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We're here in the handsomely appointed Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ. Seven dynamite best-of-three matches are scheduled for this evening. Results from Session I are here. The bout order for Session II is below.
Bout 1: Women’s FS 65 kg – Forrest Molinari (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC) vs Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids/OTC)
Bout 2: Men’s GR 77 kg – Kamal Bey (Sunkist Kids/OTC) vs Pat Smith (Minnesota Storm)
Bout 3: Women’s FS 68 kg – Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Titan Mercury WC/OTC) vs Alexandria Glaude (Titan Mercury WC/McKendree Bearcat WC)
Bout 4: Women’s FS 50 kg – Whitney Conder (U.S. Army WCAP) vs Victoria Anthony (Sunkist Kids)
Bout 5: Men’s FS 125 kg – Nick Gwiazdowski (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC) vs Gable Steveson (Minnesota RTC)
Bout 6: Men’s FS 65 kg – Yianni Diakomihalis (Titan Mercury WC/Finger Lakes RTC) vs Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion WC)
Bout 7: Men’s FS 92 kg – J’den Cox (Titan Mercury WC/OTC) vs Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion WC)
Just how handsomely appointed is the RAC right now? Why not see for yourself!
Final X: Rutgers. Warm up area to the mat. pic.twitter.com/H6q9qgIsGX— Final X-Man (@SpeyWrestle) June 8, 2019
Last year's crowd-pleasing fat heads are back. How lovely.
The fat heads are in the stands. Who will collect them? Doors open at 5pm eastern! pic.twitter.com/LpISxt8ZuN— Final X-Man (@SpeyWrestle) June 8, 2019
Quality tunage from our guy on the ones and twos.
The DJ is excellent imo. pic.twitter.com/MZGXTRHpAf— Final X-Man (@SpeyWrestle) June 8, 2019
We have now officially honored America with the playing of our national anthem. It's just about go time.
WFS 65 kg
Forrest Molinari vs Maya Nelson - Match 1
1st period: Molinari will try to claim her second consecutive world team spot against 2017 junior world champ Maya Nelson. Nelson strikes first, getting an angle on Molinari and driving her out of bounds. Nelson gets two for her efforts due to continuation. Nelson on a single leg again. Molinari knee picks to counter and they're in a scramble. Action is stalemated, 1 minute to go in the first, Nelson leads 2-0. Stoppage for blood time, Nelson needs to be attended to. Back to action, Molinari trying to hip toss Nelson with an underhook, Nelson stays in position, and instead drives Molinari out of bounds again, covering for another two points. It's 4-0 with just a few seconds left in the period. We go to the break, Nelson leading by four.
2nd period: Molinari and Nelson change level simultaneously and bump noggins. They seem ok though and action resumes. Nelson in on a single, but Molinari fights back to neutral and the crowd applauds her efforts. Molinari in on a shot but Nelson counters. She's all the way behind Molinari but no takedown as Molinari holds on to a leg of Nelson and gets into a quadpod. Molinari shakes Nelson off and picks up her first two points of the match. Nelson's corner challenges.
The call stands so Molinari picks up an extra point. It's 4-3 Nelson with a little over a minute left in the match. Nelson once again in on Molinari's leg but action is stalemated. Molinari then gets hit with a caution and one. For what infraction I could not tell, and it looks like neither could Molinari. Back to the center, Nelson leading 5-3 with 30 seconds to go. Molinari attacking but Nelson is defending. And Nelson takes the first match 5-3!
Maya Nelson takes a chippy Match 1 from Forrest Molinari. pic.twitter.com/VCgEidb1eF— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
GR 77 kg
Kamal Bey vs Pat Smith - Match 1
1st period: Our premier Greco-Roman match of the day. Lil Jon ushers in Bey. Smith walks out to Chumbawumba. At the press conference, Bey said he was a Ferarri to Smith's Honda Civic. He also called Smith a wall with arms. It was a fun presser.
Slip by Bey after a little over a minute of action. Passivity on Bey a bit later and Smith picks up the first point. Bey goes down and Smith covers. Smith lifts Bey off the mat and goes for a throw but Bey regains his footing and avoids giving up big points, but does go out of bounds and Smith goes up 2-0. Bey on the attack now, he drives Smith to the mat as they go out of bounds and ties the score 2-2. Bey leads via criteria. Bey hits a duck under with his heels on the out of bounds line but then explodes with a body lock and back arches Smith to his back. Wonderful suplex for four points. The crowd loves it. The cheer on the replay as well.
2nd period. Smith down 7-2 with 3 more minutes on the clock. Bey stays aggressive, he's got Smith's back. No throw this time, but a takedown for 2 more puts him on the brink of an 8 point Greco tech. Smith digs underhooks, looking for something huge, instead, Bey gets a step out point and will win the match.
Or does he? Yolo brick from Smith's corner. We await the video review. Call is confirmed. Bey takes the first match!
Kamal Bey just teched Pat Smith ? pic.twitter.com/vYHdalKcit— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
WFS 68 kg
Tamyra Mensah-Stock vs Alexandria Glaude - Match 1
1st period: I'm unfamiliar with the song Glaude walks out to but it rocks pretty hard. Glaude attacks early but Mensah-Stock has the counter and goes up 2-0. Mensah-Stock is a three-time Yariguin champ and 2018 world bronze medalist, and is the heavy favorite in this match. After another minute of wrestling it's a similar sequence. Glaude goes in for a shot but Mensah-Stock is ready and goes behind for two more. Tamyra leads 4-0. Now it's Mensah-Stock turn to take a shot. Tamyra has Glaude in trouble but runs out of time before she can secure the takedown. Mensah-Stock holds a 4-0 lead at the break.
2nd period: Mensah-Stock takes a couple shots but Glaude able to defend. Time is not on Glaude's side, however. Tamyra's counter offense is too much for Galude and she scores again. Running an armbar is Mensah-Stock, and she's got Glaude on her back. There's the fall! Taking match 1 in dominant fashion is Tamyra Mensah-Stock!
Tamyra pinned her. pic.twitter.com/VBB1dWRRsc— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
WFS 50 kg
Whitney Conder vs Victoria Anthony - Match 1
1st period: Conder has gotten the best of Anthony in their last few matches, going back to last year's Final X. Conder struts on to the mat while some very nice heavy metal thunder blasts on the speakers. The HOVA announces Anthony's presence. These women get to scrapping right on the whistle. Near the 2 minute mark, Anthony goes for a lat drop with double overs but Conder overpowers her and slams her to the mat. It's four points for Conder early. Anthony's corner challenges the exposure, saying it was only two points for Conder.
The call on the mat is upheld so Conder gets another point. 5-0 now with over half the first period to go. Conder has a tight front headlock but doesn't do anything with it so we get a restart. 1 minute to go in the first. Anthony on a single but Conder defends. The period ends the same score.
2nd period: Anthony being more aggressive. In deep on a shot, but nifty defending by Conder keeps her in the lead by five. Anthony in on another shot and this time she converts, getting continuation off a single leg as they go out of bounds. Another single leg after the restart but Anthony can't solve Conder's gumby leg. It's still 5-2 Conder with 1:10 left on the clock. Conder fights through another single leg attack from Anthony and converts for two, extending her lead back to 5. With less than 20 seconds to go Conder concedes a takedown but it'll be too little too late. Conder takes the first match 7-4!
Whitney was dominant in Match 1. pic.twitter.com/KcITvigVqU— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
MFS 125 kg
Nick Gwiazdowski vs Gable Steveson - Match 1
1st period: Oh boy. Now we're cooking with some real heat. The 19 year old teenaged phenom against the two-time world bronze medalist. It's a tactical opening 100 seconds to the match. Gwiz goes on the activity clock. He must score in 30 seconds or concede a point to Steveson. Gwis cannot score and gives up a point. But then he strikes on a sweep single and his Steveson's leg in the air. Clean finish gives Gwiz the lead 2-2 with 30 seconds to go in the period. Steveson nearly catches a leg but Gwiz nimbly spins out of danger. The period will end with Gwiz holding on to a one point lead.
2nd period: Steveson on a leg and nearly drives Gwiz into the front row seats. The point ties it up but Gwiz leads on criteria. Shot by Gwiz, reattack by Steveson but neither scores. Same sequence and this time Steveson is too fast on the reattack. He secures the takedown and it's 4-2 with 90 seconds left in the match. Another flurry, Gwiz on a leg, Steveson thinking chest wrap, Gwiz defends and converts for another two. It's 4-4 but Gwiz back to leading by criteria. Steveson shakes it out in the center of the mat. Gwiz stays in his stance. Final 20 seconds. Steveson can't get through Gwiz's defenses. Nick Gwiazdowski takes the first match on criteria!
4-4. Gwiz wins Match 1 on criteria. pic.twitter.com/7UgXA49FoR— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
MFS 65 kg
Yianni Diakomihalis vs Zain Retherford - Match 1
1st period: Another heater. Yianni won at the U.S. Open, scoring a late takedown to win 6-4. Can Zain get revenge? Big response for Yianni as he walks out to Justin Timberlake. Nearly as large a response for Retherford as he takes the mat to Johnny Cash. Yianni goes to work quickly, Gets under Retherford's hands and is in on two low ankles. He elevates, throws them to a side and collects the first two points of the match. Zain's turn to get in on a low shot. Yianni grabs far ankles. They spin around like the 3 Stooges bit a few rotations, than Zain pressures in enough to get two points for an exposure. Finally stalemated. 2-2 with a minute to go. Seriously heavy hands from Zain keeps Diakomihalis at bay for the rest of the period. Zain was in on a single as time expired. They'll go to their corner, Zain up via criteria.
2nd period: Yianni gets an inadvertent eye poke and we pause. Back in action and its a low shot from Zain. This time he converts cleanly, then transitions right to a lace. It's 6-2 with 2 minutes to go. Big applause from the crowd after that sequence. Yianni on a shot, it's stalemated. 90 seconds to go. Another shot from Yianni, a lightning quick duck under and it's 6-4. Yianni staying aggressive, Zain with a front headlock. Restart at the 1 minute mark. They walk back to the center and Yianni has some trouble maneuvering around Retherford. Now in position Retherford drops on a leg and it's a flurry. Retherford converts and it's 8-4, clutch takedown for Zain! Yianni goes for a head pinch in the final seconds and gives up 2 garbage points. Impressive performance by Retherford, he wins the first match 10-4!
Zain: 10 | Yianni: 4 pic.twitter.com/cwCWfarNrn— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
MFS 92 kg
J’den Cox vs Bo Nickal - Match 1
1st period: The co-main event. Can't believe we get to do all these matches at least one more time after this one. We are living in great times my friends!
Nickal stepped on the scale considerably underweight today, so Cox will have a size advantage. Not that that's ever bothered Nickal before. Overhand club from Cox makes a pop that echos throughout the RAC. Not much offense from either guy as Cox goes on the activity clock halfway through the first. Cox doesn't see a shot worth taking in 30 seconds to Nickal scores the first point of the match. Not much action in the first period I'm afraid. It's 1-0 Nickal at the break.
2nd period: Heavy hands from both competitors to start the second. Nickal shoots a beautiful high crotch and is in deep. A tremendous scramble ensues. Cox somehow cuts the corner and collects two. Then immediately into a gut wrench for two more!
Or is it? Gut wrench white paddled, saying they were out of bounds. Cox's corner challenges. Challenge denied. Nickal picks up a point but Cox leads via criteria 2-2. Down to the final minute now. Cox taking half shots, keeping Nickal off balance. Nickal fires off a shot at the 30 second mark but it doesn't land. Nickal throwing everything he can at Cox now. Cox circling. And Nickal runs out of time. Cox picks up two more in the final desperate seconds of the match. J'den Cox wins the first match in a nailbiter!
Match 1 goes to J’den. 4-2. pic.twitter.com/LFhEtN3Ddl— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
Pat Downey now taking the mat in a singlet. He made weight, as was mandated by USA Wrestling, and now officially claims his spot on the Men's Freestyle World Team. PDIII is going to Kazakhstan. Well done Pat!
World Team ? pic.twitter.com/n9Q6EbriK5— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
WFS 65 kg
Forrest Molinari vs Maya Nelson - Match 2
1st period: Maya Nelson walks out to match two to the sounds of Daddy Yankee and Gasolina. She's trying to make her first senior world team by taking out the incumbent Molinari in two straight matches. Nelson scores first on a reattack that drives Molinari out of bounds. It's 1-0 after 1 minute. Molinari on a sweep single. Nelson sprawls. Molinari muscles the leg back to her clutches, eventually converts for two points. Now a bow and arrow (I think) gives Molinari two more and a 4-1 lead in short time. A shot late in the period by Nelson but Molinari overpowers her for two, then another two with an armbar just as time expires. Molinari takes a commanding 8-1 lead into the break.
2nd period: Nelson thinking big. Now looking for a near side cradle. Nearly takes Molinari back on top of her to reverse the momentum for a roll through but then thinks better of it. A step out cuts the lead to six. It's 8-2 with 2 minutes left in the period and Molinari is in on another shot. Molinari converts and it's 10-2 with 1:31 on the clock. Nelson in need of the training. Action is paused as Nelson gets her left knee checked out. Nothing a little cold spray can't fix, and we're back to the center. A double by Nelson but Molinari stands her ground and counters for two more and the technical superiority. We're going to a third match! Have to think that favors Molinari judging by how that last match went.
Forrest channels DeSanto/Ramos and takes Match 2. We’re getting a third. pic.twitter.com/RfUT5auGl2— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
GR 77 kg
Kamal Bey vs Pat Smith - Match 2
1st period: We the 4,000 or so fans here in the RAC be treated to another sublime Greco bomb from Kamal Bey? Or will Pat Smith pummel Bey into submission? I cannot wait to find out. Hand fighting in the center to start the match. And just like match 1, it's Bey that gets put down first, giving up a passivity point. Smith gets out of position in par terre and Bey capitalizes with a reversal to tie the score and take the lead via criteria, score otherwise knotted up 1-1. That's how the period ends without much more action.
2nd period: Bey had underhooks in and the crowd was looking for something big but Smith wrestles out of the tie and eventually earns a step out point as Bey ran out of real estate. it's 2-1 in favor of Smith, 2:39 left on the clock as Bey gets a blood lip attended to. And we're back in business, Smith going to work on a Russian tie as he's done for most of this match. Smith not letting Bey get to his preferred holds as he controls the center of the mat. We round the one minute mark with Smith still leading by a point. And Pat Smith manages to hold on for the 2-1 win! We're getting a third bout in this series as well!
Pat Smith gets revenge. We’re getting a third match between him and Kamal Bey. pic.twitter.com/7Tb10UW71b— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 8, 2019
WFS 68 kg
Tamyra Mensah-Stock vs Alexandria Glaude - Match 2
1st period: The first match was all Mensah-Stock. Will Claude be able to make the adjustments necessary to turn the tide? A feet to back takedown gives Mensah-Stock a four point lead, suggesting a repeat of match 1 is more likely. A stepout runs the tally up to 5 with a minute to go in the first. Tamyra cuts off all avenues of escape for Glaude and picks up another step out point. It's 6-0 as time runs out in the first.
2nd period: Mensah-Stock still dominating all positions. A go-behind makes it an 8-0 lead for Tamyra and all but guarantees she will make another world team. Glaude fights to the finish but it's Tamyra-Stock with another two points and the 10-0 tech. Tamyra Mensah-Stock is our second world team member of the session! She'll be a gold medal contender in Nur-Sultan.
Sharp looking Black Panther singlet Mensah-Stock is sporting as well.
WFS 50 kg
Whitney Conder vs Victoria Anthony - Match 2
1st period: Will Conder continue her winning streak against Anthony, or will Vicky solve Whitney? Anthony gets off to a good start. A takedown in the first 30 seconds gives her an early 2-0 lead. Anthony in on another high crotch, but Conder lat whips Anthony over to her back! That's a big four points. Conder readjusts and goes in for the kill. Anthony's fighting off her back. And there's the fall! Conder with authority! She's made her fifth world team and is going to Kazakhstan!
WORLD TEAM ? pic.twitter.com/qzAYW6gMwe— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 9, 2019
MFS 125 kg
Nick Gwiazdowski vs Gable Steveson - Match 2
1st period: 4-4 last match. Will this one be close? Or will one of these titans run away with match 2? Gable strikes first, looking for a corner and a takedown but settling for the step out. Steveson leads 1-0 after a minute of wrestling. Lots of snaps and handfighting in the next couple minutes, plus I believe both wrestlers were warned for passivity, but no scores. Steveson gets in on a high crotch and tries to lift Gwiz but Nick sinks his hips and wrestles out of danger. We'll go to the break, Steveson still leading 1-0.
2nd period: Steveson in on another shot off a Gwiz attack but Nick's hips are extra heavy today. He flattens Steveson and goes behind for two. 90 seconds left in the match, Gwiazdowski with the 201 lead. Steveson fires off another shot but Gwiz stops him. Gwiz on a leg now but Steveson hips into him and exposes to take the 3-2 lead. Gwiz stays on the leg and covers to tie the core but leads on criteria. It's 3-3 with 30 seconds to go. Steveson down on Nick's legs, but those heavy his plant Steveson's head firmly in the mat. Times expires and Gwiz does not relinquish his spot. For the second consecutive match, Nick Gwiazdowski defeats Gable Steveson on criteria. He makes his third consecutive world team and will seek his third consecutive world medal in Kazakhstan!
WORLD TEAM ? pic.twitter.com/TuTUdjClO2— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 9, 2019
MFS 65 kg
Yianni Diakomihalis vs Zain Retherford
1st period: Even if you are a huge Zain Retherford fan, I have to assume you're still kinda sorta hoping for a third match between these two. How can you not want more Yianni vs Zain?
What just happened? I blinked. Right off the whistle Zain hit.. something for two, then Yianni exposed Zain, then Yianni exposed Zain again, then Zain got the final exposure and it's 4-4, Zain leading gon criteria. Another insane scramble later and it's still 4-4. Going to need to watch this replay as soon as possible. Lightening reattack by Yianni makes it 6-4. The crowd is loving this action. A lot of distance checking in the final 30 seconds of the period but not much else and we go to the break, Yianni leading 6-4.
2nd period: Single leg attack by Zain. Yianni goes over the top and grabs an ankle, keeping Zain on the mat and we stalemate. 2:20 on the clock. Head fakes from both guys. A shot from Yianni goes nowhere. Zain in deep on .a single now. Yiann scrambling. Somehow Yianni didn't give up the takedown. Now they roll through and it's ruled two for both. With these scrambles, I am very glad I don't have to make any calls. More insane scrambles. It's a waste of time to try and describe the action. Just watch the match. Time expires and the scoreboard has Yianni up 8-6. Zain's corner wants a review and will get one. This will decide the fate of the match.
The officials are taking their time with this review. I'm sure they want to get it right. Yianni and Zain are pacing around the center circle, watching the replay on the jumbotron hanging in the center of the arena.
And the ruling is, Zain wins on criteria, 6-6! Apologies but I didn't even know what was being challenged so I have no idea what the official scoring was. Zain Retherford makes his second world team!
Crowd is not very happy with this result, but Zain didn't make their call, and the boos are unfortunate.
WORLD TEAM ? pic.twitter.com/mOOOIrtpPy— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 9, 2019
MFS 92 kg
J’den Cox vs Bo Nickal - Match 2
1st period: Not a lot of action in the first period, with the only score being an activity point for Cox (sorry, got detained and fell behind on my blogging).
2nd period: Cox gets behind Nickal and takes him to the mat, just barely scoring the takedown as Nickal continuously wrestles through every position. Another takedown in similar circumstances gives Cox a 5-0 lead with 47 seconds left in the match. A scramble at the end of the match and Nickal has Cox's back but Nickal can't even bring Cox to the mat and no suplex ensues. Cox win for the second straight time, making his fourth straight world or Olympic team. J'den Cox will seek his fourth medal in Kazakhstan!
WORLD TEAM ? pic.twitter.com/IIVWaGB2HE— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 9, 2019
WFS 65 kg
Forrest Molinari vs Maya Nelson - Match 3
1st period: It's the rubber match. Nelson took the first bout, Molinari the second. Molinari threatens first, grabbing a leg and driving Nelson out of bounds for a point. Nelson fires back with a double leg and picks up a step out point. That ties the score but gives Nelson the lead via criteria. Both wrestlers are subsequently in on deeps shots but neither scores. That's how the period ends.
2nd period: Molinari in on a single leg but Nelson scrambles. It's a 50/50 position with Nelson trying to come around top and Molinari trying to shake her of and on to the mat. They go out of bounds and it's ruled two for Molinari but Nelson's corner wants to challenge. It's very close. Another call I'm glad I don't have to make. Nelson loses the challenge and gives up another point to make it 4-1. Now Nelson in on a shot, Molinari scrambles, her leg is in an awkward position and the crowd wants it stopped. Eventually, we do get a whistle. A couple more scrambles to close out the match but no scores. Forrest Molinari makes back-to-back world teams!
WORLD TEAM ❄️ pic.twitter.com/alpewGcHPL— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 9, 2019
GR 77 kg
Kamal Bey vs Pat Smith - Match 3
1st period: Bey comes out guns blazing and earns a step out in the first 10 seconds. Smith nearly gets all the way behind Bey but Bey reached back and grabs Smith's head with one arm. He doesn't get the exposure but as Smith scrambles to his belly Bey covers for 2 and a 3-0 lead. Bey lifts and goes for the throw but Smith plants his feets, stops Bey's momentum and gets 2 exposure points of his own. The period ends without any more scores.
2nd period: A one point score will be enough to give Smith the lead via criteria, so Bey can't take his foot off the gas. Smith charging ahead, has Bey off balance, and Smith drives Bey to the back and out of bounds. Huge four points for Smith to make it 6-3. Bey slow to get up, and now the trainer is on the mat checking out his right knee. Bey is back to the center and we're back in business. Leg foul warning on Bey but no penalty. 90 second left in the match, Bey trailing by 3. Bey going kitchen sink, but Smith isn't letting Bey find purchase. Time expires and Smith wins 6-3 and usurps the incumbent on the world team!
The Honda Civic is cruising to Kazakhstan ? pic.twitter.com/jfAJGymP5t— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 9, 2019
That's a wrap of Final X: Rutgers. An exhausting day that's not over yet (at least not for us), but about as much fun as you can have at a wrestling event.
I have a feeling we will be feeling reverberations from that Yianni Zain match 2 for a little while longer.
Thanks to everyone who logged in to follow the action in real time. And if you are coming to the blog long after the event is over, thanks for reading also!
See you in Nebraska my friends!