko and they did, and Grimm’s promo cemented it. Next month, Grimm v Jacko for the RCW title.
Match 7 – TJ Rush v Brad Smyth
               Ladder match, final match in the ‘Key of the City’ best of 3 series
               And, yes a key is hanging above the ring…
               Second ‘match of the night’. The match started with Brad in the ring with Savannah and Fuzion, telling TJ that no DQs meant these two could help him. But TJ had a surprise for them, and this paid off the rest of the night’s events perfectly – Miami and Hangtime came out of the crowd and chased Fuzion and Summers to the back, leaving TJ and Brad one-on-one. Let the spots begin. Look, there were too many to describe. And it was not a perfect ladder match. Blood would have helped. A lot. And some of the spots took too long to set up meaning there was a bit of laying around. And the slow climbing started too early. But those were really small quibbles in the whole thing because the match went off. The crowd were right behind it and cheered TJ and booed Brad and just wanted to see this 30+minute match go on forever. TJ missed a tope, landing on a ladder on the outside. A seesaw spot almost killed Brad. Powerbomb onto a ladder by Brad on TJ. The highlights were huge. But the end came when TJ placed a ladder on Brad, then hit the shooting star press before climbing and grabbing the key and winning. And I thought the pop for Mimic’s win was loud – this was huge.
               Good, great, fantastic show. Not a dud match. Not show of the year, but close.

 

That’s this view – November 1 through 8.

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