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Thumbs up TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Complete)

TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE

CHAMPviaDQ

SPCDRI TEAM TLK vs Aid180 TEAM ANDRE
Are College athletes employees?


Spoiler for Debates:
Aid180
Are College athletes employees?

Yes they are. The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are employees and can unionize. Alright. Debate done. See you guys next card.

Alright, there’s more to this than the ruling. Why did the NLRB Chicago declare that the football players are employees? The board's decision indicates there’s enough evidence presented that the athletes are employees of the university -- getting paid in the form of scholarships, working between 20 and 50 hours per week and generating millions of dollars for their institutions [3].

Common law definition used by the NLRB defines an employee as a person who performs services for another under a contract of hire, subject to the other’s control, and in return for payment [1]. In the case of Northwestern’s scholarship players, the contract's the scholarship agreement that they sign with the university; the control is the pervasive and constant oversight by coaches; and the payment is the dollar value of the scholarship itself, which amounts to $61000 per year for most players and $76,000 for those who also enroll in summer classes [2]. Northwestern argued that a scholarship is a grant, not a proper form of payment or a proper work contract, therefore making these athletes simply students and not employees. However, the scholarship is tied to the player’s performance of athletic services as evidenced by the fact that scholarships can be immediately canceled if the player voluntarily withdraws from the team or abuses team rules. Like any other job, you don’t get paid if you perform poorly, quit, and/or abuse workplace rules. These athletes are employees, they just aren’t paid like the standard employee.

The argument used in the case against athletes being employees are that they are not paid, therefore, they are not employees. This is just wrong. As mentioned before, they are paid with a scholarship. There is more to it though. A very un-advertised perk of being a collegiate athlete is all the gifts and free swag they receive. Athletes at Division I schools get scholarships that pay for room, food, classes, and other opportunities like tutoring, clothes, and counseling if they need it. They get everything needed to live. On top of that, they also receive end of season gifts. In fact, players from the University of Missouri received an Apple TV and an iPad mini (and more) just for playing in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. See for yourself:



The Cotton Bowl didn’t even hand out the most expensive gift this past season. The Military Bowl gave every player on both teams, including practice squad players, a Playstation 4. The Texas Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl, and Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl gave Samsung Galaxy Tab 3’s to every player. The Russell Athletic Bowl and the Capital One Bowl gave every player a $450 Best Buy gift card [4]. Simply being .500 or better can award a team a bowl game. So to say players are not fairly compensated is a lie. If gifts aren’t enough, just recently the NCAA announced the new “Shabazz Napier Rule.” This allows Division I athletes unlimited food. Yes. Unlimited food. Instead of the previously allowed limited meal plan, athletes can now eat whenever they want from the dining hall for free and get snacks whenever they want[5]. Damn. If only my job fed me too so I wouldn’t have to spend my money on food.

The other two points for the ruling from the NLRB were that players worked 20-50 hours a week during the season and that they generate millions of dollars to their schools. These are both true. An analysis conducted by the National College Players Association and Drexel University determined that the fair market value of the average college football player from 2011 through 2015 would be $178,000[6]. That’s a lot for someone to not be considered an employee. As for work hours, many athletes have reported in the past about their long weeks. Football players in the NCAA's Division I said they spent an average of 44.8 hours a week on their sport, playing games, practicing, training and in the training room. Division I baseball players said they spent 40 hours on their sport, 32 on academics. In men's basketball, it was 36.8 hours on their sport. Other sports exceeding or approaching a 37 1/2-hour work week were men's golf (40.8) and hockey (37.6) and women's softball (37.1)[7]. It’s not just football.

College athletes fit all the points of the definition of an employee. An employee is a person who performs services for another under a contract of hire, subject to the other’s control or right of control, and in return for payment. An athlete is a person who competes in games and practices for the University under a scholarship agreement with the compensation of free living, food, clothes, school, tutoring, counseling, and more. Sure the athletes are worth a lot of money to the University, but they also get much more in return than the normal college student, especially if they are one of the few that make it to the pros and get the big money contracts. In fact, going off the numbers from the Drexel University analyst and the NLRB research, players over a four year period are deemed to be worth $178,000. Likewise, in that same time span, scholarships for these athletes are worth $61,000 a year, or $244,000 over four years, $66,000 more than their worth using the lowest numbers. It’s not getting paid in cash, but I dare you to find me a college student that makes $244,000 in 4 years while in school. That would be the equivalent of earning $30 an hour while working 40 hours a week. So getting paid, working long hours, having a contract, and complaining about not making enough money. Sounds like a real employee to me.

Sources:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...employees.html [1]
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/...4970824.column [2]
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/us/nor...ootball-union/ [3]
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4504643.html [4]
http://www.sbnation.com/college-foot...-snacks-SNACKS [5]
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...yer-at-178000/ [6]
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sport...rk-study_N.htm [7]

SPCDRI
Yes, college athletes are employees of colleges. They sign work contracts and spend extensive amounts of time employed by colleges. They are paid stipends that are not commensurate with the billions of dollars that they earn universities every year. The amount of money generated by sports creates a culture of corruption that could be lessened were players paid a salary and not easily wooed by cash.

It simply cannot be an issue of money for the universities as the major sports, basketball and football, make hundreds of millions and billions of dollars every year for the universities. March Madness, the NCAA College Basketball tournaments, just concluded and they made colleges a bloody fortune. The NCAA signed a 13 year television broadcast for March Madness that was worth 10.8 billion dollars in total, that is, more than 800 million a year (1) Just a tenth of television revenue alone would be enough to provide $10,000 salaries for 8,000 athletes. Considering a basketball roster can only have 15 players and there are only 356 colleges, such a salary would easily be doable in this instance and would provide enough leftover money to pay thousands of other athlete-employees.

In the specific case of unionization of the Northwestern college football program, the judge who ruled that unionization could go forward, Peter Sung Ohr, noted that the football players spend between 20 to 50 hours a week working on football. This 76 person roster makes the university approximately 25 million dollars a year but the players do not receive a salary While the players receive no pay, the coach of the team, Pat Fitzgerald, is the highest paid person on CAMPUS and makes over 2 million dollars a year in compensation (2).

College basketball is the same way. 25 coaches make 1.8 million dollars or more. The highest paid coach, Coach Mike Kryzewski, makes more than 7 million dollars while the stars of the program that people adore make jack squat. That is simply outrageous!

Jerseys and video games and other merchandise and promotional tools make colleges even more money and the players are screwed out of their fair share. Would you want people to see your image, to have some fat, Cheetos-scarfing video gaming making prick profiting off your likeness, all the while making nothing for it all? Arguments that the jersey makers and video game slimes who profit off of cheated athletes aren’t using the “likenesses” simply because the name isn’t on the back of a jersey are preposterous. Anyone who has ever played these games can clearly see that the video game characters are made to resemble their real life counterparts as much as possible (3). This is a deeply personal insult to injury.

Morally, having billions of dollars on the line every year with thousands of young men can only lead to temptation to criminal action. Compensation could lessen these crimes by taking away the motivation for it all. Along with the gigantic sums of money just one team can make a college, hanger-ons who profit off of this and pay athletes money to do shady things already exist. Why have the players tempted to take money from corrupt crooks and even commit crimes when you can simply pay them a small percentage of the colossal amounts of money they make the colleges? Take the University of Miami football team. Nevin Shapiro, a sleazebag Ponzi schemer ala Bernie Madoff, paid athletes hundreds of thousands of dollars in feloniously derived dirty money. Along with that, he conspired with the athletes to defraud the U.S. Pell Grant system out of more than $200,000, the single biggest act of fraud committed against the Pell Grant program (4). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Un...letics_scandal
If those athletes were allowed to have just 1 or 2 million of the billion they made the University of Miami, would Nevin Shapiro’s schemes have been so tempting? I think not. The motivation would be removed were the employees to be paid what should go to them.

College athletes work 50+ hours a week. They are powerful recruiting tools and fixtures on campus. It is unreasonable to consider that 100 percent of the profits they make should go entirely to universities. Coaches are compensated as though they were professional coaches, making hundreds of thousands and even millions per year. The actual physical likenesses of the athletes are exploited with compensation by clothing manufacturers and video game companies which strikes me as immoral. Employees who do work but are not paid properly are liable to be tempted to criminal action. If they will get paid regardless, why not do the legally and morally right thing by them? Do the right thing and PAY THEM.

http://espn.go.com/college-sports/st...s-deserve-paid
(http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/...ter-legal-team)
http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2013...t-paying-them/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Un...letics_scandal


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Rush
To cover both debates briefly. Both did a good job of pointing out the hours a college athlete puts into his/her sport, and both mentioned the revenue that they bring into their respective universities. However there was a few big things that separated each debate.

Aid180:

Good opening to the debate, immediately sets the tone for what you’re arguing for while succinctly explaining why one particular group consider them to be employees. I really liked the way you established just how much a scholarship is worth to these players, and the amount of gifts that they can receive legally while abiding by the rules. This is something that really set this debate apart from the other one. You clearly spell out how much value a scholarship has, while bringing in examples comparing it to a regular job.

You finished off strong with the comparison to how much a regular student could earn over the course of 4 years which really drummed in your points.

SPCDRI: You had some of the elements of a good debate but you went off on a bit of a tangent during this debate. How much the coach makes is fairly irrelevant unless you’re giving a direct comparison to the amount of work he puts into the team with the amount of work the players put in or some kind of comparison between the coach and players. The issue is not that they should get paid, but are they employees. Talking about potential criminal acts was fairly offtopic and wasted a lot of words.

Winner: Aid180

(feedback is a touch short, if either of you want more either read Zombo’s feedback or ask me and I’ll give more when I have more time)

Headliner
Aid180

I liked this one. Thought it was well rounded and covered several areas. You started out by mentioning the long hours that these guys put in as an equivelent to work hours. You then used the NLRB employee definition to prove that these guys are employees by breaking down the definiton line after line in comparison to actual jobs. After that you quickly shut down the counter argument which was a nice touch before going into the various free gifts and perks that the athletes get for being players. You finished strong with a nice sum up of everything you covered. Once again pushing the idea that scholarships a college equivlent of jobs that provide money. Good stuff.


SPCDRI

I thought this was ok. You covered a few areas that the first debate covered, but ultimately I think you focused too much on college players having no money by showing how players and game makers profit off them. We know that college players make nothing so going in that direction just caused you to indirectly repeat yourself. I think you needed to focus on the other side of the coin like Aid180 did. Pushing the idea of why these guys are employees. The discussion regarding the temptation of criminal action in relation to college money was a tricky one too. A lot of counter argument can be put on that one.


Winner is Aid180.

ZOMBO
These are two well-written debates, both filled with numerous facts, quality writing, and strong takes. Unfortunately, it's not a good match, as only ONE of the debates truly answered the question asked. My remarks are brief because I didn't really find any issue with the debates themselves bar the obvious statements I'll make below.

Aid180 defined what it was to be an employee, and hammered home his points throughout. I LOVED this approach. "Here's what an employee is, and here's how college athletes meet that definition." Simple, but super effective. Excellent work throughout.

SPCDRI made an EXCELLENT case for why college athletes should be paid like employees. Unfortunately, that's not the question put forth by the debate and makes the whole thing seem off. It's unfortunate, because I think this would be a very close match if you took an approach similar to Aid180 and narrowed in specifically on the question asked.

Accordingly, Aid180 is my pick.


Winner via Unanimous Decision - Aid180

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 1-0


Perfect Poster TEAM TLK vs JM TEAM ANDRE
Mark Cuban recently said that it would be better for NBA prospects coming out of High School to play in the D-League rather than spend time playing college basketball. Do you agree with this stance?


Spoiler for Debates:
Perfect Poster
Mark Cuban recently said that it would be better for NBA prospects coming out of High School to play in the D-League rather than spend time playing college basketball. Do you agree with this stance?

Mark Cuban is a smart man. He didn't become a billionaire and own his own NBA franchise by accident. So even though there's quite the conflict of interest (many NBA teams own their own D-League franchise, thus would rake in the profits), he has a good idea and I agree with him that it would be in the NBA Prospects best interest to come play in the D-League instead of college basketball.

There are many reasons why NBA prospects would be best off going to the D-League instead of college. Let's start with the obvious elephant in the room: money. Obviously, NCAA athletes currently aren't paid in cash, although they do receive a scholarship that may be worth up to $120,000 a year (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sport...nal-four_N.htm) compared to the much lower salaries of NBADL players (less than $50,000). But if the NBA went all in as making the NBADL the top minor league, as Cuban's plan suggests, playing in the D-League could allow a player to earn money through endorsements (which they can't get in the NCAA) and an increase in salary (which franchises have more than enough money to do so). If players see they can make real money they would have more incentive to jump to the D-League.

Another reason why prospects would be better off going to the NBADL is because of the level of competition. Save for the biggest schools (Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Kansas, etc.), most teams don't feature more than one player that may be drafted, if any at all. Every player on an NBADL roster went to college somewhere before making the jump, and many were one of the best players on their team. In college, the talent disparity can be so great that the players may not be learning much in terms of skill when they're beating up some small school since their athleticism difference is too much to overcome. In the NBADL, the athleticism is at another level which forces players to actually develop some talents (low post moves, outside shooting, etc.) instead of just being able to run faster or jump higher or just be bigger.

An additional point that seems to go under the rug is that Commissioner Adam Silver wants to move the age limit to declare in the draft to be 20 (http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...-rule/8099083/). That would mean that most players would have to stay for their sophomore years (aside from the rare older freshman). Know what that means? That means they would have to actually go to class and work on their studies their freshman and at least part of their sophomore years. You know what many one and dones don't want to do since they know they'll be getting paid soon? That's right, go to class.

Take Derrick Rose, for example. He cheated on his SATs to get into Memphis. The NCAA didn't find out until Rose was already gone, so he didn't face any repercussions. But if he was forced to stay, he likely would've been suspended for at least part of his sophomore season (depending on how fast the investigation went) and his draft stock could've suffered since he wouldn't have had any competition to prove himself against. In the NBADL, there's no worries about classes. He wouldn't have to pretend to go to class for little more than one semester. He could just play ball and develop his game (which is the only reason he's at college to begin with).

Plus, under Cuban's idea, if players did want to get an education (as a fallback plan) they could go to a local community college and their tuition would be all paid for. So not only could they have their cake, but eat it too.

One of the main points (aside from NCAA schools losing money) that I see for the college game is that players are better off learning from Bill Self, John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, etc. than from any D-League coach. For that, I say: LeBron James. Kobe Bryant. Kevin Garnett. Dwight Howard. Dirk Nowitzki. I could go on and on, but none of these guys went to college and all have, at one point or another in their careers, been a top 5 player in the league. Learning under a great college coach doesn't assure a future NBA star (Derrick Caracter, for example) and this excuse seems more of NCAA coaches trying to save their bacon than anything.

The other concern I see is that this would kill NCAA basketball. The sheer numbers say this is false. The NBADL will likely end up with 30 teams (one minor league team per franchise) when all is said and done. There is well over 300 Division 1 teams, along with many Division 2 and 3 teams. Many players that know they don't have/want an NBA future will want to get an education from a top institution. There would still be players available. College baseball hasn't been killed by having some high schoolers jump right to the minors, and basketball doesn't need nearly as many players to form a roster.

Overall, while the fine print would obviously need to be worked on, Cuban's idea makes a lot of sense. Players that want to get compensated for playing ball should be able to and the NBADL presents those opportunities. They'd be going against better competition to prepare themselves for the NBA and if they were worried about not having a backup plan if basketball didn't work out, they would have a free tuition all covered for. The popularity of the NBADL would grow if top players took advantage of the opportunity, much like how the lower level soccer leagues in Europe still have their share of followers. To sum up: NBADL's potential benefits outweighs what the NCAA offers.

JM
Mark Cuban recently said that it would be better for NBA prospects coming out of High School to play in the D-League rather than spend time playing college basketball. I think it’s important to state that quote was taken out of context. Cuban further stated that the NBA needed to take strides to improve the D-League, and with time could become a more appealing to top basketball prospects coming out of high school instead of spending one year in the flawed NCAA program. With that said, with the NBA currently enforcing the current “one and done” rule, forcing high school players to wait at least one year before declaring the NBA draft, and with the D-League being what it is, playing for the D-League instead of playing college ball is not a better option.

The way it is right now is perfect for athletes to go to school for one year, soak up all that NCAA has to offer, be a “student-athlete” then enter the NBA draft to start their pro career. The quotations around “student-athlete” are there for a reason and that is to elude the extreme farce that is the term student-athlete. The fact is, for a good chunk, certainly a vast majority of basketball players that chose the one and done path to the NBA instead of staying a full term at University, they don’t care about the education at all. They put up some effort in the first half of the school year, slack off in the second half and are gone to the NBA before they can be suspended for their sophomore year for not making grades. This may sound like a negative but the truth is, this is the ideal for these athletes and the only thing that would make it better would be not having to waste the one year in the first place and get to jump right to the NBA. That isn’t the case however so they might as well make the most of it. If the NBA increased the rule to require two years out of high school before entering the draft this would be a completely different story but until that happens, players have no reason to go to the D-League instead of NCAA.

Right now, a pro D-League supporter could question the quality of basketball in the D-League vs the quality of basketball in the NCAA. Most college teams only have 1 or 2 NBA prospects on them if they are lucky with a select number of teams having a couple extra, where as everyone in the D-League is either an NBA prospect or has played in the NBA in the past. But what is going to better prepare you for having to grind out must win games down the stretch: D-League Playoffs or the uber competitive NCAA tournament? This one is a no contest. What is going to help improve your draft stock: being hidden in the rarely seen D-League or competing in every game against fellow aspiring future pro ballers? The very guys that you want to show you are better than and more worthy of an early draft selection. Although the D-League may have more depth and more competition, there are coaches in NCAA synonymous with player development and giving players the necessary tools to be successful in the NBA. There are multiple hall of fame coaches currently coaching NCAA basketball.

Another consideration for young players is developing their name and their brand. Although the D-League offers players some face time and exposure and a few thousand fans per game, it doesn’t offer this:



or this:



and certainly not this:



What we see here is DIE HARD College ball fans. Development league sports in the United States simply cannot compare to this, in any sport. When someone choses a college in the states and choses to follow the sporting teams they officially declare their devotion to their school, the teams they assemble and the brand that they have become. Students attach themselves to their schools’ teams, stay with them after they graduate and start their lives, and extend this attachment to their kids, and there kid’s kids and the rest of their family. It’s like a religion to college basketball fans and for a lot of players this is their first opportunity for the average sports fan in the North America and in particular the United States to notice them. This is not going to happen in the D-League. No national TV deals, no NCAA tournament, small fan bases, etc etc. It’s a completely different world and something high school students should look forward to experiencing, even if it is only one year.

Again, at this point pro D-League supporters might bring up pay, and yes D-League players are paid and NCAA players “are not” paid. This is a valid argument, however, the money players make in the D-League is lousy compared to the NBA and most players don’t even make enough to fully support themselves. The most a player can make is $28,000. NCAA comes with no salary of course but there is certainly money that gets spread around: family members getting paid off in not uncommon, family members getting given jobs, etc etc. Also, although there is no salary the exposure of the NCAA can give you the necessary attention to gain endorsements and provide you with greater long-term financial opportunities.

In summary, the D-League cannot offer players coming out of high school the same experience that NCAA can, even if they aren’t embracing the education part of it. It doesn’t compare. NCAA is an atmosphere like no other. The NCAA features the players they are competing with for draft position and gives players the opportunity to prove themselves against these players each and every game. And although players may not be paid in NCAA they can be setting themselves up for a better long-term financial situation.

Sources:
http://frankthetank.me/2014/03/04/on...ge-basketball/
http://www.sportsmedia101.com/newyor...ague-salaries/
http://www.sbnation.com/2014/3/5/546...caa-mark-cuban


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Headliner
Perfect Poster


You argued this part of the fence quite well and you covered a lot of ground. You started out by explaining that Cuban's plan could lead to minor league stars making a legit living which woud provide a better reason to jump. You then focused on the level of competition being higher which forces the player to develop instead of just being able to run and jump over someone. Good point. You had another good point when you mentioned that players who know they are going to the NBA fake it through school anyway so what's the point when they can go to the D League. The fallback plan of getting a 2 year degree (paid for) was a nice touch because this was probably one of the biggest criticisms. You finished up by showing the high level stars who never went to college, how college rosters would stay filled, and a nice sum up of everything you discussed previously. This was good.



JM


I felt like you started off slow here. The beginning part of your debate didn't really help your debate and it kinda pissed me off because I wanted to watch TV

Then the strength of your debate came and I turned my frown upside down. You were able to shut down the idea of more competition in the D League by explaining that the NCAA Tourney is more competitive than the D League Playoffs and it also leads to ways of improving your draft stock compared to the hidden, no spotlight D League. You also explained that there are coaches who are famous for player development which is critical at the college stage.

You then went into these young guys being able to build their name and brand in a much bigger spotlight setting than the D League. The visual of the crazy college fans was great for your debate as it showed just how visible the college atmosphere is compared to the D League. I liked the attachment relationship you discussed regarding the player and school. The player's first opportunity for big time spotlight while the school has a lasting effect on the player's future and family. Something the D League doesn't offer. Before your summary I thought you finished solid by explaining the low salary of the D League, and how the NCAA provides you with greater long term financial opportunities. Nice.


Overall this was quite tough. Two very good debates with convincing sides. Perfect Poster focused a little more on Cuban's idea instead of the actual current D League which means you're debating on what could possibly be rather than what is now. To an extent. JM came quite strong in the middle and end part of his debate.

Winner-JM

ZOMBO
Perfect Poster

This was a sound debate. The approach was very intelligent in the sense that you made sure to frame your debate around the finished vision that Cuban suggests (30 teams, supported by a franchise, etc). This approach was not without its risks however.

On a key topic like compensation, you kind of rely on "if" there's an increase in salary (and just because franchises HAVE money to do so, doesn't mean they want to SPEND that money in this area), then players might see that they can make real money as incentive. Still, in dealing with a hypothetical scenario, this is what you're dealing with.

The talent level argument, the age limit being raised and players not wanting to go to class are all sound. I liked the little paragraph about Cuban's suggestion for community college, so education isn't completely neglected.

I think you did a great job addressing the counter-arguments that you raised. Open the door and slam it shut.

The conclusion is fair, stating that while the fine details need to be ironed out, the overall concept is sound. A convincing debate.

JM

This debate approaches the question intelligently too. While admitting that Cuban's overall idea is greater than the quote in the debate question, you restrict your answer to the current D-league "being what it is".

You do a sound job making your points, but I feel that they lack the oomph / impact against the ones in Perfect Poster's. Yes, the fans from each school are crazy, but if a guy's getting paid and not having to waste time with classes, then he may not care about the fan base too much. The main selling point, it seems, is the college "experience". This ties in with the rabid fans your bring up, as well as competing in the NCAA tourney.

I feel that the point about the tourney kind of contradicts itself a little bit. You admit that the D-League "is either an NBA prospect or has played in the NBA". You also admit "most college teams only have 1 or 2 NBA prospects on them if they are lucky". But then you state that it would be more helpful to compete against "fellow aspiring future pro players" in the NCAA tournament instead of being hidden in the D-League which has competition that you just admitted was superior.

I chuckled at the payment counter. I mean, it's true, so yeah, illegal money FTW!

The conclusion was sound, a nice recap of your points.

THE DECISION

I mean, these were two very well-written, well-argued debates. So I commend each of you. In the end, there has to be a winner however, and I found myself with less questions reading Perfect Poster's, which to me says that it closes the loopholes nicely. Perfect Poster gets my vote.

Aid180
It looks like we have two debates arguing opposite sides. Excellent. That makes it more fun to read in my opinion.

Perfect Poster

Solid intro. You made your stance obvious and you agreed with Cuban. This should be interesting.

Ok, so I see we are getting into money right away. That’s good. I see that you mentioned that scholarships are worth more, almost 3 times as much as a D-League yearly contract. You mention that players could make more if Cuban makes the D-League more important and you mention endorsements, which is smart and a really helpful point. I feel if you mentioned something about getting the money now instead of money in the form of free schooling and living then it would have helped your point.

Level of competition is something both debates have brought up. Pointing out that the best college players on their college teams are on the D-League teams and this is where I may disagree. Overall, you are right that the talent disparity is much small in the D-league and that there are quite a few scrubby college teams, but don’t the best players that get drafted end up on NBA teams as opposed to D-League teams. Is it better to compete against a team full of 5 starting good college players or to face off against a team with one or two great college players like playing against Kentucky or Kansas? This probably isn’t a point that would be the difference between winning or losing the debate, just something I would like to hear more on later.

This next point is a good one for you though. Talking about Silver’s plan to change the age limit and providing a source to prove it really helps. The having to go to classes point once again helps you. In fact, JM might have helped you with the “student athlete” point he brought up. In fact, he even said, “ If the NBA increased the rule to require two years out of high school before entering the draft this would be a completely different story but until that happens, players have no reason to go to the D-League instead of NCAA.”. Yeah, I think that definitely sold me on your point for this argument. The Derrick Rose point was solid, but it could have probably been shorter. I feel if you included a sentence saying, “If Cuban’s D-League was truly built up to be a true alternative like he said, then players like Rose and many others wouldn’t have to worry about school or NCAA sanctions and can truly just focus on basketball’” it would have been a knockout blow. However, adding Cuban’s education point like you did surely would have made that a winning sentence to me. Overall, a very good paragraph, but just missing one or two little things that prevent it from being a debate winning paragraph.

The only problem I have with the NCAA coaching paragraph is the fact that guys like LeBron, Kobe, and Dwight actually have been coached by Coach K in the Olympics. Maybe that doesn’t mean they learned anything from him, but I feel it is an odd point to bring him up as an example when he has indeed coached them to a gold medal. Instead, maybe mentioning D_League success stories like Jeremy Lin would have helped you. Saying something like a player was undrafted out of college, but the D-League helped to get him into the NBA. That would have really helped, especially since the current D-League is only a fraction of Cuban’s vision.

Ending is solid. I feel kind of left hanging though. Like you mention that there needs to be D-League changes to make it viable and fine print would need to be worked on, but you don’t tell me what the fine print is exactly. It’s a solid debate, but i feel you never got in any knockout blows that would have won it for you.

Pros:
NBA Age Limit Change
Derrick Rose & College Eligibility
Endorsements


Cons:
What changes does the D-League need to make?
Missing a few minor points that could have made this an easy win
D-Rose Example might have gone on too long and the NCAA Coaching examples are questionable


JM

Thanks for explaining that the quote wasn’t complete. It helps to know exactly what Marky Mark meant to really decide if you agree with him. I see your stance is clear and that you are choosing to argue pro-college. Solid intro overall. Stated the question, explained the question to clearly show how you interpreted it, and made your side obvious.

Rough first body paragraph to be painfully honest. I wasn’t quite sure where you were going with the whole student athlete. I think it would have helped your point better if you mentioned more of the benefits of going to college for these athletes, like learning to live on your own, maturing, and maybe even some of the life skills gained from this. The part about it being better for players to just go to the NBA right away might have hurt you a bit. If it is better for them to just go to the NBA now, which they can’t, then why don’t they just go straight to the D-league? That I feel could have been a nail in the coffin point if you brought up why they don’t go to the D-league now. More pros to college please. I also didn’t like the 2 years of college point because it may have really hurt your debate since Perfect Poster brought this up as well stating it is a real possibility of becoming true. In fact, it sounds like you are saying you would change sides if that happened.

This is where is see some improvements. I would have loved to hear more about the tournament, but simply bringing it up and the excitement of March Madness helps. This sentence in particular, “What is going to help improve your draft stock: being hidden in the rarely seen D-League or competing in every game against fellow aspiring future pro ballers?”, is the convincing point for me in this paragraph. The player development point was good as well, but again, I would have liked some examples. Still a much, much better paragraph towards arguing your point.

Here we go. That was the word I was looking for. Exposure. That is very key. Not only does College Basketball get televised on a nearly nightly routine, but the March Madness tournament is so popular that the government might as well make that Thursday and Friday a National Holiday. I also might have brought that up too . Yeah, the rest of this paragraph continues to bring up good points. Fans are important and the college athletics nature is a very interesting one. Definitely your best paragraph in the debate so far. I feel a little disturbed about the guy milking himself in the first image though. Is he hitting on me? Is he creaming himself? Yeah, college students/fans are kind of weird.

And now we get to the last point, the pay. Both of you mentioned this, but Perfect Poster took it a bit further by mentioning that Cuban’s ideals would increase D-League pay. Perfect Poster also mentioned scholarship worth, which I think may have actually helped you more since scholarships as determined by Perfect Poster’s point could be a 1 to 6 ratio worth, AKA one year of scholarships is worth 5-6 years of D-League pay.

Good conclusion. The debate started off pretty badly, but got much better as I kept reading. I think if you mentioned some of the things I mentioned above or limited some of the longer unnecessary points, this would have been an automatic win.

Pros:
Exposure
NCAA Tournament
Low D-League Pay
Cuban quote clarification


Cons:
Student Athlete rant may have hurt you
The 2 year eligibility point changing your stance really hurt you
Missing a few details on points that would have given you an easy win


Conclusion:

I’m disappointed that neither of you mentioned what real changes Cuban would need to make and the fact that neither of you brought up any D-League player or coach. I can’t knock you guys for not including it if neither of you had it, but it would have been nice to see. This was a good matchup though. Both of you had paragraphs that helped each other, especially the 2 year eligibility paragraph. However, in the end I have to give it to JM. Perfect Poster's was solid, but there were no real winning points or losing points. It felt like riding in a car that was on cruise control. Meanwhile, JM started off badly, but got exponentially better as it went on. Kind of like a rollercoaster that stalled at the beginning. It was close though. If I had to narrow it down to any one point that decided the winner, it would have been the exposure point. Perfect Poster had no counter to exposure that College Players have. Perfect Poster could have fixed it by mentioning that an improved D-League could be a true alternative, but it was never mentioned. If JM didn't mention exposure, then Perfect Poster would have because of the 2 year eligibility paragraph. Very close, but once again, JM wins.


Winner via Split Decision - JM

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 2-0


Notorious TEAM TLK vs Magic TEAM ANDRE
Should Refs start giving more leeway to allow more physicality in today's NBA?


Spoiler for Debates:
Notorious
Should NBA refs start giving more leeway to allow more physicality in today’s NBA?

For me, the answer is yes. The NBA should without a doubt allow the refs to allow more physicality. It seems like with each passing year the NBA adds rules that allow less physicality and give offensive players more of an advantage. For me the two biggest changes that need to be made are the NBA needs to clamp down on superstar calls and hand-checking needs to be brought back.

Superstar calls are something that almost unanimously from fans needs to go. Superstar calls are when the referees will allow certain star players such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, etc. draw fouls that the average player wouldn’t. Even when the contact on them is minimal the refs don’t waste any time blowing their whistle and sending them to the free throw line over and over again. There are some cases where a superstar will shoot more free throws in an entire game than the team he’s going against. At times the refs will wait until the star player misses a shot and then they’ll call a foul on a defender. This is a big problem in the NBA. All players should be reffed on the same level, regardless of how good you are you shouldn’t receive an advantage and get special treatment. Can you honestly say that LeBron James and Cartier Martin are given the same treatment from referees? Didn’t think so. The fact that this has to even be questioned should speak volumes to the problems with favoritism in the NBA. One could also make the point that superstar calls and “ticky-tack” fouls are what indirectly led to flopping becoming so widespread in the NBA. Stars can just flail around as if someone touched him and the refs will blow the whistle for them.

Prior to the 2004-05 NBA season, David Stern and the NBA’s competition committee agreed to ban all forms of hand-checking. Their intention of implementing this new rule in theory was to give offensive players more freedom but in actuality it’s given offensive players an unfair advantage. It has made offensive players virtually untouchable and at the same time it has made it easier for offensive players to get to the paint due to the fact that players aren’t allowed to pressure them they way they used to and they can simply use their speed and fly by because they can’t be touched. Some people hold a theory that after Michael Jordan’s retirement in 1998, interest in the NBA seemed to have dwindled and while the early 2000’s is presumed to be the peak of defensive play from a statistical standpoint, the NBA wanted to turn more towards a guard-oriented style of play which promoted speed and high scoring games that they felt could attract more casual viewers.

Take a look at these numbers, these are the average defensive ratings in the seasons since hand checking was completely removed from the NBA.

Teams Average Defensive Rating
2013-14: 107.38
2012-13: 106.60
2011-12: 105.38
2010-11: 108.07
2009-10: 108.39
2008-09: 108.99
2007-08: 108.17
2006-07: 107.20
2005-06: 107.01
2004-05: 106.88

Now take a look at these numbers, these are the six seasons prior to hand checking being completely removed from the game.

Teams Average Defensive Rating
2003-04: 103.75
2002-03: 104.38
2001-02: 105.34
2000-01: 103.81
1999-00: 104.81
1998-99: 103.07

Notice something? Not a SINGLE season since hand-checking was completely removed has had a higher average defensive rating than the five seasons prior to it being removed. One theory is that the NBA wanted to get away from the big-men oriented, gritty defensive style of play to a more finesse, high scoring, and high octane style of play dominated by perimeter players. It’s the most significant reason as to why the point guard has become one of the deepest positions in the current NBA. The game has become tailor made for them to succeed. They no longer had to worry about being touched; due to the fact that the physicality of the defense allowed to be played against them became so minimal, they can simply use their speed to almost get to the paint at will; whereas before hand-checking was eliminated it wasn’t as easy for players, especially guards, to skate by with their quickness having such a significant advantage. In fact there are many current and former players who have been on record stating that they prefer hand-checking to be allowed and they feel it hinders the defensive player.

Spoiler for Current and former player's on handchecking:

Phil Jackson on Michael Jordan without handchecking:
Michael would average 45 with these rules.

Larry Brown
"You can't even touch a guy now," says Charlotte coach Larry Brown. "The college game is much more physical than our game. I always tease Michael [Jordan], if he played today, he'd average 50.

Clyde Drexler
"Oh, tremendously better, from shooting percentage to points per game everything would be up, and our old teams would score a lot more points, and that is saying something because we could score a lot back then. I do think there should be an asterisk next to some of these scoring leaders, because it is much different trying to score with a forearm in your face. It is harder to score with that resistance. You had to turn your back on guys defending you back in the day with all the hand checking that was going on. For guys who penetrate these days, it's hunting season. Yes, now you can play (floating)zone(legally), but teams rarely do."

Scottie Pippen
"The defensive rules, the hand checking, the ability to make contact on a guy in certain areas .... [have] all been taken away from the game. If Kobe could get 81, I think Michael could get 100 in today's game."

Joe Dumars
“It would have been virtually impossible to defend Michael Jordan based on the way the game’s being called right now.

Tex Winter
"Players today can get to the basket individually much easier."

Jason Kidd
"The game has changed big-time,” said Dallas point guard Jason Kidd . "When I came in you could hand check and hold a little bit. You could definitely be more physical with the ball-handlers.

Joe Johnson
"It benefits me," said Joe Johnson, one of three players (Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford are the others) on the Hawks' roster who have averaged 20 or more points in a season. "It definitely changes the game because it gives every guy that extra step. "If we could hand check now, the game would be totally different," Johnson said. "If they couldn't hand check back in the day, there are some guys that would have been even better than they were. It would have been nuts for some of the big-time scorers and perimeter players from the 1980s and 1990s. Can you imagine what [Michael] Jordan would have done in a league where you couldn't hand check."



In conclusion, yes NBA referees and the NBA’s higher ups as well, should start allowing more lee-way on physicality and should bring back rules such as hand-checking because eliminating them gave offensive players, especially perimeter players an advantage as they weren’t allowed to be touched, as well as it hindered the true strength of individual defenders.

Magic
Should Refs start giving more leeway to allow more physicality in today's NBA?


Yes and so should the entire NBA because it isn’t possible to make a change without the total support from the league. Why is change necessary? Because the act of flopping, which is an increasingly popular trend among all basketball players, is ruining the way games are called and causing a loss of credibility for the refs, the league and even the teams playing.

Flopping is the embellishment of any physical contact that takes place between players in attempts to draw a foul call from a ref. It has gotten so out of hand that players have begun to flop at perceived contact that doesn’t actually take place all in hopes of getting the referees whistle. Although there is no better way to show flopping than with actual visuals of it so please allow yourself to be thoroughly impressed by grade A acting of some of the league’s TOP stars:

Spoiler for GIFs:


What champions are made of:



The DOUBLE FLOP:



“I SWEAR HE HIT ME REF”


CP3’s famous HELIFLOP


JUMP SHOT FLOP





These are just some examples of the flopping that takes place regularly in games, but the real problem is when you see which players are doing it. Almost all players flop to some degree, but some of biggest culprits in the league are the very best players themselves. That should be sounding off alarms to the NBA because the most watched and marketed players are putting a negative image out there to fans. Blake Griffin went from a national darling to a despised figure by the fans because of his reputation of being a flopper. No one wants to see a game decided by a flop or a champion, such as the Heat, winning while flopping so much. It lessens the credibility of how they achieved those wins. Was it due to their talent or due to which way the ref’s whistle was blowing? The NBA should be worried that their fans think the most anticipated time of the year, the playoffs, is being decided ultimately by who they, the league, tell the refs to favour.

Luckily they did realize this in 2012 and in a half ass attempt to fix the problem they came up with a solution…fine the floppers. There are a few major problems with that, the biggest being that flops are hard to call, even with video review, because it’s very hard to distinguish how much contact actually took place, and with the current rules physicality allowed it means that almost everything needs to be called during games. If the refs were given more leeway they could let play continue without having to assess a foul to a player that might not have deserved it and let the game as a whole flow better with less stoppages. This would result in a better product for the fans and a less frustrating game for both the refs and players.

The second biggest problem is how little the fines are. The average salary in the NBA is around 6 million and the highest fine, after FIVE violations, is 30k; clearly those aren’t proportionate. As I mentioned previously, the biggest culprits when it comes to flopping are the best players, as they’re given the most calls, and players making 20 million aren’t going to worry about a $5000 fine if that one whistle, or five, could shift the game in their favour. Another cause for concern is that the league hardly hands these fines out. 12 players were fined for flopping all last year and no one has gotten to the third level fine as the simply the league refuses to hand out harder punishments for the bigger stars and other repeat offenders.

So the NBA’s solution to flopping was a flop as the consequences aren’t enough to stop the players. However, giving refs more leeway, and more importantly more comfort, in not blowing the whistle will eventually deter players from flopping.
If you look at the those gifs again you’ll notice that every single one of the players that flop end up taking themselves out of the play: Wade threw himself out of bounds; Lebron/West were completely out of the play while on the ground; Bosh gave Boozer a wide open shot or drive; Paul turned it over; andDurant would have simply chucked up an air ball. All of these things would negatively impact their teams and help the other team either get the ball or score an easy basket. Make no mistake, if these plays were happening and no whistles were being blown the coaches would lay it into their players until they stopped giving the opposing team easy success from their flops. At the moment the teams benefit from them so the coaches allow it, but without any benefit the coaches themselves would put an end to flopping and the games would flow better.

As of right now though, almost all of these plays are considered fouls and not just because they look like fouls, but because the refs hear it from the fans both in the game and around the world on the internet. The refs are there to be professional, but they’ll certainly feel dissuaded to let the game go on without call if they’re going to get endlessly heckled for it.

If the league doesn’t alter the rules or at least send a league wide notice that more contact will be allowed then the refs have no choice but to keep calling the flops because it’s better for them to get a call wrong and give free throws than miss a call and hear about it forever. Without support the refs are forced into a lose-lose situation where flopping always wins. It’s no coincidence that flopping didn’t become a major issue until they removed hand checking in 2004, which greatly increased the amount of calls and reduced the amount of contact allowed by on ball defenders. The solution is clear and easy, bring back the contact and the flailing will stop.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flop_(basketball)
List of fines: http://www.eskimo.com/~pbender/fines.html
Flopping fining rules: http://www.nba.com/2012/news/10/03/anti-flopping-rule/


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Seabs
Notorious - First things first your debate is 200 words over the limit. Those quotes are clearly used as part of your debate to improve your argument, spoiler tag hiding them or not. Now if you had linked to the quotes then you could have done the same thing without going over the word count limit. Plus you should really have a link to the quotes anyway because for all I know they're quotes made up by you attached to someone else's name. Your superstars calls argument felt lacking any supporting evidence so it came over as unsubstantiated claims. This point really needed some evidence to back it up and no "Can you honestly say that LeBron James and Cartier Martin are given the same treatment from referees? Didn’t think so." doesn't count as that. When you said "the NBA wanted to turn more towards a guard-oriented style of play which promoted speed and high scoring games that they felt could attract more casual viewers." it felt like you left a genuine counter argument on the table and didn't address it which is bad. If you're gonna raise potential counter arguments then you need to bury them. Instead you raised the point I'm thinking "why is a faster, higher scoring game to attract more viewers" a bad thing. I'm not saying it is or isn't but you didn't really shoot that argument down after raising it yourself. Defensive Rating figures were really good and the type of figures your superstar calls point needed. Obviously it's harder to prove the previous point but without anything other than your own claims it's not really a convincing argument. It's more "I think" than "I know and this is why". Obviously the second is what a good debate needs. These figures really needed linking to a source too. Again, for all I know you just made them up yourself. Obviously not accusing you of that but without them being linked to a source it's a valid discredit to your figures. Once again you say "One theory is that the NBA wanted to get away from the big-men oriented, gritty defensive style of play to a more finesse, high scoring, and high octane style of play dominated by perimeter players." but I didn't think you effectively showed me this is bad. Your debate reads more like an article explaining why there's less physicality in today's NBA rather than why it's a bad thing that there is less physicality.

Magic - Your intro is really great and immediately does what Notorious' debate didn't do. It tells me WHY this needs to be the case with "causing a loss of credibility for the refs, the league and even the teams playing.". This is what Notorious didn't do as effectively. "Blake Griffin went from a national darling to a despised figure by the fans because of his reputation of being a flopper." is a great line that Notorious' debate needed. Like I told him though be wary of claiming conspiracy theories without the evidence to back your claim up. I think after this you took your debate off too much in a flopping topic direction. I obviously see the link and how flopping is the crux of your argument but I thought you devoted too much time to consequences for flopping. I get the link but I think you strayed too far away from why there needs to be more physicality for too long. Just one paragraph making the same point more concisely would have done so you could back to arguments you had that were more directly linked to the topic. You get back to the topic with how harsher fines and non-calls would stop it and showing why more physicality is good for the game and is directly linked to cutting out flopping. This link was important and is what trumped Notorious' debate. I thought mentioning how the league needs to allow this to happen was an important point you made too. This debate wins because it created a link between less physicality and negative effects on the league.

Winner - Magic

Aid180
Two topics, same side, only one winner. I’m excited. Let’s see how these turn out:

Notorious

Solid intro. If the intro means anything to the debate, then we’ll see some stuff on Superstar calls and hand-checking. I know which side you are arguing and that was made clear, so good job here.

What are superstar calls? Yup, you explained it right then and there. Good. Very solid paragraph here. My only complaint is that I would love to have seen some examples, maybe box scores or videos, of star players getting the calls on the same type of plays and indeed have some games where they shoot more free throws than an entire team. I know it happens so it’s not a big knock, but real examples help sell debates IMO. I enjoyed this sentence, “One could also make the point that superstar calls and “ticky-tack” fouls are what indirectly led to flopping becoming so widespread in the NBA. Stars can just flail around as if someone touched him and the refs will blow the whistle for them,“ and I hope to see that point expanded a little more.

Another good point and paragraph here. I kind of wish you would have gone on to explain what hand-checking is, but word limits do result in things getting cut. Like before, I think examples are your friend. Words are powerful, but images, as they say, are like 1000 words. Maybe a gif or two showing the difference between a hand-check era drive to the paint and a current era drive to the paint would help. It’s no knock on your point though, just something for future reference. The fly by untouched point is good. It is how players like John Wall and cheerleaders like Derrick Rose make such an impact.

STATS. Nice. It looks like eliminating hand-checking has indeed allowed more points to be scored based on the defensive stats. But I don’t have to only take the STATS word for it as you have added quotes from players and legends as well. Very nice. This is probably the convincing point. The only way you could be more convincing at this point would be to have David Stern sit at a podium and declare that hand-checking has made the offense over-powered and point guard in particular over-powered.

And here we are at the conclusion. You dove into a lot about hand-checking and included some great STATS and quotes on that matter. My only complaint here is that I think you might have spent a little too much time on hand-checking and not nearly as much time on Superstar calls and flopping. Making both points you brought up originally in the intro evenly covered gives the debate a very well-rounded look as opposed to a one point debate. It wasn’t a one point debate, but I feel your first point needed a bit more love. Very solid debate overall.

Pros:
STATS/QUOTES
Explained your definition of superstar calls
Tied the points back to the question
Focused on more than just hand-checking

Cons:
Lacking a little depth on the first point (still devoted a paragraph, so a minor Con)
More detailed examples on points help (kind of minor, but sentence enhancers like Magic’s help. If not GIFS or images, a box score like mentioned above could have tied it all up)


Magic

Stance noticeably chosen and debate point brought up. Good intro. A feel some passion in the intro and that helps a lot. Strong words like “ruining” and “credibility” help show this.

Flopping brought up and defined. Good. I think you were detailed enough in the definition that even a person unaware of Sports could understand it. Now here comes the sentence enhancers, aka the GIFS. I can’t lie and say images don’t help, but the important thing to bring up is the fact you mentioned the top stars do it. Then you showed the stars doing it. Top players flopping regularly is a problem. It is true that the NBA needs to do something about it. There’s the credibility buzzword again. Nice tie in there. Good point and good paragraph. I can’t think of anything to add to make it better.

Ok, so now we are on the NBA’s attempt to fix flopping. Interesting. It’s not until after about halfway through this paragraph when you connect it back to referee leeway. My only concern is that this is a debate about referee leeway, not if flopping is worse that cheating (exaggeration for effect). I would have preferred it if you tied the referee leeway point in sooner and expanded it. Debate’s not over though.

Ok, so we are on flopping fines now. You bring up points that the league refuses to truly punish players for flopping and the the fines aren’t really that big of a deal. It is interesting that there were only 12 players fined for flopping. I’m assuming they were stars like LeBron, Harden, Wade, Bosh, and others who appeared in the GIF, like I said with the other debate, examples are helpful. It’s not a knock, but I think mentioning a few of the fined players would have helped tie it back to the GIFS. Word limits are tough though, so something must get cut.

Stopping flopping was a flop. I lol’d. I see we are finally at the referee leeway part of the debate. You mention how if these flops weren’t called then the other team would have gotten the ball or scored an easy basket (except for Boozer, he would have missed ). The sentence enhancer, the bold, does help bring out your point well. At this point though I get that flopping sucks. Another point towards allowing referee leeway helping the NBA overall would give the debate the knockout blow.

A short paragraph on referee pressure. I guess I would have liked one connecting sentence saying that if the refs had leeway and allowed more contact, then the refs wouldn’t feel as pressured. Maybe this point is included in the conclusion. If so, carry on.

A small hand-checking point at the very end. I kind of wish that you mentioned that earlier. Did flopping really become a major issue in 2004 after removal of hand-checking, the last big remnant of really physical play? Boy I really wish you expanded on that. This was a solid debate and convinced me that flopping is the biggest evil on the planet, however, as I mentioned to Notorious, I feel your debate would have been more well-rounded if you focused on more benefits of giving the referees more leeway.

Pros:
Good intro (better of the two debates)
Good use of sentence enhancers
Defining flopping
Well written/good use of words

Cons:
Too much focus on flopping (Note, you covered it very well)
Lacking a few connections to the overall question

Conclusion:

Both were well written and to be quite honest, if you two put these debates together it would have probably been one of the best tag team efforts out there. Your Pros and Cons are quite similar, but in the end, I have to go with Notorious. Magic did just about everything right and was written very well, but only having one point truly covered in detail was the deciding factor for me. If you had just expanded hand-checking into it’s own paragraph instead of limiting it to the conclusion, I would have awarded you the win. Good job to both of you, but in the end, I feel Notorious covered more ground.

Headliner
Notorious

Good debate here. You begin by mentioning the effects of superstar calls. Calls that often happen when a big name guy is simply shooting the ball without much defense, yet they get the call and the free points at the line because they are a star.

Your discussion regarding hand checking was the true strength of this debate. You broke down how effective the elimination of hand checking has been to offensive players. You used legend references and STATS to show how it effects the game from a defensive perspective as well. I liked how you mentioned the political reasoning behind the elimination of hand checking as well. In order to appeal to more causal audiences.

Overall I think both areas created a well rounded touch to your debate.


Magic

This was good too. You explained how flopping effects various areas of the game such as credibility amongst fans, refs, teams and the outcomes of games. You also pointed out the bad sign of top players doing it and what that does for the image of the league.

Overall, I think this was a little too 1 dimensional. You focused a little too much on flopping while Notorious covered a little more ground regarding the physicality of the NBA. What about hand checking? What about how a defensive player can't even jump in the air without getting a foul called on them?

Winner-Notorious


Winner via Split Decision - Notorious

HOWEVER...

NOTORIOUS WENT WAY OVER THE WORD LIMIT SO.....

Winner via DQ - Magic

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 3-0


Klee TEAM TLK vs MoveMent TEAM ANDRE
Now that Undertaker's Wrestlemania Streak has ended should he ever wrestle at Wrestlemania again?


Spoiler for Debates:
Klee
Now that Undertaker's Wrestlemania Streak has ended should he ever wrestle at Wrestlemania again?

21-1

So, it’s finally over. The streak has ended. The 21 consecutive victories by The Undertaker, on the grandest stage have now been followed by a loss. The moment itself was probably the most shocking moment in professional wrestling history and it definitely leaves a lot of questions on the table.

The question in this case asks “Should Taker wrestle again at Wrestlemania?” leaning more towards the aspect of the streak being broken and not the Undertakers physical condition. The way the match ended kind of led you to believe it was his last ever match. BUT, assuming his health is ok and he is physically able to wrestle another match, then The Undertaker ABSOLUTELY SHOULD wrestle again at Wrestlemania.

The Undertaker is a traditionalist in the wrestling business and is somewhat old school in his approach and it’s noted that he would ‘want’ to go out on his back and pass the torch to the younger generation. Other traditionalists like Stone Cold Steve Austin have been vocal on this point and believe that he should walk away following defeat to Brock Lesnar.

I disagree, the problem I have is that the build up and the match at Wrestlemania with Brock were incredibly lack-lustre and the entire focus of the match was just focussed on Brock beating the Streak. But I ask, what about the man? What about the Legend that is The Undertaker? If he goes out now and that was in fact his last match ever, his entire career would be put to the back seat and The Streak and the streak ending match especially, become factors which would detract from what has been a Legendary career regardless.

The Undertaker would undoubtedly still be a huge draw at Wrestlemania, even without The Streak still intact. There are a number of high profile and worthwhile bouts that The Undertaker could be involved in.

I’ll start with an obvious potential Wrestlemania match that would literally transcend the WWE. The Undertaker VS Sting is a dream match for many fans and without the undefeated streak this match actually becomes unpredictable, there is no way Sting would ever be in consideration to end the streak. If the streak was alive and this match was booked, it would have overshadowed the historical significance of the match. Two Icons locking horns for the first time ever and even a potential stare down in the ring could create one of the biggest moments in wrestling history.

He could fight John Cena too. This match would still be absolutely massive. Whilst I don’t see Undertaker wanting to have a retirement match of sorts, he could go out with a victory instead over John Cena, with a nice showing of respect to The Deadman as Wrestlemania comes to a close.

There are many younger superstars that could still get a rub from a match with Taker at Wrestlemania. Even though they have missed out on the potential skyrocket of a push that breaking the streak would likely have given them, a win over Taker at Wrestlemania would still be monstrous for any fledgling and prosperous career in WWE. Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan or even a member of the Shield, who are clearly destined for great things, would be ideal candidates.

Who wouldn’t say yes to a match between Taker and his on-screen brother Kane? With the recent passing of Paul Bearer and the history between the two brothers the story and the continued feud writes itself.

My personal choice would be a rematch with Brock Lesnar. The man to defeat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30 could square off with him again. The result wouldn’t really matter, it could go either way and still be a great match. I actually enjoyed their match, the storytelling was amazing and I don’t quite think the story is over. It would give an opportunity for The WWE to make up for the terrible build up to Wrestlemania 30 and give us something more fitting of The Undertaker.

The crowd at WM30 were left in a stunned silence following the result. They were not particularly vocal and were all VERY confident that The Undertaker would win and the Streak would not be broken. The enthusiasm in the match was not there and any crowd response was replaced with shear anger and confusion.

The Undertaker is also synonymous with gimmick matches like casket matches or buried alive matches. What an incredible sight either would be on the grandest stage.

I just want a better end for The Undertaker character. I want an extravagant visual shit storm of supernatural craziness. Whether it’s a burning casket or lightening shooting across the arena, I don’t care. Is this too much to ask?

People saying that there is no point in him returning for Wrestlemania now that the streak has ended are dumb and don’t really get The Undertakers legacy except for what it has become since the streak became the attraction it did. Tying in a final Wrestlemania match with a hall of fame appearance would be the icing on the cake. It is a career that has spanned decades and that will be fondly remembered by many fans around the world, to go out in the manner which it did, does not sit right with me.

MoveMent
Now that Undertaker's Wrestlemania Streak has ended should he ever wrestle at Wrestlemania again?
Let’s be honest, is it even worth it?

Undertaker will be 50 years old during Wrestlemania 31. Just a year after everyone was put in a state of shock over the end of the streak. Now at 21-1 do people really want to see 22-1? No they wanted to see 22-0 followed by a possible 23-0. Paul Heyman said it best when he said the biggest number in 22-1 is the “1”.

Since the end of 2010 Undertaker has basically been limited to working Wrestlemania with a special appearance for RAW 1000 and a brief tag match with the Shield otherwise. Reason why is his health.The last time we seen Undertaker look completely competent in the ring was nearly four years ago. Sure during the first of two back to back matches with Triple H at Mania he looked in good shape but even then they alluded to his mortality and health by having him carried off to end the match. Every match since then he’s looked obviously limited in the ring though they tried to hide it and admittedly did a good job of it through match story telling but even that can’t last forever. Just for Undertaker to work a match at this point he needs to spend countless hours working with his opponent prior to the match so that nothing goes wrong to where he dangers himself. When he doesn’t follow this routine the result is what happened at Wrestlemania 30 when he suffered a major concussion and neck injury from Lesnar.

I know there’s a group of people who doesn’t want Wrestlemania 30 to be his last match because of how underwhelming the match was but then the question is how else would they retire him? The best way for Undertaker to go out was losing the streak which already happened if he came back next year to lose again the shock wouldn’t be there like it was this time. When Lesnar beat Undertaker the majority of the crowd literally went silent. People were leaving the Superdome KNOWING that they weren’t going to be allowed back inside once leaving the building. You absolutely cannot recreate that shock and with another year of age the risk of him being injured again and having another sloppy match will be higher than it was this year. This year was the best option and Lesnar was the best opponent.

Then there are the ten people who are stuck in the past wanting that Sting/Undertaker “Dream” match. I hate to break it to those individuals but that match would be the WORST option for Undertaker to take. Sure the atmosphere for the match could possibly be great and the first ever in ring promo between the two would be memorable but everything following it spells disaster. No one should be subjected to the equivalent of Sting/Ric Flar on the last WCW in 2014.

The biggest number in 21-1 is “1” for a reason. Because that “1” WAS the streak. It was the only thing that was keeping the streak alive and keeping the Undertaker on the (semi)active roster. Sure, Undertaker could in theory work one more match possibly and of course fans will be happy to see him simply because it is the Undertaker, but is it worth it? Is it worth for Undertaker to continue to be one of the older guys taking up and coming guy’s spot that could use it? (The streak justified Undertaker’s reason of course but again it’s GONE). It isn’t, Undertaker has no reason to wrestle again and no one should feel regret for the way it ended because his career was simply too glorious to let any little blemish get in the way. A blemish that would become larger if he tried to wrestle again.


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Seabs
Klee - Ok so you basically went for the look at all these opponents Undertaker can still face at Wrestlemania route but I think it ignored too many of the arguments against your stance and some of your points were a bit misguided imo. I get that you ruled out Taker's conditioning not being an issue because of the wording of the question but I disagreed with it. I definitely don't think the wording of the topic means "age and conditioning aside". You then say assuming his health is ok but that's a pretty big assumption to make imo give Taker's age, how banged up he's been for like a decade straight now and he bad he looked vs Brock this year. A lot of it read like this is what I want so give me my god damn way rather than this is what's "best for business" and what should happen. Not sure on "If he goes out now and that was in fact his last match ever, his entire career would be put to the back seat and The Streak and the streak ending match especially, become factors which would detract from what has been a Legendary career regardless." Taker WAS The Streak. That's really his big accomplishment. Kayfabe wise he didn't do a whole lot else. He was never a massive draw or a guy they built the company around or a guy who won masses of titles. He's the guy who had The Streak and that's what defined him so I think you needed to do make a stronger effort of claiming why this point should be the case. Your arguments for who he can face are fine I guess but I think you overlooked too many genuine points against him not wrestling again for this long part of your debate (really your entire debate actually) to be super effective. Disagree on Taker putting over someone on the brink of stardom still being huge. There's guys who beating will mean more now (Brock for a heel and Cena for a face) because Taker already lost. He's no longer immortal so the big rub isn't there. Instead they're just beating a broken man. These are the types of counter arguments that your debate needs to anticipate and counter within your own arguments. Again with the Brock/Taker rematch point you're putting your own individual wants over the wants and opinions of the fanbase as a whole. Most people thought the match sucked and when you think a match sucks you don't clamour for a rematch. " Who wouldn’t say yes to a match between Taker and his on-screen brother Kane?" - did I miss the point where everyone wanted to see this again? It's written and structured fine but the content wasn't convincing me at all for the reasons stated. It's important you anticipate and address potential counter arguments because without doing it you leave a lot of holes in your debate that someone arguing against you can exploit pretty easily.

MoveMent - Intro is great and sums up your entire argument in one quick paragraph superbly. I know exactly what your stance is and the main reason why you've took this stance and you didn't waste any words doing it. Super. Next paragraph effectively countered Klee's debate nicely imo. A basically just assumed Taker should wrestle again and then spent his whole debate on the next stage but you popped up and showed A why Taker shouldn't wrestle again to which Klee didn't really have a convincing counter imo. " When he doesn’t follow this routine the result is what happened at Wrestlemania 30 when he suffered a major concussion and neck injury from Lesnar." - this felt pretty empty without a source. Next paragraph makes a great point too about how beating Taker doesn't much now that it's been done because the shock factor won't be there nor that "oh shit he's the one" moment. Great point about the reward not being worth the risk to Taker's body anymore. That was a super point and more importantly all these are killing Klee's debate imo. This would probably hold up quite well against most arguing the same stance btw. I think the Sting/Taker counter was weaker. You say " I hate to break it to those individuals but that match would be the WORST option for Undertaker to take." but then don't really expand into why. Plus you could have mentioned the match would most likely be terrible just like every other Sting match for the past 10 or so years. Really good debate. Great points well argued. Well done.

Winner - MoveMent

WOOLCOCK
Klee:

Immediately I feel your intro could be shortened drastically, because it's overly descriptive and not really arriving at any particular point. Your words are valuable, and your intro really is just the beginning of your stance and your chance to segue into your main arguments. Overly descriptive tbh feels the best summary of this debate the more I read of it. The Sting argument was ok, particularly that The Streak being over at least offers a sense of unpredictability to the result. I think a logical counter argument can be made however that Sting's legacy and image might not mean as much to today's audience who are largely unaware of his history however. The Cena argument I thought was particularly weak, and more of a way to include him in the series of dream matches without focusing too much on him. Taker beating Cena with The Streak already over means less because the drama and tension of Cena possibly being the one to end The Streak is gone, and you're left with Cena losing to Taker when Taker's aura of invincibality is gone, or Cena beating Taker in a win that means less with Taker having already lost, and the shock being diminished as a result. The Lesnar argument again feels very pedestrian and lacking the incisive argument that makes your argument compelling, instead reading more as a piece of wishful fantasy booking. The closing again is very unspectacular and really lacking in a clear analytical approach. The points aren't bad but they just don't read like a well argued debate. The purposeful language isn't there and your arguments struggle in their conviction. Overall, I felt your debate was just too descriptive and mapping out wishful potential matches, whilst failing to make clear logical arguments for WHY the matches were of enough benefit for Taker to wrestle again.




MoveMent:

Your intro was better than your opponent's, immediately introducing your POV and setting the stage for your arguments. You focus on Taker's health being of particular concern and ponder why he should continue to risk ill health when the lustre of The Streak is gone, it's a good basis for an argument to this question but I would have appreciated a greater expansion on some of your arguments, namely WHY Taker wrestling post-Streak is futile and WHY he is no longer required to take a spot from an aspiring young talent. You touched on the latter but I felt you ended it abruptly and given the shortened length of your debate, there was still plenty of room in which to expand on your initial argument and present a more compelling stance. The Sting counter was also a bit unspectacular, if only because it's such a short paragraph and you spend half of it admitting the initial promo and eventually atmosphere would be rather enticing. If you're acknowledging the positives of what that match could bring then imo you need to do a far better job then arguing against it and highlighting how the negatives outweigh the few positives. You didn't really do this enough hear, and for future reference it could prove more costly than it did here. I also felt your conclusion was quite abrupt and again ends the debate on an unspectacular note. A word of advice would be to separate your conclusion from your final argument, to avoid the abrupt ending you get as a reader when you read an argument and then see the debate ends shortly thereafter. You want to really summarise your main arguments, and given the length of the debate it's not like you were in a position to hastily end the debate.


As it is, MoveMent gets the nod for me. The length was disappointing, especially in light of how undeveloped some of your key arguments were, however what I took away from the debate was that promising arguments were abruptly concluded, whereas in Klee's I was less convinced by arguments that were touched upon in greater detail, albeit without clear analysis and actual evaluation. Neither entry was of a high standard, but MoveMent despite the shortened arguments still made more persuasive arguments for me than Klee.



Winner - MoveMent


ZOMBO
Klee

It's a tricky stance right from the get-go. Yes, you're firm in your stating that he should wrestle again (good) but it's contingent on his health (weakens it). This is weaker simply because at 50 years old, his health is only going to get so good. Look how much effort is expended into one match every 365 days. At this stage, his health is what it is and you can still be in support of another match even with that stipulation.

The point about the Streak overshadowing his career if he lost his last match is iffy, considering the Streak has become synonymous with Taker over the last little while.

When talking about drawing numbers, it would've been cool to see facts supporting that. Not necessarily buy-rates, but even Raw ratings when Taker arrived. Now, I'm not sure if this is Klee's debate (who filled in as an emergency substitute), so research would've been difficult in that circumstance.

The paragraphs outlining the number of big matches he could still have at Mania were okay. I felt that they kind of stated the obvious without making any of them feel "MUST SEE". I think if you took maybe half of your list and really built up a match, that could've come across stronger.

I really enjoyed the line about wanting an "extravagant visual shit storm of supernatural craziness" The conclusion was good, and wrapped up your points nicely. Some good emotion throughout.

MoveMent

Stance is apparent from the opening, and bringing up his age is an immediate strong card to play. His health is an important factor in him having one more match, and it was smart to highlight that whereas Klee tried to gloss over it.

I felt some factual liberties were taken. He's looked competent enough the last few years, in my humble opinion. And in spite of the early "dirt sheet" reports that Brock didn't want to train with Taker for their match, I'm certain that later reports came out confirming that they did agree to go over things. I recall reading after the match that Brock had to lead Taker throughout due to the concussion, and he was able to because of the training.

Being unable to re-create the shock is a fair point. I chuckled at the line about "ten people" wanting to see Sting / Taker. That said, I don't think you dismiss it well enough. You acknowledge the possibility (and likelihood) that the atmosphere for a match would be great. Doesn't that make matches memorable / great already? Hogan / Rock was no clinic, but I'll be damned if that wasn't a hot crowd creating an epic match.

Your conclusion is okay, but brings up a new point in that his career was "simply too glorious". I think this avenue would've been worth exploring, highlighting how much he's accomplished, making it really seem that there is nothing left to accomplish. I think we, as fans, are aware of this, but hammering it over the reader's head would've been super effective.

THE DECISION

I was happy to see opposing sides taken here, but was disappointed that neither debate really capitalized on some areas that they could've gone down. Although I personally agree with the notion that Taker should wrestle again (and that Taker and Sting would be viable... sign me up as one of the ten!), I think that MoveMent had a little more depth to it, creating an overall more convincing argument. That's my pick.


Winner via Unanimous Decision - MoveMent

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 4-0


Alim TEAM TLK vs Andre TEAM ANDRE
Which Wrestlemania was better, 17 or 19?


Spoiler for Debates:
Alim

Wrestlemania is the superbowl of professional wrestling. It’s the biggest show of the year and it’s the showcase of the immortals. O. Over the course of 30 years there have been some amazing Wrestlemanias filled with Wrestlemania moments. Two of those shows – Wrestlemanias 17 and 19 – are often seen as the best in the history of the event and rightfully so. The cards were stacked from top to bottom, the quality of matches were great, they provided us with Wrestlemania moments that will last a lifetime, and these were two shows that defined their respective eras. But which one was better? As awesome as Wrestlemania 19 was, I would have to go with 17.

The timing of Wrestlemania 17 was damn near perfect and it was like a fairytale coming to an end. Throughout the lates 90s, Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling and Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation were going neck and neck in what was called the Attitude Era. By the year 2000, Vince basically had a stranglehold on his completion and by 2001 the company had all but folded. But the Monday Night Raw before Wrestlemania 17, on the go home show, Vince McMahon made his most ground breaking announcement ever. He had purchased the competition. He was now the owner of WCW. Wrestlemania 17 truly was the end of an era. When you ask a wrestling fan what their favorite time period as a fan was, most will say the Attitude Era. 17 marked the end of that era. That week WWE turned into a monopoly. There was no competition. It seemed as if the show was one last hoorah for the fans as the WWE transitioned from one era to another.

Both Wrestlemanias had a great collection of matches, but I think 17 edges 19 out by just a little when it comes to significance. From top to bottom, whether it was the undercard or the main event, 17 had it all. My biggest issue with Wrestlemania 19’s card was that, although it was very good, it could have been so much better. The roster at the time in 2003 was absolutely stacked. You had three of the biggest stars in the history of the business all actively competing in The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Steve Austin. Not only that, you still had your Attitude Era stars like Kane, Kurt Angle, Jericho, Undertaker, Triple H, and others. You also had a new generation of stars being groomed too, like Mysterio and Lesnar. Add on top of that a returning Shawn Michaels and that is the most stacked roster ever. 19’s card always left you wanting more. Imagine if Undertaker wasn’t wasted on a undercard match where his tag team partner was too green to even wrestle on the big stage? What if he had wrestled Chris Benoit in a streak match? It would have been an all-time classic. Shawn Michaels versus The Rock is a dream match that has never happened nor will happen. 2003 would have been the perfect time to pull the trigger on this feud as The Rock was blazing hot with his new Hollywood character will Michaels had just came out of retirement. And of course, Hulk Hogan versus Stone Cold Steve Austin. Perhaps the biggest dream match ever. It’s quite shocking that these two never even locked eyes until just a few weeks ago in New Orleans. Austin was on his last legs, Hulkamania was still ruling. It would have been epic.

All in all, both shows are absolutely fantastic and not only two of the best Wrestlemanias ever, but they are all two of the greatest pay-per-views ever produced, period. I see it like this: If you are a wrestling purist, you will prefer Wrestlemania 19. If you look for historical significance, Wrestlemania 17 is going to be your show. 17 was the end of an era and felt like it was a gift from the WWE to the fans that helped them win the war. Everyone was included on the card and it seemed like everyone had a role. Wrestlemania 19 had a better quality of matches, but those matches could have been so much more because of the incredibly deep roster they had at the time.

Andre

What exactly defines a “better” WrestleMania? Is it EVERYTHING to do with putting on a spectacular show FULL of dream matches? Is it COMPLETELY about which show had more special moments? Or is it ABSOLUTELY about which show created LEGIT big business?


Actually it’s all of the above…and THAT’S why WrestleMania 17 was better than WrestleMania 19.


While opinions on wrestling matches are highly subjective, there’s no doubt that both events involved widely revered matches, but WrestleMania should be MORE than just a wrasslin’ show. Objectively X7 was MORE than this because it involved dream matches and exciting angles that caught the public’s imagination, unlike XIX. This was represented by the fact that X7 drew over 1,000,000 buys whereas XIX drew 560,000. In fact XIX drew less than the 2003 Royal Rumble! So no excuses can be made about XIX not competing due to a declining interest in wrestling after the 98-2001 boom period, especially when X8 drew just shy of 900,000 buys and XX drew over 1,000,000 buys. A key factor in determining what makes successful, or “better” WrestleManias, is the consideration that it creates an opportunity for young stars to get over with a casual pay per view audience who might not usually see them in action. So in a business sense X7 was far better.


XIX didn’t draw because it didn’t really feel like a WrestleMania, lacking fresh big time matches, strong feuds and angles. Taker’s lacklustre streak match against ‘jobbers to the stars’ A-Train and Big Show was a good example of this, whereas at X7 ABA had a dream match arena wide brawl against HHH. After having fended off stars such as Hunter and Flair in enthralling matches at the previous two Manias the XIX Taker match was a massive come down and a waste of a match that could have been a selling point, especially after WWE began to make a big deal about THE STREAK after the Flair match where Taker rose both hands to signify 10-0.


Hogan versus McMahon at XIX was a mildly intriguing clash due to real life issues and a retirement stipulation, but as the most heavily promoted match on the card involving a non-wrestler and a part timer it was never going to make up for the lack of spark on the rest of the card, certainly when it didn’t have any long term consequences in WWE creatively or business wise, especially with Hogan winning. Vince was FAR better placed on the X7 card against Shane in a fun street fight that brilliantly planted the seeds for the WWF/WCW Invasion feud and thankfully gave Trish and Linda McMahon their revenge against Vince who had humiliated them in a misogynistic angle.


Fantastically executed pay offs and angles didn’t just end there. The hugely popular Chyna finally got one over on Ivory, who had humiliated Chyna and broken her neck. Conversely, XIX generally lacked good stories and big time pay offs. Booker T should have beaten HHH for the WHC title after Hunter humiliated him in a brutally poor racist angle, but instead Hunter beat T and the much needed pay off and star making possibility was denied. This compares negatively with how WWE booked Linda and Trish at X7 and how the likes of Edge and Jeff Hardy were presented as stars during TLC II.


The two Austin/Rock matches were also largely contrasting. At X7 one of the hottest Mania main event matches of all time occurred. It wasn’t just a very good attitude era style world title match, it also had HUGE consequences with Austin turning heel and aligning with Vince to beat Rock for the title in one of the most SHOCKING angles in wrestling history. It also fuelled the brilliant two man power trip angle involving HHH. The match was worthy of a Mania main event, staging huge drama. However, the same non-title match at XIX was a thrown together feud involving part timers who had lost their shine. Nothing other than pride was at stake, so it wouldn’t have made a big difference if it had never occurred at all in terms of WWE’s creative direction, a reoccurring theme at XIX. The only minor “special” event that occurred at XIX was HBK’s return as an active Mania wrestler; otherwise his match with Jericho could have occurred during the midcard of any random B ppv, as proven several times in 2008.


Due to this XIX needed to produce a GIGANTIC star making main event, but unfortunately a dull face Brock Lesnar chased after Kurt Angle’s world title. The match was similar to Angle and Benoit’s mat and suplex based tangle at X7, but the difference with that match was that the Houston crowd was invested whereas Safe Co Field was COLD for the XIX match. Angle and Benoit was something of a midcard dream feud at that point and later on was a selling point of the big drawing 2003 Royal Rumble, whereas Brock and Angle had been dicking about against each other for months in matches on pay per view and Smackdown, leading towards a flat main event. Angle was also working with a broken freaking neck which limited his movement, whilst Brock’s botched shooting star press led to a messily rushed finish. Regardless, WWE fans certainly struggled to latch onto Brock as a hero and Angle definitely wasn’t a big enough deal to put him over as a LEGIT star, so In many ways the XIX main event was a bust and also proved how X7 matches had better card placements.


XIX lacked pizzazz, unlike X7 which defined an era while also starting new stories. It had peak star power, EPIC clashes, HEATED feuds and presented a whole bunch of memorable moments on top of a succession of good matches. It was an essential WrestleMania that made a huge mark on the business, whereas XIX was generally just a card full of good matches involving generally flat feuds and pay offs.




References

WrestleMania X7, X8, XX and XIX buyrates:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...l-time/page/12

http://www.thecoli.com/threads/graph...st-see.119366/

Royal Rumble 2003 buyrate:

http://www.ja606.co.uk/articles/viewArticle/195058

http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/ww...004.207784917/

2008 ppv mic card singles matches involving HBK and Y2J:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_Day_%282008%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gre...ash_%282008%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unforgiven_%282008%29


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
WOOLCOCK
Alim:

Immediately I have to ask why your 'end of an era' argument was so verbose? I appreciate you were trying to signify how important the event was historically, but you needed to do that with more powerful language, rather than just describing the timeline as if the reader wasn't aware of the history, and then concluding how 'Wrestlemania 17 marked the end of an era'. It's too descriptive and lacking in clear analysis as to WHY it holds far more significance than Wrestlemania 19. Bearing in mind the question is asking you to choose between either Mania, your failure to draw attention as to just how Wrestlemania 17 was more historically significant and far moreso than Wrestlemania 19 is already a problem. The next paragraph was a step in the right direction, as you analyse how the Wrestlemania 19 card could have been improved upon, whereas 17 less so. Again, I would have appreciated more consideration of how 17 'had it all' and how they booked the right matches in contrast to 19's misguided card which could have been bettered with a few re-adjustments. Again, you really need to do a better job comparing and contrasting the respective Wrestlemania's, so when you're criticising Wrestlemania 19 you need to be doing a better job at praising Wrestlemania 17. "17 had it all" just isn't enough. You also contradict yourself by saying 19 is for the purists, and 17 for those who appreciate historical significance, this despite you previously arguing 17 had the better matches. Again, it's noticeable and weakens your argument because you've contradicted yourself so easily. I'm also not sure how '17 was more significant, but 19 was the better show for the purists' is a great argument for Wrestlemania 17. So it's historically significant, that alone is enough to make it better than a Wrestlemania which you cite as being very much one of the best PPVs ever? You just didn't do a good enough job of arguing for Wrestlemania 17, and missed a trick by failing to compare and contrast the respective Mania's to strengthen your arguments.





Andre:

You did what your opponent failed to do, and brilliantly compared and contrasted the respective Wrestlemania's to expose where 17 shined in comparison to where 19 failed to succeed. Your arguments were logical, incisive and broad in their outlook which really strengthened your debate by posing so many instances in which 17 outclassed 19, helped undeniably by a stellar definition of what a successful Wrestlemania is. It's a waste of time to recap your arguments, because all of them were of a high standard and you don't need me picking at each one to identify where they succeeded where your opponent failed. I particularly liked however how you drew attention to Taker's respective matches, Vince's contrasting position on the card and the comparison to how the Rock/Austin feuds at both Mania's fared in terms of significance and starpower. Obviously the writing was superb with key arguments being focused and emphasised well and the persuasive language being consistent throughout.


Winner - Andre

Seabs
Alim - This wasn't good. The good things is we both know you're capable of producing much better. The first paragraph was a colossal waste of words until you stated your stance. Everything before that was irrelevant and added nothing to your debate bar wasting words and boring me as the reader. It's really important that you define you criteria for what makes one show better than the other here. You failed to do this and it made your whole debate feel a bit aimless because you didn't have that connection between what you were writing about and the actual question. Is the better show the one with better matches, better angles, better long term significance, better buyrates? What? Once you do that you can then start making your argument but you really need that first in these topics. The WCW paragraph didn't really relate to the topic much because I didn't see a strong connection between that and your actual argument for why 17 was better. You then focus on the unfulfilled potential of 19 but that wasn't showing me why 17 > 19. It was just going off on a tangent and arguing your own debate you've started with yourself about 19's potential compared to what happened. You didn't show how that made 17 better because you barely mentioned the strengths of 17 relative to 19. You need to show why one is better than the other even if you're on focus with describing the strengths or weaknesses of one show.

Andre - Alim, you see here how Andre defined his criteria and then wrote his debate and arguments around it? That's what you needed to do. This is obviously good blah blah blah. You did a great job showing why 19 was weak and why 17 did the things 19 did weak better. I like how you addressed the undercards in your debate with the Womens match at 17 example to show 17 wasn't just about the top matches. I don't really have much to fault with it. You had barely anything to do to actually win the debate but you also did what was needed to produce a strong debate too with little holes in it.

Winner - Andre

BkB Hulk
Alim:
The opening feels a bit like fluff. It sets the scene in a way, but it’s just stating the obvious too. You could maybe get a way with it if there was some excitement in the tone, but it’s all a bit monotonous and just saying “This is what WrestleMania is etc”. The last part does a better job setting the scene for the debate, directly comparing the two and asserting your stance.

Your reasoning was solid. I liked the end of an era argument, giving it the edge for the nostalgia and timing factor. It’s actually really clever. Similarly, the way you dismantled the cards and asserted that 17 had the better card was good. You certainly took 19 apart well and made it seem like it paled in comparison to the greatness of 17.

Unfortunately, I feel like you left a gap here. The debate didn’t feel complete, and yet you’ve already headed for the conclusion. I think you needed another point, because the debate both feels short and the argument feels incomplete.

The conclusion was odd in that you actually gave a reason why 19 could be considered better. That feels like it takes away from the rest of your debate, because all of a sudden you’re acknowledging that the other option really is viable, and suddenly it’s not as convincing that you’re the one who’s right. It’s a debate, so you should be convincing us that you’re right. Apart from that, you summed up your ideas okay, but again, that part felt like unnecessary words that were filling out quite a short debate. There were some good ideas and some good writing, but it was ultimately incomplete.


Andre:
Straight off the bat, I think you’re overdoing the caps a bit. There’s heaps of it in a short space there in your opening paragraph, and it quickly loses significance.

That aside, the opening is good. It’s simple and it’s assertive. We know what you think and why. I think you acknowledged WrestleMania 19’s quality matches in a better way than Alim by not giving away that they may actually have been better than 17’s. The idea that they were both good but 17 was just more instantly puts it up as much better, while also acknowledging the strengths of 19, pretty much blowing it out of the water immediately.

Buy rates are always good, and this is a great place to use them. It feeds into your argument that 17 was just plain more exciting perfectly. The explanation that followed backed it all up really well and the way it organically turned the debate simply into a straight up comparison about how 17 was bigger served you well. It was certainly thorough, and a very convincing argument as to why 17 was just plain better in terms of pretty much everything on the card.

The conclusion drums home all your points well, certainly about the long-term impact. Succinct, it does all it has to.

Andre presented the more complete and convincing debate, and for that reason is the winner.


Winner via Unanimous Decision - Andre

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 5-0


The Lady Killer TEAM TLK vs AwShucks TEAM ANDRE
Is making the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal an annual event at Wrestlemania a good move?


Spoiler for Debates:
AwShucks
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is a very simple concept. 31 men fighting over a mammoth statue of another man. Simple, normal stuff. What was the match like when it took place at Wrestlemania XXX though? Let’s check with some casual wrestling fans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Csonka of 411Mania
It was rough early, but they got down to the right guys, they did the right things and Cesaro has that moment that they can replay… being an ode to WrestleMania 3.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Canton of Wrestling News Source
*** The booking was perfect. They got rid of the lesser names, the final four had a lot of star power and the eliminations were creative. Sometimes battle royals are really boring. This one wasn't.
Surely after garnering a warm reception from wrestling fans it would make perfect sense for WWE to turn this Battle Royal into a yearly tradition, right? Well, of course it would. I mean, wrestling fans just love boring and repetitive events that translate into boring and repetitive storylines, don’t they? Oh no, sorry, I got wrestling fans mixed up with that of The Walking Dead.

No, turning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal into an annual event is not a good move, it’s far from it. Just because the original was exciting and successful, does not mean the WWE should annually continue with this match-up.

If the WWE were to turn the Battle Royal into a yearly tradition, we’ll watch what was once considered a neat concept and compelling undercard match swiftly deteriorate into an unexciting clusterfuck that would most definitely overshadow and tarnish how absorbing the first one was. Sometimes it’s simply best to leave it at one match and maintain the original’s beauty.

Quote:
Well look at Money in the Bank, Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble, they’re all still successful.
While that may be true, these 3 matches shared something in common, and this very special something is lacking in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. An outlandish, unique concept. The Memorial Battle Royal? It’s 31 guys starting in the ring trying to throw each other over the top rope.

Where have we seen this before? Uh.. RAW, SmackDown, NWA, TNA… Mexico, Britain, you get the picture. The Memorial Battle Royal won’t last, because it’s something we see frequently, just at Wrestlemania and for a gold trophy.

Yeah, sure we all enjoyed various moments throughout this match, the ending in particular. How long before Kofi Kingston begins running out of cool spots until they become ludicrous (not in a good way) and/or repetitive though? How long before WWE runs out of exciting, unpredictable ways to end the match, which is what MADE it in the first place? One year, two tops.

The fact of the matter is that without these moments in the match, the crowd wouldn’t have given two shits about it and they won’t in the future if the Andre the Giant Battle Royal is continued.

Let’s imagine that the match is still for some absurd reason maintained though. You just sat through a clustered, predictable borefest the night before at WM to see the winner enter the arena with the trophy. You remember last year the previous face winner having some heel outrageously break the trophy. What does this year’s heel winner do? He breaks the fucking trophy. I bet you didn’t see that swerve coming.

WWE can’t just have the match and then ignore it. No, they have to address it the night after ‘Mania. This is just begging for the typical heel breaking of the Andre statue, “OH MY GOD, THIS IS CALAMITOUS”, face is pissed, ohey we have a feud. No one’s going to carry that bloody trophy around for more than a month. I don’t know about you, but I reckon I’ll get sick of heels breaking Andre the Giant over and over again being a platform for feuds.

So, we’ve gone over why turning the Memorial Battle Royal is destined to fail, yet we don’t even know who will be in these future matches. Let me refer back to something I stated a little earlier…

“How long before Kofi Kingston begins running out of cool spots until they become ludicrous (not in a good way) and/or repetitive?”

That says it all, really. Every year we are going to be seeing the exact same wrestlers take part in this match. What does this mean for them?

They will never get a chance to shine on the night of nights. They will never get their moment. Just a few years ago this would have been Daniel Bryan, had he not broken the glass ceiling. You may ask why midcarders in this match can’t break that ceiling. Well, they can, but less than a third of them will.

Let’s look at how previous lower midcarders pushed through to become stars. Edge, Christian, the Hardy Boys or the Dudley Boys ring any bells? Well, at Wrestlemania 2000 and Wrestlemania X7 they got their chance to shine in two amazing matches, pivotal moments in their celebrated careers.

If the Andre the Giant Battle Royal becomes an annual event, modern day midcarders won’t get these opportunities.

Let’s think about some of the wrestlers that took part. Drew McIntyre, Titus O’Neil, Justin Gabriel, Damien Sandow and of course… Brad Maddox. They will never get the chance to break through to stardom that their ancestral midcarders received.

To summarize, let’s have a look at what turning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal an annual event at Wrestlemania will achieve:

- A predictable and boring clusterfuck of a match wasting time at Wrestlemania? ✓
- Predictable and boring storylines to follow? ✓
- Midcarders never getting the chance to shine at Mania? ✓
- Andre the Giant being repetitively destroyed by heels? ✓

Basically, negative outcomes. So, sure, if the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal becomes an annual event we may get one or two more decent, somewhat exciting matches, but it’s bound to see more harmful results than beneficial.

The Lady Killer
Is making the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal an annual event at Wrestlemania a good move?


If there is one thing on which the GEEKS of WF can unanimously agree, it’s that there is a current crop of bright young stars with tons of potential. The crowning of Daniel Bryan (former MITB winner) at Wrestlemania represents the dawning of a new era, with the old guard serving as catalysts for the rise of the fresher crop of talent before slowly being phased out. What else happened at Wrestlemania? The inaugural Andre the Giant Battle Royal, though the winner wasn’t an established veteran, but rather the fast-rising Cesaro whose potential is finally starting to be realized. Not only is making the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal an annual event at the GRANDEST STAGE OF THEM ALL a good move; it’s a ***3/4=GREAT move./Austin101

WE'VE CENA 'NUFF

Not a day goes by that I don’t read countless DOJO DWELLERS ranting about Cena/Trips/Batista still being in the spotlight after all these years. They want someone NEW to have a chance. How has WWE typically addressed this issue? Special events that single out an individual victor.

King of the Ring. Money in the Bank. The Royal Rumble. Hell, even the Slammy’s. WWE has done a commendable job over the years of pushing fresh talent towards the top of the card by holding annual events. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Triple H. Edge. Rey Mysterio. These names were all elevated to the next level due to winning these types of events. Why? It’s all about singling out a star and ensuring fan-recognition. With King of the Ring now defunct and Money in the Bank morphing into its own PPV, the door is wide open for a new platform to serve as the final stepping stone that bridges the gap between mid-card turmoil and instantaneous recognition.

Cesaro was clearly SINGLED OUT as the next star deserving of some recognition. His popularity had been steadily increasing over the past few months, and he seemed to be teetering on the cusp of the roster's upper tier (kayfabe-wise). Winning the Battle Royal at Wrestlemania pushed him over the hump. His status IMMEDIATELY skyrocketed with the coronation and the revelation that he was the next “Paul Heyman guy.” What does he have that recent failed Paul Heyman guys didn’t? A fuckin’ trophy (well, before Swagger destroyed it, but more on that later). It’s already evident that winning the Battle Royal has been GREAT for Cesaro’s growth and status.

Quick note: The last few Manias have witnessed CAREERS being made due to fan support. This is the time to pull the trigger on a push.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER GUYS?!?

Agreed. No need to solely focus on the benefits of winning the Battle Royal. Holding this match annually at Wrestlemania ensures a few things. First, it increases the visibility of a number of superstars that wouldn’t normally make it onto a Wrestlemania card. It also gives these lower-card guys a chance to make their mark in front of the largest wrestling audience of the year. Kofi Kingston, for example, has thrived off this opportunity at the Royal Rumble year in and year out. It speaks volumes that his feats of athleticism displayed on an annual basis have been enough to keep him popular despite the shoddy, inconsistent booking. Finally, it protects the already-established guys without Mania feuds from eating clean “losses.” Guys like Sheamus and Big Show proved that they could still beat the shit out of everyone and not look weak since a winner is declared by a process of elimination rather than via pin/submission.

Holding this event at Mania every year keeps the machine running smoothly and increases the chances of producing new main event-level stars.

IT’S JUST A STUPID TROPHY

The King of the Ring has his scepter/cape/crown. Mr. Money in the Bank has his briefcase. Champions have their belts. The Andre the Giant Memorial winner has his trophy. Pro wrestling is notorious for using props to signify importance. Not everyone gets a belt. Or a crown. Or a briefcase. Or a trophy. Only the ones WWE WANTS you to recognize are awarded such distinction. These props serve as magnets for attention. Not only are they symbols of elevated status, but they’ve also been physically used to garner heat for a feud (Triple H owning Foley with his scepter and igniting the feud that finally put Hunter on the map; Swagger destroying Cesaro’s freshly-won Andre the Giant Memorial trophy, thus releasing Cesaro from the confines of the Real Americans and allowing him to align with Paul Heyman aka the GOAT manager) or to redefine one’s character (Owen Hart carrying around his Slammy’s).

Imagine your ideal job situation. Big salary, great benefits, flexible hours, and RECOGNITION for hard work. Sound fairly accurate? Well, the Memorial trophy is yet another form of WWE’s recognition program. The audience knows that whoever holds that trophy is someone they’re supposed to take seriously.

BUT IT DOESN'T GUARANTEE SUCCESS

Nothing is foolproof. Jobbers such as Damien Sandow who amounted to nothing despite winning the MITB briefcase are examples of this. However, it's important to note that this is an extreme outlier. Of the 14 briefcase winners only TWO have not gone on to win a major title. We have yet to see the ultimate benefit of Cesaro's trophy-winning triumph, but the forecast is positive based upon current events.

Too similar to the Rumble? Nah. The Rumble is a 60-minute match that GUARANTEES a title shot (aka an already established guy who belongs in the main event typically wins this event) and features much bigger names. The Memorial Battle Royale is akin to the King of the Ring in that in serves as a rite of passage to be considered as a potential future Rumble winner. The next Rumble winner is more likely to have been selected BECAUSE he won the Memorial Battle Royal. It's a logical progression.

For further persuasion: The trophy has fucking Andre the Giant aka one of the biggest stars in wrestling history on it. It’s obviously coveted.


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Seabs
AwShucks - I wasn't crazy about you using two random quotes (with no link) to argue that it got a warm reception. Pointing out how the original match worked, e.g. getting a good reaction from the live crowd would be better. Your argument that it will only get worse and unoriginal isn't one I overly agree with and I didn't think this debate convinced me that this is the case either. What about all the other annual gimmicks they have they haven't got tiresome like Royal Rumble and MITB? There's always new ways to do the same annual gimmick differently and I don't really see how the Battle Royal is an exception. In response to your counter the Rumble is just a Battle Royal too with a different twist and plenty of other promotions do Rumbles and multi man Ladder matches. I wasn't convinced that the Battle Royal is so different in this respect. You then talk about how long before they run out of ways to finish it but they've been doing Battle Royals for decades. Plus this isn't exactly a big part of the drawing power of Wrestlemania so even if the process becomes slightly stale (if the gimmick match was to become stale beyond use it would have been ditched by now after all the Battle Royal's there's been) then does it really matter if the outcome is still beneficial? The breaking the trophy shtick is fair enough but I don't think it's a convincing point for why the gimmick shouldn't be continued. Can't someone win it and then just go on a winning streak moving up the card? What's wrong with that? The Battle Royal can be used as a platform and a strong signal of intent to fans that this guy is going places. You mention how the same geeks will forever be stuck to this match but they probably wouldn't make the card anyway so I think your point here is invalid. Fandango wasn't getting a Mania match this year without the Battle Royal. It only took up 15 minutes on a 4 hour show. That's only ONE SIXTEENTH of the show not including the pre-show. It actually gives more guys a chance to be showcased on Mania even if only for one spot. It's still one spot they didn't get and more importantly one Mania paycheck they weren't getting before. This match isn't taking up 4 spots on the card that could have produced 4 midcard matches to get guys over. It takes up one segment the length that a normal singles match would go. Damien Sandow didn't lose out on some big Wrestlemania undercard match that would be his breakthrough because of the Battle Royal. If he was getting that singles match to showcase him then he'd get it. So yeah I thought your arguments were very weak and too easy to counter as your opponent did a good job of doing.

The Lady Killer - This was much stronger, actually convincing and effectively countered most of AwShucks' arguments. The annual events argument was really good. I would have added the point about pay days with the "What about other guys" argument because that's a strong argument in favour of it. The trophy part I think maybe could have been argued along with the pushing new guys part and thus done a bit more concisely. I didn't think it was an issue with your debate but it was something that I think would have given you room to make another point and improve your debate a bit more. The guarantee success point I thought was a tad weak but mostly because all you can really say is "wait and see" which is a fair counter but not all that strong of an actual point. But it was done concisely at least. The Rumble counter was done well enough although I do think there's more elements to the Rumble argument against your stance that you glossed over. This being an annual tradition essentially means there'll be 2 big Battle Royals in 3 months which could really saturate investment in the match. Once a year is fine or even spaced out twice over a year but I think arguing that doing the Battle Royal at another part of the year to space them out more is a valid argument left unaddressed. Also there's the argument that can this do anything that MITB later in the year can't do. Your natural progression line was pretty good though and I guess indirectly dealt with it. I thought the end of your debate was pretty sudden and odd. Missing a nice concluding wrap up and it stood out when reading your debate.

Winner - The Lady Killer

WOOLCOCK
AwShucks:

This was well-written, but reading it back over your arguments became less concrete in my opinion and a few of your stances seemed hard to prove, rather originating from a prediction that couldn't be supported. This was particularly evident for me where you used Kofi's signature near-elimination spot as an argument these had a shelf-life that would not last forever. Firstly, Kofi's nearfall was only one of a few particularly impressive spots during the match, so the argument he was the crux of the match feels weak, and secondly you talk about how the crowd wouldn't react without these moments, but as proven by the match itself, once the numbers dwindled and certain talents became more showcased, the reactions became more impressive as the match began to become more creative with the eliminations. I also feel you criminally overlook the significance of what this match represents from a talent perspective, namely a chance to get on the Mania card and potentially have a moment of the night, which they'd struggle otherwise to do so with WWE having a limited number of spaces on the Mania card each year. I also feel your opponent really opened up how the Memorial Battle Royal is a chance to really market and promote a new star, playing on wrestling conventions by singling out that talent as being able to defeat so many peers in one match. Your arguments aren't necessarily bad, but they feel condensed and ignoring the wider issues the question invites, and the fact your opponent seized on your failure to cover these issues by making logical arguments really makes your debate suffer in comparison. I also felt your argument about the match containing the same wrestlers each year, thus limiting their potential to steal the show was a bit short-sighted. That's more a company issue for not pushing some of those wrestlers so that they're in a position to have a singles match on the card, as opposed to the Battle Royal being the primary factor. Kofi has struggled to be consistently pushed long before this year, so it feels a moot point to infer this match is what will limit Kofi's potential. If anything it feels like a smart ploy by WWE to capitalise on what Kofi does offer, even if they feel what he offers isn't good enough to be placed higher up the card. Overall, despite being well written, I just felt your centralised arguments weren't of a high enough standard, and suffer further in comparison to your opponent who makes arguments you have no counter for.




The Lady Killer:

I'll keep this brief, but I liked this a bunch. You really look at it from both a talent and company perspective, not just in showcasing and presenting a younger talent as a marquee player, but also in how the match gives many lowercard talent the chance to appear on Wrestlemania, and give a little back to those who regularly work hard but aren't in a position to be showcased like their peers. The additional argument for how WWE can book bigger stars into the match, whilst knowing they can be more easibly protected via not eating a pin/submission was also a shrewd argument. The Sandow paragraph I felt wasn't overly crucial to your debate, and could have been ignored with the greater focus on how the Battle Royal plays to wrestling convention in terms of promoting one talent amongst a sea of wrestlers. The comparison to a regular job was well written and a fitting analogy for the argument you were making, and the debate was peppered throughout with incisive language and persuasive arguments. As I alluded to above, you pounced on areas your opponent overlooked, and your logical arguments for which they had no counter really helped elevate your debate in contrast.

Winner - The Lady Killer

ZOMBO
Loved to see opposing stances, made the read much more fun.

AwShucks

I thought the SWERVE intro was effective, giving this year's battle royal some props before shutting down future battle royals. I also thought the use of quotes was effective. The gist of your debate seems to center around the notion that the stuff that made the first one memorable is unlikely to be repeated well into the future. Kofi spots, trophy smashes, etc would become redundant.

I feel you may have undermined your argument about repetitiveness a tad with your point on the TLC matches. No, it didn't become an annual match, it became a freaking pay-per-view. Also, stating that the match itself holds down the midcarders is dealt with in The Lady Killer's, where the match accelerated Cesaro's split from Swagger (and thus, his singles' push).

Still, I think this was a well-written debate. The areas I didn't touch on were sound. The writing was captivating, and the summary at the end with the checkmarks was super. I think the presentation was ace, just the points a little weaker at times.

The Lady Killer

I thought this was a very, very effective debate. This debate made points that directly countered some put forth in AwShucks', and added some extra points.

I thought the analogy to stuff like King of the Ring was very effectively done, moreso than AwShucks' attempt to dismiss possible repetitiveness. The "props as signifiers of importance" section was effective too. Protecting the big-name guys without a spot on the card from having to eat a loss was another good point. I think this shut down AwShucks' arguments and made the case that this should be an annual event seem like a non-question.

The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the closing line. It just seemed out of place there, like it could've been a throw-in line anywhere else in the debate. But other than that minor quibble, I thought this was a blunt, straight-forward debate that hammered home its point.

THE DECISION:

Both good debates here, but The Lady Killer put forth a better-rounded argument so it gets my vote.


Winner via Unanimous Decision - The Lady Killer

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 5-1


Seabs TEAM TLK vs Elipses Corter TEAM ANDRE
Were WWE right to induct Carlos Colon into the WWE Hall of Fame?


Spoiler for Debates:
Elipses Corter
To the younger fans, the name Carlos Colon probably raised some eyebrows when announced for Hall Of Fame induction. And that’s understandable, because Colon hasn’t had an extended run outside of Puerto Rico since returning to the island 40 years ago. So, to them and based on JBL’s name dropping, he’s only known as Carlito/Primo’s father and Epico’s uncle. To others, they may be aware that he has his own promotion in Puerto Rico but once you’ve become familiar with what that promotion (World Wrestling Council) did for professional wrestling on that island, you’ll know that WWE did the right thing by inducting him.

Before getting into the specifics regarding Colon’s career as a wrestler, let’s talk about Carlos Colon, the promoter, the impact he had on Puerto Rico and the seeds that were planted for wrestling on that island in the modern era.

Puerto Rico wasn’t originally a hotbed for wrestling. A promoter named Clarence Luttrell ran shows but they never featured talent from Puerto Rico. Colon, along with Victor Jovica and then WWWF promoter Gorilla Monsoon, saw an opening and formed Capitol Sports Promotions. They adapted Luttrell’s usage of big name American stars but they also kept a focus on homegrown, Puerto Rican talent, with Colon as the top guy. Within 10 years, they overtook Luttrell’s company as the top promotion in Puerto Rico.

The task was quite easy for Colon because he was able to bring in the big names in wrestling of the 70s & 80s, such as Andre The Giant, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, Ernie Ladd & Abdullah The Butcher, the latter becoming Colon’s biggest rival, a rivalry that took place over the course of 3 decades, saw some of the bloodiest battles in history and even saw an angle where Colon teamed up with Abby against Hansen & Brody, a match that saw over 35,000 fans attend, which still stands as a record today in Puerto Rico. That feud transcended regions and became a hot attraction in the United States, leading to a match at the very first Starrcade. And with the influx of international talent, Colon used it as a way to put himself over even more, as well as other natives of Puerto Rico, such as Hercules Ayala and Invader #1, who all became huge stars in Puerto Rico.

Now, this connects to Colon, as a wrestler. With his company, Capitol Sports Promotion’s quick dominance in Puerto Rico, with him as the main attraction, this caught the attention of promoters across the world. While he never strayed away too long from his home promotion, he was able to be booked in New York by Vince, Sr., in Mid-Atlantic by the Crocketts, in Japan by Giant Baba, in Toronto by the Tunneys, all powerful promoters in the late 70s/early 80s. So, he and his promotion became a bit of a hot commodity, so hot that it became a member of the NWA and Colon was given a seat on the board of directors. And so hot that, regardless of it being overturned, he defeated NWA Champion Ric Flair, in a move that further established himself and his company as big deals.

But, there’s always two things that people may use to dispute his Hall of Fame induction.

The first being the fact that, despite touring often and working the biggest names of the 70s & 80s, nearly all of his success was restricted to Puerto Rico, where he held gold on 66 different occasions. But, if that’s a strike against Colon, shouldn’t it be a strike against Jerry Lawler? From top to bottom, when you compare their careers, they were big draws in their region, won the majority of their championships in that region and over the course of their tenure, were often the bookers in that region. Nearly identical, with the only exception being that Memphis eventually bottomed out. Meanwhile, WWC is still going strong, with Colon still booking and occasionally wrestling.

And the other being the murder of Bruiser Brody. Controversial topic indeed but nobody knows the facts. Dutch Mantell didn’t get subpoenaed until AFTER the trial had concluded but from his own account, he didn’t see what happened and only heard the commotion. Everybody knows what happened but the specifics of why it happened will never be known, as Invader declared self-defense and got off and he’s the only witness, as the only other was, unfortunately, the victim. Assumption is not enough because, if it was, what about Jimmy Snuka? He was accused of murder, although never charged, and is still in the Hall of Fame. Colon was never accused, the only thing questionable is what he actually knew, which, once again, will never be known.

And at the end of the day, this is a business. And part of WWE’s business model, since 1982, has always been expansion. We got the WWE Network, with countless hours of footage. What needs to be said is that WWE is looking to expand that coverage into the Hispanic demographic, among other regions. With that, they need something to cater to that demographic. WWC is looking into selling their tape library, a library that dates back to 1973 and contains some of the biggest names in the business. Acknowledging a guy like Colon, who’s legendary, Puerto Rico’s Hulk Hogan, is the first step in catering to that demographic.

Was it right? Hell yeah. It was a smart business move. It was a way of showing recognition to a region that was heavily impacted by one man and one promotion, who’s seeds were planted, originally, by the WWWF.

Couple in the fact that virtually all of WWE’s big names from the 70s & 80s spent time in Puerto Rico, pending the acquisition of the WWC video library, it has the potential to be a very lucrative move for WWE, especially when the Network arrives in regions where the native language is predominantly Spanish. Colon fits in perfect with that.


Seabs
Were WWE right to induct Carlos Colon into the WWE Hall of Fame?


Let me tell you a story about Bob. Bob ran his own company with his friend Jose. Meet Frank. Frank was one of Bob's best employees who generated a lot of Bob's revenue. Bob and Jose didn't particularly like Frank though. One day Jose MURDERS FRANK IN COLD BLOOD LEAVING HIM TO LITERALLY BLEED TO DEATH. Jose is a dick. Bob still has a business to run though and is now without Frank, one of his top money earners. Bob now has a decision to make. Bob decides to promote Jose as a social icon while standing trial for murder and rather than let justice be served for Frank's murder, Bob ensures that Jose is acquitted.

Does this sound right to you? Does it sound right that Bob can help someone GET AWAY WITH MURDER while also publicly glorifying this monster.

In case you hadn't worked it out by now Bob is Carlos Colon and WWE inducting this piece of trash into their Hall of Fame makes a mockery of Bruiser Brody's death while also spitting in the faces of Brody's family who lost a husband and a father well before his time because of the shellfish and cowardly acts of Carlos Colon and Jose Gonzalez.

It's widely accepted that Hall of Fame inductions aren't exactly reserved for those deserving of one. There is however a moral code that people who were scum outside the wrestling industry are excluded regardless of their wrestling accomplishments. It's the very reason why Chris Benoit will never be inducted. Yet for some disgusting reason we've seen that moral code wavered in favour of inducting Carlos Colon. No Colon wasn't a murderer but he glorified one and made sure he got away with murder which makes him scum all the same. And the reason he's being inducted is equally disgraceful. Carlos Colon's induction is merely managing a relationship because Colon promotes WWE events in Puerto Rico and has a wrestling library they want hold of.

In 1988 Jose Gonzalez murdered Bruiser Brody in cold blood. The events that transpired afterwards instigated by Carlos Colon made the aftermath of Frank Goodish's murder even more painful for Geoffrey who had his father maliciously taken away from him at the innocently young age of 8. Step back for a second and just try to imagine having your father taken from you at that age. The very least you'd want is justice for his death. Carlos Colon took that from Geoffrey, shortly after his partner Jose Gonzalez took his father from him.

The trial was a farce and reeked of a cover up to ensure Gonzalez walked free. The person besides Gonzalez who benefited the most from this? Carlos Colon who needed his top babyface to stick around because it was "best for business". WWC was a part of Puerto Rican culture which meant that so was Carlos Colon which gave him great power and influence1. The fact the trial was a farce that greatly benefited a cultural icon like Colon is no coincidence. The murder weapon mysteriously vanished and key witnesses were never called to testify. Dutch Mantell was willing to testify but only received his subpoena for the trial after the verdict was announced. The same subpoena that was issued 10 days before it got mailed out2.

Sadly that's only a fraction of the future events that cast an even darker shadow over an already tragic death. Before Jose Gonzalez had even been farcically found innocent by the corrupt justice system of Brody's murder, Carlos Colon was pouring salt into the fresh wounds of the Brody family by promoting Invader #1 on Puerto Rican TV as a BABYFACE HERO3. Just imagine that gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach that Brody's loved ones must have felt knowing that on national TV Carlos Colon was glorifying Brody's killer as the good guy and getting Puerto Rico to cheer for him.

It didn't end there though. No that wasn't enough glorification of a man's murder for Carlos Colon. He was insistent on making money off of Brody's death. How completely void of any moral values must a man be to be at the centre of such a tragedy and his prevailing thoughts are "how does this affect me and my business?". The Manny Fernandez & Invader #3 angle may or may not have happened before or after Brody's murder but what I'm going to concentrate on is something that obviously did happen afterwards and quite blatantly MOCKED Brody's death. Colon ran an angle in WWC with Abdullah The Butcher and Brody's murderer where they fought back to the locker room and into a shower stall where Colon had the camera focus on blood coming from the shower stall and flowing down the drain 3. Colon isn't a good person and these aren't isolated incidents. There's loads of stories about Colon not paying wrestlers after they worked for him, a grudge that JBL still holds to this day3. Carlos Colon's actions in the real world were utterly repugnant and his actions as a wrestling promoter even more so.

There's no reason to remind the Brody family of this tragedy. There's also no contingent clamouring for Colon to be inducted. If Colon was never inducted barely anyone would bat an eyelash and the painful reminder of Brody's murder and Colon's vulgar glorification of his murderer could be kept in the past.

WWE are "right" to induct whoever they want into their Hall of Fame that falls within their moral code. Inducting Carlos Colon and celebrating this vile creature in front of an international audience after he glorified the man who left an 8 year old child to grow up without a father and then ensured that no justice would avenge this act of cowardice is many things. It's sickening and it's utterly disrespectful to the Brody family. One thing it definitely isn't, is within the ethical boundaries of respect or any definition of the word "right".

Sources:
[1] Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel

[2] Brody's Death: A Cover Up? - By Dutch Mantell

[3] Bruce Mitchell Podcast Talking in great detail about Carlos Colon's part in Bruiser Brody's Death


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
WOOLCOCK
First off, this was a truly great contest. Both debates took opposing stances, and made compelling and fair points for their respective stances. It was incredibly tough to judge, because whilst the emotional and empathy driven arguments in Seabs' fall closely in line with my personal view, Elipses Corter made a very rational and well reasoned argument that from a pure business perspective, it was a good decision. Basically, the contest rested on a potentially great business decision vs a deplorable moral decision.


Elipses Corter:

Excellent debate, and a very brave stance given the controversy surrounding Colon. You did a very good job imo of informing the reader of Colon's stature and impact on Puerto Rico wrestling, but still managed to make a captivating argument, rather than just aimlessly listing his accomplishments which is where others have suffered in the past. You really got across the impact Colon created, as well as how his influence made him a commodity who was in hot demand from top regional promoters, how he cultivated a demand for the Colon/Abby vs Hansen/Brody which made its way to Starrcade, whilst also highlighting how local Puerto Rican talent benefitted from Colon's growing influence and popularity. I also loved the Lawler comparison to nullify claims Colon achieved a lack of success outside of Puerto Rico, and you also supported that well by noting how he was sought after by the biggest territories and even Baba in Japan.

Now comes to your counter of the contentious issue: Bruiser Brody's murder and Colon's long documented alleged involvement in the proceedings. Firstly, I would have appreciated a source if one exists of Dutch's admission that he wasn't a direct witness to the event, if only to validate your claim, because without a direct quote I'm unsure of where you obtained it, and that invites questions of whether it was an account by Dutch himself, or someone speaking on his behalf. I'm not trying to suggest you've falsified this quote, but rather highlight how supplying a source erases my commens on this and strengthens your debate, so more food for thought for future debates.

The Snuka example was a good comparison, especially in light of Snuka's long documented perceived involvement in the death of his girlfriend. You definitely don't cover this in the detail your opponent did, but you do make a reasoned argument that what actually happened and brought about Brody's death is for all intensive purposes, unlikely to ever be divulged.

The WWE Network argument I thought however was stellar. Not only does this supply a contextual consideration, but you really got across how this made sense as a business decision. Not only do WWE potentially secure an extensive video library that will aid their Network, the library also contains matches of some of their most notable wrestlers and in the case of Colon, offers a potential appeal to the Hispanic demographic which WWE has continually aimed for since Eddie and Rey's success, with the likes of Del Rio, Mistico and Samuray Del Sol hired. You make a compelling argument that from a business perspective, WWE made a sound decision which could offer much reward, whilst also paying homage to someone who has had tremendous influence in wrestling history and in Puerto Rico, which really is what the Hall of Fame is about. The Brody issue will forever follow Colon, but you really drew attention to the career and influence the man had before the Brody conroversy, and your opponent's failure to acknowledge this really leaves your arguments unopposed, thereby solidified and hard to ignore.




Seabs:

Ok, so where Elipses Corter opted for a business approach in addition to highlighting Colon's influence in Puerto Rico and wrestling as a whole, you've focused on the pure empathy approach, drawing attention to Colon's involvement and subsequent exploitation of Brody's death. Firstly, I do think you missed a trick a bit to completely ignore Colon's career and accomplishments. I'm not saying you should devote a significant portion of your debate to it, because obviously you're focusing on the man and the morality aspect, but you do completely ignore a career and influence that Debate A made a well reasoned argument for being HOF worthy. The fact you're approaching this completely differently to Elipses Corter means you're offering no real direct counter arguments to his points, which means your arguments have to be truly great since at no point are you going to be weakening any of his, bar his overview of the Brody debate.

At this point, I do feel the Snuka example raised by Elipses Corter weakens your argument a tad that 'scum outside of the industry are excluded'. I understand the Benoit example, though of course that differs because Benoit himself is the murderer in that scenario, whereas Colon regardless of his conduct has never been considered an actual suspect in Brody's death. I also didn't think your dismissal of the extensive tape library weakened Debate A's argument for the move being a smart business ploy. Ethics don't always exist in Business, and I really think Elipses Corter did a much more convincing job of highlighting how, ethics aside, the move should be profitable for WWE as a company, whereas you seemed to dismiss it off-hand and failed to really get across to me just how repulsive it was.

From there you do a good job in highlighting the extent to which Colon capitalised on the Brody death for his own personal profit. Again, I can't fault your portrayal of him as someone with a very skewed approach to ethical behaviour, and your constant argument of how the Brody family would feel in response to this is very powerful. The only slight issue I have is that, the Hall of Fame isn't about who is the nicest person. Obviously Colon's actions are very iffy and nearly impossible to defend from an ethics standpoint, but at the same time, the Hall of Fame is about recognising the achievements within the industry, of which Elipses Corter did an exemplary job in conveying. Colon would not get in if it was judged on compassion and ethical behaviour, but that's not the crux of the HOF. The crux relates to his impact and influence in the history of wrestling, of which you're not touching and I'm having to weigh your admittedly stirring and passionate empathy arguments against the well reasoned arguments of Debate A which document Colon's career as being of great influence to the Puerto Rico territory, in addition to how he gave a legitimate business argument for the acquisition of the tape library being a savvy and smart ploy by WWE to enhance their new Network, of which they are depending on it being a massive success. Your failure to really dismiss the business implications of this partnership for me might just prove the difference, because Elipses Corter makes a great case for Colon BEFORE the Brody incident, and then makes a well informed argument for how WWE can massively capitalise on the tape library. You even allude to Colon promoting WWE events, so couldn't WWE doing business in any shape or form with Colon be considered unethical judging by your stance? If they're already doing business in terms of promotion with him in regard to live events, does a further profitable extension of this working relationship really become anymore unethical than doing business in the first place?

The conclusion is strong, powerful and truly makes you think. You've definitely got across Colon is unethical in his practices, as well as how Colon being promoted in a noteworthy capacity would sting for any of Brody's surviving relatives or next of kin. Whilst your debate is overwhelmingly passionate, to me it rests on portraying Colon as essentially an unlikeable person. That's fair enough when the crux of your debate rests on having empathy with the well wishes of Brody's family, but to me it's Colon as a person vs Colon's legitimate and historical success in Wrestling as a wrestler and promoter, in addition to WWE securing a potentially profitable video library that will enhance their already incredible library of footage. Colon may be a piece of shit, but does that invalidate his influence and importance to Puerto Rico? How he helped create numerous homegrown stars to raise the prestige and popularity of wrestling in Puerto Rico? And furthermore, when the opportunity presents itself for WWE to secure footage that enhances their Network, now the heart of their revenue in terms of promotion, whilst potentially drawing intrigue from a long documented demographic they court, are Colon's actions enough to override his historical career as both a wrestler and a promoter? The more I thought about it, the more I felt Elipses Corter made a legitimate and almost unarguable case for Colon as a wrestler/promoter prior to Brody, whilst also supplying a relevant example in Snuka in terms of someone widely considered to be detestable who still made it into the HOF on account of his career and accomplishments. At no point did I disagree with Seabs' criticism of Colon's unethical behaviour, but then I thought of someone like Vince, who likewise has behaved unethically and put business before morality on numerous occasions. I'm not saying Colon =/= Vince. But rather, Vince's accomplishments are unarguable, even if the debate about him as an ethical person might be more contested. I didn't really disagree or find any argument made by either Debate to be weak, but I felt Elipses Corter's was stronger in documenting Colon's career being HOF worthy, and then supplying additional arguments that swung it in his favour. Had Seabs been able in my opinion to chastise the WWE/Colon business relationship as being a poor reason, then they might have swung it. Alas, after much thought, I've come to a decision.


Winner - Elipses Corter

BkB Hulk
Elipses Corter:
Impressive research has gone into this. Either that or you know a hell of a lot about Puerto Rico. I liked the opening, setting the scene about who Colon is and what he’s actually done. It makes it seem that you don’t know enough if you don’t think he’s worthy of induction.

Firstly, Colon’s achievements were sold well. I thought you maybe undercut it a bit by saying it was “easy” for Colon to succeed, making it seem like it really wasn’t as much of an achievement, but apart from that you did a good job of putting over just how successful he was.

Better was the way you addressed the counterpoints. The examples of Lawler and Snuka are really good ones that never get brought up as being unreasonable, so why should Colon? Really good argument with great examples to back it up.

I’m not so sure about the business point, because it kind of means the accomplishments really don’t matter so much as it makes money. I guess it gives you an extra argument, but it kind of demeans the Hall of Fame entirely.

You missed a conclusion here too. Instead you kind of just ended on that final point, instead of emphasising again just why Colon should be in.


Seabs:
The first thing that grabs me about this is the passion with which it reads. It’s suddenly feeling a lot like a social debate. Benoit was a good example to use to feed the point you were making in this debate, and the use of Brody’s son was very powerful.

You didn’t ease up, either. Again, lots of ammo to use against Colon, and you did a really good job of painting him as the villain (that he may be, but I’m judging you not him ). The trial being a farce was used really well, and another example of him being dodgy with the way he booked Invader in the aftermath is great.

I feel like you maybe missed a trick by not playing down Colon’s achievements. I know you feel it may have gone against the tone of the debate, but acknowledging them and demeaning them compared to what he did would have helped your cause. I feel like it should have at least been noted.

WWE’s reasoning being questioned to throw doubt over Colon was good though, and you had a strong conclusion to go with what was a dynamic debate.

Both debates had a few flaws, but were generally strong. Ultimately it’s a debate, and Seabs was more convincing, so they get my vote.

ZOMBO
Elipses Corter

This debate did a good job in establishing the bona fides for Colon's induction. The layout and fluidity of the debate is excellent, right from the opening through the conclusion.

Laying out Colon's backstory as an influential promoter and wrestler was very effective, building up his case well. It leaves little doubt as to the magnitude / impact Colon had on international wrestling. Your handling of the first counter-argument was well done, using the Lawler analogy. The "business" aspect towards the end was a nice touch too.

Ultimately, given the approach taken by your opponent, the key is how you handle the murder of Bruiser Brody. You do a good job highlighting that nothing has ever been "proven", and the analogy with Snuka is choice. A guy was accused but never charged, meanwhile Colon was never accused (of murder, at least, or anything else that seemed to arise legally). I really like how you attempted to deflect the negative here, especially given Seabs' approach to the question. Let's see how that holds up...

Seabs

This was completely different, content-wise and stylistically compared to Elipses Corter. The formatting, the language, all of it lended itself to a passionate argument implicating Colon's wrongdoings surrounding Bruiser Brody's death. The lines about Brody's FAMILY and CHILDREN were effective, especially when you implore the reader to feel what the family felt.

While Elipses Corter handles the accusations surrounding Colon well, your debate goes a step beyond to illustrate how the trial could be considered a farce. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL, given that Elipses Corter countered with the notion of "no charges, no real foul". You manage to craft an argument that convinces the reader that Colon was more than likely involved in the cover-up of Brody's murder.

I feel that points questioning Colon not paying guys or worrying about their own businesses don't really help your stance. How many wrestling promoters have stiffed a performer? How much damage control did Vince and Co. do once they realized the nature of Benoit's death? Tragedies happen, but a CEO type has to keep the company ship on-course to weather a storm. Other than that paragraph, I didn't really have a problem with this entry.

THE DECISION

This was a tricky debate to judge. Elipses Corter took a very calm, measured approach enveloping numerous aspects supporting Colon's history and contributions to wrestling. Seabs' was a one-note song, but boy was it passionate and strong in making its case. They're both awesome, awesome debates. Ultimately, however, I think that Seabs manages to discredit Colon's character enough, portraying him closer to Benoit than Elipses Corter manages to associate Colon with Snuka. The factual research was the tipping point, in what I think is an exceptionally tight match. Seabs gets my vote, ever so slightly.


Winner via Split Decision - Seabs

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 5-2


GothicBohemian TEAM TLK vs CGS TEAM ANDRE
Who was the best in ring worker in WWE during 2013?


Spoiler for Debates:
CGS
2013 was a great in ring year for the WWE. John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Alberto Del Rio…Just a few of many who made the year such a brilliant success from an in ring point of view. But which superstar has the claim to be known as the BEST in ring worker of this year?

Before we answer that though, I believe we first need to establish what exactly a good in ring worker is comprised of. After all its’ fine to say on a very basic level that it’s the ability to perform 1001 holds in perfect timing. But when you take into account the size, stature and expectations of the WWE and their fans, you have to really broaden that way of thinking.

Other factors such as in ring psychology with other superstars, storytelling ability and just how well you can get the fans fully invested into your match also need to be considered. When you do take this into account there really is only one man who truly embodied everything required to be considered THE BEST in ring worker in 2013.

That man being the self confessed “Best in The World”, Mr. CM Punk.

So what exactly makes Mr. Punk better than the rest? Here’s what.

First off, anyone who has actually sat down and watched CM Punk on a consistent basis knows just how good he is. The guy has produced many wonderful matches over the years, matches that ultimately made the fans fall in love with him. 2013 was no different, night after night the guy went out to the ring and did what he does best; entertain the fans with brilliant technical ability.

Let’s just look at his 2013 highlights as a whole. In particular 4 key matches;

CM Punk vs John Cena Raw February 25th(1)
CM Punk vs The Undertaker Wrestlemania 29(2)
CM Punk vs Chris Jericho Payback(3)
CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar Summerslam(4)

That’s 4 matches most people would easily place amongst their top 10 matches of the year alone. This is all before you even consider the fact that he also had pretty damn good matches against the Rock at both the Rumble and EC, A great tag match alongside Bryan against the Wyatt’s at Survivor Series, a good TLC match early on in the year against Ryback, a brilliant showing in the MITB ladder match, and of course a great handicap match against the Shield to cap of the year at TLC as well as 2 good solid individual raw matches against both Rollins & Ambrose...and this is just to name a few. Fact is the guy showed that he has brilliant ring psychology with such a differing batch of superstars, something not many other guys can also say they were able to do. Punk even arguably gave both the Rock and Lesnar their best matches since their individual returns. Realistically how many other superstars could boast such a record in the space of 12 months? (Actually 10 when you consider he was out for the majority of April and May).

Additionally the guy was able to show amazing storytelling ability in many of his matches throughout the year. Remember Punk and Cena on that faithful night in Texas. Both guys throwing everything they had at each other, both guys playing off the whole “Cena has never beat Punk in a big game match” to perfection in the old school good vs evil show off leaving the crowd wanting more. Or against Taker, going as far as to utilise Taker’s own moves against him and using his signature tombstone pin in order to mock the undertaker. Similar to how he had mocked him so much in the lead up to the show. Tactical storytelling 101. Oh and of course “ the best vs the beast” with both guys literally beating the crap out of each other in an attempt to see if “the best” can truly overcome the raw animal power of “the beast” in a true David vs Goliath battle.

Naturally of course it does take two to tango in terms of being able to tell a great story in the ring the fact is while many other superstars such as Cena, Del Rio, The Shield & Especially Bryan also proved to be pretty damn great in the ring in 2013 and all in their own rights were able to tell some brilliant stories in the ring, none of them were able to tell AS many great stories as Punk was able to do with as many different superstars.

All in all CM Punk managed to captivate the audience time after time throughout the year. His matches with Jericho, Taker, Cena and Lesnar in particular were brilliantly executed and in turn he along with his opponent was able to ensure that the fans remained emotionally invested in his matches throughout shouting and cheering at the top of their lungs during every false ending, every high end counter and every big game move. The guy simply could do very little wrong in-between the squared circle.

For Punk, 2013 was truly a brilliant year from start to finish. The guy was just the perfect all round performer for the year. He was able to consistently produce match of the nigh AND match of the year quality time and time again. Whether it is on the biggest PPV nights on the WWE calendar or just a casual weekly TV broadcast, Punk always brought it as only he could. While other wrestlers also proved that they too are brilliant in ring workers, Punk’s outright ability to not only put on a brilliant technical match but also provide a brilliant blend of storytelling, ring psychology and just get the fans to sit in awe of many of his matches to a higher level with a more versatile range of wrestlers than that of his peers makes him the WWE’s best in ring worker for 2013.



Footnotes
(1)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxt...feb-2013_sport

(2)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xz7...th-match_sport

(3)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfj4Z4KmoZA

(4)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13...-miracle_sport


GothicBohemian
In every promotion, there will be a group of solid talents clustered together as reliable performers, but what differentiates a great in ring worker from the good ones? At a certain level, all contenders will excel at some combination of five essential qualities:

Technical skill
Ring psychology
Adaptability
Willingness to always give 100%
Respect of his/her peers


In 2013, for WWE, the wrestler who demonstrated the highest overall standard across all five was Antonio Cesaro.

In an era where the focus in WWE has widened back to including technicians as well as showmen, the pure wrestling skill talent pool has deepened, and Cesaro has legitimate competition in this basic element of ring work, yet he maintains an advantage. He’s a true grappler in the old fashioned sense, a man for the fans of chain wrestling and strength, but there’s no denying that his power moves have the crowd-pleasing excitement of any top rope maneuver.

When he tosses a fellow wrestler up to bring him down into an over the knee backbreaker it looks effortless and dangerous, yet he executes it safely no matter the size or skill of his opponent. His delayed gutwrench suplex shows off the strength that separates him from his nearest rivals. His kicks and punches are among the best in the business – witness the Very European Uppercut, one of the most impressive moves in today’s WWE. As for his neutralizer, starting from a Gotch-style piledriver position, it also is designed to highlight his power while proving that he is no generic strongman.

Professional wrestling is, of course, about more than moves. Without ring psychology, there is no structure holding matches together, no relationship with an audience waiting for their cue to cheer or boo. Cesaro doesn’t forget the little things; the mid-match neck cracks, acknowledging the crowd during submission holds, making lifts look either effortless or exhausting as best suits the moment. He never forgets he’s performing a drama and that moves are subservient to the narrative.

And speaking of moves, here is where The Cesaro Swing shows its worth as a simple, but effective, highlight to get audiences on their feet. It’s hardly his most impressive skill but he makes it look immense, using it to spice up the build toward match conclusion. He can play a crowd into accepting him in the required role; one night, he agitates them with delayed moves, arrogant nods, disrespect for the ref or refusal to directly engage his opponent. In another match, he adopts the role of crowd pleaser, hesitating just long enough to wait for cheers before spinning his opponent as the audience counts the revolutions.

Many a wrestler has found success in one niche, repeating the same formula throughout a career. Not the adaptable Cesaro. Since debuting on the main roster in April, 2012 he has consistently accessed the versatility that served him well in his prior career. As agile as he is powerful, he works seamlessly with those who have different techniques – even small statured high flyers, the notoriously difficult Sin Cara included - without sacrificing his strong style approach or failing to showcase his opponent. This is a man who can produce acceptable matches with The Great Khali, who he finished with his Gotch-Style Neutralizer on Main Event. Let that sink in for a moment. Put him in the ring with someone of comparable technique - Daniel Bryan, for instance - and you have the potential for a classic, such as their July, 2013 RAW match combining the best of typical ROH and modern WWE pacing.

But Cesaro is not limited to working solo; his tag team prowess is equally impressive, as shown by his lengthy ROH reign as half of the Kings of Wrestling and partnerships holding belts in other promotions, including a notable run in Chikara. Is it any wonder that he was selected to team with eternally-struggling-for-a-defining-role Jack Swagger? It was with Swagger that he demonstrated one of his quiet weapons; a knack for yet another role – comedic wrestling – during The Real Americans (Cesaro and Jack Swagger) versus Santino and Khali, with Hornswoggle at ringside, at Battleground 2013.

Humorous wrestling rests on a unique blend of comic timing, high quality wrestling and treating the absurd seriously. It’s an art that doesn’t receive the respect it deserves. He proved his mastery of this combination by showing that it is possible to project a legitimate, non-sarcastic heel persona while sharing the ring with a giant, a midget and a man with a sock puppet finisher.

Wrestling is difficult, and there’s temptation to leave one’s best aside for ‘important’ matches. Cesaro approaches every match as important. He’s shown no ego, working enthusiastically while continuing to be bounced between the main roster and NXT throughout much of 2013. He sells everything his opponents bring, no matter who he enters the ring with. Preshow or main event, he’s an equal participant who, despite his potential, also makes a superb enhancement talent. This, combined with his willingness to put others over, sets him up for a long and productive career even after his peak years are behind him.

How is respect measured? It’s said that imitation is flattery and the easiest route to imitation is by being taught. Cesaro was once head trainer at Chikara Wrestle Factory. When one is asked to pass along skills, that indicates others believing one possesses skills of value.

All wrestlers have backstage stories that follow them, the tone of which speaks of the esteem, or disrespect, he or she holds within the business. Cesaro is notable for the lack of frequent rumours surrounding him. This is easily understood; a hard-worker with no history of immaturity or conflict to speak of, someone trusted and turned to for advice during his independent career, who has flawless technique and comes to his matches as a partner, not as an attention-seeker, is the epitome of the wrestler’s wrestler, as he proved in 2013 and will doubtlessly continue to show in coming years.


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Seabs
CGS - Good job setting your debate up with your criteria and then using it to structure your arguments. Your argument in favour of Punk is really good. Essentially going through a big list of Punk's highlights throughout the year was a smart approach for this debate in emphasising not only the high quality element but also the consistency element. You were probably being overly generous on The Rock matches. Wording it as getting better matches out of him that Cena did might have been better rather than passing them matches off as being good. I think it's important to turn to overall perception which is that the Punk/Rock matches weren't good. That's also why I can live with you calling that Punk/Jericho match a true MOTYC despite it being trash. Storytelling paragraph was done pretty well for a point that is pretty hard to articulately paint through words. I thought your debate ended flat though. It was a debate for me that felt like it used up much less words than it actually did. I don't really know how to suggest combating than other than try to make points more concisely so it feels like you're telling me more with the same amount of words. Compared to GothicBohemian's debate one felt much longer than the other even though it wasn't. I felt there was a big hole in this not effectively addressing other candidates. You mention them but it felt like a mention in passing rather than effectively discrediting any of them. You can always use the points for Punk against other picks at the same time remember. So when you're listing Punk's true MOTYCs and his consistency compare it with someone like Bryan to show why Punk's year was stronger than Bryan's. The two don't have to be separate, you can address them in unison. Now for my big gripe. WHAT THE FUCK ABOUT CESARO. YOU KNOW, AKA THE CORRECT ANSWER TO THIS TOPIC. Ugh. Anywho. 2nd to last paragraph felt like retelling me something you already told me in the storytelling paragraph. This is where you should have devoted the words to eliminating other picks. Conclusion is too long and overly wordy too for my liking. Again I'm picking out parts where you used up word count to little effect in a debate where extra was needed for counter arguments against other picks. All in all though your argument in favour of Punk is good, just a shame about dropping one regarding any other contenders.

GothicBohemian - Good stuff again with the criteria for your answer and then working your debate around that. Your first 4 are fine. Peer respect looked odd to me when I started reading and even more so after I finished because it felt like you included a criteria that you couldn't make a convincing point with. If that feels like the case then just drop it. It's your criteria after all. Base it around what makes your debate better because it's up to you what the criteria is. Kudos for actually picking the right choice. However, I have one flaw with this debate that was pretty major. I didn't feel like you gave the context of the debate any consideration in your debate. Ok there was a little but nowhere near enough. It read a lot like this is why Cesaro is one of the best workers in WWE but not so that he was the best in 2013. It felt like this debate could apply to right now, in 2014 so far or any time frame. A lack of examples really hurt in regards to linking it back to the 2013 context. For example, when you talk about his skills references matches in 2013 that highlighted it. That way you end up with a big list of matches where Cesaro has displayed your criteria which makes your argument a lot stronger. I would have argued for Cesaro too (because it's the right answer duh) and I would have gone HARD citing all the great matches he's had with bums like Bo Dallas and Kofi Kingston and argue how he can have a great match with literally anyone because that's what sets him apart from Bryan, Punk or anyone else in regards to his 2013 work in WWE. He had great matches with great wrestlers as well as pretty poor ones. A universally praised ****+ match with KOFI KINGSTON? Yeah that's something you should go hard on arguing with this debate. CGS did a good job of listing loads of matches to show Punk's consistency all round, in producing MOTYCs and to show his variety. You could have done the same with Cesaro and actually had a better argument because Punk was never stuck with bums like KOFI KINGSTON. If you're a big Kofi Kingston fan and I offended you then good. He sucks. That was a big shame because I really liked your arguments for Cesaro's talent, it just needed relating back to his body of work in 2013 better. Both of you had strong debates but with one big flaw. Ultimately I think your flaw was more damaging than CGS'.

Winner - CGS (despite picking the WRONG person)

WOOLCOCK
CGS:

Perhaps I'm being picky with the word limit, but I really wished you'd expanded upon your arguments in more detail for Punk. Stuff like "Fact is the guy showed that he has brilliant ring psychology with such a differing batch of superstars" feels a bit empty to me, especially because psychology is such a vague term that can be interpreted in many ways, at least to me. I get you can't just link five matches and write mini reviews on each, but the more I read this the more I saw hollow statements about psychology and storytelling and just felt you needed to define or draw attention to what specifically you felt distinguished Punk from the rest. The storytelling paragraph was a bit better, though again your description of the storyline feels rather basic, at least in terms of Punk mimicking Taker and this being perceived as masterclass storytelling. I can see what you're attempting but I just feel you're lacking specific examples of what Punk did first and foremost that you can attribute as better than anyone else. Even the argument about the crowd being into everything he did feels like a counter since you can say Bryan exceeded him in this aspect, and then throughout you're praising Bryan's credentials and it's just making me feel your supporting evidence for Punk is lacking. It feels more like wrestling buzzwords but without the succinct breakdown of what those terms mean, and where Punk specifically demonstrated them in a way no-one else was capable of. What did he do to convey different psychology vs different opponents? I get it's a bit difficult to describe concisely, but it's what I took away most from this debate.



GothicBohemian:

Disclaimer time. Andre wanted me or Seabs ideally for this question when he was provisionally selecting his team, and had he chosen me for this, I'd have opted for Cesaro too. However, like Debate A, this feels like a missed effort in my opinion. The criteria listed at the start is nice, but I felt the first couple of paragraphs afterward were a bit too inconsequential. Technique is nice and Cesaro is graceful, but that alone isn't enough to warrant him being the absolute best. Your point about his offence was nice, but I felt you could have used this to highlight how innovative and creative his offence is, how Cesaro would regularly work unique and new spots in matches to differentiate his matches and always offer you something new, whilst also then developing an arsenal of signature spots which rivals anyone else's in the company (the Swiss Death, delayed vertical suplex from the turnbuckle, the Giant Swing, the uppercut variants, gutwrench suplex etc). You're doing an ok job of describing Cesaro as a wrestler, but I feel you need to be doing a more critical and thorough praise of how he distinguishes himself from his peers to strengthen your argument that he was the BEST in 2013. I also felt you were missing a specific example/link to a match for your psychology argument, likewise with Debate A it was a case of arguing using a well known buzzword but not supplying a direct example with which to support your written argument. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, and actually seeing first-hand evidence of Cesaro's psychological prowess would have been a crucial strength for your debate, since you would have capitalised where your opponent failed. The adaptability argument is something I honestly would have centred my debate around, the argument that Cesaro arguably was given far more deadweight than Bryan or The Shield (Kofi, Bo, Neville in a laboured ten minute NXT match, Khali, Sin Cara, Miz) and yet produced admirable or in Kofi's case, exceptional results, all whilst maintaining a high standard of matches vs Zayn, Regal, Bryan and Cena in the six man tags in the fall of 2013 which rivalled the best output of anyone else. Basically, I felt you failed to really draw attention to just how impressive Cesaro's accomplishments were when being paired w/ unspectacular talents, and instead your argument whilst ok, lacked the necessary depth that would have strengthened Cesaro's case at the expense of Bryan or The Shield, who didn't produce the same results w/ lesser workers as Cesaro did whilst arguably having similar or lesser highs than Cesaro.

The tag argument was however, the main argument I thought you really slipped up on. The comedy aspect was a unique argument, but to me Cesaro's work in the tag division w/ Swagger produced some impeccable tags and they built a great foundation as a team. This again separated Cesaro from Bryan in particular, and you could even make an argument that Cesaro was consistently outperforming Swagger in the team, whereas say The Shield would often fight amongst themselves as to who stole the show in a match (Reigns' explosive power and cut off spots, Rollins ragdoll bumping and character work, Ambrose's attention to detail etc). There was a case to be made that Cesaro had the range in his tag work to compliment his singles work that separated him from Bryan or any singles wrestler, whilst seeing him have either the best or at worst second best (oppposite Goldust) performance in his tag matches, which would strengthen his case against The Shield since you can draw attention to Cesaro's consistency and regular high performance. Basically, this was an instance where a good argument showcasing the range in Cesaro's work could have swung this for you, alas you chose imo the weakest representation of Cesaro's tag work and lessened the compelling argument you could have made.


I wasn't particularly enamoured w/ either debate in all honesty, though I appreciate making an argument for the best worker can be difficult in balancing how you argue for your choice whilst dismissing others. The main theme of both debates for me was a lack of clear supporting evidence and specific examples for the arguments both made, however there were more instances in GothicBohemian's that I felt undermined their debate, and by virtue of that I'm giving it to CGS.



Winner - CGS

BkB Hulk
CGS:
I’ll get this out of the way – Punk’s not self-confessed. That got on my tits. He’s not making a confession, but actually claiming something.

I thought you argued the debate as a whole well. The opening was a bit fluffy, but you went on to present plenty of evidence for Punk. You successfully argued what you said were the key points, and you also addressed his opposition. The point about his storytelling and how he did it against different opponents (fateful night, not faithful night by the way. Yes, I’m annoying) is a good one to show how well he did all year against a variety of opposition.

The four key matches being head and shoulders the best also aids you, although I’m glad you brought more into it to give the argument more depth and present consistency.

Your conclusion was strong too. It summed up everything that needed to be said about your argument, and was essentially a micro debate in itself after you had provided your evidence. Early fluff aside, I thought this was a solid effort.


GothicBohemian:
This is an interesting approach. The question doesn’t ask who had the best matches, so I suppose you arguing for Cesaro having the best overall skills is logical. However, this approach, especially the way you’ve gone about it, does present problems.

My main problem with this is you don’t really provide many specific 2013 examples that make me believe Cesaro is the best. You have a few matches cited that prove he can have good matches, but they’re not matches that make me believe he can execute these styles better than the other contenders. They’re just not top level, and that takes away from your argument.

At the same time, your criteria presents problems. Namely, you’ve ignored the best “in ring worker” aspect with the stuff about Cesaro being baggage free. What does that have to do with what he can actually do in the ring? Nothing. It’s not arguing anything that helps the question. Sure, it tells us why Cesaro is a respectable guy and a stand up individual, but his professionalism doesn’t mean he’s the best in ring worker in 2013. If it did then Shawn Michaels would have been out of a job in the early ‘90s before he could go on to be anything.

The lack of addressing of any of the other contenders also makes it difficult to measure this. You’ve told us why Cesaro is good, but why are the others not as good? You’ve kind of ignored them.

On the positive side, it was an interesting approach to the question, and you sold Cesaro well. A lot of your points were very good, and I feel like you’ve actually answered the question quite well after initially thinking you were well off the mark. There are definitely holes, but aside from Cesaro being a good guy, I feel like you’ve made good use of your words.

Such different approaches makes for hard judging. I think GothicBohemian probably wrote a better debate in terms of engagement, but CGS didn’t leave as many holes. For that reason, I think CGS gets the win.


Winner via Unanimous Decision - CGS

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 6-2


Super Hans TEAM TLK vs BkB Hulk TEAM ANDRE
Are Manchester United better off missing out on Europa League football next season?


Spoiler for Debates:
BkB Hulk
Tears flowed at San Mames. Fernando Llorente scored late to secure victory over Sporting CP, and it was too much for the locals – both players and fans – to take. They had won the Europa League semi-final. That’s right – not the final, but the semi-final. That’s how much it meant to them. Bilbao would go on to lose to Atletico Madrid in the final, but you ask those Basque fans, and they’ll be able to tell you where they were when their club advanced to the final thanks to a late Llorente goal. They’ll be able to tell you where they were for the final too, even if it was a 3-0 defeat. It meant that much to them.

The same can be said of the Benfica fans, who came agonisingly close to victory in last year’s competition. You ask them where they were for that final, and they’ll know. The victorious Atletico Madrid fans of a couple of years ago will be able to do the same. People argue that the Europe League means nothing, but these scenes, these people disagree. The same people will then tell you that it doesn’t matter to English clubs, but you ask a Chelsea fan where they were when they won the Europa League last year, or a Liverpool fan where they were when they won the UEFA Cup in 2001, and they’ll sure as hell be able to tell you too. It’s a memory that will live with them forever. Are Manchester United better off NOT qualifying for the Europa League? Let me put it to you this way – are Manchester United better off not creating memories that will live forever in the minds of many and the annals of history? Of course they’re not. Manchester United should happily qualify for the Europa League.

We’ve dealt with the emotional, and while football is a sport that, for fans, is mostly emotional, the logical is important too. So, logically, would it be wise for United to not gain any coefficient points next year, and effectively insure they drop down to pot two for the Champions League if they’re to make it in 2015? No it wouldn’t. What a stupid question. Why make it harder for yourselves when it’s not necessary? Granted, Europa League doesn’t guarantee them enough coefficient points to remain in pot one for 2015, but it gives them a shot. By current standings, no coefficient points next season would drop them to tenth ranking. Even a semi successful Europa League campaign would stop them dropping that low.

“But then United are making next season harder for themselves if they qualify for the Europa League, aren’t they? Look at Stoke, Newcastle, Swansea and Tottenham over the past couple of years.” The cries of the nay sayers echo out for all to hear. Shrillness doesn’t make up for logic though, and while that SEEMS logical, it’s simply not. None of Stoke, Swansea and Newcastle had the squad to bear the brunt of that volume of games, whereas United do. In fact, United have built a squad so that they CAN play two games a week, as it’s what they’re expected to do. Stoke, Swansea, and Newcastle’s squads are built to a budget, but United’s is built to succeed.

Then there’s the case of Tottenham. Remarkably, they’ve acquired just 16 of 36 points in games coming off the back of Europa League games. They have a bigger squad, so the Europa League is obviously catastrophic to participate in, right? Wrong. In those twelve games, Spurs have lost to Arsenal twice, Liverpool once, and drawn with Manchester United. Those are all games in which they simply weren’t good enough to win anyway. The other cases can be explained by Spurs just simply not being that good in several facets, be it because of tacticless Tim not having a clue what’s happening in front of him, AVB running the same players into the ground, or a lack of any cohesion whatsoever. It’s not the Europa League’s fault that Tottenham are crap. Blame Levy.

What United have to do to not fare like Tottenham is simple – rotate their bloody squad. Tom Cleverley isn’t good enough to start week in week out in the Premier League? Great, start him midweek in Bulgaria, and hey, maybe ‘accidentally’ leave him there. Two birds with one stone. Danny Welbeck wants more game time? You’ve just added competitive games to allow for more rotation. Rotation is the name of the game in the early stages of the Europa League, and if you want to maintain a strong squad, you need to rotate. It’s almost negligent to not allow the chance for rotation.

United have played in the Champions League for the best part of two decades. So what if it’s the Europa League instead next year? It’s not where they want to be, but it’s still something. They’ve got a squad full of players who are used to being at a club that plays two games a week, they’ve got a squad big enough to play two games a week, and they’ve got a squad demanding two games a week so they can get a run out. The Europa League isn’t good enough for you? Well from next season’s competition onwards, the winner of the Europa League qualifies for the Champions League. Top four is hardly a guarantee without Europa League, so why not give yourself another shot at getting into the Champions League?

The Europa League is a chance for glory. Are Manchester United better off not qualifying for the Europe League? Don’t be ridiculous. They’re not better off limiting their number of opportunities for players. They’re not better off limiting the number of players they’ll use. They’re definitely not better off limiting their chances for glory, both present through another competition, and future through another way of Champions League qualification. United should be screaming for Europa League qualification. They’ll be better off for it. The memories await.[/QUOTE]

Super Hans
Are Manchester United better off missing out on Europa League football next season?

"We are Manchester United and it is our duty to win every game we take part in.” Where else to start but from the words of keeper David De Gea last week.
The clubs culture is to win, not to take a pessimistic stance of we won’t do well if we play Europa league.
To me, its not even a Question, 8 points ahead of Southampton United will be playing Europa League next year. Now it’s absolutely imperative that United start winning games and qualify in style. So no they aren’t better off without Europa League football next season.
Giggs has said United are expected to win this weekend, and they are, in fact with the quality they possess they should win all their remaining games. Now just imagine if they lost all of those games, the club would be in disarray never mind missing out on Europa League, they’d be branded a mid table club and the season would be an absolute disaster.
The clubs stock has fallen enough already this season, players will be put off by them missing out on the champions league, say the season gets even worse and they lose their remaining games – what type of player would sign for United then?
So what if they have to play on Thursday night, by finishing the season strong United begin to restore that winning image that they’ve had for so many years, moreover as Giggs has said it gets the fans back on side. The fans have to be the priority; if United finish the season well and gather momentum the fans will rally behind the team once more, at the start of the next season the fans will have belief and that will transfer to the squad.
They cannot afford to risk loosing the fans even more for the sake of missing out on Europa League football.
Moreover, United have been playing European football for 26 years, as Bryan Robson said “the fans are accustomed to it”, I genuinely believe they’d miss it, even if it is the second tier of European Football.
On that topic, United are certainly used to playing European football, therefore I disagree with the theory that fatigue will play a factor when they qualify, the majority of the squad are more than used to the workload of European and Domestic football.
And say if key players do begin to fatigue from these nights, what better opportunity for the clubs youngsters and fringe players to get a taste of European football, learning the differences across the continent, hostile crowds and new styles of play. The likes of Juventus, Lyon and Benfica would not only be a great test but great preparation for the Champions League next year. Look at Athletico Madrid in the past few years; there involvement in the competition must have some relation to their success this year in both league and champions league.
I think it’s often forgotten how good Man United are, the squad has plenty of quality that has been poorly managed this season. With the right man in charge they could very easily win the Europa League next year, I refer back to De Gea’s opinion, United are a winning club, they should be looking to win the tournament next year.

I’ve mentioned Belief earlier, winning the trophy would give the players and fans alike that self belief that they belong amongst Europe’s big boys again. As well it would seal qualification to the Champions League as the winners will qualify from next year, so if the amount of games does become a strain on the players they can focus on one of these two to ensure champions league football.
Lastly, I point you to the financial gains the club would receive; up to 8 million is available if they win the trophy (wiki) as well as qualification money, ticket money from home games and TV revenue. The club could do with the cash to pay of David Moyes’s contract!
In summary, my main point is that United are a winning club and they need to get back that way, not next season but now. Losing games to miss out would be weak; it would deter new signings and infuriate fans. Moreover players will continue to be exposed to European football and will have every chance of winning the trophy.
Avoiding Europa League is all too pessimistic, that isn’t Man United.










References
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/david-de-ge...cation-1445128
http://www.thescore.ie/explainer-man...96511-Apr2014/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Eu...ue#Prize_money
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27153420


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Seabs
BkB Hulk - This was pretty great. Raised great points for your own stance and more importantly it addressed the arguments for the opposing stance. The only counter I'd say you skipped over was how no Europe has helped Liverpool domestically this season and how important getting back up the League is for Utd. Plus if they put all their eggs into that basket they should be sure of Champions League next season anyway. Although you did counter it nicely at times when you mentioned how winning the Europa League can also guarantee Champions League qualification and that Utd have the squad to heavily rotate if need be. I liked your intro but I didn't it translated perfectly to Utd because Utd aren't a small club like Bilbao. But the rest of your debate was awesome.

Super Hans - This debate pissed me off before reading a single word because of the formatting. PREVIEW BEFORE YOU SEND. Ugly formatting like that gives me a negative view of your debate before you even start. Not good. There's way too many grammar errors during this which on top of the horrible formatting makes your debate a miserable read. Content wise I think Bulk did what you tried to do A LOT better. Making the mistake of not knowing what Utd need to qualify is really poor too. 7th doesn't get Europa because Hull are in the FA Cup Final and get the 3rd Europa spot rather than 7th assuming Arsenal finish 4th which is a fair assumption to make. Ugh this debate is so annoying to judge because it's so hard to pick your points about with the formatting. Bulk makes great convincing points with minimal flaws, you make decent points with notable flaws.

Winner - BkB Hulk

WOOLCOCK
BkB Hulk:

Great debate I thought. You really produced an array of arguments which provided a top class depth and variety to your debate, with each argument given sufficient time to develop and very little in the way of wasted words. I particularly loved the dual paragraphs pertaining to United's squad being built for two games in a week, and how you then segued that into giving more of the squad opportunities to gain experience/rotate the stronger players to challenge on both fronts. The co-efficient argument was a good one that stole a march on your opponent, who incorrectly assumed sadly that 7th place would see United playing Europa League football. I always appreciated the concise but well argued point that even without Europa League football, top four will still be a challenge for this United side on the back of a dismal season and what appears to be a summer of transition. You got across well that the Europa League represents a perfectly viable means in which to gain entry to the Champions League, in addition to finishing top four and qualifying through domestic form. I always appreciated the subtle humour and personality within your debate, and your into was very well written in setting the stage but not wasting words. Too often people spend too long describing and setting the stage for their arguments, but I felt you were carefully building a mini narrative that lead to your argument that United weren't too good for the competition. Great stuff!





Super Hans:

Asidfe from the formatting, which sadly made it more challenging intially to read your debate, I think the main thing to take away is that your opponent simply produced stronger arguments than yourself, which became more evident due to the similarity in both debates. Where your points were ok and solid, your opponent provided more depth and coverage which expanded their argument and their usage of persuasive language was far more convincing. I felt the first few points bordered on waffling a bit, and it felt you went off more on a tangent about United as a club rather than the Europa League itself. Like your opponent you pose the argument that United can handle two games per week, but as I alluded to, yours is briefly acknowledged but your opponent provided greater comparisons in the form of smaller clubs who had struggled to balance European commitments with domestic obligations. The Robson comment was ok but again when you talk about possibly winning the Europa League, your opponent gained the edge by relating this back to how United had a second avenue for making the Champions League, seeing as the winners will automatically qualify for the Champions League from next season onwards. Your arguments weren't bad but they felt rushed, undeveloped and almost like you listed whatever came into your head, rather than choosing one or two as your crux arguments and then supplying additional supporting arguments. Your opponent structured their answer far more efficiently to allow for their arguments to have more weight and topical relevance to the question, and overall just made more compelling and convincing arguments. Learn from their debate, fine tune your formatting to make it more easy on the eyes of a reader and look to build your key arguments alongside concise but still logical and pertinent arguments.


Winner - BkB Hulk

Rush
Okay because I’m lazy this judging will be short and sweet (and its really an easy decision). BkB Hulk wins. Its not even close. Actually that’s a lie, its close in the sense that you both argued the same points and were on the money as far as they were concerned. However BkB Hulk expanded on those points far more effectively. Super Hans was over 250 words short of the word limit and it really showed. The limit is there, use it to expand on the good points you made. Also make sure you proof read it next time “Athletico Madrid” is just annoying to read.

So yeah, good job BkB Hulk, more work needs to be done next time Super Hans


Winner via Unanimous Decision - BkB Hulk

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 7-2


TDL Social Division Championship Match
Anark TEAM TLK vs Hollywood Hanoi TEAM ANDRE


Spoiler for Debates:
Hollywood Hanoi
Prince is one of the greatest, most eclectic, influential, fascinating and virtuosic artists of all time and simply MUST be regarded a creative music genius. If we take the standard definition of genius as one with “an exceptional, creative power or natural ability in a particular field” Prince will easily fit that bill, yet any number of artists will too, my aim here is to show how this man, while barely 5’2” in the flesh, stands as an absolute creative COLOSSUS without any equal in his field (that field being a rather staggering mix of funk, soul, pop, rock, R&B, piano balladry, jazz and much more).

The Musician-

Aged just 19 Prince entered a studio to record his debut album, he was starting as he meant to go on, despite being given a major label development budget there was no producer present, Prince was the producer, there was no hotshot team of backup musicians, Prince was his own backup, there was no songwriters or A&R men to point him in a certain direction nor did there need to be, as it would for the next 35 years (and counting) the only creative vision that mattered was his own.
Prince plays some 21 instruments, he ranges from highly proficient as a drummer, bassist and programmer to an outright virtuoso guitarist, vocalist and keyboard/pianist. His production skills led no less a legend than Brian Eno to call him “the producer’s producer”.
Yet being a virtuoso in itself does not make one a creative genius. A virtuoso guitarist will use any opportunity to show off his excess widdling chops but a creative genius will know when it’s time to refine those chops into the simplest 3 chord pop bliss of Kiss. A virtuoso producer will begin his big conceptual double album by throwing in every impressive bit of studio flash he knows but a creative genius will begin his with a stark minimal drum machine track and lyrics about AIDS and addiction like Sign O the Times. A proficient bassist will find the right line for any groove but only a creative genius will pull off the novel concept of an R&B hit without a bassline (When Doves Cry). Furthermore a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist has the ability to fly solo his whole career but a creative genius will put together several incredible backing bands like The Revolution, New Power Generation and, at time of writing, a cracking female rock trio 3rdEyeGirl.

The Creative Whirlwind-

Prince’s prolific nature is legendary, 27 studio albums, 5 soundtracks, 10 internet only albums, his hits collection alone was a 3 disc set. Yet this doesn’t even scratch the surface of his full output, there’s the unofficial releases and ‘lost’ albums that have kept several bootleg labels in business for years, hardcore fans talk in hushed tones of his ‘vault’ of unreleased tracks, said to number in the hundreds if not thousands. Then there’s the list of full albums he’s written and recorded for his multiple protégés, a full list would more than eat up my word limit but ranging from the great (The Time, Jill Jones) to the good (Sheila E, The Family) to the rather forgettable (Carmen Electra, yes Prince discovered and named her).

The common critical consensus is that while Prince hit his peak in the 80’s, the early 90’s would see a sharp decline in musical quality and relevance as he became mired in an ugly contract dispute leading to a name change and bizarre behaviour that saw him become a figure of media ridicule before returning to public favour in the early 2000’s via some stunning live spectacles and a growing influence among a new school of performers (as disparate as Alicia Keys to Beck and many more).
While it’s true his catalogue varies, none of this should diminish his stature as creative genius, after all it was his very unquenchable thirst to create and evolve that led to his troubles in the first place as his label couldn’t keep up with his abundant output. Inconsistency is a trait common to all geniuses, especially ones with a 35+ year career, there doesn’t exist a musical genius from Mozart to Dylan who hasn’t suffered slumps (also common is that there will be many underappreciated gems hidden in these dark periods).

The Artist-

No discussion of Prince’s art can be complete without touching on its sexuality. How this, by all accounts, weird and painfully shy young man was able to appropriate his various kinks into his musical aesthetic and play with gender roles the way no mainstream star has before or since. The straight man with the pimp moustache and chest hair on equal display with the high heels, satin and make up. Visually Prince stands out in any crowd, even in the early 80s when androgynous pop was in vogue his gender bending seemed more genuine and part of his art.
The countless songs of raw male lust next to the ballads shot from the feminine perspective. The use of female protégés as a delivery mechanism for his feminine side. If I Was Your Girlfriend – what even is that song? A lesbian fantasy? An appeal at a deeper understanding of a partner? What it is is a great song delivered with total commitment by its creator. Just as he takes on the roles of performer, writer, producer, choreographer and video director to convey his creative vision, here he takes on the character in the song completely.

The Performer-

The superbowl halftime show, 12mins to go out and entertain 100+ million people, keep it safe, play the hits, mime, don’t throw in disparate covers or superfluous solos, and certainly don’t simulate sex with your guitar. That’s what a good performer does. This, however, is what a creative genius does…



By all means award this debate to my opponent if they’ve done a better job showcasing the man’s greatness, just don’t award it to anyone foolish enough to consider Prince anything less than a true, creative musical genius.


References/playlist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7INsVaR-S-w (Prince shreds)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQp-yh1e-nY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_0K4cieh9Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6QjDC1CkFM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEk-g0Ig7H0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSk1ttbfHF8 (he’s still rockin)
http://nicotter.net/watch/sm3595105 (Prince’s press conferences are better than most people’s gigs)

Anark
I disagree that Prince is a musical genius. He is not a musical genius because he is THE musical genius of the past 35 years. There is no ‘a’ about it.

1980’s Dirty Mind fused funk with rock, mixed it with soul and sprinkled a little bit of punk on top. This had never been done before and it defined Prince as the game-changing, genre-crossing revolution that would eventually see him become the father of all modern pop music.

The uninitiated might find that claim to be too bold, but maybe I’m just like my father. And maybe Prince is just like your mother because he’s never satisfied, continuing to fuse not only synths and drum machines with funk, dance and RnB, but also new wave electronic sounds with brain-melting rock guitar solos.

Wait, isn’t Michael Jackson the father as he’s the King of Pop?

PRINCE vs THE KING

It’s an absolutely relevant comparison to this debate because Jackson is not only THE contemporary of Prince but also widely considered to be a genuine creative musical genius.

So, in the black corner, weighing in at something like 50lbs probably, it’s PRINCE! And in the slowly turning white corner, Michael Jackson: a man whose musical genius is so great that even multiple paedophilia accusations haven’t affected the affection in which his music is held. Jackson, after all, is the man behind THE album of the 1980s, Thriller.

Is he?

Let’s talk about Thriller. It’s one of the best selling albums of all time and propelled Jackson and producer Quincy Jones to superstardom, placing Wacko firmly at the Genius Table. Brian Banks played synths on Thriller and has this to say:

Quincy came to us. He said, 'There's this sound… there's this new artist that nobody's ever really heard of but he's great, he's hot, he's got this great song.' And he pulled out the album and it was Prince, '1999'. And you know the opening sound on that? Duh-da da, Dur-duh-duh? That big, bitey chord sound at the opening of '1999' - he wanted that.

If Jackson is the King of Pop because of Thriller, then Prince is the Almighty fucking God.

Also note that Jackson only wrote 4 of the 9 tracks on Thriller while Prince writes all of his songs while also playing all the instruments as well. Try and name a 'popstar' who did that before Prince.

Talking of instruments…

PRINCE IS ONE OF THE GREATEST GUITARISTS EVER

Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists placed Prince ahead of other genuine guitar geniuses like Mark Knopfler and Robert Johnson, not to mention a full 22 places ahead of John Lennon. I could also point you towards the progressive and oft-imitated guitar work of tunes like When Doves Cry and Purple Rain. But fuck pointing. Fuck talking. Just watch.

Skip to 3:25 if you’re too lazy for context.



Now his beyond exceptional guitar-playing talent is in no doubt, let’s examine his song-writing ability a bit closer. After all, it was pure song-writing ability that got Bob Dylan declared a creative musical genius. It certainly wasn’t Dylan’s singing voice, which is somewhere between a leaky gas pipe and a cat stuck in a scorpion cross-lock.

PRINCE’S SONG-WRITING & INFLUENCE

If you don’t already know about Prince’s countless hits, then as a pointer realise that Prince is the songwriter with the most songs appearing in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (The Beatles have more songs in there, but there are three songwriters in that band).

Now consider that Prince has written more great songs than he can even use himself. There’s Sinead O’Conner’s Nothing Compares 2 U, The Bangles’ Manic Monday and Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You as well as countless others.

Now add in the fact that Prince is one of the most covered and sampled artists of all time. I can only afford a brief glimpse here because the list seemingly never ends. There’s Cyndi Lauper, Herbie Hancock, Nina Simone, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Foo Fighters, Mariah Carey, Beyonce/Jay-Z, Tori Amos, Patti Smith, Green Day, Gary Numan and Corinne Bailey-Rae.

Of course, even a complete list isn’t conclusive evidence, but it certainly lends itself to the notion that Prince might just be a creative musical genius. Well, unless you add onto that list all the artists who have been influenced by Prince. Then, well, yeah, that is pretty fucking conclusive.

But what’s remarkable here is not the quantity of musicians gushing in their praise and claimed influence of Prince, but the range and diversity of those musicians. You can find artists as diverse as Trent Reznor, Daft Punk, Bruce Springsteen and Pharrell Williams all influenced by something Prince originally created. Whether said aloud or expressed openly in their music, other artists have been siphoning-off creativity and inspiration from Prince for decades, including those already considered musical geniuses.

Why? Because in creating something new by fusing all the sounds of funk, rock and soul with modern electronic sounds and drum machines Prince did something that had never been done before. It’s commonplace now, but it wasn’t before Prince.

HOW DOES PRINCE’S ORIGINALITY RELATE TO GENIUS?

Hugely influential philosopher Immanuel Kant (he of Kantianism – yes, he has his own ism), believed that ‘originality is the essential character of genius - the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person’. Most philosophers agree with him.

Now consider all the music that existed before Prince and compare it to the music he created by himself. Prince is the crossroads; the conjunction; the head-on collision of so many styles that the facts dictate that he is one of the most creative and original musicians that has existed since classical times because he invented a fusion of sounds that has defined modern music ever since. And he arrived at this invention all by himself.

And that, according to someone who has his own ism, is the very definition of genius.


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Headliner
Hollywood Hanoi

This was beautifully written. You established Prince’s musical genius at an early age to set the done for the rest of your debate. It was a nice lead on to the rest of your debate regarding Prince’s musical instrument and production ability; which was an even better lead to your breakdown of what each instrument genius can do compared to what Prince does. This was awesome. Everything flowed accordingly.

While the track listing was nice to mention for accomplishment purposes, it was a good idea to mention his downfall in the late 90’s due to a change in behavior and broken relationships. You made an important to note that all geniuses go through these bad spells, and that it should have no effect on his title of genius.

At first I thought the message regarding his sexuality and the musical relation wasn't effective, but your broke it down quite nice to explain how Prince gets into the character of the music he’s portraying. Very nice and something that can easily be looked over.

Overall good debate.


Anark


You started out ok. You explained how Prince’s crossover caused a huge shift in the way music would be produced in the future. The Quincy lines were a nice visual in explaining just how big Prince’s influence was to other artists, mainly to The King himself. Mentioning the numerous influences from several genres of music was a nice touch to show how much his work is truly appreciated. The way you closed this debate was genius in itself. It really defined Prince and put a stamp on your debate.

The difference between these two debates is basically the difference in the winner. Hollywood Hanoi focus more on Prince’s genius ability while Anark mentioned musical influence a bit; which is good, but anyone can have influence. And a lot of times influence can be negative influence. It’s not the true test of genius.

Winner-Hollywood Hanoi

Clique
When I saw the topic I was tempted to come out of retirement immediately after retiring. I still found a way to be a part of this tremendous topic. I commend the TDL staff especially Seabs for allowing me to participate on the judging panel once again. To me the answer to the topic question is an obvious YES so what this boils down to is who delivered the bigger punch to his opponent.

Hollywood Hanoi

PERFECT opening. There are many superlatives to describe Prince and his genius as an artist and you nailed it to the wall with the ones you chose. After all, we are talking about a prodigy, a self-taught musician who played over two dozen instruments, wrote, sang, and produced his very first record at 19 years old. I am so pleased you mentioned these facts because a lot of people do not know about Prince’s extraordinary beginnings.

I swear I clapped out loud and said “YES” at “there was no songwriters or A&R men to point him in a certain direction nor did there need to be, as it would for the next 35 years (and counting) the only creative vision that mattered was his own.” You tapped into specific example of how Prince displayed his musical talents time and time again for over three decades. This debate was magnificent in how you argued that Prince is not just good, or great, but GENIUS.

Thank you for mentioning Prince’s incredible backing bands and associate acts (plus the hits he wrote for Chaka Khan); but let’s not forget how Prince with The Time (Morris Day, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, etc), Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Sheila E, and the whole Minneapolis music scene in the 70s and 80s, they birthed the patent funk/soul/R&B/rock music you mentioned which became known as the “Minneapolis Sound” with The Purple One as the pioneer.

You mentioned his “flaw” of creating weaker material after the 80s with the reasoning you used that any artist in the business for those many years are bound to run into. This was an honest, critical perspective on his career and can be up for interpretation by the listener if it were quality or not. Maybe Prince marching to the beat of his own synth is just another part of his genius makeup.

The section on sexuality (another awesome Prince record btw) could not have been written any better if I must say so myself. Banged that close out nicely too with a video which in itself speaks to what Prince was all about and that is letting the art speak for him. Beautiful write-up.


Anark

I dig what you did with this bold opening. You creatively cut into the Minneapolis Sound that Prince, The Time, and other artists from that city innovated. Clever in how you mixed the Prince lyrics into your debate. The Prince vs. Michael Jackson debate is one that seems never ending from the 80s to today. Michael is the bigger pop star and many people do consider him a musical genius so pitting him against his number one rival one more time makes sense.

The “Almighty God” line is epic. I actually liked the comparison of Prince to his contemporaries because we are indeed measuring the standard of “musical genius” and to be more specific modern day, pop music genius. If MJ and Dylan are widely considered genius then Prince should be as well. You backed this argument with strong examples that factually noted Prince’s talent and success.

Speaking to his influence on other artists was another effective display his lasting impact on the industry. Excellent use of video support but no better resource was applied than the philosophical definition of genius. How you connected that with what Prince did with all his originality and creativity is absolutely thought provoking. “Now consider all the music that existed before Prince and compare it to the music he created by himself.” I have always believed Prince even as huge a megastar legend that he is still does not get enough credit for amazing talents and classic music. You made some bold statements about Prince but certainly not without undeniable consideration if one where to dive into that deep pool of art he has produced. This debate is magnificent.

This turned out to be one of my favorite debate matches ever and if I participated as a competitor it certainly would have been ON, but you both brought it. Made my decision more difficult. Hollywood Hanoi had the better opening and Anark had the better close. Anark was unrelenting in his backing of Prince while Hollywood Hanoi as beautifully written as it is pulled back just a little with the 90s slight but I can see how he brought it back to the reasoning of Prince being in his own lane even opposite his own record label. Anark kept expanding on Prince’s influence with every paragraph that followed.

With the space Anark had he probably could have delved even more into his musical genius as it relates to his lyrical and image which is something I loved about Hollywood Hanoi’s entry. Hollywood Hanoi made it a point to note that Prince is not only big star with influence because truth be told, there are many artists who have barely a fraction of the talent Prince has and they have fame and perceived, hyped influence. Based on the argument shaped in that context I will award this debate to Hollywood Hanoi.

ZOMBO
Well, I don't fucking know what to say about this debate. You guys each packed in a TON of relevant arguments supporting Prince as a musical genius.

You both write extremely well, in a very persuasive manner while injecting some humour / personality into your arguments. Both used great sources. Both defined genius effectively in your own varied ways. You both highlight the areas of music that he melds / influences.

The only difference, and I may be splitting hairs here (but ultimately, it's hairs that decides this contest), is that Hollywood Hanoi spends a little time bringing up a period where Prince was perceived to have fallen off a bit, and ends with a video from the halftime show. These were just okay parts, but I felt they kind of stalled the overall argument. Meanwhile, Anark carried momentum start to finish.

Truly exemplary of a title match, gentlemen, neither one of you is a "loser" in my eyes after reading these both SEVERAL TIMES EACH. Dare I say, Clique would've been hard-pressed to retain against either worthy entry. That said, I'll go with Anark. Five stars to like four and a half or whatever kids are handing out these days.


Winner via Split Decision - Hollywood Hanoi

TEAM ANDRE LEADS 8-2


TDL Wrestling Division Championship Match
ZOMBO TEAM TLK VS WOOLCOCK TEAM ANDRE

Say Undertaker let WWE know on New Years Day 2014 that he was retiring at Wrestlemania 30 and wanted The Streak to end. Should John Cena, Bray Wyatt or Brock Lesnar have ended the streak?


Spoiler for Debates:
WOOLCOCK
Say Undertaker let WWE know on New Years Day 2014 that he was retiring at Wrestlemania 30 and wanted The Streak to end. Should John Cena, Bray Wyatt or Brock Lesnar have ended the streak?



The Streak. Truly transcendent and unlike anything that will ever exist in professional wrestling again. As unique and captivating as the character associated with it. It was of no surprise then, that the moment that hand struck the mat for the third time, an entire arena surrendered to their emotions and a palpable and eerie tension engulfed the arena, more piercing and emotionally captivating than even the entrance of Undertaker himself. Its impact never to be forgotten. Thank heavens WWE had the foresight and ingenuity then, to ensure The Streak’s conqueror was the individual who they could entrust with this momentous burden.

Ladies and gentleman, I am the advocate for Brock Lesnar. The only conceivable choice of the three options. The man, for whom conquering the streak is most in-keeping with the selling point of the character. The man, whose victory can change the status quo of a stagnant company, and who quite simply can be protected to maximise the potential generated by ending The Streak. Brock Lesnar is THE ONE.

John Cena is NOT ‘THE ONE’. His time is not now! Cena is a horrible choice to end The Streak in his current iteration. Firstly, the reaction at Wrestlemania 30 sullied any idea the end of The Streak would invoke a babyface pop. It has and forever will be, a heat best reserved for a heel. Cena is not going heel anytime soon. Quite simply, why should he? The babyface character is still as profitable as it has ever been[1] and no-one has identified themselves as a viable substitute for the exponential revenue Cena generates.

And what does babyface Cena ending The Streak actually accomplish? Did the character suddenly lose that repulsive/adored contrary reaction that has followed him for nigh on 8 years? Does he need to end The Streak for the adult demographic to continually boo him? Absolutely not. He’s still profitable and those who love him, as well as those who despise him continue to show deep interest in the character. Therefore, face Cena ending The Streak accomplishes nothing that does not already exist with The Streak intact. Face Cena ending The Streak is therefore unprogressive.

Furthermore, Cena ending The Streak at Wrestlemania 30 would have been horrendous timing. Wrestlemania 30 was not John Cena’s night, it was Daniel Bryan’s. It was his 8 month story that culminated at Wrestlemania. Cena winning would therefore have overshadowed and lessened the significance of Bryan’s star-making accomplishment. Not only would nothing have been gained from ending The Streak, but a breakout superstar would have again been positioned behind Cena. Cena is NOT THE ONE. Brock Lesnar is THE ONE.

So if a heel should end The Streak, why not Bray Wyatt? Quite simply, Wyatt is still carving his niche and is handicapped by a sparse roster that would struggle to give him consistent momentum after ending The Streak. Just how many people can Wyatt believably feud with after conquering The Streak on a monthly basis before he exhausts all available options? Bray is not a part-time attraction. He is a permanent and consistent figure, and he lacks the depth in credible programs he could work after overcoming Undertaker.

So he faces Cena and Bryan and revisits The Shield feud. Even then, how far can that carry him? Punk is gone and someone like Jericho could hardly be credible to sustain Wyatt’s momentum. His stock has diminished too far over the years to throw at ‘the man who ended The Streak’.

At best, Wyatt feuds endlessly with the few viable opponents credible in light of his newfound status, at worst he’s forced to work programs with Sheamus and Big Show who are now below his level. Wyatt wouldn’t be elevating them, they’d be diminishing him. A short-term upside for Wyatt to end The Streak is all for nought if WWE cannot capitalise on his momentum and deliver long-term sustainability. Brock Lesnar as we shall see, is not suffocated by the sparse WWE roster, rather, he’s the one person in the company booked to overcome it. Bray Wyatt is NOT THE ONE. Brock Lesnar is THE ONE.

This leaves the only reputable choice. Brock Lesnar. The biggest mistake WWE made was booking him like he was any other heel. Brock Lesnar’s entire selling point, is that he is unlike any other on the roster. He is entirely unique. You can communicate that in promos, but if you don’t position him on TV as what you market him as, then he’ll only ever achieve a certain level of success. Brock is now entirely unique. He is THE ONE. He is now distinguished from anyone the roster, and further, he is a commodity, a true attraction.

He won’t be full-time. This isn’t a detriment, it’s an asset. Lesnar will not be overexposed on a weekly basis, but instead he’ll be a sought after commodity. He’ll only wrestle the viable programs, but unlike Wyatt this is feasible on a part-time basis, rather than as a week-to-week character. Lesnar is an entity, someone upon whom WWE can now build around. He is the clear monster heel with legitimacy they have been sorely lacking. He represents progression. Be it Bryan, or Cesaro or Roman Reigns, Lesnar will elevate his opponent and can be positioned as a long-term lynchpin. Vince McMahon doesn’t commit to ending The Streak otherwise.

You don’t end The Streak without a viable way to do good business and transfer the heat Lesnar now commands to the guy you want to beat him. With Cena, you gain nothing you didn’t already have with The Streak intact. With Wyatt, you lack the depth in starpower to sustain his momentum. With Lesnar, you take the fury at the demise of The Streak, you place it on the shoulders of someone whose unique selling point is enhanced by the victory, whose part-time status affords you time to carefully protect his image and devise a plan to transfer his heat to someone who can benefit from it.



FOOTNOTE:

[1] http://www.lordsofpain.net/news/wwe/..._PPV_News.html

ZOMBO
Given the three options presented in the question, it’s obvious that the scenario that played out in real life is the best of these choices as well. Brock Lesnar IS the perfect pick to end the Streak. Let’s examine why.

TRADITION

If it was Taker’s intention to retire at this year’s Mania, he’d undoubtedly “go out on his back”, the way wrestlers who RESPECT THE BUSINESS are taught to do. Ultimately, that’s the message Taker sent this year to EVERYONE on the roster currently and in the future: no single person and no single record are greater than that time-honoured tradition. It’s important to establish this, otherwise this debate question could be answered “Actually, none of those guys should win.” So that silly answer can GTFO.

THE PERILS OF YOUTH

The easiest to eliminate from consideration is Bray Wyatt. Why? Youth. Some might say “But Undertaker could use the Streak to put over a young guy JUST LIKE Bray!” Yeah, that’s great and all, but there’s a couple issues with that notion. What if that guy never pans out to what you’re hoping for? Then the big win is wasted. Remember Ryback’s HUGE push, main-eventing with Punk and Cena, looking like an unstoppable monster, the heir to Cena’s musclebound throne? Yeah… he’s much better suited in RybAxel than being anywhere near the main event scene.

Additionally, the idea of gaining the Streak-breaking notoriety could be equal parts blessing and equal parts albatross around the neck of a young guy. Being saddled with the label “guy who broke the Streak” could be a one-note career killer for someone not yet established enough to handle that. Bray Wyatt fits that description, considering he’s still in the process of getting his character over and establishing his place in the WWE Universe. Clearly, this intended honour could easily turn into a burden for a burgeoning star still finding his way.

This leaves us with Cena and Brock. Two of the company’s biggest, ESTABLISHED names. Two VERY different characters. ONE superior choice.

NEVER GIVE UP – The John Cena Story

How many times has John Cena had the ODDS STACKED AGAINST HIM, only to find a way to OVERCOME those odds and persevere? Wade Barrett, along with the entire Nexus, was figuratively buried under a literal stack of falling chairs from Cena.(1) He overcomes every threat. He takes match-long beatdowns before determining “Oh hey, it’s win time!”, popping to his feet for an Attitude Adjustment and celebrating with a smile. He’s lost titles to the Miz or Punk, but remained the main-eventer on PPVs. He literally leads the world in wishes granted.(2)

Sooooo, what happens if Cena beats Taker? It’d just be ANOTHER statistic in the laundry list of obstacles he’s overcome. The myth attached to beating the Streak is minimized simply because Cena’s made a CAREER out of accomplishing the impossible. And on top of that, he’s a GOOD GUY! A HERO to the children! If you can’t brag about beating the Streak, then why be the guy to beat it? Let’s face it, it’s a business decision at the end of the day too, and what’s BEST FOR BUSINESS is handing the Streak to a guy who will milk it for every drop it’s worth. John Cena, hero to the children and WWE cash-cow ain’t going to be that guy anytime soon, if ever, which is also coincidentally best for WWE’s business, both in the merch revenue and public relation departments.

PUTTING TEARS IN THE EYES OF CHILDREN – The Beast Incarnate(3)

Meanwhile, there’s Brock. A LEGITIMATE badass who has respect as an actual fighter. He could snap any of us into pieces, and could handle himself against anyone on the WWE roster. If only they’d consistently portray him as a monster heel. But no, since his return, he’s resulted to cowardly attacks and cheap shots in the buildup to matches. He’s lost to HHH at Wrestlemania. Hell, he lost his FIRST FUCKING MATCH BACK against Cena! There’s only so much time that you can go around claiming to be the baddest man in the locker room without earning a definitive win to back that claim up.

Is sticking the ONE in TWENTY-ONE AND ONE definitive enough for you? That’s not just a "1". That’s a motherfucking exclamation point.

The Streak win alone enabled a promo like Heyman’s the night after Mania, where he dropped nuclear bombs all over the fans and the wrestlers alike. Cena couldn’t do that, at least, not in the character that he’s currently (and forever will be) typecast as. Good guy John has to keep grantin’ wishes, winnin’ matches and smilin’ for that camera. A Brock win re-establishes his legitimacy as WWE’s uber-threat, cementing his status permanently as an established mercenary character built upon bagging the biggest prize in his few matches a year. He just bagged wrestling’s BIGGEST prize, so he’s cemented his role forever. Anyone who claims a win over Brock now goes over HUGE, something that doesn’t carry the same gravitas had Cena won.

Ultimately, John Cena is the idealistic role model for children who has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds throughout his career. Each feud is seemingly built around this trope, which would really diminish a win over Taker. Combined with the inability for Cena to shove that win into everyone’s face afterwards, giving him the Streak would be a waste. Bray Wyatt is still forging his path in WWE, and a win over Taker at this point in his career carries too much risk for something that might not even be a reward.

Then there’s Brock.

Legitimate.

Established.

Bad Guy.

Brock doesn’t merely shoulder the Streak-breaking burden because he can, but he THRIVES with that title on his resume. Brock's the hero WWE deserves, just not the one it needs right now. So we'll boo him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a Beast Incarnate. A Paul Heyman Guy. The “1” in “21 and 1”. The Steak Ender. He’s BRRRRROCK LES-NARRRR.


----------------------
FOOTNOTES:

(1) http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view1/157...-barrett-o.gif

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make-A-Wish_Foundation

(3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JsftcIQsDQ


Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Seabs
WOOLCOCK - I would have cut your first paragraph down a lot. When I re-read this debate I actually started at your second paragraph and it worked just fine. Cena argument is strong and on point. I think ZOMBO makes the same point stronger though but yours is still strong. The part about taking the limelight away from Bryan I was unsure of because I don't think you differentiated how different it would be if Cena broke the streak and it overshadowed Bryan compared to how it did or didn't overshadow Bryan with Brock winning. The Bray argument is your best imo. I don't think it's full air tight because you could point to full time guys given big sustained main event pushes where this wasn't the issue. However you use it to show why part-time Brock is a better option so it works well in this context when you wrap it up. I thought you would have benefited from more word count to use arguing the benefits of Brock winning rather than mostly using the negatives to Cena and Bray winning as positives for Brock. This is where scrapping that opening would have helped give you an extra paragraph that was needed here. "The biggest mistake WWE made was booking him like he was any other heel. Brock Lesnar’s entire selling point, is that he is unlike any other on the roster. He is entirely unique." sounds like it was taken right out of my last debate. But that debate was awesome so it helps you [/ego]. Something original to your debate in argument for Brock here would have improved your debate imo. Overall a strong debate.

ZOMBO - The tradition part I think could have gone because the questions says "wanted The Streak to end" so nobody ending it isn't really an option within this particular topic. I really like how you visually segmented your debate up by the way. For starters it makes it easier to review and judge in parts and it makes your debate flow better with the titles actually setting the main argument up nicely with the wording. Ryback comparison is really good evidence to make your point. You could have also added how Bray hasn't even been on the roster for a full year yet, even more similar to Ryback. The second part was weaker though. I think that argument works great for someone trying to use ending The Streak to get over as a babyface but I think it worked less so for Bray because you didn't really have any reason for it potentially burdening him. It read more like could than would which isn't as convincing. I thought WOOLCOCK 's argument against Bray was stronger. However, your argument against Cena is better. You both make the same basic point but I think your presentation of that argument is better. "If you can’t brag about beating the Streak, then why be the guy to beat it?" was a great line. Pointing out how Brock winning helps to correct the past failures since his return was a great point and something that I think WOOLCOCK needed with his argument for Brock. The "Ultimately, John Cena is the idealistic role model" paragraph felt unnecessary. It felt like you were just repeating yourself but not in a conclusion-y manner.

There's 3 parts to this debate. The Bray argument, the Cena argument and the Brock argument. I think both of you linked them together nicely. WOOLCOCK had the edge on Bray but I think ZOMBO had the edge on Cena and Brock and thus the overall edge.

Winner - ZOMBO

Headliner
Very close here. Very similar debates. Must be twin jobbers from another universe.

WOOLCOCK

I really liked the way you eliminated the other choices. You explained how face Cena accomplishes nothing by beating the streak because the honor is reserved for a heel. You slightly fell off a cliff when you mentioned that Cena beating the streak would be bad timing because it would overshadow Bryan's win. The problem with this entire paragraph is that Brock conquered the streak and DID overshadow Bryan's rise to the top. So this had zero strength to your debate.
You eliminated Wyatt rather easy and convincing. By stating that there's not enough strong roster members to sustain Wyatt's momentum of beating the streak. Very good point.

You finished strong by putting all the focus on Lesnar. You brought up all of the strengths of Lesnar beating the streak while directly and indirectly mentioning how these strengths simply don't apply to the other options. Nice finish.


ZOMBO


While I understand your point regarding tradition, and it was a nice touch of symbolism by Taker, it had zero relevance to the actual debate question so I have to say this was a weak start to the debate.

You picked back up strong by eliminating Wyatt in well done fashion. His youth and his current path to establishment could cause the streak win to backfire and hurt his rise to the top, in addition to notions that he may never pan out to be what they intended him to be.

The way you eliminated Cena was quite unique. You mentioned that he always overcomes the odds and do the impossible, so him beating the streak would actually minimize the accomplishment because that's all he does. Very good stance. Like WOOLCOCK, you also but up that the streak does nothing for Cena because he can't brag about it, because it's ultimately meant for a heel.
You did a solid job putting over why Brock is the right choice, but I do think you should have put a little more focus on Brock and less focus on Wyatt and Cena in the end. You already eliminated them do you didn't need to mention too much of them again. A little was fine, but I think you mentioned a little more which took the focus off Lesnar a bit.

This was close. But I think WOOLCOCK did a better job explaining why Brock was the better choice, and the strengths of Brock ending the streak, and he had less faults in his debate.


Winner - WOOLCOCK

BkB Hulk
WOOLCOCK:
Really good debate. The opening set the scene for just what it meant, and I thought you added a lot of personality into it by using they Heyman line and essentially making it a Heyman promo.

The way you addressed both Cena and Wyatt to eliminate them as options was really good. I thought you brought your points against them across really well and made strong arguments to just bury them as options. They simply don’t seem viable now.

Similarly, you’ve taken Lesnar’s weaknesses in some people’s views and really used them as a strength. The contrast with Wyatt really shows why he should be the heel that gets it done, and Cena is entirely eliminated anyway. The point that it restores Lesnar’s lustre and helps anyone that steps in the ring with him is also a real positive, and follows up on last show’s debates.

The conclusion was solid too, and told the story of the debate well enough. A well written debate with strong arguments.



ZOMBO:
So these are remarkably similar in some ways, not least they Heymanisms that are contained. Arguments are similar too, with the layout just a little different.

I thought the tradition part was a bit of a waste. It wasn’t an option in the question, so it doesn’t need addressing. The Wyatt argument, however, was really good. The example of Ryback is a great one, and the additional point of it potentially hindering Wyatt well and truly rules him out.

The Cena point was similar too, but you did a really good job of hammering it home. Both of you have said it’s worthless to him, but the way you described Cena as the kid’s hero and therefore unable to take advantage of it was a little better. You also mentioned the money too, to keep you on level footing in that regard.

Again, the Lesnar argument is remarkably similar. Really, the only difference there is the writing. Again, I like the argument that it ultimately helps Lesnar AND others that he potentially faces because he’s made now.

Your conclusion does a really good job selling Lesnar just by going entirely Heyman, and you’ve already addressed the others just before that, making for a strong finish.

Really tough one to judge, and it’s very hard to split. Both wrote very entertaining debates and covered much the same points. I’m going with WOOLCOCK by a hair, just because I think he addressed more with Lesnar by also acknowledging the part-time factor and using it as a real strength. There was very little in it though.


Winner via Split Decision - WOOLCOCK

TEAM ANDRE WINS 9-2
(ha)

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post #2 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

I'll edit in more results as they come in. Just a few at a time with hopefully them all finished by the end of the weekend. Check the thread title for updates.

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post #3 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 01:31 PM
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

Not looking good for TLK already. (Still can't get over that banner though)
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post #4 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 01:42 PM
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

And the leadoff hitter hits a home run . I'd just like to point out, as the last person drafted, TLK had every opportunity to acquire my services . 4th win in a row guys!

Anyways, good match SPCDRI. Maybe we can get a rematch sometime down the line.

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"If you can't handle me at my Worstbrook, you don't deserve me at my Bestbrook."
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

Seabs, can you put a different symbol or something for results threads as from the main forum page this looks exactly like the card page.

Also,


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post #6 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 01:45 PM
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

Man, I have fallen off so much. I haven't turned in a good debate in a while.
No more sports stuff, please. I don't really watch sports.
Oh well.

Good job, Aid180
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

Team Andre employing dem dark arts by luring a social debater into a sports debate against a seasoned sports debater.

Dirty tricks.

TLK approves.

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post #8 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 02:05 PM
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

Nice to see someone actually win their speciality subject, unlike moi. Congratulations to Aid for a great deabte, and a real testament to how far you've come in such a short space of time
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post #9 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 02:06 PM
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

#TeamAndre
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post #10 of 194 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 02:15 PM
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Re: TDL XVI: CAPTAIN WARS - THE LADY KILLER VS ANDRE - THE RESULTS (Aid180/SPCDRI pos

#TeamAndre

EDIT SHIT #TeamTurncoat

EDIT EDIT SHIT #TeamTLK




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