THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #76 – The Catch Up!

As I have a lot to catch up on, this is going to be predominantly the scores with very little else… and some wrestling at the end. We’ve just had 3 days in a row of 40 degree Celsius plus heat with another few to come, so I am lacking some motivation.
            Also I was recently involved in Anthony Perillo’s well-run fantasy wrestling draft and did not make it to the end, but I have had 3 requests for my PPV, so I present it here. But, really, 2 weeks of scores first and foremost!!
            Now, a request. I have received some feedback after my last few columns. A couple of people think I should stick to the scores / results and limit the opinions. Others think the opinions should have more prominence. If there are regular readers out there – what do you think? And leave comments, debate things. Convince me I’m wrong (as many are trying to do via email with regards to soccer) but do it here so we can all get involved. Tell me: What can I do to make this better?

Cricket
International
First Test
Australia v Pakistan
Australia 5(dec)/454 & 8(dec)/225; Pakistan 258 & 251 – Australia won by 170 runs
            Pakistan were outplayed in this test and after a string of outs in the 90s, an Australian batsman finally scored a centruy with Shane Watson’s unbeaten 120 in the second dig.
Second Test
Australia v Pakistan
Australia 127 & 381; Pakistan 333 & 139 – Australia won by 36 runs
            Australia did not win this – Pakistan lost it. They needed a mere 176 runs with more than a day to play and they blew it. My local newspaper referred to them as Panikstan and judging by this performance, that was not far off the truth. Australia got out of gaol with this one, and unfortunately this means they will not learn the lessons they needed to, that only a loss could give them. Yes, I think Australia needs to lose a few more test matches to lower ranked sides, because that is the only way they will change and grow, instead of relying on dumb luck too much of the time.
            Having said that, this was a damn enthralling test and shows that the longest form of the game is far from being as dead as people predicted it would 3 years ago.
Sheffield Shield
            No Shield matches while the Twenty20 Big Bash competition is going ahead.
Ford Ranger Cup
New South Wales v Victoria
Victoria 188 (46.4 overs); New South Wales 6/189 (45 overs) – New South Wales won by 4 wickets
            Comfortable win for the favourites.
Twenty20 Big Bash
The domestic Twenty20 competition is proving to be quite the success this year with great crowds, great results and entertaining cricket. Talk is this competition will be revamped in the 2011-12 season, and also that the winning state may get a chance to play somewhere else in the world and whatnot, but who cares? This has been a great competition.
Queensland v Victoria
Victoria 8/157; Queensland 6/121 – Victoria won by 3 runs
            Duckworth-Lewis reared its ugly head again meaning Queensland needed 125 runs from 16 overs.
Western Australia v South Australia
South Australia 6/196; Western Australia 167 (19 overs) – South Australia won by 29 runs
            The first of the big scores… and most of them come from SA this time round.
Tasmania v New South Wales
New South Wales 4/194; Tasmania 163 (19 overs) – New South Wales won by 31 runs
            Another impressive score with NSW players Hughes scoring 71 from 50 balls and Warner hitting a mammoth 67 from 26 balls!
Tasmania v Western Australia
Tasmania 8/167; Western Australia 150 (18.5 overs) – Tasmania won by 17 runs
            This was a bowlers’ match with comparatively few extras and wickets well shared. Only one batsman (Birt from Tas) cracked the half century.
Victoria v New South Wales
New South Wales 6/178; Victoria 4/179 (19.4 overs) Victoria won by 6 wickets
            With 2 balls to spare, the Vics defeated the Blues.
South Australia v Queensland
Queensland 4/156; South Australia 6/160 (19 overs) – South Australia won by 4 wickets
            South Australia’s least convincing win so far, but well led by Mark Cosgrove’s 43 from 40 balls to secure the win.
Western Australia v New South Wales
Western Australia 1/198; New South Wales 71 (16.2 overs) – Western Australia won by 127 runs
            Yes, the pre-tournament favourites (equal with Victoria) were made to look like a school team. Western Australia were well led by Shaun Marsh (108 from 58 balls) while NSW batted as though nothing mattered.
South Australia v Victoria
South Australia 7/202; Victoria 111 (14 overs) – South Australia won by 91 runs
            This match was much hyped and the Adelaide Oval was packed… and it did not live up to the expectations as SA dominated from go to woah. Tait’s three wickets in two overs was what destroyed the Vics, and SA set themselves up as the new favourite.
Queensland v Tasmania
Queensland 153 (20 overs); Tasmania 9/144 – Queensland won by 9 runs
            Another close match, despite what the scoreboard says.
Western Australia v Victoria
Western Australia 5/152; Victoria 8/128 – Western Australia won by 24 runs
            Halfway through their innings Victoria had 101 runs still to go. And they fell apart from there. Even a streaker could not add life to the first disappointing Twenty20 match of the series.
Women’s National Cricket League Twenty20
Tasmania v New South Wales
Tasmania 6/91; New South Wales 2/92 (11.3 overs) – New South Wales won by 8 wickets
            That’s a pretty damn comprehensive win there.
Victoria v Tasmania
Tasmania 5/113; Victoria 1/114 (18.5 overs) – Victoria won by 9 wickets
            Even though only 7 balls remained, the result was never in doubt with Victoria keeping all their wickets in hand.
South Australia v Victoria
Victoria 9/120; South Australia 8/102 – Victoria won by 18 runs
            Close match.
Queensland v Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory 8/119; Queensland 7/120 (19.4 overs) – Queensland won by 3 wickets
            Close game, with only 2 balls remaining.
Western Australia v New South Wales
Western Australia 9/99; New South Wales 4/100 (13.1 overs) – New South Wales won by 6 wickets
            Another easy win for the NSW ladies.
Women’s National League
South Australia v Victoria
Victoria 9/254; South Australia 146 (40.4 overs) – Victoria won by 18 runs
            Should have been much closer than what it was.
Western Australia v New South Wales
New South Wales 3/303; Western Australia 6/176 – New South Wales won by 127 runs
            One of the highest scores ever in domestic women’s one-day cricket by NSW here; did not give WA much of a chance, really.
South Australia v Victoria
Victoria 3/295; South Australia 8/228 – Victoria won by 67 runs
            Better effort from the South Australians, but not enough, especially in the bowling stakes.
Queensland v Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory Women 100 (36 overs); Queensland 2/104 (21.5 overs) – Queensland won by 8 wickets
            Complete domination by Queensland.
Queensland v Australian Capital Territory
Queensland 8/227; Australian Capital Territory 150 (43.1 overs) – Queensland won by 77 runs
            ACT did not seem to learn much from the first match.
Western Australia v New South Wales
Western Australia 99 (40 overs); New South Wales 0/102 (19.3 overs) – New South Wales won by 10 wickets
            Complete domination by NSW. WA looked inept out there.

Soccer
A-League – Round Nineteen
            The next match in the split round, with more to come.
Sydney 1 def Central Coast Mariners 0
            Another dull, dreary defensive affair.
International
Asian Cup Qualifier
Kuwait 2 drew with Australia 2
            The win certainly would have been a better result; the fraw has made it awkward for Australia.

 

Basketball
NBL Round Fourteen
Adelaide 73 def by Perth 94
Melbourne 90 def Wollongong 88
Cairns 76 def Melbourne 69
Wollongong 93 def Adelaide 88
Gold Coast 90 def New Zealand 83
Townsville 83 def Perth 74
Perth 91 def Wollongong 57
Melbourne 87 def Cairns 64
Round Fifteen
Wollongong 83 def New Zealand 78
Perth 76 def New Zealand 72
            Considering the travel involved and coming off another match, this was a great effort by New Zealand in a losing performance.
Melbourne 84 def Wollongong 65
Townsville 100 def Gold Coast 89
Cairns 66 def by Gold Coast 79
Adelaide 72 def by Perth 84
WNBL Round Thirteen
            My mistake – I’ve been off on my round naming. I have now caught up.
Sydney 86 def Bendigo 79
Adelaide 66 def by Bulleen 79
AIS 39 def by Canberra 115
            AIS have not really been competitive this year, and you have to wonder at the mindset that keeps them in this state.
Townsville 82 def Dandenong 58
Logan 67 def Dandenong 51

Tennis
We are leading up to the Australian Open, the first tennis Grand Slam of the year. I am not going to go off as I did last year about how the women are overpaid (equal money with men for doing less work) or about the essential dullness of the sport because I am looking forward to something – seeing which players explode this year. After the Williams fiasco (she should have been punished a hell of a lot more for her outburst) and watching Roddick sit on the verge of a complete meltdown, this could be fun.
Ladies Brisbane International
Kim Clijsters def Justine Henin : 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(8-6)
            As much as I think what Clijsters and Henin are doing is great, does this not make a mockery of modern women tennis players? The final was between the two women who are making comebacks. Clijsters won her comeback grand slam. By rights these women should have had a harder time against the younger, so-called fitter, more match-prepared players. But they won. Well done to them… and modern women tennis players need to pull their socks up or these elder stateswomen will dominate them into early retirement.
Men Brisbane International
Andy Roddick def Radek Stepanek : 7-6(7-2), 7-6(9-7)
            Good, tight match. Roddick started to lose it, almost choked on his final serves, while the defending champion looked like he was in awe of his opponent instead of ready to crush him. Of course, the heat could have had a lot to do with that.

Other Sport
Yachting: Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. This is Australia’s premiere ocean-going boat race. The rivalries are intense and the dangers real. Storms, giant sunfish other boats – all have been known to take their toll on the racers. But every year the field gets larger and larger. And the launch on Boxing Day from Sydney Harbour is a sight to behold.
            Line Honours: Alfa Romeo over winner of the past 4 Sydney-Hobart races Wild Oats
            Handicap Honours: Two True (from South Australia, captained by sports med specialist Andrew Saies)
Athletics: The Glenelg Bay Sheffield running race is South Australia’s foremost professional running race, and is a great day out for the whole family with a really pleasant atmosphere.
            70m Open : Amin Chehade
            70m Women : Laura Whaler
            120m Open : Russell Scott
            120m Women : Pirrenee Steinert

 

Wrestling – Fantasy Draft
BATTLEGROUND 1
Pre-Game Show
            With Wolfdogg and JR announcing, two matches are declared for the hour long pre-game show – ‘Before The Battle’. The winners of these two matches will go on to the PPV itself, and the winner will have a shot at any title of his choosing at the next PPV.
            First a video recount of how the three contestants in the final of the World Champion tournament got to where they are.
            Match 1) – R-Truth v Fuzion: For the first time in GNW-25, Fuzion takes it to his opponent with gusto. But he makes a mistake into the corner, where R-Truth rolls him up with a school-boy for the pin. The crowd cheers for him with gusto.
            We have a run-down of the traditional rules title and how it came to this, as well as going over just what the rules are, and how it is so much harder, as you have to put your opponent down for the 5-count.
            Match 2) Matt Silva v Val Venis: This match is another even affair, but the youth of Silva eventually gets him over Venis with a swinging powerbomb. The crowd response is somewhat lacklustre, with even some boos.
            A final recap of the tag team situation and then a final run-down of the card ends the show.
Pay-Per-View
** The opening lasers and then pyro set the crowd off for what is shaping up to be a card where no-one can guess who is going to win. But the first person the crowd sees on the stage sends them all into a frenzy, as General Manager Hulk Hogan saunters to the ring in his now familiar red and gold, sleeveless suit.
            He stands in the centre of the ring and looks out, lapping up the applause. “Welcome to Battleground One!” he cries into the mic in his hands and a second wave of pyro almost drowns out the cheers from the huge audience. “Tonight we have the most dazzling array of matches, with the best from around the world competing in this very ring.” He flexes his arm as he points at his feet and the crowd pops. “Non-stop action tonight, and so, without further ado, let me…”
            “Break down the walls!”
            Hulk stops and looks at the stage where Chris Jericho is standing in a suit, flanked by the other four members of the Commonwealth. “Good to see you have decided to come along, Mr Jericho,” Hogan states emotionlessly.
            “This is our show, and after tonight we will be calling all the shots, so you need to shut the hell up!” he says menacingly. “This is a statement of intent. We do not plan to leave here tonight without all three titles. And we will do what we have to do. The Commonwealth will be the master of all she surveys!”
            Hogan is almost smiling. “Brotha, this is my show. I call the shots. And the first shot is this – if any member of your group so much as comes out of the back during a match they are not in, then all members of your group will be escorted from the building, meaning you will forfeit your spot in any matches yet to be fought. Including the World Championship match. Understood?”
            “You can’t do…”
            “I just did. Brotha!” And the crowd explodes. Tonight is going to be the best of the best – the Commonwealth will not be able to use their force of numbers to turn things their way.
** Opening Match: R-Truth v Matt Silva
            R-Truth enters through the crowd, rapping his way down with everyone joining in. Silva comes out to a round of apathy. But once in the ring, it is obvious that Truth is going to have to use everything in his arsenal to overcome the odds and put this strong Australian down. But as the match goes back and forth, a figure makes his way down from the back-stage area. Fuzion, defeated by R-Truth earlier, in the pre-game show, and by Silva himself the previous week. Truth is distracted momentarily, giving Silva an edge, but Truth soon regains control. However, a whip to the ropes sees Fuzion tripping Truth. He slides out of the ring and goes after the Australian on the outside. Silva follows and catches him from behind, hitting a belly-to-back suplex on the outside. The referee forces him back into the ring and while he is admonishing him, Fuzion delivers his own backbreaker before shoving Truth into the ring. But Silva only manages to get a 2-count. Truth starts to fight back, sending Silva to the outside where Fuzion is over to help him up. Then Truth launches himself over the top rope, taking both Australians out before rolling back in. Silva climbs to the apron and Truth locks in for the suplex back in. But Fuzion is waiting, and stealing the ending from Warrior-Rude in WM5 he holds Truth’s foot while Silva falls on the American, getting the three count. The two Australians walk to the back as the crowd boos them – genuine heat now. And Silva has his choice of title at the next PPV. Guaranteed. (Time: 13:44)
** Match 2: Damien Slater v Ace Wilson
            By default, the crowd cheers Slater as Wilson is accompanied to the stage by the rest of the Commonwealth who then go to the back, mindful of Hogan’s edict. But Wilson has a mic. “I don’t get you,” he says. “You could join us, be part of the greatest collection of talent the world has ever seen…”
            “I already am,” Slater returns. “I’m in GNW-25!” The crowd explodes. And it’s on. Unfortunately, Slater might be much more experienced and skilled than his opponent, but Wilson is huge and angry and it does not take long for him to overwhelm and dominate the match. The end comes with a series of powerbombs for the three-count. The crowd boos and is a little deflated. Two matches in, and the heels have won twice. And one of those a member of the Commonwealth. This does not bode well for the night. (Time: 6:23)
** We go backstage where Wilson is greeted by the rest of the Commonwealth. “One down!” gloats Jericho.
            “Evening, lads.” He turns and sees the imposing figure of GD Grimm standing there. “Just come to wish you luck.”
            “We won’t need luck.”
            “And you’ll need an ambulance!” Wilson adds.
            Grimm just smiles and walks away.
** Match 3: Jag/Havok v Joe Hennig/Kofi Kingston
            It is clear who the crowd are behind here as the Americans get cheered wildly all the way to the ring. And this match becomes a high flying one. Moves are thrown everywhere and on everyone as tags are kept quick and all four men get into the ring. Until, that is Havok, kicks Kingston from behind off a Jag whip, and he is the face in peril. The two Australians cut the ring in half and work Kingston over. But no matter what they try, he kicks out. Jag finally goads Hennig into coming into the ring and while the referee is trying to get him out, Havok comes in and they go for double team back drop. But from the whip Kingston hits a double drop kick. Jag is up first and tries to kick Kingston, but he leapfrogs Havok and Havok takes the brunt of his partner’s blow. He rolls out of the ring. Kingston leaps on him with a plancha, then Jag runs up and launches into a tope. Kingston pulls Havok across and he takes the full force of the impact of his partner’s move again. Jag is back in in time to see Kingston hit the tag on Hennig. He is a house of fire and blasts Jag from one corner to the other, hitting suplexes and sweeps and elbows and fore-arms and clotheslines at will. But Jag finally reverses a whip and Hennig hits the corner where Havok catches him. Jag launches himself but taking a leaf from his partner Hennig drops down and yet again Havok is caught, this time in the face. Jag turns – kick in the stomach, hook up, fisherman’s suplex, bridge, the three-count. The Americans celebrate wildly and the crowd explodes for them. Meanwhile Havok is on the floor asking his partner what happened, looking not very happy. Hennig and Kingston make their way up the ramp and the crowd gives them the ovation they deserve. (Time: 22:59)
            Wolfdogg is in the ring to talk to the two defeated opponents at ring-side. “I’ve known you two for a long time,” he says. “What happened here tonight?”
            “Ask Mr Me-First there,” growls Havok as he storms away. The crowd does not know what to make of it.
** Match 4: Batista v Mimic
            This match breaks down quickly and the pair brawl from the first bell. Batista has the definite power advantage, but Mimic’s quickness and agility make him an even match. But they spend most of their time trading blows and kicks and chops in the corners and against the ropes than actually wrestling. Mimic is being overpowered, but still fires back as hard as he can. Until, that is, Batista hits a low blow. The referee admonishes him, but he takes over quickly. Mimic is pounded from pillar to post, but does not stay down. He even kicks out of two demon bombs. The crowd is really rallying behind him as he crawls for the ropes to help himself up as Batista argues with the ref. Mimic moves to the corner and Batista charges angrily. Mimic dodges at the last possible second and Batista’s spear slams into the ring post. He clutches his shoulder and Mimic takes the opening, locking in a few varying submission holds on the upper arm, wearing it down. He eventually manages to grapevine a cross arm bar and it looks like Batista is ready to tap, but instead, with a final burst of strength he lunges himself backwards, his foot touching the rope. Mimic lets go and immediately goes up top as Batista crawls to the centre of the ring, looking for him. Mimic’s moonsault hits perfectly, but Batista is out at 2. A whip to the ropes is reversed by Batista as he lifts Mimic for a sideslam, but the shoulder can’t take the weight and they both collapse to the ring. Mimic is up first and drops a knee to Batista’s head for 2. Batista is up and whips Mimic into the ropes and catches a cross-body attempt, but again he can’t hold the Australian and they stumble backwards, over the top rope and to the floor. There they just start pounding the holy hell out of each other until Batista whips Mimic towards the steels stairs. The Australian somehow leaps over them and when Batista charges after him, he drops kicks the stairs into Batista’s legs, then leaps on him again, raining blows down on the injured shoulder. But the bell rings as both men gave been counted out of the ring. Double count-out. The crowd is not happy at this as more refs come from out the back to try to separate the two, but to no avail. They keep going after one another all the way up the entrance ramp and to the backstage area. (Total time: 15:50)
** Backstage Hennig and Kingston are celebrating their win and talking about maybe making a challenge for whoever wins the tag belts tonight. But they are interrupted as Batista and Mimic fight past them, still in the clutches of the referees and officials. We watch as Mimic is finally speared into a roller door and collapses as Batista is rolling on the floor, clutching his shoulder in pain.
            Finally EMTs are out and helping the two. ‘This ain’t over!” Batista screams as he is led away. And the look on Mimic’s face agrees completely.
** Match 5: Finlay v Rob Terry (Traditional Rules Title)
            Hulk Hogan is out and announces that because of the conflagration caused by the last match, the referees are otherwise indisposed. “So I have decided on a special referee for the next match tonight while they sort themselves out in the back. To referee this match for the first ever Traditional Rules Title I need some-one with amateur wrestling experience, pro wrestling experience and who has been in one of these matches. And that leaves only one person – Charlie Haas!” The crowd greets this announcement with mild apathy.
            But not Jericho, who is on the stage immediately. “This is unfair to the Commonwealth!” he screams. “We demand an unbiased referee, we demand…”
            “You get Charlie Haas.”
            But the match is another brawl at the start. With closed fists legal and no breaks on the ropes, the only thing Haas has to do is keep reminding them to wrestle for the first portion of the match. And then the wrestling moves come out with slams, suplexes, whips and reversals – all punctuated with closed fists – before a forearm from Finlay sends Terry through the ropes to the floor. He climbs onto the apron and launches himself at his opponent, but a fist in the stomach stops his momentum. Now out on the floor, they utilise the 15-count to its fullest, legally throwing one another into the barricades and the steps at will before rolling in to break the count. Finally Finlay slides in to the ring and Terry follows only to be met by a sharp punch to the side of the head. Terry is down and when he comes up he is bleeding. This only seems to anger him and suddenly Haas has his hands full trying to keep the Welshman inside the rules. A series of knees to the side of Finlay’s head opens him up as well. Haas goes in to investigate the blood and Terry shoves him aside; Haas shoves back and the two go nose to nose before Haas backs off and Terry spits at him. Haas shakes his head and pushes Terry, right into Finlay who loads him up for a Celtic Cross and then small packages a struggling Terry for the fast 5-count and the belt – the first ever champion in GNW-25. And the crowd is over the moon with their first GNW-25 champion. (Time: 20:05) Haas takes off and a livid Terry follows him; it is clear nothing is settled between these two.
            After the match Matt Silva appears on the stage with Fuzion standing beside him. They smile as they look at the new champion. They both point at Finlay, then Silva mimes the belt around his own waist as Fuzion points at him. Silva has made up his mind – he knows which belt he wants to go for.
** Hogan is once more on the stage. “We have the second of our title matches right now, and I want to reiterate that if the Commonwealth comes out to interfere, then not only do they forfeit this match but Chris Jericho forfeits his spot in the main event.” The crowd erupts. “Also, there will be a special referee in the main event tonight! We want this one called down the line, no intimidation, nothing. So the referee I have chosen will be the best to take on that role.” He smiles. “But you’re going to have to wait and see who it is.” The crowd voices their mock disappointment and the next match, the second title match of the night, is announced.
** Match 6: Beer Money v British Invasion (Tag Team Championship)
            Too much happens here to really keep up with. The double team moves are awesome, the tags clean and crisp, and despite some nefarious tactics by the British Invasion, the match does not degenerate into anything other than a supreme exhibition of tag team wrestling. It is as though the Brits want to win by wrestling, to prove their superiority. And Roode and Storm match them. However the end comes when, after a double straightjacket neckbreaker to Roode, Magnus gets Storm in the bearhug ready for the Williams European uppercut. He runs off the rope and Roode, in desperation, launches himself across the ring, crashing into everyone. All four collapse to the ground in a pile of broken bodies. And the ref starts the ten-count. At 6 all four men are still laying on the ring. At 8 Magnus and Storm are moving, while Roode rolls over to his back and Williams remains motionless. At 9 Storm is on his knees against the ropes. As the ref yells out for 10 Magnus collapses and Storm is on his feet – the only one to make it. And the new tag champs are Beer Money Inc! And as the British Invasion make their way slowly to the back the crowd showers their cheers and adulation on Roode and Storm. (Time: 25:18)
** Backstage Jericho is waiting for Magnus and Williams. Terry is behind him, looking humbled. “It’s up to me now to save us, I suppose,” he sneers. “Our glorious night and what do we have to show for it? One win in a meaningless match. No titles out of two! You’re making me look like a liar! We’re the Commonwealth! We needed to win. Well, I am telling you all, you will not rest until you have those titles. Because I sure as hell am going to have mine.” He shakes his head and walks off, leaving his four team-mates looking like chastened school-kids.
** Meanwhile, Jerry Lynn is limbering up. “G’day.” The voice comes from off camera and it pulls back as Lynn turns around. Grimm is there.
            “Good luck,” Lynn says, offering his hand.
            Grimm takes it and their shake is strong. “Don’t need luck,” he says.
            Lynn just smiles and Grimm nods as he walks away.
** Match 7: GD Grimm v Chris Jericho v Jerry Lynn (World Champion Match)
            The crowd boos Jericho, cheers Lynn and doesn’t know what to make of Grimm. He looks scary and imposing – he is the tallest in this match – his moves are stiff and his finisher is deadly. But he rarely takes shortcuts and just outwrestles everyone. And he also seems to have a sense of humour. Finally Hulk Hogan comes to the ring. “Now, this is an important match,” he intones. “So I want it to be a fair fight. A clean fight. And may the best man win.”
            Jericho snatches the mic away from him. “Hang on, brutha, who’s this special referee?”
            Hogan merely smiles and rips the suit and shirt underneath off, revealing a skin-tight referee’s tank-top, looking like the one Sid Justice used at Summerslam 91. The crowd explodes. Jericho is furious beyond words.
            The match is a little different to the standard 3-way matches in that for nearly the entire match it is all three in the ring. No real alliances are formed, and pins are broken up all the time. But Hogan’s count remains constant and not even Jericho’s constant complaining can upset him or faze him. So many amazing moves are exhibited. Grimm has Jericho in a hangman’s sleeper which is cut short by an enzuigiri from Lynn, connecting more than 10 feet in the air. A little later Jericho has Lynn in a liontamer, but a dropkick to Jericho’s head from Grimm, who then lands on Lynn’s back with a deliberate elbow drop stops that hold. Later still Lynn somehow manages to get Grimm into position for the over-the-shoulder belly to back piledriver, but as he hits it, a flying elbow from Jericho right between his eyes sends Grimm across the ring and Lynn flying backwards. Another thing which amazes the crowd is that the action stays in the ring. Only when Jericho rolls out to catch his breath – allowing Grimm to set Lynn up for the cut-throat driver which Jericho stops with a springboard drop-kick – and Lynn is thrown over the top rope by Grimm does any of the men even leave the ring. And Hogan’s influence is only shown once in the whole match, when he refuses to count a Jericho pin on Lynn after a blatant and deliberate series of low blows. Jericho stands to remonstrate with him but he is lifted from behind by Grimm and hit with a nasty release German suplex which pops the crowd. However, after all of that, the ending comes thus: Lynn catches Jericho ready for the pile-driver, but Grimm lifts both men up. Jericho drops to the ground as Grimm hits the cut-throat on Lynn. Jericho then slams into Grimm with a forearm and goes to cover Lynn. But Lynn grabs him for a small package which Grimm breaks with drop-kick. He struggles up and Jericho hits him with a code-breaker and Lynn comes in and slams a German Suplex onto Jericho but Grimm hits another cut-throat on Lynn, then delivers a curb-stomp. As he goes for the cover, however, a lionsault by Jericho lands on his back and he rolls out of the ring as Lynn writhes in pain. Into the Liontamer and despite fighting and trying desperately for the ropes, Lynn finally has no option but to tap. (Time: 31:12)
            And it is with some reluctance that Hogan holds the hand of the victorious Chris Jericho up high. The crowd is not happy at the result, but the match was something to remember. And Grimm stands at ringside, where he was when the match finally ended, and glares at Jericho. Hogan sees him and nods. Grimm smiles.
            The first challenger to the title is ready.
            And this is just the beginning…

 

 

That’s this view – December 22 through January 10.

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