Friday, August 28, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

The Dudz are back, baybay
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Best Returning Friends – The Dudley Boyz
I tend to side-eye any re-emergence of wrestlers from days gone by. I can reminisce about the past on my own time, and I don't want to wallow in remembrances when there are plenty of younger or newer people on the roster who deserve attention. So even though I loved the Dudley Boyz when they were last with WWE, I'm still a little hesitant about their return. However, I don't actually want to rain on anyone's parade, and it was extremely cool to see Bubba Ray and D-Von together again. It also helped that their match was a win against the Ascension. Yeah, I know I just stood up for the young folk, but the Ascension are just...not great, and trouncing them is a good way to win me over. The Dudleys looked good, too, especially D-Von. I hope their coming interactions with the New Day and the rest of the tag division will bring good things for us all.

Greatest Rivals Round Robin Competitor Number Three...

Get ready for Gulak
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Beyond Wrestling's Greatest Rivals Round Robin tournament event on September 26, by its name, signifies that four wrestlers who have inextricable ties to each other will battle it out to see who among them is the best. The first two wrestlers announced telegraphed the third wrestler's announcement yesterday so hard that even the fictional narrator from the Metallica song "One" could see where it was going. One cannot have a "greatest rivals" tournament with Biff Busick and Timothy Thatcher and not include Drew Gulak. So of course, Gulak was the third wrestler announced for the one-night grapplefest.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 250

Sonnen is Austin's guest on this episode of  Unleashed
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show — Unleashed
Episode: 250 (Aug. 27, 2015)
Run Time: 1:33:16
Guest: Chael Sonnen (9:25)

Listen Up, Marks: Kayfabe Has Been Added to the Dictionary

Not added: "Good brother"
Photo via Wikipedia
"Kayfabe" is a word that has been used by wrestling fans for a couple of decades now, and the term has been in use by people in the business for even longer. However, it has never been recognized as an actual English word until now. The Oxford Dictionary adds several words to its pages each year based on popular culture, and this year's crop includes the word kayfabe in its graduating class. The official definition can be found after the jump:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 135

What is Stephanie McMahon's role?
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!

Ignorance and hypocrisy are hallmarks of heel behavior, so I'd say it's a little bit of both. Still, the action is infuriating because like the Bella Twins in said Divas "revolution," Stephanie McMahon and Triple H do terrible jobs of picking an alignment and sticking with it on the main roster. In NXT, they're great as the proud parents of the WWE's in-house project that could, but on the main roster, are they supposed to be Jack Tunney or Vince McMahon? I'm not a fan of haranguing over alignments if the characters are strong, but their characters right now are even less established than the main women in this top angle, and that's a huge problem.

Best Coast Bias: Three Cards Monte

And newwwwww #1 contender?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
There's a reason one of the baseline criteria on Chopped is presentation: simply put, it matters. The same way everyone who was in Sterling Cooper's orbit had a different reaction to Pete Campbell than to Don Draper and the same way ex-crooked cops treated Gustavo Fring differently than Walter White runs akin to Michael Vick over here and Ben Roethlisberger also over here but slightly apart. The look of impropriety alone is sometimes enough to become the prevailing hangman, no matter what actual truth(s) may shake out afterwards. In general, the story goes on A1 and the retraction somewhere in B7 where it can be tucked into a corner to be given enough room to technically be alive while its impact is as good as stillborn.

Ouch, Sasha, Ouch

These two had a tour de force that almost took a turn
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The Sasha Banks vs. Bayley match is on a short list of best matches of not only the year, but also the decade so far. It has even been called the best American women's match of all-time by some, which is not undeserved even if it totally discounts the indie scene on the whole. The match wasn't without its hairy moments though. The first one came when Bayley took a pretty gnarly bump off the top on a mistimed counter, but she thankfully landed somewhat flat. The other big bump came when Bayley gave Banks the super poisoned hurricanrana. The camera angle on television didn't seem so bad. However, the following angle showed a more precarious angle at which Banks landed on the bump:

Entrant Number Two in the Beyond Wrestling Greatest Rivals Round Robin

Thatcher is in for the Greatest Rivals event
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The second competitor has been announced for Beyond Wrestling's Greatest Rivals show on September 26, and he's another member of the hashtag-grapplefuck trio that has carried EVOLVE to polarizing results in the last year. Timothy Thatcher, the current EVOLVE Champion, will take the plunge and attempt to take home the tournament and the bragging rights that go with it. Of course, Biff Busick was the first name announced for the fray earlier this week.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 80

Ross talks SummerSlam, barely
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: The Ross Report
Episode: 80 (Aug. 26, 2015)
Run Time: 1:47:14
Guest: Dave Scherer (12:59)

CJ Parker Is Not Retiring, but Instead Going to NJPW

Parker is headed to NJPW to become Juice Robinson
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Earlier this month, CJ Parker tweeted out that his last match was going to be on August 29 in Connecticut against Ethan Carter III. I construed it as a retirement announcement, obviously, but apparently, he was being very literal about it being "CJP's" final match. As it turns out, New Japan Pro Wrestling has signed the former NXT superstar, and he will be competing in the world's second largest wrestling promotion starting on September 4 under the name "Juice Robinson," which is a name he's used in some other assorted independent promotions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Issue 44

How did this controversial match end? HORB HAS IT
Photo Credit: WWE.com
HORB FLERBMINBER is back, baby, and boy have I got all the scoops that your bodies can handle this week AND THEN SOME. I bring you so much news that you cannot possibly hope to absorb it all before the pop quiz next week. THAT'S RIGHT, I'M HANDING OUT QUIZZES NOW. Read my scoops and know them, OR YOU SHALL FACE THE WRATH OF MY HEAT VISION. I have heat vision now, did you know? It’s why Dave Scherer spent five weeks in the hospital. I GAVE HIM FIFTH DEGREE BURNS BECAUSE HE TRIED STEALING MY SCOOP ABOUT ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL BUILDING A DEATH RAY TO GET BACK AT DEMOLITION.

And Now, All Japan's Three Aces in a Dance Routine

Misawa wasn't always this serious
Photo via Online World of Wrestling
Toshiaki Kawada, Kenta Kobashi, and the late Mitsuharu Misawa are generally considered among the three finest workers of all-time and a trio of the baddest men to step into the ring in the 1990s and beyond. They constituted the core of All Japan Pro Wrestling's height in the '90s, and then while Kawada stayed behind, Misawa founded and Kobashi followed him to Pro Wrestling NOAH at the turn of the century. Their legends are all, in a word, unfuckwithable. But as fate would have it, their showmanship extended far beyond the ring:

From the Archives: Devastation Corporation vs. The Baltic Siege

Whet your appetite for Trios with this match from WiF in 2014
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
King of Trios is right around the corner, and I hope everyone is in the mood for some rowdy six-man action. Chikara is going to present 15 trios bouts over the course of Labor Day weekend, and at least one of them will feature the team that won last year's tournament, the Devastation Corporation. Even though the fans are supposed to hate the brutish knaves and their sleazy manager Sidney Bakabella with every fiber of their being, I have an appreciation for their HOSS POWERS, and I'd love to see them make another deep run this year if just for the matches. The following match isn't a KOT encounter, but it pits the burly bruisers against the dearly departed Latvian Proud Oak, the possibly reborn-as-a-farmer Estonian Thunder Frog, and the currently enslaved Lithuanian Snow Troll in the currently dormant (defunct?) Wrestling Is Fun! promotion. Check it out!

No, Wade Barrett Is Not Leaving WWE

Barrett's not going anywhere
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When Stardust turned on Wade Barrett Monday night, the general reaction ranged from confusion at the dissolution of such a quickly formed team to angst at WWE's booking for again making the 2015 King of the Ring look the part of a chump once again. Neville came out to make the save, and Barrett's role in the proceedings was forgotten, no harm, no foul. But then he tweeted this emoji-filled post yesterday:

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 249

The former Kelly Kelly is on the latest Austin show
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 249 (Aug. 25, 2015)
Run Time: 1:17:33
Guest: Barbie Blank (11:53)