Sunday, March 16, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 68

Cole was bad, but not as bad as JBL
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!

Kicking things off this weekend is Marc Normandin of Sports on Earth and Over the Monster, who asks who is worse, current JBL or heel play-by-play announcer Michael Cole.

Cole as the obnoxious talking head for WWE was annoying for sure. A lot of my problem with him is probably vested in how overboard he took his criticisms of Daniel Bryan. Yes, I know that the shtick was an attempt by the office to get Bryan over, but much in the same way JBL's persona is "just a character," it wasn't a story thread that I particularly appreciated. But he had his moments. Firstly, the novelty of having the voice of the company be an out-and-out shitbag felt new. Second, the gong he rolled out on NXT Season 3 was amusing. Third, while he felt obnoxious, I never got the sense that he wasn't trying to add something to the program other than the self-enjoyment of himself or one Vince McMahon. Of course, that statement might be my utter disdain for JBL talking. I am hesitant to use the word "nostalgic" because I don't particularly feel fond for the days where Cole would yell "NERRRRRRRRRRRRD," but his shit seems less severe in the past.

@OkoriWadsworth asks who'd win in a free-for-all, The Shield or the Dangerous Alliance.

The Dangerous Alliance has numbers, err, I'm sorry, THE DAMN NUMBERS GAME in its advantage, but I think that advantage gets negated by having Larry Zbyszko in its ranks. Too close to call for me.

@boxwatcher wants to know if I think the WWE Network will change the way WWE tells its stories.

Just in watching The Network in a cursory, introductory manner, I have come to a hypothesis that WWE hasn't changed its storytelling modes drastically in 30 years at least. Vince McMahon is a visionary when it comes to hopping on the next distribution method, but the wrestling booker in him is always at least five years behind his businessman. The early pay-per-views were still advertisements for house shows, and then when the pay-per-view model started to show signs of antiquity, he flooded the market with them while ignoring how he could use RAW as the main narrative mode.

While anything could happen, I don't expect WWE to fully embrace the over-the-top mode of distribution for a couple of years. How would that change how the company tells stories though? Honestly, I don't think the nuts and bolts will change too much. Maybe WWE will get more experimental. Maybe it'll offer several strands of related-but-autonomous continuity. NXT and WWE have started to intermingle some, but they remain separate entities. I guess the cruiserweight show will be its own thing as well, or separate shows that further develop tag teams and women's wrestling could be on the docket as well.

The main takeaway from the introduction of The Network to me, however, is that the options are going to be infinite. The future of television is here, and oddly enough, WWE is the leader in the market. If you feel baffled because you're used to seeing WWE stories and pop culture references way behind the times, then I don't blame you.

Rumble Statistician and co-conspirator at Irresistible vs. Immovable Scott T. Holland asks if anything from WrestleMania 29 cracked my WrestleMania Mix Tape, and if I foresee anything from this year's doing so.

I would have to do quite a bit of finagling just to include the one match that I felt worthy of inclusion. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker would be a great addition to the proceedings, but it would leave Chris Jericho, Triple H, and the WWE Championship in limbo, and no, WrestleMania X-8's main event would not make the cut. Triple H might find a new home after this year, because I feel like his match with Daniel Bryan would be a match that meets the hype. I might also be inclined to include Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena, which would free up Big Show and the United States Championship as well. Maybe I might make an entirely different Mania mix tape after this year's show just for posterity's sake.

Esteemed participant in the first ever TWB Retro Live Tweet event @Kaiterra_ wants to know what event I would show a non-fan who has convinced themselves that wrestling is dumb to sway their opinion.

I defer to the old quote that may have been said by Vince McMahon or someone else. I don't know the source, but I do know that it's perfect to describe for wrestling:

"For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible."

I know, that answer is a copout. With that in mind, the best approximation of a show to show to a non-believer might be High Noon. Chikara feels like a company that even non-fans can watch and enjoy without feeling icky.

Scott's partner in crime at Irresistible vs. Immovable, David Kincannon, asks what foodstuffs would be the most imperative to try on a WrestleMania XXX excursion.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have never been to New Orleans, so I am only going on reputation and what I've heard from bros and broettes who've been there. The mack daddy of places to eat down in the Big Easy is Cafe du Monde, which has beignets to die for, I've heard. I'm sure if one wandered off Bourbon Street and settled into a random luncheonette, that person would find a pretty good muffaletta or po' boy. However, all the SB Nation folk I follow on Twitter SWEAR by Cochon Butcher, which is a sandwich shop that has some of the best charcuterie in the world. Go there, eat pig, and report back. DO IT.

@aarongernes wants me to make an athlete or movie star magically turn into a career pro wrestler.

Terry Crews comes immediately to mind. He has size and massive amounts of charisma. I think with the proper training, he could have been YUUUUGE in a big company. If I had to pick an athlete, I would go with Dennis Rodman, just based on the fact that he still has experience within the art and seems like a character who, when fully cultivated, could have been special.

@LadyNearTheLake, although she does not specify which lake it is (I'll pretend it's Lake Woebegone), asks how many Hans Moleman "I was saying Bootista" signs will appear at WrestleMania, and which variation I'd like to see most.

Since wrestling fans, like any other large group of people, tend to be uncreative as a rule, I would guess somewhere around 1000. The sign I'd most like to see is Batista laying on the ground like Hans Moleman after getting hit in the groin with a football in his short film, Man Getting Hit by Football. I agree with Homer Simpson. Peak of cinematic glory.

Penn State bro and fellow Pokemon enthusiast @chubs_kgun wants to know if Randy Orton is currently White Goodman from Dodgeball, and if he always has been but no one ever noticed.

You may be onto something, but I think Orton might become my favorite wrestler ever if he gets busted open hardway and then utters "NOBODY MAKES ME BLEED MY OWN BLOOD."

Fan of the team that graciously traded Darren Sproles to the Eagles, @hakimdropsball, asks if any theme song is as magnificent as Mitsuharu Misawa's "Spartan X" and if so, to cite examples.

It kinda sounds like a cross between bed music for CBS college basketball coverage in the '90s and a JRPG boss fight theme song. I like it, but it's got nothing on Manami Toyota's theme.

Mysterious Philly sports bro @jackcantcook wants me to help rid his head of Adam Rose's theme song.

You're welcome.

Future meteorologist and former Penn State alt-media bro Dan Vecellio wants me to construct a 30 man battle royale with ten wrestlers apiece from the '80s, '90s, and '00s/10s. Also he wants to know who wins.

80s: Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Abdullah the Butcher, the Ultimate Warrior, Harley Race, Arn Anderson, Playboy Buddy Rose, Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody

90s: Yokozuna, Bill Goldberg, the Undertaker, Bam Bam Bigelow, Vader, Shinya Hashimoto, King Mabel, Earthquake, Typhoon, Scott Steiner

00s/10s: Mark Henry, The Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Antonio Cesaro, Joseph Park, Roman Reigns, Tursas, Umaga, Mike Knox, Kane

I don't know who wins because I'm too busy having a HOSSGASM over this lineup. Oh, alright, Andre wins because Andre always wins.

@lobwedgeguy wants to know what's more ridiculous in hindsight - Taz's Fred Flintstone gear or ECW wanting the fans to take Public Enemy seriously.

I watched a few eps of Hardcore TV on The Network, and hoo boy, some of those extended Public Enemy promo segments were hard to watch, like brutal on my attention span. Taz's ridiculous pre-FTW gear wins by default.

My man @ray_fuck asks if I go on an eight hour road trip, whom am I taking to tell stories.

You never really specified wrestling or not, but since the name of the site is The Wrestling Blog, I will assume four passengers, so I'll go halfsies. Riding shotgun is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, just because he's used to long drives going back and forth between the Inland Empire and South Texas on the reg in his car. Plus, his stories on the podcast seem only to scratch the surface. Second would be Arn Anderson, just because his career has spanned for so long, and he'd have a story or two about Ric Flair or even Vince McMahon (since he's been an agent for so long). Third, Alton Brown. He's actually done the travel food show thing a couple of times, so he'd know where to eat, plus he'd also have food tips, Food Network stories, and I want to wash the image of Cutthroat Kitchen out of my mind. Finally, I'd go with Laura Jane Grace, because she's led such an interesting life, and I need to have at least one rockstar in there, right?

@Jason_DeFarge wants me to pick Big Show or The Field in the Andre Battle Royale, and also to give odds on Alexander Rusev if he enters.

I'm taking the field if Antonio Cesaro enters. If he gets the singles match with Jack Swagger and doesn't enter the Royale, then I guess I'd take Big Show if just for the synergy between the match's namesake and Show's initial history as Andre's kid. As for Rusev, his debut at the Royal Rumble was boss even if he didn't toss anyone, but the hype behind him makes me believe he'll toss at least three guys in this Battle Royale. In fact, if anyone gets a "Diesel push" in this match, I'd put all my money on Rusev getting it.

@TheEnforcer4 wants to know if I think Daniel Bryan has good sexual workrate.

I'd like to think that upon climax, he raises his arms in the air and shouts YES! YES! YES! I know that doesn't answer the question.

NXT live attendee @dan_spaceman asks if WWE presenting Superstars and Main Event as part of the overall RAW/Smackdown narrative hurts those shows, and whether they're presented as such because The Network needs time to fill.

Nothing could hurt those shows more than being the filler havens they were before The Network came along. I don't think the match quality has gone or will go down. Adding in narrative meaning to those matches can only help the show.

Robert Fuller of Lo-Down Wrestling asks if I think the Accolade is the right finisher for Rusev.

I would like to see him snug the hold up a bit, but what better move to get a foreign baddie over than the move that the Iron Sheik used to break backs and make people humble, right?

Philly expat @wildvulture just turned 30 and wants some advice on not to freak out about it.

I turned 30 a few years ago, and not a whole lot changed cosmetically. I still feel the same. The big difference is that I have a kid now, but that big life change could have happened at any age, to be honest. Anyway, don't freak out just yet. The age of 30 just means you should probably savor all the young-people stuff you can still do. Hell, even in your 40s, you'll be able to be young with expanding lifespans and increasingly effective and preservative medical treatments. Point? You're still young. Live. Laugh. Eat. Drink. Enjoy. But don't overdo it, because you are going to want to be around when you do get really old.

Wrestling super-savant @concrete1992 wants to know if I'll buy the next 2CW Internet-pay-per-view or if I don't actually believe in that medium.

I love the concept of iPPV, but I usually never partake in it because I just don't have the opportunity to do so. I'm married and have a kid now, so my Friday and Saturday nights usually entail doing something with the family and friends. However, if I did have more time in the day than I knew what to do with, or if I had the odd day where the wife was out and the kid was in bed early, I'd totally partake in a 2CW iPPV. It's a great company with a solid native roster and cool guest stars. No doubt I'd patronize them.

Audrey Hepburn fanatic @IHatebd asks how something as insane as World War 3 not only gets greenlit, but repeated.

When you're a company with a bloated roster, grandiose expectations of what a wrestling show should be, and a desire to trump the WWF at every turn, you get three rings, 60 wrestlers, and the most classic example of WCW's bloated excess in the company's short history.

Diabolic dinosaur @KevinNewburn wants to know if people watching old plots on The Network has any effect on future stories.

I think the only effect it might have is a better understanding at how wrestling can be effective no matter how innovative it is or not, at least on a consumer front. If The Network's availability causes writers to watch old stuff and retell stories from the past, as long as they're not of the "EDDIE GUERRERO'S IN HELL" variety or are from sooner than seven years ago.

Father of the World's Strongest Baby @AyYoAlo asks now that baseball season is upon us again if Pete Rose has a chance to come back and be fodder for Corporate Kane.

One can only hope, although I'm not sure how that segment would play out. Kane would have to get some mic time, right? I don't know.

World's foremost Detroit Red Wings fan @Tvs_Tim_Biewald keeps it baseball-related and wants me to pick all six division winners.

I have not been on top of the baseball offseason as I would have liked. Part of it is that my favorite team has turned into an old folks home with the most loathsome front office in history. Part of it is the media making following anything but box scores into a frustrating task of parsing through sanctimony. Part of it is that I love wrestling and football too much to care about the hot stove anymore. But I will make my uneducated guesses here!

NL EAST: Atlanta Braves
NL CENTRAL: Cincinnati Reds
NL WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers
AL EAST: Boston Red Sox
AL CENTRAL: Cleveland Indians
AL WEST: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County, California on the West Coast of the United States of America on the Continent of North America in the Western Hemisphere on Planet Earth in the Solar System of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Known Universe

Cole Hamels enthusiast @PhilaBCoulter wants to know if the Andre Battle Royale is Vince McMahon's way of giving a bunch of dudes Mania paydays before being released.

Honestly, if JTG hasn't been released by now, will he ever? WWE hasn't had a spring cleaning or a black Friday in a couple of years. Its releases have come sparsely and one at a time. With The Network here and WWE's unprecedented market penetration, I would not be surprised if, like I wrote about above, a bunch of parallel but interconnected universes exist and are stocked by the massive amounts of people on the roster and the scores more that the company has at the Performance Center.

In short, I will not predict mass releases are on the horizon until I actually see five or six wrestlers get future endeavored in a single shot again.

Token Minnesotan @Jessico09 asks what the best "garbage" match ever was.

The Triangle Ladder match from WrestleMania 2000 was way better than TLC 2, which Jesse cited in his Twitter question, at least from my point of view. But I might actually pick a match from earlier that year as my favorite. Triple H vs. Cactus Jack at the Royal Rumble was a stupendous brawl that used the plunder as enhancement rather than a crutch. All three matches in the triangle ladder/TLC trilogy are up there as well. Undertaker/Triple H at WrestleMania X-7 is another strong candidate. Plus, ECW probably has a billion candidates within its archives. Still, Trips/Foley at the Rumble in 2000 still stands above all the others for me, at least right now.