Final X is finally here and I’m finally doing consecutive mailbags for the first time in an eternity. What do you want from me? It’s a slow period. But not this week! The powers that be put the pinnacle event of senior wrestling in the greatest state in the Union and I need to pull my weight. So while you’re driving to Jersey today, take a gander at this week’s mailbag. Feel free to read it out loud to anyone else in the car.
What are your thoughts on the NCAA rule changes? What do you like and what don’t you like? Dan Seifring, WrestleStat and Tik Tok influencer
I don’t really have an opinion until I see it all in action. Certainly, the three-point takedown is an entire shock to the system. Takedowns are the standard in folkstyle scoring and they’re worth two points. Always have been. It’s like randomly making a touchdown 11 points. Or a three-pointer into a six-pointer. You’re changing the entire dynamics of the sport. In the long run, it may be the right move but it’s simply going to take heat for a while from a fanbase that was raised on the shouts of “two!” from the crowd. Now don’t me wrong, eventually, there will be a match where someone storms back from a large deficit because of the change and I’m sure it will be exciting for all of us. But mostly I think it leads to more major decisions. For now, I’ll go in with an open mind but that doesn’t mean I won’t end up hating it.
Baseball managers in college and pros wear the team’s uniform while coaching their teams in games. Should college and national team coaches wear their team’s singlet while coaching in their corners? Mike Abromitis
People always make fun of the manager for wearing the uniform, but I love it. It makes the whole spectacle of arguing with the umpire even funnier when you’re throwing a tantrum and acting beyond the modicum of any sane human being while wearing tight baseball pants. Would it have the same comedic effect in wrestling? Probably even more so. And that’s why it’s probably not a good idea.
What’s your favorite beer? Luke Kemerer
I don’t always drink beer...but I used to. When I did I usually tapped the Rockies for the Silver Bullet. In a summer barbecue-type atmosphere, I usually go for Corona with a lime for that whole beach vibe. I kind of want a beer now, the Mets just blew another game? Make it a case.
Who are your Men’s Freestyle picks? Earl in VA
The problem with having such a great team is that it doesn’t leave much room for surprise in the qualifying portion. How do you pick against any of the seven returning medalists? I could see Zane Richards making things interesting, but Gilman is in his prime right now. Arujau has been the best wrestler in the entire country for the year of 2023, but Garrett looked as good as ever at trials. I’ll still take Vito two-nil to make his first Senior Team. He’s just too damn good right now. Yianni-Lee will be the best series of the event. I’ll take the four-timer in three very exciting matches.
It’s straight chalk for the next four matches, but I do think 74 and 79 could possibly go to three matches. The Dake-Nolf dynamic is just fascinating and it’s fun to see how much Nolf closes the gap each year. Not to mention the whole being teammates thing. Chance has proven he can win, but I’ll pick someone other than Burroughs to make a world team the year after Burroughs retires. Aaron Brooks may be the future of 86 kilograms, but Saturday is a little too near future.
92 kg is obviously the biggest toss-up on the slate, but I’ll take Mike Macchiavello in three. I just don’t know if Zahid can keep going up in weight like this. He once wrestled at 103! The Burroughs rule also applies to Kyle Snyder, but he hasn’t been challenged for his world spot like this in some time. Snyder and Cox close the night with a third match that will bring the house down. Also, give me Gable as a sneaky pick to make the team. The brother of NXT Superstar Damon Kemp has shown a talent for the mat and could have a bright future if he sticks around.
Well, the Canadian smoke seems to have cleared, could be some Jagger smoke lingering, but that won’t hurt you too much. Enjoy the Garden State and all its charms but get out of here as soon as possible. It’s plenty crowded already.