Cheers, mates! The Iron Fists League has returned after its 98th hiatus and, like a bad penny, so have I!
And thank heavens that another season is upon us as now, finally, the league can wipe away the Stain of Shame – that banner reading TEAM FIST, 2015 IFL CHAMPIONS – clouding it for the past two years.
Alongside Captain Futility & Friends, we’ve got some veteran teams returning this season while others have rebranded or condensed/restructured in the hopes of turning the tide of fortune in their favour. SPOLIER ALERT: It’s not working out so far. Just ask Team Dirty and Real Rhydin as they’ve lost 3 matches combined by a single point each, just in the first two weeks of the season.
For those of you new to the league or who’ve forgotten how this works (and how dare you forget!), here’s a quick reminder of how I do this. Each week, I’ll highlight 4 of the best performances (Four Up!) and four of the worst (Four Down!). Guess which part of the list you’d rather be mentioned?
This week, I’m combining results from Weeks 1 and Week 2 because, well, I just got back from holiday and I’m not being paid by the word this time because the editors are all bloody cheap wankers. And I mean that in the kindest way.
Time for the fun to begin so sit back, grab a pint and enjoy!
Claire Gallows (Team Dirty, 5-0 Crutch win in 7) & Salvador Delahada (Deathcake, 5-0 Crutch win in 7) – Claire and Sal kick and punch their seasons off to bang-up starts! Well done to them and bollocks to their opponents. Morgan Chae did the so-called Chae Dynasty no favours with this performance, bringing his lifetime regular season record to a whopping 1-3 (-3.25 PDPB). And then there’s Gren Blockman who, apparently, hasn’t been able to shake off the infamous Team Fist Taint…with a six-bout losing streak (eight in a row if we count playoffs and Powerhouse Party) over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, this is the second time Tara’s love interest has dropped the opening bout of the season with a 0-5 loss. NOTE TO ALL TEAM CAPTAINS: Don’t put Gren out there in Week 1 ever again.
Team Fist (30-12 Week 2 Match Win over Deathcake) – You’ve no idea how much it pains me to write this entry but I must give credit where credit is due. Captain Futility somehow finagled a victory here, sending Deathcake to its first ever regular season loss (DCK lost in the 2015 Semi-Finals to Dirty: Black after a 7-0 regular season record). TMF was apparently amped for this matchup with Darik taking a 5-2 in over Rekah in the Iron Fist bout, Blondie besting Sal 5-2 in the Push and Captain Futility somehow dominating Cas 5-1 in the Crutch. A 3-5 Anchor loss by Dean Reighland to Aurora was the only blemish on the week. Is the momentum sustainable for Team Fist Nation? Nope, no chance in hell. Remember, as written in the Book of Talvitie, Chapter 1, Verse 1: Captain Futility is bloody awful and so is Team Fist. Forever and ever. Amen.
Melanie Rostol (Great of Strength, 5-1 Iron Fist win in 10) – Terry King’s better than this but, well, she did lose 3-5 to Captain Futility in the 2015 Finals and maybe she’s still got Mortification Hangover. 6 of her 8 IFL bouts have been in the Iron Fist and she’s won 4 of them, losing to Captain Futility and now, Melanie Rostol. For Melanie’s part, although she has a 7-8 regular season record and has never won a bout with a score better than 5-3, she put the hurt on Terry in this one like she never has before. To pour more salt in the wound, the dominating victory allowed GOS to take the week with a 22-21 win and open the season with a 1-0 record.
Tahlia Faras (Real Rhydin, 5-2 Iron Fist win in 9) – Props to Tahlia, ranked Trainee, for an outstanding win in her very first IFL bout. Dropped right into the Iron Fist pressure cooker, she responded with a crushing win over KC. Opening with a 3-0 lead after 4 rounds, Tahlia let KC back in the match with two unanswered points before putting things away in Rounds 8 and 9. Assuming she’s not a one-week wonder, Real Rhydin might have found itself another dominating force!
Morgan Chae (Chae Dynasty, 0-5 Crutch loss in 7) & Gren Blockman (Real Rhydin, 0-5 Crutch loss in 7) – I’m not wasting any more ink on these two rubbish performances. You already read about how they were ground up and spit out. Let’s move on.
Team Dirty (21-22 Week 1 Match Loss to Chae Dynasty; 21-22 Week 2 Match Loss to Real Rhydin – Poor luck? Sure. Call it that. Call it bad captaining. Call it unfortunate. Call it a fluke. Call it whatever the bloody hell you like. At the end of the day, this iteration of Team Dirty has proven it doesn’t have any clutch fighters. The only thing we can count on them doing, apparently, is teasing their fans with a whole lot of close-but-no-cigars and surely-that-can’t-happen-agains. Rubbish. And speaking of lack of clutch fighting…
Dizzy Flores (Team Dirty, 2-5 Iron Fist Loss in 5) – Diz, Diz, Diz. Bloody shameful, this one. One of the most experienced IFL fighters ever (31 bouts) and a two-time IFL champion, Dizzy’s lost 3 of her last 5 Iron Fist bouts with a score of 2-5 or worse. Guess Captain Gallows didn’t do her homework before sending out her lineup. Tied with Rekah vs. Darik’s Week 2 Iron Fist bout for the shortest bout of the year, Dizzy was flat out stymied by KC’s overtly obvious punch-kick pattern. Don’t they teach that one in the first 5 minutes of dueling school? Take those lessons to heart, you up and comers! The only silver lining is that this wasn’t a shutout like back in 2014, when Vanion plastered Diz in her opening bout. And after that, she rattled off 7 wins in a row. Can she repeat the feat? Doubtful but hey, who knows.
Salvador Delahada (Deathcake, 2-5 Push Loss in 6) – Originally, I had Cooper Gallows in this slot but then I realized that’d be a 3rd spot for Team Dirty in the same article and I didn’t want to hear all the whining about how I’m making them the new fodder to replace Team Fist so I was forced to choose someone else (note to all readers: Team Fist is terrible, has been terrible and always will be terrible as long as Captain Futility is in charge. One championship does not erase years and years of team dueling awfulness.).
So. I threw a dart at a wall with pictures of IFL fighters. Lo and behold…
…SALVADOR DELAHADA, I CHOOSE YOU!
Or the dart chose you. Or fate. Anyway, I digress.
Sal picked a bad time to lose his first bout since the 2014 season. Now 6-1 in his last 7 non-tournament bouts, a victory here wouldn’t have saved the week for Deathcake but it might have lessened the sting. And when you’ve won 6 bouts in a row, you really don’t want to your loss to come at the hands of anyone from Team Fist. Right? Right.