Friday, January 20, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

Main Event Contract Signing!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Nikki Cross: rants incoherently
Cannon Fodder: Eh, it's a living.
Cross: mauls her, Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Credenza

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 334

Former ROH owner Silkin talks to Cabana
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: 334 (Jan. 19, 2017)
Run Time: 52:26
Guest: Cary Silkin (10:37)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 175

I posit that yes, they should have let John Cena spit with Wiz Khalifa
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:

Honestly, no matter how much John Cena warned and warned the world not to let it happen, I think it was good. It was an adequate weapons test for the rest of the hip-hop community, in that if any of those ruffians got ideas, Cena and Khalifa would be there to show them who was boss. But this raises a bigger question anyway. Who are "they" and why do they have so much influence on reality? Why did "they" call Vader Vader? I HAVE NEVER GOTTEN A SATISFACTORY ANSWER GODDAMMIT.

Learning to Live with Smackdown

What are they even fighting over?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
There were only three matches on this week's episode of Smackdown, one of which ended in a no-contest and the other two of which heavily featured interference. That's not to say the wrestling or the show as a whole was terrible, but it didn't make things any easier to live with. That being said, this week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

Heel on Heel Action
A heel versus heel match is a rare and beautiful thing in WWE, and I personally wish they'd do it more often. Seeing two bad guys try to out-dastardly deed each other can be entertaining as hell. Miz going up against AJ Styles was a lot of fun. I thought the match was really good and that the two men played off each other well. The match ended due to outside interference, but I enjoyed it while it lasted, and given that the show started off with around 15 minutes of people standing around the ring having a chat and slinging terrible insults, I really needed the pick-me-up.

Podcast Deep Dive: Talk Is Jericho, Ep. 317

Jericho talks to Perry Saturn in the latest podcast
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Show: Talk Is Jericho
Episode: 317
Run Time: 1:30:25
Guest: Perry Saturn

To be a pro wrestling fan is a constant balancing act: we take the good (in the form of thrilling entertainment) and only occasionally deal with the bad (the awful toll the business takes on its performers). To hear it just from WWE, you would never even know about the bad. Sure, the wrestlers are on the road, but that's just the price you pay to become a superstar, dammit. Nothing bad about that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 395

Austin talks to a prominent wrestling school teacher this week
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: 395 (Jan. 17, 2017)
Run Time: 1:25:48
Guest: Danny Cage (14:02)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Jimmy Snuka Has Passed Away

Snuka has passed
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Jimmy Snuka passed away last night at the age of 73. Although no cause of death has been announced, he had been suffering from stomach cancer and other health issues. Snuka was best known as a WWE staple in the '80s, although he also worked in other territories. His biggest claim to infamy, however, may have been the alleged murder of Nancy Argentino in a motel room in Allentown, PA in 1983. Snuka never stood trial for the murder. Vince McMahon helped evade charges by convincing authorities Snuka couldn't speak English, and when the case was reopened last year, it ended with the judge throwing out the charges two weeks ago.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Best Coast Bias: Top Guys Out Cold

Spoiler alert: this match was real good
Photo Credit: WWE.com
After a couple weeks off for the holiday season for rest and to revel how well their house shows did in Osaka and Melbourne, NXT's first proper show of 2017 had a lot to get to with a now compressed time frame. It is only a couple weekends away from putting on their first pre-Royal Rumble Takeover now, so they had to accelerate their usual path in getting to their semi-regular Network Special trips to the fireworks factory.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 333

Cabana talks to Callihan 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: 333 (Jan. 12, 2017)
Run Time: 1:12:17
Guest: Sami Callahan (10:21)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 174

The Glamazon is part of my favorite "obscure" Rumble moment in recent memory
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:

I don't know how "obscure" this is, but during CM Punk's masterful opening third of the 2010 Royal Rumble, when he was holding court and throwing people out of the ring, Beth Phoenix came out. She eliminated Great Khali via kiss, which was both probably a well-known highlight and also insanely problematic in hindsight. But what followed next was even better. She turned right around into the Go 2 Sleep, and it was the best Go 2 Sleep ever done by Punk. Phoenix took it like a Champ, maybe the only person ever to take it well from Punk.

Learning To Live With Smackdown

For once, Ziggler didn't completely suck
Photo Credit: WWE.com
After last week's misery fest I am ready to enjoy all of the things. This week's plan of action is Learning to Live with Positive Thinking and also Smackdown. Here's what we've got.

Finally Getting Physical
After weeks of hearing about how pretty Nikki Bella is but how she's destined to be a spinster (which would be the Worst Thing Ever because she's Donna Reed in It's A Wonderful Life, apparently. Enjoy your miserable library, Nikki!), what I needed to improve my lookout on life was some good, clean, trying-to-kill-each-other fun. Natalya and Bella were set to have a match, but Natalya struck before they'd even made to the ring and things just kept disintegrating (aka getting awesome) from there. Rather than lie around feeling betrayed, Bella still came out for the match and launched herself full-tilt at Natalya before the bell had even rung. Both women proceeded to be absolutely vicious with each other, and it was hugely refreshing. They should keep throwing hands and stop spouting the crappy dialogue they've been given. The only time I ever buy Nikki Bella's acting is when she's destroying people, and she even managed to look convincingly in pain while she was in the Sharpshooter. I'm really looking forward to when they have an actual match.

Podcast Deep Dive: New Japan Purocast, Ep. 69

The Most Polarizing Match of... the Week
Photo via 411 Wrestling
Show: New Japan Purocast
Episode: 69
Run Time: 2:02:00

Last week, New Japan Pro Wrestling put on their biggest show of the year, WrestleKingdom 11. They do it in the Tokyo Dome and it's a huge deal. If you're a wrestling fan with your finger remotely on the current pulse and you're not just watching Nitro reruns or something, you undoubtedly heard some chatter about this supposed phenomenon of a match that happened in Japan, and how some people loved it and some people thought it was just okay and how other people got mad that anyone would like wrestling that doesn't happen in America because, what, does that make them better than them?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 393

Dave Meltzer talks WrestleKingdom and other things with Austin this week
Photo Credit: [add later]
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: 393 (Jan. 10, 2017)
Run Time: 1:27:18
Guest: Dave Meltzer (15:48)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 390

Austin speaks to Eric Embry this week
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 — Unleashed!
Episode: 390 (Dec. 29, 2016)
Run Time: 1:46:37
Guest: Eric Embry (4:15)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Year End Sorting Bins: IYQ

The ultimate problematic fave
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The following bin is the largest bin for a reason. I watch wrestling to like wrestling. Funny concept, I know, but I don't tune in, even on Monday nights, to get my bile up. I want to be entertained, and by and large, I am. So basically, I try to be positive towards as many as possible. Some don't make this level. Others exceed it into full on rabid fandom. This bin contains everyone else, or those I have General Affinity for.

AJ Styles - Wrestling is full of problematic faves. In fact, one could pore through every person who has ever worked in the business and maybe find a handful of people who don't have enough warts to keep at arm's length. Some are worse than others, obviously, and I feel with a lot of friends that I have whom AJ Styles wouldn't approve of, sometimes I feel dirty enjoying him the way that I do. But for as much as his personal views are bad is as good as he is at this pro wrestling thing. No one in WWE really has had the year that he had this year in the ring, and he totally turned the rep that he had coming in, that he was an awful talker, on its head as he got plenty of time to cut some nifty promos. And thus I'm stuck in a hard place. But the dude really is a fine pro wrestler, even if I kinda wanna paintbrush him across the face for things he says sometimes.