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Old 06-12-2017, 03:26 AM
DKW is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 2,964
Oh, before I forget...there was one positive thing to come out of it, and it can be summed up in four words: Jessie Graff, Stage 2.

First off, let me remind you...because this really cannot be emphasized too much...that this is a never-married woman who isn't extraordinarily rich, has no known love interests, has no children, has never expressed any desire to have children, has a successful career in a highly physical and largely male-dominated field, doesn't care for a disabled or special-needs person, and has never, ever released a sex video. She should be a goddam pariah. But because she's so dominant and become such an inspiration to girls, she's become impossible to ignore. You can bet that NBC desperately wanted a new alpha female to take the reins after Kacy Catanzaro failed to ever follow up on her One Shining Moment (even more so after she broke up with Brent Steffensen, but that's another story), and for Graff to soar to the top like she did must have been a blessing. Going into USA vs. The World 3, she was on top of the word, a superstar, a heroine, a champion.

And then she goes out on the first obstacle of her Stage 1 run.

For NBC, and those bright-eyed girls, and all the other female NW contenders, and everyone who put so much of their hopes and dreams on her, that had to be like a bullet to the gut. Worse, they all knew what was coming on social media: Thousands and thousands and thousands of crowing, bleating posts from worthless wastes of flesh who couldn't clear Quintuple Steps with a gun to their heads about how Graff was overrated and she was going to go in the tank like Catanzaro and women suck.

Somehow, you had to sense that Drew Dreschel knew this, and that, as a man who actually accomplished things in life, it disgusted him. So he made the call and gives up his spot to her in Stage 2.

Think about that for a while. Sasuke, like many other contests of its ilk in Japan, isn't supposed to give any second chances. That's part of its appeal. NW hasn't held to the letter of this, of course, but the overall principle still applies. And Dreschel defies it. Knowing that if Graff messes up again, it's not only going to intensify the crapstorm, but he's going to catch it as well. Knowing firsthand how unforgiving Stage 2 is. Knowing that even a strong woman is going to be at something of a disadvantage in an upper body-intensive run. None of it matters to him. NW needs a bright lady, Graff is it, and she will get her redemption.

In all honesty, just getting through Giant Ring Swing fast enough probably would've been enough to make her night a wash. There would be the predictable blather about how she was lucky her opponents were such bums but in the end she still put 2 points on the board, oh whatever it's not like this stupid exhibition matters anyway. But she did better than that. Much, much better. Of course, it's wasn't a true Stage 2 clear because there was no time limit and she didn't have to complete Stage 1 first, but that's kinda like saying that Tiger Woods' four consecutive majors wasn't a Grand Slam because didn't happen in the same calendar year. Still pretty damn impressive, is what I'm saying.

The rest is history. Stage 1 blunder reduced to a footnote. Aside from a few pathetic "Men are still stronger!" dead-enders on YouTube, the gloaters and naysayers are silent. Graff's lock on the crown is stronger than ever, and she goes into the next NW a triumphant conqueror.

Was kinda hoping Meagan Martin would also continue improving and turn this into a rivalry, but I'll take what I can get.