|...and hailing from Rio de Janeiro...|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
First up, resident teacher @BillAtTheEnd asks if WWE should start billing Bo Dallas from Bucksnort, TN.
He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who should be billed from the same rough-and-tumble hometown as Bunkhouse Buck. Dallas just isn't that kind of character. If I were to give him a fake hometown, I would go with something that fits him more. He's the great and powerful Troll King of NXT, right? In line with WWE's total and complete lack of subtlety, I would bill him from his own sub-Reddit. Then again, that level of referential wizardry might escape Vince McMahon and his crew, so I'd just settle for a tryst that didn't exist that produced a child born in... Rio de Janeiro.
TJ Hawke of Free Pro Wrestling asks if I'm going to Tag World Grand Prix.
My first thought when this event was brought to my attention was that Wrestling Is Fun! is finally gonna crown Tag Team Champions. But I hope that TWGP being "handed down" from Chikara to its Fun sister (daughter?) promotion doesn't start a trend. Wrestling Is Fun! presenting King of Trios wouldn't be the same as Chikara doing it, for example. But I'm dodging the question. Will I attend? As with any wrestling event nowadays, my attendance depends on family stuff, but truth be told, I would much rather road trip up to Easton and catch a cool tag tournament than try to deal with WWN Live or other Internet pay-per-view providers as they try to jam the Internet airwaves with their pre-WrestleMania wares.
Cosplaying enthusiast @BrandunKyla asks what dream match I would like to see during the Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling challenge.
I mentioned on last week's podcast that I would love to see ACH take on Prince Devitt. ACH is the best junior heavyweight over here, and Devitt is the best over there. Why not put strength against strength? A secondary dream match would pit Shinsuke Nakamura against Joey Ryan in a sleaze-off, but since Ryan hasn't been booked by ROH in years, that one truly is a dream match.
Recent podcast guest and Bucky's 5th Quarter staffer Andrew Rosin wants to know which wrestler would be the best subject for a television/movie spinoff, and why that answer is Jervis Cottonbelly.
Cottonbelly would be a great answer, no doubt. Downton Abbey's popularity indicates that people are out there capable of writing gentlemanly old Brits in a compelling fashion, and no doubt, Gentlemania would be a far more compelling canvas than the daily trials and tribulations of the landed gentry in Great War era England. But the best answer, no doubt, would be Corporate Kane. Get Mike Judge to write the script, and boom, Office Space 2 is born. Besides, who wouldn't want to see Bill Lumbergh get chokeslammed ALL THE WAY TO HELL.
Noted action figure wrestler promoter @justastupidmark asks which member of the 1980s WWF roster, besides Andre the Giant, do I think could eat the most hot dogs.
If I'm discounting the acromegaly-assisted metabolism of Andre the Giant, my pick would probably be Hulk Hogan. The WWF didn't have a whole lot of skinny dudes with high metabolisms in the '80s. The big fat guys would be ruled out because their bulk could have been due to slow metabolisms. Fat inhibits digestion. Muscle, however? Muscles are metabolism factories. Hogan was one of the most muscular dudes on the roster, so he probably had to be eating constantly so as not to lose his frame.
Resident Scot @GingerPimpernel wants to know who my favorite UK-based wrestler is.
I don't follow a whole lot of UK wrestling, sadly, so the only wrestlers I've gotten an extended look at have been Zack Sabre, Jr., Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, and the den mother of the first family of English wrestling herself, Sweet Saraya Knight. Of the three, I'd have to go with Knight. She takes her evil to levels that most wrestlers are probably scared to go. She's not bad in the ring, either. Paige learned from a great teacher, to be honest.
@OkoriWadsworth asks my least favorite place to watch a wrestling show and why.
The Trocadero, by far. If you don't get a balcony seat, you have to stand the whole show, and those balcony seats have no backs and aren't partitioned. The building gets way too hot in the summer and is frigidly cold in the winter. The sightlines are bad, and it will always have the stigma of being the place where Chikara died. So yeah, I have no love for the Troc.
Benevolent cybernetic wrestling algorithm @robot_hammer asks which WWE wrestler would make the best transition to the broadcast booth.
CM Punk is the easy answer since he's actually killed it in the broadcast booth. Miz has also done some good work there too. Of the folks who have spent at most a match here or there as a "special guest" in the booth, I would actually choose John Cena. He's articulate, has passion for the company and its stories, and he can get his voice up for the big events.
@Doc_Ruiz2012 asks how Xavier Woods ruined the NXT ArRIVAL stream on Thursday.
I heard he got OVER 9000 during his entrance, and The Network's servers couldn't handle that power surge.
Former theologian @el_spriggs asks how I'd book towards Bray Wyatt/Undertaker next year.
Well, he has to beat John Cena at Mania this year. I would let Cena get his win back at Extreme Rules in a hard-fought, knock-down, drag-out hardcore rules match with a finish that mirrors the Cena/Cesaro finish from earlier this year, but the Mania match has to have Wyatt coming out on top. Wyatt and his Family would then have to dominate the company in a manner similar to The Shield from TLC '12 through Survivor Series last year. They can have setbacks, but overall, they have to be a dynamic force of nature all the way through to the Royal Rumble.
In the lead up to the Rumble, Wyatt would then start making grandiose claims about how he's the new Phenom of the WWE, how this yard is now his, and other callbacks and references to things Undertaker has said over his career. Basically, I would have him subtly call out Taker in every way possible up through the Rumble match, when after he and the Family clear out the ring, he does the zombie sit up in mockery. There, the lights would go out, the gong would hit, and then Taker would appear in the ring to eliminate the entire Family. From there, Wyatt and Taker would just verbally joust and do various supernaturally-tinged things to each other until they clash in the 49ers new stadium for WrestleMania XXXI.
@CDSBackfist wants me to pick a WWE All-Star team, with five starters, seven benchsitters, and a coach.
The coach would be William Regal, because if you're not cheating, you're not trying. Now, as for the lineup, the question never specified whether this team would be wrestling or playing basketball. Because naming a wrestling all-star team is too easy, let's pick an all-star team for pounding the rock. WE PLAYIN' BAS-KET-BAAAAALLLL.
CENTER: The Big Show - He has experience playing basketball for the Wichita State Shockers (BEST TEAM NAME EVER), and he's got the height to post up against the best WWE has to offer. Plus, if another Malice at the Palace breaks out, he'll be able to stem the tide of carnage with meaty KTFO punches.
POWER FORWARD: Brock Lesnar - His amateur wrestling background will help him muscle past the athletic and bruising fours in the NBA today, and he has the hops enough to get him some rim shattering dunks.
SMALL FORWARD: Seth Rollins - He would draw so many free throws with how believably he'd be able to flop on even the most minuscule contact. Seriously, how can I pass up that many free points?
SHOOTING GUARD: Kofi Kingston - He's got mad hops, no doubt, which plus his shorter size would make him the best candidate to be WWE's answer to Michael Jordan. I don't know about his midrange jumper though, but then again, I don't know about anyone's midrange jumpers in WWE.
POINT GUARD: Rey Mysterio - His knees would be a question mark, but I can't see anyone in WWE being better at distributing the rock than Mysterio.
BENCH BIGS: Big E Langston, Ryback, Roman Reigns - Langston doesn't have the height, but he reminds me of Charles Barkley with his build. Ryback might be reckless, but him driving the lane would be a sight to behold (as long as The Big Guy remembers to dribble). Reigns has so much raw athleticism that I can't leave him off the team.
BENCH GUARDS: Dolph Ziggler, JTG, Jimmy and Jey Uso - Ziggler would be the backup plan for Rollins after he invariably fouls out under the new flopping rules. JTG reminds me too much of Allen Iverson for me to leave him off the team. I would imagine the Usos siva tau skills would help them with dribbling, which would make them ideal backup guards at least.
Once and future TWB staffer Bill Dempsey asks if Daniel Bryan could drag a watchable match out of even Batista.
Daniel Bryan could drag a great match out of Moppy. You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. And most of all, you don't doubt Daniel Bryan's ability to get good matches out of anyone, whether they be prime talent like Sheamus or roided up stiffs like Batista.
@Kenzaki24 asks what I'd give to have Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn headline WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Oh man, that match would be expected immediately to be the most memorable WWE Championship match since Rock/Austin, right? They've wrestled four times in NXT, and each time they've improved upon their prior encounters. Since they're clearly not going to wrestle for the straps this year (although WWE would be stupid not to build towards a Zayn/Cesaro title showdown for WrestleMania XXXII at the very latest), I wonder if they'll get a chance to wrestle on the card at all this year. WWE's main continuity has been bleeding through to NXT and vice versa. If WWE puts a showcase match for NXT on Mania this year, it would do far worse than having Zayn/Cesaro V. Then again, Cesaro might be entangled in other matters, ones that involve a certain, orange-hued guest host...
@nicholasreed wants to know whether the Phillies will be "entertainingly" bad or "oh the horror" unwatchable bad this upcoming season.
Actually, I give a third option - frustratingly mediocre. The Phillies have enough talent that they might hover around the .500 mark, but unless Ryan Howard chugs HGH-and-stem cell milkshakes and everyone else has age-defying career years, I don't think they'll be able to overtake the crowd for a second wild card spot. The Phils will always be in the hunt by the nature of the market they're in. With the television money coming in, the Phils are a big market team, but with Ruben Amaro continuing to trade what prospects he hasn't alienated by snitching on them to the NCAA for geriatric, low OBP guys with limited defense, the best fans like you and I can hope for is that second wild card or a fluke NL East Championship.
@Mikedodd18WWe asks what the minute-for-minute best match I've ever seen was.
Even the best matches can have down time. The rest holds are a necessary evil at times because even wrestlers with the best cardio can't go for the time they've been allotted without a breather or two. With that fact in mind, I would go with El Generico vs. the 1-2-3 Kid at King of Trios '11 as my choice. I could be remembering the match with rose-colored glasses, but I don't recall a whole lot of rest hold time. They went hard for the time they had, which was super impressive given that Kid was sucking wind in a Trios match on Friday night.
Royal Rumble statistician and contributor to Irresistible vs. Immovable Scott T. Holland asks how WWE is going to make room on the main roster for the prospects who shine now in NXT.
The obvious answer is that some of the dead weight on the main roster is going to have to be released. A more unconventional answer lies with The Network, though. WWE has now infinite time at their disposal to fill, so they can add more and more shows to make room for the ever-growing ranks on their rosters. For one, with NXT and WWE Universes bleeding into each other, NXT now becomes a more acceptable "destination" for wrestlers. While being called up to the main roster would still be the ultimate goal, being "stuck" in developmental with its own "big event" shows and wide distribution no longer holds the stigma it used to. Superstars getting the same distribution would hold more of a cache, and it could regain the same cult status it once had before it was usurped by Main Event.
Additionally, WWE has been rumored to be adding even more shows to its slate, including a cruiserweight showcase, a women's wrestling show, and a tag team exclusive slate. WWE could theoretically keep everyone on the roster gainfully employed if they wanted to. That argument might be too idyllic or idealistic, but it is possible. My guess, however, would be a combination of the two. Some guys will get released. Others will find niches on other shows.
Philly expat @wildvulture asks if WWE made a beat 'em up sidescroller like River City Ransom, which two superstars would make ideal protagonists.
Regardless of how badly their friendship has fractured on the main show, don't tell me you wouldn't buy the shit out of a RCR-knockoff from WWE starring Daniel Bryan and Kane. Team Hell No vs. The World would be a great launch title for a theoretical WWE Games company.
Former Penn State blogiverse maven Dan Vecellio asks what the Intercontinental Championship even means anymore.
Honestly, any title means whatever the company wants it to mean. Right now, the title means something because they're booking Big E Langston to be a decent Champion. People want his belt, and he wants to be Champion because he's wrestling in competitive matches that he's not losing because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Before Chuck Taylor stopped giving a fuck about it, the 24/7 Championship he was running on his Instagram was tremendous even though the title changed hands once every couple of days. A title's prestige is all about its presentation. If the title is presented as in demand, fans will think it is prestigious.
Onward State contributor Bill DeFillipo asks who'd win in a fight between him and Andrew Rosin.
Everyone knows that the folks over at Eleven Warriors would jump in and claim dominance because Urban Meyer can't take anyone winning a Big Ten battle that isn't affiliated with his school, not even in the blogosphere/Twittersphere.
Strong Island reader @mikepankowski asks that now WWE has rolled out this initial offering for The Network, what would I like to see them add.
Once they gain server stability and can offer streaming on a regular basis without shit like general socket errors (or are they general socke terrors????) and connection timeouts, I would love to see them start adding archives of full television episodes. Right now, The Network has selected episodes of Hardcore TV and World Class, but once it gets better and better at handling the demand, I don't think it has a reason not to have the full archives on demand. Plus, the availability would allow an easier time for episode prep for the folks at What A Maneuver.
@Jason_DeFarge asks what will happen when Cesaro wrestles outdoors and gets the full effect of Earth's yellow sun.
Best question ever.
Austin taco bro @NDEddieMac asks if any hope exists that the announcing will be as good as it was at ArRIVAL as long as Vince McMahon is around.
Nope. Watching the ArRIVAL though gave hope that once Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are in charge though that WWE might end up picking up some of that creative slack that they've left. I doubt WWE will become an idyllic paradise like NXT is, but a happy medium between the hyper-intensive "learn how to be a wrestler" environment that has provided such a great old school wrestling show and the SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT OUT THE WAZOO gloss and glitz of RAW would be attained. Triple H, through his personnel moves, has been ambitious to say the least. He signed Mistico and Awesome Kong, and whether or not they failed because he misjudged them or because meddling from the corporate structure got in the way is irrelevant. He seems willing to push the envelope, and hopefully, when Papa Vince heads to the retirement home or the grave, whichever comes first, Trips will be able to reform RAW into something a little more palatable to a larger audience, and that includes better commentary.
@JordiScrubbings asks which deceased wrestler I'd like to see come back at his/her current age to work a match.
Eddie Guerrero is my answer today, yesterday, tomorrow, and in perpetuity. I understand why he died, but man, I see WWE's roster today, and I see him having epic matches with everyone there, even today. In a perfect world, WrestleMania XXX would be headlined by Guerrero, who was involved an iconic guard-changing moment at the last tenth-anniversary Mania, defending the Championship against Daniel Bryan, passing the torch in an instant classic.
The biggest fan of California's First Corgi, @rancho_king33, asks which wrestler was meanest to the jobbers.
I don't recall anyone being too stiff with the jobbers back in the day because I didn't pay much attention to that kinda thing when I was watching them firsthand. However, I don't remember anyone inventing Tiger Driver '98 because they got too reckless with their finisher other than Triple H. So I'll go with him.
Wrestling Culture co-host Dylan Hales asks if Evan Bourne will ever wrestle another match for WWE, or whether he'll return to the indies for a victory lap like Chris Hero and AJ Styles.
I'd like to think WWE is saving his return for the cruiserweight show that has been rumored for the longest time for The Network's launch. But if he's not back now, then I dunno if WWE will ever have him back. He's way too talented to be given the JTG treatment (hell, JTG is probably too talented to get the JTG treatment, but who knows). The truth is that I can't really read the WWE's human resources tea leaves with any accuracy, but if he is let loose on the indies, I'm not sure he'd generate the same level of excitement as Hero, who spent a relatively short time in developmental, or Styles, who was the hottest thing in TNA before he left. That fact might not bode well for him since, as Dylan pointed out on Twitter, both of their victory laps have fizzled pretty quickly.
Noted anteater @Enrico_Palazzo_ asks what the most satisfying Royal Rumble has ever been.
The Rumble match has traditionally been used to build up big-time heels for Mania. Even when the good guys went over huge at Mania, the circumstances have been dubious or aided by the WWE's dual title structure. However, one Rumble stands out brightest. The 1998 Royal Rumble saw Steve Austin enter as perhaps the hottest thing in all of wrestling, and he walked out having punched his ticket to take the WWF Championship from Shawn Michaels. Even Rumbles where guys everyone wanted to see win took the match, like Michaels in '96 or Edge in '10, paled in comparison to the nod from management that Austin was indeed the man.
Grade school bro @bdonn120 asks if Hulk Hogan will actually wrestle a match with WWE in his current stint.
I would be surprised if Hogan wrestled another match ever again, to be honest. He has lots of trouble walking, he can't bump, and if he did the signature leg drop again, he might shatter into a billion pieces. However, Hogan doesn't need to work to be awesome. I loved his return promo on RAW, and I think trotting him out a couple of times a year like they do with Roddy Piper or Dusty Rhodes would be magic.
@ray_fuck asks if I could have a dinner party with four ECW alumni, whom would I invite, and what would we eat.
First, I'd invite Sandman because he would bring the beer. One less thing for me to have to buy. Second would be Terry Funk, because that man would have so many stories. Third, I would invite Perry Saturn, because I like laughing and he seems like he'd just break up the evening with some zaniness. Finally, I'd invite Miss Congeniality, because I ain't about throwing a sausage party over here, and Amy Dumas is welcome at my dinner table anytime. As for what I'd serve? Probably steak and potatoes because that seems like an ECW kind of meal.
Cole Hamels fanboy @PhilaBCoulter asks what new viewers to NXT should come to expect on the reg from the announce team.
The ArRIVAL announce team was the best they could offer. William Regal, Byron Saxton, and Tom Phillips had great chemistry and balanced the technical aspects of wrestling announcing with storytelling, but they're only three members of a rotating announce team. The good news is that most iterations are decent at least, but the bad news is twofold. First, Alex Riley is a member of that pool, and while he's not bad per se, he's so much worse than Regal, Saxton, or Tensai/Jason Alberts that it's noticeable. Second is that whenever they have Renee Young in the booth, she gets exposed. Her chemistry with Regal is good, but she often embodies the worst qualities of WWE's patriarchical philosophy regarding women. Hearing her say the words "man up" was heartbreaking. But even with those negatives, the NXT announce crew generally does good work. The group is a total departure from the wretched obnoxiousness of Michael Cole, JBL, an Jerry Lawler.