Saturday, September 1, 2012


Yes, yes, the title is fairly self-explanitory, Good Hustle will unfortunately be taking an extended hiatus. Regular readers know that posts have become drastically more sparse over the course of the summer. This is because myself and the rest of the Hustlers simply haven't had the time to commit to creating the quality posts that our readership deserve. I can't say for sure if the blog will be back, but I sure hope so. I'd like to thank everyone who has read and supported us up to this point, and all of the other Hustlers for their contributions. There are some very talented people that have helped me out on this blog that all have very bright futures in the business, doing much bigger and better things than Good Hustle can offer. You can still keep up with my editorial work at, where I write about traditional martial arts, MMA, pro wrestling and more. 

Thanks again everybody



Friday, August 10, 2012

Bad Ass Olympians: Ian Millar

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Most people envision 65-year-olds playing with their grandkids or helping their own kids renovate their homes. But competing in the Olympic Games? No one could have seen that coming. But Ian Millar did just that, and he has been doing that since 1972. The Canadian equestrian just competed in his 10th Olympic Games and since his inaugural year in those Games, he has only missed one year of competition, 1980’s boycotted Moscow Games. His Olympic run this year ended when he finished 9th in the show jumping finals but with years of experience, Millar is still bringing an old-school edge to one of the world’s oldest sports. And according to the man himself, he isn’t done yet, as he hasn’t yet closed the door on competing in the 2016 Games.

That’s bad ass.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Weight on Carmelo's Shoulders

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Carmelo Anthony recently played the game of his life in this year’s summer Olympics. The New York Knicks' star forward scored a record breaking 37 points (on 10 for 12 from beyond the arc) in Team USA’s trouncing of Nigera. The only member of the 2003 draft class’ big 4 to not have a championship, Carmelo will now be depended on more than ever to lead his Knicks to a title. Many adjustments have to be made with the New York squad. Signing Jason Kidd and Ronnie Brewer have, thus far, been the biggest moves they've made, but championships aren't won with transactions alone. They must learn to work better as a team and mature on both ends of the court. A title is still a long ways away, but the route to that title must be led by Anthony.


Bad Ass Olympians: Simon Kean

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Canadian super heavyweight boxer Simon Kean's road to the Olympics reads more like a superhero origin story than a profile. In 2009, he was in an ATV accident in a remote region of Quebec that left him with his leg pinned. He was airlifted to hospital via helicopter, where a risky skin graft operation narrowly saved his leg from amputation. Kean was left wheelchair-ridden for months. Doctors told him he may never walk again, but the mighty Frenchman wasn't having it. Three years later, Kean waltzed into the most macho possible event in the Olympics, SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING, and took out a higher ranked opponent with a gutsy comeback effort. Adding to his epic legend is his Clint Eastwood-esque stoicism: when asked about his accident Kean responds simply, "I don't want to talk about that." 

That's bad ass.

Monday, July 23, 2012

*Remembering RAW: The ECW Invasion

Oh, what could have been...

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For me, it was a clear choice for my top Raw moment. In the 1000 episodes that have gone to air, there was no other instance that stuck out more for me. Not many things give me goosebumps these days, but I re-watched it and had them for over 5 minutes. Let’s jump in our imaginary Delorian and go back to 2001, to the days where Raw could not be missed.

The WWE had recently acquired rival promotion WCW, and the "Invasion" angle was just picking up steam. At that same time, ECW was sadly bankrupt. They, too, were quietly purchased by the wrestling conglomerate, and their talent was spread through WCW and WWE. In a main event that saw Jericho & Kane facing off against Lance Storm and Mike Awesome, out from the crowd ran two notorious ECW alumni, The Whole F’n Show Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer. I immediately got excited that 2 of my favourites were now clearly part of WWE and making a huge impact. I picked up the phone and made sure my friend, fellow Good Hustle writer Collin Van Ooyen, was watching too. It was the only time in two decades of fandom that I felt obliged to make sure others were enjoying this glory along with me. With excitement typically reserved for Christmas morning, the night kept getting better.

Rob Van Dam with a young Jerome Power (left), & Collin Van Ooyen
What initially  appeared to be the WWE coming to defend their comrades was actually a stable of ECW wrestlers who all turned at the same time and delivered a beat down to the two WWE guys (granted, Jericho should have been aligned with them as well considering his significant contribution to ECW, and later WCW, but that’s another story). Then, with Paul Heyman throwing down his commentating headset, we got his signature catch phrase that “This invasion has just been taken to the EXTREME” as RAW went off the air.

I was fortunate enough to follow ECW through many of their ups and downs. Through their breakthrough onto television and pay per view all the way to their final show. Collin and I were lucky enough to see the only ECW show ever held on Canadian soil when they made their way north of the border to Mississauga for a TV taping. We even got close enough to dab our ticket stubs in the blood of Steve Corino (our request to take home pieces of the broken table were denied by security). When ECW died, my love of wrestling started to die with it. Gone were the days of choices, options and variety. Now, you either like what Vince is feeding you or you've stopped watching altogether.

Jerome & Tommy Dreamer
The amount of excitement I had diminished week after week, much like my interest in what was then the only game in town. The egos in charge of the creative department killed the angle in only a few short weeks. What could have provided months, even years, of entertainment came and went faster than the XFL. Almost every one of the members of the "Invasion" were either written off television or became permanent curtain-jerkers or jobbers. Guys like Diamond Dallas Page, Buff Bagwell & Scott Steiner had one big run against a top guy and then disappeared. They couldn't get the likes of Goldberg or Sting to be part of the initial invasion, which might have been for the best considering the glut of wrestlers who were being booked at the time.

It wasn’t until 2005 that I became interested in the product again, when they decided to resurrect ECW for “One Night Stand”, which for me is the single greatest PPV they have ever done, and the only one I have revisited. It had everything that made ECW great - small and intimate venue at the Hammerstein Ballroom, hardcore matches, tables and all-around great wrestling from the entire roster. Hearing Joey Styles call the whole Pay Per View and listening to Paul Heyman shoot on the WWE guys in attendance made it that much better, because you could tell he was shooting straight from the heart. Most of all, hearing the fans at the show made me feel like I was at the live show at the Hersey Center all over again. Chants like "Holy Sh*t!" and "You f*cked up!" have become staples of the industry thanks to the fans, who became as big a part of the live shows as the wrestlers themselves.

Jerome (left), Rhino & Collin
Oh, what wonderful things could have been had it been in the right hands. Unfortunately I sit here now, watching videos from 10 years ago in a nostalgic trance, thinking about the good ol' days. Days that today's wrestling fans sadly know little about.

WWF - Raw 2001 - ECW joins the Invasion
by JoCrazy

Sunday, July 22, 2012

*Remembering RAW: The Animal Rises

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Monday Night Raw has been around since 1993, so naturally it’s tough to pinpoint my favourite Raw moment. As a kid, and even now as I get older I’ve made it a habit to root for the underdogs. I began watching the WWE in a serious fashion a few weeks after WrestleMania 20. Immediately, one group stood out to me, and that group was Evolution. Led by legendary grapplers Triple H and Ric Flair, and rounded out by up-and-comers Randy Orton and Dave Batista, they were the top dogs in the business. They were the untouchables and no one could hold a candle to 'em.

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For months Evolution lived up to their reputation, capturing title after title and taking out some of the biggest names in the WWE. At one point, each member of the super stable held a title: Orton the Intercontinental belt, Flair & Batista the Tag Team Titles and Triple H the World Heavyweight Championship. It seemed as though this domination would last forever.

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That would not be the case. Cracks began to show in 2004 when Orton captured the World Championship in a tough battle with the late Chris Benoit at that year’s Summerslam. On Raw the following evening he was viciously assaulted by his supposed “friends” and kicked out of the group. The line in the sand was drawn; Triple H was the leader and was not meant to be crossed. Orton and his former mentor feuded for months, but Triple H finally recaptured what was his.

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More success for Evolution followed, as Batista won that year’s Royal Rumble. It was safe to say he would be facing the WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield at Wrestlemania, and not his leader Triple H. But on Monday, February 21st 2005, Batista shocked the world by turning on The Game. In that moment, the notion of using my inside voice didn’t exist to me, as I ran upstairs to tell my mom that The Animal had finally gone to the good side!

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This epic moment on Monday Night Raw would spawn one of the best feuds I have ever seen as a wrestling fan. Batista would go on to face Triple H for the title on "The Grandest Stage of Them All" and capture the gold, putting a smile on the faces of all the underdogs out there watching. Batista was no longer the little guy being told what to do by Triple H. The underdog had risen, and the powerhouse he went on to be for the next 5 years was born. And it all wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for that incredible moment in Raw’s illustrious history.


Chris Benoit: Tragedy Over Triumph

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Four time Intercontinental Champion, Five time United States Champion & a World Championship. Those are just some of the accolades racked up by Chris Benoit throughout his 20+ year career in the squared circle. They’re certainly Hall of Fame worthy numbers, right? Although the legendary performer should be enshrined in WWE’s Hall, he will never be. By most, he will be remembered as a man that murdered his wife & son before taking his own life. The fact of the matter is he had the brain of an 80-year-old with Alzheimer’s and should not be fully blamed for what he did. The man who won the Royal Rumble, as it’s number one entrant had a triumphant career, but his tragic end is something that will thwart his entrance into the WWE Hall of Fame, no matter how deserving he is.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

*Remembering RAW: The Debut of Chris Jericho

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As the shift in power in the Monday Night wrestling wars began to settle on the side of the WWE, Vince McMahon made a major signing that signified said shift to his competitor, and to the world. Chris Jericho was snatched up from WCW, and the wrestling world would never be the same.

Jericho made his name in WCW's cruiserweight division, but many felt that his abundant talents were being grossly underutilized. This was a condition typical of many wrestlers working for Ted Turner at the time; there was just too many guys on the roster to give everybody their fair shake (see Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrerro).

In the WWE, Jericho would be catapulted directly into a feud with the promotion's all-time most popular character, The Rock, and would go on to also become one of the greatest WWE superstars in his own right.

On that historic night, Jerichoholics were treated to the culmination of a weeks long "countdown to the millennium", which happened abruptly in the middle of an always classic Rock promo. Jericho was met with a massive ovation, which continued even as he berated fans and the WWE itself. His promos were just that good.

Jericho claimed to be wrestling's "most charismatic showman", and that assertion was not speaking out of school; he went on to become one of the most influential wrestlers of the 2000's. He would later become the WWE's first-ever undisputed champion, defeating both The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same match to unify both World Championships, his first of a total six World Championship reigns. He's also held the WWE Intercontinental Championship a record nine times, and now sits second on this list of all-time Monday Night Raw appearances.
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At the time of Chris Jericho's jump to WWE, he was one of WCW's most recognizable faces, with his untouchable microphone skills, hilarious gimmicks (such as the classic Jericho Personal Security guard angle with "Ralphus"), and sharp, stiff, and creative in-ring skills to boot. Jericho's jump solidified the evident WWE victory of the Monday Night Wars, as they had not lost to WCW's Monday Nitro in months, and were progressively pulling away in the ratings.

As significant an event as his debut was to the world of wrestling, it was especially significant in my young adolescent eyes. At that time I was a massive wrestling fan, and an avid Jerichoholic. While I may not watch wrestling with the same wide-eyed enthusiasm as i once did, events like RAW's 1000th episode offer fans like me a chance to relive those classic an nostalgic moments that had such a resonating effect on my youth.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

*Movieball: Baseball on the Big Screen

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Now that both the L.A. Kings and LeBron have finally been crowned, sports-fans can turn their undivided attention to America’s favourite pastime. The summer may have only just begun, but the regular baseball season is already in full swing. And while I only follow MLB with a passing interest, cultural osmosis has cultivated in me a profound appreciation for the game itself. The history of Baseball is the history of the 20th Century.  Its past is our prologue.  Baseball is mythical.  Anyone who’s made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, and wandered the halls with hushed reverence, can attest to this inalienable truth. It’s also cinematic. I may not love the sport, in its current hyper-corporatized incarnation, but I love the game and I love it on film.

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It’s a genre of simple pleasures. From the classics (The Pride of the Yankees) to the comedies (Major League), from the kids-flicks (The Sandlot) to the Costners (Bull Durham, For Love Of The Game), baseball movies spin timeless tales of fathers and sons, brothers and best friends.  They’re most effective when waxing poetical rather than statistical; baseball as a metaphor for life.  The Natural, starring Robert Redford, gets me every time.  When he cracks the climactic homer, unleashing a cascade of sparks upon the diamond, I lose control, more blubbery than a can of tuna.
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A man’s tears are shielded from fraternal heckling on all but a few occasions; when his child is born and when his team wins the championship.  But I’ve yet to meet a real man who’s eyes don’t mist up at the end of Field Of Dreams.  Proof positive there is crying in baseball.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

*Living in the Shadow of The Spider

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When Chael Sonnen lost his rematch to Anderson "The Spider" Silva at UFC 148, a statement was made. Not just in the context of a super-hyped main event, but it was a familiar story that has become a tragedy for so many middleweight fighters living in the Anderson Silva era. To compete in the UFC’s middleweight division is to compete for second place, and that is a stigma that grows more influential with every Silva victory.

One by one, world-class fighters have been handed their dreams back to them by the champ. Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Demian Maia, Sonnen, and the legendary Vitor Belfort are among a laundry list of fighters who have all tried, and failed, to decipher the seemingly unstoppable Spider. Silva has even ventured up to light heavyweight and dominated former champs like Forrest Griffin, just for kicks. It’s created a desolate wasteland in the division, with a serious lack of legitimate contenders left. Many have simply jumped a weight class up or down to try their chances elsewhere (although with Jon Jones and GSP reigning at light heavy and welterweight respectively, their chances may not be much better there either).

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Chael Sonnen is a living representation of what it means to compete against a talent of Silva’s level. “The American Gangster” is easily the next best competitor at 185 lbs. He proved this by utterly dominating the champ in their first meeting, and even in round one of the rematch. Despite what were certainly his best efforts, Sonnen still couldn’t find a way to put the champ away, and that has to have a massive effect on him mentally. There are even rumblings that Sonnen may be done with the sport completely after this latest loss, and realistically, who can blame him?

At 35 years old, Sonnen, who is still widely considered the world number two, is likely another two or three fights away from earning third title shot. That’s about 18 to 24 months of training and competition just to get another crack at his arch-nemesis Silva. That’s an arduous grind for a guy his age, one that he already had some difficulty completing this time around. Sonnen barely made his way through Michael Bisping en route to his latest Silva rematch, and Bisping isn’t really considered a serious contender at the moment. Evidently the seeds of self-doubt have not just been planted in Sonnen’s mind, they’ve been cultivated, and after UFC 148, no one can blame him if that doubt is now in full bloom.
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It’s a culture similar to that of the PGA during Tiger Woods’ era of domination, or the NBA when the Jordan-led Bulls were reeling off multiple championships. There is just no answer to that level of brilliance. It may even be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the more contenders Silva eats up, the less inclined anyone is going to be to think they’re going to be the one to solve him. Fighters, after all, are only human.

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Just ask Rich Franklin, the man who looked so strong as title holder before the Spider came along. Franklin was knocked out twice against Silva, and has never made his way back to the title picture since. Now, at age 37, Franklin finds himself caught between two weight classes, and with little chance of ever holding UFC gold ever again. Fighting Silva sent him into MMA limbo, the same place Sonnen seems to find himself now.

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The second UFC 148 came to a close with a flurry of Silva strikes, the speculation began over who would be next up to take a swing at the middleweight strap. The problem is, there isn’t really a logical answer. Are Mark Munoz, Chris Weidman, or even Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold really legitimate contenders? None have shown the skill level of a Chael Sonnen, but there is literally no one else left.  

Rashad Evans, via Twitter, has expressed an interest in dropping down to middleweight to take on Silva. Now that would provide a tough and interesting matchup, but coming off a tough loss to Jon Jones, Evans can’t reasonably be expected to be given a title shot in his first fight at 185 lbs.

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This is life in the Anderson Silva era. The man has established a standard of utter domination that has reverberated through the sport on literally every level. His division has been completely cleaned out, contenders are rightfully afraid, and those he destroys come to question their place in the sport altogether. 

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There will always be another fight, another matchup, and one day there will be another champ. Whether or not that champ will actually take the belt from Silva is another story altogether. One thing is for certain; there will never be another Anderson Silva. He is unequivocally the greatest UFC fighter of all-time, and it’s possible that the only opponent that may be able to beat him is time itself. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

*UFC147: Franklin vs. Silva Could be a Sleeper Hit

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UFC 147 seems to have been preordained as a failure by some, with an injury-plagued card wreaking havoc on several of the intended matchups. It’s that lowered expectation that could see the thrown-together main event rematch of Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva and Rich “Ace” Franklin steal the show.

At first glance, it would seem that the stakes for either fighter couldn’t be much lower, as neither Silva nor Franklin find themselves in serious contention for a title shot in their respective divisions. Even if they were, the 190-pound catchweight format would not serve to advance them in those rankings. What makes this fight most intriguing is the setting. The intended main event of Silva vs. Vitor Belfort would have been a rematch of two hometown babyfaces, creating a potential love-in for local Brazilian fans. Franklin presents a bad guy for people to root against, especially since he edged out Silva in a hard fought decision after their first fight back in 2009
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Rich Franklin has made a habit of taking fights on short notice, which could be dangerous for either fighter. On one hand, Franklin has not enjoyed the luxury of a full camp training for Silva. He had originally been preparing to fight Cung Le at UFC 148. On the other hand, Silva has also been preparing for a different fighter, and the short-term adjustment in training styles could easily see him get caught by surprise. 

One thing is for certain; never count Rich Franklin out. He may be coming off of a tough loss to Forest Griffin way back in February of 2011, but the former math teacher is a grizzled veteran, and always has a few tricks up his sleeve.

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Silva is going to have the spirit of his entire home nation behind him, making him an even more dangerous fighter than he already is. He may not be getting the chance to avenge his 1998 loss to the Brazilian living legend Belfort, but he will still have that fire of redemption burning against Franklin. Silva fell victim to Franklin’s footwork and striking in their first matchup at UFC 99, but the long layoff for Franklin could have a negative effect on his timing. If “Ace” spends a round trying to get his rhythm back, Silva’s still-potent knockout power could very well find it’s way to Franklin’s suspect chin (four out of Franklin’s six career losses have come via KO or TKO).

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What fans can be certain of is that this fight will be a war, as both men are more than happy to stand up and bang. However, if Silva does damage early, look for Franklin to shoot for a takedown; his 10 career submission wins would indicate that he's the more comfortable of the two on the ground. 
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The atmosphere in the building will be electric, and even though there’s no title or contendership on the line, both men certainly have a lot to prove. Franklin wants to prove that the first fight was not a fluke, Silva wants to prove that it was, and both want to show the MMA world that they’ve still got the goods to put on marketable fights beyond just their name value. 

King James Finally Crowned NBA Champion

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It took Lebron James 9 seasons, but he's finally joined the NBA's champion elite, guiding his Miami Heat to a 121-106 victory over a promising Oklahoma City squad.

  With Lebron James’ 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, he became only the fifth player in NBA history to record a triple-double in the close out game of the Finals. He has joined NBA greats Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Larry Bird, and most recently Tim Duncan who did it in 2003.

 The Miami Heat tied an NBA Finals record by making 14 3-Pointer’s, seven of which were by seldom used Mike Miller.

   Lebron James is one of the most heavily criticized players in NBA history, and he may be disliked by many, but for now all we can do is praise him for leading the Heat to their 2nd ever Championship.

- Nard Dogg