Rasslin and the race to Omaha

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Okay sportsfans, I’m going to let you guys in on one of my guilty pleasures. I like professional wrestling.

There, I said it.

Although I do realize that pro “rasslin” doesn’t exactly count as a sport, it is sports entertainment. And that ranks right up there with NASCAR.

I’m bringing this up because if you’re like me a mat-mark, this week is huge.

For a majority of the 1990s everyone had to hear about the Monday Night Wars between the WWE, then WWF and the WCW. While all this was going on nationally, there was a little group up north that was raising a stir of its own.

Extreme Championship Wrestling, with its low-budget and gritty camera work, attracted a following of hardcore wrestling fans. Nearly 10 years after the doors were closed, they still chant “E-C-W!” with pride.

While the big two companies would take talent from the Extreme, they would never give them any credit.

Last year, the Extreme Revolution was brought back into the limelight with the first ever One Night Stand pay-per-view, of course sponsored by WWE. Now this weekend, One Night Stand II is set to take place. But the questions about this year’s events should be raised.

Last year, the event was unique because it was old ECW guys matching up. Now, the WWE has injected its wrestlers into the equation to make the pay-per-view more its own and less the ECW’s.

With the infusion of the sports entertainers into this year’s equation, will the event lose its focus?

Will this year’s One Night Stand be as pointless as two councils arguing over a tower or be unique like a team’s run through the playoffs.

It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out. I mean come on, a guy got dropped through a flaming table last year.

Oh well. Hey, Alex, can I have Road Trippin’ for $1,000?

That’s right, sportfans, the Road to Omaha has been cut to 16 teams. The Crimson Tide, which beat the dog snot out of my Trojans in the regional championships, has got to be one of the favorites to advance to Rosenblatt Stadium. But it’s going to have its hands full with a scrappy North Carolina Tar Heel squad. The Tide proved that it had fight, and despite anemic batting averages, the team can make up for it with a stingy defense.

Aside from the Capstone Crew, the SEC still has a handful of teams playing. Georgia, South Carolina and Ole Miss have advanced to the Super Regionals. It’s going to be exciting this weekend to see who has enough gas to stay in and earn a trip to Omaha. The regional part of the tournament, however, wasn’t without its share of upsets.

Think about it, sportsfans. The Nebraska Cornhuskers were done after two games leaving the Lincoln regional wide open. Oral Roberts and the College of Charleston literally came from nowhere to earn a second round berth. The field of 16 looks like it will be competitive as always, especially since six of the eight national No. 1 seeds are still standing.

But this is why the games are played on the field and not on paper.

It’s that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is the sports editor of the Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached by phone at (334) 875-2110 or via email at .