Saturday, March 22, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 69 (Heh, Nice)

Poor ReyRey, but his headlong tumble into the trailer was great TV
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!

Launching the Tweetbag this week is Canadian stalwart @DasNordlicht91 asking what my favorite heel-on-face beatdown ever is.

I've gotta say that the Triple H nuclear immolation on Daniel Bryan is already up there on my list, but the unprotected chairshot to the head (by a fucking EVP in the goddamn company) and Bryan's misogynistic "YOU HIT LIKE A GIRL" taunting of Stephanie McMahon both bring it down for me. Also, the payoff is yet to be seen. I'm going off on a tangent here, but I'm getting pretty sick of seeing this payoff for Bryan get dragged out. If he doesn't leave Mania as Champion, then the last eight months have been a creative failure, an absolute, unequivocal, abysmal failure. But I'm not answering your question with that response.

My answer is a tossup between the beatdown King Kong Bundy and Don Muraco laid on Hulk Hogan before WrestleMania 2, and the rampage Kevin Nash and Scott Hall went on on a random Nitro before the official formation of the nWo. The former had such a creative setup. Muraco stood on the ring steps and held Hogan's arms criss-crossed so that Bundy could wail on him while he was defenseless. Even in 1986, the Hulkster's aura as an unfuckwithable monster was in full force, so of course the heels had to think of a creative way to get the upper hand. The latter was great just for the scope involved. The Outsiders took on nearly the entire WCW locker room and laid them to waste. The most famous victim, of course, was Rey Mysterio, who did his best lawn dart impersonation. Him going into the side of the trailer may have been one of my favorite visuals from WCW or any company ever.

Serial wrestling live-tweeter @wrestlefeed wants to know what my price would be for the Million Dollar Man?

I'm an easy man, so as long as Ted DiBiase paid off my mortgage and the combined student loans of both me and my wife, I'd be good for whatever he'd want me to do. That pricetag is less than a million bucks. He'd be getting off easy.

Andrew Rosin, Twitter question master and Bucky's Fifth Quarter writer, asks which NCAA Tournament upset I called and which one has devastated me like a typical Vince McMahon-called late '80s WWF finisher.

I had Stephen F. Austin beating VCU in the first round. I don't care how garbage the Southland Conference is; if a team goes 31-2 in ANY conference, they deserve more than a 12 seed. That game should've been a 8/9 match at least. As for the upset that fucked my bracket over worse than a Hogan leg drop? Well, all four of my Final Four teams are still alive at press time, but I had Duke in the Elite 8. However, Duke losing in the first round (or second round if you're a stickler for NCAA nomenclature) never fails to tickle my fancy. However, I also had Ohio State in the regional finals, so them losing to Dayton to open the non-play-in action hurt me pretty bad.

Mysterious Philly sports twitter sophist @jackcantcook asks what my favorite WrestleMania by look of the venue was.

WrestleMania IX may not be the best-remembered event in the history of the big event, but having the event in the open air in Las Vegas with the Roman motif at dusk? Yeah, no matter what happened during the card, that event will always have a special place in my heart. WrestleMania III may have had the first ever super main event and the first event held in a big stadium, but IX to me was when Mania finally became Mania.

Another aside, as a kid, I totally didn't care that Bret Hart got railroaded in that main event. Hogan became WWF Champion once again, and he was still my favorite wrestler ever. I refuse to go all revisionist history and pretend I hated the end to that show.

Based on the WrestleMania card to date, Scott T. Holland of the Rumble stats series here and the incomparable Irresistible vs. Immovable blog asks what the biggest missed opportunity is, and whether it's Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust.

I still don't think Rhodes/Goldust should have happened this year. A clash between the brothers should happen at Mania, but with how everything has played out, that match should have always happened next year in Northern California. The biggest missed opportunity this year continues to be the lack of a final, climactic Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton match for the title. Yes, Bryan is going to get to go through Triple H and win a triple threat. The end is going to be the same, assuming WWE doesn't outsmart itself here. But having Trips and Batista involved feels cheap and convoluted. The story all along should have been Bryan getting that final shot with the backing of Hulk Hogan and a few other allies (maybe the Rhodes Boys?) to counter against The Authority.

International Object podcast co-host Rich Thomas asks if it's just him or if WWE has a major problem telling stories for the midcard.

WWE has had a major problem telling midcard stories for at least five years, maybe longer. I don't know how to diagnose that problem without really knowing the power structure within WWE, but it seems to me that WWE hasn't had a strong midcard since Paul Heyman was in charge of Smackdown. Furthermore, the entire company hasn't had a focus on somewhere other than its main event since Vince Russo was in Creative.

I rag on Russo a lot, because the man did a lot of irreparable-seeming damage to the mainstream. However, one thing that he always had going for him was his passion and attention to the entire roster, not just the Steve Austins and Hulk Hogans of the world (depending on which company for which he worked). Sure, his stories were often ill-conceived, and he didn't seem to have the attention span to execute on those stories to fruition. That reason is why I struggle even to give him that much credit.

However, if his passion for the entire roster were to be combined with the storytelling mastery of Heyman and the financial means of Vince McMahon, then one would have the perfect booker on his or her hands. However, nothing in this world is perfect, but it would be nice to have something approaching that ideal. WWE needs that kind of person in charge of its stories rather than McMahon, whose creative prowess has always taken a backseat to his savvy in finding out the next big distribution model.

Twitter bro @Kaiterra_ asks which food and drink he should get to watch WrestleMania XXX.

My go-to meal for wrestling pay-per-views has always been pizza and beer, but WrestleMania deserves more than takeout and a six pack, right? WrestleMania is the wrestling fan's Super Bowl, so it's high time fans like you and I start treating it as such. Today, I was introduced to the concept of "carne asada fries," which are like nachos only using french fries instead of chips as the base. Find a recipe for these tasty treats somewhere online, or if you live in San Diego or another locale where these treats are readily available, order out and let someone else do the work for you.

As for your drink, if you're like me and you drink alcohol, treat yourself to a special occasion beer, but not one with high alcohol-by-volume (ABV). You're going to want to enjoy Daniel Bryan's big moment at the end of the show. Go with an easy drinking brew like Yard's Brawler or Kronenbourg 1664, but keep a bottle of the high-end, high ABV stuff just in case things go pear shaped and someone lame like Batista or Triple H end Mania as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

And if you're not a drinker, then again, you should probably raise your beverage game above the regular can of Coke deal. I'd say go for a Shirley Temple. They're delicious and easy to make.

My Barclays Premier League sherpa @RTVWOW asks if the rumored Steve Blackman bounty hunter show on WWE Network is the best non-wrestling wrestler/show pair-up possible.

Blackman seems like he'd not only be good at bounty hunting, but he'd be far better in every arena than the resident cable bounty hunting reality show Champ, Dog. However, I can think of one pair-up that would be better than Steve Blackman: Bounty Hunter.

Cooking with Chef Naked Mideon

Dennis Knight's post-wrestling career has led him into the kitchen, where he's actually become an accomplished chef. Combine that career with his most infamous WWE role, and you instantly have something that would be better than 99% of Food Network's programming. I would rather see Knight's bare ass on screen than see any part of Guy Fieri's anatomy, to be quite honest.

@ray_fuck asks which wrestlers I would want to start a criminal enterprise with.

Not Dino Bravo, that's for sure... too soon?

Anyway, I would probably choose Undertaker for imposing figure and muscle, Mike Rotunda to help me run numbers, Buff Bagwell to supply me with all the guns I need (listen to his episode of Art of Wrestling), and Kana for more muscle and to play on the slimy sexual nature of most dudes in the criminal underworld.

@Michael_T1919 wants a ranking of heel stables within WWE based on how scary they were.


1. The Wyatt Family - They freak me out a little in real life, so within the context of a wrestling story, of course they're scary.
2. The Corporate Ministry - What's scarier than a bunch of cultists running around with ruthless corporate backing? The stable is the combination of everything terrifying in the world (and yet they lose out to the Wyatts because they were easily taken down by a single redneck).
3. The Shield - Even in trios matches where the sides were the same, the announcers could scream about the DAMN NUMBERS GAME and I'd believe it based on how well they work as a unit.
4. The Heenan Family - Based on numbers alone, Bobby Heenan's troupe of black hats could intimidate.
5. The Two Man Power Trip - I'm ranking them here based on potential. No one will ever know how deadly they could have been because of Triple H's papier mache quadriceps muscles.

Finally, @brandonspears asks on a scale of 1-10 how shameful it is that Cody Rhodes and Goldust won't be a part of any Tag Team Championship action at Mania.

10, easily. I know the Andre the Giant Battle Royale needs starpower, but tying everything back into the previous question about the company's lack of storytelling for the midcard, WWE had a money tag team with the Rhodes Boys anchoring a strong division. A four-corners tag match with the Usos, Real Americans, Rybaxel, and the Rhodes Boys at Mania would have been a great spectacle. Sure, WWE ran virtually the same match at TLC, only with Rey Mysterio and Big Show in the spot of the Usos, but that match ruled too. For a company that likes to try to catch lightning in a bottle far more than twice, I'm shocked it isn't going back to that well with an even stronger slate.