Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Major Iowa Campaign News

There has been a lot of news out of the state of Iowa in the last week or so, some better publicized than others.  You may have heard, for example, that Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann are now statistically tied, with Romney at 23 and Bachmann at 22.  You may not have heard that Ron Paul is now tied for 4th there, up from an earlier poll showing him further back.  There is other very important news out of Iowa that you may not have heard also.  Most importantly, the head of the Winning Iowa Campaign in 2000, Mr. Doug Wead, has joined the Ron Paul Campaign!  This is the man who won Iowa for George W Bush in 2000, back when Bush was running as a Conservative, someone who believed in less government, no nation building, etc. basicly back when Bush was running a Ron Paul style campaign.  It's no surprise that someone who helped Bush win back when he was campaigning as a genuine Conservative would now be supporting a man who is, without question, a genuine Constitutional Conservative.  This is a HUGE gain for the Ron Paul campaign, as not only is this guy a proven winner in Iowa, he also happens to be an EXTREMELY high profile Christian leader.  As a Christian myself, I'm happy to see folks like this fellow in a prominent leadership position.  Certainly the Christian vote is VERY huge in Iowa, so the support of this bigtime fellow could very easily be a game-changer in the weeks and months to come.

Another major piece of news out of Iowa that you may not have heard, is that they 'sold land' at the Iowa Straw Poll, and Ron Paul got the Prime Real Estate!  You may not know what that means, and having never actually been there myself I can only imagine it myself, but if you can imagine thousands and thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of Iowans in one place, and Ron Paul now has the biggest and most central booth of all!  From everything I've heard, this is a HUGE deal, as last time around Ron had a little booth way out of the way, where you might never have even seen it if you weren't already a Ron Paul fan, whereas now he has a big, central booth that you pretty much have to walk right by so you can't miss it.  One Paul supporter noted that he may have actually spent more time at the Romney booth than the Paul booth in 2008, even though he was a bigtime Paul guy even back then, just because the booth was so much better.  This is the SAME booth that Romney used in 2008, the same booth that George Bush used in 2000, the Ron Paul campaign spent 31 thousand dollars to gain this prime position, and it was well worth it.  No other campaign was able to spend nearly as much, and this is because Ron has been doing so extremely well fund-raising, although again, you never hear that in the lamestream media, all you hear about is Romney. 

So while Romney is the guy they all want to talk about, and Bachmann is the flavor of the month, the fact is that Ron Paul is laying some MAJOR groundwork to not simply compete strongly, but to WIN the GOP nomination, and the Presidency.  Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more campaign 2012 updates!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

American Soccer Plan For Greatness

Perhaps like many of you, I sat back tonight and hoped to enjoy watching my Countrymen score a Championship Victory in their bigtime Soccer game tonight, against Mexico.  What I saw didn't sicken me because we lost, it sickened me because of HOW we lost, and that was by having what has to be the single worst Defense that I have ever seen.  On offense we were great, we missed some scoring chances to be sure, but we didn't really have that many because of our offense's horrible supporting cast.  When they weren't scoring they were almost scoring, it was a good night for our offense.  Not a great night, to be sure, if we had taken advantage of those open goal opportunities we still could've won, but our offense got us a 2-0 lead that never should've been relenquished, you can only expect so much from any offense.  We lost the lead, and the game, because our team's defenders are worse than any team I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty of both men and women's soccer.  If our men can't defend, and certainly our current group of men can't, then perhaps its time to do something we probably should've done a long time ago, and that is start taking the best of our womens team, a team that is consistently either the best in the world or one of the best in the world, and putting them into select positions on our men's team.  Our goalie Howard is about to retire and will need replacing soon, and our women's team has an incredible goalie, she almost never gives up goals, especially in the big games, and would be a great addition to the team.

However the reality of the current situation is that no goalie is good enough to save a team with defense as horrible as we played tonight, so the very first change I would make, and I would make it immediately, is I would replace our worst defender (that's if I could resist the temptation to fire the lot of them) with the best defender on our women's team.  That would instantly make us a MUCH better team, if anybody reading this has never seen our men's team defenders you might not believe it, but if you have then you know I'm right.  The reality of tonight's game is that if we had played with our regular men's team attackers, and our women's team defenders, we would have won the Championship.

However of course it isn't likely that bringing in women to play on the men's team will work as anything more than a short term solution, to be the best in the world, and to be the best on a long term basis, we are going to need a plan.  Happily for American Soccer and American Soccer fans, I have one.  I present to you an American Soccer Plan For Greatness:

We begin by noting the rules do not allow us to hire European Superstars for our American Team, unless said European Superstar has at least one American parent.  That means we can't just go overseas, pick up a few more Landon Donovans, and score 5 goals a game.  However, just because we can't hire European Superstars to play for our American Team, that doesn't mean that Europeans can't be used in an extremely key role as we seek to build Soccer Greatness.  The key is to build up Major League Soccer (MLS) to the same kind of dominance that our other leagues like the NBA, MLB, and the NFL already have, and the way to do that is very simple.  We should go over to Europe and find the best in the world, and pay them huge amounts of money to come to the MLS.  No, I'm not talking about European Superstar players, I'm talking about COACHES!  The secret ingredient that no-one is considering, the KEY ingredient that can bring us to a level of greatness America has never seen before in the world of soccer.  We can't use Europeans players to make the American team great, but we can use European Coaches to make our American players great!  Imagine if each MLS team were coached by one of the VERY best coaches in the entire soccer world.  And by coaches I don't just mean the Head Coach, I mean the Assistant Coaches, the Trainers, you name it, anybody that has anything at all to do with Soccer, we bring in the best in the world that we can lure away from Europe with huge financial offers, and we turn our mediocre players with potential into Champions! 

Of course this will not be a 'quick fix', no solution to a problem this long and this extreme is quick.  For the quick fix, we bring in the best of the Women's Team to improve our horrible defense, that will help assure us of qualifying for the World Cup, and other such basic things, but for the long term dominance, the key is to bring in the best and brightest minds of the soccer world to turn all our players into the kind of great Superstars that our NBA and NFL leagues are filled with.  That will take money, we'll have to be prepared to spend like drunken sailors for a while, but the payoff will be at the World Cup, perhaps not this coming World Cup, but by the end of the Decade we could definitely be drinking from the World Cup after we win it for the first time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NBA Draft Results Full of Surprises

In what what a truly exciting, even thrilling, 2011 NBA Draft, what began as routine and expected quickly became anything but.  It started out quietly enough, with Cleveland choosing Kyrie Irving, enabling Minnesota to draft Derrick Williams, again as expected.  Things began to get a bit surprising when Enes Kanter was picked at #3, although it wasn't really a surprise to those who were following the leadup to the draft very closely.  If you were following very closely, you knew that Kanter was a real possibility at 3, but until recently it was widely assumed that Brandon Knight would be picked 3rd.  But since this was indeed in line with the most recent predictions, all signs still poitned to a predictable draft.  So now Cleveland will use their second pick on Jonas Valanciunas and we can move on....only they didn't.  Cleveland landed the first true surprise of the night, passing on Jonas and instead going with Tristan Thompson!  Props to the SI Mock Draft for getting that one right, they actually did see that coming.  However even they didn't see what happened next coming.  With everyone now expecting the Raptors to pick Knight at #5, Toronto instead picks.... Valanciunas! 

Chaos and Pandamoneum!  As a Bobcats fan, I am TOTALLY loving this here!  After the Bobcats made their EPIC trade a couple hours or so before the draft began, in which they gave up Jackson, Livingston, and the #19 pick for Corey Magette and the #7 pick, there was talk they had moved up to get Thompson, a player I did NOT want us to draft, not because he isn't a good player, but because I wanted us to draft the superior big man Bismack Biyombo.  Now here we are, five picks in, and not only are there TONS of bigtime players still left, including Knight, Vesley, Walker, Leonard, and Biyombo, but Thompson isn't a possibility anymore!  I'm super excited at this point, but since I don't know what's going through management's mind, I know that I can still be super let down :) . 

The surprises weren't done, as Washington at #6, who you would assume here would automaticly take Knight, instead takes Jan Veseley!  This guy is a fantastic player, no doubt about it, but it was certainly a surprise they took him instead of Knight, even though I actually agree with the pick, he may very well be the better player of the two.  So here we go, the Bobcats are at last on the clock, and the moment of truth was about to arrive.  Biyombo, Knight, Walker, Leonard, all still on the board, and with only one team picking in between our two picks, we're GUARANTEED to be able to get two of them, should we choose to do so.  But would we?  Certainly the Bobcats have had some awful drafts in the past, terrible decisions have been made.  Would this be another?  Or would this be the year it all turns around, and we start building toward that Championship Dynasty that Michael Jordan wants again, a Dynasty like the one he brought to Chicago?  David Stern stepped to the podium, and began the announcement.  The announcement of the #7 pick in the draft.....Bismack Biyombo!!!!  I admit I yelled out in celebration, this was the moment!  We had done it at last!  The Superstar, the man who may one day become the greatest big man in NBA history, and lead the Bobcats to multiple NBA Championships, Bismack Biyombo!  What an incredible draft, a draft that I would be happy with no matter who we picked at #9, just because we got Bismack!  Was it too much to hope for, that Detroit would pick somebody, ANYBODY, other than Brandon Knight?  Sadly yes it was :) .  I was hoping that Knight would keep dropping and we could pick him, but they picked him with their #8 selection.  However, upon further review and comparison, there is indeed very good reason to believe that Mr. Kemba Walker, who was still on the board at #9, would actually be a superior player anyway!  So would we get him at #9?  Would that be too much to hope for?  No it would not be!  We GOT Kemba!!!  Yes!  The DREAM Draft, quite possibly the GREATEST Draft of All Time, and certainly the Bobcats greatest draft of all time!  Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker! 

Will they become the next Shaq and Kobe?  Or is that thinking too small?  These two are future All Stars, and very much potential Hall of Famers.  And they're both Bobcats now!  They both are clearly quite happy to be playing for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats, and we the Bobcats fans are happy to have them!  This is indeed a big, big start toward that Dynasty that MJ wants to bring to Charlotte.  He couldn't bring a Dynasty, or even a Championship, to Chicago without some help, but once he got some help in the form of Scottie Pippen, that's when the Dynasty began to take shape.  Earlier this month, Michael found his new Scottie, in the form of new General Manager Rich Cho.  This is a man who turned around the Oklahoma City Thunder, turning them from one big joke into one round from the NBA Finals.  A team that helped Portland to the Playoffs earlier this year, before Portland unexpectedly let him go.  Their loss was Charlotte's gain, in a big BIG way.  It has been said that Cho was high on Bismack, perhaps it was his suggestion to bring him in for that workout the day before the draft, where he got to work out in front of, and impress, Coach Paul Silas as well as the Owner himself, MJ.  It was said that MJ was impressed by Biyombo, and rightly so.  The man is just phenominally talented, he's got Future Superstar written all over him.  Charlotte bringing him in the day before the draft helped make his pick a reality, but obviously the trade that brought Charlotte the #7 pick did as well.  Cho engineered a true Masterpiece of a trade, giving up Livingston and Jackson for Magette, and swapping the #19 pick for the #7 pick, which was ultimately used on Bismack.  Because he used the #19 pick instead of the #9 pick, we were then able to grab Kemba Walker at #9, enabling us to definitively claim the title of 'Best Draft of any team'.  You might even say that Rich CHOwned the draft!  This draft was definitely a case of Rich Cho setting MJ up with nice passes, and MJ scoring two bigtime Slam Dunks!  Today, Charlotte can say with certainty that MJ the Superstar is back, he's got his new Scottie, his new bigtime General Manager, and now a Dynasty is well on its way!  Congratulations to Michael Jordan, Rich Cho, and the Charlotte Bobcats, on one of the greateast drafts of all time, maybe THE greatest! 

Draft News Update

With less than 24 hours until the historic 2011 NBA Draft, there is an interesting and exciting update.  It seems more and more likely, though of course not certain (nothing is certain in this oh-so-fluid draft), that Connecticut Guard Kemba Walker, the man who led his team to the National Championship, may end up falling all the way to the Charlotte Bobcats at #9!  Of course he had previously been expected to go higher, and depending on who you listen to he still is, but there is increasing talk that things are changing, and he could easily fall to the #9 spot now.  Thats good news for the Bobcats, who have recently received the bad news that it seems more likely now that International Superstar Bismack Biyombo will be picked higher than 9th, keeping the Bobcats from landing this super-impact player.  I certainly hope that Biyombo is still available at #9 and we pick him there, but if he isn't, Kemba Walker still being around at #9 would be a pretty sweet consolation prize indeed!  Of course there are others to consider also, including Vesely and Jonas, but certainly Kemba Walker being available at #9 would be a really sweet deal for the Bobcats if their best option, Bismack Biyombo, is already picked. 

Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more information on the 2011 NBA Draft, and if you have any information, or opinions, that you'd like to share, please do so!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!

A special Birthday shoutout to International Chess Champion Frankie 'The Gladiator' Newton, his historic Championship victories, both in America and Internationally, have led to his becoming one of the most popular and famous Chess Champions in the world today.  His notable wins include games against IM Sevillano, IM Tapia, GM Becerra, and GM Nakamura, plus his win against SM Klaus Pohl in the Final Round of the North Carolina Championship which earned him the Title of North Carolina Champion.  He won the most Wendy's Charlotte Chess Championships of all time, he also won a major South Carolina Championship as well.  I could go on and on, but I think my....I mean his....accomplishments speak for themselves :) .  Could this be the year that The Gladiator returns to the Over The Board Chess world?  Never say never!  Either way, I look forward to hearing how my friends in Charlotte, as well as Chicago, Atlanta, and throughout America and the world, are performing!  Maybe you'll see me again on the other side of the board sooner than you think :) .

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NBA Draft is almost here!

The long wait is almost over, the fascinating combination of names and numbers, stats and videos, workouts, rumors, trade talks, all of it comes down to Thursday night, beginning at 7pm Eastern, the NBA Draft!  I'd like to focus on my personal favorite team, the Charlotte Bobcats.  We have the #9 and #19 picks in the first round, plus some really good players who could be used in a trade.  We're a rebuilding team, it's expected that this coming year will probably not be that good, that it won't be until next year, when we sign Chris Paul, that things really turn around for us.  With that in mind, we're going to need to free up some money to sign CP3, and the best way to do that is to trade our best player, who is a Veteran Superstar, Mr. Stephen Jackson.  He is one of the better players in the entire NBA, he could make a huge difference for any team that wants to compete this year.  We, on the other hand, need young talent to build around CP3, so trading Jackson for a draft pick or two seems like the way to go.  Similarly, we also have a young star Point Guard, DJ Augustin, someone who will be a star for many years, but who we obviously won't need after this season, as he would just be a high priced backup to Paul.  If we could trade Augustin for a high pick we should totally do that deal.  We need a lot of help at a lot of positions, most notably Small Forward and Center, and there are some high quality players in this draft who could help us out.

For me, the top player in this year's draft certanily isn't Irving, it isn't even Williams, its Bismack Biyombo.  The guy has Superstar written all over him.  It might take a couple years before he gets really good in an overall sense, but the guy is a Defensive Superstar right now, he's got all the tools to be one of the best in the NBA, a true Franchise player, just like Chris Paul, who we will be signing once his contract expires at the end of the coming season.  Another player that Bobcat management and fans should be keeping their eye on is Jan Vesely. He's a future All Star, just loaded with talent.  Offense, defense, the guy's got everything you want, and he will bring instant improvement, give him a few years and he will be a real Superstar. 

A much riskier pick would be Jonas Valanciunas, who is a legitimate top 5 pick under normal conditions, as recent as just days ago ESPN expected him to be picked #4 overall.  However since then, it was revealed that through some bizarre thing that I honestly dont understand regarding an overseas basketball league contract, he isn't going to be allowed to play in the NBA this coming season.  So it would sort of be like drafting an injured player who you know can't play the first year.  He's super talented, he's a bigtime Center who could be totally dominant in a few years time, but in the here and now he can't even play at all.  So I wouldn't be nearly as comfortable drafing him with the #9 as I would the #19, but he's expected to get picked at #14 if he isn't picked before then, leaving myself, and the Bobcats, in a bit of a conundrum.  Normally I would say pass, since he can't play all year, but this is going to be a rebuilding year, we are one of the teams that could legitimately afford to draft a player like Jonas and not worry nearly as much about the downside.  It's going to be a tough call on draft night, one I trust Mr. Cho to make intelligently, after due dilligence and careful consideration.  Cho is the newest, and best, member of Michael Jordan's leadership team, he knows how to run a team better than pretty much anybody else in the NBA, having taken Oklahoma City from being a total joke, all the way to the Conference Finals (and who knows, maybe the Championship if they hadn't run into Dirk and company), if anybody can make the right call on Jonas I trust that Cho will.

So Biyombo, Vesely, and possibly Jonas are my top 3 favorites among those who have a legitmate shot at still being there when the Bobcats pick at #9.  But what about later picks?  I admit I'm less certain.  There's a lot of high quality dudes out there to choose from, and we really have to wait and see who gets picked and who is still around.  It would make things much easier if we could trade one of our players for a pick somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 or better, as any pick in the top 20 has the potential to yield a really quality player for our team, and of course the higher the pick the higher the quality.  I'd be willing to trade Jackson and Augustin for the #2 pick, it's well known that Minnesota has been shopping it.  Pick up Williams at #2, then pick one of my top 3 at #9, and then whoever we get at #19 will likely be a quality player also, and the icing on the draft cake.  We will have freed up a lot of sweet cap room to sign CP3 after this coming season, picked up a legitimate future Superstar in Williams to work with CP3, and probably added two other really quality players as well.  Should we do that deal, and follow this strategy, I strongly believe that we will have the best draft of any team in the NBA, even better than Cleveland, and we will be in a position to contend for an NBA Championship in as soon as two to three years. 


Monday, June 20, 2011

History Made Tonight on RAW

Tonight history was made on the special 3 hour Monday Night RAW, and it was made early!  It was announced that Brie Bella would defend the WWE Women's Championship against one of three possible opponents, and we the fans would be voting to determine which one it would be!  The choices were Eve, Kelly Kelly, and Beth Phoenix.  The vote came down, if I remember correctly, 51 percent for Kelly Kelly, 37 percent for Beth Phoenix, and about 12 percent for Eve.  A surprisingly close vote, but nonetheless your winner is Kelly Kelly!  And she made the most of her opportunity, in a great match she managed to coutner Brie's impressive counter of Kelly's Victory Roll attempt, esssentially ending up the way she intended all along from the Victory Roll itself, and scoring the 3 count, winning the Women's Championship for the very first time!  After the match an emotional Kelly Kelly thanked the fans in an in-ring interview segment with Jerry the King Lawler, it was indeed a very special moment for Kelly Kelly and her fans around the world!

Of course there was plenty of other action in this bigtime 3 hour RAW, perhaps the 'best of the rest' was that incredible in-ring segment that began with R Truth, he was hilarious as usual, then Christian came out and was funny too, and after that the Miz came out also!  They were all complaining about their losses last night (R Truth saying he 'got got by Little Jimmy' was especially hilarious), culminating in 'Riley!  Randy!  Riley!  Randy!  Little Jimmy!' it was off the charts hilarious, and ultimately led to a 6 man Tag Team match between the three of them and Riley, Orton, and Cena, for the Main Event!

Speaking of Main Events, it was determined that CM Punk would be the one to face John Cena at the next PPV, which is in CM Punk's home town, and on a sad note, CM Punk announced after he won the #1 Contendership that this Main Event match with Cena would be his last match in the WWE, he said his contract was up after July 17th, which is the date of the PPV, and that he was leaving, and he plans on leavnig as the World Champion.  Of course he won't be leaving as Champion, but he will definitely be leaving on a very high note, he's still one of the very best in the world as well as one of the most popular, and if he isn't going to come back to the WWE I certainly hope he comes back to TNA, where he did very well years ago before coming to the WWE.

Another entertaining segment was the 'dance off' featuring Vicki Guerrero!  Vicki danced first, then the fans got to decide which of the three RAW announcers would challenge her.  Incredibly, the fans actually voted for Michael Cole, narrowly over Jerry Lawler, with Booker T a distant third (something like 47 to 39 to 14), and Cole, after telling the crowd to 'sit back and watch perfection' proceeded to do a VERY hilarious dance routine, and then win the contest 'by getting the loudest boos', which earned him a slap from Vicki!  She yelled 'You cheated!  I'm the winner!' and walked off, the whole thing was just super hilarious.

Finally the Main Event, and the fans voted for the 'Elimination Match' stipulation.  As a result, Alex Riley was eliminated after a Skull Crushing Finale, Miz was eliminated by the FU, R Truth was eliminated by the RKO, Orton was eliminated by a Spear from Christian, then Cena eliminated Christian after Orton (who had already been eliminated) hit an RKO and Cena locked in the STFU and made Christian tap out.  The winner of the match, John Cena, and his team! 

So an incredible night of action, Kelly Kelly wins her first ever Women's Championship, R Truth was incredibly hilarious as usual, Christian actually scored a pinfall over Orton, and once again Cena emerges victorious in the Main Event!  A huge and super duper night of RAW action, can Impact Wrestling possibly hope to match or top this night of awesomeness?  We'll have to wait and see Thursday!  For now, two thumbs up for an awesome Monday Night RAW!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shocking Straw Poll Results!

In a surprising LANDSLIDE, Texas Congressman Ron Paul scores a HUGE victory in the Louisiana Straw Poll that Mitt Romney won just last year.  This strongly suggests that, despite the name-ID feuled polls the lamestream media likes to produce suggesting Romney is the front-runner, the engaged, rank and file members of the Republican Party are in fact quickly souring on Romney, while they're rapidly warming to Dr. Paul!  Other candidates with strong performances include John Huntsman, who had 382 votes, better than everyone else except for Ron's 612, and Michelle Bachmann, whose 191 votes was less than a third of Ron Paul's overwhelming total, but still better than most of the field so she can take some satisfaction in that.  Other notable totals include Herman Cain at 104, Mitt Romney at 74, which means he sank from first last year to FIFTH this year, as voters got to know him better.  Newt Gengrich scored 69 votes, Sarah Palin only 41, very disappointing indeed for the Governor.  Rick Santorum got 30 votes, and Tim Pawlenty 18.  So a HUGE weekend for Ron Paul, solidifying once again his status as a MAJOR contender for the GOP Nomination in 2012, and a very poor showing for Mitt Romney, a man who won this event last year, but scored a very weak 5th place this year.  It seems the grass roots are more interested in Ron Paul, and to a lesser extent Michelle Bachmann, than they are folks like Mitt Romney and Newt Gengrich, both of whom performed WAY better last year than this.  A huge straw poll event, and a huge win for Ron Paul, no doubt due in part to his stand on Poker, an issue he actually mentioned briefly during his Convention Speech on Friday, before today's vote.  He is the only major candidate who supports our right to play Poker legally, and that will definitely play a significant role in this campaign.  Looking forward to the Iowa Straw Poll in August, as well as many other major events in the 2012 Campaign Season! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Major Straw Poll This Weekend

For those of you who don't yet know, there's a major straw poll this weekend down in Louisiana.  It's the Republican Leadership Conference, which holds a Straw Poll each year.  Last year Mitt Romney won by ONE VOTE over Ron Paul, I think Sarah Palin came in 3rd.  Can Mitt win again, or will Ron gain some major campaign momentum by winning an event Mitt won last year?  Or will someone else altogether surprise them all, like Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain?  It's high drama on the Bayou!  Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog to find out the full results, which from what I understand will be available on Sunday, although actual voting has already begun, so if you want a say in who the next President is but you don't live in Iowa or New Hampshire, you might want to head down to this event and help your favorite candidate score some major Campaign Momentum!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Impact Wrestling Tonight!

Tonight is Thursday night, and that means it's Impact Wrestling night!  What will the fallout be from Mr. Kennendy, now Mr. Anderson, winning the TNA World Title from Sting at the PPV, and becoming a Two Time World Heavyweight Champion?  Bully Ray defeated AJ Styles in a Last Man Standing match at the PPV, what's next for the 20+ time Tag Team Champion?  And what's next for his brother Devon?  Now that Angelina has regained her memory of her past relationship with Winter and is 'on the same page' with her once again, she no longer needs the medicine that Winter had been giving her, and is able talk again!  Will we hear more from the 5 Time Women's Champion tonight, on her relationship with Winter, and/or her feud with Current and 7 Time Women's Champion Mickie James?  Will Mickie have anything to say about her PPV win over Angelina, or her post-match attack at the hands of Winter and Angelina?  What about Velvet Sky?  Will Angelina's former 'Beautiful People' partner have anything to say about wanting Angelina back from Winter?  Rumor has it that tonight Velvet will be teaming with Miss Tessmacher (Brooke from the WWE, former 'Extreme Expose' member with Kelly Kelly) to take on the Hot and Spicy Knockout Tag Team Champions Sarita and Rosita!  Will she be totally focused on that match, or will her mind still be on Angelina?  So many questions, I can't wait to find out the answers tonight, on Impact Wrestling!

Seamus is better than ever!

For those of us who are WWE fans, we know that one of the top Superstars in the WWE is a man named Seamus.  He's famous for several things, his Irish accent, his super-white skin, and of course his dominance in the ring.  As of late however, he had become rather un-dominant, inexplicably suffering a ton of losses and eventually getting sent to the B show, losing his spot on RAW altogether.  It was a dark time for the Celtic Warrior, and his legion of fans.  However, take heart good Seamus supporters one and all, for most recently things have begun to turn around fairly dramaticly!  He's started winning again, and against bigtime Superstars too, including wins against Christian and the Smackdown Champion Randy Orton!  He's been in the Title picture for a while now on Smackdown, it's not out of the question that he could win the Title by, or at, Summer Slam!  And just this week he was back on RAW, sadly as a guest this time, but he was in the ring one on one with RAW Superstar Santino.  Not a particularly impressive opponent to be sure, but he was especially dominant on this night.  Not only did he kick out of Santino's powerful 'Cobra' finisher, right at the count of 2 in fact, but he then hit his big Kick, and then proceeded to introduce an all new finisher to his already impressive arsenal of moves!  Very appropriately, he used the Clover, a Submission hold!  Santino was forced to quickly tap out to the Clover, hopefully the first of many Superstars who will fall victim to this powerful and very impressive move.  All hail the return to dominance of King Seamus!  Long live the King!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

3 Hour RAW

This week's RAW was a speciall 'All Star' RAW, and it was 3 hours long!  Hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin, the show was 'Awesome' right from the beginning, as the first man out of the curtain was The Miz!  A nice long opening speech preceeded the first appearance of Stone Cold himself, as the Miz called him out!  Austin came out and talked for a while, Miz left and then Alberto Del Rio came out, leading into the first match of the night, Del Rio vs Kane!  A good battle ensued, with Kane ultimately emerging victorious.  After the match Del Rio attacked Kane, but Big Show ran out faster than he perhaps had ever run in his life, you'd have to see it to believe it!  He chased Del Rio off and laid into his ring announcer, the guy who ran over his leg with the car, and totally laid him out!  Austin then announced that it was going to be Big Show vs Del Rio at the PPV Sunday!

Of course there were a lot of appearances from Stone Cold Steve Austin, he was the host of the show as well as the biggest star on it, but there were also a lot of appearances by R Truth as well.  He appeared so many times, and was so hilarious, that by the end of the night the fans were actually cheering him and chanting 'Little Jimmy!', that in and of itself was one of the most hilarious parts of the evening. 

Another heartwarming part of the show was the return of Piper's Pit!  It's always great to see WWE Hall of Famer and cancer survivor Rowdy Roddy Piper on Monday Night RAW.  And this Piper's Pit featured The Miz and Alex Riley!  After some high quality back and forth, Riley challenged the Miz to face Piper one on one, and before he could answer, Stone Cold announced on the Titan Tron that he was making the match, and appointing Riley as the special guest referee!  After a commercial break, Riley had the referee shirt on, and we actually did have a brief little match between the two, it was pretty good!  Ultimately Miz and Riley got to fighting, and Roddy rolled up the Miz from behind for the win!  An incredible night for Hot Rod, and definitely a feel good moment for everybody. 

Speaking of a feel good moment, there was a segment featuring the Bella Twins and Kelly Kelly on The Price Is Right, with Libertarian Superstar and Ron Paul supporter Drew Carey!  Following that fun segment, we had a 7 on 7 Divas match, featuring none other than AJ and Kaitlyn!  For those who didn't see, or don't remember, WWE NXT Season 3, AJ and Kaitlyn were two of the longest lasting Superstars on that show, and their chemestry was simply off the charts, I literally have never seen any two people with as much chemestry as those two, and that was on display again this week, albeit in a relatively small way since neither of them actually made it into the match.  The only ones who actually wrestled were Kelly Kelly and Rosa Mendez, Kelly ultimately getting the win for her team.  After the match the winning Diva team, along with former Divas Champion Eve Torres, performed a 'tribute to Broadway' dance routine!

The main event featured CM Punk vs John Cena.  Sadly we're still close to losing CM Punk, he still hasn't signed a new contract and his current one doesn't have much time left.  They're going all out to re-sign him though, including featuring him in this Main Event match against the Champ, John Cena, a match he WON!  After the match R Truth took the Championship belt and held it up, saying that he was going to become the WWE Champion at the PPV.  While that certainly doesn't seem likely, it would no doubt be highly entertaining, as R Truth has been simply incredible lately, SO much better than his days in TNA, and his days in the WWE before his heel turn. 

So Monday night's 3 Hour All Star RAW was pretty awesome, super fun, highly entertaining, and filled with all sorts of coolness!  It definitely gets two thumbs up from the Gladiator Blog! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Massive amount of news!

Let's start in the NBA, where Dirk Nowitsky and the Dallas Mavericks have won the NBA Championship!  They crushed the Miami Heat in Game 6, which was held in Miami, to close out the series 4 games to 2, winning the final 3 games of the series after falling behind 2 with a painful loss on their own home court in Game 3.  It was definitely a history making series win, and it means that Labron James has once again failed to win the big one.

On the wrestling front, the TNA PPV was last night, and in an incredible back and forth match, Mickie James defended her Knockouts Championship against the powerful challenge of Angelina Love with Winter at ringside.  Before the match Angelina told Winter she doesn't need the memory pills anymore, she remembers their previous time together now, and they're 'on the same page'.  Winter was happy to note that now they're finally 'really' together, but ultimately despite their being on the same page, and Winter repeatedly interfering in the match, Mickie was too powerful an opponent to overcome.  The greatest and most dominant Women's Champion of all time, having won the Women's Championship 7 times now, Mickie traded finishers with Angelina, she hit the Mick Kick but Winter put Angelina's foot on the ropes, then Angelina hit her own finishing kick, the Botox Injection, but Mickie got her hand on the ropes, and kept it there despite Winter trying to push it off.  Ultimately it was a Mickie-D-T that finally finished the match in Mickie's favor.  After the match Winter and Angelina laid Mickie out, so the feud is still going strong despite Mickie's impressive Title Defense last night.  Sting didn't fare as well under similar circumstances, as Mr. Anderson won after Eric Bischoff interfered in the match, Mr. Anderson is now a 2 Time World Champion.

Finally I'd like to close with more Election 2012 news, as there are yet more Iowa endorsements for Ron Paul to mention.  Earlier today, Iowa GOP Central Committeeman Jeremiah Johnson, and Debuque Tea Party Organizer Jeff Leucke, became the latest prominent Iowans to officially back Ron Paul's Presidential Campaign.  That was before tonight's debate, which Ron dominated, scoring another impressive performance, this time in New Hampshire, the previous debate having taken place in South Carolina.  There will be an Iowa debate in August, shortly before the critically important Straw Poll vote out there.  Tonight's debate was won handily by Ron, who is winning both the Fox News and CNN online polls.  Ron is the clear front-runner to win the Iowa Straw Poll right now, after Mitt Romney announced he was giving up and wouldn't even compete in it.  Ron would probably have beaten Mitt even if he had competed in it, which of course explains why Romney dropped out of it. 

Stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more major news coverage, and super cool information!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dallas One Win Away

After their dramatic victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks are just one win away from completing their run for a Championship!  Dirk Nowitsky may be one of the greatest players of all time, and it's somebody that most fans didn't know much, if anything, about before this year's playoffs, what a feel good story!  He's had a LOT of help along the way in the Finals also, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and perhaps most of all, particularly in the last two games, Tyson Chandler.  Tyson Chandler is a player that wasn't good enough for the Charlotte Bobcats to keep around...that's the Carlotte Bobcats, a team that didn't even make the playoffs.  And for the first part of this series you could certainly see why they cut him, he didn't do much.  But these last two games, he's really done what he should've been able to do all along, use his size to great advantage.  Ironicly, if he'd been playing up to his potential all year he probably would've never left Charlotte, so him finding his game this late actually served him, and the Mavericks, very well.  If Dallas wins the Championship, of course Dirk will get the biggest share of the credit, and deservedly so, but Tyson Chandler may be the second most important player on this team, and when you're on a team with folks like Kidd and Terry, that's really saying something.  Game 6 in Miami is going to be HUGE, I'm thinking it could be the highest rated game in NBA history.  Certainly it's a game I'm looking forward to! 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Major Campaign 2012 News!

There's so much news I don't know where to begin!  First, the bad news.  In the wake of his announcement, it seems that Mitt Romney is opening up a bit of lead on the other contenders, actually getting to 30 percent of the vote in one poll if Sarah Palin doesn't run.  But speaking of Sarah Palin, it seems that she's been on the receiving end of an attack from Michelle Bachmann's new Campaign head, Ed Rollins!  Why was Ed Rollins first act as chief of her campaign, to go out and attack Sarah Palin in an interview?  That of course has led to a bit of a feud between the two camps.  Of course ultimately Michelle Bachmann is another Gary Johnson.  Gary would've done well if Ron Paul hadn't run, but since Ron is running there's just no reason for anybody to support Gary.  So it is with Michelle Bachmann, she no doubt could do well if Sarah Palin doesn't run, but if Palin does run then there's no reason for anybdoy to support Bachmann, and she will do extremely poorly.  Granted there was a poll on Bill O'Reilly last night showing her ahead of Palin 60-40 in a head to head contest, but that's an online poll taken before Sarah Palin got in.  If she gets in, those numbers would change DRAMATICLY. 

On a happier 2012 front, it seems the Ron Paul campaign keeps picking up steam!  He recently got another major endorsement in Iowa, another State Representative has endorsed Ron's candidacy, this time Freshman State Rep Kim Pearson!  A fellow Tea Partier, she won a VERY tough race last go-round, and now she's supporting Ron Paul for President!  For all of you Iowa readers, watch that name, Kim Pearson, you might be seeing it for Senator or Governor one day, and if so, please remember to give her your full support!  That's not all the Ron Paul news though, because he also picked up a major endorsement in New Hampshire as well!  State Senator Jim Forsythe has not only endorsed Ron Paul for President, he's actually agreed to be the Chairman of Ron's New Hampshire Campaign!  Of course New Hampshire's legislature is a citizen-legislature, so they have lots and lots of free time, State Senators from other states might be too busy to do something like that, but not in New Hampshire!  This is a HUGE plus for Doctor Paul, so now his Iowa and New Hampshire campaigns are really starting to take off!  Stay tuned for more 2012 updates!

Amazing Game 4

Game 4 of the NBA Finals was quite simply amazing.  Dallas, as usual, got off to a good start and proceeded to waste that on shoddy defense.  It was a different kind of bad defense this time though, as you recall in game 3 they repeatedly allowed Miami to simply drive and dunk or lay it up for tons of free points in the first quarter, keeping Miami close and allowing them to eventually build a huge second quarter lead.  This time they did a much better job of stopping Miami from just having free points by driving and dunking or laying it in, but they gave up an ASTOUNDING amount of offensive rebounds, nine in the first quarter alone.  Simply unfathomable, so Miami managed to end the first quarter tied despite shooting less than 30 percent from the field, while Dallas shot around 50 percent.  Its amazing the creative ways Dallas can find to give away points like they're a high school team instead of an NBA team.  Dallas played relatively poorly in the second and third quarters, ending them down by 2 and 4 respectively.  Its worth noting that Dirk Nowitsky, who was having a very bad game, was quite sick, he could barely talk, he had a high fever, he was very much not well.  Of course we all remember MJ playing in the Finals with the Flu and scoring a ton of points, but clearly Dirk, especially when he's sick, is no MJ. 

The 4th quarter began the same way the 2nd quarter did, with Dallas giving up a bunch of points without scoring any themselves, quickly going from 4 down to 9 down, much like they went from tied to 7 down less than 2 minutes into the second quarter.  The early parts of 4th quarters have been REALLY awful for Dallas in this series, and it was no different in this game.  Eventually they settled into a medium-high single digit defecit for a while, as the time ticked away.  As the game progressed toward its ultimate conclusion, Dallas finally started getting some offense going, cutting into the defecit, and actually getting some stops as well.  Thanks to the Miami coach inexplicably not calling timeout during a key Dallas run, they were actually able to come ALL the way back, AND take the lead!  A lead they were able to get up to 3 points with about half a minute to go, but then Miami had a very long pass that resulted in Wade getting fouled and going to the FT line, where he cut the lead back to 1.  There was about a six second difference between the shot clock and the game clock, and Dirk was standing there holding the ball.  He could've held it longer than he did, but he decided to drive on the Miami fellow guarding him, and despite his sickness, and the poor game he'd been having, he made a BIGTIME layup with about 14 seconds left! 

Miami called a timeout, and it seemed they would go for a 3 point shot to tie, but instead Wade drove and got an easy basket with 9 seconds left.  Dallas took their final timeout, advancing the ball, and then they inbounded it in such a way that they were able to run off a couple seconds before anybdoy could reach the guy to foul him.  Dallas then hit two CLUTCH Free Throws, extending the lead back to 3 with 6.7 seconds left.  Miami called its final timeout and advanced the ball, and now seemed like a great time to just foul somebody, and make sure Miami couldnt tie the score, since they couldn't advance the ball again, being out of timeouts.  Instead Dallas chose to play defense, Wade received the inbound pass but stumbled and lost the ball, he recovered it and passed to a teammate, Miller, who was probably the LAST guy that Miami wanted to shoot their last shot, but with about 3 seconds left thats exactly what he did.  I don't think the ball even hit the rim, if it did it BARELY did, and the time ran out, an amazing and glorious victory for the Dallas Mavericks! 

What an incredible game, and it sets up a VERY critical Game 5 in Dallas on Thursday night.  Sadly its up against Impact Wrestling, so I'll be forced to go back and forth like I did last week.  It's a pivotal game, just as Dallas had to win Game 4, they have to win Game 5 just about as badly.  Game 6, and if necessary Game 7, will be in Miami, so Dallas will have to win another game in Miami in order to win this series, but if they lose game 5 they'd have to win TWO STRAIGHT games in Miami, quite the daunting task indeed.  Much better to just win Game 5 at home and then win Game 6 in Miami, ending the series right there.  Yeah, let's just do that :) .

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

You're Welcome General Motors

After we the Taxpayers bailed out the incompetent leadership of General Motors, as well as other banks and car people, hundreds and hundreds of billions in sweet bailout moeny for the fat cats and nothing for the regular folks who lost their jobs and their homes, it's nice to see that the head of GM is so grateful for the money that Bush and Obama gave to him, money they got from us.  It seems the head of GM has decided to show his appreciation by lowering the price and raising the quality of GM cars.....I'm kidding of course, that's something a good company leader would do.  This guy has a totally different idea, he's showing his appreciation for all our money, by calling on Congress to raise Gas Taxes by 50 cents to a Dollar a Gallon!  What a great guy this fellow is!  It seems he wants to thank us for all the money that Congress and the White House took from us to give to GM, by asking Obama and Congress to take even MORE of our money!  What a fantastic thank you gift!  What other awesome thank you gifts could this fellow give us?  Cars that explode?  Maybe cars that won't go above 20 miles per hour?  Oh I'm sure this guy can think of something, he's a brilliant and generous leader!  So thank you to General Motors, and their fantastic leader who was of course appointed by one of Obama's buddies!  His economic ideas are just as awesome as Obama's are, a feat that's no doubt hard to achieve, but clearly he is up to the task!  In fact, maybe we could put this guy in charge of Health Care too, another aspect of the economy that Americans clearly don't pay enough for yet.  More taxes = more fun, at for far-left folks like this guy! 

Monday, June 06, 2011

Massive Ron Paul Fundraising

For the second time in this election cycle alone, Ron Paul scored big with a 'Money Bomb'.  A money bomb is a 1 day fundraising event in which people 'bomb' the campaign with money, you may recall recently Congressman Bachmann raised around 200K on her money bomb day, by contrast Ron Paul raised 1.1 Million dollars yesterday.  During the previous campaign, late in 2007 the Ron Paul campaign held the first ever 'money bomb', in which it raised over 6 million dollars in a single day, setting a record for fundraising in one day.  Since then, other campaigns have begun employing money bombs also, to varying degrees of success.  Earlier this year, on the day of the SC Debate, the Ron Paul campaign held a money bomb and raised over a million dollars then also.  There are many more money bombs planned throughout the year, the next one being July 4th.  Despite news reports of Mitt Romney being the big moeny candidate, and that he raised 10 million dollars in one day, the reality is he didn't actually raise 10 million dollars in cash, he raised 10 million dollars in Pledges.  A money bomb, on the other hand, brings in actual campaign cash, money in the bank that can be used immediately for the campaign.  Which is more valuable, a million dollars in the bank, or 10 million dollars in pledges?  You can judge that for yourself, but I'm sure that Ron Paul is quite a bit happier to have his moeny in the bank than Mitt Romney is with having 'pledged' money. 

Today's money bomb money will be a huge help as Ron prepares go toe to toe with Mitt and the others in the crucial Iowa Straw Poll, which is held in August.  That straw poll will go a long ways in separating the Pretenders from the Contenders.  In 2007 Ron Paul was polling at about 1 percent in Iowa, but got 10 percent in the Iowa Straw Poll, good enough for 4th place.  That year the Fox News Channel reported, and I promise you I'm not making this up as insane as it sounds, the results for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th place.  So despite unprecented media bias against his campaign, he greatly overperformed his current standing in the polls at the time, and in fact went on to score another 10 percent showing during the Iowa Caucuses themselves.  This year Ron is at 8 percent in the most recent Iowa poll, with Romney at 21, and Sarah Palin and Herman Cain tied with 15 each.  So the field is wide open, and there's no reason why Ron can't finish either first or a strong second.  Between now and the Straw Poll Ron's campaign has to keep building support, and building infrastructure.  Iowa, being a Caucus state, simply cannot be won by a campaign without boots on the ground.  Ron's campaign is strong and growing in Iowa, he and Romney will likely be the two best organized candidates in Iowa come Straw Poll time, and its definitely possible that Ron's campaign will be the very best of the bunch.  So the bottom line for now is, another bigtime fundraising day for the Paul campaign, a day that will help his already strong Iowa campaign organization get even stronger!  

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Impact Wretling Review

This week's Impact Wrestling was just all kinds of awesome.  We started the show with some amazing backstage fighting between Velvet Sky and ODB.  The brawl eventually spilled out into the main part of the arena, ODB controlling most of the action.  Multiple times dudes try to break it up, only for ODB to lay them out.  Eventually ODB drags Velvet into the ring, strips her down to her bra and panties, and chokes her out with her clothes, eventually counting her own 3-count, and walking away the 'winner'.  Awesome action, and a super fun way to start the show, two bigtime Knockouts in bigtime brawling action!

It was cool, as always, to see Mr Anderson impersonating Sting, he is so talented and he honestly does look a LOT like Sting back in the day.  He had a backstage segment with Eric Young, which led eventually to a match between Mr Anderson as Sting, vs Eric Young as the Great Muta.  Eric Young actually wins the match after using the Green Mist, in the true style of the Great Muta himself, something that truly never gets old!

Of course the highlight of the show, as is often the case, is the ongoing storyline with Angelina and Winter, also known as Winterlina.  For the first time in a long time, Angelina actually spoke this week, and she was fantastic!  She and Winter were in the back, Winter actually began the conversation, upset that Mickie beat her last week and caused her to bleed.  She's telling Angelina that she needs to avenge her, getting more and more worked up until Angelina suddenly puts her finger on Winter's lips, and proceeds to say her first words in quite some time.  She talks about how she's starting to understand how Winter feels, she says that they must become royalty, and that she wants return to a time when it was just the two of them, noone standing in their way.  She dedicates her upcoming victory to Winter, takes her hand and they walk off together.  It was awesome, it was romantic, it was powerful, and it was certainly dramatic!

Angelina's match this week was against Miss Tessmacher, who has certainly come a long way from her days as Brooke in the 'Extreme Expose' in the WWE.  With Mickie and Tara, as well as so many other super-talented Knockouts to work with, she's become quite the talented wrestler in her own right!  The match was fantastic, lots of great back and forth action, with Angelina ultimately getting the win via some kind of backbreaker style move.  After the match Winter signaled for Angleina to put Miss Tessmacher in that way cool submission hold that she uses, and she does so, ultimately knocking her out cold.  Winterlina celebrates in the ring after another bigtime victory!

The Main Event was a Tag Team match, featuring Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner vs Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan.  Scott Steiner ultimately got the win, but the big news was what happened after the match.  Karen had interfered, and she, Kurt, and Jeff were all going out of camera range.  When the cameras finally got to them, Karen had fallen down a bunch of stairs, and was totally laid out!  She ended up getting taken out in an ambulance, with Kurt saying to Jeff that this was all his fault.  Who knows what exactly happened to cause Karen to fall down those stairs?  Perhaps we'll find out more next week!

So an amazingly awesome and super cool night of Impact Wrestling action, tons of fun, great storylines, awesome wrestling, bigtime Superstars, it's a great time to be an Impact Wrestling fan!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Greatest Comeback of All Time!

Game 2 of the NBA Finals was a seesaw battle, lots of ups and downs, but in the end it was Dirk Nowitsky leading what has to be the greatest comeback in the NBA Finals of all time!  With about 5 or 6 minutes to go, Dallas had just given up 13 straight points, and trailed by 15.  It seemed that they were about to head back to Dallas trailing 2 games to 0, looking like a team that was just too old or simply too pathetic to perform in the 4th quarter.  But that, as it turns out happily, was just an illusion, as Dallas quickly ran off 8 straight points to cut the lead to 7.  A generous foul call gave Labron two free throws, that he made to extend the lead to nine, before Dallas hit a big 3 ball to cut the lead to a half a dozen.  Dallas continued to whittle the lead down thanks to big D and scoring at the other end.  Eventually they got it down to 2 with under 2 minutes to go, and Miami had a LOOONG posession, thanks to Dallas' repeated failure to rebound Labron James misses.  Eventually somehow they managed to get the ball back on a 3 on 1 break, which they converted to tie the score!  Now under a minute to go, Miami misses again, and Dallas has the chance for a 2 for 1.  They pass on that, taking their time and that resulted in an open 3 ball for Mr Dirk which he promptly DRAINS to give Dallas its first lead in like FOREVER, a 3 point lead with 26.7 seconds to go! 

Miami took their final timeout, and then received a HUUUGE gift, as Jason Terry inexplicably leaves Chalmers, the man he was supposed to guard, to double team Wade....ON AN INBOUNDS PASS PLAY, when Wade didn't even have the ball!  This gave Miami the chance to simply throw the ball in to the all-alone Chalmers, who hit the wide open 3 and tied the score with 24.5 seconds still left.  The horrors!  Dallas then called their own final timeout, and began milking the clock.  With about 10 seconds or so, Kidd got the ball to the only man on the court who mattered, Mr Dirk Nowitsky.  He said after the game he was anticipating being fouled, since Miami still had a foul to give, but apparently Miami forgot or something, as they simply played him straight up with Bosh, who got TAKEN TO SCHOOL, Dirk blew past him and laid it up with THE LEFT HAND BABY!!  That gave Dallas a 2 point lead with under 4 seconds to go, and Miami had no timeouts so they had to push it quickly.  Wade actually got a mighty decent look all things considered, but in the end it was no good, and the Dallas Mavericks had scored their greatest victory of all time, and the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history!  I can't wait for Game 3 in Dallas on Sunday evening!  Oh baby what a series!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Shocking New Iowa Poll

A new poll from the First Caucus State of Iowa was just released today, and it has some very shocking numbers.  First, the not-shocking part is that Establishment favorite Mitt Romney continues to hold a narrow lead, with 21 percent of the vote.  However while it also isn't surprising that Sarah Palin is in second with 15 percent, what is absolutely shocking is that she is tied for second with Herman Cain!  The former head of Godfather's Pizza has zoomed up to 15 percent in Iowa, totally shocking.  Newt Gingrich is in 4th, still with 12 percent of the vote despite his scandals and huge sleaze factor, Michelle Bachmann has climbed into the double digits, scoring a 5th place showing with 11 percent of the vote, Tim Pawlenty also has double digits now in 6th place with 10 percent, Ron Paul sadly is all the way back in 7th place in this poll with just 8 percent of the vote, ahead of only John Huntsman, who has 0 percent (he literally only got 1 vote in the entire polling sample). 

This poll tells us a lot of things, first of course that name recognition and being the Establishment's Man is still good for first place in Iowa, at least right now, and it also shows that Governor Palin is still a major force in Iowa politics, despite having done virtually nothing to boost her standing there.  However what's much more interesting about this poll is how the lesser known Conservatives are doing, particularly Mr Herman Cain.  As a successful Businessman and cancer survivor, Herman Cain brings powerful leadership skills to the table.  He seems to have a strong Conservative resume as well, no doubt that especially helps in a state like Iowa.  The fact is that Cain has very little money, and is zooming up pretty much entirely due to the strength of his South Carolina Debate performance, and subsequent interviews.  I don't know much about the man, but from what little I do know he seems like a very genuine and likable fellow, somebody who is extremely qualified and very trustworthy.  I look forward to seeing and hearing more from this excellent candidate.

Another part of the poll that might be a bit surprising is that Newt Gingrich still somehow has 12 percent of the vote, I guess thats entirely due to name recognition, because he's alienated so many people at this point its a wonder he's even still in the race.  Michelle Bachmann continues to climb in the poll, she's up to 11 percent, and she's one of those candidates who would probably benefit most should Newt continue to sink.  Tim Pawlenty is somehow at 10 percent despite basicly being a bland, boring nobody.  And Ron Paul does surprisingly poorly in this poll, the only major candidate to not be in the double digits, albeit he's close at 8 percent.  Certainly you could say that he's within the margin of error for 4th place, so many candidates are packed so close together, and of course if you looked at Ron Paul this time in 2007 he was at about 1 percent in Iowa, and still managed to get 10 percent of the vote in both the Ames Straw Poll and on Caucus Night.  His starting point this time around is thus eight times stronger, and by that logic he will finish on Caucus night with 80 percent of the vote....OK maybe not :) .  But this much stronger starting point definitely gives him a much better shot at winning the Caucuses, and he's also much stronger on the ground this time around in advance of the critical Ames Straw Poll in August , which could go a very long way toward making Ron the man to beat come Caucus night. 

So some major developments in the 2012 Presidential Race, stay tuned to the Gladiator Blog for more coverage of Election 2012!