Thursday, July 17, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 85

Fewer body guys, more barrel-chested dudes and chubby guys like Harley Race
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!

Well, firstly, I'd have to decide which unclaimed area I'd want to annex, and according to Wikipedia, now that Bir Tawil has been claimed by the neo-colonialist who wants his daughter to be a princess, I'm limited to some riverlands in Croatia and sheets of ice in Antarctica. To me, trying to carve out nationhood out of unclaimed land is trying to find parking at a One Direction concert by arriving five minutes before the show starts. You'll be searching with fervor for less than desirable real estate. So, let's violate some European sovereignty for a change and get the lands between Croatia and Serbia along the Danube River. As for the name, I would set up the Glorious People's Republic of Grand Holzermania. And it would be a small, collectivist nation with no grand plans for expansion. The economy would be based off the river and farming whatever arable lands exist. Everyone would have universal rights regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Basically, it would be my little left wing paradise, until Jeremiah Hatton gets the fuck out of Bir Tawil because he gets sacked by a nation trying to expunge colonialism for good in Africa and decides to seize my land. In that case, it was nice knowing you all.

Fat guy wrestlers. WWE's domination of the wrestling world has had drastic effects on the number and spread of fat guy wrestlers so that they only seem to flourish in the Southern indies, a place where Vince MacMahon's Northern aggression has never set well anyway. Sure, Bray Wyatt seems to be destined to be a staple, and WWE has reportedly signed Kevin Steen and Willie Mack.

Then again, I have a special column on TweetDeck dedicated to wrestler tweets, partially to keep them collated in one spot regardless of how interesting, partially to nerf the shame of having to follow someone like Shane Helms or Val Venis in order to read their tweets. Anyway, one thing I've learned by having that column open is that so many of them are gym rats and clean-eating fanatics. They follow shitty "Workout Humor" or inspiration accounts and RT them in between sets at the gym. And holy shit, the amount of times I see someone bitching about "leg day" has made me consider shutting the column down altogether.

The results that are produced at shows or on DVDs show influence of that workout culture. It's like everyone is auditioning to get into WWE on the basis of McMahon's rumored size/body fetish. I'm not saying anything is wrong with wanting to be a health nut, because certain healthy advantages exist for eating right and exercising regularly. But while I like seeing guys ripped to the gills or with skinny frames going at it, as a HOSS aficionado, I too love seeing the blubber-butts going at it and CLUBBERIN' for God and country. I find something enchanting about a fat dude who can take hits because his cellulite absorbs the hits as much as I do watching someone like, say, Brian Cage or Ricochet put their goddamn gorgeous bodies on display.

The territories had mostly regular guys running around with a few "body guys" like Superstar Graham complementing them. Now, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. I would love to see an equilibrium, with a healthy portion of the regular dudes and dudettes being "fat."

The big rumor is that Cesaro was bound for a huge babyface push this summer, but them brakes was PUMPED when certain forces within WWE said "Hey, let's push Roman Reigns instead." On one hand, Reigns, as a member of The Shield, was more entrenched in the main event already and has had the benefit of mega protection. On the other, Cesaro had the same amount of great singles matches in wrestling at his time of conception as Reigns does now. But then again, all these backstage rumors are shaky to use as gospel fact anyway. So in closing, who the fuck knows what the fuck is going on backstage in the company.

More importantly, I don't think Cesaro is going anywhere. He's a cornerstone for WWE's international presence, and the dude is pretty much the prototypical wrestler. He'll only be gone from WWE if he really fucks up at this point, which could be a blessing or a curse depending on how his talents are utilized.

I would fire him into the Sun!

No, in all seriousness, my distaste for the Stinger's latest run/media overhype aside, I think he would make a good ambassador. He's going to want to wrestle, which I personally would not want. But hey, enough people want him I guess. But yeah, I'd just induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame, sign him to a Legends deal, and trot him out on various occasions where the company would have Roddy Piper or Sgt. Slaughter appear.

Wrestling has a grand tradition of trying to port sports-related things into it, and I'm shocked WWE hasn't tried to have its own "Home Run Derby/Slam Dunk Contest/NHL Skills" competition on WrestleMania weekend. Would these competitions be a shoot or would they be worked? The best ideas would play to the two biggest fringes of wrestling, the high-flying stunts and FEATS OF HOSS. For the former, bringing out the extra-elastic practice rings from the Performance Center and have the guy (or gal) who can do the most impressive flippy move win the day. That competition would have to be a shoot, unless the judging is rigged (and Marcus Louis or Sylvester Lefort as "The French Judge" would garner nuclear heat). As for feats of HOSS, I would suggest a competition on who could bodyslam the most impressive cache, whether number of wrestlers in the payload or the weight of the target. Either way, it would be insane if the precursor to Mania was more authentic in competition than the actual event itself.

I sat for nearly an hour racking my brain trying to think of a guy who got mega-famous without a tangible reason. Liking someone is different than understanding or not why they're famous. For example, I never really liked Diamond Dallas Page back when I was in the thick of watching during the Monday Night Wars era. But I understood his appeal as the working class scumbag type who made good. I never liked Ultimate Warrior, but the man had some manic energy. People like an energetic guy. I'd like to think every wrestler who gets put in a main event role and succeeds does so because that wrestler has a hook. Plenty of wrestlers with hooks have failed in big pushes, but no one who didn't have some kind of thing for fans to latch onto ever really made it.

Remember the time the Jackass crew showed up to RAW and just womped people with that giant hand? Basically, it would be that over and over and over again. The winner would be decided by WWE Hall of Famer Drew Carey.

Basically, Cabana donned his familiar "Officer Colt Cabana" gimmick he mainly works in Juggalo Championship Wrestling for a match in Beyond Wrestling. The gimmick essentially paints him as a corrupt cop. He got Dan Barry into a compromising position, and the crowd, hip to the gimmick, chanted "Rape" repeatedly. Because prison rape is funny, especially when done by the people in power against the incarcerated. A lot of context is involved in the situation that cuts through some of the hemming and hawing on both sides, but the fact of the matter is the spot shouldn't have been done, and rape should probably not be used as a comedic trope in wrestling, whether it be against women or against convicts.

Scrappy-Doo didn't sink the franchise. Can't say the same thing about Dink.

With his relatively mat-based style and long hiatuses, Bob Backlund, even at age 64, has to have one run left in him, right? One of the most popular character archetypes in Japan is the "grumpy old man" wrestler, usually inherited by aces whose careers extend well past their primes. The most famous example is Genichiro Tenryu, who is still active but was "grumpy" over ten years ago. The character type hasn't quite made it to America yet, or if it has, not in WWE. A third act for Backlund, whose in-ring style would actually mesh quite well with the new influx of English-influenced wrestlers in WWE right now, would be amazing to behold.

The honorable mention answer, obviously, would be William Regal.

To be honest, I barely get time to sit down and watch The Network, so the ratio is out of whack in favor of "whatever its airing." Mainly, I watch NXT and live special events religiously. I haven't put on an old PPV or even the regular stream of programming on as background noise in a long time. I'm also way behind on my indie wrestling viewing, have only watched one episode of Main Event since it got to the Network, and haven't even started delving into a secondary promotion's television. I suck this year.

To further expand on that point, the four-way match for the title has been especially dreadful, which means it will be the most fun clusterfuck multiman match in WWE this year.

The answer to this question depends on the fate of Seth Rollins' briefcase. I can see him cashing it in between now and Survivor Series in a bit of fuckery, but if Brock Lesnar wins the title at SummerSlam, he's GOT to hold onto it until WrestleMania, right? At that point, Roman Reigns would be the first member of The Shield to hold the title (after which he'll be ripe for a cash-in from Rollins, either at Mania or at Dork Mania the next night). Dean Ambrose also has a good shot to win the title, but he's gotta be the third most likely out of three to win it at this point. But who knows anymore...

The all-time intergender match would be Fabulous Moolah vs. Hulk Hogan, just to see the Hulkster cower in fear from a woman shooting on him after he tried to take liberties. More importantly, the ideal WWE intergender match right now is Cameron vs. the Great Khali Daniel Bryan vs. Sara del Rey. Of course, "ideal" means it's the best possible match; Bryan's career is in limbo, and del Rey seems happy as a head trainer at the Performance Center. Of the probable wrestlers available though, gimme Dean Ambrose vs. Paige, especially after the inevitable anti-Diva heel turn from the latter comes (preferably at Battleground).

The worst wrestler to win the title would actually not be Great Khali, whose inclusion in the match kinda baffles me, but hey, whatever. While I would love to see Sheamus break off a run of really killer televised United States Championship matches, he'd be the worst person to win the vacant IC title. I do not want to see the titles unified yet. The roster is big enough to support healthy divisions for all three, and WWE has enough time to build all three male singles titles in addition to the Tag and Divas titles.

Now, the best person to win the titles... well, I do BOlieve I'll cover that a little later in the bag.

I actually answered this earlier before I realized this was a TweetBag question, but I'll reiterate that it's hard to top @Horse_eBooks before it was revealed to be an art project and @celebrityhottub, who is perhaps the best mixture of comedy and insight anywhere. But Embiid is close. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he admitted he was behind @dril, who right now is the unquestioned overlord of Weird Twitter. Whether he's a perennial all-star or never plays a minute for the Sixers, I am so stoked to have him on the team.

And as a bonus, the following are my five favorite Tweets ever:

I don't watch New Japan Pro Wrestling, but I would be lying if I wasn't rooting for the King of Strong Style, the Swagmaster, the Coolest Motherfucker in Puroresu, Shinsuke Nakamura, to win the whole thing.

I don't know if WWE BOlieves, but I sure as hell am struck with insBOration to see him win that Battle BOyal on Sunday. Bo Dallas is the biggest no-brainer choice to win a match since Daniel Bryan's run at WrestleMania XXX. What better way to show his mission is BO real than to have some hardware BOhind it? Plus, he already has a preexisting histBOry with RED BELLY. If anyone other than Dallas wins the Intercontinental Championship Sunday, I will be sad.

McMahon may not have been a technically sound announcer - and I'm not sure this point isn't objective - he set a tone for WWE booths. His bombast and large vocabulary gave his promotion the air of being the thing to watch, the spectacle, the most important thing in sports entertainment. Michael Cole and JBL try to carry on that mission and fail miserably, but then again, McMahon didn't have live weekly television nor did he have the pressures of pleasing stockholders back then. A lot has changed in wrestling in 30 years, even if not a whole lot has really changed.

To answer the PS first, the boomerang would no doubt be the best foreign object, especially for a lone babyface trying to fight off a group of heels. As for the main question, I thought it was a nice way to differentiate the game from the other overhead-view Zelda games. Having to rent them again after dying was a bit annoying, but once I had the option to buy, well, it gave me opportunity to let off steam by thrashing enemies or cutting grass. Side note, what occupation in Hyrule is more lucrative with less beholdenment to a manager than landscaping? All the Rupees left in tall grass, you'd be stupid not to consider it as a side job at least.

Full disclosure, I've only ever gotten coffee from a Quick Chek once, but it was good coffee. That store gets an INCOMPLETE ranking until I can get some food or something from there. So, that omission leaves only the battle that has torn Pennsylvania IN TWO. Wawa. Sheetz. East vs. West. Hoagiefest vs. putting a Sh- in front of everything. I've had both plenty of times, and, well, it's actually closer than any one partisan in the fight might want to admit. Sheetz has it over Wawa in coffee, which is a BIG battle to win. The quality and variety of coffee AND the accoutrements are better in Sheetz. I mean, I give the West a win in that category if only because it offers insulated cups and lids that have reliable closing tabs on them. If I had a nickel for every time I had spillage out of my Wawa cup, I'd have enough nickels to put into a sock and club the CEO with until he fixes the problem.

But other than coffee, Sheetz doesn't have a clear victory over Wawa in any category, especially recently. Wawa used to lag on its prepared food, but recently, it's come roaring back with quality. Sure, Sheetz has burgers and burritos, but I've had both. They're nothing to write home about. Meanwhile, Wawa has soup, which Sheetz doesn't, and really, every variant it offers except for Italian Wedding is dynamite. Hell, the New England clam chowder is better than a lot of the ones I've had IN New England. So yeah, Wawa wins this battle in a 10th round TKO.

Oh god, that shirt... yuck.

I try not to pay much attention to Ross anymore, because he's a bitter old man with bad social opinions. But lemme offer a bit of unsolicited opinion on the state of indie wrestling tees. I like the entrepreneurial spirit of these cats making a buck in addition to the paltry paydates they get for showing up to shows. Some of said shirts actually are cool, as I've bought quite a few of them. But man, the number of shirts that come out and are just cheap parodies of existing intellectual property disappoint me. I'm not saying ALL parody shirts are bad. I own a Chuck Taylor shirt that parodies the Dharma logo from LOST and a riff on the Obama "hope" fresco repping the Estonian Thunder Frog. Those shirts, to me, either elevated the concept or they just looked cool. A lot of shirts I see do neither. But still, I'll take a hacky, unoriginal indie t-shirt over some of the garish bullshit produced by WWE or TNA.

That statement is a matter of opinion based on tastes, but assuming that quality of wrestling drops when you get to WWE, the best reason is payscale. Most people tend to at least have a desire to see those who are excellent at their craft to be compensated well for it. So when Bryan Danielson gets signed and is able to make six figures a year instead of two figures a show twice a weekend for 40 weekends a year, then at least I am happy for him to be able to buy a house and a car and all the cool stuff adults do with a career.

But back to the original point, I disagree that for every wrestler, their best matches are behind them when they go to WWE. I spent a lot of time at the ECW Arena watching Tyler Black flail around a ring, and I just did not enjoy what I was watching. Fast-forward to now, when he's one of my favorite wrestlers on RAW. I wasn't around for Danielson's peak in the indies, but if his run from Bragging Rights '10 through WrestleMania XXX is a downgrade from that time, then holy shit, he must have been goddamn ethereal. Of course, some wrestlers do get worse as their freedom to create is taken away, but every case is different.

Ambrose/Rollins doesn't intrigue me the most, actually. AJ Lee vs. Paige has me all kinds of giddy. I feel like their passive-aggressive BFF relationship right now is a front for something grander in scale going down at the special event. I also am looking forward to seeing if they avoid the DEATH SLOT. I'm slightly worried because Naomi and Cameron are going to get the pre-show, which means only one women's match is going to be on the main show. I hope Jack Swagger and Alexander Rusev get the death slot, but then again, Swagger's super over. I don't know, but it'll be exciting to see.

If WWE still had the "F," then I would have no doubts that McMahon would be doubling down. However, after the implementation of stockholders and sponsors and all kinds of other hoopla, the most severe thing that will happen is the status quo. But again, I'm glad the carny aspect of wrestling is going away or at least toning down.