Saturday, February 8, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 64

The best heel, or a post-modern wrestler?
Photo Credit:
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, @__NickX wants to know if John Cena is the best heel in WWE history.

John Cena has been described as a heel to those who already want to boo him. If crowd noise is the metric, then Cena's only halfway effective since he gets equal amounts of cheers. But do crowd reactions make alignment, or do actions define whether one is a heel or face? Cena ostensibly is a good guy with the amount of good deeds he does, but he's two-faced, vengeful, and likes to invade people's privacy. Maybe Cena is the mythical "tweener" that every shitty e-fed character tries to frame him/herself as because they have no creativity or conviction?

Rather than looking at Cena through the lens of good or bad, I think he may very well be the first post-modern character in WWE history. He may not have started out as an innovation in alignment, but when he started getting the mixed reactions, WWE certainly didn't shy away from cultivating them. The referendum on Cena is ongoing, and I don't think anything will ever change it. The kids will still root for him because he seems to be the closest thing they have to a consensus hero, and the loudmouth older fans will continue to boo him because that's what loudmouth older fans do, right? Alignment is irrelevant, but I also think that Cena being the only fan for which that dichotomy seems to exist is a bit telling. For as much as observers like me want to toss away old vestiges like titles and alignment for a more story-based narrative with all kinds of colors on the palette, crowds still react like they did in 1972.

@OkoriWadsworth asks what match I didn't think would be all that great going in that I loved.

Even though the build going into the match was epic, I didn't think the John Cena/Batista match from WrestleMania XXVI was going to amount to a whole lot in the ring. Despite a few early flubs, the match turned out to be my favorite on the card (yes, I liked it more than Undertaker/Shawn Michaels II, DEAL WITH IT). The match was certainly helped out by the story surrounding it, but both Cena and Batista rose to the occasion.

DC Kommentariat Bro @FosterVsWorld asks if pro wrestling were an Olympic event, what countries would medal.

Before asking which countries would medal, one would have to ask which countries would compete. The United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and United Kingdom are all no-brainers. Samoa and Ireland would probably have strong teams as well. Australia would have to be a consideration as well, although their female delegation would be far stronger than their male one at this point. Germany would be a dark horse to consider, as would India, New Zealand, and Chile. And of course, Nigeria would send Great Power Uti and a few scrubs from the streets of Lagos.

Now, medal structure would be tricky, because you could basically have an entire swath of medal categories, like in gymnastics, tennis, or boxing. So, let's compartmentalize!

Men's Heavyweight Singles
GOLD: Great Power Uti (NGA)
SILVER: John Cena (USA)
BRONZE: Kevin Steen (CAN)

No one's beating Uti. No one.

Women's Heavyweight Singles
GOLD: Alpha Female (GER)
BRONZE: Cheerleader Melissa (USA)

I would've given the nod to Kana, but I saw Alpha Female up close and personal Friday night, and she threw Jenny Rose through drywall, literally. I can't argue with that kind of power. I'd also imagine Jessicka Havok would get disqualified at some point, because she's hella punk rock.

Men's Cruiserweight Singles
GOLD: Daniel Bryan (USA)
SILVER: Hiroshi Tanahashi (JPN)
BRONZE: Prince Devitt (IRL)

Triple H and WWE might not know what they have with Bryan, but the international community would put him over in a heartbeat.

Women's Cruiserweight Singles
GOLD: Evie (NZL)
SILVER: Athena (USA)
BRONZE: Hikaru Shida (JPN)

I was tempted to have AJ Lee medal here, but the women's cruisers are pretty deep.

Men's Tag Team
GOLD: The Young Bucks (USA)
SILVER: The Usos (SAM)
BRONZE: Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne (ENG)

So, would the Bucks rep their home country in the US, or would they rep the Bullet Club at the medal ceremony? OR WOULD THEY JUST SUPERKICK EVERYONE AND PROCLAIM THEIR OWN SOVEREIGN NATION?

Women's Tag Team
GOLD: The Canadian Ninjas (CAN)
SILVER: The Midwest Militia (USA)
BRONZE: Kellie Skater and Madison Eagles (AUS)

Since Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa rep different countries, the Global Green Gangsters are ineligible for the women's tag competition, opening things up for those crafty Canadian Ninjas to bring home gold to the Frozen North.

Team Competition
GOLD: Japan
SILVER: United States
BRONZE: Canada

Maybe I shut out Mexico here because of my complete and utter lack of lucha libre knowledge, but then again, sometimes, the favorites flop in international competition. Weird things happen at the Olympics. Weird things.

Dirty Dirty Sheets site photographer Gregory Davis asks how it feels to have stroke enough to get more Chikara tickets released.

For those who don't know, Chikara sold out of its comeback show tickets yesterday, which was before I had the chance to buy mine. Then, to assuage demand, Chikara opened up the floor like it did at King of Trios '12 and put more tickets out there. I'd like to think it was because the company couldn't have a show without its number one superfan there, but in all honesty, I am just happy that so many people want to share in Chikara. It really is the best promotion out there in my view, and in a perfect world, everyone who likes wrestling would at least give it a chance and have an opinion on it. Even I can't wish for unanimous praise and fandom, because unanimity is boring.

The incomparable past-show live tweeter @wrestlefeed asks if I CAN DIG IT, SUCKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?

*does a spinarooni*

Fledgling ring announcer and With Leather blog lord Brandon Stroud wants to know my thoughts on the upcoming Inspire Pro Wrestling card.

I'm still behind on getting around to the Inspire Pro YouTube catalog, and I praise them highly for getting the distribution out in some way. Whether for free or on DVD/video on demand/mp4 for sale, any wrestling company who wants to grow should cast as wide a net as possible. But because I haven't gotten the chance to watch full shows, I'm only familiar with parts of the roster. I know ACH, Matthew Palmer, Robert Evans, Scot Summers, and Jojo Bravo can bring the goods, but what about folks like Paige Turner, Mike Dell, the Great Depression, and Sammy Guevara?

Then again, the names who are on the show are some of the best Texas has to offer. ACH can have a good match with anyone if given the proper opportunity (note, Ring of Honor doesn't constitute giving the man a proper opportunity). This Guevara kid has also gotten rave marks, so I think that match is a guaranteed must-watch. Palmer/Bravo is going to bring the goods. Turner will be fun to watch if just because her gimmick is unique and over.

Honestly though, Inspire Pro has built a great critical base with its first four shows. They have all the elements that make Austin wrestling great with a positive attitude and without some of the lingering seediness. I would highly suggest that anyone in Central Texas wanting to go see a great wrestling show head out to the Marchesa Theater next Sunday.

TJR Wrestling writer William Math asks which Chikara t-shirt and why?

All three minimalist-design tees actually look pretty swell. However, I think my favorite is the one you get for free if you buy all three:

Mike Ditka evangelist @IHatebd asks if Zeb Colter's unchanging shtick and growing fan support is problematic.

The biggest mistake that was made, whether the call came from WWE Creative or Zeb Colter himself, was starting the singalong chant of "WE THE PEOPLE" with the crowd. Some people within any WWE crowd will chant with anything, especially if they can sing along with something ironically. But can every fan's ear detect that irony? I don't think they can. So, maybe someone within the company ought to stop Colter from making the fans chant something extremely xenophobic.

Philly sports staple @jackcantcook asks which King had the best reign: Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Haku, or Randy Savage?

This choice is a quandary indeed. I think I can safely rule out Duggan, because he's the least cool out of the three. Haku is a legitimate badass, but he lost the crown to Duggan. So that leaves the Macho King as the last King standing. Besides, he gave the world this promo while under the crown:

@Kenzaki24 wants to know if a wrestler dressed as the Pokemon Hawlucha would work in either Japan or Mexico.

The promotion matters more than the country. I think a Hawlucha-themed wrestler would work in most Mexican companies, but in the wrong company in another country, the character might fall flat. I don't know enough about New Japan, All Japan, or NOAH to gauge whether that wrestler would work, but I do know other companies like Dragon Gate and DDT would be great places for that kind of wrestler to flourish. The character would also get over huge in Chikara and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, but would probably fall flat in, say, Ring of Honor.

Diabolic dinosaur @KevinNewburn watched National Pro Wrestling Day and wants in on Chikara. Where should he start?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You don't necessarily need to delve back into the past archives. Starting fresh with the rebirth is a totally viable option. When I became a Chikara fan in 2009, the earliest footage of theirs that I watched from before my first show (King of Trios '09) was from January of that same year. Sometimes, going in fresh is the best course of action. Of course, if you want a bit of information without watching a ton of video, the folks over at the website wrote something helpful.

Now, if you actually want to immerse yourself in the promotion's history, especially its recent history (which is among the best content of any wrestling promotion ever), then you have three-plus months to cram everything in. To get a good idea of what the roster and match style are all about, then I would go with the following shopping list of shows:
  • Hiding in Plain Sight (Nashua, NH, Sept. 2009)
  • Three-Fisted Tales (Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 2009)
  • Faded Scars and Lines (Cleveland, OH, June 2010)
  • The Dark Ciberknetico (Easton, PA, Nov. 2010)
  • King of Trios 2011 (the entire weekend) (Philadelphia, PA, Apr. 2011)
  • Chikarasaurus Rex: Night 2 (Philadelphia, PA, Aug. 2011)
  • Klunk in Love (Kingsport, TN, Oct. 2011)
  • High Noon (Philadelphia, PA, Nov. 2011)
  • Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur (Philadelphia, PA, June 2012)
  • King of Trios 2012: Night 3 (Easton, PA, Sept. 2012)
  • Tag World Grand Prix (both segments) (Chicago, IL, May 2013)
  • Aniversario: Never Compromise (Philadelphia, PA, June 2013)
That list might seem daunting, but again, you have more than three months. If you don't wanna buy all those shows, delve into the Podcast A-Go-Go on the Chikara Office YouTube page. But I'm telling you, if you just wanna go in cold, you won't be disappointed either.

@HeyDarsie wants to know the point of the WCW/nWo World Heavyweight Championship when Hulk Hogan defended it once every three months at best.

I can see the common logic behind having the Champion defend the title on a regular basis, but I think Hogan's absenteeism worked to the accidental betterment of the story. The nWo won control of WCW, and their Champion was a delusional Hollywood wannabe. With those two elements coming together, wouldn't Hogan wanting to be there as sparsely as possible and being allowed to do so make sense? The execution of it was bungled more often than not, but I think the idea behind it was solid.

Official Royal Rumble statistician Scott T. Holland asks if Elimination Chamber is in the right spot of the WWE pay-per-view calendar.

When WWE had two big titles, Elimination Chamber happening in February made all the sense in the world. The Rumble winner would choose one titleholder, while the Chamber could decide the other challenger like it did last year. Now that only one title ostensibly exists (and will exist for the time being), the Chamber needs to be spaced out a bit better. However, where on the calendar should it be placed? The summer is out unless WWE moves Money in the Bank to December either as its own entity or as a merge with TLC. I could see it as a replacement for Survivor Series or TLC in the late months to give the pre-Rumble season its own flair, but I'd much rather Survivor Series return to the team warfare format, to be quite honest.

I think each quarter in WWE should have a "Big 4" pay-per-view and a "prize gimmick" event in them (as well as a "regular" event). The first/fourth quarter (depending on whether you go by calendar or fiscal year) is the exception since the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania are both considered "Big 4" historically. But the Royal Rumble/No Way Out/WrestleMania troika is fine for the first three months of the year. The second quarter would have no "Big" pay-per-view, but that slot could always be filled by the Chamber. Backlash/Elimination Chamber/Extreme Rules would make for a good April-May-June sequence. Then, you get Money in the Bank/SummerSlam/Night of Champions for the third quarter, and the year finishes with Battleground/Survivor Series/TLC. Hell in a Cell either gets bumped or it replaces Battleground. Personally, I'd bump it, because the gimmick is for better or worse the WWE's signature, non-Royal Rumble speciality match, and it should be reserved for blood feuds.

Puerto Rico's own @IRodC asks why WWE needs to put obnoxious catchphrases on the backs of its shirts.

Because WWE is always gonna be WWE? That company has never been at the forefront of fashion or tact.

Benevolent cybernetic wrestling algorithm @robot_hammer notes that Mike Quackenbush, Eddie Kingston, and Jigsaw were absent during the big brawl near the end of NPWD. Where do they fit in the greater story?

Quack was there. I saw his cane give 17 the hook with my own eyes, and since everyone on the Chikara side seemed to pair off with the nemeses they've been so closely linked with in the past (like, the Batiri concentrating on Sinn Bodhi), Occam's Razor suggests that Quack was the one taking out his Gekido doppelganger. Kingston's role will likely continue to be the Chikara denier on the surface with a deep love for at least his hardware beneath. Does he ride or die for the company, or is he just a meaner, tougher version of Gollum, with the Grand Championship as his One Ring?

Jigsaw is the tricky one of that trio. He was last seen as a sympathizer with the Gekido and teammate with The Shard. They won Los Campeonatos de Parejas in the final show before the hiatus. But of anyone who has been with Chikara, Jigsaw has the closest bond to Quack and has the most reason to want his home to be restored. I wonder if he'll emerge as a "Sting in 1997" type figure in the whole war between Chikara and the interlopers.

Kayfabermetrics head bee guy @MatthewTimmons asks what will be the first classic PPV I will watch when WWE Network launches.

The first one I want to mass live-tweet with the TWB public is WrestleMania 2, but I'm not sure if that one's going to be the first one I watch. I may do a test run just to see the providence of the stream and the video on demand service. So I actually might just watch one of the old pre-WCW Crockett pay-per-views, like Starrcade 83. Can I say how happy I am that the old Crockett PPVs are included? I missed out on a lot, and the Network may be the impetus for me to catch up.

@BobbyGod wants to know whom I think should wrestle the first match back for Chikara.

I like synergy and symmetry, so I would LOVE for the opening match at You Only Live Twice to be Dragonfly vs. Mister ZERO, the first match at their debut show all the way back in 2002. Realistically though? My guess is the show will be a battleground between the two sides in the new war for Chikara's soul. With that in mind, I would love to see a hot opener between the Baltic Siege and Dr. Cube's Laboratory. However, I hope Cube would leave Tucor at home, thanks.

@rancho_king33 asks if I've ever seen the backstage footage shot by Jimmy Garvin after the Great American Bash '88.

I have not, but I will post it here!

@RasslinCrig wants to know if Daniel Bryan/Triple H is a viable WrestleMania match at this point.

In theory, it's a valid match. Of course, in theory, I can convert myself into energy and live forever. Triple H came back so hot in the summertime, but gradually, everything he touched started turning to shit. He can't even stick to being an evil heel shithead mastermind boss without softening the edges, seeming to pander for cheers. How the fuck can I expect him to put Daniel Bryan over at Mania, which would be the only valid finish for that match if it ever happened? I would rather see Bryan slog around with Kane or even go up against Sheamus again than have to drag Trips' bloated carcass around the ring just to lay down for him.

@RealRobPandola asks where Chikara goes from here.

I could play fantasy booker, but really, the beauty of this new era of the company is that while the endgame is apparent, the journey to get there is not. I don't mean to brush the question off, but Chikara put a lot of goodwill in my bank account with National Pro Wrestling Day. I'm submitting my will to them, and I will judge what they give me on a piece by piece basis.

Noted Yinzer expat @PatrickEhland asks the fates of the following countries in Olympic hockey: USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden.

Bold prediction: more than one of those teams will finish out of the medals. Remember, the Olympics are WEIRD. Things happen like the Czechs winning gold in '98 or the Canadians finishing 7th in 2006 or even the flippin' Miracle on Ice. Sweden wins the gold, the Russians get silver with some home cookin', and Finland wins the bronze over Canada. The US will flame out.

Twitter question-merchant and writer for Bucky's Fifth Quarter @thegnc asks if the American Wolves had an American Males-type theme song if they'd be the best tag team ever.

I think you might be onto something. I remember Battle of Los Angeles '12 when Davey Richards joined "Team Sleaze" with Kyle O'Reilly and Joey Ryan, and he was more entertaining in that one match than his entire ROH career that I've followed. I think he and Eddie "Eddie Edwards" Edwards could use a bit of so-bad-it's-good silliness. THEY'RE AMERICAN WOLVES. AMERICAN WOLVES. AMERICAN WOLVES.

Finally, Sports on Earth and Over the Monster scribe Marc Normandin asks how many of Big E Langston's shirts I'm going to purchase.

To be quite honest, I'm not digging that shirt. The design front looks a bit garish for my tastes. The "E" is so big that it reminds me of early '90s shirts with the BIG print and the picture designs that were so in-your-face that they got ugly quick. I might buy one if the back design was on the front though. I'm glad WWE has made a shirt for Langston, but it's not one I'd get.