Thursday, July 3, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 83

Cuije was the best Mexico had to offer Chikara
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!
You know the unadulterated joy I (and many other WWE fans) feel when El Torito comes on screen on RAW or Smackdown? I felt that for nearly an entire King of Trios weekend in 2010 with the addition of Perros del Mal to the show. Cuije was one of the stars of the weekend, doing things that Torito would do with the big guys years later. His run culminated by getting squashed by Tursas on Night Two, which was built by his derring-do beforehand.

Speaking of Torito, he did appear for Chikara under his prior name, Mascarita Dorada. His opponent during his two-show run, Pierrothito, was my least favorite luchador import into Chikara. The match they had at Young Lions Cup Night Three was disappointing, and the blame, at least to my eyes, felt like it belonged to Pierrothito. I thought he looked sluggish and struggled to keep up with Dorada. He was a rare miss of a guest star, no matter what the nationality.

WWE has been snakebitten with its titles this year, hasn't it? I shed no tears for the company, because it constantly digs its own holes despite dwarfing every other American company with the resources available. For it to book a battle royale for a secondary Championship only two months after it put the other secondary Champ in the same match feels lazy at the very least. The problem with the other obvious option, a single-elimination tournament, was that it was JUST utilized to name a contender to that title. However, a third option is available, and it's timely thanks to the World Cup.

A round robin tournament of two groups of four wrestlers with the winners of the groups facing off at Battleground would have been something different for WWE. The concept has been proven to work in other promotions (Chikara and TNA in particular in the US, New Japan Pro Wrestling abroad). One group wrestles its matches on RAW, the other on Smackdown. Or hey, maybe WWE could have spread the matches across the WIDE BERTH OF PROGRAMMING it has available. Want people to stick around after NXT on The Network? Throw a couple of matches on Superstars! The option was right there, and it had the opportunity for JBL's extraneous other-sport references to be topical. This company, sometimes...

I'm going to set the number of competitors at seven. The original six-man lineup feels too small, but anything over seven gets a bit too bloated. First, give me the two guys who invented crazy-violence on pay-per-view (or at least closed-circuit TV events), Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Valentine would use the ladders to beat the tar out of everyone else, while Piper has the frenetic energy. Dean Ambrose in Sunday's briefcase match is a good portent for what Piper would bring to the table. Next up, give me Satoru Sayama, the original Tiger Mask. He's the INSANE highspot guy, well, the insane highspot guy who inspired the exponential increase in high risk offense since he and Dynamite Kid blew it up in the early '80s.

Fourth guy in is the fish-out-of-water hoss who looks silly climbing the ladder but brings the thunder, Andre the Giant. I imagine him coming up to one of the climbers who thinks he's got that briefcase in hand and then chopping him off the ladder with little effort. Fifth entrant is the babyface energy guy, Junkyard Dog. He's the sentimental favorite to win and the guy who fires the crowd up with a big rally somewhere towards the end of the match. The sixth one in would be Tully Blanchard working as the heel heir apparent and the one who would be most likely to have backup in case he needed it. Whether it be Baby Doll sacrificing herself or acting as a distraction or Arn Anderson coming down to enforce, he'd always have a plan b going.

Finally, the last guy in would be the golden child, the next big thing, the one who is next in line to be THE MAN... Magnum TA. Granted, he's not the typical briefcase winner holding fast to the WWE pattern. Usually, the contract is given to the sneakiest bastard in the room, one who'd thrive on the opportunity. But I'd still book Magnum to win this match, preferably knocking Blanchard off the other side after breaking through of Anderson's grip. And then he would cash in the briefcase nobly and beat Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan clean as a whistle for whatever title he happened to be going for.

Pettengill wasn't bad at all. He was cheesy, sure, and he had too much of that New York shine to him that even longtime fans of the WWF may have hated. However, he had tremendous chemistry with Randy Savage on that studio show that aired on Saturday morning, and he had an almost unassuming goofiness to him that worked in a pro wrestling environment.

Now, Booker T's style of speech is bombastic, passionate, and prone to comparisons that may or may not make sense. Those things are positives when it comes to cutting promos, but as an announcer? He's not getting the job done. The only announcer in modern WWE who's more annoying than Booker is JBL, who is awful for a lot of the same reasons as Book.

The thing about an all-encompassing Champion of the Indies is that more egos are involved today than ever were with the old school NWA. While you get promotions working together on a regular basis, those partnerships often are small and only include two or three companies tops. Trying to get "every" indie company in America to agree on a governing body would be nightmarish, especially since any town/area with more than one prominent indie is bound to have rivalries. On a national scale, Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE are engaged in an immortal pissing contest which has implications everywhere their respective wrestlers co-mingle. Central Texas has seen Anarchy Championship Wrestling at odds with River City Wrestling in the past. I'm not entirely sure what ACW's relationship with Inspire Pro Wrestling is, but I get the feeling it's not good. Anarchy Wrestling in Cornelia, GA has a local beef with another promotion in town.

If those fires are rampant, how will a single governing body be able to take literally thousands of indies in the country and get them to agree on one wrestler or who gets to face said wrestler? Furthermore, how far down the hierarchy do you go? Who gets represented where? How is everything organized? Hell, a lot of these companies have problems promoting themselves. How will they organize and synchronize?

And the NWA Championship right now can't be in play. The way Bruce Tharpe has SCORCHED the earth in his tenure as head bee guy with the governing body precludes it from being representative of anything except the promotions already under its purview. That statement isn't to say that the NWA is bad right now. It overlooks a lot of really good promotions in Texas and Tennessee, for example. However, asking promotions like the ones banding together under that United Wrestling Television body headed by David Marquez to go back under the NWA blanket would be like asking India, South Africa, and other former holdings of The British Crown to help the Sun rise once more on the ol' Empire. It's just not going to be met with friendliness.

I honestly don't know at this point. Both guys are fundamentally sound on the mat, show main event intensity, and have a certain panache that may not show too much in their matches right now (by design, perhaps) but can be developed. Busick might have a red flag with his knee being as fucked up as it is. It sounds pretty recursive to say that WWE would shy away from him because of his knee injuries when it's the only wrestling company where he could work that WOULD be able to properly rehab said knee, but reality is strange.

However, a different question needs to be asked. Would the collective indie fanbase want Busick and Gulak to be signed into WWE? On one hand, guys everyone knows and loves getting paid real money for their craft is the best possible result. Right now, the only way they can get that money is either in WWE or by taking tours of the bigger Japanese promotions. But on the other hand, why would fans be rooting for the corporate entity to strip-mine the indies, the one place where wrestlers have great artistic freedom to perform in ways they can't in the big time? The response to that question is that WWE isn't exactly a place where the art INSIDE of the ring gets stifled. Busick and Gulak could have similar matches against each other in the 20x20 ring on weekly TV that they have in smaller squared circles in front of live crowds.

Still, some talent has to remain on the indie level in order for the ecosystem to thrive. Maybe both Gulak and Busick will get their chances in WWE, but right now, they kinda have to be the flagbearers for the indies, just as they were the up-and-comers while Jon Moxley, Tyler Black, El Generico, and Sami Callihan were making their big runs before getting signed. Time is a flat circle.

Assuming the move done isn't botched and doesn't paralyze or kill me, the one move with the greatest potential for peak pain would be any kind of front chest bump into a harder surface. The potential for a cracked rib is just too scary for me. I don't want an injury that makes me feel pain when I breathe. As for the most pain on average, I'll probably go with the powerbomb. Direct impact on the neck might look the most gnarly, but taking the guided-force flat back bump to the canvas and getting whiplash on my neck doesn't sound too enticing. The back trauma isn't too much of a mitigating circumstance, either.

Not only was he a multiple time World Champion, he won the titles in BOTH major companies TWICE apiece. Sid is the ultimate proof that sometimes, wrestling promoters are the dumbest dumbshit people on the face of planet Earth.

On one hand, the Bad News Barrett character has caught fire. Fans are really into it, and WWE seemed to have followed the overness with an appropriate push. With that in mind, he should obviously pick up where he left off and move onto the big, good things that come with being a bona fide WWE main event superstar. On the other, this instance is the second time that he got hurt in the middle of a good-faith push up the roster. Vince McMahon hates sickness, and if you get hurt too many times on his watch, he seems to lose favor with you. Ask Dolph Ziggler how coming back from a big injury helped him last year. So to answer your question, I have no fucking idea. Hopefully, WWE picks up where it left off, because Barrett was finally coming into his own.

For starters, I would love to be asked how my day was. AND WOULD IT KILL YOU TO COMPLIMENT MY HAIR EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE! I COOK AND I CLEAN AND I SLAVE... uh, I mean, hi?

The only answer to this question is Brock Lesnar. He's the designated relief pitcher who comes in and beans the shit out of the other teams' best player in an attempt at getting him to charge the mound. Once that happens, ALL BETS ARE OFF. F5 FOR YASIEL PUIG. F5 FOR MIKE TROUT. F5 FOR BRYCE HARPER AND JUSTIN UPTON AND MIGUEL CABRERA AND JOSH DONALDSON AND FUCK ANOTHER F5 FOR THE UNDERTAKER FOR GOOD MEASURE.

I'm a bit too optimistic about the Eagles right now coming off last year's high, but I'm not sure the defense was improved enough. I've got high hopes for Marcus Smith, but will he provide enough of a spark to the pass rush? Will Brandon Graham step up? Will they let Vinny Curry on the field for more than a couple of snaps a game? I don't know. But ever the pessimist, I see the NFC East shaking out like this:

1. Giants 9-7
2. Eagles 8-8
3. Washington 5-11
4. Cowboys 3-13

The Cowboys prediction is admittedly a bit due to my throbbing hate-boner I sport for them, but in all fairness, that defense looks like a goddamn mess. The team is looking at Rolando McClain to replace Sean Lee, and I'm not sure that move will work out for them. Their secondary stinks, and their pass rush may be lacking something without DeMarcus Ware, even if he only got on the field for half the season the last few years. But yeah, I think this year might see some Giants Devil Magic going and a bit of regression from Chip Kelly's offense. I hope I'm wrong though.

I've only seen the Jay Freddie match from the Feeding Frenzy secret show back in February, but man, that match was so frenetic and fun that I only want to see more of him. I've heard some discouraging things about his proclivity to emulate Davey Richards, but based off that one match against Freddie, I'm willing to dive in and see what's going on for real with this guy.

Taking the words at face value, I'm disappointed. I haven't read the books, but my wife has. She says Lady Stoneheart is kind of a badass, so of course I'm down. Plus, any plot device that gives me hope that House Stark will come back and kick everyone's ass for how shitty it has been treated the ENTIRE series is way cool with me. Then again, maybe I don't wanna see Undead Cat Stark fucking people up as much as my body is ready for Arya Stark to become a remorseless pre-teen killing machine. I don't know what it says about me that I hope she gets to slit some major throats going forward, especially Lannister, Frey, and Bolton throats, but here I am with my cards laid bare OH PLEASE GIVE ME ARYA STARK BRINGER OF DEATH.

Even though the origin of the rumor is nastily homophobic, I still think the best runaway imagination conspiracy theory is that Tommy Rich blew Jim Barnett to get his reign with the NWA World Championship. I understand being upset that a fantastic Champion in Harley Race lost the belt in abrupt fashion to a relatively cold challenger, but man, whoever started that rumor must have had some real damage to associate that kind of trickery to a taboo sex act. For that matter, how presumptive does one have to be to assume only one singular sex act is enough to get what was then the biggest prize in pro wrestling? It's a theory that's so offensive and so offensively absurd that I can't help but be fascinated by it.


Well, I wrote about the hilarity of the situation earlier today. I'll leave the hand-wringing to someone else, mainly because no matter how badly I feel about drunk driving, I feel that much worse about calling for people's jobs, especially when the targets are low hanging fruit like Swagger or Cameron. Conversely, I do find that WWE's treatment of DUI violators to be laughable, even if it seems to be in-line with all the other major legitimate sports. Tony LaRussa was pretty much stopped while he was asleep at a traffic light with a bottle of wine opened in his vehicle, and Major League Baseball didn't suspend him. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez was hit with a ban outside the scope of the Major League drug policy for zero positive tests. I just don't get it.

Everyone needs to get strict on drunk driving, whether it be on the shitheads no one likes like Cameron or the big stars like Big Show or well-liked folks like Kaitlyn. Driving while impaired isn't a mistake; it's reckless endangerment of life, health, and property. Any time someone operates a multiple-ton piece of complex machinery with combustible parts while under heavy influence of alcohol, they are in danger of ending someone's life. I wouldn't want that juju on my conscience, whether as the perpetrator of the act or as the parent company who enabled such actions in the first place.

The robe is cool, but I think the eyepatch is even cooler. Cesaro legitimately looks like Sagat from Street Fighter II now. He should totally tape up his wrists and ankles, wrestle barefoot in board shorts, and add in TIGER UPPERCUT to his arsenal. WWE has a lot of corporate lawyers to stave off the lawsuits from Capcom for awhile!

First, I would have Trips blatantly screw Reigns out of the four way match at Battleground. Because fatal four ways have no disqualification, Trips could go in, Pedigree Reigns on a chair or the steps, and give his hired goon squad a two-on-one chance to take out John Cena. Of course, Cena would overcome the odds, but that bit is irrelevant to this story. In an attempt to end Reigns once and for all, Trips would throw his goon squad at him at SummerSlam in the form of a no disqualification match vs. Randy Orton with Kane as the special guest enforcer. After Reigns handily dispatches both of them, Trips would move from "HATEHATEHATE" to "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." He would aggressively start courting Reigns to the point where he would put him in favorable situations in big time matches. Reigns would get secondary title shots out of the blue. Referees would intentionally look the other way after Trips would slide him a weapon. Trips would really lay it on thick. Finally, Trips gives him the ultimate star treatment, a title shot at Hell in a Cell against Brock Lesnar in a lumberjack match where all the wrestlers on the outside of the ring have been in the employ of The Authority in some way over the last year: Orton, Kane, Seth Rollins, Bad News Barrett (assuming he's healthy), Fandango, Heath Slater, even select NXT rudos (further establishing the link between Triple H and the developmental territory).

Reigns would struggle against Lesnar as most wrestlers would be wont to do, but he would keep fighting. The lumberjacks would keep harassing Lesnar, keeping it close when things look like they would get out of hand for Reigns. Finally, Lesnar gets Reigns up into the F5, which causes the cavalry to jump in. Lesnar fights most of them off, but he falls victim to a curb stomp from Rollins, a RKO from Orton, and finally, a Pedigree from Triple H. Reigns, however, doesn't pin Lesnar, but starts throwing spears at any one of his "allies" still standing, because he doesn't want to win that way. After spearing Rollins and Orton, he gets caught in a Pedigree from Trips and a F5 from Lesnar before he falls. In the aftermath, both Trips and Reigns are clawing at the chance to face off against each other, and boom, you now have a secondary drawing match at Survivor Series to whomever WWE decides to throw at Lesnar, whether Daniel Bryan, Cena, Cesaro, or even Batista.

To be honest, anyone can have an interesting feud with del Rio. The problem has never been that he's a misfit with anyone on the roster. He's one of the most fearless bumpers and is adaptable to any opponent. The booking, however, has never done him any favors. Ever since John Cena broke kayfabe on his luxury cars, his crowd reactions have never been the same, almost like he was slapped with a big DO NOT TAKE SERIOUSLY sticker on his forehead. Then, afterwards, all his feuds seemed to have the same sort of "haha, look at this fake dude" feel. I mean, if the babyface in the feud never loses and then tries to get heat by shitting in the heel's car, would you take that feud seriously, no matter how good the matches were? del Rio was certainly not helped further by his painful loop cycle when he wasn't engaged in a main feud, i.e. plucky babyface underdog beats him in a fluky manner one week, and then del Rio gets his heat back by kicking the everloving shit out of him the next as a capper on the mini-cycle.

The good news for the man is that he's probably not long for WWE anymore. When his contract lets up, he's been rumored to want to go back to Mexico, and I think that would be the best for everyone involved. del Rio now stands as one of WWE's biggest missed opportunities and one of the most shining emblematic failures of how WWE books wrestlers who aren't John Cena week to week.

It's weird, I hear all kinds of stories about how wrestling around the holidays has such tradition, and yet the only holiday I can remember being associated intrinsically with the art is Thanksgiving. Maybe that impression was left on me as a post-territory wrestling fan of the WWF. Still, Independence Day certainly has left its imprimatur on wrestling because most wrestling companies skew patriotically to the right, although to be honest, I didn't even remember that Michaels turned on Hogan on July 4th until you reminded me. Either way, I'd say in the hierarchy of holidays, the Fourth of July ranks pretty high. I'd still say Thanksgiving is tops with Starrcade, Survivor Series, and a few other territories having their traditional supercards associated with the fourth Thursday in November. Halloween probably is second strictly because of WCW's Halloween Havoc. Then Independence Day is the leader of the pack in terms of the rest of the holidays, followed by Christmas.