Thursday, June 19, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 81

Mantis likes sweet treats, but only if they're vegan
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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!
I tend to fall on the "super awesome" side of the argument. Indie wrestlers are pretty much living hand to mouth if wrestling is their only gig, or it's a weekend diversion if they have a 9-to-5. In some cases, they're barely getting gas money to fall on their backs and necks several times a match. So sure, anything that you as a fan can do to make their experience special is cool. If that means popping for their spots like they're fucking John Cena, buying their merch, or bringing 'em cookies, then go nuts. Everyone's different, obviously, so I'm not sure if bringing some cupcakes to every wrestler will elicit the same response. I can tell you right now that Bryce Remsburg and UltraMantis Black are two Chikara personalities who enjoy them some free fan food. I should know, as they both loved my salsa, and the latter often gets tasty vegan baked goods from one Danielle Matheson.

A few points of note should be observed though. First, if you're going to a show with a bunch of friends, or if you're meeting friends there, bring enough baked goods to share. The communal experience makes wrestling exponentially more enjoyable. Second, know your target. Don't be bringing Mantis meat pies or anything that isn't strictly vegan. Do a little bit of research, even if you just throw out a tweet. Third, don't really expect anything in return except for some thanks. Again, these people are performers, and while becoming friends with them is something that can and has happened, don't expect them to accept an invite to your daughter's quinceanera because you gave them a cake once. Be realistic, and don't ACT overtly creepy. But no, the baking of goods is not creepy in and of itself. In fact, I would LOVE it if y'all gave me foodstuffs more often, but no, I'm not requesting them or anything...

*taps foot impatiently*

That statement might have a kernel of truth to it depending on the point of view. The old ideals of alignment have been irreparably damaged by the cool heel ideal, but maybe wrestling as an artform needed to evolve. Flawed antiheroes can be great protagonists if the stories are right. I have written so many words about alignment and storytelling and theory that sometimes I don't even know what I want in terms of a base alignment. But no, I don't think the cool heel is the worst thing to happen by far. If anything, Vince Russo's idea of what a worked shoot should be and peeling back the curtain a little too far is the worst thing, but I think the biz has recovered somewhat from that tendency.

To be honest? I'm the most jealous that you're going to be at Larry Sweeney night tomorrow at The Squared Circle. I've been to a ton of Chikara events, and while I'd like to go to every show the company promotes, I'm fine missing a few here or there. But The Squared Circle is a bucket list restaurant, man. To be there on a Chikara-themed night to help raise money to help an awesome cause for a person who meant so much to my favorite promotion? Yeah, that's the thing I'm most jealous about.

The old-school ECW fan in me says New Jack's shopping cart full of plunder. The Gangstaz weren't the most technically gifted wrestlers around, but they were fun brawlers, thanks in part to New Jack's plethora of weapons that he'd wheel out while "Natural Born Killaz" blared in the background. My favorite instances were once when he busted out a Nintendo Entertainment System console and bashed it over his opponent's head. I wanna say the guy taking the shot was Buh Buh Ray Dudley, but I'm not sure. The second instance happened with him pulling out a model plane and zooming it around the ring like he was a derpy adolescent playing with a toy before utterly smashing it into someone's face. God, I miss having that ECW around sometimes.

Sure, the heat would melt steel, but I think that action would reek too much of the nWo at its most indulgent. The Authority has been able to run game in WWE only because it hasn't run the show with an iron fist. At times, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Daniel Bryan, and The Shield have been able to get one over on the bosses, and while Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have stacked the deck at times, they have always remained careful not to be too foreboding and laughably omnipotent. WCW never held the nWo in that kind of check until the group split apart. Even then, the reunification saw the most blatant loogie hocked in the face of the fans with the Fingerpoke of Doom. If the Authority tried that stunt with Rollins, it either could have been greeted with the same backlash, or it would have been the moment when Vince McMahon came off the ivory tower and said that enough was enough. With that in mind, I wouldn't have minded it as a device to end the McMahon-Helmsley Era 2.0, but otherwise, I think it might have been overkill.

I love Sami Zayn, but he should have been disqualified. In fact, I'm more mad at the referee for allowing that infraction to go unpunished. I mean, I've heard rumors that Zayn used to compete under a mask himself, but I never believed them. That kind of tall tale would have meant that El Generico DIDN'T go back to Mexico to help the orphans, and I refuse to impugn his good name by implying he'd lie to his fans all around the world. BUT humoring those conspiracy theorists for a moment, if Zayn did remove the mask on purpose like has been accused, then he would have spat in the face of his rumored former heritage. That insult is so out of character for him. I am disappoint.

I'd just ditch the salad and go get tacos.

Okay, okay, I'll play along. First off, you gotta contain it in a deep fried corn tortilla bowl. Second, chop the romaine lettuce nice and fine, because I ain't having big chunks of that shit taking up too much real estate and blocking out the delicious stuff. Then, slow-roasted pork al pastor (with the pineapples, ALWAYS with the pineapples), heaping amounts of queso fresco, homemade salsa, grilled onions, and a dollop of sour cream go right on top of the lettuce. Garnish with fresh radishes and chopped scallions, and boom.

No, you're not. Cody Rhodes has to be the good guy, or else Goldust's return would've been a waste. Rhodes showed some serious babyface fire last year, and in a company bereft of true heroes to cheer for below the top two of John Cena and Daniel Bryan, that run was a breath of fresh air. Rhodes has already done everything he needs to do as a rudo before getting to the main event, and Goldust ain't a spring chicken (although he seems to wrestle like one... show me any other wrestler who adds a Yoshi Tonic and lucha flips to his offense after age 40 and I'll show you the fucking chupacabra). Goldust's main purpose should have been to help his brother get to the next level all along. He can best do that by being the jealous, bitter old gatekeeper to brother Cody's final ascension to heroism.

Yes, when I open my new wrestling promotion Fucked Up Wrestling. The main event will be Michael Tarver vs. a chicken wearing a John Cena wrist sweatband as a neckpiece.

Right about now, I think Rollins would be one of those villains in the vein of Venom, where he's nominally evil (hence the turn) but he's so cool that everyone ends up making him popular anyway. In fact, the entire Shield was like that for about 18 glorious months of its run through WWE. I guess if Rollins is Venom, then Dean Ambrose is inexplicably Carnage? Or would Ambrose be Deadpool? And what would that make Roman Reigns, some kind of hybrid between the Incredible Hulk and Tony Stark? Ah, whatever.

Anyway his name, okay, since "The Architect" sounds more like a lameoid Batman villain name from the '60s, I'll stay away from that and go with some pithy, too-cool-for-school name as what seemed to be the rule of the day in the '90s, a decade everyone is trying to remember. How about Brainblast? Yeah, Brainblast works for me.

1. High Noon - Chikara's first Internet pay-per-view might seem like cheating since I didn't watch on the tubes; I was there live. However, the finest event of my favorite wrestling promotion ever has to rank pretty darn high. The show had something for everyone. The low card matches were entertaining exhibitions. Green Ant and Sara del Rey got to put exclamation points on their big feuds for the year. A new story was launched when Ophidian turned on Amasis. The event had closure for a two year-long angle that encompassed the promotion (still waiting for WCW to close the book on the nWo, oh wait). And most importantly? That main event was pitch-perfect. Outstanding. Emotional. Brilliant.

2. WrestleMania X-7 - WWE has a handful of pantheon pay-per-view events that could have taken this spot, but something about delivering on the biggest stage of the year in a way that is still memorable over a decade later just appeals to me as the best tiebreaker. Mostly everyone points to the polarizing finish to the main event, and at the time, I loved the idea of a Steve Austin unsure about his health wanting to sell his soul for one more run at the top. But the match preceding that turn was amazing as well. It also, by far, contained my favorite Streak match, another car-crash TLC match, and the insanely fun gimmick battle royale.

3. Extreme Rules 2012 - This event was an nine-match show. Four of the matches were filler, sure. One wouldn't think of an event where over half the matches were forgettable as an all-timer. Then again, one match was a Ryback vs. two-jobbers squash, which at the time was something of a spectacle. And the Intercontinental Championship tables match had one of the most unique finishes ever. But when the other four matches were legitimately contenders for the best matches of the year in both that company and around the entire wrestling world, then yeah, you can start thinking about the show as being one of the best ever. Randy Orton and Kane opened things up with a surprisingly blithe, amusing, and appropriately violent falls count anywhere match. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan followed that up with WWE's finest ever best two-of-three falls match. Then CM Punk and Chris Jericho upped the ante with a Chicago Street Fight. Finally, Brock Lesnar and John Cena did battle in what was the most innovative, fresh match worked in WWE all year, and maybe all decade so far. Yes, the finish left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths. In hindsight, I don't think it was that bad a call; rather, the booking on RAW the next night with Cena promising to take a break that never came was the more egregious half of the equation.

1. Sweetums - What can I say? I'm a sucker for slobbery giants with ironic names.
2. Fozzy Bear - When I was younger, I was Fozzy Bear, so much that my parents banned me from telling jokes around the house.
3. Waldorf and Statler - Honestly, I think the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 need to pay these two curmudgeons royalties.
4. The Swedish Chef - Byergen smyergen fyergen myergen murnf splurt.
5. Animal - Sometimes, all you wanna do is DRUM!

A propos of nothing, you are listening to the JR Podcast too much. Fuck that guy.

Anyway though, if the point that heels aren't heelish enough and the faces are too much like Stiffler from American Pie is being made by Jim Ross on his podcast, he has a point. Like I wrote above, the alignment dynamic in wrestling evolving past do-gooder faces and dastardly moustache-twirling heels is a good thing, but when WWE regularly paints people who make salient points against how shitty the audience and the good guys are as bad guys and the good guys doing nothing but proving those points, then yeah, the program is probably not going to have that strong a storyline ethic.

I usually don't think anyone or anything is too far gone, but then I see Dixie Carter yelping on Twitter about "keyboard warriors" days before her company went to its fans asking them what kind of ring it should use. SO yeah, maybe the time has come to light the fuse on the rocket that sends the TNA name and every piece of intellectual property associated with it into the Sun.

Sadly, he caught #Divisiontery on his way to a show in Oregon and passed.

Honestly, that show was built to have a second season where Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Ultimate Warrior lived together under the same roof, but since two-thirds of them are dead now, I guess that idea is out the window. Anyway, the first season featured all the typical WWE fogeys that the company trots out whenever it needs an old-timer to come on out on RAW and pop something. The second season should have a different flavor, celebrating the history of another company whose tape libraries WWE owns. It's time for WCW Legends House! Ric Flair! Arn Anderson! Sting! Tony Schiavone! Dusty Rhodes! Ron Simmons! Harley Race! SID VICIOUS! Tell me that show wouldn't be hilarious and awkward, especially when Sting tries to lead everyone in a prayer circle only to find Flair passed out drunk in the corner and Rhodes doing his part to contribute to Weird Twitter.

Contrary to popular belief, being jacked to the gills isn't the only thing needed for a sweet home run stroke. In fact, Miguel Cabrera has proven that you can be a tubby bowl of suet and mash them dingers good. I think I'm looking for size, upper body dexterity, and sheer athleticism for my home run stroke, leaving me with three obvious choices. John Cena fits the all-around athletic mode. I believe he can do pretty much anything with a little bit of training. Big E Langston is the bulky first baseman who just mashes taters left and right. And Bray Wyatt is my wildcard choice, because he's exceedingly nimble for a guy his size, and he probably could get a sweet home run stroke if he worked on it.