Final X Special Wrestle-off: Dake vs. Dieringer

Spey's Take: No One Is Taking This Spot From Dake

Spey's Take: No One Is Taking This Spot From Dake

Spey explains why Kyle Dake will win his special Final X wrestle-off with Alex Dieringer.

Aug 15, 2019 by Andrew Spey
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It takes a bold man to predict that a senior-level athlete will defeat an opponent that he holds a 4-0 lifetime record against. Some would call that courageous; others, heroic. I do not care for the inevitable approbation I will undoubtedly receive for doing so, but nonetheless, I am stating on the record that no one, including Alex Dieringer, is taking Kyle Dake's world team spot away from him.

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It takes a bold man to predict that a senior-level athlete will defeat an opponent that he holds a 4-0 lifetime record against. Some would call that courageous; others, heroic. I do not care for the inevitable approbation I will undoubtedly receive for doing so, but nonetheless, I am stating on the record that no one, including Alex Dieringer, is taking Kyle Dake's world team spot away from him.

Watch Dake vs Dieringer Wrestle-Off Live On Flo

Saturday, August 17 | 2:00 PM Eastern

But in all seriousness, I do commend my friend and colleague Daniel Nomad for finishing his article first and taking the somewhat contrarian position that Alex Dieringer will reverse his current losing streak and beat the defending world 79kg senior men's freestyle gold medalist in a two out of three series this weekend in Austin. I respect that take, I do, I just see too much evidence to the contrary.

But First, The Due Respect To Dieringer

Articles like this are never easy, because as the writer you lose no matter what. As a consummate and objective professional journalist, I just want to see great wrestling matches this weekend in Round Rock. I will be thrilled for whoever wins and, as a totally subjective and biased fan, will go berzerk rooting for them to win gold in Kazakhstan. 

And there is a lot of reasons to pick Dieringer! As young Danny Nomes mentioned, Ringer has been housing people lately, he's been getting closer and closer to Dake every time they wrestle, and Alex Dieringer is by all available accounts an excellent person and wrestler. 

I won't lie: I find the position staked out by Daniel Nomed to be very persuasive!

But no matter how many times I consider the matchup, I always ultimately arrive at the same conclusion: that the 79kg spot on Team USA belongs to Kyle Dake, and he's not going to let anyone take it away from him. Below, I will explain why I feel this way. 

Dake's Incredible Track Record

Dake is perhaps most famous for his one-sided rivalry with David Taylor, a man who is also a world champion and all-around ultimate badass. To be 8-0 (or thereabouts, please correct if the fruits of my cursory research are inaccurate), over a guy who just blitzed his way through a stacked weight class in Budapest is one of the most impressive American feats of the day.

The Magic Man wasn't just a one-tournament wonder; his hit list is one of the best of any domestic senior athletic. That article needs to be updated (which I'm sure it soon will be), but the point is still made. 

Now throw in the fact that Dake has beaten three other world champs in Jordan Burroughs, J'den Cox, and Denis Tsargush? You can just read his hit list to get the complete picture, but I'll post the videos below, just to give everyone the opportunity to see why it should have been no surprise to know that Dake outscored his opponents 37-0 in Budapest.

Dake over Tsargush! (I can't find this online anymore but it happened at the 2013 Golden Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.)

Dake over Cox!!


Dake over Burroughs!!!

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Dake's Unreal Skillset

This one is tougher to explain since I am not a technician and have a much tougher time breaking down the minutiae than, say, our own Monstupolous Mike Mal, but I am confident Kyle Dake is the most adaptable wrestler I have ever witnessed. 

Just when you think you have his style pegged, Dake shows up with a new bag of tricks. I distinctly remember a time when you could read chatter on the internet about how Dake's whole deal is to just sit back on all fours and stall his way through matches. Yet in hindsight, I would contend that "style" to be merely a temporary tactic deployed in an effort to figure out a way past his nemesis Jordan Burroughs. And when the main obstacle to your primary goal is Jordan freaking Burroughs, as I say keep all options on the table, including wrestling ugly. 

The best evidence I have to Dake being a multi-talented human Swiss-Army Knife of wrestling moves is A) his matches — I mean just watch them, it will be easier than me trying to describe his versatility — and B) how proficient he is in all styles. 

Dake is one of the all-time greatest folkstyle wrestlers in history. He mastered the rideout, the mat return, and every other nuance endemic to the American style. He also summited the peak of freestyle, winning world gold by suplexing elite talent, a technique that's not even legal in folkstyle. Dake's destruction of Gadzhimagomedov via back arches and crotch lifts in the semis of Budapest was particularly satisfying to watch.

In fact, let's all enjoy Dake overcoming a nasty and deliberate headbutt to humble Gadzhimagomedov in front of a raucous Hungarian crowd right now:


Anyway, I can't adequately describe all the ways Kyle Dake is really good at wrestling. I just know that if you try to pigeonhole Dake's style into one category or another, I will be able to produce high-level match evidence that Dake can in fact wrestle in a completely opposite manner. 

Kyle Dake Will Not Be Denied

It's safe to call anyone who reaches Final X a tremendous competitor. The amount of sacrifice and dedication it takes to reach the pinnacle of wrestling achievement does not come easy. Alex Dieringer is one of the most competitive people on the planet, and I'm certain any discussion you have with him on his prospects of winning not only FInal X, but a world title in Nur-Sultan, will leave you brimming with confidence.

So it is not blithely that I say Kyle Dake's will to win may very well be the difference-maker in this matchup. 

Dake has been proving doubters wrong since his freshman year of college, and he hasn't stopped since graduating, either. The number of fantasy matchups Kyle Dake has lost is the stuff of message board lore. But Dake keeps proving everyone wrong, all while battling injuries throughout his senior career, and only being denied additional shots at world and Olympic medals by two living legends in Jordan Burroughs and J'den Cox.

Then there was that time Dake wrestled Julfalakyan in Greco in Madison Square Garden. So that happened.

The point is Dake has believed in his ability to beat the best for a long time, and he's backed it up with results. 

There are always caveats to prognostication, such as Dake's most recent injury, which led to the delay in this final Final X match. But I don't think Dake would be wrestling this series if he wasn't ready to win another world gold medal. And that's what I will be predicting him to do, assuming my Final X prediction pans out. 

I also hear that Dake is pretty good at Settlers of Catan, so that's one more point in his favor. 

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