Thursday, July 24, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 86

Hard to have a HOSS division when The Flood has all the members, like the Devastation Corporation
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!

Firstly, are you sure it was Loudspeaker or Remsburg who said it and not Leonard F. Chikarason? He has been pretty vocal on Twitter about a potential HOSS division along with the folks who run Absolute Intense Wrestling. Anyway, I'm nominally against weight classes in wrestling because they're prohibitive and take away from the specialness of any matchup being possible in the squared circle. That being said, if people are hell-bent on having a cruiserweight division, then certainly, the BRUISERweights should have time in the Sun too. Far too often is a wrestler, male or female, disregarded because of their weight, and yet many of the best wrestlers out there today either have super height, big muscles, or are, how shall I say, rubenesque? Kevin Steen, Mickie Knuckles, Samoa Joe, and who can forget MARK HENRY all have extra weight and are among the best out there. Chris Masters and Uhaa Nation are jacked to the gills and can still work, and Big Show is one of the most criminally underregarded wrestlers in history just because he's seven feet tall with the weight behind it. The big guys and gals need recognition too.

Anyway, a Chikara HOSS division would be far too dominated by The Flood right now to book properly. The only wrestler who comes close to qualifying on the tecnico side right now is Worker Ant. Everyone else - all three of the Devastation Corporation, Oleg the Usurper, Nøkken, Deucalion - reside with The Flood. Maybe after the big battle is over and things return to normal in Chikara, a decent HOSS division can be formed. Right now, it feels impossible. It should also be noted that two potential HOSS division wrestlers were "killed" this past weekend in the Estonian Thunder Frog and Tursas. WHEN WILL THE VIOLENCE AGAINST HOSSES STOP???

You do you, man. That query sounds like it deals with personal taste, and no one should ever shame anyone else for innocuous preference as long as it's not rooted in bigotry.

As long as promoters can continue to string words together or pair a first name with a surname, wrestlers are going to have somewhat unique names. Even stables potentially could have fresh names in perpetuity, especially if they go the Weird Twitter route and just put random words together. Imagine a stable called the Horse Lump Magpies or Phlebotomy Rank? However, I'll pretend that only a finite number of names exist and at some point in the near future, all of the available names run out. Wrestling promoters still won't have a problem naming people, because wrestling is filled with some of the most unoriginal people in history. Having trouble giving someone a nickname? Easy! Either diminutize or nepotize a prior ringname/nickname (El Santo -> El Hijo del Santo) or blatantly recycle a name. You think Ric Flair was the only Nature Boy? FUCK NO, he wasn't even the first! Buddy Rogers had that before Flair even left Minnesota to conquer the Carolinas. And of course Flair's popularity inspired Buddy Landel to take up that moniker as well. Wrestling will never run out of things to call its performers and cliques. Ever.

If I'm picking with my heart, you know I'm going with Shinsuke Nakamura, but my heart is unfortunately more educated about NJPW than my brain is. However, has lack of knowledge ever stopped me from making a prediction before? NEVER! I'm not entirely sure if Jado and Gedo hold their promotion's fans in as much open disdain as Vince McMahon seems to his, but given that they've put nearly every single title on Bullet Club members in the last year leads me to believe they have that capacity. So, in an attempt to top themselves, I believe that Shelton Benjamin will win. I wonder if that horror would be enough to get people to throw figurative tomatoes at NJPW. I don't want that to happen, really. I want all you NJPW fans to enjoy that promotion and for it to make you happy and for SWAG-suke or Tomohiro Ishii or Katsuyori Shibata to win, but man, that company put its top title on fucking AJ Styles. In 2014. I don't have a good feeling about this.

It's hard to say. Sin Cara came from a different culture than KENTA is. A lot of what I perceived to be the problem with the former Mistico was that he had to adjust from working to the right as lucha custom is without any time to adjust in developmental. Plus, his mask appeared to have less visibility than what he wore in Mexico. Basically, the deck was stacked against him from the start, and of course, his ego didn't help matters either. Ultimo Dragon, however, feels like more of a cautionary tale because he represents a larger historical problem within WWE. Quick, name a superstar of Japanese nativity who got over huge in WWE. Nope, Yokozuna doesn't count because he only pretended to be of Japanese heritage. Great Muta hit his sweet spot stateside within the NWA/WCW. Mr. Fuji is the last guy to have gotten over, but after him, the two best answers are Jinsei "Hakushi" Shinzaki and Yoshihiro Tajiri. Neither guy really ascended to the kind of heights to be considered success stories. Granted, no race or ethnicity has had a stunning track record of success outside the white male of European descent. However, at least Mexico has Alberto del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and Tito Santana to its name, whether as natives of the country or those who could actually claim heritage.

However, KENTA does have a few things going for him. First, he's going to spend some time in NXT. No matter how much current WWE in-ring style has borrowed from the indies which directly borrowed from the Japanese scene KENTA helped define, it's not nearly the same thing as going to the mat in, say, Pro Wrestling NOAH. Second, it's easier than ever to get over solely on being a good wrestler than ever before, which leads directly into the third reason. KENTA may not need to do anything except be KENTA for fans to get behind him. If the vocal hardcore fans in the crowd know who you are from a prior company, be it independent or from another country, you are going to get support no matter what. Daniel Bryan and CM Punk both were beneficiaries of unwavering support from the seeds in the crowd that grew to engulf whole arenas. KENTA can benefit from the same. So, while track record does give a reason to be concerned, Mr. Kobayashi might have a far better chance of becoming the first Japanese megastar in WWE's history than any of his forebears.

SummerSlam 2009 might be forgettable in the grand history of the event, but man, when Dolph Ziggler countered Rey Mysterio's ring-in springboard plancha with a perfectly-timed dropkick to the gut, I knew I was watching someone special. That match was one hell of an opener.


For one, I would probably drink cyanide. After that, it's anyone's guess!

Full disclosure - trying to glean WrestleMania plans from July of the previous year is a fool's errand. Anyway, with that in mind, and assuming the darkest timeline (read: Daniel Bryan is never, ever coming back), the following is my WrestleMania XXXI card:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns - Lesnar is probably winning the Championship at SummerSlam, and I don't see any other stage where he could possibly lose it without looking like a chump than WrestleMania. Reigns is looking more and more like THE MAN going forward, and a Royal Rumble win looks like a foregone conclusion. Mania is a stage for elevation, and what better way to get to that level than by beating Lesnar in what could be his final WWE appearance ever?

Evolution's End
Batista vs. Randy Orton, special guest referee Triple H - It has to end sometime, so why not build towards one, final Mania countdown and get it the fuck over with already?

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins - This feud could easily be kept alive for the next seven months, especially if SURPRISE AMBROSE is prominently involved.

Sting vs. The Undertaker - This match seems inevitable, so I'm just going to accept it and move on with my life.

WWE Divas Championship Cage Match
Paige (c) vs. AJ Lee - The tradition has been to have some kind of Divas clusterfuck, but with Triple H gaining more and more backstage clout, the direction towards a serious, Mania-worthy feud for the women is logical. Again, this feud can be kept alive for the next seven months with creative booking. Even if WWE writers are anything but creative, I think they will keep this one going.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Big Show - Basically, this match is to feed Wyatt a world-sized trophy for his first big Mania moment that won't be ruined by John Cena Overcoming The Odds™.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (c) vs. The Ascension - Why the fuck not?

WWE United States/Intercontinental Title Unification Match
Antonio Cesaro (US c) vs. Sami Zayn (IC c) - I admit this match is wishful thinking on my part, but WWE seems bent on unifying the secondary titles. Why not do it as a continuation of NXT's greatest feud since Alex Riley vs. Dignity?

Andre the Giant Battle Royale
John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Big E Langston vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Jimmy Uso vs. Jey Uso vs. Stardust vs. Goldust vs. Bo Dallas vs. Alexander Rusev vs. Jack Swagger vs. Adrian Neville vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Ryback vs. Curtis Axel vs. The Demon Kane™ vs. The Great Khali - I know putting Cena in a throwaway match at Mania sounds like a bad idea, but the plan here would be to give the BR some major starpower and give the eventual winner, more than likely Rusev or even Dallas, a name final elimination upon which to hang his hat. The future around Cena seems so foggy right now, the foggiest it's ever been, and the rumors of him leaving for Hollywood after 2015 only continue to obfuscate prognosticating around him.

Depends on who leaves his respective company first, Kevin Dunn or Ruben Amaro, Jr.

I would make that trade in a heartbeat, especially since the Phillies are willing to eat his ENTIRE salary in order to release him. Sure, he might be lumbering and slow, but with enough physical rehab and training at the Performance Center, he could have a Mark Henry-esque HOSS renaissance in a WWE ring. Plus, the Bella Twins could probably cover a lot more ground than one might realize. And hey, maybe if Brie Bella is a ballgirl, Daniel Bryan will show up at Citizen's Bank Park. HOW DOES ANYONE LOSE THIS TRADE?

Only if Zeb Colter gets repackaged as Señor Cardgage.

The best name obviously would be Kevin Steen. Why go away with the familiar name? The worst name? Barring any kind of cartoonishly stupid sing-songy names like "Chilly McFreeze," giving him some overly ornate French affected name would be a mistake. Like, just because he's from Quebec doesn't mean he should be named Jacques Flaubert or some shit like that.

Whichever one was Charlie Brown from Outta Town. I have to admit, I'm not as well-versed on House Valiant as some might be.

I don't know if you've heard or not, but CM Punk said he was never, ever coming back to WWE. I don't know if he sang it to the tune of the Taylor Swift song with the similar message, but if he did, then he would have gotten major bonus points. Anyway, since he's gone, that means the Go 2 Sleep isn't his move anymore. KENTA can safely take that one back. AS for the YES! Lock, Bryan didn't take that from KENTA so much that KENTA started using it after Bryan affected it in 2010. However, if the darkest timeline comes to fruition, then KENTA could have all his finishing moves back except for the octopus stretch, which has been adopted by one AJ Lee as the Black Widow.

But assuming that Bryan DOES come back and WWE thinks the wounds of Punk leaving are too fresh for KENTA to use the G2S, then he has a perfectly cromulent backup finisher to fall back upon that's perfect for the lower-impact WWE ring. One of his signature moves is the Falcon Arrow, a suplex that is dropped into a sitout front slam. In a company where the fucking Attitude Adjustment is one of the most protected finishes, the Falcon Arrow definitely could get over. Plus, it would lend credence to the running PWG announce gag that "NO ONE KICKS OUT OF THE FALCON ARROW!" Okay, that last one isn't a good reason why WWE would have KENTA adopt that as his finisher, but hey, I gotta fit 'em in when I can, y'know?

I would give it a solid 25% chance. WWE has only ever had one person not cash in his briefcase, and even then, it was only because he lost said briefcase in an actual match (Mr. Kennedy losing to Edge). The story is certainly there, but with WWE's lack of patience letting some things develop, I wouldn't at all be surprised if the briefcase was used as some kind of stipulation at Night of Champions. Besides, would WWE really allow three of the last five briefcase holders to fail in their cash-in attempts? (And letting the briefcase expire is as good as a failure.) It's a tantalizing story, but I don't think it's likely to happen.

WWE has done serious intergender wrestling before. Chyna was as much a credible contender as most of the midcard she occupied, and if she hadn't been tossed to the curb by the company when Triple H ran off with Stephanie McMahon, she may have made it to the main event. Sure, her spot was based off how "manly" she was, and the amount of transphobia that fueled her push as a freakshow attraction was probably off the charts. However, she did wrestle and beat men, so it counts for something. Now, will it ever happen again? I can safely say that serious intergender competition won't happen as long as Vince McMahon is alive and Kevin Dunn is employed. Trips does seem to want to cultivate a strong women's division if NXT is any indication, but his ideas on gender mixing are largely obfuscated right now. The audience may have to play wait and see after he and Stephanie McMahon fully take over the company, but my lean is that the odds of it happening again in earnest are below 50/50.

He's referring to the #TWBSin event last night. Anyway, I did it for your own good. YOU NEED TO BUILD CHARACTER, SON!

Nothing is ever set in stone, but right now, I'm looking at a couple of shows. The favorite is WWF Rebellion 1999, a UK-only pay-per-view headlined by a Rock/Triple H steel cage match for the title. I want to mass-view an event that may not have been seen by most of the participants and to view how different an Attitude Era show was for a Brit-only crowd. Other contenders Clash of the Champions IX (Ric Flair/Terry Funk I Quit match), Money in the Bank '11 (duh), SummerSlam '92 (a fall-back in case Rebellions' not on the Network), and one of the Great American Bashes.

First thing's first, if this group is not presented as a babyface stable, then it's a fundamental failure of WWE on understanding its sizable number of persons of color in the audience and representing them in a way that's both positive and constructive. Seriously, responding to an article calling the company out by having the black dudes in the company go evil seems to be an empty gesture. Yeah, you'll get your Black Champions, but you're gonna have to root against them or even worse, be told that the things they fight for, which is the same the POCs in the crowd are fighting for in real life, are only for bad people to take. I have no faith in WWE to pull this off right until they actually prove to me that they can, but I'm also a white male shithead. My opinion probably shouldn't count as much as, y'know, POC fans.

Secondly, the group, which according to spoilers is going to be called "No Direction," should probably only add one more guy to hearken back to the first Black militant group in The Nation of Domination, Mark Henry. That addition would make sense because he knows what it's like to fight the good fight. If WWE adds ALL THE BLACK WRESTLERS to the group, then it would just send out bad vibes.

Far and away, my favorite Batman movie is the first in Christopher Nolan's gritty reboot of the franchise, Batman Begins. The film was the most Batman-centric of them all, and it had brilliant performances from everyone involved except maybe Katie Holmes (although I'm in the minority and think she was a better Rachel Dawes than Maggie Gyllenhaal was). It didn't have the plot holes of the third movie, the ham-handed morality play of The Dark Knight, and I prefer Batman at least to be grimy and dark, which is why I dig it over the line of movies started by Tim Burton (although the original, 1989 Batman was great in its own right).

In a world full of macho bravado, it takes a performer secure enough in his own abilities like "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington to be able to be as nice to defeated foes as he is. Everyone else is just a corny husk of an emotional wreck, man.

The same region that I always seem to be championing, the South, particularly Georgia. Beyond Wrestling has done some good work penetrating both Tennessee and Georgia promotions. NWA Smoky Mountain has come into its own as a national promotion, and North Carolina has actually emerged as a hot state for the super-indies. Man though, Southern Illinois gets more nationwide dap than Georgia. I don't mean to throw shade too badly, but if you give me Kyle Matthews, the Washington Bullets, and Fred Yehi against the Kentucky Buffet, Christian Rose, and Angelus Layne, I'm taking the former every time. Again, I'm not trying to knock the SI crew, which is very good in its own right, or any region across the country. I'm just baffled at how a state like Georgia which was a territorial POWERHOUSE back in the day has got little to no spotlight shone on it. Of course, some of that lack of promotion has to do with the companies themselves not getting the word out. In a perfect world, every state or region or metro area would have a fully developed independent wrestling scene, and all of those scenes would get roughly equal exposure and congratulation commensurate to the quality contained within. But the world's imperfect, and the state of Georgia lags behind in exposure. That situation has to change.

Uh, yes?

In all seriousness, I am all-in on Miz's too-big-for-his-britches Hollywood character. Someone on Twitter argued that Miz shouldn't be celebrating the Intercontinental Championship like it was his personal WrestleMania moment when he actually headlined WM27, and I couldn't disagree more. He's back celebrating a straight-to-DVD sequel of a poorly-received John Cena franchise that he picked up from fucking Ted DiBiase, Jr. like it was a role in the next Fast and Furious movie. It's the perfect level of delusion and overinflated ego. Let him go Peak White Guy and become as obnoxious as possible. It'll be great.

It's Sting, isn't it? It's gotta be Sting. Has to be.