Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NXT Vs. The Main Roster

NXT is Levesque's baby, and it shows compared to the main roster
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE owns the NXT brand. NXT is a WWE promotion, and is a pipeline for future main roster talents. Other than that connection, one would be pretty hard-pressed to think that the two were related in any way whatsoever. I wouldn't say NXT is objectively better than main roster WWE at this point. I mean, I find it objectively more enjoyable, but one has to admit that NXT's sight's don't skew universally, and maybe people find what the main roster shows are doing to be more entertaining. However, the MOs are not the same at all, and to claim as such would make me wonder what drugs the claimant was ingesting.

WWE NXT UK Is Coming

Couture got hurt working a sham deal that will now be used as the fruition of WWE's English expansionism
Screen Grab from YouTube via ProWrestling.com
Toni Storm, Killer Kelly, and Isla Dawn competed in a three-way match to figure out who Shayna Baszler's challenger at the United Kingdom Tournament tapings would be yesterday. It was supposed to be a four-way match featuring Jinny Couture, and in fact, it began as such. Couture, who right now is the PROGRESS Women's Champion and perhaps the hottest property in British wrestling of any gender, injured herself badly enough that the match stopped and she needed help to the back. The match was declared a no-contest, and it was restarted later without Couture. While her injury condition hasn't been updated, the fact that she had to be helped to the back didn't really bode well for her chances of earning her keep through wrestling.

No, Fans Aren't Ingrates for Not Reacting How Vince McMahon Wants Them To

Fans don't like the Big Dog? They aren't ingrates.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When fans go to a wrestling show, they are invited to react. Hell, they are expected to react. The people in the live audience are an instant focus group, unprecedented in nearly any other medium of scripted entertainment nowadays. Obviously, when the creative team or the booker or whoever is in charge presents someone in a certain way, they expect the fans to react to them accordingly. Sometimes, those reactions don't match up with the presentation. The most widespread example is when a wrestler, heel or babyface, gets absolutely no reaction whatsoever, the most telling sign that the people pulling the strings have fucked up in their calculations.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for June 18, 2018

Thanks to Strowman, Kevin Owens is now on the fast track to becoming oil for future Earthlings.
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. Braun Strowman (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Him winning the men's briefcase was unexpected since, c'mon, he doesn't need. But who needs anything? It's all about who takes stuff, right? Wrestling is a great escape from the ghastly slog that is real life because morality is different. Whereas decent people practice restraint and compassion, they're not in the wrong by demanding blood and gore from their heroes battling against rank villainy. Either way, I still can't believe Strowman threw Kevin Owens so hard that he landed about 50 meters embedded in Earth's mantle. That's wild.

2. Calamari (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - If you've had this wonderful cephalopod, it's probably been battered, fried, and paired with some kind of red sauce. But did you know it's really fuckin' good grilled, broiled, braised, or cooked in any manner? I had it with clams, shrimp, and scallops in a pasta dish Friday and it might have been the best meal I had all year. GO out of your way to eat calamari in all shapes and sizes. Unless you're a vegan, in which case I respect your life choices, even though I don't necessarily agree to take part in that lifestyle.

3. Nikki Cross (Last Week: 7) - Was Cross' goal to win the NXT World Championship, or was it to make a noted MMA badass in Shayna Baszler poop her pants in fear? If it was the latter, she succeeded, oh my, did she succeed. Seriously, the evil grin she flashed right before passing out to the Kirafuda Clutch did more to get herself over as a psychopath than anything the main roster has done for Dean Ambrose since The Shield broke up. Granted, Ambrose has been an incredibly entertaining brand of silly crossed with crazy, but WWE just doesn't know how to brand its wrestlers best, does it.

Money In The Bank Safeword: Recursion

Sure, it was done well, but was it the right call?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
A week before WrestleMania 34, Alexa Bliss was RAW Women's Champion and Nia Jax was mad at her. A mere 77 days later, and Bliss is the RAW Women's Champion once more, and Jax is once again mad at her. WWE has not remained in stasis since then, which is what makes this situation worse than when it started, in all honesty. At Mania, Jax scored an inspirational victory over the verbally abusive former friend and looked to set off on a new path after besting Bliss in the rematch. While her forecasted direction in the wake of her challenge of Ronda Rousey most likely left her with a narrative away from the title, at least she had moved on, right?

Best Coast Bias: Everything Is Hate

A man still on a mission
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Results, stray thoughts and takeaways from the latest Takeover just as soon as I finally get to yell "YOUR NAME IS TOBY!" at a White man...

  • Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong retained the NXT World Tag Team Championships over Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan after a Total Elimination variant.
  • Ricochet beat Velveteen Dream after a 630 splash.
  • Shayna Baszler retained the NXT Women's World Championship over Nikki Cross after rendering her unconscious with the Kurifida Clutch.
  • Aleister Black retained the NXT World Championship over Lars Sullivan after a pair of Black Masses.
  • Tommaso Ciampa beat Johnny Gargano in a street fight.

Friday, June 15, 2018

NXT In 60 Seconds

Even the go-home shows are better in Florida
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Full Sailors: throwing up devil horns War!  War!  War!  War!

War Raiders: splut splat gorsh Fallout
Referee: Winners!
Raiders: They call themselves the Mighty?  We'll show them mighty.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 239

𝅘𝅥𝅱 I like knives but I'm not a knife pervert 𝅘𝅥𝅱
Photo Credit: Sabatier
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, why screw with a classic? A nice, sharp, kitchen knife that cuts through produce the way it should is anyone's best friend. You get that nice chop on the vegetables and whatnot, and it makes you feel like you've done something before you've even started cooking. Have you ever tried to get together a good mis en place? It's a pain in the tuchas. Getting everything chopped and prepared for cooking is a feat in and of itself, and nothing makes you feel like a kitchen knight more than the cutting apparatus. Using any automatic means saves time and effort, but it doesn't give you the same satisfaction.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Money in the Bank Oddsmakers 2018!

What happened the last time Miz won the briefcase... is WWE due for a repeat?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Money in the Bank is Sunday, and WWE will be presenting His and Hers briefcases for the second year in a row. For the first time ever, women on the RAW brand will be able to compete for said briefcases, as last year's show was Smackdown only. Fun! WWE made it a point to say that the winner could only challenge the Champion on their brand, but the thing to remember here is that in any good pro wrestling company, the rules are made up and the points don't matter. Therefore, some odds are made with certain matchups in mind, whether or not they're "possible" right now with the brand split, he said thinking anyone reading this believes WWE wouldn't pull off a trade or a walkout angle to get to whatever match gave Vince McMahon increased bloodflow to his genetic jackhammer this week. Ladies first...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

On New Japan, Women's Wrestling, and Picking Your Arguments

Chyna was the last regular female competitor for New Japan, but should she be the final one?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Every now and again, the topic of women in New Japan Pro Wrestling comes up. Women don't regularly compete in the promotion, and outside of a Maria Kanellis vs. Amber O'Neal match promoted during the heyday of the Bullet Club's second iteration, one would have to go all the way back to when Joanie "Chyna" Laurer competed against the men for another female competitor. For people who like diversity in representation, it's a black mark, even though the female audience of the promotion isn't exactly hurting. Still, many promoters are realizing women are just as viable wrestlers as men, and especially in Japan, the joshi scene pretty much influenced everything the men were doing from the late '80s until, well, today. It's not that women are lesser competitors than men.

Stop Booking Awful People

Promotions are baking down from SHLAK. When will they do the same for the rapists and abusers?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Wrestling is not filled with the virtuous and the saintly. The business contains people with questionable opinions and who use demeaning language. They don't have the best social mores. No one would mistake pro wrestling for being populated with social justice warriors (and regardless of what a MAGA CHUD would tell you, those people are actually good). It's a business based on choreographed violence, whose competitors get high on testosterone and adrenaline. I'm not expecting perfection in the characters of the wrestlers I like. Hell, I'm not even expecting them to line up with most of my general beliefs. However, I would expect certain bars to be cleared. One would think that an accused rapist or rape apologist or domestic abuser or Nazi would not clear the bars for fans or promoters, right? Well, recent history has proven a stark reminder that it seems few promotions are willing to clear that bar.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for June 11, 2018

A veritable titan
Photo Credit: Travel Channel website
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. Anthony Bourdain (Last Ranking: Not Ranked) - Okay, I lied in the last entry. I have a small eulogy for Bourdain, who for someone who watches more food-oriented television than is healthy, was a titanic figure. He really had a great love for food and for people, and it showed in everything he said and did, and it has come off in an almost near universal effluence of praiseful remembrance that has blessed his name. The fact that the only attempts at trying to smear the dead so immediately after his passing have been so inauthentic (the douchebag mad that Bourdain called him out over making awful jokes at the expense of terrorism victims, irony-poisoned bros bringing up a half-hearted endorsement of intervention in Libya on a radio show ten years ago, vegans mad that he didn't like them) showed that he was objectively a force in his life. Inauthentic is a good way of describing the things he didn't like, so it should follow critiques of him would ring just as hollow. He wasn't a food snob (he loved Waffle House and In 'N Out), but he wondered aloud how one could call rib meat scraped off chicken bones and chemically processed could be called food. He had no prejudices based on demographic, but hoo boy, if your grabs for power, fame, or money were transparent, he had a thing to say about you, especially if you engineered war crimes in a neutral country during the Vietnam War.

How Anthony Bourdain's Example Can Help Improve Wrestling Discourse

Bourdain's entire career is a template for building community over a common interest
Photo Credit: David Scott Holloway/CNN
Anthony Bourdain passed away last week by his own hand. A few other writers who are smarter and better than me tackled his eulogies well, and this is a wrestling blog (well, The Wrestling Blog) and not a food blog. It's not to say Bourdain didn't touch the world of pro wrestling. I mean, he was a member of Titus Worldwide, for crying out loud. His death, however, got me to thinking about wrestling in a roundabout way, or more specifically, his thoughts on a specific area of culinary prowess did. His thoughts on craft beer...

New Japan Pro Wrestling: Dominion 2018

Another war, this time with a different ending
Photo Credit: NJPW1972.com
New Japan Pro Wrestling put on their annual Dominion show last Saturday, in the bright lights of Osaka-Jo Hall. Consider this to be their SummerSlam — the second-biggest show of the year where notable stuff tends to happen. There were a few undercard matches, one of which included Michael Elgin winning a title (NJPW is insufficiently woke, unfortunately). But let's talk about the big ones that mattered.

The Young Bucks vs. EVIL and SANADA (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)
After a few years in the Junior Heavyweight Division, and after becoming arguably the most popular tag team in the world, the Bucks finally moved up to the Heavyweight Division, and it took them exactly one attempt to capture the tag belts. Maybe it's the surprise success of All In that has NJPW bestowing such honors upon them and putting them in such a spot, but like they always do, the Bucks proved that they deserve every bit of their success by going toe-to-toe with EVIL and SANADA in a match that zoomed by in a delirious blur.

Friday, June 8, 2018

NXT In 60 Seconds

The only votive is vengeance
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Shayna Basler: (after swaggering out) I showed the whole locker room via Dakota Kai last week that I'm tougher, stronger and better, but there's always gotta be one...
Full Sailors: Nikki!  Nikki!  Nikki!
Shayna: ...one who thinks the laws don't apply to them, and if she ever gets in my face today, it'll be the last thing she EVER does...
Guess Who: shows up
Full Sailors: Nikki!  Nikki!  Nikki's gonna kill you!  Nikki's gonna kill you!
Shayna: (clearly slightly shook) That stunt last week was a joke. Don't get it twisted in that whacked out little mind of yours; I'm the Champ.  You're only better than me in your head.
Nikki: nods and smiles
Shayna: What are you, crazy?