Thursday, July 19, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 244

Yeah, I wouldn't have wanted to have been his teammate in 2010
Photo Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
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:

While my local impulses would tell me that the "Dream Team" Eagles with Nnamdi Asomugha eating lunch in his car and all the other high priced free agents, the only answer here is 2009-10 Washington Wizards. I mean, Gilbert Arenas had a fuckin' gun, man, and at that point, he was unhinged enough to brandish it at a teammate. Do you think the Javaris Crittenton incident was the first time he made it known that he had that thing? I highly doubt it. I would've been on fuckin' edge in that locker room. Of course, is Arenas the only athlete to brandish a gun in a locker room? Probably not. Would I have felt safe in any locker room where a gun was present? Again, probably not. This incident was known however, so it's my answer. Honorable mentions would be the 2012 Chiefs (Jovan Belcher murder-suicide), or any team with Charles Haley, just because of his penchant for blasting rope in the open in the locker room. Honorable mention for reasons other than, uh, colorful teammates would be any Patriots team under Bill Belichick. I don't care how many titles we would've won, I would rather lose and feel no stress at my job than win get drill sergeanted all day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Payoff Deferred Is a Payoff Denied

Reigns is one of many wrestlers fucked over by WWE's and promoters' in general tendencies to do deferred payoffs
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The "deferred payoff" is one of the oldest tricks in the book for promoters/bookers/writers. The natural endpoint for an angle gets pushed back a bit further to attempt to sell more tickets for the next event. In theory, it sounds like a solid idea, especially if the angle they're trying to prolong makes money. Wrestling promoters have never really evolved past the grifter mentality of their carny forebears, so if they find a vein, they'll keep mining it until it runs out.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for July 16, 2018

Murder Grandpa is back again!
Photo via Fightland at VICE
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. Minoru Suzuki (Last Week: 3) - The G1 Climax started this past weekend, and Suzuki took home match of the night honors with Hiroshi Tanahashi on night one, according to those who watched. Of course, the beloved Murder Grandpa didn't get the win, but I do believe he was able to hit Tanahashi with the dreaded "Why are you hitting yourself, huh?" At least that's the impression I got seeing the gifs from the match. Anyway, wins and losses are above Suzuki, because he will kill you in his sleep — not your sleep, HIS sleep — regardless.

2. Daniel Bryan (Last Week: 4) - Well, the fun game of cat and mouse trying to decode whether or not he signed on the dotted line ended after insiders remarked that he did indeed sign on said dotted line this past weekend. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a continuance on the Team Hell No reunion, which, believe me, is suboptimal, but hey, his future is solidified for now. So what if he won't battle LA Park at Arena Mexico in a Bucket of Cum on a Pole match. Miz at WrestleMania isn't a bad consolation prize, given how their feud is probably one of the few good things in WWE right now.

3. Kagetsu (Last Week: 9) - So the Prime Minister of STARDOM came up short in both her trios matches this past weekend. She was distracted, trying to activate sleeper agents in the United States Government while Donald Trump was overseas gladhanding Vladimir Putin. She didn't, however, see him going all by himself. Sometimes, you just can't plan your enemies being that stupid.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 243

Would an iron man version of one of these matches work?
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:

Everytime I say that I get tired of multi-wrestler matches, WWE has a match with more than one person that is perfectly fine at the very least. So stretching that action out would tend to work, and you could even add some spots in, like doing a finisher on a wrestler who just pinned the other guy. I don't know if it's ever happened outside of WWE, although I wouldn't be shocked. However, I think it could do very well in any promotion.

New Japan and ROH are Madison Square Garden-Bound

The most famous arena in the world will play host to the stars of New Japan
Photo Credit: MSG.com
A few weeks ago, it was reported that New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor had been trying to secure a date at "the most famous arena in the world" (because only American stuff matters, apparently), Madison Square Garden. But the deal had fallen through, and reports suggested that WWE had something to do with it. Though they run SummerSlam and Takeover at the Barclay's Center these days, WWE still runs the occasional house show there, and they of course have a long history with the venue.

NXT In 60 Seconds

Smile and grin at the change all around
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Danny Burch: Ha!  I am better than you at mat wrestling!
Adam Cole: But I'm better at shoving you into the post then hitting a neckbreaker on the floor!
Burch: ow
Cole: Neckbreaker in the ring!  Stomps!  Bicycle kick!
Burch: Big chops!  Thesz press and rights!  Charging corner euro!  Second rope stiff legged missile dropkick!  German!  Lariat!
Cole: Kickout!
Burch: Transitioned into a crossface!
Cole: ack roll free roll free
Burch: Short range headbutt!  Tower of London!
Nigel McGuinness: somehow knows what that move is
Cole: Kickout!  Superkick!
Burch: NOPE!  covers up
Cole: PSYCH BASEMENT superkick!  Basement bicycle kick!  Oshigoroshi!
Burch: Kickout!
Cole: I'm sorry, I said BASEMENT SUPERKICK!  Last Shot mach 1!  Last Shot mach 2!
Referee: Winner!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Blog of the Gods: Blood Simple

SURPRISE, PERROS!
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Another Wednesday has passed and that means another night of hunkering down in Antonio Cueto's Temple has been gifted to Believers everywhere. It's a good night when the violence is plentiful, and in that regard, well, it was a good night. A whopping four wrestlers got their Gift of the Gods medallions as well, leaving only one left in play. Without further ado, the time has come to get started.

Don't Doxx Me, Bro

On one hand, Cueto doxxing Cortez Castro in front of the Believers was a low move. I mean, how do you blow a guy's spot like that in front of people who are already in a mood to see some senseless bloodshed? On the other hand, Castro is a cop, and one who was pretty corrupt at that. So of course, if you want to give someone up to the Monster Matanza to literal death, well, you might wanna go with the dude who was trying to bring your operation down from the inside, right? If anything, Matanza just decimating all these satellite characters and wrestlers who've outrun their narratives is great cleanup work. It's like running a defrag on your hard drive. Wait, do people still do that, or am I showing my age again? Either way, Matanza will lean up the roster in time for Ultima Lucha Cuatro before Season Five (if one is in the works) bloats it up again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hey Guys, Kaitlyn's Back

She's back, albeit not in pog form
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE turned heads when it announced that a second Mae Young Classic would take place this year, and it further piqued interest when Shayna Baszler, last year's runner-up and current NXT Women's World Champion, announced that because she had no worlds left to conquer in current NXT that the winner would get a crack at her. Well, the eyebrow-raising hasn't yet ceased, as today, Kaitlyn, also known as Celeste Bonin, was announced as the first entrant into the field. She left WWE in 2014 and seemingly put the business behind her, shifting into an entrepreneurial career with her Celestial Bodiez workout clothing line. However, after some life turbulence, she returned to the ring on the indie circuit earlier this year. Many observers speculated that she'd throw her hat into the ring for the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match, but either way, a return to WWE seemed almost eventual with her comeback into wrestling.

The Vanilla Midget Report: Vol. 3, Issue 4

Hark, a title match!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's title week on 205 Live . The tension was palpable. Would Cedric Alexander keep the title after not wrestling for over a month, or would Hideo Itami take the belt with him on excursion to Pro Wrestling NOAH? Well, it's not the time to be a laggard, it's time to dive the fuck in, alright? Alright!

I'm With Buddy

Those fuckin' matracas are the only thing that I'd call a negative about the Lucha House Party, but my god, are they annoying. What makes it worse is that they seem to be prominently miced. They're more prominent in the broadcast than the commentary team. I don't know, maybe I'm just an old guy who doesn't want the kids on his lawn, but when Vic Joseph and Percy Watson call the matracas fun, my face contorts in pained configurations. From the looks of the happenings on the outside of the Tony Nese/Kalisto match, Buddy Murphy agrees with me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What Happened to WWE Ad Rates?

Vince McMahon got paid, but why?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It wasn't too long ago that WWE's going rate for ad time was less than optimal. The social stigma on pro wrestling extended to RAW's and Smackdown's viewer base, in that high-end advertisers didn't want to shell out money for prime real estate on Mondays and whatever night Smackdown populated at the time. It's how you got such prestigious, long-lasting sponsors as Stacker 2 and Lugz Boots. It was always one reason why post-World Championship Wrestling ratings babble was so useless. WWE wasn't getting money no matter how highly rated the shows were, yet they were always high enough that really USA Network didn't really have reason not to renew RAW (and was even outbid for it for a short while by Spike TV).

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for July 9, 2018

The potato and corn were good too, but that chicken...
Photo Credit: TH
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. Medieval Times Chicken (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - Medieval Times has been around for awhile, at least since the mid-'90s since it was an important part of Jim Carrey's post-The Mask vehicle The Cable Guy, but it never really crossed my mind as something to do until my wife decided to take advantage of a Groupon for discounted tickets. We took the kids, and even though no one paid extra money to go out into the pit to do battle, well, the action was really good. That being said, I didn't expect much from the food, but it was incredible. The chicken especially, being the main course, felt like a main event attraction. It was moist and flavorful, and I felt some kind of freedom eating it with my hands. While it's not something that you do every year let alone every weekend, I'd wholly endorse going to Medieval Times at least once in your life.

2. Saraya Knight (Last Week: Not Ranked) - So the RISE event that got streamed on Impact Wrestling's Twitch Saturday night got really wild. Knight didn't emerge from her quest to take the Knockouts Championship from Su Yung victorious, and in fact she bled buckets in her futility. However, she did get to hang Yung during the match. Of course, when asked about her mom's exploits, Paige was pretty unsurprised, which I guess is why her life got the WWE Films treatment.

3. Minoru Suzuki (Last Week: 2) - He's so good at this wrestling thing that he's even usurped Zack Sabre, Jr.'s identity.

Pro Wrestling Is Dangerous

Takahashi has taken a bunch of Phoenix-plexes in his career; it's just the one that went wrong went really wrong.
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Hayabusa's career ended on a move — the quebrada — that he had done a million times before, one that had become routine to him. You see a wrestler do something risky enough times, and you become immune to the danger they put themselves in, partially because they've become so good at it that it no longer seems risky, partially because you've become complacent, desensitized even, to the risk that move carries. No one goes into a match thinking something is going to go wrong, after all, just as the same as no one goes into work thinking they're going to get injured on the job. This might be the safety guy in me talking, but accidents don't ask permission to happen, and complacency makes rookies out of anyone. I'm not saying it was Hayabusa's fault that he got hurt, and even if it was, I'm not at all saying he deserved to be paralyzed from that accident. However, the lesson is that no one can take anything for granted in pro wrestling. Well, you shouldn't take anything for granted in life, but wrestling is an industry that carries a greater amount of risk than most "normal" fields, especially since several of the biggest companies misuse the independent contractor label and thus create unnecessarily dangerous environments for their workers, regardless of style or spot.

On Okada/Scurll, and Missed Opportunities

Okada vs. any number of opponents other than Scurll would've been fresh
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
When Kazuchika Okada was announced for All In, the buzz around his match was palpable before any real potential opponents surfaced. Sure, the option was on the table of doing any number of rematches from New Japan with the people first announced. Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes faced him before, and rematches would have played well for the crowd. However, they felt safe, and All In, by its nature, was not a safe event. Six wrestlers (and an actor) going in on a seemingly fully independent event at a big arena in 2018 is the definition of pushing a boundary, so one might hope that the booking of the event would similarly tread on the knife's edge. Two officially-announced options got people really buzzing, Penta El Zero M (or Pentagón Jr. or Pentagón Dark) and Joey Janela. Some other fantasy booking options like PCO (who is booked for King of Trios that weekend, but could still make the trip over with certain booking options), Nick Gage (who is part of Janela's crew), or even someone like a Matt Riddle were in people's minds.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 242

Pictured, one of the greatest commentators of all time, and Jim Ross
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:

Schiavone got a terrible rap because he was the guinea pig for commentating while some grandiose corporate douchebag was chirping in his ear. Listen to him calling matches for pre-Nitro World Championship Wrestling or in WWE or whatever place he was calling the action before the New World Order came along and tell me that it was his idea to yell "THIS IS THE GREATEST NIGHT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT" every week. WCW was the model for absolute excess that WWE is currently learning all the wrong lessons from, and Schiavone was unprepared for the shock he would undergo having Eric Bischoff basically narrating the talking points to him. His talent is leagues greater than what it'll be remembered for.

NXT In 60 Seconds


All work and no Ciampa make Johnny something something
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Dakota Kai: comes out to cheers
Santana Garrett: same, but fewer
Both: shake hands after the bell
Both: wrestle and counter wrestle each other
Santana: Modified octopus!  Muta Lock!
Full Sailors: clap to rally
Dakota: Looking at my Gucci, it's about that time. I kick!  I kick!  Around the horn Yakuza!  Basement facewash!  Sunset lungblower!
Referee: Winner!