THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #81 – Superbowl, Aussie Rules And RCW

 Riot City Wrestling have started the year with a bang while the West Indies have come to town in the cricket. Plus, after some queries, I present an overview of Australian Rules Football before the season starts. I’ll try and do one for rugby at some point, and later on in the year maybe even one for cricket. But, still, it’s been quite a time to watch sport this weekend!
            Oh, and a quick one – it appears DirecTV in the States will be showing Australian drama series Underbelly in February. Catch this show. It is superb. They are showing it in chronological order, not the order it was made, so you’ll get the 1970’s stuff first and then the 80’s stuff, where it was actually made the other way around. The 80’s stuff – the second half of what is being shown in the US – is some of the best television Australia has produced.

Superbowl
            Well, I watched this spectacle.
            I loved it! It seemed to go at a much faster pace than in recent years. I loved the come from behind win, the 70+-yard interception touchdown, the just break the plane of the goal touchdown, the tackling, everything. It was a good game, even if the result ended up being something of a blow-out. But even that was in doubt down to the last minute or so. What more could you want from a championship match?
            Look, as an Australian, we have some issues with the concept of wearing padding and helmets. But after watching some of the tackles, and seeing at least one helmet go flying off, maybe it’s not such a bad idea.
            One of my US friends and I were ‘talking’ online afterwards and he felt the game lacked passion and intensity. I said it was still a good game to watch. He also disliked The Who; I thought they were great. Not as good as 30 years ago, but who is? He said they need acts that can cut across all barriers and not offend anyone. He suggested Beyonce. I told him that would offend people who liked music. He promptly went offline.
            Great game, great atmosphere (even half a world away), great day.
            Oh, and the result? Look, I support New England, and have done for over 20 years, so I did not care who won (although I liked New Orleans after they put Favre’s team out) and that does take some of the excitement out of it, but not much.
            Roll on next season.

Cricket
International
First Twenty20 International

Australia v Pakistan
Australian 127 (18.4 overs); Pakistan 9/125 – Australia won by 2 runs
            The highlight was Shaun Tait sending down the fastest ball ever on Australian soil – 160.7 km/h. Apart from that it was a close and exciting game with lots of big hitting but each team only had three players reach double figures with the bat. It felt meaningless and seemed to be played with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.
Tour Match
West Indies v Prime Ministers XI
45 over game due to rain
West Indies 5/399; PM XI 7/312 – West Indies won by 90 runs (using the Duckworth Lewis confuse everyone everywhere method)
            Wow! The Windies have come ready to play their one-day series against Australia! This was a comprehensive hit out with some huge hitting (Gayle 146 of 89 balls!) and a team effort in the bowling. The matches against Australia could be interesting.
First One Day International
Australia v West Indies
Australia 8/256; West Indies 143 (34.2 overs) – Australia won by 113 runs
            The Windies started well, bowling and fielding well enough to contain the Australians to a modest total. And then their batting fell apart until it was a foregone conclusion and the Australians really did cruise to an easy victory. After their opening match this was a huge let-down by the Windies. An unfortunate spectacle made all the worse by an MCG crowd that barely filled a third of available seating. It just lacked a lot of that certain ‘something’ to make it feel like a great game. Has Twenty20 cricket signed the death knell of the 50-over game? Or will one-dayers adapt with this new threat the way test cricket adapted to the one-day format by changing itself and its mental attitude.
Sheffield Shield
            No matches this week
Ford Ranger Cup
New South Wales v Queensland
New South Wales 4/293; Queensland 9/287 – New South Wales won by 6 runs
            Jacques is back. He carried his bat for an unbeaten 171 – the second highest one-day score in the domestic competition – and to help his team to a close run victory. These teams batted like demons, but Queensland just lost their wickets too regularly and fell just short. Good game.
Western Australia v South Australia
South Australia 9/233; Western Australia 5/234 (39 overs) – Western Australia won by 5 wickets
            Pretty easy victory for the Sandgropers to end South Australia’s run for the finals. Mathematically they can still make it, but it seems that WA have made it there instead.

Australian Rules Football
An overview of the game has been asked for. So, with the pre-season competition coming up very soon, let’s have a look:
            Let me say before I start that I think Aussie Rules is the most exciting football code to watch. I enjoy all forms of rugby, I enjoy Gridiron (even played it for a bit), I love Gaelic football (yet I think soccer is dull) but Aussie Rules is my favourite of the codes.
            So I am biased.
            Aussie Rules is the most mainstream game to have its origins in Australia. It really is an Australian game, even though various leagues exist throughout Europe, America and Asia. And, I believe, South Africa. Its origins are not entirely clear – some say it was an adaptation of English games, some that it came from an Aboriginal game, some that it was a mixture of everything – but it seems that Tom Wills in the 1850s set up the rules of the game to help cricketers keep fit over the winter.
            Players can move the ball in the field of play – an oval, not a rectangle like to many other football games – in any way they see fit except they are not allowed to throw it and if they have the ball they must keep moving it by at the very least touching it on the ground. There is no offside rule in the game either – players can roam at will once the ball is in play. The ball is always in play unless it is marked (caught on the full) or a free kick is awarded or a behind is scored.
            Scoring is done through four sticks. Through the centre two is a goal, with 6 points, through the outside ones a behind worth one behind. Yes, Aussie Rules gives you a point for missing. Tackling is hard and no pads are worn. You cannot tackle head high or in the back and tripping is not allowed, but generally you can do most anything else. There are 4 quarters of 20 minutes plus time on.
            All right, that’s the rules in a general overview.
            The problem comes for many non-Australians with the interpretations of these rules. The umpires have the final say on these things and mistakes can be made as there is no technological component. And some umpires interpret the rules differently, which can also be confusing.
            There is also an issue with the mark – especially the ‘speckie’ which is such a highlight of our fame. The ball must be on control. This means that sometimes a ball can come loose on landing on the ground but the mark is still awarded. Again, interpretations.
            There are 18 players on the field and generally 4 reserves. Interchange is unlimited. There are distinct positions, but they are only there for naming terms and to establish teams; players can and do go wherever the game plan tells them to go.
            There are many levels of competition. The Australian Football League is seen as the pinnacle, the best of the football. However, they have a habit of overriding other lower leagues and making demands that can be considered unrealistic or detrimental to others, especially individual teams within the AFL. They have also started to over-codify the game, resulting in a spectacle that while high on skill can be sterile and passionless.
            The next level is the state leagues. The best of these is, in my opinion, the South Australian National Football league. However, they are about to shoot themselves in the foot by reducing their competition and this will mean the competition ceases to be as relevant as they currently are.
            Then you have your amateur and semi-professional leagues. This is your run of the mill footballer who plays for fun and fitness, and your young guys trying to make it in the higher leagues. I played for one team years ago; my father, grandfather and great-grandfather played for another team, until my father went to yet another team…
            Yes, we’re tragic.
            As the season gets closer I’ll go through the teams themselves.
            And if there is anything anyone out there would like to know, please end me a note, leave a comment, start a thread on the forums, something, and I’ll try to address it in a future column.

Tennis
Federation Cup World Group II
Australia v Spain
            Australia def Spain 3-2
            Some good tennis from Australian Samantha Stosur was the difference. She should crack the top echelon sometime in the next 2 years, barring injury. I don’t mean world number one, but maybe a grand slam final, top 10, something like that.
Samantha Stosur (Aus) def Maria-Jose Martinez-Sanchez (Esp) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
Casey Dellacqua (Aus) def by Anabel Medina Garrigues 2-6, 3-6
Samantha Stosur (Aus) def Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1, 6-3
Alicia Molik (Aus) def by Carla Suarez-Navarro (Esp) 1-6, 1-6
Samantha Stosur / Rennae Stubbs (Aus) def Nuria Llagostera-Vives / Maria-Jose Martinez-Sanchez (Esp) 6-4, 6-2

Soccer
A-League – Round 25
North Queensland Fury 2 def Newcastle Jets 1
            Now we’re back on track…
Round 26
Melbourne Victory 2 def North Queensland Fury 0
Adelaide United 2 def Brisbane Roar 0
            Adelaide’s first win at home since October. Too little, too late, I’m afraid.
Sydney 3 def Perth Glory 2
Gold Coast United 0 def by Wellington Phoenix 1
            Hang on! No we’re not! One more match to complete this round…

 

Basketball
NBL Round Nineteen
Cairns 79 def Perth 76
New Zealand 88 def Wollongong 60
Gold Coast 86 def Perth 73
Melbourne 78 def by Perth 84
Townsville 89 def Cairns 76
Wollongong 100 def Gold Coast 88
WNBL Round Seventeen
Townsville 73 def by Sydney 77
Canberra 90 def Perth 59
Dandenong 50 def by Bulleen 92
Logan 68 def AIS 55
Bendigo 94 def Perth 67
Adelaide 72 def by Canberra 99

Riot City Wrestling
Reanimated V, Feb 6, 2010
A Fan’s Eye View
I’m going to try a slightly different format in this one. It will make the reviews shorter and hopefully a little easier to digest with an overview, and then a comments section.
Let’s see how we go.
            If it was not a full house, it was as near as dammit. And the crowd were hot without being obnoxious.
            The show starts with Commissioner Jack introducing himself, laying down the rules for RCW 2010 and explaining the Grimm/Jacko situation stemming from the last show of 2009. Short, sharp and shiny, the way a promo should be.
(1) Fuzion (with Savannah Summers) v BeBop
            BeBop’s RCW debut.
            Overview: BeBop was wrestling as a high flyer against Fuzion’s power-based moves. The match was back and forth with one then the other getting the ascendency. Fuzion seemed to zero in on the shoulder and arm at various points in the match. End came when Savannah dropped some knucks in the ring, the ref found them, Fuzion came to argue and BeBop got the fluke toll-up for the win, thus ending Fuzion’s rookie-killer reputation.
            Comments: The moves BeBop pulled out were phenomenal: Somersault kick, standing SSP. However the selling of the arm was a little dodgy. The crowd were into it, though. It was a hot opener, setting the stage for the show well. Good match.
(2) Plasma v Tim Burgundy
            Burgundy’s RCW debut.
            Overview: Started off with some good basic chain wrestling, some technical work. This led to some outside work by Plasma before Burgundy went to work the arm. Plasma hit 3 shoulder blocks. Back and forth for a while. Burgundy hit a brain buster into an arm bar submission for the tap-out win.
            Comments: Plasma’s arm selling was hit or miss, completely forgetting it, for example, when he hit the shoulder blocks. Some in the crowd did not appreciate the chain wrestling, but they did not draw it out too long. Little loose in parts. Plasma is improving now he’s ditched the mask and Burgundy already looks good in the ring. Oh, and Burgundy looks like Sheamus’ younger brother…
(3) Del Taurino (with El Presidente) v Voodoo
            Overview: Great back and forth match for about 5 minutes, then El Presidente got up on the apron and Marvel ran in to beat down Voodoo for the DQ.
            Comments: Dammit! Wanted to see more! But the ref was there…
BUT WAIT!
Commissioner Jack comes out to put and end to it. He says this is what he’s trying to stop, so he’s got something out the back to help things. He goes out back, and Mimic runs out and Jack makes a tag match. El Presidente demands it be a Mexican scramble match and that he go on commentary, which Jack allows. So now we have:
(3) pt 2: Mimic & Voodoo v Marvel & Del Taurino.
            Overview: There was generally too much action to call, with stuff happening inside and out. The scramble rules (when some-one goes out of the ring it’s counted as a tag to his partner) made it even harder to call. The masked ones hit some awesome double team moves on Voodoo to set up their long term partnership advantage. But Mimic and Voodoo hit some of their own. There were so many near falls and breaking ups of counts it was hard to keep track. There was action inside and outside the ring again. Then Voodoo hit the cannibal destroyer on Marvel, Mimic hit the Sega Mega Driver on Marvel and Mimic pinned him for the three-count.
            Comments: Little tentative at the start. Marvel’s high hip toss was a thing of beauty. They maybe overdid the sheer number of near falls at the end, and some I spoke to felt the match was a little too long at 20+ minutes. But that’s by the by. Match of the night. And made of awesomeness
(4) Miami v Savannah Summers v Sway
            Sway’s RCW debut, coming over from Victoria
            Elimination rules
            Overview: Started off as a nice 3-way before it turned into a series of 1-on-1 matches. Some good, hard moves. Sway and Summers did some double-teaming on Miami for a while before turning on one another. Miami hit a double Russian leg sweep / stroke on the other two in a cool visual. First elimination: Miami pinned Sway after a stroke. Miami almost had Summers pinned when Sway pulled her out. Miami and Sway went at it outside. Summers was gloating at Miami about to be counted out when Miami dragged her out. The count restarted, double count out of the ring.
            Comments: Did we almost see a Shockmaster on the entry? Little loose in parts; Sway will have to learn as all interstaters that RCW is a little stiffer than most, but looking at her here, she’ll catch on fast. Good match with the crowd really into it. Even the guys who usually chant ‘Boring’ during anything involving the women’s division kept their mouths shut.
(5) Luke Santamaria v Brad Smyth
            Brad started on the mic with a good overview of their history together and the paths their careers have taken.
            Overview: Slow feeling out process showed they were evenly matched. It sped up and went outside where Luke was dumped hard. Brad then started to work the knee and leg. This led to some nasty (in a good way) stuff outside the ring. Inside the intensity picked up. Brad locked in a half Boston crab for a long time. Brad removed a turnbuckle pad while the ref checked on Luke’s knee. Of course, he was then reversed into it himself. Luke hit a fameasser, but the leg prevented the pin. More back and forth but Luke’s leg meant he could not put Brad away. Brad finally got the pin, then gloated afterwards.
            Comments: Luke’s best match. His selling of the leg was great – consistent and logical. He even limped when he ran. The ending probably should have involved the leg in some way. But a very good match.
(6) GD Grimm v Jacko Lantern
            TJ Rush special guest referee
            For the RCW Championship
            Overview: The match began before Grimm’s music had finished playing. Through the crowd and outside the ring, but the ref let it go until they were back in the ring. The referee showed bias throughout. The end came when Jacko hit TJ by mistake, leading to a GD Grimm curb stomp for a reluctant 3-count. Afterwards Grimm and TJ have a brief confrontation.
            Comments: While the fast count – slow count bias by TJ Rush played into the storyline well, some of the other things the ref did were not what is expected of one of the ‘good guys’ of the promotion – like ‘accidentally’ hitting the ropes to knock Grimm down. It made the ending seem like it was Grimm, the heel, overcoming the odds against him to win. Reversed dynamic that we’re not used to, I guess. And, thinking about it on my way home, it actually made sense as it now established Grimm as the monster who can win no matter what. So it achieved its aim. This was, by the way, Jacko’s best match in RCW. Another really good match and a good way to end the night.
OVERALL: Well, they have set the bar pretty high to start the year. No dud matches, a good night, great wrestling and continuing storylines that seem to have some illusion of logic behind them. In my Wrestling Fantasy Draft on Inside Pulse I selected some of these guys; if we do it again, I’m selecting more. Looks like it’s going to be a great year to be a fan of RCW!

That’s this view – Feb 1 through 8.

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