Monday, November 22, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Preview (Part III)

I’ve been going back and forth for the past few days about whether or not I should address Kyle Singler’s trick shot video that most people agree is nothing more than a blatant rip off of my critically acclaimed Mr. Rainmaker video.  Even as I sit down to write this I don’t know whether I should talk about it.  The truth is that I don’t think Singler has ever seen my video, so I can’t be too butthurt about anything he did.  But at the same time I’m pretty certain that people within the Duke basketball program have seen Mr. Rainmaker (I know some people who know some people who know some things), which means there’s a good chance whoever approached Singler with the idea for his video was inspired by my video.  Still, I think I should probably just take the high road for now.  I need some time to gather my thoughts and make sure I don’t have a Dan Gilbert moment and say something too emotional.  But that’s not to say that I’ll let this issue go away quietly.  Because quite simply, in the words of The Dude, “This aggression will not stand, man.”

While I think about the best way to handle this situation, I think we should all just focus on Part III of the Club Trillion College Basketball Preview.  Today we’re talking about the loss of hair, the loss of rules/morals, and the loss of one’s conscious when the game matters most.  As a reminder, I’m writing the FIFA and college basketball sections and my friend Keller is tackling the professional wrestling sections (to get up to speed on how the format works, check out Part I and Part II of the preview). 

PREMATURE BALDING
This category takes a look at the guys who would have every right to get upset with the genes they were given, if not for the fact that those same genes helped make them high caliber athletes.  I would call this situation a catch-22, but I’m not sure I even fully understand what “catch-22” actually means.  Maybe me not being able to use the phrase because I don’t know what it means is itself a catch-22? Or maybe the first situation really is a catch-22, and the fact that I was hesitant to use the term even though I would have been using it correctly is also a catch-22?  Holy balls my head hurts trying to figure this out.  Maybe we should just move on.

FIFA: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Most of you probably don’t know about Rooney’s recent sex scandal because he’s an English soccer player, which is to say he’s irrelevant because he’s not American and he doesn’t play football, basketball, or baseball.  So allow me to fill you in.  Basically the gist of the story is that Rooney cheated on his wife (who he has been dating since they were 16) with a prostitute while she was pregnant with their first child.  Not that big of a deal, right?  I mean, common folk like you and I would never do something as dumb as this, but it’s almost expected of celebrities to go big or go home with their sex scandals.  And on a scale from 1 to Tiger, this seems likes it’s barely a Letterman.  Until you dig a little deeper, that is.

The issue here isn’t that that Rooney cheated on his pregnant wife (I’m sure my fiancee is thrilled with me writing that sentence).  The issue is that he had to pay a prostitute to do so.  Now, I know it’s common knowledge that every celebrity pays a prostitute for sex at least once in their lives.  But it’s a little different with Rooney because he publicly admitted to sexing up hookers on the reg before he even turned 18.  He’s clearly way ahead of the prostitute curve, which takes this from a one time scandal to a serious pattern of questionable behavior.  Again, the problem isn’t that he’s having sex with all sorts of women (that’s the norm for athletes/celebrities) – it’s that he’s paying these women to let him tickle their innards.  Someone of his fame and stature should be able to get his rocks off without paying for it, yet it seems like he has trouble getting some for free, which is why this scandal is a bigger deal than it should be.  Most believe that Rooney has to pay for sex because his premature balding makes him one of the uglier people in the world.   While I can’t say I disagree with this sentiment, at the end of the day I still think it shouldn’t take all that much for him to get laid.  After all, he’s still probably one of the more attractive people in England, since everyone knows the English don’t have time for hygiene cause they’re always too busy losing to America at everything. USA! USA! USA!

Pro Wrestling: The Rock

This was a tough one to award. For one, male pattern baldness is a side effect of steroid use, so about 99% of wrestlers are balding in some capacity (the 1% is clearly the Ultimate Warrior and Ted DiBiase). Asking me to choose the wrestler with the biggest receding hairline is like asking me to choose the stripper with the lowest self-esteem, or the most metrosexual blazer from Express in Danny Peters’ closet. There will be a lot of candidates. For two, many of the balding wrestlers choose to shave their heads completely to hide it (see: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg, and Gillberg).  And for three, nearly every wrestler who I was going to pick turned out to be like 40 years old from my earliest memory of him. I was going use this space to talk about how Dean Malenko was criminally underrated , but I don’t remember any of his matches before around 1997, when he was 37 years old. It’s not exactly premature balding at that point. Enter The Rock.

Rock Hair

Take a look at that picture. Ignore the earring, or the stupid outfit, or the awful length of the hair. Instead, focus on how far back the hairline recedes. This is The Rock in his mid twenties. His level of balding is embarrassing. When you are wearing a kindergarteners Thanksgiving project as a shirt and your hairline is still the most troubling part of your look, you know it’s bad.

Nonetheless, The Rock took his follicle shortcomings and made everything else about himself the focus, presumably to deflect from the fact that it looked like somebody photoshopped Borat’s mustache onto his shaved head. He started delivering great promos. He embarked on a singing career. He took informal polls on pancake enjoyment. He grew out some ridiculous sideburns. He hit Mick Foley in the face with a chair for the better part of an hour. Essentially, he stole the show every single week until you forgot about the fact that he had a giant fivehead. It’s impressive, really. If anybody could pull it off, it was The Rock.

College Basketball: Dallas Lauderdale (Ohio State)

Truth be told, the only reason I even came up with this category was to bring up Dallas’ new look.  After years of denial (and wearing a do-rag to “catch the hair that falls out”), Dallas finally went the Clyde Drexler route by giving up on the dream and shaving his head in the offseason.  I can’t say enough how much I like this decision (and the decision to grow a solid beard to go with).  Dallas looks leaner, quicker, and about 1,000 times more badass. Some would argue that he looks leaner and quicker because he lost weight and got in better shape, but I’m sticking with my theory – it’s all about the shaving of the head.

dallas before-after

Don’t let the smiles fool you - The guy on the left ended my basketball career and the guy on the right looks capable of ending my life.

In the four games I’ve watched this year (one of which was an exhibition game), Dallas looks like he’s markedly improved from last season, which is scary for the rest of the Big Ten considering he unofficially blocked 93.4% of shots attempted on him last year.  What’s even scarier for Big Ten teams, and really the rest of the country, is that Dallas isn’t even the best big guy on Ohio State this year (some would say that he wasn’t the best big guy on the team last year, and by “some” I mean Kyle Madsen).  But whatever the case, I think we can all agree that Dallas is the perfect example of how to handle premature balding.  Some people get dealt a 7-2 off suit and pray for a miracle to somehow turn it into a royal flush.  Dallas, on the other hand, got dealt a 7-2 off suit and decided that that s*** wouldn’t fly, so he pulled out his sawed-off shotgun, pumped lead into everyone at the table, and made off with all their money cause that’s just how he MF’ing rolls.

BLATANT CHEATERS
Even though this could absolutely apply to guys who put their wiener where it doesn’t belong, in this case we’re talking about the guys who blatantly break the rules and don’t play fair.  Not only do these guys cheat, but they do so in a seemingly unapologetic fashion, which is what bugs me the most (except for the WWE example, obviously).

FIFA: My Goalie on “Legendary” Difficulty

There are very few things in this world that I don’t strive to be the best at.  Wait, I wrote that wrong.  Let me try again – There are only a few things in this world that I strive to be the best at (that’s better).  Along with mustache growing, loving my country, and Facebook stalking, FIFA is one of these things.  I simply can’t stand it when I meet someone who is better than me.  Why, you might be asking, does it mean so much to me to be the best?  Because if rap music has taught me anything other than that “trifling” is actually a real word, it’s that two is not a winner and three nobody remembers.

Because I want to be the best at FIFA, I usually only play the computer on “legendary” difficulty because it’s the only level that gives me any sort of challenge whatsoever.  The only problem with this is that that challenge usually comes in the form of my goalie throwing the game.  A simple tweaking of the difficulty settings suddenly makes my otherwise stellar goalie unable to do fundamental things like “make an attempt to stop the ball” or “refrain from diving when there’s not even a shot because it would consequently create an open net for the opposition.”  I’m of the opinion that changing the difficulty settings shouldn’t make your team any worse, but instead should only make the computer better.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and I get stuck with Robert Green in goal every game I play on legendary (suck it, England! USA! USA! USA!), even though my goalie is rock solid when I play on any other difficulty level.  The only possible explanation for this is that my goalie hates me and is intentionally throwing the game.

Pro Wrestling: Diamond Dallas Page (Ready to Rumble)

If I hadn’t already given him an award, this would naturally be a slam dunk victory for Ric Flair, who when not called The Nature Boy was known as The Dirtiest Player In The Game. A quick aside on Flair’s nicknames: when I was in elementary school there was some doucher in our neighborhood named David who sucked at life but still managed to tagalong and ruin any gathering we had. We started calling him Nature Boy, only it was meant as an insult that quantified how much he blew, and not a reference to Flair. The lesson, as always, is that I was a dumbass as a kid.

Instead, this award is going to Diamond Dallas Page. Not the real DDP; he was too busy making people feel the bang in WCW to break any rules (though he would debut in the WWE to a gigantic pop when revealed as the Undertaker’s wife’s stalker, so he wasn’t always a good guy. Naturally, watching video of Page unmasking makes me think about the other time he hid under a mask, which made me think of La Parka, which made me think of La Parka punching a fan in the face, which made me think that that fan surely still thought wrestling was real to him, dammit. The slippery slope of wrestling YouTube videos). No, I’m talking about Diamond Dallas Page in the 2000 movie Ready to Rumble, starring David Arquette and Scott Caan.

In the movie, Page forms an alliance with WCW’s evil booker, Titus Sinclair (played by Joe Pantoliano looking sweet in a cowboy hat and fringed jacket. In that same year Pantoliano would star in Memento, a movie I’ve heard is pretty good and have been meaning to watch, but forget about by the next morning) to strip reigning champion Jimmy King of the heavyweight title. King is played by a Fat Oliver Platt, who is taken by surprise when DDP starts actually fighting him in the ring. Now, King is a slob who got winded during his pre-match rap of Run DMC’s “King of Rock”. DDP was a badass who partied with Bon Jovi and got Jay-Z to pay him for the right to use the diamond symbol. Page shouldn’t have needed any help taking King down. But he used it anyway, and that’s why he earns the title of biggest cheater.

First into the ring to interfere were “Page’s Goons” – Sid Vicious, Van Hammer, Juventud Guerrera, Prince Iaukea, and Bam Bam Bigelow, five men who had no significant interaction on WCW programming yet were grouped together in the movie. They help DDP beat King down, only to have “The King’s Men” (who sound like a LARPing crew but were really Jimmy King’s protectors) rush to the ring to aide him. Or so it seemed. Instead of helping King, the group of Curt Hennig, Konnan, and Perry Saturn instead joined in on the attack. It was 8 on 1 in Page’s favor. At one point, four of the wrestlers got on the top turnbuckles. Mike Tenay, a terrible WCW announcer who I can only remember because of his long-winded explanation of why Dean Malenko was a dick for removing Rey Mysterio’s mask and his propensity to overpronounce wrestling moves like he was Giada without the awesome boobs, informs the viewing audience that they are about to perform a Four Post Massacre. Tenay claims that nobody has ever survived that (a claim that’s probably true seeing as how it was never performed before the movie). After all four men land on King at once, Page pins King and steals the title. Since, to my knowledge, nobody has ever needed greater than an 8 on 1 assault to win a match, Diamond Dallas Page is the biggest cheater. 

College Basketball: Every Coach In The Country

This summer, both Jim Calhoun and Bruce Pearl got busted for breaking NCAA recruiting rules (Pearl just recently got suspended for 8 SEC games).  Pearl’s transgressions are considered much more serious not only because he lied to NCAA investigators but also because he was blacklisted from coaching awhile back for being a whistleblower, so the idea of him cheating and lying about it is pretty ironic really (wait, is it ironic? Do I know what ironic actually means? Could it also be a catch-22 somehow?).  Meanwhile, John Calipari might be the scuzziest coach in the history of sports and has committed violations at just about every school he’s been at, but instead of getting disciplined, he gets millions of dollars and is loved by Kentucky fans everywhere. The lesson here is that if you want to be a college coach, you have to be willing to cheat your ass off.  And if you somehow get caught, all you have to do is cooperate with the investigation, say it was all a misunderstanding and it won’t happen again, and flee to a new school before the NCAA comes to your current school and just starts dishing out sanctions up in that bitch.

Seriously, though, all college coaches cheat.  It’s just to the degree that the cheating takes place that sets them apart.  Some coaches practice too often or for too long and some give money to recruits. Obviously one is more serious than the other (practicing too much sucks and any coach that can’t follow that rule should be fired immediately), but in the end they’re both considered cheating.  Still, you can’t punish every coach for cheating, so it’s important to just go after the guys who either break the rules the most often or commit the most serious violations.

As a good rule of thumb, to figure out how badly a coach cheats all you have to do is look at his hair. If it seems as though the coach doesn’t care what his hair looks like, chances are he only commits minor infractions.  Coaches that style their hair a little bit usually commit more serious violations, but nothing worth investigating.  Coaches that use way too much hair gel are just about guaranteed to be doing some shady things, and coaches that use too much hair gel and slick their hair back are surely giving recruits thousands of dollars, changing SAT scores, and probably have some sort of ties to the mafia.  Using this template, I completely expect Steve Lavin to turn St. John’s into a national powerhouse within the next five years.

UNSTOPPABLE IN CRUNCH TIME
This is simple.  If there isn’t much time left and the outcome is in the balance, these are the guys who take matters into their own hands and do something about it.  These guys will let you get a little taste of victory, and then will swiftly cut your tongue out, make you lick your own scrotum, and have sex with your girlfriend just because they can.  All without really breaking a sweat.  So yeah, don’t f*** with these guys.

FIFA: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

It’s no secret that just thinking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s abilities on FIFA gives me at least a semi-chub.  I’ve said many times that I think he’s the best athlete on a sports video game since Jeremy Roenick on NHL ‘94, but the more I think about it, he actually might be better.  Now, I know that the real Ronaldo is a puss who flops way too much and has that weird European mullet going on, but the beauty of FIFA is that the personality of the players doesn’t matter and none of the players are programmed to take dives.  All that is taken into account is pure physical and athletic talent, and there’s no denying that from a this standpoint nobody (not even Messi) can touch Ronaldo.  Ronaldo is so good, in fact, that if you created a virtual pro on FIFA, made it Ronaldo’s size, and maxed out its attributes, it still wouldn’t come close to having Ronaldo’s speed, skill, or strength.  In other words, you can’t even create a player as good as him because FIFA thinks its impossible for someone to be that good.  Think about that for a second.

So what does this have to do with crunch time? Well, obviously the best players throughout the game are going to still be the best players when the game is on the line.  Ronaldo not only is the overall best player in the closing moments, but he’s also got a specific go-to move that rivals my step-back three going left that I perfected during my basketball playing days (just ask Danny Peters how venomous my step-back going left is – he knew exactly when it was coming every day in practice and still couldn’t stop it).  It truly is the most unstoppable move on FIFA, and it only becomes that much more unstoppable when things get ugly and I desperately need a goal.  Unfortunately, people who I regularly play in FIFA read this blog and therefore would know my secret move if I told all of you, so I’m going to have to keep that vault locked. Sorry, but when you aspire the be the best like I do, giving away secrets isn’t a great idea.

Pro Wrestling: Hulk Hogan (At height of Hulkamania)

It’s hard to definitively say what goes into Hulking Up. I would venture to guess that it’s partly from having the most patriotic song in history as your entrance music, part dad strength, and part Hogan being a total dick in real life who refuses to lose any of his matches (when that last part is mixed with another dick who refuses to lose matches like Shawn Michaels, hilarity ensues). You have a better chance of getting that sweet Yoda backpack you wanted for Christmas than you do of beating Hogan in an important match. Nonetheless, when the match is on the line, Hulk Hogan turns into arguably the most unstoppable force in the history of the world.

It happened, among countless other times, at Wrestlemania VII, against Sgt. Slaughter. Hogan, bloodied and looking like he’d met his match, finds his inner strength and begins Hulking Up. He becomes unfazed by punches, impervious to pain. He takes shots that don’t affect him until he’s finally had enough. Out comes the point. This is a picture of Hulk Hogan pointing at you while Hulking Up (and this is a picture of a taxidermied squirrel riding a plastic horse). If you see this, the match is over. What follows next is pretty much set in stone, because they’re 3 of the only 5 moves that Hogan knows. First comes the punch. Then comes the big boot, which is supposed to hit the opponent in the face but usually connects with the right nipple instead. Finally, the leg drop. It’s never really been properly explained how dropping a leg on your opponent is somehow the most effective finishing maneuver in professional wrestling history (as opposed to this, or this for that matter), but it almost always leads to a three count when Hogan delivers it.  When it matters, Hogan delivers. Just ignore the part about him always delivering because he’s a selfish doucher who won’t let other people beat him. Hogan might be all-time quarterback a little too much, but he still gets the job done in crunch time.

College Basketball: Jimmer Fredette (BYU)

Before Jimmer Fredette came along, the only thing I knew about Mormons that I didn’t learn from South Park is the concept of “letting it soak.”  Now, thanks to Fredette, I’ve also learned that Mormons can apparently play basketball pretty well.  Fredette is a preseason 1st team All-American this year, thanks largely in part to a stellar season a year ago in which he broke the BYU record for points in a game by pouring in 49 against Arizona.  Call me crazy, but I think this solidifies his status as the best athlete named “Jimmer” of all-time.  In fact, I’ll take it a step further and say that he’s the best anything that’s ever been named “Jimmer.”  That’s something to be proud of, I guess.

There are really two reasons why I think Jimmer Fredette is the most clutch player in college basketball.  The first and most important reason is that I wanted an excuse to bring up “letting it soak,” because that might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.  The second, and probably more relevant, reason I picked Jimmer Fredette is because of his performance against Florida in the NCAA tournament last year.  In one of the more memorable games of the first round of last year’s tournament, Jimmer scored 37 points as BYU beat Florida in double overtime.  Fredette gave the Gators a steady dose of buckets rainmaking (Mr. Rainmaker > Kyle Gets Buckets) throughout the game, but really ripped their hearts out in the second overtime by hitting two more threes.  Sure he didn’t hit a game winning shot or anything dramatic like that, but that’s only because he decided to take the game over so that a last second shot wouldn’t be necessary.  And really, hitting a last second shot doesn’t necessarily equate to being clutch.  Most of the time it’s just a result of being in the right spot at the right time.  Being clutch is really achieved when there’s about a minute left and your team desperately needs to score (either because they’re up by one possession, tied, or down by one possession). Fredette strikes me as a guy who is dangerous with the ball in his hands during these moments, as evidenced by the fact that he stepped up his play when it mattered most (second overtime of NCAA tourney).  That’s why he gets the nod (also, I really wanted to mention letting it soak).

By the way, through the first couple weeks of the college basketball season, here is my starting lineup of “White Guys Who Really Don’t Look Like Much But Are Actually Pretty Good”:

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The day you’ve all been waiting for is finally here.  At this point, just about every D1 team has played at least two games, meaning it’s time to start tabulating results so we can put together a leaderboard for The Belt (For those who don’t know – I’m giving away a custom made wrestling belt to the Division 1 player with the most trillions this season).  As of right now, we have 18 entrants but ideally I’d like to have close to 50.  So please, do whatever you have to do to get your favorite college team’s walk-ons to sign up.  All it takes to enter is to be a Division I basketball player (don’t even have to be a walk-on, but a walk-on will probably win) and send an email with your name and school by clicking here.  Remember: Fans can’t register for players.  I want the players themselves to enter because I don’t want to give The Belt to someone who won’t appreciate it and/or doesn’t even know about it.  With all that being said, here’s your current leaderboard for The Belt:

Nov. 22nd Leaderboard

Obviously, seeing a Michigan player at the top is very disheartening. This needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed now.

Also, and this is just my opinion here, look for the Purdue guys to make a strong play at The Belt this year.  They have a pretty good team and Matt Painter is quick to pull the trigger on subbing walk-ons into the game, so these guys will have a lot of chances to put up trillions. What they do with these chances is up to them.

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A few reminders:

  1. FUNDAMENTALS MONTAGE!!! shirts are now available by clicking here.

    fundmont1If you really want to consider yourself a member of the TMM, you’ll buy one as a way to show the world that you prefer Mr. Rainmaker over Kyle Singler’s terrible knock off video.  Also, 10% of all shirt sales for the rest of the month will go towards the Movember cause.  So really, you’re getting a badass shirt and supporting two great causes at the same time – Movember and Mr. Rainmaker.
  2. Movember – Don’t forget to take a picture of your mustache towards the end of Movember and send it to clubtrilcontest@gmail.com. I’ll post what I deem to be the best ones on the blog and I’ll let the TMM vote for the winner, who will receive a pack of Barbasol shaving cream for being so manly and a free Club Trillion t-shirt (either CLUB TRIL or FUNDAMENTALS MONTAGE!!!) for being so awesome.
  3. Kyle Singler’s video sucks.

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Today’s Great Mustache In American History is brought to you by Steve Prefontaine.

“Pre” is by far the most famous distance runner in the history of the sport, most likely because he was a bonafide badass.  While others would pace themselves during long distance runs, Pre always went balls to the wall because that’s what guys with mustaches as awesome as that do. As a 19-year-old, when most other people his age were celebrating their first pubes, Pre celebrated being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  During his collegiate career, he won four straight 5000 meter NCAA track titles and won three NCAA cross country championships.  The only reason he didn’t win a fourth cross country title is because he got too bored beating all the college kids’ asses and decided to try a little tougher competition in the Olympics instead.  At one point, he held the American track record for every distance between 2,000 and 10,000 meters, which added up to seven records in all. So yeah, he was pretty good at running.

Pre ultimately died in a car wreck when he was just 24 years old, but his legacy has lived on thanks to Nike and the University of Oregon refusing to let people forget about him (not to mention the two movies that were made about his life).  35 years after his death, he’s still the only name in long distance running that I know, which doesn’t seem like much, but is kind of a big deal considering I watch every Olympics and my best friend closely follows track to the point that he routinely tells me about the results of meets all over the world.  Anyway, the bottom line is that Pre was a hero who continues to inspire thousands if not millions of people to this day, and was capable of growing a kickass mustache even though he died well before his mustache-growing prime.

Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Preview (Part II)

The Club Trillion College Basketball Preview moves on, as today we talk about guys who look the part, guys who kinda suck, and guys whose lunch money we could easily steal.  As a reminder, I’m in charge of the FIFA and college basketball sections and my good friend Keller is in charge of the professional wrestling section (just so you know who to be pissed at if we somehow offend you). Now let’s get to it. 5…4…3…1…off blast!

(By the way, if none of that made sense to you because you missed Part I of the Club Trillion College Basketball Preview, you can get up to speed by clicking here.)

BEST USE OF GEAR
At first, this category might seem like it’s focusing on fashion, but in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I think of fashion as people using their clothing and whatnot to mask their insecurities and try to be cool.  In other words, fashion is for vaginas.  What we’re doing here is analyzing the guys who use their “gear” as a way to accentuate their attitude.  They don’t wear this stuff to make it seem like they’re cool.  They already know they’re badass.  These guys dress the way they do simply because it’s comfortable and that’s how they like it.

FIFA: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

No homo, but real talk I’ve always been a little fascinated with the long hair pulled straight back look.  This is most likely because both of the male members of the original DX rocked this hairstyle in two completely different yet completely perfect ways.  Seeing Triple H and Shawn Michaels raise hell and crotch chop all through my childhood made a lasting impression on me and I’ve been a fan of long hair ever since.  It should be noted, though, that the DX/Sergio Ramos long hair look is the only long hair style that’s awesome.  Examples of guys’ long hair looks that suck include the Bama Bangs, the Emo Bangs, the Polomalu, the Shaun White, the Bieber (Bama Bangs except the hair goes over the ears), the Asian Mullet, the Efron (pretty much a combination of the Bama Bangs and the Bieber), the Joakim Noah, and the Home Improvement Kids.

What makes Sergio Ramos stand out is that he takes his long hair to the next level with a subtle skinny headband.  By also wearing a sweatband on his wrist with the occasional long sleeve jersey, Sergio Ramos has the exact look I would have if I were a soccer player (again, no homo).  Unfortunately, a quick Google Image search of him shows me that he can be a little feminine off the field sometimes, which is pretty discouraging really.  I’m going to chalk up this perceived femininity to the fact that he’s European and it’s well-known that all Europeans are a little light in their loafers.  Nonetheless, the FIFA version of Sergio Ramos looks pretty badass and that’s ultimately all that I care about.

Pro Wrestling: “Ravishing” Rick Rude

When I was a kid, I absolutely hated Rick Rude. I disliked vegetables. I didn’t care much for girls. But I completely and unequivocally hated Rick Rude and would cheer for whoever he was wrestling to kick his ass every time one of his matches was on. As I got older, I really started to wonder why young me was such a dumbass on all those things (except for vegetables. Those still blow). The more I caught Rude’s matches, the more and more I started to like him. In fact, he was awesome. He was from Robbinsdale, Minnesota, and the only people I’ve known from Minnesota have been Jared Allen, two swimmers who bite the lids off beer cans to open them, and a total babe who owns multiple animal shirts, so he was good from location alone. Add in a mustache so manly that it generated testosterone into the air the way that trees generate oxygen to go along with the fact that he gyrated his hips inappropriately at both females and males alike, and already you can tell how stupid young me was for hating him. But the biggest thing I missed as a youngster when it came to Rick Rude was just how ridiculously awesome his ring attire was.

The first place to start is his robe. While not known for his robes in the way that Ric Flair (the runner-up in this award, obviously) was, Rude’s robe was still an integral part of his look. Adorned with jewels and with “Simply Ravishing” written on the back with a pair of lips, the robe worked on two levels. The first was that it was cool in its own right. The second level was that he used his robe as a great reveal, putting down audience members and reminding them that he was the sexiest man in the room and they were about to see for themselves. When he opened his robe, they’d get a glimpse of not only his steroid-perfected body, but also of the tights that lay him claim to this award for best use of gear. It’s an interesting dichotomy.

A quick aside: to the reader that doesn’t know any better, it would seem like Rude might have been gay. Between the bedazzled robe with big red lips on them and an entrance song that sounds like if Val Venis’ music had been composed for a Christmas present shopping montage in an 80s movie, to the untrained eye Rude would appear to be a homosexual character. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rude would routinely bring female fans in from the audience to make out with him in the ring, leaving them swooning messes when he was done with them. He would even adorn his tights with female faces to show just how much of a ladies man he really was.

But back to the tights. You see, Rude wins this award because there has never been a wrestler in history with cooler tights than his. The exact look varied, but they almost always had either his face, some girl’s face, or something relevant to whatever angle he was in. When Rude was facing the Ultimate Warrior, the Warrior’s face ended up on Rude’s tights (if you’ve been clicking these links, you’ll see that Rude has a go-to pose, not unlike Same Face Guy). When Rude won the Intercontinental title, where a face would normally be was instead now an airbrushed rendering of the belt itself. Of course, Rude still had a picture of himself puckering his lips, just on the back of his tights now. With gear like Rude wore, it would be wrong to give the award to anybody else.

College Basketball: E’Twaun Moore (Purdue)

E’Twuan Moore’s look varies from time to time, but the reason he’s on the list as the best use of gear in college basketball is because of his occasional combination of shirt under the jersey and single sweatband on his wrist.  But, you might be saying, aren’t there tons of guys who wear shirts underneath their jerseys?  Yes, yes there are.  But in case you haven’t figured it out, sweatbands being worn on the wrist gets all sorts of bonus points in my book.  This is mostly because ever since Michael Jordan came along, everyone abandoned the wrist and started wearing their sweatband on their forearm.  Very few people have the audacity to take it old school and throw that sumbitch on their wrist, which is why I think it’s so awesome when someone does, especially when that someone is one of college basketball’s better players.

The truth is that picking Moore for this is somewhat reverse racism, but it makes perfect sense so I’m not going to apologize.  Even though there are tons of white guys who wear a wristband and a shirt under the jersey, the reality is that pretty much every one of them looks like a dweeb.  It’s a universal rule in society that black guys make everything cooler and this case is no different.  When a white walk-on wears a shirt under his jersey, he looks like he’s doing nothing but trying to hide his scrawny arms.  But when E’Twaun Moore dresses exactly like said scrawny white walk-on, he somehow makes it look awesome, simply because he’s smooth on the court (and he’s black).  And that’s ultimately what sets Moore apart from everyone else.  There are plenty of guys that look cool, per se, but only E’Twuan Moore really looks smooth, which is a completely different thing in the same way that William Buford will tell you that your “ol’ girl” and your “main squeeze” are completely different things.

HOUSEHOLD NAME THAT ISN’T THAT GOOD
For this category, we’re taking a look at guys who have become famous to the point that people who don’t pay all that much attention just assume these guys are really good.  In reality, they’re decent, but these guys are by no means as good as their level of fame would suggest.  An example of the type of person we’re dealing with here is how chicks who don’t watch basketball assume that Lamar Odom is one of the five best players in the world because he’s always on Keeping Up With The Kardashians and he’s won a couple NBA titles. Sure he’s a great player, but by no means is he as good as a majority of girls probably think he is (Now that I think about it, Hank Baskett is another example for the same reason as Odom, except Hank Baskett really does suck).  You get the idea.

FIFA: Ronaldinho (AC Milan)

In all honesty, Ronaldinho was the single reason I ever started to care about soccer and consequently FIFA in the first place.  Thanks to the combination of his crazy ball handling (or is it ball footling?) skills and the increasing popularity of the internet when I was in high school, a friend of mine showed me a few highlights on YouTube and I was mesmerized to the point that I decided to give soccer a chance.  I haven’t looked back since.  My guess is that there are tons of people like me who never knew anything about soccer but know about Ronaldinho because they saw a few YouTubes of him and were blown away at what he was capable of (mostly because it was fake). In fact, if my circle of friends are any indication, Ronaldinho is one of the most famous soccer players in the world to Americans.  Unfortunately, though, no matter how famous he is, at the end of the day his game is pretty much all show and doesn’t translate to FIFA all that well.

There’s no denying that the real Ronaldinho’s ball footling ability is pretty f’ing nuts, but the problem is that it there really is no place for it on FIFA to me.  I play a very disciplined, fundamentals-oriented brand of soccer when I play FIFA and Ronaldinho’s flashy brand of soccer just doesn’t fit (kinda like how it didn’t fit with the Brazilian national team, which is why he was left off their World Cup roster this year).  Besides, even if I do want to get flashy, I can just use Barcelona and Messi because he’s probably got better ball skills anyway and is much, much faster than Ronaldinho.  Plus, if I’m playing with AC Milan, I’m running everything through Ibrahimovic, if for no other reason than he can kick the piss out of the ball and I really want to see him burn a hole in the virtual net like he’s an on-fire Chris Mullin on NBA JAM.

Pro Wrestling: The Miz

I hate to say this, because he dresses like a total doucher and clearly used steroids and his previous fame to help him get where he is today, but I respect the hell out of Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. Here’s a guy who we only knew liked pro wrestling because he (awesomely) used to proclaim himself “The Miz” and cut loud promos when he was on the Real World: New York. This took guts because it always annoyed Coral, and she had huge boobs which he effectively ruined his chance of seeing by acting like a pro wrestler. Even later, when he’d used his fame from being a dominant player on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge to secure a spot WWE Tough Enough, The Miz worked his ass off to improve his in-ring skills after he got cut, and eventually got a full-time contract. All of this aside, for the amount of fame he might have to the random person on the street, The Miz still, well, sucks.

This might not be the case in 5 years, because he has natural charisma and is continually trying to get better. In fact, he even stopped wrestling in ridiculous-looking board shorts and moved on to actual wrestling tights, which can only mean good things. But at this point in his career, the recognition that The Miz gets as a pro wrestler from the casual fan or random stranger would make you think he’s been a multiple time Heavyweight champion. While he has had reigns as the United States champion and the tag team champion, The Miz has yet to serve any meaningful time in the main event scene. So despite his fauxhawk and half-Mystery Method, half-Tool Academy wardrobe having a high Q score with the general public, any pro wrestling fan will tell you that The Miz just isn’t as good as you think he would be.

College Basketball: Matt Howard (Butler)

If for some reason you don’t know who Matt Howard is, maybe referring to him as “the big white guy on Butler who had the dirty stache last year” will help jog your memory.  Thanks to an improbable run by Butler to the National Championship last season, Howard and his mustache got all sorts of national publicity, and rightfully so.  After seeing his mustache on CBS, college basketball fans collectively flocked to the internet to research Howard a little bit, and were probably surprised to find that he was the Horizon League Player of The Year in 2008-2009 before his teammate (and my high school teammate), Gordon Hayward, took the honor from him the following season.  Upon learning this information, the casual college basketball fan referred to the Morrison Theorem (wispy mustache + mid-major conference player of the year = someone who isn’t to be f***ed with) and assumed that Matt Howard must be one of the best players in college basketball.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Before Butler fans get upset with me (“you’re just hating cause we beat you last year!”), let me first say that I have the utmost respect for Matt Howard.  As you should know by now, I’m a fan of both mustaches and wearing a shirt under the jersey, which is why I want so badly for Matt Howard to be good.  Sadly, the only thing keeping this from happening is that his game consists of nothing but pumpfaking, throwing elbows, setting illegal screens, and flopping so much that even Butler fans get uncomfortable with it.  Again, I’m not hating on the kid, because I did every single one of those things when I played in high school and practiced in college.  But that’s the problem – I can do all of these things (not to mention the fact that there’s a 45-year-old version of Matt Howard in every church league in America).  As much as I respect what he does and I think of him as an inspiration to all of us pumpfaking/flopping guys, the bottom line is that he simply isn’t that talented.

(Now that I think about it, this is more of a compliment to him than anything else.  The guy gets more out of his abilities than anyone in college basketball, which is something to be proud of, I guess.)

GUY WE COULD TAKE IN A STREET FIGHT
This category is simple.  We have no doubt in our mind that if we wandered into a dark alley to find these guys perched up against a wall with a leather jacket on and a look in their eye that suggests they want to anally rape us, we would not only deny all access to our buttholes, but we would also kick so much ass and take so many names that we’d probably get a key to the city or whatever it is they give all those awesome superheroes like Daredevil. 

FIFA: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

First and foremost, let me make it perfectly clear that the real life Messi would beat the snot out of me if we were ever to fight.  Sure he’s only 5’7”, but the dude is one of the best athletes alive and is lightning quick, so there’s a very good chance that he could beat me silly before I’m even done with my warm-up jumping jacks (even if it is a spontaneous street fight, going through a proper warm-up routine is still very important).  There really is no disputing who would win this fight because I fully admit that I would stand no chance against him.  But, as is the consistent theme with this preview, I’m not concerned with the real life Messi.  I only care about the FIFA version of Messi, and it’s clear to me that I would make virtual Messi my b*tch.

To confirm my point that I could destroy the virtual Messi, I decide to create myself on FIFA 11 and compare my relevant attributes with Messi’s.  Here’s what I found:

Shark vs. Messi

As you can clearly see, Messi has better body control than me but I more than make up for it with both my strength and aggression.  And isn’t that really what would matter most in a street fight?  Virtual Messi’s best attributes suggest that if we were to fight, he would do nothing but duck and run away.  Meanwhile, I’m bringing a nine inch and 54 pound advantage to the table, not to mention my 91 in strength that would surely break his jaw in two.  As much as you might want to side with Messi, the bottom line is that scientific data shows that I would have no problem opening up a can of whoop ass on a virtual Messi in a street fight (two Stone Cold references in one sentence!).

Pro Wrestling: Bob Backlund

I thought about going a few different ways with this one. At first I considered picking the cruiserweight who I thought was the biggest pussy (probably Scotty 2 Hotty, just so I could do the Worm over his lifeless body), but then I realized that the smaller guys are usually legit, real-life badasses, like the “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman. So that probably wouldn’t be a great choice. Then I thought about going with someone like Sid Justice, who is arguably the most physically intimidating man with a blonde curly mullet to have been alive in the 90s, but who is also famous for being incredibly soft outside the ring (and for having arguably the most gruesome injury inside it. Click at your own risk). This was a man who once used a squeegee in a street fight with Brian Pillman, so maybe he’d be a good choice for a street fight against me. But even Sid, who was billed at 6’9” and 320 pounds and once went by the name Lord Humongous in the ring before everyone associated it with Greg Oden, had the wherewithal to stab Arn Anderson with scissors in his next out of the ring fight, so he’s probably not a safe bet for a victory. Then it dawned on me: Bob Backlund.

Backlund has the strange distinction of being one of the longest reigning WWF champions of all-time (over 5 years) while also being the loser of the fastest championship match in history (8 seconds, to Diesel/Kevin Nash). He also serves as exhibit A as to why I strongly believe all redheads should have some sort of facial hair to help offset how it looks like you have no hair  on your face at all from your eyebrows and eyelashes being so light. Seriously, there is absolutely no way that I lose in a street fight to a man who looks like a 60 year old version of the Gingers Do Have Souls kid. Backlund was apparently an accomplished amateur wrestler, but Adam Morrison is living proof that the better you are as an amateur, the more you’re likely to suck as a pro. Besides, this is a street fight. I’d like to see Backlund try and give me a single leg takedown while I’m hitting him in his temple with a lead pipe and/or stabbing him in the torso with a knife. Those are legal in a streetfight, right? Actually, on second thought, I’m not sure I’d even need them. Again, this is what Bob Backlund looks like. Just like he lost the 1996 Presidential election, Bob Backlund would get dominated in a street fight against me.

College B-ball: Mick Cronin (Cincinnati’s Head Coach)

Even though I couldn’t find Mick Cronin’s height with a quick Google search, I did discover that Bob Huggins is about 6’3” (one inch shorter than me) and Cronin comes up to Huggins’ shoulders.  Maybe you don’t know this, but this means that Mick Cronin’s face is at a perfect punching height for me.  As I would make contact with Cronin’s schnoz, my arm would be perfectly parallel with the ground, which I’m sure John Brenkus and his Sport Science would tell you is how to get optimal force behind a punch. Translation: Mick Cronin would be f’ed if we were to engage in fisticuffs.

Should the fight move to the ground and take on more of a wrestling dynamic, I’m just as confident that I could destroy Cronin.  My guess is that he’d be a wiry little fella that could escape from all sorts of holds and whatnot, so I’d focus more on restraining him with one arm and beating him senseless with the other.  As much as I’d love to put him in a camel clutch until he’s unconscious, I’d probably have to be a little more offensive and find a way to land a few punches instead.  Surely it wouldn’t take much more than two or three solid shots to the kisser before he’s had enough.  Of course, there’s always the chance that he’s a black belt in karate or Billy Blanks Tae Bo, which would throw a huge wrench in the system, but I still think I’d have the upper hand because I’m not afraid to play dirty and hit below the belt if that’s what it takes. ___________________________________________________

In case you don’t follow me on Twitter or your friends who added me on Facebook haven’t broke the news to you yet, I’m proud to announce that after months of begging HOMAGE, we  finally released the “FUNDAMENTALS MONTAGE!!!” shirt yesterday.

Before you complain about the price, please keep in mind that this isn’t your standard t-shirt, as this will undoubtedly be the softest shirt you will ever own in your life (unless you have the CLUB TRIL one).  Also, 10% of all sales for the rest of the month will be donated to Movember and will ultimately help with prostate/testicular cancer research.  So basically you can do your part to help fight cancer by getting an unbelievably awesome and soft shirt.  I’m pretty sure this could be the definition of a win-win. ___________________________________________________

Today’s Great Mustache In American History is brought to you by Dale Earnhardt.

Even though I spent my childhood cheering on the Rainbow Warriors and the 24 Dupont Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon, I have no problem admitting that Dale Earnhardt is the greatest NASCAR driver of all-time (Gordon and Earnhardt were bitter rivals for those of you who think you’re too cool to follow NASCAR). Most people are of the opinion that Richard Petty is the best ever, but I’m giving Earnhardt the nod, if for no other reason than Earnhardt had a better mustache.

I was going to highlight some of Earnhardt’s finest moments, but then I realized that those of you who follow NASCAR already know how awesome he was and those of you who don’t follow NASCAR wouldn’t care anyway.  So instead, I’ll just link you to a tribute video on YouTube that made my a little teary-eyed and you can do what you want with it.

Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Preview (Part I)

Many of you have asked me how I feel about my beloved Vikings deciding to waive Randy Moss last week after trading for him a month earlier, so I thought I’d address it real quick. The truth is that I’m actually not that upset that Moss isn’t a Viking anymore, but I am upset that the Vikings front office (read: Brad Childress) ultimately threw away a draft pick because they couldn’t foresee Moss being a headache. This is like asking The Villain to be on your pick-up basketball team and then getting upset when he never passes you the ball. Or like letting The Villain borrow your car “for ten minutes” during your sophomore year at Ohio State and getting pissed when he returns it to you six hours later with less than a quarter tank of gas and a funky smell coming from the back seat. Sure it sucks that Moss was kind of a doucher, but ultimately it’s the Vikings’ fault for putting so much trust in him. That, more than anything else, is what is so frustrating. This whole ordeal is just another example of how other than murder, pedophilia, and rape, nothing in this world upsets me more than Brad Childress’ decision making, which is ironic because Childress looks like a guy who commits all three of those crimes on a regular basis. But enough about a mediocre NFL team. Let’s talk college basketball.

If you know anything about me or my blog, you know that there are three things in the world of sports that my life revolves around – college basketball, FIFA, and professional wrestling. And if the handfuls of emails I regularly get from the Trillion Man March are any indication, most of you also care about at least two of those three things. So, keeping this in mind and acknowledging that college basketball officially started this week, I’ve decided to team up with Keller to get you pumped for the season by bringing you what will surely be both the best and most irrelevant college basketball preview you will ever read.

For the preview, Keller and I intertwined our three favorite things about sports by likening different aspects of college basketball to aspects of both FIFA and professional wrestling. Keller knows more about wrestling than anyone I’ve ever met in my life, so he will be handling the wrestling section of the preview (warning – he wrote a ton). And since every time we play FIFA I beat Keller like he’s my ex-wife, I’ll be handling the FIFA section of the preview. Obviously, now that I’m writing college basketball pieces for ESPN and I’m therefore considered a college basketball expert, I’ll also be handing the basketball section. Finally, because the entire preview is longer than the list of people who wanted me to make a Greg Oden penis joke right here, I’ve decided to break it up into a bunch of parts and post a new part every couple of days (I would post a new one every day, but I can already anticipate Keller not getting his sections done).

With all of that being said, here is Part I of your 2010-2011 Club Trillion College Basketball Preview. Boom baby.

GUY THAT’S BEEN AROUND FOREVER
This category is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll explain it a little bit anyway. These are the guys who you see either playing, wrestling, or on FIFA and think to yourself, “Wait, he’s still playing/wrestling? How old is that guy?” You know, guys like…

FIFA: David Beckham (LA Galaxy)

Beckham is kinda like the Brett Favre of soccer. Not only has he been playing seemingly forever, but he also has an immaculate stubble beard and there are pictures of his junk all over the internet (although, his junk is unfortunately covered by whatever underwear he is endorsing for that particular photo shoot – damn). Plus, the video game version of Beckham is also much better than the real version of him, just like Favre and his video game likeness. What’s more, Beckham and Favre both married women who are about one year older than them. In fact, the only difference I can see between these two is that Beckham didn’t cost the Vikings their first trip to the Super Bowl in my lifetime by throwing an inexcusable interception to Tracy Porter late in the NFC Championship. Not yet, anyway.

Pro Wrestling: Ric Flair (The Nature Boy)

As a man who currently has a 15-year unbeaten streak in Mercy, and who’s been shaving since the 7th grade, I’ve been conditioned never to cry under any circumstances. That being said, I stood helpless as my eyes welled up with tears while I watched Monday Night Raw on March 31, 2008. The night before, Ric Flair had lost his retirement match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXIV, and this night’s Raw was dedicated as a farewell show to the Nature Boy, honoring his multiple-decade career. Prior to this moment, I think the last time that I cried was during a 5th grade AAU basketball game, where an opponent who was no less than 12 inches shorter than me bit me in the stomach as I dribbled up the court. After yelling at the top of my high-pitched 5th grade lungs “HE BIT ME!!!”, the combination of rage, shock, and pain led to me sobbing on the bench for the entire 3rd quarter before re-entering the game and fouling the kid in retribution.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that watching the Four Horseman reuniting in the ring for the first time in 20 years caused the waterworks to start up. The sound of the greatest entrance music in wrestling history combined with the visual of Ric Flair sobbing in the ring was too much for me. This was the perfect send-off for arguably the greatest wrestler in history. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Flair wouldn't spend his final years toiling away in second rate promotions tarnishing his legacy for a few more paydays. Flair would be different. That is, until Flair would un-retire to toil away in a second rate promotion, tarnishing his legacy for a few more paydays. My tears were for nothing now.

When you're a stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling and dealing son of a gun, you tend to acquire expensive tastes and multiple wives. Flair lived a lavish lifestyle (hell, even his famous robes cost upwards of $5,000 apiece) and let throngs of women ride Space Mountain (his awesome euphemism for sex). By giving out season passes to Space Mountain to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different women, and continuing his free-spending ways to go along with those divorces, Flair essentially went broke after his retirement and was forced to come back. He signed a contract with TNA a year after his retirement ceremony, and sadly continues to wrestle to this day.

It's truly a shame it ended up this way too, because there have been multiple points in Flair's career where he could have retired on top besides the post-Wrestlemania ceremony. There was the time he went crazy, stripped off his clothes in the middle of the ring, and started elbow dropping his suit jacket. Or after his match with Sting on the final episode of WCW Monday Night Nitro. Or every time he talked sh*t to a fan by calling them "fat boy" or telling them that their mother rode Space Mountain and that they'd ride it later that night. Or when Will Ferrell paid homage to him as Ashley Schaeffer. Through the years there were plenty of perfect times for Ric Flair to go out like the Nature Boy truly should have, and not have to languish in 2010 wrestling in TNA, looking like a droopier-breasted Randy the Ram while every fan who cheered for him during his heyday looked on embarrassed (I say looked on in the loosest sense of the word, because TNA sucks and nobody actually watches it). Much like the Nature Boy never has learned to stop going to the top rope (at this point I would link you to a montage of Flair getting slammed from the top rope, but for some stupid reason there is no video of it on YouTube, despite Flair never once landing a top rope move in any match I’ve seen even though he tries every time), he's never learned it's time to hang up his boots.

College Basketball: David Lighty (Ohio State)

The official Ohio State basketball website says that Dave Lighty is a 5th year senior this year, but this is also the same website that once said that The Villain’s hobbies include reading and playing golf, so forgive me for being a little skeptical. I’m fully convinced that he has somehow been in the program for at least ten years. This is mostly because Dave joined the Ohio State basketball team before I did, yet I played four full seasons with the team and graduated, and Dave is still going to play one more year. Those of you who have followed Big Ten basketball for awhile surely agree that Dave has been playing for the Buckeyes forever, but if for some reason you don’t, consider this: Dave was college teammates with Greg Oden and Greg Oden is at least 82-years-old. You do the math.

BEST GUY IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
This category is also self explanatory, but I won’t insult your intelligence like I did with the last one and explain it to you. Let’s just get to it.

FIFA: Kaka (Real Madrid)
(Note: I know Kaka has an accent mark somewhere in his name, but last time I checked, this is America and we don’t use accent marks in America. You can either love it or leave it.)

Diehard soccer fans who follow real soccer being played by real people would tell you that Kaka is one of the best players in the world, which is something you would most likely respond to by saying that you “don’t give a s*** because soccer is gay.” The FIFA version of him is every bit as good as the real version, as Kaka would easily be the best player on just about every other team than the one he’s actually on. Unfortunately for him, he will have to settle with his role as sidekick because he’s teammates with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is without question the greatest player on a sports video game since Jeremy Roenick on NHL ‘94 (more on Ronaldo later on in the preview).

Other than being the best sidekick on FIFA, I think Kaka is the most versatile player on the game as well. His default position is in the midfield, but I’ve literally played (and dominated) with him at every position except goalie. I’ve also discovered that he’s a master of finishing rebounds that come from Ronaldo rocketing shots off the goalie’s nuts. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but I swear if there was an attribute for “being in the right place at the right time to score the goal and get all the credit, even though your teammate did all the hard work,” Kaka’s rating in that particular attribute would be at least a 96.

Pro Wrestling: Scott Hall (Razor Ramon)

On paper, Scott Hall had it all: legit size, loads of charisma, awesome shirts that make you consider spending $200 to get on eBay, a finishing move that you could easily break someone’s neck with, the list goes on. The only thing he never had was a world title. For someone with arguably the greatest stubble beard of all-time and the ability to make a full denim outfit look cool, you’d think that Hall would have spent the better part of the 90s as the heavyweight champion. But due to unfortunate timing and his inability to not get drunk and party six nights a week, Hall would settle down into a role as the quintessential second banana.

As Razor Ramon in the (then) WWF, Hall would consistently earn cheers like a main-eventer, despite the fact his only push to the main event scene came when the Ultimate Warrior did what the Ultimate Warrior did best (besides being insane and gay-bashing, which for him are mutually exclusive) and left the company without any advance notice, leaving Razor Ramon as an emergency replacement to lose to Bret Hart. Instead, Hall spent much of his time in the Intercontinental title scene, having matches that remain legendary to this day. He stole the show against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania X by defending his Intercontinental title in the very first ladder match, which both males and females will excitedly remember as “the match where you got to see HBK’s bare ass.” The Intercontinental title would be the peak of Hall’s run in the WWF, excluding the time he made a couple of young kids’ dreams come true on the Jerry Springer Show. In ’96, Hall signed with WCW and continued his career living a real-life version of “always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” albeit he was a bridesmaid with some pretty awesome chest hair.

Despite being the first member of the New World Order to invade WCW’s shows, Hall was quickly pushed down the pecking order due to Hollywood Hogan’s heel turn and his own failure to power bomb announcers through the stage. For the second time in as many companies, Hall would win the second highest title (this time the WCW United States title), but never make it to the top. At first, Hall was stuck behind legendary WCW title moments like Hollywood Hogan and Sting’s feud that culminated at Starrcade 97 (a pay-per-view I’ll never forget, because for the first time in my life I convinced my mom to let me order a pay-per-view, only to have the signal be scrambled and the show ruined. Scrambled Spice channel I could deal with, scrambled Starrcade I could not.) and Goldberg’s 173 match win streak. Eventually though, Hall’s actions behind the scenes started costing him opportunities. His excessive drinking began spiraling out of control, with Hall even performing in the ring under the influence. At this point, you would have been more likely to find an attractive girl with a shrine to Jerry Orbach than a WCW executive who would ever have faith in Scott Hall being a main eventer. He would never again get past the midcard. Instead of trying to get Hall help, the brain trust at WCW decided to exploit Hall’s problems by incorporating them into an angle, as the last few memorable moments of Hall’s time in WCW revolved around him pretending to be drunk in the ring. While he never made it to the top in either company, Scott Hall is arguably the greatest wrestler ever in a supporting role.

(Note: I choose to ignore Hall’s time after WCW, because I refuse to believe that he would end up looking like he did)

hallbeforeafter_thumb2
Suddenly the stubblebeard isn’t as cool as it used to be

College Basketball: Nolan Smith (Duke)

It is a well-documented fact that Duke sucks. Since they’ve won a ton of national championships, I obviously don’t mean this in a “Duke isn’t good at basketball” way, but more of a “Duke fans are insufferable and the white guys on the team who slap the floor on defense make me lose all hope in humanity” kind of way. Duke fans think that people hate them because we are jealous and secretly want to be just like them, which is the same ass-backwards philosophy that made LeBron say, “They boo you because they like the way you play basketball.” No. We boo Duke/Duke fans/LeBron because they act like entitled pricks and think that the game of basketball couldn’t exist without them. Why is it that there are college basketball programs all over the country that have historically had more success than Duke, yet Duke is really the only team that is the bane of America’s collective existence? The answer is simple – because Duke sucks.

But despite the hatred we all have for Duke, there’s no denying that they historically are always a juggernaut, they have one of the greatest coaches of all-time, and they are probably the favorites to win back-to-back titles again this year. Now that Scheyer Face has graduated, Kyle Singler is the undisputed leader and best player on the team, but Nolan Smith is a senior NBA prospect in his own right who will be the Blue Devils’ leading scorer on many occasions this year. Like Kaka and Scott Hall, Smith is good enough to be the star on pretty much any other team, but he still embraces his role and knows that Duke wouldn’t be nearly as good without him. So, if you get the chance to watch him play this year, be prepared to be impressed with his skills. And if you do appreciate the way he plays, please remember to have the common courtesy to boo him as loudly as you possibly can. It’s the least you could do.

EVENT THAT’S A WASTE OF TIME
This category was developed in protest to the absurd number of tournaments and events that are held in the world of sports every year. The truth is that nobody cares about the non-BCS bowls (except when the MudDogs won the Bourbon Bowl), the non-majors in golf and tennis (or even the majors in golf and tennis), or any race of any kind that isn’t the Daytona 500 or Indy 500. These things are meant to wet our whistle while we’re waiting on the important tournaments, but in reality they pretty much just get in the way.

FIFA: FA Cup (England)

Wikipedia tells me that the FA Cup has been around since 1871 and is the oldest soccer competition in the world, which would be impressive except “nobody gives a s*** because soccer is gay.” In reality, this tournament is probably a very big deal to people in England, not so much because it’s really old and has a lot of history but more because England sucks in the World Cup and this tournament at least guarantees English people that a team from England will win the thing. All that’s fine and well, but I’m not concerned with real soccer. I only care about virtual soccer and on FIFA, this tournament does nothing but get in my way.

When I play manager mode on FIFA, I play with Manchester United, only because the Premier League is the only competitive league and I kinda like Wayne Rooney’s game (I also like his soccer game). My only goal on manager mode is to win the Champions League or whatever they call it on the game. I have no interest in anything else. The only reason I even play regular season games is to finish in the top of the league so I can qualify for next season’s Champions League. At no point in time have I ever cared about winning the FA Cup, which is why I used to simulate those games. The only problem with this is that FIFA would sometimes screw me when I simulated the FA Cup games and I would get upset by a scrub team in the first round. When this would happen, my coach’s rating or whatever would plummet, I’d get fired, and I’d be stuck managing an MLS team the following season. Therefore, I have no choice but to play these FA Cup games and win some tournament that I literally could not care any less about.

Pro Wrestling: Women’s Wrestling (WWE)

Quick: can anybody name their favorite women's wrestling match of all time? I've been a fan of pro wrestling in some capacity since 1990, and I can still only remember four things about women wrestlers – that Alundra Blayze showed up on WCW Nitro and threw away the WWF women's title on live TV in a move that seemed extreme before the nWo showed up, that Mae Young gave birth to a hand, that Chyna has some not-so-womanly bodily features that the world saw in her sex tape with X-Pac (as has previously been mentioned in this blog before...Google at your own risk), and that I first learned how to clear my internet history to hide the Playboy pictures of Sable I had looked up. After scanning through my Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam anthologies, not a single women’s match listed on the cards brought back a memory, and I'm the same guy who can still tell you the home phone number of a girl I had a crush on in the 9th grade, despite never having the balls to actually call her. Even a Google search to help jog my brain instead produced results that were split between fetish female wrestling porn and sites completely dedicated to moments where a female wrestler's top came undone and their breasts were exposed on live TV.

And that's what seems to be missing on Vince McMahon and other people who run wrestling companies. The only time a male fan is going to watch a women's wrestling match is in the hopes that a boob pops out during a suplex. The unfortunate reality is that there is no amount of technical proficiency that can take place in a women's match that will make it compare to a men's match. Many women’s matches are filled with hair tosses and kicks when the fans want to see finishers like this, much like many WNBA games are filled with set shots and missed lay-ups when the fans want to see, well, men's basketball (I'm only slamming the WNBA because they can't slam things themselves!!!). And since, according to a site that I cannot even think about linking to because of the content, there have not been that many nipple slips in women's matches, that they're even happening at all is a waste of time.

College B-ball: Cancun Challenge (Preseason Tourney)
Note: The teams playing in this year’s Cancun Challenge are LaSalle, Missouri, Providence, Wyoming, Morgan State, North Florida, Prairie View A&M, and Western Illinois.

I can’t tell if these “preseason” tourneys (by the way, calling them preseason tournaments is both deceiving and dumb – kinda like calling this a college basketball preview although the season has actually already started) have been going on for awhile and I just recently started noticing how many there are or if they are a relatively new fad in college basketball. My guess is that the success of the Maui Invitational gave the higher-ups the idea to create more of these things than any one person could possibly keep track of. Either way, I’m pretty confident that when it comes to preseason college basketball tournaments, the Cancun Challenge is the cream of the crap.

Cancun is one of the few places in Mexico that Americans can visit right now without being 100% sure that they will die (there’s only an 85% chance you’ll die), so the Cancun Challenge was probably created as a way to give these college athletes an opportunity to experience a different culture for a few days. Unfortunately, the organizers of the tournament failed to realize that the Cancun Challenge is really nothing more than a cocktease to the players. As cool as a free trip to Cancun seems, it’s not like these guys are going to be sipping margaritas and sexing senoritas the whole trip. For the most part, all of their time will be spent either practicing, playing, or falling asleep in film sessions, which means their trip to Cancun would essentially be the same as a team trip to Detroit in the middle of January.

As for the fans who are crazy enough to travel to the tournament, it’s a similar story. They pay ridiculous amounts of money for a vacation to Cancun, only to get down there and realize that their vacation is being ruined by subpar basketball games that are being played in a hotel ballroom (yes, the games really are played in a hotel ballroom). Throw in the fact that absolutely zero neutral college basketball fans are going to pay attention to games like North Florida vs. Prairie View A&M and Wyoming vs. Western Illinois, and it’s easy to see why this will be the biggest waste of time event in college basketball this year. __________________________________________________

Because it’s Movember and nothing else matters more in my life right now than growing my mustache, I’ve decided to substitute the awesome basketball YouTube video at the end of the blog posts this month for a little history lesson that I will be calling “Great Mustaches In American History.”

Today’s Great Mustache In American History is brought to you by Teddy Roosevelt.

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Teddy Roosevelt is without a doubt the most badass president (and quite possibly human being) in the history of America. I could honestly write 10,000 words about how awesome this man is, but I’ll just provide you with three bullet points that tell you all you need to know about the guy.

  • In 1912, former-president Roosevelt was the target of an assassination attempt and was shot in the chest shortly before he was scheduled to give a speech in Milwaukee. Instead of being rushed to the hospital like everyone suggested, Roosevelt kicked common sense in the balls and proceeded to give his 90 minute speech as planned. He even opened the speech by telling the crowd, “I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” After he gave the speech, Roosevelt finally went to the hospital, but the bullet was never removed and he lived with it in his chest for the rest of his life. What a badass.
  • Teddy Roosevelt was awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize. Try wrapping your mind around that for a second. The only possible explanation I can think of for this is that he was such a badass that people decided to play nice because they were so terrified of what he was capable of.
  • Roosevelt eventually died of a heart attack while sleeping when he was 60-years-old. The US vice president at the time, Thomas Marshall, had this to say about his death: “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.” Let it be known that I want that exact quote put on my headstone when I die, even if I don’t die in my sleep and even though my last name isn’t Roosevelt. If it weren’t for Nathan Hale, that would be the greatest quote in American history (by the way, I’m not going to explain the Nathan Hale reference to those of you who don’t know his quote – that’s something that should be common knowledge for anyone who loves their country).

Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder