Saturday, May 3, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Third Quarter-Quell

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!

Whither Drake Younger in WWE?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein

For the record, I've only really enjoyed two Drake Younger matches in his career that I've seen so far. The first was live at Chikara when he teamed with the Osirian Portal against the UnStable at the first Chikarasaurus Rex event. The second was an insane brawl against Mustafa Saed (yes, that Mustafa Saed) at Supreme Pro Wrestling in Sacramento. So although he's one of the true really great dudes of pro wrestling, and a guy who is beloved by thousands, I have no real opinions of him leaving the scene other than that is going to make a lot of my friends sad. Now, that scenario doesn't mean I am not intrigued to see what refitting his style for television at the Performance Center will do for him. I hated Tyler Black on the indies, but now Seth Rollins is my favorite member of The Shield. Both Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn, guys I adored on the indie scene, changed up their games and arguably became better (or at the very least made a change in style with lateral movement in ability).

But the hot rumor is that Younger is headed to WWE to become a referee. My ambivalence towards him as a performer aside, I feel like that might be a waste of his abilities. Here, WWE has signed a guy who electrified some of the hottest indie wrestling crowds in the country, and it's going to make him a ref, a position that by design is mostly nameless and unsung? Then again, Younger wouldn't have taken the job without explicit understanding of his role. And who knows, maybe the reports are wrong. Misinformation in any news medium is not a new phenomenon.

Oh God, I hope it's not a re-cast. The original series was not perfect, but personally, it was closer than some other folks might have adjudged to be. Rebooting the original story would feel cheap. Now, a prequel or sequel series would be pretty rad. The Island has a mythos, one whose surface was only scratched with the original series. LOST deserves to have a whole universe surrounding it with multiple series, some films, and video games exploring bits and pieces of the Island's mystique while telling stories.

Because really, I thought demanding an entire slate of answers and mysteries explored with six seasons of a TV show was a bit too demanding and off-focus. I don't like to be the one to tell people how to watch a show, so yeah, maybe some people wanted a hyperscientific focus on the Island. That viewpoint is okay, but to me, it also feels a bit wrongheaded and purpose-defeating of a good television show. No matter what the genre, a great television show has to invest time in relationships and characters to work, whether the relationships are personal and friendly or adversarial. The original show struck a balance between mythos and characterization/plot, and I would love to see an entire media empire that gets to build upon the former while providing new avenues for the latter.

(And personally, Walt's story was underserved and probably deserves an entire new series. Let's focus on him!)

I am at a 1.2 on the Rawley Scale, which means I was BORN HYPE, YEAAAAAHHHHHHH.


Oh wait, I botched it again, didn't I?

For the record, the top five, in order, was as follows:

1. Daniel Bryan
2. Antonio Cesaro (first names forever!)
3. Seth Rollins
4. Sami Zayn/El Generico
5. Roman Reigns

Honorable mentions would include the Bryan/Cesaro match from the gauntlet that happened in the late spring/early summer on RAW, the two Bryan/Rollins matches on RAW, and the Shield vs. Kane, Undertaker, and Bryan from that English RAW. But the clear winner here has to be the Zayn/Cesaro best two-out-of-three falls match, right? I mean, the contest was the consensus best match in NXT/FCW history until they went at it again at ArRIVAL, and it's on the short-list of best three-fall matches ever. I liked a few matches in wrestling the same or better - the Bryan/Orton hardcore match, Bryan/Cena, and Callihan/Havok to be specific - but none of them had the combination of people within the top five.

I don't know if I've ever seen that movie, but Warwick Davis was pretty good in Prince Caspian. Oh wait, you mean the drug-fueled alter-ego of Jeff Hardy? Yeah, I got nothin'.

Oh man, the godlike adoration of Ryan in this town is the saddest, funniest thing ever. The Eagles won zero playoff games when Ryan was a head coach. Zero. Rich Kotite coached the team to a playoff win, and he's one of the worst head coaches in NFL history. But he coached GRITTY football, made his teams play SMASHMOUTH ball, and emphasized HUSTLE like the teams in the '60s with CHUCK BENDARIK did. Just in case anyone says racism is over, check out any random autumn day on WIP and feel the coded language wash over you like a wave teeming with toxic jellyfish.

As it turns out, he only knows 999, because "dealing steroids backstage" is not a real wrestling move.

I am absolutely shocked DJ Hyde is letting Denver Colorado (the man, not the place) book that match after what happened at the last WSU secret show at the [UNDISCLOSED LOCATION]. If Alpha Female taking on the perfectly cromulent but not-known-for-destruction Jenny Rose can cause structural damage to one gypsum wall, then what on earth could LuFisto and Chris Dickinson do to that place? They could possibly do this to the WORLD, no joke:

The perfect tag team division has between four and eight established, regular teams, but the number isn't as important as the activity within it. Namely, the division should have at least one feud going on at a given time that isn't related to the Championships, if not more. Also, the top teams in the divisions should be able to main event cards and look viable against the top singles dudes as well. At one point in the late '80s, Road Warrior Hawk got a few shots at Ric Flair here and there. Wouldn't a RAW main event pitting Jey Uso against Daniel Bryan or Randy Orton be the goal?

Also, every tag team should have a double-team finisher. Wrestling holds have gotten so sophisticated over the years, and in WWE, double team moves have stopped evolving at the 3D. Then again, WWE is hardly the only game in town, and teams in PWG and Chikara have a plethora of double-team moves and finishers. But yeah, dual finishes are a must.

I haven't been watching the archives on The Network as extensively as I would have liked yet, mainly because my son dominates the television when he's awake. So I don't have an extensive list, or anything that might be considered a super-rare gem. However, I still get a good laugh whenever I turn on a really old episode of Hardcore TV and see some of the stuff that went on in pre-Extreme ECW. For example, Tommy Dreamer's old ring gear is hilariously '80s, I never remembered Public Enemy as being that much of a joke out of the ring, and holy shit, who let Pat Tanaka wrestle in sweats? But the most WTF thing I remember seeing is all the vignettes featuring Kevin Sullivan cutting promos from the beach. Everyone else is doing their interviews from dingy-ass Viking Hall, and he's on sunny beaches in banana hammocks with Woman (pbuh) on his arm. Those visuals are both the most surreal, but the most brilliant things ever. What better way to get a guy over as a heel on the indies (and make no mistake, ECW was an indie back in those days and arguably never stopped being one) than to frame him as a member of the 1%.

I tweeted when I watched that debacle "I don't understand the WWE midcard." WWE went to all the trouble to have a tournament to crown a contender to Big E Langston's Intercontinental Championship only to make him look like a chump during the process. Like, all he did was watch the matches backstage, and then last night, Titus O'Neil dominated him during a match. The post match stuff made a little more sense, but wouldn't that scenario have played out a LOT better on RAW or next week's Smackdown, after Langston will have defended (or lost) his IC title?

WWE has done such a great job telling main event stories in the last five years from time to time, but even the top-card stories have been done in by inattention to detail or nonsensical turns. I really want to be a fly on the wall during a month of Creative Team meetings, just to see what really goes on.

Ah, a fantasy booking question!

MAIN EVENT: Icarus vs. Jimmy Jacobs - I'm pretty sure this match will headline the show, as it was heavily hinted in the first Event Center video that dropped yesterday. Jacobs set himself up not as the guy behind the Flood, but its field general so to speak. I also don't think this would be the blowoff match in the feud anyway, just like the Bret Hart/Steve Austin Survivor Series '96 match was far from the blowoff to their feud. Maybe Icarus (or even Jacobs??) would need to win the Grand Championship first for them to have a true final showdown. Speaking of which...

NON-TITLE: Eddie Kingston vs. Davey Vega - Even though Chikara is back, Kingston still seems to be in denial. Even stronger are his feelings of attachment towards "her." I doubt he would put the Grand Championship on the line right away, but he should be in action against one of the primary actors in the team that lit the fuse on Chikara's rebirth at National Pro Wrestling Day, the Submission Squad.

Dr. Cube, Haack, and Slaash vs. Evan Gelistico, Pierre Abernathy, and Gary the Barn Owl - Speaking of the Squad, what better way to kick off the group's real Chikara career than by taking on the grotesque Cube and his two minions?

The Shard vs. Green Ant - Aside from this being a potentially awesome match, Shard's affiliation with both The Flood and Jigsaw would make this a good launching point for Jig's role in this whole battle.

Blaster McMassive, Max Smashmaster, Oleg the Usurper, and Jaka vs. the Osirian Portal, Fire Ant, and Worker Ant - The grand reintroduction of assailANT as Worker Ant should happen here, and what better place to do it than a traditional atomicos match!

Kobald vs. Qefka the Quiet - I don't mean to keep spamming this show with Flood vs. Chikara battles, but hey, it's kind of the big running theme for the company right now, right? This match would put El Torito vs. Hornswoggle to shame if just because the commentary would be better.

The Spectral Envoy vs. Colony X-Treme Force - The first match at Aniversario: Never Compromise was pretty good, so why not run with the rematch here?

Kizarny, 17, and deviANT vs. The Throwbacks and Kid Cyclone - Hey, why not have more trios matches?

Again, the only non-Flood vs. Chikara match on the show involves Eddie Kingston, but at this point, the battle needs to be fierce and overarching just to set a tone for the rest of the year. I know I left a few main parties off the card - Los Ice Creams, Obariyon, Kodama, the Baltic Siege, the Bloc Party, Ares, 3.0, and of course, the inimitable Archibald Peck - but booking a show is goddamn hard, especially with a roster as hefty as Chikara's is right now.

For as much as I rag on the guy, I can't call him soulless. I disagree with his takes more often than not, sure, but he does seem to care about people. He was one of the guys most vocally calling out Austin Aries and TNA for the incident involving Christy Hemme, which shows me a lot more than any of his HOT RASSLIN TAEKS ever could. So yeah, I don't think he's particularly useful as a wrestling observer/columnist, but he at least seems to have a modicum of decency.

@brianbrown25, whose tweets are protected, asks what the best WWF/E pay-per-view event in Philadelphia has been.

This answer might be a bit neophytic, but I would lean towards Money in the Bank 2013. Both ladder matches were pretty clutch, John Cena vs. Mark Henry was decent, and the preshow Tag Title match was really, really good. But then again, I'd have to go back and watch both SummerSlam 1990 and In Your House 10: Mind Games again, especially the latter. You can't go wrong with a peak Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind main event.

Refer back to my answer for the O'Neil/Langston question, but yeah, the overbooking of rematches upon rematches is just stupid, especially since the company has forged an established match type in the last 18 months. Trios matches have been the new hotness with The Shield and the Wyatt Family, so why not combine feuds? Or better yet, why can't WWE use its sizable roster? It just doesn't make sense.