Dave’s Free Play, Monday 1/26/15

  • January 26, 2015

So I’m scrolling through my various bookmarked sites over dinner and arrive at Twitter to see what’s trending. And there it is right at the top of the list.

#CancelWWE Network

Apparently, the highly anticipated Royal Rumble did not go well, at least based on the vast majority of the tweets I scanned.

There are things in the world that I simply just don’t get, never have and never will. Professional wrestling is very high on that list. But whereas my failure to master woodworking has always bothered me to a small extent, I’m actually pretty pleased with myself for having tossed this silly spectacle aside when I was roughly eight years old.

Prior to attending my first (and last) live wrestling event in 1961 at the long gone Rhode Island Auditorium, I was a huge fan. I cheered in front of the TV for Bruno Sammartino, and actually did believe that Gorilla Monsoon was truly from “parts unknown”.

So it was with great anticipation that I made the short walk from my home to “The Arena” (or as we Rhode Islanders pronounced it, “The Arener”) for a big live show with the great Bruno headlining against some miserable masked sociopath known as  “The Golden Terror”.  I had the best seat in the house (courtesy of a family member who ran the box office) and settled in for a night packed with thrills.

The show did not go off as planned. The fans were unhappy with the prelims and rather than place their empty beer cups under the seats, they utilized the ring as a massive wastebasket throughout the event. It got worse when it came time for the big fight between Sammartino and the dude with the mask.

Evidently there was a woman at ringside whose dislike toward  Golden Terror was way more intense than mine. That’s because when he strayed out of the ring at one point, said woman surged forward and kicked him in a very sensitive region. And that was the end of the match. No kidding, she really nailed him and the poor guy could not continue.

Now on to the secondary stuff and how this night ended my relationship with wrestling. I practically lived at this arena, as it was a stone’s throw from my house and I was there for every home game our beloved AHL team played there. I knew every square inch of this building inside and out.

So I was mighty confused to notice that all the wrestlers, the good guys and the bad guys, were all sharing the same dressing room. That made no sense to me. I figured the good guys would have the nicer home team digs and that the bad guys would be across the rink in the visitor’s room. Not the case, and even at the age of eight, I was able to conclude that something was amiss here.

That’s the precise moment that I realized that my dad was not making things up when he’d told me the whole thing was a fake. That closed the book for me as far as wrestling was concerned.

Thus, the question. If you already know the whole deal is scripted, why watch? I wouldn’t do so for free, let alone shelling out whatever the PPV tariff was for the privilege. As for the complaints about the apparent quality of this particular show, who do you complain to, the scriptwriters?

I want to open this up for comments. Maybe someone can enlighten me as to how adults are so into this whole thing. Not that it’s going to change my mind as guys in speedos and gaudy outfits are not my deal, but I’m honestly curious what the attraction is for actual adults. I just don’t get it.

Best place to comment is on Twitter (@davecokin) or in the Pregame.com forum once this is posted there during the day.


1-2 Sunday, and that ends a nondescript week that was mostly subpar save for a 5-1 midweek breakout that ended up salvaging the seven days. This week promises to be an improvement.

Sign up for my guaranteed monthly special and receive all my plays with analysis via email as I play them myself. Sorry, no wrestling picks. Use the “buy now” tab to subscribe securely via PayPal or email me at cokin@cox.net for any additional information.


Heckuva comeback by Duke to make Sunday’s free play a winner. Nice personnel move by Coach K in the second half to go bigger and as mentioned in the writeup yesterday, I think the lack of depth for St. John’s was a key. Tonight’s play is a second meeting between a pair of Horizon entries.

(719) WRIGHT STATE  at  (720) DETROIT

Take: (720) DETROIT -5

One of the first things I do when looking at same season rematches is to break down the first meeting to see if something peculiar played into the result. I think there’s a case to be made that this was definitely case in the initial duel between Wright State and Detroit.

Detroit is not a great two-point shooting team by any stretch. But in the first meeting with the Raiders, they outdid themselves. The Titans were an almost unbelievable 11/42 on deuces in that clash. Wright State, on the other hand, was a nifty 22/39 on its twos. And that’s about as far as one needs to go to determine why Detroit limped away on the short end of a decisive 70-57 decision.

I expect a different result tonight. Detroit was not bothered at all by the Wright State press in that game as they had only ten turnovers. Assuming they can do as well tonight, it stands to reason their shooting won’t be as wildly off target the second time around.

The visitors are also beat up. Wright State coach Billy Donlon has a very deep rotation, so the Raiders are not truly shorthanded. But the injuries are meaningful. Kendall Griffin, who had been out most of the season, has just gotten back into major minutes but he’s doubtful with a head injury tonight. Steven Davis, one of the more valuable off the bench guys for the Raiders, is on the shelf. Most importantly, JT Yoho, arguably the best player on this team is down with a knee injury. The Raiders are already 0-2 since he got injured and his presence in the paint is being missed.

I see this setting up well for the home team. They’re in at least slightly better current form, they’re a whole lot healthier, the revenge motive is in place and I just can’t see the Titans duplicating the disastrous shooting that took place in the first get together. The number is workable, so I’m taking Detroit minus the points tonight.

UPDATE: Kendall Griffin’s head injury is not severe and he is expected to play tonight for Wright State.