On Friday, I went to see the TKO MMA show along with Manny Elefthriou, Genevieve Goulet and Stefany Sinclair. Manny Elefthriou is Quebec’s (many would say Canada’s) most successful wrestling promoter, PCP Crazy F’N Manny. Genevieve Goulet is the First Lady of Hardcore, Canada’s best joshi (female wrestler) Lufisto. Stefany Sinclair is the champion of l’Association de Lutte Feminin. Since ALF is Canada’s only regularly running joshi promotion, she is arguably the Canadian Woman’s Wrestling Champion. Me? I’m Michael “Llakor” Ryan, Manny’s writer.
(Evidence of where writers feature in the wrestling food chain: Manny, Lufisto and Stefany are whooping it up in a private box that Manny got free, because someone is trying to impress Manny. Meanwhile I paid $59.50 to sit in the reds. Admittedly for that price, I got a great seat - 118 - A - 11 - an aisle seat in the lower section of the reds. One seat further down and I would have paid an extra ten dollars for the seat.)
Vendredi soir je suis aller au show de TKO 29-RÉPERCUSSION ! Billet offert par notre très cher "Uncle Manny" ! Merci BEAUCOUP , c'est très apprécier.
The TKO cut off a little bit more of the Bell Centre than the WWE does which makes sense since they do not need as long an entrance-way as the WWE does. Not much chance of a brawl at the entrance for one thing. The larger ring and the shortened arena make the atmosphere more intimate than when the WWE does a show here.
Production values are high. They have a dynamite announcer. Each fight is preceded by a video introduction in French and a short statement by the fighters in either French or English. For almost all of the fights, one fighter is from Quebec and his opponent is from outside and speaks English. Each fighter gets a dramatic entrance with lights and music (some more dramatic than others). After each fight, they play the winner’s music and an interview with the winning fighter is done.
Dès le début j'étais énerver comme un enfant. WOW...l'ambiance c'est super. D'être sur place, de voir de ses yeux l'octogone, l'entrée sa donne des frissons, c'est assez impresionnant.
The idea of the octagon is reinforced by the fact that the octagon is actually a series of smaller octagons, like a series of Russian dolls. There is an octagon platform that the cameramen stand on to shoot the fights and that the ring girls walk around announcing the rounds. There is not really enough room for the ring girls to navigate around the cameramen so they keep colliding, leading me to believe that the camera platform was deigned by cameramen who enjoy pretty girls in skimpy bikinis colliding with them. Inside the octagon camera platform is the black octagon cage. Inside the cage is a blue mat with a black and gold octagon in the centre advertising SPIKE which is not the TV show but a dietary supplement.
TKO is a stats geek dream. They make a point of announcing every fighters record with his TKOs and submission victories. And announcing the time of the win. I suppose that it is no surprise that they put a lot more emphasis on TKOs and less than on submissions. Personally, I find submission victories more impressive.
(Results stolen from Death Valley Driver.)
FW: Adrian Wooley d. Guillame Lamarche - TKO (Ref Stoppage from Ground Strikes), R3, 1:51 MW: Marcus Celestin d. Brett Pearson - Submission (Kimura), R1, 2:22 FW: Syd Barnier d. Eric Leclerc - TKO (Ref Stoppage from Ground Strikes), R2, :15
Alors la soirée commence avec 3 combats préliminaires. Maudit que sa doit pas être facile pour ceux qui sont en préliminaire. Personne est vraiment encore dedans, la moitié des gens sont même pas encore arriver. Les gens se prépare pour la soirée, discute, regarde le programme, commande de la bière...alors considérant tout sa j'ai été très impresionné. Pas mal tous des gars qui se battaient en pro pour la 1ère ou 2ième fois.
Pas mal tous les match ont été exellent.
WW: Stephane “Sensei” Dube d. David “Lumberjack” Medd - TKO (Ref Stoppage from Strikes), R1, 2:26
En commencant je suis vendu à Sensei car il entre sur une toune de U2. Moi, sa commence bien ma soirée. Sensei y est aller pour une 6ième victoire de suite en battant MEDD. J'aimerais préciser que le gars à 41 ans ! WOW !
HW: Sebastien “Iron Leg” Gauthier d. Jon “Nasty” Mirasty - TKO (Ref Stoppage from Strikes), R1, 4:10
Là je suis totalement vendu à Gauthier car ce gars là viens de chez nous...CHICOUTIMI, SAGUENAY. Comment puis-je m'empêcher. Par contre, la foule le hue...:( Sa lui a pas empêcher de gagner contre son adversaire de 24 ans (lui en a 31). J'étais pas mal fière de nos bleuet :)
LW: Yves “The Shark” Lemelin d. Steve Pouliot - Split Decision
This is where I started taking notes
Woman’s Match Sarah Kaufman 4-0, 4 KOs, 135.4 pounds, blue corner, white trunks, Victoria, B.C. Entrance Music “Down With the Sickness” by Disturbed (Mixed Crowd Reaction) vs. Valerie Letourneau 1-0, 1 KO, 135.4 pounds, red corner, black trunks, Montreal, QC (Big Cheers)
This is why I came. Kaufman vs. Letourneau is the first woman’s match in TKO. Most of the media have been focusing on the fact that it is the first such fight - making Letourneau seem unique, an aberration. I prefer to think of her as part of a continuity, part of the history of Quebec fighting women like Vivianne Vachon, once World Woman’s Wrestling Champion, her niece Luna, Lufisto, who is so good that for years that she fought men almost exclusively, Stefany Sinclair and judoka’s Sophie Roberge and Aminata Sall.
They start out punching, Kaufman pushes Letourneau into the side of the cage. Letourneau seems to get close to turning an inferior position into a triangle choke, so Kaufman picks her up and carries her all the way to the other side of the octagon. The referee eventually breaks them up and restarts them at around 2:50. They circle and Letourneau kicks Kaufman hard in the face, knocking her down. Letourneau jumps in for the kill, but Kaufman eventually gets her head loose and Letourneau has to dance away. As the ten second warning of the end of the round goes off, they both start throwing punches and they end in a flurry of blows.
Kaufman looks strong, while Letourneau looks like she has an edge in speed and technique. The second round starts and Kaufman just keeps coming like a bulldozer, throwing punch after punch. No punch in and of itself looks dangerous, but there are so many of them and Letourneau can neither answer them, nor endure them and she calls it quits at 1:36.
Vous avez bien lut...un combat de FEMME WOW ! J'attendais ce combat avec impatience. Bien que les l'opinions des fans donnaient la victoire à 70% contre 30% à la Montréalaise LÉTOURNEAU, KAUFMAN l'a emporter HAUT la main. Cette fille là c'est de la dynamite. Elle fonce et n'a peur de rien, c'est ce qui a sans aucun doute déstabiliser LÉTOURNEAU. Le combat a été arrêter par l'officiel en 2ième round car LÉTOURNEAU, après avoir recu plusieur coup consécutif au visage ne répondait plus, plus de défense du tout. Elle encaissait coup après coup les bas mou le long du corps. Dommage pour la Montréalaise mais KAUFMAN a vraiment été supérieuse dans cet affrontement.
Ladies FW: Sarah Kaufman d. Valerie Letourneau - TKO (Ref Stoppage from Strikes), R2, 1:36
After the match, Sarah Kaufman says that she was not flustered by the obviously partisan crowd, because she keeps wrestling away from her home-town so she has gotten used to not being cheered.
I wonder if Valerie Letourneau will keep fighting. It seemed like the loss was as much about experience as anything else. It looked like Letourneau had a slight edge on the ground and the kick to Kaufman’s head certainly seemed to show that she had an edge in speed, but Kaufman was relentless. Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest once said that strategy was “to git thar fust with the most...” To me Kaufman’s punches looked loose and sloppy, but she got their first with them and she kept throwing them... and on this day Valerie Letourneau had no answer for them.
Light-Heavyweight Match: Tyler “TNT” Jackson, 7-1-3, 4 KOs, 155.4 pounds, blue corner, white trunks, Langley, B.C. “Martin’s never faced anyone who could hit like me.” vs. Martin “The Hammer” Grandmont, 4-3, 4 KOs, 155.8 red corner, black trunks, Drummondville, QC “Mon plan? Frapper fort. Puis frapper tres fort. Puis frapper tres tres fort.”
Most wrestling like promos of the night. Grandmont is hyperactive, bouncing all over the ring before the match starts. Grandmost is slightly taller than Jackson and his trunks have slits on the side of the legs presumably to give his legs freer movement for kicks... or to intimidate his opponents with that possibility.
They start out dancing and testing each other at range, throwing punches and kicks but nothing serious. After about two minutes of this, the crowd starts to boo. The referee claps his hands like he agrees with the crowd and the two men move in for a clinch which ends with both men on the ground with TNT on top. After about a minute on the ground they are back up and as they break Grandmont tags Jackson with a low kick. The referee stops the action around 3:20 to give Jackson time to recover. The match resumes around 4:10 and they end up extending the round for the stoppage. As the match resumes they go back to circling each other but they are both more intense. More purposeful blows are launched and more actually land. The round ends with Grandmont landing several kicks to Jackson’s head.
The second round begins with the circling and the crowd gets impatient about ninety seconds in. They start grabbing at each other which perks the crowd up, but they break pretty quickly and go back to circling. Grandmont kicks Jackson in the head and someone in the crowd makes loud Tweety noises. Around 3:25 they grapple and TNT picks up Grandmont and body slams him, but Grandmont escapes and is back up within twenty seconds. Grandmont throws a twirl punch, which confuses me, because it looks like something that someone would do in a wrestling match. The round ends with Grandmont testing Jackson with several kicks to the legs.
The third round begins with the two men back to circling. Grandmont lands a flurry of blows about ninety seconds in, but the crowd gets restless a little after the two minute mark when he can not follow up. Jackson seems to get rattled by the crowd as he slips just when they really get loud and Grandmont shows for the first time why they call him “The Hammer” taking it to Jackson with several intense blows, but then dancing away. Just before the three minute mark, TNT dives for a grapple and forces Grandmont to the ground, but Grandmont fights his way back on top after about thirty seconds of ground fighting and he hammers TNT again and then again breaks and dances away. From a distance, Grandmont poses with his arms extended to taunt TNT. They go back to testing each other at a distance and Grandmont throws his silly twirl punch after about a minute. When the ten second warning goes off, Grandmont levels Jackson to his knees, but doesn’t have enough time to finish him off.
While we wait for the judges’ decision, the cameraman encourages Grandmont to make Hulk Hogan poses.
Ici aussi me semble que sa été long. Hammer l'a emporter en 3 round par décision unanime. (Je pense) Le pauvre gars a fait le show tout seul. TNT arrêtait pas de se sauver. Le combat était selon moi à sens unique. TNT porte mal son nom ! GRANDMONT s'est excuser à la fin d'avoir prit beaucoup de temps...selon moi, c'étais vraiment pas sa faute.
LW: Martin Grandmont d. Tyler Jackson - Unanimous Decision The judges had it 29-27, 30-26 and 30-27.
I think that Grandmont controlled the match, but he failed to dominate it. He had several chances to finish off the match, but he seemed to choose to get his blows in and then dance away rather than try for something decisive. It seemed at times like he was giving Jackson possibly a bit more respect than he truly deserved.
His twirl punch is completely a wrestling move. It looks cool and does absolutely nothing to hurt your opponent except possibly demoralize him (or worse case scenario piss him off.) One of these days, Grandmont is going to try that move against someone really fast and they are going to kick his head off as he spins.
In the post-match interview, Jackson acknowledges that fans were not pleased with the way that the fight progressed.
Heavyweight Match David Fraser, 0-2, 212(?) pounds, blue corner, grey trunks, Riviere-de-Loup, QC vs. Steve “The Boss” Bosse, 1st match, 223.6 pounds, red corner, white trunks, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
The intro video shows Bosse beating the crap out of people in hockey games. He gets two large illuminated signs that say “There’s a New Boss in Town” and he gets fireworks. I think I can safely say that with the possible exception of Fraser there is not a single person in the building who wants Fraser to win. In Friday’s Montreal Gazette, Dave Stubbs called Bosse “a warehouse-sized, cement-fisted enforcer...” I prefer the term “gorilla” myself. (And if Mr. Bosse ever reads this, I mean gorilla with all due respect.) The one thing that I am certain of is that when Manny saw Bosse’s cut physique, he probably said, “Now, THAT is a FIGHTER!”
Fraser is pasty-white and has a doughy shape. He looks like one of those guys who got their strength from working on a farm rather than doing weights, except that his lack of a tan precludes him actually working outdoors. He reminds me of current ROH champion Morishima, who doesn’t look like much, until he takes someone’s head off and then you go, “Oh yeah, he’s strong as hell.” Unfortunately, while muscle definition is no guarantee of victory, I fear that Fraser’s technique is as undefined as his upper torso.
Bosse is immediately throwing rockets to the head, so Fraser moves to grapple. The crowd is chanting “OLE!” as they break after about forty seconds. Fraser tries to grab the leg, but Bosse forces a break. At about the minute mark, Bosse has Fraser to his knees with clubbing blows. Fraser is desperately trying to grapple, but man lowering your head in front of this gorilla is a bad idea, and in fact I had just written that in my notes when Fraser tries to grapple again, lowers his head and Bosse knees him in the face. Fraser straightens out, somewhat lop-sided, and in perfect position for Bosse to stiff him twice in the face. Fraser crumbles. Referee Yves Lavigne jumps in to stop the slaughter,
Steve BOSSÉ a eu une entrée très impresionnante avec les lumières fermé et les flammes. Disons que FRASER ne devait pas se laisser déstabiliser par sa. BOSSÉ est un joueur de hockey connu dans la ligues canadienne pour être un bagarreur. Il s'agissait de son premier début en pro. Il 'est entrainer en boxe et en lutte. Le gars espèrait ne pas avoir à aller au sol avec son adversaire car BOSSÉ connait sa force de frappe debout. FRASER a tenter à quelques reprise d'amener THE BOSS au sol, sans aucun résultats. Très stable, trop imposant, THE BOSS n'a pas eu a utiliser ses récentes techniques de lutte contre son adversaire. Un très bon combat.
HW: Steve Bosse d. David Fraser - TKO (Ref Stoppage from Ground Strikes), R1, 2:02
After the referee steps in, Bosse raises his knee and points to his coach, as if to say, “Hey! It worked!” It was almost as though the last thing that Bosse’s coach said to him before the fight started was, “He is going to try and go for your legs. When he does, knee him in the face and while he’s stunned, kill him.”
Middle-Weight Match Travis Axworthy, 3-0, 2KOs, 1 Submission, 184.8 pounds, blue corner, black trunks, Charlottetown, PEI. His music is “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. He is described as a “Thai Boxer” and that his previous wins were in the UFC. Jonathan “Road Warrior” Goulet, 17-7, 7 KOs, 7 Submissions, 184.8 pounds, red corner, blue trunks, Victoriaville, QC His music is a rap song with the words “Fight, Fight” constantly repeated. He is the Number One Contender for the Welterweight Title.
Both men are hyperactive. I am cheering for Axworthy because he is from P.E.I. and for half a second, I can convince himself that he has a shot because he is a “Thai Boxer”. Yeah, that did not turn out well.
In chess, there is a theoretical way to win a chess match in three moves. It is called a fool’s mate, because you need the active cooperation of your opponent to walk into the trap. This was a fool’s mate. Axworthy kicked low and placed his head perfectly for a Goulet high kick that took his damn fool head off. That kick was the prettiest thing that I saw all night and I am including the ring girls.
Heeee tout ce que j'ai a dire c'est WOW ! Une victoire en 8 seconde. J'Y CROYAIT PAS. Ce gars là est a surveiller. Un kick !.... OMG ! :)
MW: Jonathan Goulet d. Travis Axworthy - KO (High Kick), R1, :08 [Not a typo.]
After the match, Goulet is up on top of the octagon making belt motions to the delight of the crowd.
Main Event - Middleweight Title Match (Vacant Title) Jason “Doom’s” Day, 11-4, 5 KOs, 6 Submissions, 184.6 pounds, blue corner, black trunks with white stripe, Lethbridge, Alberta “He’s hungry. I’m hungry. I want to see how he is on the ground. It will be over quick or it will be a battle of attrition.” Music “Black Betty” by Ram Jam
Patrick “Le Predateur” Cote, 9-4, 3 KOs, 3 Submissions, 184.4 pounds, red corner, yellow trunks, Quebec, QC “Pense pas qu’il va partir avec la ceinture.” Music “It’s a Fight” by Three 6 Mafia.
Cote is treated like the conquering hero come home from Las Vegas. Like Bosse, he gets the illuminated signs. His say “The Predator is back” Also like Bosse, he gets the fireworks treatment.
Unlike the other matches, which were announced as three rounds of three minutes, this is announced as five rounds of five minutes. In addition to the two ring girls announcing that it is Round One, there is a ring girl carrying around the belt.
They are quickly into the side of the Octagon with Cote pushing Day around. At about 1;20, Day is trying to pull Cote to the ground, but Cote slips out of his grasp and Day ends up on the ground, Cote jumps him, but Day fights back to his feet. Day gets control and has Cote down and is cranking on the grapple. Cote fights out of it, but Day is able to get some blows in. The crowd starts chanting “Cote” in support at the three minute mark and Cote fights to his feet as the crowd cheers. The two men break and exchange blows. Cote bullies Day down and gets a dominant position where he can rain blows down with impunity. Day taps in submission.
Un exellent combat! Le retour dans le ring de COTÉ après 2 ans d'absence dans l'arène de TKO. (Il étais à UFC dernièrement) COTÉ est maintenant le nouveau champion poids moyen de TKO. Une entrée aussi des plus impressionnante....des artifices, le gris KIT Un très bon match !
TKO MW Title: Patrick Cote d. Jason Day - Submission (Ground Strikes), R1, [4:05]
They announce it as a TKO, but Day clearly tapped in submission.
It is a cliche that in wrestling that the crowd rallies to the side of the baby face and he draws strength from their support, but cliches are cliches because they are true... to a certain extent. It certainly seemed that Cote drew strength from the crowd and adrenalin powered up out of a grapple.
Let me just tell you folks, Vince dancing is one of those awful things that you just can't look away from (and shouldn't). He was worse than Elaine on Seinfeld. Yet oddly enough I still enjoyed seeing him back.