Summary: Pride Fighting Championships 19: Bad Blood
Comment: I hadn't heard the best reviews for this double-DVD edition of Pride Fighting 19: Bad Blood. We are still in the rapidly developing stages of Pride and getting big names such as Shamrock and Frye (both "legends" of the UFC) is nothing but good for business.
Tom Erikson v. Tim Catalfo:
This one doesn't last long, but it is difficult to tell whether or not the win was that impressive, given the fighters involved. You will see what I mean... but a decent opening to the event.
Alex Steibling v. Wallid Ismail:
Ismail is a freak. He will creep you out in his pre-fight interview, with his child-molester stare and his odd speech pattern... but out in the ring, he's a serious fighter. These two are amped to get at each other, but for all the buildup, there is truly no clear winner after the first 10 minutes of fighting. The action picks up in the 2nd and comes to a head in the 3rd, when the winner becomes apparent.
Carlos Newton v. Jose "Pele" Landi:
I don't particularly like Pele, but I do respect his fighting ability. He annoys me with his behavior and demeanor, but he also entertains me. He is overconfident in this fight against the soft-spoken Newton. The battle goes back and forth and both fighters find themselves in trouble at different points in the fight, but the fight ends abruptly and unexpectedly at the end of the 1st round. Great fight.
Heath Herring v. Igor Vovchanchyn:
Herring is a wildman and you see it here against the slugger, Vovchanchyn. Herring controls early - and Vovchanchyn then surprisingly gets a few consecutive takedowns. As usual, he is not able to do much damage on the ground, but he makes it a good fight. The pace is fairly steady throughout - this is a very decent bout that ultimately goes to a decision.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira v. Enson Inoue:
Submissions end up telling the tale in this fight, rather quickly.
Wanderlei Silva v. Kiyoshi Tamura:
Silva, one of the most entertaining fighters ever to fight in mixed martial arts, steps in against Kiyoshi Tamura, with whom I was not particularly familiar. Nevertheless, I was anticipating another awesome Wanderlei Silva fight. He controls Tamura early with effective ground & pound and the fight ends in very exciting fashion early in the 2nd round. Classic Silva!
Ken Shamrock v. Don Frye:
In the pre-fight interviews, Don Frye says that he respects Ken as a fighter - Shamrock refuses to make the same claim. Shamrock finds reasons to dislike fighters simply to hype the fight. He rarely makes sense when he speaks, causing his fans to slowly lose respect for him as the years pass (ultimately leading to the pitiful state of his current "I hate Tito Ortiz"-based career)... These two trade body-blows in the clench during the first round. There is a LOT of clenching in this fight. Shamrock makes a few weak leglock and toehold submission attempts but, there's nothing there. They seem to be fighthing an "old man's" fight: clenching the whole time, landing weak body shots and engaging in standing exchanges for only seconds at a time. Frye remains crisper than Shamrock, expelling less energy throughout. This is revealed early in the 3rd round. The action then again fizzles after this moment of excitement. This one goes to a split decision and the decision is fair. So ends the "Bad Blood".
This event was far better than the reviews I had read indicated it would be. The matchups were not exactly legendary, but the fighters were. Silva, Nogueira, Frye, Shamrock, Herring, Vovchanchyn, Newton and Pele each contribute to another great Pride Fighting event. The bonus disc includes extended interviews with Frye and Shamrock (and a hidden interview with Wallid Ismail's crazy @ss). Recommended.
Summary: An Excellent Addition to Your MMA Collection
Comment: PRIDE or PRIDE Fighting Championships is the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world. It is based in Japan and currently promoted by Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE). Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997, promoted by Kakutougi Revolution Spirits (KRS). It is the most popular MMA organization in the world based on the number of event attendees: the PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 event had over 67,000 people in the audience. The audience record is 91,107 people on the PRIDE and K-1 co-production Shockwave/Dynamite, held in August 2002. It is considered to be the premiere MMA organization on the planet.
PRIDE 19: Bad Blood is a very good show that showcases a wide array of talent; estalished veterans, world champions, and rising stars can all be found on this entertaining event. Furthermore, the event contains a fight that I consider to be one of the greatest in MMA history. Here is a spoiler-free breakdown on the fight card:
Tom Erikson vs Tim Catalfo - 7/10
- A short fight pitting two very large men. It almost looks like the clash of the titans when you first see these two guys at the staredown.
Alex Steibling vs Wallid Ismail - 6/10
- A relatively dreary fight between two fighters of contrasting styles. Wallid attempts to keep this fight on the ground while Alex tries his best to keep it standing.
Rodrigo Gracie vs Daijiro Matsui - 7/10
- Another typical Gracie-like fight in which Rodrigo attempts to ground his opponent
Carlos Newton vs Jose Landi-Jons - 10/10
- One of my all time favorite fight. Carlos Newton plays the role of the exceptional grappler while Pele plays the role of the remarkable striker. The fight is packed to the brim with nonstop action and some unintentional humor mixed in as well.
Heath Herring vs Igor Vovchanchyn - 8/10
- A fight between two of the top 10 heavyweights in the world. An incredible first round is followed up by less spectacular action.
Don Frye vs Ken Shamrock - 9/10
- This fight is where the tagline "Bad Blood" came from. A fight with an extensive backstory, both men give it their all until they are lingering at the brink of exhaustion. Great fight with a slightly debatable ending.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Enson Inoue - 9/10
- Nogueira is the defending PRIDE Heavyweight Champion and #1 ranked fighter in the world. His challenger is Enson Inoue, a modern day Japanese-American samurai who's never-say-attitude has made him huge fan favorite with the crowd.
Wanderlei Silva vs Kiyoshi Tamura - 9/10
- PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva, defends his title against top Japanese superstar, Kiyoshi Tamura. What on paper looks like an easy destruction, turns out to be far more than you'd expect. Great fight with a brutal finish.
Overall, Bad Blood makes for a tremendous addition to any Mixed Martial Arts library. Although the undercard is somewhat lackluster, the main bouts more than make up for it. I would highly recommend purchasing this DVD.
Summary: Bad Blood... not that Good (no spoilers)
Comment: This isn't a terrible PPV. There are a few memorable matches, such as Antonio Nogueira vs Enson Inoue and the main event Ken Shamrock vs Don Frye. However, the product in its entirety isn't as exciting as it seems on paper.
I expected a lot more out of Bad Blood, than I got. If you're looking for a PPV stacked with swift finishes and shocking upsets, this is the wrong DVD. Most of the fights (or hugging contests), go quite the distance, namely Alex Stiebling vs Wallid Ismail and Heath Herring vs Igor Vovchanchyn. Other matches are simply too predictable, including the ones worth watching.
The Special Features on Disc 2 are decent, collecting some uncut interviews and backstage clips of the fighters before and after. If anything after a rather dreary seminar of matches, the "Outtakes" with Ken Shamrock and Don Frye shooting to promote the PPV warrant a viewing to lift your spirit.
The fight card is as follows (no spoilers):
- Tom Erikson vs Tim Catalfo (4/10)
This match could've been held at King of the Cage.
- Alex Stiebling vs Wallid Ismail (5/10)
True to all of Wallid Ismail's matches, feel free to fast forward 90% of it.
- Carlos Newton vs Jose "Pele" Landi-Jones (8/10)
The first solid fight of the night.
- Heath Herring vs Igor Vovchanchyn (6/10)
How did this match go wrong?
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Enson Inoue (8/10)
The most thrilling bout in the PPV.
- Wanderlei Silva vs Kiyoshi Tamura (7/10)
It's not the typical slugfest you'd expect from a Silva fight.
- Ken Shamrock vs Don Frye (8/10)
Although Shamrock and Frye lose steam quickly, their emotional struggle is what really makes this fight.
Bonus Match (disc 2):
- Daijiro Matsui vs Rodrigo Gracie (5/10)
Pride 19: Bad Blood is definitely one for the faithful. I'd probably not recommend it to conventional fans, who don't thoroughly appreciate the sport. In other words, it's somewhat of a snoozefest. But something tells me you're gonna have to watch it and decide that for yourself.
The booking looks excellent on paper, no doubt. Perhaps the last few matches aren't as bad as my conviction. Yet when the event is analyzed as a whole, from start to finish, the introduction fights are reliable substitutes to counting sheep. And by the time business starts picking up, Bad Blood is a little too late to be great.