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Old 07-12-2016, 04:35 PM
DKW is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Hawaii
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To recap: I never claimed for a second that ANW wasn't a legitimate sport. Heck, I wouldn't call Sasuke a legitimate sport, and it's a helluva lot closer to it than ANW. I'm saying that it could be handled better, run better, bigger, wider, grander. I feel much the same way about Dancing With The Stars, and its bogusness was blindingly obvious from almost day one.

Oh, and it's Tiana Webberley. Why do I keep saying Jennifer Tavernier.

Before I get into the first Cityfinal, just for fun I'd like to recap all the stories NBC foisted upon us. As I've mentioned before, this is an awkward time for them, being after first quallies and before the wildcards, meaning they have absolutely no say in who's competing. This, as you might imagine, leads to some prety-ty big reaches, and tonight was no exception. In order:

Ben Antoine - He has a day job! And wears Clark Kent glasses, whatever the hell that means! Boy, he's not like Isaac Caldiero at all!
Alan Connealy - He's "funny" in his submission videos! And he waxed his chest! Which is kinda ironic since in ANW you want to avoid swimming! I'm pretty sure that was supposed to be funny!
Scott Wilson - He teaches chess! Which is a lot like ANW because...um...uhhhh...it has words that get repeated over and over.
Natalie Duran - 1. A YouTube sensation 2. really disappointed she didn't beeh daah waww 3. and trained in Europe for a bit. All of which adds up to...something, dammit.
Adam Rayl - He has a day job! And ate lots of peebeeanjay while waiting in the walk-on line! Maybe if he also had Pom Wonderful it would've been a more balanced diet?
Brian Kretch - Owww! (Oh, side note, was I the only one a little disturbed by Akbar Gbajabiamila's really tasteless comment about him possibly getting injured again? This isn't the first time, either.)
Chris Workman - His family moved to Las Vegas, so he wants to do well enough to make it to Vegas. So his family can watch him. Um...yay?
Grant McCartney - He opened a skate park in India! (Okay, I admit that's pretty cool, but did we really need a whole profile segment just for that?)
Jessie Graff - Glad she's getting her due (and man, those are some killer abs!), but they still haven't done the story I really want to hear...the injury that kept her out of 2014 and allowed Kacy Catanzaro to be the first woman to complete a Cityfinals, and her long struggle to overtake her. C'mon, a legitimate rivalry between two of the stars of the show, how could anyone miss that?
Gabe Hurtado - "Because my family lost everything in a fire, I've decided to enter a competition where I'll have next to no chance of making a damn cent!"
David "Flip" Rodriguez - Ugh...definite mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, it takes real guts to bare one's soul about such a horrifying past. On the other hand...there's next to no chance that there will ever be any justice, which is more than a bit disheartening. And of course, count on the usual conspiracy nut BS about how he's just making it up and he's a drama queen blah blah blah etc. This is one of those heavy subjects that I really feel would be better handled in a special episode; I don't like thinking about the depths the dregs of humanity can sink to when I'm watching what's supposed to be an exciting contest. (Also, what does this have to do with masks?)
Josh Levin - This is where NBC hit the jackpot. A legit star, a very powerful athlete, possibly an outright favorite...and he has a sick mentor to jerk those tears. The fact that he finished the course meant that they could cram even more gratuitous cutaways than they normally would have.
Kevin Bull - "Damn you, Invisible Ladder! Damn you to Hell!"

Not exactly the Olympics, is it? I did get a sense that one of the motivations for leaving so many competitors in the cold during first quallies was that they were saving their stories for this round, but even then there were always going to be slim pickings.

As for the actual Cityfinal. I was actually a little surprised in how it turned out. I thought that tweaking Tick Tock, Escalator, and Ring Jump would cause problems, but only 5 went out that early. I knew The Wedge would be tricky, but I didn't expect it to become the be-all end-all course killer that Cannonball Alley was. To reiterate, I do not like this. The entire course should matter to some extent; putting in one killer task changes the paradigm from "finish" to "get as fast as you can to a certain point". This does not generally lead to an exciting contest. The worst part is that we don't get to see just how brutal the later tasks really are. Helix Hang had the potential to be a harsh, merciless test, and now we'll never know. And hey, do you really want almost no one to reach Invisible Ladder and deny the chance for Iseman and Gbajabiamila to scream their heads off for ten minutes?

As for why the Wedge was so painful, I think it was one of those obstacles that just wasn't tested enough. The instability of the bar or the length to the landing platform weren't especially murderous, but put them together and you have an absolute monster. The crew have erred on the side of too safe a few times (I remember that one Denver qually where something like 38 competitors finished the course), and now it looks like the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Will be interesting to see if this happens in other Cityfinals. I hope not.

And because I need some positive note...man, did Jessie Graff kick butt or what? Please not that her time through Salmon Ladder was well behind Ben Melick (4:44.16), meaning she had to clear an obstacle that TEN MEN before her had failed miserably on. And. She. Did. One of the most clutch performances I have ever seen from anyone on this show, male or female. It's a damn shame that the difficulty of Cityfinals ramped up so much just as she was coming back from injury, and there's no realistic chance of her ever hitting a buzzer, but being able to rock a city and an event like this has to be the next best thing. Now all she has to do is get farther than Meagan Martin in Stage 1 and she will definitely be the #1 woman in ANW!