Sunday, January 12, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 61

The Mohawk stays hype all night, even with really long shows
Photo Credit: Texas Anarchy
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!

Derriere connoisseur @GayWrestlingFan kicks off the Tweet Bag this week asking what the ideal length of a live wrestling show is.

My answer is going to be really annoying, but the ideal show time depends on the quality of the card. Austin promotions like ACW and Inspire Pro book marathon cards that are generally well-received. The crowds seem to be hot throughout the show. Beyond Wrestling seems to take that approach as well, or at least they did with the finals to Tournament for Tomorrow 2. Normally, I like to be in and out of a wrestling show in under three hours though, but I've also been blessed to go to shows where the action has mostly been awesome.

However, I think last year, National Pro Wrestling Day was an example of an event that universally and objectively went too long. An all-day festival is a great idea in theory, and the action on the show, with the exception of a few misses here and there, was no doubt great to the point where I felt bad for John McChesney and Logan Shulo for having to go on that late. I think if one wants to book a show that long, they need to have a lot more stuff to do than either watch the action or shop for merch.

@OkoriWadsworth asks if I've ever played any Call of Duty games, and if so, which one is my favorite.

The last game like that I played was Halo for the original X-Box, so no. Of all the new-type games, those war simulating shooters are the least tantalizing to me, but I also admit that I'm not really much of a gamer anymore. The only games I like and want to get into are franchise entries from Nintendo and shitty simple little smartphone games like Fruit Ninja. I'm an adult with a child right now, so I need to figure out which of my former hobbies and interests I want to allocate how much energy to. Obviously, wrestling is first, because I love it and write about it. After that comes football, because I have a thing for watching people get concussed, don't I? Gaming takes a lot of energy to keep up with, and a lot of money. I still love video games, but at this point, I'm gonna keep with the titles I know or anything someone strongly recommends.

Benevolent (for now) mechanical being @robot_hammer asks what if Triple H is using the New Age Outlaws as plants by Triple H in order to gain CM Punk's trust?

Oh man, that plot would be outstanding, wouldn't it? Punk was trashing Trips less than a month ago, but I wonder who's playing whom here? Punk's not stupid, right? He has to know that if the Outlaws were Trips' flunkies BEFORE he married into the most powerful family in wrestling, they'd be sucking on that teat of influence even harder now that he's in charge. So maybe he's the one playing the Authority here. Either way, some kind of foul plot on either side is preferable to the apparent status quo where CM Punk is now just another stupid, milquetoast WWE top babyface. Man, Summer of 2011 Punk would slap the taste out of 2014 Punk's mouth so hard.

Ice-fishing enthusiast @Jessico09 asks if I like the Despicable Me films.

I'll be honest, I'm usually not keen on non-Pixar/Disney computer animated fare, because a lot of it follows a similar path with a lot of the same tired tropes. A lot of them occur in the DM movies, but I think they are honestly the best of the Dreamworks camp for me. The Minions have a lot to do with that, but the scripts for both movies have a lot of genuine heart.

@Roxanne1717 wants a turkey and cheese on 12-grain bread.


Pro Wrestling Update auteur Jonathan Sullivan asks my thoughts on DGUSA/EVOLVE going widescreen high definition.

The move is a definite improvement. All indie companies should be looking into HD equipment if they can afford it, and given that the Sapolsky/Hamaoui WWNLive empire has grown to distribute so many companies' material, they certainly have the money to do so. I'm also interested in their Roku channel, which is going to have to be something more indie companies/distributors need to look into because...

Strong Island rep @mikepankowski asks what are the first five classic events I'm going to watch when I get WWE Network.

...the WWE Network just led the market in terms of distribution again. Anyway, answering the question:

Survivor Series '97 - If only because I gotta prepare for my go on the What A Maneuver podcast.
WrestleMania X-7 - After obligations, gotta lead with strength, right? This show might not be the best pay-per-view ever, but it's certainly my favorite Mania ever.
Bash at the Beach '96 - I missed it when it happened, so I pretty much have to watch one of the most historic wrestling events ever.
Living Dangerously '98 - Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Taz, where they fell through the ring. Yup.
Starrcade '85 - Gotta watch Tully Blanchard/Magnum TA in the cage, right? I've been told it's the best cage match ever, and I wanna see for myself.

Phillies enthusiast @wildvulture wants to know if I'm going to do a coordinated live-tweeting of a classic event when I get the WWE Network.

Coordinated live tweeting is the new hotness right now, isn't it? I actually dig the concept, and when WWE Network launches, I would totally love to get one of these off the ground. However, what would be better, a classically good event like Mania X-7 or Money in the Bank '11, or a WrestleCrap bad one to do Mystery Science Theater 3000 style like Uncensored '96 or December to Dismember '06? I guess I'll have to figure that out when the Network launches, won't I?

Wrestling fandom's foremost ex-theologian @el_spriggs asks if February is the most exciting month in recent history with the Network and National Pro Wrestling Day.

Uh, yeah? Plus, Brock Lesnar and Batista possibly being at Elimination Chamber, LuFisto and Athena returning to Womens Superstars Uncensored, and various AJ Styles dates around the indies. February is going to be a bell-weather month for wrestling on the whole, but I feel a bit of a cold front directed towards National Pro Wrestling Day. Mainly, I've heard rumblings that fewer talents and a less-diverse roster is going to make it not as special. I disagree. Sure, the roster might not be as varied as last year (and remember, they're still announcing combatants in the slow-release style), but I think any event that draws fans from around the country and allows friends to see each other to share in the God-chalice known as wrestling is exciting enough.

Official TWB Royal Rumble statistician Scott T. Holland asks if another NXT Tournament should be held for a Rumble spot, and if so, who should win.

Not only do I think they absolutely should engage in the tournament this year, but they should do it every year. Now, who should win and get the spot in the Rumble? I have two philosophies on this. One is giving the slot to a WWE-ready wrestler like Adrian Neville or Sami Zayn and use it as a launching spot for their career. The other? Let Bo Dallas win again, and win every year in perpetuity until he's ready to make the main roster. Why? Dallas may never make it out of NXT. I love him right now, but his current persona, as the best possible Rocky Maivia, would need a lot of rebooting on the main roster, but as a trope to help him be the best NXT heel ever, yeah, I love it. He could be the equivalent of Wooderson or Uncle Rico, always living off his cups of coffee while the Xavier Woodses and Antonio Cesaros keep lapping him and making the main roster in an impactful way.

Fellow Kommentariat member @FosterVsWorld asks what is to be done with the second Money in the Bank ladder match if the titles stay unified.

I would do away with it completely and just have the singular ladder match for the one shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. However, if they were to keep two, I would go one of two options. First, I would make it for the Divas Championship. Obviously, WWE would have to show a lot more faith towards women for that to happen, but the roster is there. Summer Rae, Nattie Neidhart, AJ Lee, Naomi, the Bella Twins, Emma, Paige, and Alicia Fox are all capable in their own way in the ring. They could comprise a pretty good ladder match if given regular reps on TV or in house shows.

The other option would be a Tag Team Championship Money in the Bank match. They could go the traditional option and have tag teams compete as units for one briefcase, and the match would still be fantastic. I love the idea of integrating teamwork into the fray as a new wrinkle for the match, almost like the old TLC tag matches on steroids. However, I would love to see a match with two briefcases above, and for the match not to end until two people, regardless of whether they're on the same team or not, grab a briefcase apiece, comprising of one Tag Team Championship shot for the two of them. It would add some psychology to the match if existing tag teams were in it (the guy who grabbed the first briefcase would now have to play defense to ensure his partner gets it), or it could be a great way to put a mongrel tag team together out of the ether.

The @LadyNeartheLake asks how I'd book a theoretical Undertaker/Daniel Bryan match buildup to Mania leading from the Wyatt story.

Building a match towards Mania for Undertaker would be similar to doing it to take down Randy Orton and the Authority. It would require, however, for the Wyatts' motivation to be evil rather than chaotic good. Basically, instead of the Wyatts using Bryan and Kane (as a mole) to destroy the Authority from within, they would use the Authority to lure Undertaker out, destroy him, and claim their spot as the biggest evil in the company. I would have Wyatt be the one to call Taker out like he was going to wrestle him, but instead offer Bryan as competition, causing friction as Bryan wants to use the Family to take down the real machine. Bryan loses, of course, and then that would cause the rift from the family, leading to a Wyatt/Bryan showdown at SummerSlam, preferably for Wyatt's WWE World Heavyweight Championship (wuuuut?).

Stephen T. Stone of the Complete Shot Blog asks which non-Sami Zayn NXT wrestler has the best shot of breaking out on the main roster.

BADABOOM, the realest guy in the room, Enzo Amore and his pal Big Cass have the absolute best shot at making an immediate splash. They have insane charisma, and at least Cass has a great chance of being one of the big hoss wrestlers on the WWE roster right now. Even if Amore doesn't get into the ring again, he could be one hell of a manager.

A dark horse candidate would be Solomon Crowe, the former Sami Callihan if you will. He showed great character work and promo skills on the indies, and his manic style of wrestling should be a crowd pleaser in WWE. I'm interested to see where he'll take the hacker gimmick he's been given.

Former OVW SUPASTAHHHHH @JPSwift1977 asks who is left as a plausible opponent for Undertaker at Mania aside from Brock Lesnar.

I personally don't think Undertaker SHOULD face Lesnar at Mania, but I'm just over all the hype for a match that was assumed to happen because Lesnar and Taker MADE EYES WITH EACH OTHER AT A UFC EVENT. Anyway, the buzz this year is around Bryan because Taker endorsed him, but honestly, only one guy left on the roster absolutely NEEDS to take on the Undertaker at Mania:

Photo Credit:

Cena himself is running out of opponents for Mania to the point where he's going to become a sideshow attraction. Taker has also never faced the top guy in the company during his streak. The closest he came was against Sid (lol) at Mania 13, Triple H at Mania X-7, and Edge at Mania XXIV. However, he never faced Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, or Cena, and when he took on Michaels, it was as his career was ending. Cena vs. Taker would be a spectacle, and WrestleMania is about spectacles. Other options would be Bray Wyatt, Bryan, Sheamus, or Roman Reigns, but at this point, the only match that NEEDS to happen is the one vs. Cena.

Crack reporter Ken Borsuk asks if fans who marked out for Jake "The Snake" Roberts at Old School RAW would be hypocrites if they bashed Hulk Hogan dropping the leg at WrestleMania.

Well, for one, being a hypocrite isn't the worst thing in the world when it comes to entertainment preferences. But the only way I see hypocrisy is if a certain fan says they hate Hogan wrestling at Mania because he's against old people coming back in general but marked for Roberts. Context and fan preferences always come into play. I would never begrudge anyone for preferring Roberts over Hogan, but I'll just filter out the stupid arguments if they come into play.

Also, if Hogan dropped the leg at Mania, they would either have to be wrestling on top of one of those NXT high-flyer practice rings, or he would shatter into a billion shards of Hulkamania before the audience's eyes.

@thiszach missed the last three weeks of RAW, and thinks the Bryan stuff sounds bad. Is his story as doomy and gloomy as he is reading into it?

Well, no, it hasn't been bad at all. Each wrestling story has two parts, the plan and the execution. Reading reports on only the plan do it disservice, especially when the performers are as gifted as Wyatt and Bryan. I'm still wading through my feelings on the story, but the performances have been well done. Asking WWE to "wait and see" is asking for hurt, but week-to-week, Bryan and the Wyatts (and on Smackdown, the Usos too) have made good on it.

Rich Thomas of the Sad Salvation and International Object podcasts asks if the WWE Network will change the way the indies distribute their product.

I'd say those in the indies have been bracing for it through their move towards video on demand and .mp4 service, but none of them have offered an over-the-top surface until a few days before the Network announcement, actually. Gabe Sapolsky announced a WWNLive Roku channel, which is something I'd get. Not every outfit would be able to offer a channel, but I have no doubts Ring of Honor could. Smart Mark Video might be able to do the same, although they'd have more mouths to feed in that they distribute for so many promotions, at least initially.

My hope is that fans who already support the indies continue to do so, but the silver lining is that if the average fan spends a bunch of money on WWE pay-per-views, they just freed up a bunch of money by getting the Network. Cheaper access to WWE means more disposable income, which means more money for indie DVDs. But yeah, the dynamics will have to change sooner or later for the smaller companies, but I think this new shift will make it easier for them to be more lucrative than now.

Enthusiast of Satanic Paleozoic lifeforms @KevinNewburn wants to know if anything is to be gained out of the Intercontinental Champion always being the top contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

I don't think having the Intercontinental Champion as the top contender all the time has merit, but from time to time, a well-established IC Champ would make a great challenger to the big titleholder. The title should be a "gatekeeper" title, one for the people who could conceivably beat the main event guys but also wouldn't be hurt too much by losing to someone needing to get elevated into that second tier.

Junior journalist @czach1r wants to know the first thing I'll be hate-watching from the WWE Network.

I usually don't hate-watch things, but man, the MST3K treatment is too tempting not to give to bad wrestling as a break from watching the good stuff. I already watched Uncensored '96 before, but since I know that show's terrible, I might give that the first riffin' on rasslin' treatment. I could go with December to Dismember '06, which is reputed to be the worst ever by WWE. Or maybe I could crowdsource? I dunno at this point.

Yinzburgh expat and fellow Kommentarian @PatrickEhland asks how the Flyers turned their season around.

Honestly, I have been pretty lax on hockey this year, so I'm not entirely sure the mechanics. However, WE COMIN' FOR YOU, PENGUINS.

Wrestling Fan Librarian Guild member @LanceGarrison asks if WWE Network has a sharable playlist option available, which one would I create and then share?

I doubt they'll have this capability right away, but if they did, I would put together a list of the best defunct Championship matches:

- Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr., WCW Cruiserweight Championship, Halloween Havoc 1997
- Davey Boy Smith vs. Owen Hart, WWF European Championship Tournament Finals, RAW
- Jumping Bomb Angels vs. the Glamor Girls, WWF Women's Tag Team Championship, Royal Rumble 1998
- 24/7 Hardcore Championship SUPERCUT
- Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Taz, ECW Television Championship Match, Living Dangerously 1998

That list might not seem comprehensive, but wrestling matches are pretty long. Five seems like a good number.

My old friend from grade school @terryruggles asks what my thoughts on Naughty by Nature are.

I only really know the one song, "Hip Hop Hooray," but it was a damn dope song. Let's embed that shit:

@rancho_king33 asks if I'd rather be a midcard singles wrestler or a member of a Championship-contending tag team.

Both positions would be similar in stature. I think the only difference is that as a tag wrestler, I might tangle with the main event more often, but both are midcard, both have the same chance of breaking out into the main event, and both compete for titles outside the World Championship. But I'd rather go with being a tag wrestler. Hey, if I'm going to be in the same spot in the company, I might as well do it with a friend.

The Official Male Cosplayer of the WrestleBros, @BrandunKyla, asks if I think they will unify the United States and Intercontinental Championships this year.

WWE has put out feelers on the website over whether they should unify those titles, but I'm not sure that's a concrete sign that they're going to do it. The roster is definitely big enough for them to have three titles, even with the expanded tag team division in the works. I can't tell either way though.

However, I wholeheartedly believe that they should NOT unify the titles. Like I wrote above, the Intercontinental Championship can be a great "gatekeeper" title, while the United States Championship can act as a useful lowcard title to be defended on television each week, like a, duh, TV Title. Belts should have purpose. Well, everything on a wrestling show should have purpose. If not, then why have it?

@Doc_Ruiz2012 gets all existential on my ass this week: Why is Xavier Woods?

Eternally suffering Notre Dame bro in Texas @NDEddieMac asks how amazing a deal the WWE Network is.

It is pretty much the best deal in all of wrestling. Vince McMahon and his accountants have pretty much guaranteed that everyone with a steady income can partake in their premium product and archives. And honestly, if I may go on a tangent here, ten bucks a month should be low enough for everyone to afford in a civilized country, but of course, in America, the state of labor being as it is, people still go to work for fewer than $10 an hour. What the fuck is that shit? Let's get the minimum wage up to something livable like $16 an hour and let everyone who puts work in earn enough money to watch all the wrestling they can handle (and afford Internet too).

Impactfully Feedbacking TWB staffer Shane Carnes notes that John Cena has been in the main event or a title match at WrestleMania since WM 21. How plausible is either for him to happen this year?

Cena getting title shots now seems to suggest he'll be out of the title picture by Mania, assuming he loses at the Rumble or at Elimination Chamber to Brock Lesnar after beating Randy Orton. The final match at Mania is seemingly up in the air. If Cena takes on, say, the Undertaker? He should absolutely get the main event slot. However, most rumors put Cena against Bray Wyatt or in some kind of tag scenario with Hulk Hogan against the Real Americans, which would be really fucking cool if you ask me. Either way, he wouldn't be in the final match in those cases. So right now, I would put the odds at fifty/fifty. You can never count Cena out of a main event slot, especially since he's WWE's rock solid number one dude right now. But him taking a Mania off from the main event to put the rest of the roster on showcase wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

The folks at the Wrestling with Friends podcast ask my thoughts on Davey Richards returning to EVOLVE by spitting on the belt and flipping off the fans.

Honestly, the only way to get me interested in Davey Richards is to have him in ridiculous situations where he is forced to emote in over-the-top fashion, because his wrestling sure ain't doing the trick for me. So, of course I'm amped for that iteration of his character. Of course, the caveats here are that 1) EVOLVE is booked by Gabe Sapolsky, so I doubt he'll continue to be interesting by his fourth or fifth show with the company, 2) they still haven't released DVDs from 2013, so who knows when I'd be able to see it. I certainly am not paying the same amount for a VOD I get to keep for the rest of my life from Smart Mark for one that expires. Of course, the Roku channel is a promising thing, so maybe they'll get their shit together. All in all though, I think having Richards play off his real life heat over bailing on EVOLVE before is great, and he certainly can be an effective douchebag if he wants to.