Photo Credit: WWE.com
First up, Rich Thomas of the Sad Salvation and International Object podcasts asks what from 2013 I would put in a time capsule for viewing by fans 50 years from now.
I would take every match, every single match from TLC 2012 until the final RAW of this year, of The Shield, put it on a DVD set, and put that as my entry into the time capsule. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose combined to form the most unique entity in WWE history, and their wrestling styles were a huge reason for their uniqueness. I'm on record before as saying they've defined trios wrestling in WWE, but even in singles or tag matches, they've been satisfying. I don't know how much wrestling will change in the next 50 years. I'm not sure if the landscape will be as different as today's seems compared to that of 1964. But the DVD would be worth including.
@OkoriWadsworth wants to know how I'd shepherd Daniel Bryan from now until WrestleMania.
Well, if I were in charge of WWE booking from this moment on, I would pencil in "Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton" for the title at Mania. How I would get him there wouldn't be the most original idea. I would have him use the Wyatt Family to help him win the Royal Rumble and his "man on the inside" Kane to pull strings and make sure his run to Orton is the most favorable. If I wanted to get a bit spicy, I might book it so that Bryan uses the Wyatts to get a different revenge against a tormentor he's had since the day after Mania last year, The Shield, but they seem to own their own arc.
Scott T. Holland of Irresistible vs. Immovable and the Royal Rumble by (Entry) Numbers series here asks which of that aforementioned series has been my favorite thus far.
My favorite was actually the first one. In all seriousness (please forgive the navel-gazing), I've been digging this series. I don't think I'd have the patience to pore through all the numbers for all the Rumble positions, and they've been great reads in addition to being super-informative.
@ThrashRich asks if I'd approve of a wrestler known as "Macho Woman" Sandy Ravage.
I'd feel better about that specific character if Jay Lethal didn't already co-opt it for himself. I wouldn't be opposed to recycling old characters/gimmicks for women wrestlers in limited usage though. Homages to great wrestlers of old can be good in small doses, but I still would like to see standout, original icons among women wrestlers.
The folks at Explorations in Pro Wrestling ask which indie promotion was the most important in 2013.
Well, keeping in line with the Bloggie Awards, it has to be Beyond Wrestling, right? They already were doing God's work in having all these tapings and releasing free matches. But they busted out with ambitious cards in the second half of the year. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla had the cards all year. Chikara's ongoing story is definitely avant garde in vision. But Beyond is changing the way indie wrestling is being distributed and promoted. Gotta give them the nod.
@ImGonnaDJ24 asks on a scale of Axel to Heyman, how great has Dean Ambrose been on the mic lately?
I'd say he's a consistent Piper with a little bit of Mankind-era Mick Foley, and has been since his debut on the big roster. However, I'm quite pleasantly surprised by how well the other two guys in The Shield have gotten along on the mic. The group has gone from "Only Ambrose should ever talk" to "Okay, I can dig this."
@el_spriggs asks if I think Mark Henry is the ideal opponent for Brock Lesnar, and if not, who is.
Henry will be a great opponent for Lesnar (if that match happens, and if it doesn't, FUUUUUUU WWE for a cocktease), but he's not the best opponent. I've long held that the only wrestler Lesnar needs to wrestle before he dissolves back into the Dakotan Ether is Daniel Bryan. The contrast-loving wrestling fan inside me might be taking over my brain, but two guys with MMA backgrounds, but different personalities and power bases would be a fantastic combination. Plus, Bryan doesn't have bad matches, and Lesnar only has bad matches lately with Triple H.
@TheEnforcer4 wants my pick between dudes and bros.
Dudes all the way, although the dudebro is HIGHLY underutilized.
Nick Menta of The 700 Level asks if Brock Lesnar had successfully transitioned into the NFL, which quarterback would I have wanted him to see demolish?
First thing's first, I don't want to wish CTE or injuries on anyone, so I will go full hypothetical and say that each QB is given an invulnerability potion. They can get taken down, but not injured. With that out of the way, Lesnar went to Vikings training camp in 2004, right? Well, with that stable of QBs, I would pick Brett Favre, hands down. Pretending that he would be still be in the league today, I would go with Tom Brady, just because he needs the fear of God put in him.
@Jessico09 asks which wrestler I wish just never existed.
The way-too-easy answer would be Triple H, but I feel like if I removed my nemesis, wrestling history would be too different, and not necessarily for the better. Chris Benoit, however, might be a better candidate for scrubbing. The murder-suicide would have been wiped off the ledger, and maybe the overly stiff, German suplex-spamming template he brought forth might not have settled too much in the indies. Sure, the ending to WrestleMania XX wouldn't have happened, and more than a few memorable matches wouldn't have taken place, but I'm willing to roll the dice on removing him from the equation forever.
@rancho_king33 wants to know if by magic that wrestling reverted back to the territory system, which would be the strongest?
Chicago would be a strong candidate. I wouldn't sleep on Ohio either, but the old WWWF circuit would still dominate. Vince McMahon would still have a bunch of money, right? No matter what the geographical boundaries, Madison Square Garden (or the Barclay's Center, maybe?) would still be the epicenter of American wrestling.
@IAmDarsie wants to know what I think the reaction might have been if Ric Flair had been the third man in the nWo instead of Hulk Hogan.
I think the legitimate feelings of hurt might have run deeper. Hogan was popular in WCW, sure, but I get the feeling the crowds were ready to turn on him because he wasn't reared in the South. However, Flair might have driven a harder dagger initially. As for the follow up? Unless Hogan joined at, say, Starrcade, the nWo would have been dead in the water within a year because you know Hogan would have been set up to take it down.
@GayWrestlingFan asks if reactions to Chikara are so extreme because they are held up as a critical darling.
I think that reactions to Chikara are less a function of it being a critical darling and more that the company gives so much to digest to a community that seems to like digesting these strains critically. I don't want to say Mike Quackenbush is "booking for the smarks," because smarks are not a group that exists, but he does provide a lot of material for any fan, no matter what their level of commitment is. I just think those who bark about these things tend to bark the loudest, for whatever reason.
@ray_fuck wants to know who the baddest man on the planet is right now.
Hard to say, since I don't follow MMA or boxing, but I'd have to make a case for Vontaze Burfict. He plays like an animal on the field, and he's unhinged enough that he could rip off a ballcarrier's head and I wouldn't blink an eye.
Finally, @joesmellis asks which company uses its web presence the best and the worst.
WWE is the obvious answer for best, but they don't count. They're a conglomerate, and they can afford to have an entire paid department. So the real answer is Beyond Wrestling. Denver Colorado (the man, not the place!) busts his ass to put up so much free content and interact with fans on social media. He's a huge reason why Beyond is streets ahead of nearly everyone else.
The company that uses their platform the worst is any company that doesn't have a decent website or who can't even put full cards on their damn Facebook page. I'm so spoiled dealing with companies in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, but some companies that have really cool people working for them that don't get the voice out because they either can't or won't.