I don't think I've ever claimed to have all the answers, and if I have, I'm rescinding that statement. However, I do have lots of questions though, and in this brief installment, I'll share many that I hope to have answers to by the end of Saturday's second Final X. Please don't read into this as more than it is, because it isn't. Just curious about some of the excitement coming up, and some aspects of the event/competition. Anyway, here are some questions, and a bit of insight into them.
Q1: Is Kyle Dake going to play the clock and eek out a performance against someone that he's clearly better than... Again? Or is that strategy going to come back and bite him in the ass... Again?
I don't have answers here. I'm hoping to get those Saturday, but in playing this Zahid v Dake matchup in my head, I keep seeing a circumstance where Dake wins the first match, because he wrestles like he needs to, then loses the next two because he tries to game the score, and doesn't push it for 6 minutes. Zahid will, and I anticipate his coaches will want him to lose matches off of his shots, where he can learn something, rather than try to win a slow paced 2-1 match. We'll see though, hopefully Dake wrestles like the last several years of his competitive life depend on it.
Q2: Will we see a third match?
I'm not too worried about this one. We did just win the world championship, which stands to reason that our team is pretty good, but we do have some great match ups. If I were to guess, I'd say that Stieber v McKenna has the highest likelihood to go to three. They very clearly have wrestled one another, and McKenna has an extensive enough freestyle career where you know he won't get caught up in too many of Stieber's old man/freestyle tricks.
Q3: Will I like the different location thing more?
I tried to articulate it on the last podcast, but I'm not sure why we didn't do the best two out of three finals in one location for all weights on one day. If the idea was to be able to build up the matchups a bit more, and gain some more traction from a marketing perspective, than I would say that we were able to do that in the last several weeks. Breaking it up into three locations, and three nights, may be more than necessary, but we'll see. I'm hoping to really see how I feel about this after this week, and certainly to review after all three. I used to not like green peppers, and now there is nothing I'd rather eat than grilled stuffed peppers. They are delicious.
Q4: What are we going to see from Nick Reenan?
I think he's going to try to win. For real though, he's been on the freestyle scene for a while, and has been competing in his room with studs for the last three years. He lost last year in the finals to Zahid, who placed second in the world, who was apparently wrestling up a weight. Point being, he is certainly worthy of being on the world team, and happens to have David Taylor in front of him. To make it clear, both of these guys have currently made 0 senior level world teams as the starter, so it's not worth ignoring his chances. Regardless, it will be cool to see where he is, and how he prepares for what is clearly a very tough match.
Q5: What will the reaction from State College be to the Buckeyes?
Sub question, will they really boo both guys, regardless of outcome? Someone is going to make a world team to a sea of boo's. That's my nightmare. Different sub sects of wrestling fans are either ass holes, or great, so we'll see how it goes. I have faith that they will be great.
Q6: How good will Adeline look?
She is good, and we all know that. Just saying, she's obviously in her first year returning to the mat and looking to make another world team. She has shown such big levels of improvement (even for her) in her short time back, and it'll be interesting to me to see how sharp she will be in the trials, and potentially going into the world championships.
Q7: Kyle Dake and David Taylor are finally going to make World Teams right?
My god I hope so. I truly thought it was going to happen last year with Taylor beating Cox... and Dake beating Burroughs. Neither happened. They are both 0 for a lot. They probably have more failed attempts at making the world team than they do total losses in college.
Q8: For real though, these guys are making money for competing right? At least for winning, I should hope. Right?
Remember when PROWL was going to be a thing to help wrestlers compete for world team spots and make money for competing? I do. Sounded good to me. Remember when that couldn't happen and Final X happened in it's place? Me to. That's how we got here. Point being, I remember briefly hearing that there was a level of compensation for each winner, and I would assume other competitors. How does this work with guys still enrolled in college? Do they just save the loot (assuming their is some) if they win, similarly to Kyle Snyder? Why isn't this discussed more? Is anyone else wondering about this? Why am I ending my insight into my question with more questions?
Don't ask so many questions. Just go with it.