Thursday, March 23, 2017

WrestleMania 22: A Sea Change By the Lake

Suffice to say, the Chicago Mania crowd didn't like this result
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The last WrestleMania that wasn't held in a gigantic stadium that kills intimacy and crowd excitement, WrestleMania 22 came from the AllState Arena in Chicago - site of Bret Hart and Steve Austin's masterpiece at Mania 13, and future site of CM Punk's greatest achievement at Money in the Bank 2011. Yes, CM Punk did show up at WrestleMania 22 as one of John Cena's nondescript mobster guys carrying a fake tommy gun, but that fun bit of trivia isn't the focus today, though Punk does figure in to what I'm thinking about with this show.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100: Others Receiving Votes, or BEHOLD THE TWB 500

No Way Jose BARELY missed the cut
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Okay, so yesterday, the voters for this year's TWB 100 were revealed and venerated. Now, the time has come to list the wrestlers who received votes but not enough to make the actual top 100. In fact, so many wrestlers received votes this year that I can finally unveil a dream I've had for this list since I started it. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome yourselves to the first ever TWB 500. Pro Wrestling Illustrated got nothing on me, baybay. In order are the 400 wrestlers who didn't make the top of the list. In case of a tie in point totals, well, I'm going to be honest with you. I didn't put too much thought into breaking them and in some cases order may be alphabetical. Still, we, meaning you the voters and I, have gotten to 500! Check it out!

101. No Way Jose Points: 746
102. Jonathan Gresham Points: 736
103. ACH Points: 723
104. Rey Mysterio, Jr. Points: 703
105. AR/Dante Fox Points: 689

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Enjoying Wrestling, Even in the Face of Armageddon

Paige's intimate moments stolen from her are just one of the many things horrifying in wrestling right now
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The last week to week and a half has been rough in the wrestling world. Kevin Condron and Pinkie Sanchez have become the latest now-former Chikara wrestlers to come forward accusing the company, head booker Mike Quackenbush in particular, of improprieties concerning payment. Condron claims he'd never been paid more than $30 for a Chikara appearance, that wrestlers were discontinued usage for sickness, and that it's common practice for Wrestle Factory students to work for free. Sanchez's accusations are a lot more pointed and actually allege criminal action. Namely, he showed up late for a show, worked it, and then was refused payment afterwards, which is pretty much illegal. Chikara employees, past and present, and other wrestling personalities circled the wagons, defending the actions for various reasons that involve tradition or "it's always been like this" or paying dues.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100: Meet Your Voters

IT BEGIIIIIINS
Welcome to the rollout for this year's TWB 100! All the votes are in, the blurbs are hard at work getting written, and the tallies are tabulated. Of course, one cannot have a TWB 100 without voters, and this year, the grand list received a total of 66 ballots from 67 people (two people collaborated on a ballot). The following is a list of people who submitted ballots in this year's list, so if you have a problem with how it turned out, talk to them*:

* - Do not harass TWB 100 voters.

TH - Notable nobody.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

Same, TAFKA Hero
Photo Credit: WWE.com
the Ealy Brothers: Our first match!  Maybe this week we can
the Authors of Pain: whatever LOLNOPE is in Samoan, Super Collider, Final Chapter
Paul Ellering: I'm not just molding champions, I'm building a dynasty!  And that statement will lead to no comeuppance, so thanks, everyone for
#DIY: If it wasn't for the Revival, we would've won back the belts in our rematch!
the Revival: Reality check, if it wasn't for us there wouldn't BE a tag division!
Master Regal: All of you will face each other down the road and in a fortnight under elimination rules.  Last team standing wins the prize.
All Six Of Them, Even the Authors: The prize...

WrestleMania XX: Reckoning with the Redacted

The only result of a World Title match at Mania that doesn't feel COMPLETELY gross today
Photo Credit: WWE.com
In 2004, I was the very definition of a lapsed wrestling fan. I hadn't actively watched in about three years. I may not have even known that they had gotten the "F" out and were now WWE. But my younger brother had taken up my wrestling fandom, and he and his friends were ordering WrestleMania XX on PPV. He asked if I would come, and I wasn't sure. But then he explained that The Undertaker was coming back as his original Deadman character, and I said, "Okay, I'll be there."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 181

The beginning of my favorite episode of Sunny ever
Screen Grab via Recap Guide
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 @adamsgroove asks:
I need your recommendation for the best episode from each season (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
SEASON 1: "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy" - Some have postulated that the show didn't really start getting good until Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds showed up, which I don't completely agree with. The first season has a lot of gems and holds up better than the first seasons of some other beloved shows like Seinfeld or The Simpsons. This episode, where Mac and Charlie discover Dennis' and Dee's grandfather to be a Nazi and use it against Dennis as a mic drop when he brags that he had sex with the comely lass whose father died in their bar, is the one that got me hooked on the series.

NXT In 60 Seconds

KING BACK
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Tye Dillinger: All right, let's do this damn thing.
Orlandoians?  ites?: 10!  10!  10! 10!
Eric Young: Yes, let us have a standard one on one match, thus prefaced by the removal of my associates as you see now.
10ye: ...well...okay, you're being weird.  But one-on-one, as promised and I'm gonna punch you right in the
E.Y.: What a nice Roderick Strong you have here.   Well, beaten up and dragged from the back by my associates.
10ye: ...
Roderick: ... :( ow
Associates: cackle maniacally with an undercurrent of raving
No Way Jose: ¿Porque?
E.Y.: Don't look at me.  I didn't do this.  You did this.
10ye and Jose: We're doing this.  rush the ring
SAnitY: So we're doing THIS.  lay Jose and Tye the eff out 


WrestleMania XI: The One that No One Likes

The worst Mania main ever is still interesting to look at through the lens of history
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're like me and you spend the month of March going back and catching up on WrestleManias of the past, don't watch WrestleMania XI. Don't do it. You will have a bad time. Your time will be better spent cleaning your gutters or doing your taxes (with the help of Irwin R. Schyster, of course). Seriously. Don't do it. But please let me tell you about the show.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100 Announcement and Call for Ballots

Sasha Banks is the defending top dog in the TWB 100. Can she repeat this year?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
All the fine humanoids around the wrestling world, the time has arrived for the TWB 100, 2016 Edition. This year will be the eighth year the exercise has taken place. For the uninitiated, the TWB 100 is a crowd-sourced, fan-voted, open-participation list that looks to rank wrestlers from the last calendar year (in this case, 2016) in terms of their performances in the ring as wrestlers/workers. That bolded part is important. It is not based on character development or promos or how much you liked that wrestler. It's based on the matches, the actual ability to tell a story in the ring. Participation is open to ANYONE who wishes to submit a ballot with few exceptions (if you have to ask if you're banned, you probably aren't). The following list are the criteria for voting, the rules if you will:

Friday, March 3, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 180

Mark Henry: 69 Star Wrestler
Screen Grab via 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:

Please, a match that nice would deserve 69 stars.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 340

Drake is Cabana's guest this week
Photo via Huffington Post
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: 340 (March 2, 2017)
Run Time: 1:04:01
Guest: Eli Drake (11:10)

NXT In 60 Seconds

A shocking ending, had it been the ending
Photo Credit: WWE.com)
Patrick Clark: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called my shoddy homage.
Full Sailors: [404 error: crowd reaction not found]
Sean Maluta: I got my own specialized Tron now!
Full Sailors: [404 error: crowd reaction not found]
Full Sailors: [404 error: crowd reaction not found]
Full Sailors: [404 error: crowd reaction not found]
Full Sailors: [404 error: crowd reaction not found]
Announcer: Your winner, Patrick Clark!
Full Sailors: ....huh?  Wha?  Wha hoppen?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

WrestleMania IX: If Hogan Wins, We Gamble and Party

Hogan ended Mania IX as Champion in a reviled decision, but it actually made sense
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Since all anyone wants to talk about with WrestleMania IX is its batshit crazy ending, let's just get it out of the way now, and ignore the rest of the show (my quick review: everyone was wearing togas, there weren't any great matches and it was too windy).

Learning to Live With Smackdown

Some Vipers just wanna watch the world burn
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This was a really weird episode of Smackdown. I still don't really understand many of the structure or narrative choices that were made. It wasn't the worst two hours of television I've ever sat through, but it was confusing on many levels. So that's mainly what I'm learning to live with this week: all the weirdness.

Weirdness #1 – Tearing Up a Perfectly Good Foundation to Lay a New One 
Last week I said that I wouldn't have had Maryse directly involve herself in Nikki Bella and Natalya's match, and I still stand by that, but I actually did like her getting repeatedly caught in their crossfire. It was a shockingly subtle (by WWE standards) and fluid way to transition to a new feud. This week I expected Maryse and Bella to finally get things started for their rumoured mixed tag match at WrestleMania. That is not what happened. In fact, the previous weeks' worth of build-up weren't mentioned at all. Instead, things were entirely turned over to the Miz and John Cena to make things all about them, with Maryse and Bella only getting involved on their significant others' behalf. Um, what the hell is this? If this was just going to come down to Miz and Cena yelling at each other, what was even the point of throwing a wrench into Bella's match with Natalya last week? Speaking of which, she's just completely fine with having lost what was routinely billed as the most personal feud on the show? We're not going to address that at all?