Thursday, September 29, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. One-Hundred and NICE

And that's the bottom line, cuz Diamond Joe said so!
Photo Credit: Saul Loeb, AP/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:

Protected user @bee_tee_ess asks:
Out of Trump, Hillary, Obama, and Biden, what is each person's "finishing move" in the squared circle?
The easiest one to pick is "Diamond" Joe Biden, who cracks a beer and hits the dude with the Stone Cold Stunner. Barack Obama is a charismatic fellow but he's ineffectual as a leader for reasons maybe not completely in his control, so he gets Sister Abigail's Kiss. Hillary Clinton seems to be duplicitous, but she has the support of a vocal online contingent, so she gets Carlito's Backstabber. Donald Trump feels like the kind of wrestler who'd attack anyone who looked at him funny, and as a bonus, he's the candidate most likely to end up dead in a locker room shower in a Spanish-speaking territory (except for Honduras), so he gets the King Kong Knee Drop of Bruiser Brody. As a bonus, Bernie Sanders gets the Russian sickle, because he's a damn dirty socialist, and wrestling has no room for nuance in treating that kind of political ideology, dammit.

Learning To Live With Smackdown

Cena is an entitled brat
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

A Three-Match Show Being Pretty Darn Good
Normally if I only got to see three wrestling matches on a two-hour wrestling show I would be annoyed, but such is the magic that Smackdown can wield that I didn't even notice until the main event and had to ask myself, “Wait, is this only the third match?” That's some good show structuring right there, and note that it did not involve either Daniel Bryan or Shane McMahon muddying things up. However, it DID involve...


Podcast Deep Dive - The Jonah Keri Podcast, 9/26/16

Meanie comes up in conversation, but modern wrestling gets kind of the short shrift on this Jonah Keri Podcast
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Show: The Jonah Keri Podcast
Episode: 9/26/16
Run Time: 55:29
Guest: Ron Funches

Wrestling fans could use a little more joy in their lives. Just the simple act of being a serious fan these days seems to carry tons of baggage, whether it's engaging in arguments with pessimistic fans online, being pessimistic yourself, or simply having to watch so damn much WWE programming that it feels like you'll never escape from the wrestling quicksand.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WWE Should Be For the Kids

The Reading Challenge is great, but it's not enough to keep kids involved in WWE
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Conor McGregor recently was announced to fight for a title in Ultimate Fighting Championship against Eddie Alvarez, and in the press conference, he went on an expletive laden tirade promising to not only take Alvarez's title, but keep the one that he has. Dave Meltzer on Twitter raved about the promo (which is what it was, basically), saying everyone in pro wrestling needed to tune into it and that it was "pay attention or fall behind hour." Disregarding that pro wrestling and mixed martial arts, though similar in demographic, are still two highly different forms of sport/sports entertainment, Meltzer is off-base, especially when it concerns WWE. McGregor may have tremendous charisma and speaking ability, but is his style of promotional tactic, the kind that relies on latent homophobia and ugly slurs, what WWE wrestlers should be studying?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 357

Austin and Keller talk about Brooklyn II
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 357 (Sept. 6, 2016)
Run Time: 1:29:34
Guest: Wade Keller (4:48)

Monday, September 26, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 319

King talks wrestling and exotic dancing on AOW this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 319 (Sept. 22, 2016)
Run Time: 1:02:13
Guest: Kenny King (9:24)

Friday, September 23, 2016

NXT In 60 Seconds

They signed Cedric! (clap clap clapclapclap)
Photo Credit:WWE.com
Samoa Joe: Apparently I injured your King so bad he's going to be out for six to twelve weeks.  REGAL!  Big X.  My hands.  NOW.
Regal: No.  I'm going to fix this.  I don't know how yet, but I'm going to fix this.
Joe: Better get used to these, then. shoves Nakamura's medical report into Regal's chest and storms off

Podcast Deep Dive: Masked Man vs. Cheap Heat

Lynch was a guest on the Cheap Heat show which was that one's major plus this week
Photo Credit: WWE.com
There’s a part of me who thinks it’s wholly unfair to listen to David Shoemaker’s Masked Man Show on The Ringer network and continually weigh it against his former show, ESPN’s Cheap Heat. And perhaps if I walked away from Cheap Heat, I’d be able to approached Shoemaker’s new audio home free of any hang-ups. But, completist that I am, I still listen to every second of Cheap Heat, and that makes it impossible to ignore the comparison.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Social Justice Wrestling: Randy "Kneel" Orton

Orton's "patriotism" is as hollow as his military service
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you haven’t been paying attention this month, sports fans outraged due to protests of the National Anthem in effort to raise awareness and discuss racial inequality in America. This movement was initially started by Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, but has been coopted by several other players in the NFL, women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe, Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones, and countless boys and girls in our public school system. Fans and other players have argued that even though we have First Amendment rights that allow us to protest and speak up against our government, those don’t or shouldn’t extend to moments like the National Anthem because of patriotism. Even school boards throughout the country have started to enact legislation to prevent students from protesting the anthem, because nothing says democracy like forcing children to declare undying love for a country that doesn’t love them.

Podcast Deep Dive: Talk Is Jericho, Ep, 283

From local talent to podcast guest with Jericho
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Show: Talk Is Jericho
Episode: 283
Run Time: 1:10:11
Guest: James Ellsworth

On the first brand-split episode of RAW back in July, scary monster Braun Strowman faced "a local competitor" in one of the first legitimate squash matches the show had seen in quite some time. And even more strangely, that local competitor got a brief in-ring interview in which he looked utterly terrified, yet still declared his belief that "any man with two hands has a fighting chance."

Learning To Live With Smackdown

Ambrose gets the rarest win of them all; a clean pin on regular TV over Cena
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

Iffy Dialogue Being Delivered Well
Neither Alexa Bliss nor Becky Lynch had anything new to say during the start-of-show contract signing, but I still liked it because they're both capable of delivering the usual spiel without sounding like they're just reciting lines. Lynch especially manages to make every “I worked hard and I will continue to work hard!” promo sound passionate and compelling. She really makes me believe that the Women's Title isn't just a prop; it MEANS something and she'll do anything to hold onto it. Bliss had a tougher row to hoe because whoever writes for the women can't seem to pry themselves away from the same catty cadence for every heel. Bliss' material could just as easily have been for Charlotte or Natalya, particularly with the whole “born to be a champion” thing. Differentiate between these women, please! Still, though, I'm glad the the Smackdown women's division is still being portrayed as competitive and important and that Lynch and Bliss are the ones heading it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 318

Cedric Alexander opened up about his early days in the biz to Cabana this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 318 (Sept. 15, 2016)
Run Time: 1:04:55
Guest: Cedric Alexander (11:02)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 168

I have things to say about Calhoun and 39 other wrestlers
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Normally, I open Twitter up for questions that I answer here on The Wrestling Blog. This week, I shook it up a little bit. Instead, I asked Twitter to give me the name of a current wrestler that I may write a paragraph about them. The paragraph may be explicitly about that wrestler, or it may be a commentary based on something that wrestler is involved in, be it directly or more conceptually. This week's TweetBag is sure to be a hoot.

"That Ol' Juke Joint" Lucas Calhoun submitted by @GemCityGent - Getting past the initial disconnect of placing a modern-day homage to Honky Tonk Man being in Chikara's rebel outsider group last year, the switch from Volgar to Juke Joint has fit Calhoun super well. Not only does it fit within Chikara's aesthetic like the long, slender piece fits in a Tetris slot, but he is reminiscent of Honky Tonk Man, wrestling's classic Elvis impersonator and Lucha Underground guest star. Honky might conjure up angst because he kinda sucked, but the thing about Calhoun is that at least so far, he's shown that he's just as good to belong on a Chikara roster that gets overlooked at times in terms of its in-ring prowess.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Masked Man Show Ep. 10

Rhodes is one of many topics on this week's Masked Man show
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Masked Man Show
Episode: 10 (Sept. 14, 2016)
Run Time: 58:20
Guest: Dan St. Germain, Sam Donsky (co-hosts)

NXT In 60 Seconds

Coming soon to a hospital bed near you (Photo Credit: WWE.com)
Samoa Joe: ...you know, I thought about who I am and what I've become in the past year chasing then holding the NXT World Championship...
Shinsuke Nakamura: Nice to see the old Joe back, man.  Rematch granted!
Joe: AND I'M GOING TO DO ALL THOSE THINGS AND WORSE THIS IS THE OLD JOE YOU SPAZMATIC TITLE SNATCHER! URANAGE INTO THE STAIRS! JOE OUT!
Tom Phillips: [quiet Owen voice]
Corey Graves: [quiet Owen voice]
Internet: [the Rock rolling his eyes at Faarooq mid-promo dot gif]