Sunday, December 22, 2013

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 58

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Jessicka Havok is among those selling gear to fans of questionable motive
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, especially around Friday night after Smackdown, and wait for the call. Anyway, time to go!

First up, @HummerX asks if the market for ring-worn gear from women wrestlers exists, or should he feel good that they're able to make an extra buck?

Real talk, women in wrestling, much like in any other field, shouldn't have to do gross stuff to help make ends meet because the pay gap is wide. Granted, in many fields, the money earned for either gender has been converging over the years, but society hasn't arrived to a point of acceptable relative equality. So yeah, wrestlers feel the need to auction off their gear, any number of women work the customs circuit, and yeah, they have Amazon Wish Lists. None of the above are necessarily wrong, and if anything, I don't blame the supply-side, because they wouldn't be offering these things if a demand didn't exist.

But why does the demand exist? I will touch on this in my ROH Year in Review, but a lot of indie companies cater to a pretty skeezy crowd, a vocal minority of fans who will react to all the base tropes and whose vociferous reactions end up keeping otherwise decent people away after they sample a show once, especially in a market where those regulars are ingrained. I am not speaking in generalities or making assumptions. I've been to shows and I've seen the people who act this way. Green Lantern Fan is probably the most notable among them, and he's the only one who has any kind of identity. I don't know if he's one of the ones buying these things, and if he is, I don't know the reason. But while I don't want to play psychoanalyst for people I don't know, I will say that the demand side of this equation feels very creepy.

Are the women who participate on the supply side exploitative? To a degree, they may be, but let's be honest here. Wrestlers are the most exploited people in the business. The promoters use them and the fans may or may not appreciate what they do. Women especially are by and large treated like absolute scum, so if they can get some of it back, more power to them.

@GayWrestlingFan wants to know my thoughts about Green Ant's sudden uptick in chattiness.

I actually haven't noticed the uptick, to be honest. Green Ant has always been The Colony's mouthpiece, a role which he inherited from Worker Ant. Neither Fire Ant nor Soldier Ant have ever been much for conversation, although if I talk about why, I may get into big trouble. Either way, the new mask he's acquired is better for him to talk out of, and I'm surprised he hasn't always had one that allowed him to more easily convey his verbal messages.

@OkoriWadsworth asks what my favorite WarGames match ever is.

My secret shame is that I've never seen a WarGames match. I was always a WWF kid growing up, and of all the classic WCW matches I've seen on tape, none of them have been the iconic double cage match. With that in mind, the match did inspire the Elimination Chamber, and my favorite one of those matches happened in 2009, when Edge speared the pants of Kofi Kingston to force his way into the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber after losing his WWE Championship in the first match that evening.

Fellow Fair to Flair alumnus Razor of Kick-Out!! Wrestling asks what I think the main event of WrestleMania XXX is going to be.

As I noted last week, this year's Mania has been the hardest to predict in at least five years down to what the main event will be. A report from backstage says that Shawn Michaels has a standing offer to break his retirement stipulation for one match against Daniel Bryan, but those backstage RUMORZ always come with heavy skepticism involved. So, with a healthy grain of salt being taken and the rider that I may foreseeing this with my heart and not my head, I think Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton in some kind of gimmick match, be it steel cage, Hell in a Cell (even if they've already done that gimmick match months earlier), or something I'm whiffing on, will be the main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Of course, the title may not be in play. All kinds of names are floating around, from Brock Lesnar and Undertaker to even Dave Batista. But I'm old school enough to believe the title should be the main thing.

Cybernetic ally @robot_hammer requests Vegas-style odds on WWE giving a look to AJ Styles.

I would place them at 50-1. I imagine some people within WWE would want to kick the tires on Styles, who knows how to wrestle and is about as much of a name commodity as one could get from a wrestler whose only other experience in WWE, WCW, or ECW came as a cup of coffee at the very end of the middle of those three. However, he's in his late 30s, would probably require a lot of reprogramming, and would probably need gear that covered up his side tattoo. I think Styles will run the string on the indies until either he or Dixie Carter cave, leading to his return to TNA.

@jessecaz hypothesizes that King of Trios will one day return, and when it does, what team do I want across the ring of a theoretical trio consisting of myself, Brandon Stroud, and Danielle Matheson.

Well, first off, I have had zero training as a wrestler, and neither has Danielle (to the best of my knowledge at least), so I hope Brandon's cool with taking all the bumps!

Second, I would have to ask myself whether I would want the experience of wrestling someone legendary, or whether I would want an easy win to move on. Ah, wrestling's staged anyway. Let's go with the former and book ourselves against Manami Toyota, Tsubasa Kurigaki, and Kaori Yoneyama. I can say that I was in the ring with three veritable joshi legends, and seeing Kurigaki pick my fat ass up with no problem whatsoever would be a treat for the crowd.

Kyle Kensing, the head of Bleacher Report's Pac-12 Blog, asks if Kevin Steen is a future WWE'er?

I hope to God that he is, because he deserves a run with the big bucks before his body gives out. Realistically though, his knees reportedly are ailing him, and WWE's weird image fetishization makes it hard for me to see them giving him a contract. However, all of that could change if the American Pitbulls end up lighting the world on fire and giving the people going to bat for the indie guys more of an open look into the company. Never say never, but I think a lot of things have to break his way before he gets a developmental contract.

@Jessico09, the man who shops at the same ice-fishing supply depot as Brock Lesnar, asks if I've seen Ready to Rumble, and if so, what my thoughts are on it.

I've only seen the opening scene, when David Arquette's character teamed up with Jimmy King to take on Randy Savage and the jackass store clerk. I thought it was amusing. Maybe some day I'll watch the rest of the movie.

Cheese enthusiast @erinprovolone asks which NXT wrestlers I feel could make a Bo Dallas-esque run in the Royal Rumble this year.

None literally, I hope. Dallas' entry into the Rumble was ill-plotted from the start. Using Dallas, an ill-fitting, rejected babyface, against RED BELLY, a floundering heel with a title that really didn't mean a whole lot at the time, was poor planning from start. However, I do think some NXT wrestlers are ready for the big stage. Sami Zayn is the obvious choice, seeing as he's currently the most transcendental talent ever to wrestle for NXT at least, the entire history of developmental at best. Other choices would be Adrian Neville, Corey Graves, Leo Kruger, and Alexander Rusev. The dark horses, however, would be John Cahill (Eddie "Eddie Edwards" Edwards) and Derek Billington (Davey Richards). The "unprecedented deal" they got upon signing apparently promised them a fast track through NXT and onto Smackdown. The Rumble wouldn't be the worst place to debut them.

@PureGristle wants to know what I think should have happened in the WWE main event scene after SummerSlam.

Well, for one, I wouldn't have done what they did. I would have left SummerSlam unchanged, but at Night of Champions, I would've had Bryan lose due to shenanigans. The Authority would then bar Bryan from any future title matches until he proved himself again. Bryan would be put in a series of matches against the entire roster. In the meantime, he would be the advocate for those wronged by Authority through run-ins, building a Survivor Series army. The main event would be Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and Big Show vs. Randy Orton, The Shield, and Wade Barrett. Bryan would be the sole survivor, tapping out Orton with the YES! Lock. Of course, Triple H would still deny Bryan his shot at Orton, instead opting for unification. The events at TLC are unchanged, actually. From now, my plan would be to have Bryan win the Rumble and then go onto WrestleMania to beat Orton for the WWE Undisputed Championship.

The folks over at Explorations in Pro Wrestling want my rampant speculation on whom I think will get the call for the next WWE developmental tryout.

If I go by the common logic that the American Wolves got their "unprecedented" tryout because William Regal was able to talk folks in the front office into giving more indie dudes a tryout from going to PWG, then Brian Cage would have to be the next on the list from a commonsense standpoint. Cage is already familiar with WWE standards and practices, is a freak of nature in terms of strength, and has a look that is allegedly coveted by Vince McMahon (even more so since he was dismissed). From a pure performance standpoint, the Young Bucks would have to be considered as well, regardless of whether or not they shake anyone's hand on the way in or not.

One half of Irresistible vs. Immovable and future TWB writer Scott T. Holland asks how I would populate the Royal Rumble in the next few weeks.

Thirty slots are open. Let's fill all of them!

Potential Winners: (Assuming John Cena vs. Randy Orton is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, and the loser doesn't enter) Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns

Marquee Eliminations: Mark Henry, Ryback, Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Bray Wyatt, Goldust, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose

"The Diesel Push" Candidates: Big E Langston, Antonio Cesaro

Surprise Returns: Batista, Sheamus, Alberto del Rio

Nostalgia Entry: Jake "The Snake" Roberts

Spot Fillers: Heath Slater, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, Santino Marella, El Torito, Brodus Clay

NXT Showcase: Adrian Neville

And, if WWE happens to try a 40-man experiment once more, the ten extra that I would throw in would be as follows: Curtis Axel, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Booker T, Ricardo Rodriguez, Bad News Barrett, Xavier Woods, Sweet T

The other half that fine blog, Dave Kincannon, asks if I think any significant development will happen in Chikara between now and National Pro Wrestling Day.

Apparently, tomorrow's the drop-dead date for the sale of all Chikara merchandise and intellectual property. So someone could still come along and purchase it from the Titor Conglomerate. After that, I'd say six weeks is a long time for any other wrestling company, but in Chikara parlance, that might as well be one week in WWE programming. I wouldn't hold my breath for anything major, but hopefully, they'll kick the Ashes series in the butt and move it along a bit quicker.

The esteemed LOBSTER MOBSTER of LobsterSting fame, Jessica Hudnall, asks what I think of Lawyer Mike's "Holidays" video.


All-around good dude @Pile_of_Derp asks if he should have one more bourbon.

Only if you also have one scotch and one beer with it. Also, pay your damn landlady.

@ThrashRich asks what food, if any, I would fight another human being to get.

I am a peaceful man. I prefer the soft touch of a woman's skin rather than the harsh thud of another pugilist's fist upon my face. I believe in sharing food and living and letting live. However, if I were to reach for the last piece of my mother's baked macaroni and cheese and someone were to snatch it from my grasp, well, I would be more ready for war than the 300 Spartans were after they were threatened by Persia.

My certified public accountant on retainer, @KnoxTheFourth asks what I think of Archibald Peck, noting that he thinks he's a dirty, no-good cheater.

I don't know if he's a no-good cheater, or at least more so than, say, pre-crisis Icarus, Chuck Taylor, the Batiri, or other acceptably devious rudos. However, I am skeptical about his intentions behind the scenes, and by "behind the scenes," I mean lost in the spacetime continuum. I'm not sure I completely trust his judgment in going back in time, and I'm afraid all this chatter in the Chikaraverse is all his fault.

@wildvulture asks if any way would exist for a wrestling company to have an audio-only option for streaming for their wrestling shows.

As noted in the What-A-Maneuver podcast, WCW tried doing this all the way back in 1997, back when the Internet was still primitive in its streaming capabilities. Today, I'm not sure it could work with the saturation of video options, but if wrestling still had primacy on radio, for those who wanted to keep up in the car, so to speak, I think that company would need a strong play-by-play announcer, and a completely different one than what is required for televised wrestling. The "what-ifs" and the different needs make it hard for me to imagine audio-only wrestling as anything more viable than, say, a fantasy wrestling podcast.

Still shocked by the announcement of AJ Styles coming to CZW, @RealRobPandola asks whom I'd most like to see him face: Drew Gulak, Chris Dickinson, or Alex Colon?

I know fairly little about Alex Colon, so I'll plead ignorance and omit him. On one hand, I feel like AJ Styles has been in a safe zone for so long that he has almost forgotten what wrestling against a dude who kicks like maybe he forgets wrestling is a work would be like. Chris Dickinson might be the size of two Low Kis, but their styles are similar. I would love to see Styles have to react to that kind of opponent again. On the other, Drew Gulak seems like the kind of guy who has great matches with everyone. Let's go with Dickinson, just because I smell a Gulak/Masada match on the horizon, and I quite fancy the idea of that rematch.

@KevinNewburn is in the Christmas spirit and asks what the best gifts I've ever received and given are.

The best gift I've ever given, hands down, was my wife's engagement ring. I guess technically it wasn't a Christmas present, but I proposed to her on Christmas Eve in 2006. The best gift I've ever received? Well, that question is a bit tougher to answer, since I have been blessed with a myriad of great Christmas gifts over the years. For sentimentality, however, I am going to go with my go-to travel coffee mug, which I got in 2011, the year my son was born. My wife went and got a personalized travel mug with all pictures of my son on it. The coffee always tastes a little better coming out of that one than any other means of conveyance.

This Week in Sid chronicler The Masked Lutefisk asks which pro wrestler would be the worst dodgeball referee.

Great Khali, by a longshot. He's immobile, unintelligible, and he probably doesn't even know the basic rules, let alone all the bylaws.

@mikepankowski asks if rainbow cookies are the best food or the bestest food.

I have to plead ignorance on the rainbow cookie too. Man, where have I been all my life?

@IAmDarsie wants to know what The Rock was cookin' before he left to be a big movie star.

I honestly don't know. Rock strikes me as a guy who knows how to do two things: wrestle and ENTERTAIN (whatever that means). However, whatever he cooked before his most recent comeback wasn't nearly as fresh upon reheating, that's for damn sure.

Noted porkpie enthusiast @el_spriggs asks me to match wrestlers with the following beverages: stouts, IPA, bourbon, gin, rum, moonshine, tequila, and orange soda.

Stout: Mark Henry - Stouts generally taste thick and heavy, but often have great body and satisfaction associated with them. Sounds a lot like the World's Strongest Man.

IPA: Kana - She might be a smoke bomb, but then the bell rings and she kicks her opponent so hard that you, the viewer, feel it. Much in the same way, IPAs usually have florid aromas and promise hints of all kinds of sweet flavors, but then the bitterness kicks you in the palate like, well, a Kana roundhouse to the face.

Bourbon: Jack Swagger - Bourbon is the most American of whiskeys, and Jack Swagger is most American of wrestlers.

Gin: Johnny Saint - Both are classic vestiges of an older generation who are making small comebacks nowadays.

Rum: John Cena - Hardcore fans will drink rum straight/watch John Cena matches for the artistry. Casual fans mix it in with every kind of juice possible/cheer Cena because of the star power.

Moonshine: Jay Briscoe - A backwoods drink for a backwoods wrestler, and I'm still not convinced that prolonged exposure to Briscoe won't make you blind.

Tequila: Davey Richards - Sure, you might have a little fun in the beginning of watching a Davey Richards match/drinking tequila, but the proceedings get out of hand way too quick, and the next day is full of regret.

Orange Soda: Emma - She's overly sweet, exceedingly effervescent, but at the end of the day, she's also totally satisfying.

@chudleycannons asks what my favorite Christmas special is.

The Year without a Santa Claus without a doubt. What can I say? The Miser Bros. are great. Plus, have you ever seen some of the other Rankin-Bass specials? American Dad's portrayal of Santa Claus is way less awful than how he was shown in the beginning Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And don't get me started on Burgermeister Meisterburger as a low rent Adolf Hitler. They laid it on thick.

Rich Thomas, the dual threat podcast host of both International Object and Sad Salvation, wants to know if the mindset of "if you're not in wrestling to win the title, you shouldn't be there" is harmful to storytelling.

While I love the idea of titles and sporting tropes in wrestling, yeah, that idea is odious and antithetical to having a good wrestling show. The fetishization of Championship belts degrades the very idea that wrestling can provide catharsis through other stories that have nothing to do with wrestling for a title.

@Tvs_Tim_Biewald wants me to use some #HolzermanDevilMagic to help out the Detroit Red Wings.

(Sorry, 1997's wounds are deep.)

Notable member of Philadelphia sports Twitter @treblaw wants to know the best mustard to put on a ham sandwich.

Ham has a natural sweetness, which makes honey mustard a natural choice. However, depending on the providence of your spread, you might make the sandwich a bit too cloying. I would go with MR. Mustard Sweet Hot, which adds in some heat to go with the sweetness.

@LPishko asks what wrestling experience got me hooked.

WrestleMania VII was the event. The moment was right after the Randy Savage/Ultimate Warrior match. Savage lost, and Sensational Sherri was berating him something fierce, even to the point of physical violence. Miss Elizabeth was watching from the crowd, distraught to the point of tears until she couldn't take it anymore. She hopped the barricade, vanquished Sherri, and reunited with Savage. The emotionally cathartic resonance made me a wrestling fan for life.

Finally, @DethlikeSilence asks how awesome a match Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan would be.

Dude. Dude! DUUUUUUDE! That match is one of the remaining WWE dream matches that I have in mind for the next two years. I feel their shared interest in MMA would provide a common ground, while their size disparity would make for a killer David vs. Goliath matchup. Additionally, Bryan has had almost no bad matches since getting to WWE, and both of Lesnar's non-Triple H matches were superb. If this match happened, I would be SHOCKED if it wasn't good.