Thursday, May 29, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 78

Will the robe ever make a comeback?
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, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday morning. Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

Robes were HUGE in pro wrestling thanks to guys like Buddy Rogers and Ric Flair. I don't think the style made the wrestler inasmuch as the wrestler made the style. In order for the robe to make a comeback, someone hugely popular with the right gimmick would have to adopt wearing them. As much as I liked the look for Damien Sandow, him donning a terrycloth robe with the character he portrayed didn't exactly do much for the fashion statement. However, should someone like a Big E Langston or someone with the appropriate level of potential swag as a Big E don a robe and blow up, then maybe the popularity of the garment will in fact rebound.

In theory, Michael Elgin should be my favorite wrestler, right? He's compact, strong, and he's got a rep for working tremendous matches. Yet, most of the times I've seen him wrestle, I've either been bored to tears or openly angry at some of the awful spots he and his opponents have charted in their match. Imagine if Davey Richards sold less and moved like a Claymation golem. That description would fit Elgin perfectly. I wanted to like him, but outside of a few tag matches where his weaknesses have been hidden and his one singles match with Kevin Steen at Death before Dishonor last year, I just couldn't. I always keep an open mind, and quite frankly, he's not going anywhere for awhile. SO maybe either he'll evolve or my tastes will change. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Protected Twitter user @brianbrown25 asks:
rank these 4 structures: War Games cage, Triple Cage Tower of Doom, Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber. #tweetbag
1. Hell in a Cell: I think becoming the signature, non-Royal Rumble gimmick match of WWE probably counts for something, right?
2. Elimination Chamber: I love the match type, and the extra fabrication on the steel structure makes it look so ominous.
3. War Games: I'm docking some points because you need two rings to pull it off. It's hard to pay attention to the action spread out that far.
4-999,999,999. Any other possible steel structure one could dream up for a wrestling match
1,000,000,000. Triple Cage Tower of Doom: Oh, fuck that match so hard, man. SO HARD.

I find it hard to say either way, actually. Chikara has only had one Grand Champion in its history, so it's not like I can go on past history for the belt to see who has held it for how long and in what circumstance. On one hand though, Icarus just ended the title reign of the only Grand Champion ever, a veritable Chikara legend in Eddie Kingston. On the other hand, a big huge freakishly strong behemoth who just killed the resident poop demon just debuted, and he's the perfect kind of big bad to hold the title as a set-up for a huge fall later on in the season/early in 2015. My gut feeling is that I agree, Icarus is probably just facilitating the change of hands from one era (Eddie Kingston as Chikara ace) to another (The Flood having control of the richest prize in the promotion).

#FollowAdam_Jacobi. I hear that guy LOVES horses.

I have a sneaking fear that people in WWE read this blog, so please, don't give them any ideas.

Is King of the Ring by this point the equivalent of "trying to make fetch happen?" The dang tournament seems cursed. I don't need all my monthly special events to be themed anyway. I just would like to have them properly built, or more accurate from my standpoint of being a Network subscriber, I just want them to have at least one or two really good matches a month. Payback this month has been built like a rickety house on sand in Florida during hurricane season. However, I can probably guess that Sheamus/Cesaro, Evolution/Shield, Paige/Alicia Fox, and Hornswoggle/El Torito will be good. Wyatt/Cena could be good on paper as well. Is a gimmick going to improve that card? Probably not. In fact, I kinda wish that WWE would take at least one gimmicked PPV off the schedule. Elimination Chamber is a great concept for a yearly special event, and I've learned to live with TLC, but Hell in a Cell should probably be saved for blood feuds, not "just to have one" every year.

Since I really didn't follow the Championship League this past year, my answer is Queens Park Rangers ONLY because they were in the Premiere League in 2012-'13. That year down in the B-tier seemed to do them good. I'd like to see what that side can do, as long as they don't force Aston Villa into relegation next season.

I would be fine with WWE banishing on-screen authority figures back to Tunneyland altogether. I think a huge reason why WWE has had difficulties creating new stars over the years is because feuds between wrestlers have been made to be passe. If you want to get over huge, you have to feud with an authority figure, most of the time one that doesn't get into the ring all that often. That statement is a generalization, but look at how limp feuds below the main event have been? You give creative members an outlet to put themselves over, and boom, the midcard and some main event feuds suffer. WWE has to train its audience to expect wrestler vs. wrestler feuds again, and it needs to make those feuds count for more than just trading victories with no protection whatsoever.

Not only is that team majestic, but all three guys presumably will be available for King of Trios this year. Speaking of Trios, I had a half-baked Six Pack I was working on Tuesday night before I got busy with real life stuff and lost interest. You know that Chikara drew 1,497 people paid to the Easton Funplex on Sunday? Add that into the Internet pay-per-view buys, and Quack and co. made a hefty chunk of change with the return show, a show that had zero "guest stars" so to speak. While I wouldn't mind an all-rostered approach to every other card of the year, I feel like King of Trios needs to have the guest star element to it. Also, I hope this year is the year I get my Mean Street Posse entrance into the tourney. DON'T KEEP DEPRIVING ME OF JOEY ABS, RODNEY, AND PETE GAS! DON'T DO IT.

Ideally, Main Event would be the show that had the big-time matches between main event players who maybe aren't in feuds, and title matches that aren't bound to be blown off on pay-per-view, while Superstars would go from the "hey, let's give you the guys we forgot about wrestling for half the show and RAW recaps for the other half" to a show where the midcard feuds got some development. In layman's terms, I would make Main Event "the wrestling for wrestling's sake" show, while Superstars' matches would be angle driven for what they couldn't/didn't care to fit on RAW.

*takes the cyanide pill*

If WWE screwed anything up, it was switching course from Leo Kruger to Adam Rose and only giving him six weeks to get used to his new character. Notice the difference between Rose and Tyler Breeze, both one-dimensional party-boy characters on the surface. Rose got pushed to the main roster before the novelty of his gimmick wore off and before he had a chance to develop other character traits, nuances, and in-ring stylings. Breeze has been in NXT as himself for about a year now, and he's evolved past his "take selfies ad infinitum" start without really abandoning the spirit of it.

The truth is, the Rose gimmick might have been dead in the water in the main roster no matter the lead time, but WWE had to try something. Ray Leppan had been in developmental forever, and obviously, the office saw something in him to keep him around for that long. The Aldous Snow gimmick was a chance the office took to get him on the roster in a meaningful way and get something out of him. Sometimes, the best gimmicks aren't the sure things, but they do come with risks of failure. Failure is a part of life and wrestling, and maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Not only was Bobby Heenan the best manager ever, he was the best color commentator ever, or at least he was the best heel color commentator ever. The only two people who meant more to the first boom of the WWF were Hulk Hogan and Cyndi Lauper.

Paul Bearer would be second, because without him, Undertaker wouldn't have had the career. He was instrumental in getting him over early in his career, and he provided an excellent foil for the Dead Man in the middle part. Taker, Kane, and Mick Foley all owed some bit of their successes to Bearer, and in case you haven't noticed, those three are among the best in WWE history. Heyman carries the rear, although coming in third to Heenan and Bearer is no disgrace.

Regal could handle himself, sure, but would he have been considered a hooker and not just a tough guy? I really don't know what makes a hooker a hooker like a Lou Thesz. I would assume one would have to have a strong amateur background at least, right? Like Kurt Angle theoretically could be one if his spine wasn't one, continuous, fused-together bone, right? I just don't know.

@HummerX with this question via DM:
#Tweetbag question: Has anyone ever tweeted a semi-insulting thing about Meltzer that one of his weird goons did not find & respond to?
I wouldn't put the onus on Dave Meltzer here himself. His most vocal, rabid fans are more like Beliebers than anything else, taking it upon themselves to defend the honor of a guy they help earn six figures with their subscription fees. I don't know what drives anyone to think celebrities need their constant defense, but the best thing to do is block the really offensive parties and move on. The preceding isn't to say that anyone who defends Meltzer is a goon and a troll. Guys like the Voices of Wrestling crew are Meltzer supporters, but the difference between them and certain illiterate folks who are way more obsessive of Meltzer critics than the levels of obsession they accuse those critics of having for Meltzer is that the sane parties are, well, sane. I do think discussion about what the reasonable expectations from wrestling journalism and what should pass for good reporting has to happen though, sooner rather than later.

The only way Chikara could use time travel in a way that would be over the line for me is if it somehow used it as a way to invalidate the entire story. Like, if the endgame is that a wrestler or two (or more) somehow manipulated the timeline to say that entire swatches of time in the company didn't happen at all, then I'd feel gypped for the experience. Honestly, if the decision was made to snag a version of Kobald from the past, I would personally mark out, mainly because Chikara would be borrowing a plot point DIRECTLY from one of my favorite games ever, Chrono Trigger. I would just hope that if the Batiri and Archibald Peck and whoever else happen to need a clone, they get it from everyone's favorite floating set of a head and jazz hands, Norstein Bekkler.

I'm gonna be honest here, I've only ever seen the first Mighty Ducks film. But I am not one to shy away from rankings, so I will list my TOP HOCKEY MOVIES THAT I'VE SEEN:

1. Miracle - I know it's schmaltzy and Disnified, but I do love me a good retelling of the USA USA USA beating them blasted Commies in the only battlefield that mattered during the Cold War.
2. Slapshot - The first time I saw the Hanson Bros. take the ice, I fucking lost it.
3. Happy Gilmore - That's kind of a hockey movie, right?
4. The Mighty Ducks - The most sneakily awesome part of this movie is that all the rich people were portrayed as assholes, and that Adam Banks has to overcome being such a shitty person for being rich to be accepted.

For posterity, the comment:
My fantasy booking idea:

Strip Bryan of the titles. Announce a block-style, round-robin tournament to find a new champion. Four groups of four guys, each group winner goes on to the PPV for semi-finals and finals matches.

Best thing about this setup is it allows the company to potentially build-up MULTIPLE guys in this story.

Here's a sampling of groups…

A. Cesaro, Fandango, Jack Swagger, and Mark Henry
B. Big E, Rusev, Damien Sandow, and Rob Van Dam
C. Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, and Cody Rhodes
D. Dolph Ziggler, Batista, Seth Rollins, and Golddust

Each of these matches can take place on Raw, Smackdown, Main Event and Superstars.

You get the final 4 at the PPV. Winner gets crowned, gets a month with the belt…and then BROCK LESNAR shows up and beats that guy to take the unified titles.

Daniel Bryan returns in time for Summer Slam and wants to "cash-in" his title shot straight up. No warm-up bout or anything. Everybody is petrified that Bryan is going to get destroyed. Shades of Ric Flair going up against Vader.

Bryan comes back and wrestles Brock at Summer Slam with 1 of 2 outcomes: 1. DBry wins the belt outright or (and I actually prefer this option) 2. Time limit draw. DBry SURVIVES and proves he can take what Brock Lesnar can dish out. But because he didn't win, he's got to start from the bottom and claw his way back into title contention.

DBry gets to wrestle anyone and everyone as he climbs the ladder yet again, and Brock gets a brief run as top dog for a few months.

DBry earns his rematch at SURVIVOR Series and wins the belt there (see what I did there?). Triumph.
The round-robin tournament sounds somewhat interesting, which is why I wouldn't have any faith in WWE to pull it off. However, the idea of replaying the first two Rocky movies with Bryan and Lesnar IS something that sounds eminently intriguing. I think you would run the risk of pissing off a lot of people with a time-limit draw closing SummerSlam though. However, the payoff having a huge Survivor Series moment might offset that dismay. I still don't think Bryan's going to drop the title at all at Payback, and that WWE is just biding its time to make sure that Bryan is okay to wrestle. Why else would it have waited so long to get a final decision on whether or not to strip him? Therefore, all that fantasy booking would be moot. Still, it's a good concept.

The best use of an animal in professional wrestling was and always will be Jake "The Snake" Roberts' draping of his boa constrictor on a fallen opponent. The worst use of animals in wrestling happened during the ill-fated Kennel in a Cell match. The dogs weren't fearsome at all, and honestly, the prospect of seeing dogs maul someone on live television is not appealing, it's appalling. Also, dog poop, on wrestling TV? Nope. I don't like cleaning it up out of my backyard. Why would I want to see it during my entertainment time?

To be honest, I haven't listened to any podcast in like two months, so I am out of touch with everything I listen to or used to listen to. That being said, I stopped listening to Cheap Heat, not because of the personalities involved, but because the show topics weren't interesting enough. The conversation was the most basic level of wrestling discourse, which is fine for some, but for me, I kinda filter that kind of talk out even when I'm on Twitter. No offense to Rosenberg or Shoemaker at all, the latter whom I find engrossing when he writes about wrestling on Grantland himself. But if I'm spending time in the car listening to conversation about the thing I write about, I want it to be on a different level.

Sausage! I've become somewhat of a sausage enthusiast over the last few years, and food artisans have helped that obsession by combining different meats and spices and even cheese and vegetables together for great links. While I've become a fan of chicken sausage lately for health reasons, if I were to make my own links, I would go with pork, primarily a mix of the butt and the fatback. I would double grind the meat with several cloves of fresh garlic for that acidic, pungent bite. I would then mix the ground meat with some cumin and chili powder before stuffing it in natural casings and letting it smoke. Yeah, that sausage sounds mighty tasty. Mighty tasty indeed.