Monday, August 20, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for August 20, 2018

Still the GOAT
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Daniel Bryan (Last Week: 9) - It can be hard to keep the faith when nothing matters in WWE, and week-to-week, the stories are sisyphean exercises where no one gets to make any traction. But when you're the American fuckin' Dragon, when you get your chance to make something special with a special opponent, you can overcome the malaise, even if just for one night. Last night at SummerSlam, the entire world was reminded that Daniel Bryan is still the best fucking wrestler in the world, that when he is in there with an opponent with whom he has a longstanding grudge against, he can do magic. The finish to the match indicated that he'll probably stay with WWE, which I'm sure is disappointing to many, myself included. I kinda wanted to see him go up against the luchadors of the world or maybe tear shit up in New Japan or whatever. But if him staying in WWE means a bunch of matches like last night with The Miz, I guess it'll be fine.

2. Aaron Nola (Last Week: Not Ranked) - The Phillies are struggling a bit right now, but thankfully, so are the Braves. Additionally, they can count on Aaron Nola coming in like a goddamn hurricane of fire. He struck out 11 batters in his last start and helped the Phillies salvage a win against the Mets in a series that didn't go so hot for them. Hopefully things turn around, and if they do, Nola, a bona fide MVP candidate, should be the guy leading the charge.

3. Marko Stunt (Last Week: Not Ranked) - How goddamn insane was he Friday night at Lost in New York? Yeah, he slipped a few times, but only dorks care about counting botches. His frenetic energy, big-time command of spots, and his ability to bump like a ping-pong ball made him the unquestioned breakout star of the weekend, even if he didn't get the win against the much larger, much more feral KTB. Stunt is gonna be huge if he sticks around the scene.

Best Coast Bias: Yes, This Is Holy War

Blackheart 2, Rebel Heart 1
Photo Credit: WWE.com
For those who only tune into BCB for the Takeover reviews, I made a format change when I wrote about the house show I went to at the end of last month. I liked it, so I'm going to adopt it full-time going forward with one minor change that you'll see unfold below.

And now, WRESTLING~!

Friday, August 17, 2018

NXT In 60 Seconds

Kairi used rage!  It was super effective!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
in memory of Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart, 1955-2018

Street Profits: come out to a decent pop
the Mighty: come out to scorn and Mighty Jobbers chants 
Profits: Wakanda forever assisted moonsault!  Broken Arrow!
the Mighty: Northern lariat!  Double back suplex! Cutting the ring in half!
Angelo: gets out from under, sends Shane into Nick and makes the tag
Montez: Hard clotheslines!  Penalty Kick!  Sunset flip! 
Shane: gets an O'Connor roll with the tights
Montez: reverses into one of his own
Referee: Winner!
the Mighty: Wot?!  That's only okay when WE do i... not that we would ever, ever do such a thing...
Profits: celebrate in the crowd, as their wont

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 248

Oh god they're doing this again what to do
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's Twitter Request Line time, everyone! I take to Twitter to get questions about issues in wrestling, past and present, and answer them on here because 140 characters can't restrain me, fool! If you don't know already, follow me @tholzerman, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers:

Time to run down the card, I suppose!

Pre-Show
RAW Tag Team Championships: The B-Team (c) vs. The Revival
HOPE: The Revival wins, ushering in a renaissance in the RAW tag division where they work the Authors of Pain, American Alpha, and any other team they want to throw at them.
THINK: B-Team wins, because The Revival didn't let Road Dogg eat first at Kraft services or some bullshit, god I hate wrestling.

Rusev and Lana vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega
HOPE: For them all to become friends and start beating the shit out of everyone en route to a four-nation alliance of power.
THINK: Almas and Vega get the win, fueling speculation that Rusev is on his way out of the company.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Drew Gulak
HOPE: Gulak wins in a hotly contested match that doesn't get interrupted by a goddamn commercial break for The Network
THINK: Alexander wins in a match that gets four minutes fewer than it should to set up a rematch with Hideo Itami in the coming weeks on 205 Live.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Blog of the Gods: (Kill)Shot Through the Heart

Dragon vs. Killshot was crazy
Screenshot via Lucha Underground YouTube
Another week in the Temple, another wild and crazy show featuring murder. So much murder... it's a good thing they got rid of all the cops who aren't dirty and the only one left is corrupt-ass Joey Ryan. Maybe that's not too good a thing, to be honest. Anyway, this week's show had two title matches, and both involved Killshot. The time has come to get into this week's Lucha Underground.

The Cheese Stands Alone

Last week, Mala Suerte was fed to Matanza Cueto, and Paul London had superficially flimsy reason to offer up his one comrade. He took the pin in the Trios Championship match. But why was he so willing to offer up Saltador? On the surface, London thought Saltador would do a lot better vs. the supercharged former Champion and eternal murder monster, but c'mon, the look he gave while watching Matanza end Saltador's life made him appear like he was enjoying it. If I had to guess, either London has acquired a taste for murder, or the will of the White Rabbit is especially bloodthirsty. Ah well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What Is A Finisher?

Don't get mad at The Revival for not finishing the match with this
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Monday night, The Revival paid tribute to the late, great Jim Neidhart by doing the Hart Attack during their three-way match for the RAW Tag Team Championships against the B-Team and the Deleters of Worlds. In addition to being the most tasteful tribute to Neidhart that night (you can always count on the talent to do right by talent even when management turns a surprise death into gristle for the wheel of angles), it was perhaps the most appropriate tribute. The best tag team on the RAW brand paid tribute to one of the greatest tag team wrestlers ever using his signature move. Most people were happy about it. Bubba Ray Dudley is not most people however. He responded to WWE's tweet about the spot with this bit of indignant bullshit:

The Vanilla Midget Report: Vol. 3, Issue 8

Pictured: A dude who SHOULD be doing restholds to someone good at taking them
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hey, it's the final edition of WWE's TRUE A-show before SummerSlam. What shenanigans would occur between Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak this week? And also, what else would go down with the rest of the diverse cast of masc-presenting wrestlers weighing 205 or fewer pounds? As it turns out, quite a bit! The time to review that action is NOW. Welcome to the Vanilla Midget Report, folks.

Uh, Is Tozawa Okay?

So, the follow-up to Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa's main event match from a few weeks ago was the show opener this week. That would totally signify SHENANIGANS, right? Well, no, Tozawa took the loss, clean as a sheet after being knocked out of the corner and felled with the Final Hour frogsplash. It felt like the kind of match that happens when the guy losing is on his way out of the company. Of course, the nature of how Tozawa got in position to take the frogsplash might be catalyst for the feud to continue. Remember, 205 Live has a closer read of the rules of wrestling than other WWE shows, so maybe they could continue things by intimating that Rush cheapshotted him off the top. Still, it felt unsettling to see the match end in such declarative fashion. Then again, if Alexander comes out of SummerSlam with the title, Rush then is in good position to receive a one-off title shot (even if the bigger play ends up being Hideo Itami, more on that later).

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for August 13, 2018

The only picture appropriate for this post
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Last Week: Not Ranked) - The Ace has won the G1 Climax again, and honestly, it capped off a weekend where old was new once again. Unlike Tiger Woods, who finished second in the PGA Championship, Tanahashi pulled off his run, which means one, wrestling proves once again it's far better than golf, and two, he will go to the Tokyo Dome as the challenger for either the IWGP World or Intercontinental Championships, unless he loses it at King of Pro Wrestling. No one has ever lost the briefcase before, but hey, leave it to Gedo to ruin something pure and pristine in new and fantastic ways. ANYWAY, Tanahashi has pretty much done everything he can except face off against the other Ace of note, which means I hope New Japan brings in John Cena to beat Kenny Omega at King of Pro Wrestling to set up the one and only match that still needs to happen before Donald Trump somehow gets everyone on the planet nuked.

2. Kagetsu (Last Week: 2) - Just to show that she's not just all about building the empire of the Glorious People's Republic of STARDOM, Kagetsu defended her World of STARDOM Championship by defeating Mayu Iwatani in the main event of the latest show. She also scored a major diplomatic victory by successfully burning all of Donald Trump's toupees, which is why the shittiest President in history spent the weekend tweeting about Omarosa.

3. Stokely Hathaway (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Yes, I know what you're all thinking, Big Stoke is leaving EVOLVE because he's signed a contract with...

RIP Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

Rest in power, Anvil
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Jim Neidhart, veteran of Stampede Wrestling, WWE, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, and World Championship Wrestling, has passed away at the age of 63. He is survived by his wife Ellie and his three daughters, including current WWE superstar Natalya. The cause of death has been reported as complications from a fall in his home where he hit his head.

NJPW G1 Climax: The Final Nights

The Ace has done it!
Photo Credit: NJPW1972.com
The G1 has officially climaxed, and as I lay here in bed smoking cigarettes and rolling into the G1's arms saying, "You were wonderful," there are so many thoughts I must get written down. I'll start with the final match, and then recap a few of the last week's matches that are must see.

Friday, August 10, 2018

NXT In 60 Seconds

FOUR and Only!?  All right, who's been screwing with this thing?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Amber Nova: is rule 63 Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly, and also doomed since she's against...
Nikki Cross: cackles and is adorably terrifying per usual
Full Sailors: Nikki's gonna kill you!  Nikki's gonna kill you!
Amber: But I can rana you into the buckle, and I'm putting you in a straightjacket hold because I like irony, and
Nikki: yeahno Forearms!  Thesz press!  Me but off the top rope!  The Purge!
Referee: Winner!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 247

YANO YANO YANO
It's Twitter Request Line time, everyone! I take to Twitter to get questions about issues in wrestling, past and present, and answer them on here because 140 characters can't restrain me, fool! If you don't know already, follow me @tholzerman, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers:

If anyone deserves to be the dude who spoils Kenny Omega's perfect G1, it's Toru Yano. It's not just because it makes the shitty fanboys who think comedic wrestling is bad mad, but because comedic wrestling is something that should be recognized. If the goal of pro wrestling is to get a rise out of the crowd, and it's harder to do comedy in wrestling than it is to be serious, then shouldn't it follow that great comedic wrestlers are the best of the lot? In that case, Yano should probably win the damn title and hold it until Chuck Taylor is ready to take it from him. But everyone knows that won't happen because wrestling is never really that simplistic. Yano beat Omega because it was a unique opportunity to shake things up during a tournament where you do that by law, but the fact that New Japan Pro Wrestling offers that opportunity means that yes, the world has some intrinsic value. Or something.

The Blog of the Gods: Marriages, Reunions, and Of Course, Murder

They gettin' hitched!
Photo Credit: Lucha Underground
This week's episode of Lucha Underground promised a final showdown between the Reptile Tribe and the Worldwide Underground. While a new but unknown action was expected with the death of Vibora, the main event promised even more twists and turns than even were promised. On top of that, this week's show had a title match, more twerking than one could shake a stick at, and, of course, murder. Time to dive in, alright?

Wabbit Season

The show opened with Antonio Cueto on the phone promising another sacrifice to the gods before he was rudely interrupted (more on that later), and boy, when the time came for said sacrifice to happen, I thought it was going to be bloodier than it was. Alas, the entire Rabbit Tribe didn't bite the dust, only Mala Suerte. I'm sure he'd be mad at Paul London for giving him up if he didn't end up in the same non-living place that Mr. Pectacular, Cortez Castro, Vinnie Massaro, and the pizza guy whomst delivered a pie with pineapple on it now currently reside. I will miss his antics though, as who else in the Temple provides Looney Tunes sound effects with their offense? Suerte's demise probably means a meaningful in-Temple debut for the White Rabbit, who probably is still cleaning up Mascarita Sagrada's blood from his lair. As for Matanza Cueto, he's running out of expendable roster members to sacrifice. The stakes are going to start to escalate sooner rather than later, and my guess is in the coming weeks, his ultimate target, the one who might be able to offer a stay on their execution long enough to make it to Ultima Lucha Cuatro, will emerge.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Vanilla Midget Report: Vol. 3, Issue 7

What a match, at least until the angle kicked in at the end...
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hey guys, 205 Live aired last night, so that means it's time for another edition of the Vanilla Midget Report. This week, Mustafa Ali went to the hospital, but he competed against a bloodthirsty legend obsessed with respect. So tough! Also, the lucha boys opened the show as has been their wont, and Drew Gulak almost blew his shot at the Cruiserweight Title at SummerSl... the SummerSlam pre-sh... the commercial break during the SummerSlam pre-show that exhorts people not watching on the Network to subscribe to the Network. Time to dive in!

Cruisers vs. Bruisers

I hate the term "styles make matchups" for several reasons, but maybe the biggest reason is that it's overly simplistic and probably needs at least one more word. Granted, adding "differing" to the beginning doesn't make it any truer or any less faux-intellectual, but when you get a matchup like the Lucha House Party against Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy, heretofore known as a team as the Winstrol Boys (a little more on that later), it can make that term seem smart or accurate. See, only some differing styles make great matchups, and luckily for 205 Live, the strong bois tossing around hard-bumping spot lads is perhaps one of the surest combinations one can go for. That motif was strong in the traditional LHP opening match.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for August 7, 2018

YOUR SCI 2018 winner (and his kid, obvs)
Photo Credit: @BostonNooga
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Joey Lynch (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Lynch won the fourth Scenic City Invitational this past weekend, following in the footsteps of Jimmy Rave, Gunner Miller, and Matt Riddle. He didn't just outlast Corey Hollis, Gary Jay, and Fred BY GOD Yehi in the final match, but he beat PCO to get there. Talk about beating a murderer's row of indie wrestlers to get to the promised land. Anyway, Lynch now has a trophy to go along with his luxurious beard. I wonder if this means he'll be showing up more in places like Beyond Wrestling and NOVA Pro. That would be nice.

2. Kagetsu (Last Week: 4) - Look, Donald Trump basically admitted that his dipshit son committed high crimes against the United States, and it's all because Kagetsu is moving in on overthrowing the United States Government. I mean, you didn't read this here, but it's going to leak in the coming weeks that Mike Pence has been sleeping on the couch at the Vice Presidential Mansion because he had an impure thought about Hana Kimura. THE PLANS ARE COMING TOGETHER. Oedo Tai will be in charge within a month, and all of the United States will be FREE of tyranny... well, free of one kind of tyranny. I doubt Kagetsu will be a benevolent dictator, but I'm not sure this country deserves benevolence.

3. Minoru Suzuki (Last Week: 1) - Okay, so Murder Grandpa isn't going to win A Block in the G1. Shit happens. The important thing is all the wrestlers he maimed along the way to get there. He has one last match against Bad Luck Fale, who it turns out is a legit fascist, like Fox News-loving conservative shitbag all the way. Since Suzuki is an honorary member of the Labour Party thanks to his association with Zack Sabre, Jr., maybe he can take a pound of flesh for the revolution.