Monday, September 22, 2014

Instant Feedback: All Ambrose Everything

He's your god now
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The dirtiest little secret about Attitude Era RAW was that the shows really weren't written well at all. The maze of swerves often made little to no sense, and the failed attempts at worked shoots only really exposed the business in chintzy, tawdry ways. The "adult" edge was basically done to pop Vince McMahon, whose sense of humor is about as refined as bauxite, and it mainly drove kids away while catering to a bunch of gross manchildren, the majority of whom were about five years at the very most from abandoning "fake" wrestling for mixed-martial arts. The era's popularity had nothing to do with booking and even less to do with bookers.

The above isn't so much to say that nothing was good about those days. I mean, people loved wrestling, "The Big Three," and watching on Mondays for a reason. When people say they want the halcyon days of 1998 back, what they really seem to want is a show buoyed by electric, unpredictable personalities. Without guys like The Rock, Triple H, McMahon, Undertaker, Mick Foley, and especially Steve Austin, the then-World Wrestling Federation would have been a Tommy Wiseau movie with sub-SyFy original movie casting. Wrestling, no matter what the era or the motif of the promotion, needs stars.

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings, September 22

Dean Ambrose is a friend to Yellow cab
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. Dean Ambrose (Last Week: Not Ranked) - That Dean Ambrose is such a swell guy, keeping traditional cabbies in business in the face of Uber crushing the market with its trendy and convenient iron fist.

2. Sidney Bakabella (Last Week: Not Ranked) - He manages the reigning King of Trios AND the Tag Gauntlet winners. He's also brought helmet hair back into style, AND he's gotten over more times on Toots Mondt than the Roadrunner has on Wile E. Coyote. If you don't think Bakabella is the Manager of the Year, well, he's not gonna let you get to the pay window.

3. AJ Lee (Last Week: 4) - Lee won the Divas Title for a third time last night. Two more times, and she can get a free coffee cake muffin at her local Dunkin' Donuts.

Way to Front-Load, Guys: WWE Night of Champions Review

HEY! Tell everyone the Tittymaster's back!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hey yo! TH Review ENGAGE. Catch the replay on the WWE Network if you weeell.

Highlights:
  • Goldust and Stardust won the WWE Tag Team Championships from the Usos when Stardust countered a Superfly Splash by getting his knees up and rolling up for the pin.
  • Sheamus retained the United States Championship with a flash Brogue Kick counter on Cesaro from the corner.
  • Damien Sandow returned from the back after being shooed away by R-Truth and ugh, Florida-Georgia Line and distracted Dolph Ziggler long enough for The Miz to O'Connor Roll him with tights to win the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Roman Reigns' incarcerated hernia kept him from the arena, allowing Seth Rollins to claim a forfeit victory. He then issued an open challenge, which was answered by a returning Dean Ambrose, leading to a non-match brawl around the arena.
  • Rusev defeated Mark Henry by submission with the Accolade.
  • Randy Orton countered a Chris Jericho leap from the top into a RKO to get the victory.
  • AJ Lee wrangled Paige in the Black Widow to earn the tapout victory and her third Divas Championship reign.
  • John Cena defeated Brock Lesnar by disqualification when Rollins came in and broke up a pin attempt after a fourth Attitude Adjustment. Cena then prevented Rollins from cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase by yanking him from the apron before he could make the attempt official. Lesnar is still WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

MCMG Monday: Generation Me (The Young Bucks)

The Bucks didn't have a lot of contact with the  MCMGs outside of TNA
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Maybe it's because they really only had one match outside of the restrictive TNA confines, in PWG (a match which was excellent by the way.), but the Young Bucks-Motor City Machine Guns thing ever really only happened in TNA. In a lot of ways, this is a shame. As much because this was a feud between two guys who were, at the time and in the case of the latter still are, state-of-the-art tag teams and it was always glossed over to talk about the same strata of top guys that was only chipped into when circumstance, and lack of finance, changed it. Also, so many of those new and cool double-team moves are miscalled because Mike Tenay, who was once on the cutting edge of the sport, grew lazy and a caricature of himself. But that's another story for another day. Right now, just enjoy their most physical and hate-filled match (and the only one without commentary.)

The Return of the King: Chikara King of Trios '14 Night Three Review

Smooth Sailing didn't appear on the show, but who cares!
Photo Credit: An anonymous Chikara friend whose name I didn't get
TH Style! I highly checking back to Smart Mark Video to see when you can get this show in whatever your desired medium is.

Highlights:
  • The Golden Trio defeated Jimmy Jacobs' Flood team when Volgar tapped out to Icarus' Chikara Special. After the match, Icarus freed the Lithuanian Snow Troll from his chains, only for the Troll to give him a low blow in return.
  • The Devastation Corporation punched its ticket to the finals with a Death Blow on Scott Parker of 3Peck0.
  • Mark Andrews put down Oliver Grimsley with a shooting star press.
  • The Osirian Portal eliminated nearly a third of the field in the Tag Team Gauntlet, but they couldn't overcome Sidney Bakabella's roll of quarters. Oleg the Usurper and Jaka won the Gauntlet thanks to help from their manager as the tenth and final team entered.
  • The Submission Squad defeated the Gentlemen's Club in atomicos action by hitting a Stone Cold Stunner, Rock Bottom, Atomic Leg Drop, and Warrior Splash on the Swamp Monster in quick succession.
  • Shynron overcame the red mist to defeat Seiya Sanada and win the Rey de Voladores title with a 630 senton off the second rope.
  • The Devastation Corporation won the 2014 King of Trios with a Death Blow on Dasher Hatfield.
  • After the match, the Flood laid waste to the Chikara roster and offered an ultimatum to Icarus to hand the Grand Championship to Eddie Kingston. Icarus was able to talk sense into Kingston, and the War King turned on Jacobs, allowing the Chikara roster to beat the Flood back and end the show on a high note.

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Bad Bunny, bad friend
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Most Stable Friendships—Jimmy and Jey Uso, and Goldust and Stardust
The tag match between the Usos and the Dust Bros. was over before I had fully realized it was even happening, but as far as I'm aware nothing untoward happened to threaten the stability of either team. In fact, I'm putting the Usos' apparently fully healed injuries down to the power of friendship.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 152

Austin's going stag again this week
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 Unleashed
Episode: 152
Run Time: 1:25:37
Guest: None

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art of Wrestling Ep. 216

Eddie Kingston among the throng on Cabana's podcast this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 216
Run Time: 56:22
Guests: John Thorne (at 6:45), Eddie Kingston (13:23), Colin Delaney (24:08) Johnny Gargano (36:40) and Cliff Compton (49:40) — with brief appearances from Rhyno and Tyson Dux in the cold open.

Final King of Trios News Update

AR Fox is a worthy mic drop name for Rey de Voladores
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Well, tonight is the night that King of Trios begins in all its glory. In the past few days, Chikara has put some of the finishing touches on its pre-tournament announcements. Obviously, some surprises are still in store, and the full slate of competitors in the Tag Team Gauntlet will not be decided until trios start getting eliminated from the main tourney. However, Rey de Voladores is completely set, three new teams have been added to the Gauntlet, and some juicy post-Trios news about the oldest traditional tournament in the company has been dropped.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 31

Watts gabs about tons of history
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via 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: 31
Run Time: 2:11:59
Guest: “Cowboy” Bill Watts

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 93

Can't have a tag division without these guys
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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 morning (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

Firstly, who is "they?" Are the people who named Vader coming to me to make a tag division? Is WWE giving me a big budget? Is a money mark looking to have me make offers to teams that they can't refuse? I'm going to with the latter option. Anyway, the tag team scene outside of WWE and TNA is robust enough to craft a division that with the right booking could light the spark on a wildfire.
  • The Young Bucks - How can I craft a tag division without grabbing the best team in the world?
  • The Hooligans - Two burly guys crashing into opponents and fixed structures at high speeds are the new market inefficiency.
  • Pieces of Hate - Jigsaw and Shard provide a strong villainous presence in the division. Sure, the Bucks being there add that too, but they're more classic heels. PoH provide the more modern, sleek-assassin presence.
  • EYFBO - Much like the Hooligans, they are agile hosses, but the Funky Monkey and Mike Draztik would give the division a bona fide comedic presence.
  • Washington Bullets - The Brothers Williams bring that Southern swag to the table in addition to high-flying explosiveness.
  • Brian Cage and Tommaso Ciampa - Sure, they haven't teamed just yet (first appearance as a team to be at Beyond's Makin' Moves), but really, Cage's other partner, Michael Elgin, just doesn't do it for me. Ciampa brings unpredictability and fire to the team, who'd act as the monster baddies of the division.
Those six teams would embody the batshit ethic I would want to instill while still having specific roles filled.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 151

Nash returns to the Austin podcast this week
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: 151
Run Time: 1:20:42
Guest: Kevin Nash

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

King of Trios for Beginners

King of Trios is awesome, and you should read this post to familiarize yourself with it
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
King of Trios, the most important event on the Chikara calendar and perhaps the biggest event in independent wrestling in a given year, begins Friday. While the event has my fires and the fires of the Chikaraverse stoked, I would be naive to assume that every wrestling fan knows what the weekend is about. On the surface, it's just a six-man tag team tournament, but as with anything in wrestling, especially Chikara, the roots grow more deeply than what they'd appear from the surface. In addition, the Chikara mythos can feel daunting to newbies or outsiders.

Even if being immersed in the promotion can give an extra sense of satisfaction (or heightened disappointment, depending on the outcomes) this weekend, one can know nothing else about the promotion except that it exists and still enjoy King of Trios. The following is a primer of sorts on what to expect at the tournament. I'm not sure how many tickets remain for any of the three shows, but the Easton Funplex holds a lot of people in terms of independent wrestling crowds. I'm sure if you wanted to make a last-minute road trip to the Lehigh Valley, you could score a general admission ticket and experience for yourself the grandeur of the weekend. But anyway, if you want to go and don't know what you would be getting into, well, why not read this guide and see what you're up against, or if it's something you'd enjoy.

Your Midweek Links: She's Hardcore! She's Hardcore!

#FreeSeleziya
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
It's hump day, so here are some links to get you through the rest of the week:

Wrestling Links:

- Women's Wrestling Weekly: Searching for the Innovators of Violence [With Spandex]

- The Heart Is RAW: I want to see AJ Lee as WWE World Champion [International Object]

- The Best and Worst of RAW: The Incarceration of Paul Heyman by the Coward John Cena [With Spandex]

- More matches from the mid-20th century [Ringbelles]

- NXT Takeover 2: Fatal Fourway [International Object]

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Issue 2

What BREAKING NEWS is about Cesaro and Vince McMahon? READ BELOW!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hello again, people of the world! HORB FLERBMINBER is back again with all the news that's fit to print, and that's a trademarked phrase by ME AND ME ALONE. I don't wanna see any of you dorks and nerds out there stealing my material, unless you pay me a hefty rejoinder fee. In that case, you can steal my organs if you want. I'M ALL ABOUT THE CASH. Anyway, if you have a tip that you want to submit, send it my way at ProWrestlingSKOOPZ@gmail.com. Please contact me if you have scoops, news, hot rumors, or if you're a Nigerian prince who needs an upfront loan so you can transfer some loot into my account. Even if you're scamming me, at least throw me some contact information for Great Power Uti. I've been wanting to get him for an interview FOR YEARS now.

Also, you can and probably should follow me on Twitter at @HorbFlerbminber, where you can get all the BREAKING scoops that happen as they happen. For a low monthly fee, I can give you access to my LinkedIn account too, although I only use that to send sanitation companies Bryan Alvarez's resume. HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID. Although I probably shouldn't be TOO hard on Alvarez. One night, we got RIPSHIT drunk on absinthe and rubbing alcohol and lit paper bags full of dog poop on Joe Babinsack's front porch. And by front porch, I mean his kitchen. And by dog poop, I mean propane canisters. I think I've written too much already.