Thursday, July 31, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 87

One of my favorite SummerSlam matches ever
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!
Have any unique gimmick matches TO SummerSlam ever happened? Every kind of special match that's happened at the event seems to have been something used before or used heavily afterwards. Regardless, my favorite SummerSlam gimmick match of all-time remains the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship between The Rock and Triple H. One doesn't necessarily equate match quality with the Attitude Era, but these two put on a show with the first post-Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon ladder match that I can remember happening. Even the gratuitous interference from Mark Henry and Chyna worked.

Wrestling, by its very nature, is a weird artform, where anything could theoretically happen and no one would bat an eyelash. Baseball, conversely, seems to be such a rigid, traditional, regimented game that it even has unwritten rules that govern player behavior. So when a pitcher pinch-hits, a position player bats, or a game ends in the 23rd inning with the long reliever driving in the third catcher for the winning run, one stands up and takes notice. When the sexagenarian color commentator has one of the best TLC matches for the WWE Championship in history against the cocky, newly minted titleholder, then it's business as usual.

Then again, no matter how crazy pro wrestling can get, watching Goldust and Stardust backstage reproduce Les Enfants Terrible for a wrestling audience is pretty surreal. Yeah, let's go with that as the "weird baseball" equivalent.
I haven't watched a whole lot of TNA in my history as a wrestling fan, so this list might come off as a bit lacking. However, I'll do my best:
  1. Joseph Park's existence - What a wonderful character he was, wasn't he?
  2. Bully Ray's Bond villain speech to reveal himself as Aces and Eights President - Basically, this promo was the pinnacle of TNA's storytelling in my time watching it. Nothing else comes close.
  3. Samoa Joe vs. Rob van Dam - Basically, it was one of like three matches from RVD in the last five years that I liked.
  4. That time Jay Lethal cosplayed as Ric Flair in front of Ric Flair - You can tell I'm reaching here because I haven't watched a whole lot of this promotion that I really liked.
  5. Uh, um... I... uh, that time someone with a straight face said that WWE's AJ Lee love rectangle story ripped off Claire Lynch? I got nothin'.
The Wrestling Six Pack from Tuesday night laid out eight potential replacements that would be cool. On top of those, I'll name three more.
  1. Ricardo Rodriguez/Chimaera - He requested his release from the company so he could go wrestle, and he seems savvy towards the American indies. His recent performances in NXT as El Local left me a bit wanting, but maybe the PWG environment would be the kick in the ass he needs. He'd fit there well.
  2. Johnny Yuma and/or Johnny Goodtime - I saw Yuma stumping for a spot in the tourney on Twitter, and why not have the RockNES Monsters enter the tournament in some capacity? Their short shrift from PWG baffles me because they are such an entertaining team good or bad.
  3. Drew Galloway - I don't know what his situation in Europe is for that weekend, but he's amenable to working the states. He's doing the EVOLVE Florida swing. He was best known in WWE for using the ring as an extension of his own body, and what do you know, PWG is known the world over for having at least one apron spot per match. He's a perfect fit!
No matter whom in the company she is dating, Bella doesn't seem likely to have the autonomy to cut whatever kind of non-scripted promo she wants. My guess is whoever scripted her spots in the last two weeks does not have any idea of how women really talk and is just playing up perceived cattiness. Either way, it's pretty rank.
Well, the Sandow in 60 thing might be signifying a lurking-in-the-shadows, lull-'em-to-sleep strategy, which would be absolutely brilliant, and that's the route I would travel down.
The Hardcore Championship would be an interesting MacGuffin to throw into the mix in the PG-era because blood is taboo (as it should be), and the violence has been toned down sufficiently over the last decade or so. However, WWE has presented so many street fights/hardcore matches over the last two years that I would love to see what the company could do with that kind of environment on a regular basis. The weapons level the playing field among the roster, and each bit of plunder has its own bit of psychology to go along with it. Several of the agents and trainers have had experience in garbage time as well. I would like to see it interpreted in modern WWE with its own division that could end up being an enticement point to watch shows like Main Event or Superstars on The Network.
Remember the era between Hulkamania and Attitude that had Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, and not a whole lot else going on? While that period certainly had some of my formative moments and even favorite one-off characters (Mr. Bob Backlund is still one of my favorite wrestling personae ever), the overall direction of the company was tenuous and lacked punch. WWE today is definitely way more well-off than those dark ages, because the good days are closer than they were back then (TLC 2012 through WrestleMania XXX was maybe the best stretch of in-ring action in company history), but a common thread exists. WWE had an explosive, dangerous, edgy star ready to break out back then in Steve Austin, and they have one in a similar vein today in Dean Ambrose.
If money weren't an object, and time was mine to spend, I'd be down Austin for every show, but alas, life has a funny way of putting road blocks in one's path. I have a pretty busy day job and a budding family at home, things that preclude me from taking too much vacation time to do things that serve only me. Although I'm sure the Mrs. would love Austin independent of wrestling, right now, that city is a bit too adult for a toddler and a newborn. So at this point, I will continue to try and lobby for a trip down to ATX for some fun, sun, tacos, and prograps, but it may not happen soon. Sorry.
I'm cheap. Take me out to dinner and maybe give me a couple hundy, and I'll do most anything you want me to do.
Kevin Steen is one of the most violent, ruthless, carny wrestlers out there, so the fact that at heart, he's a softie zoo enthusiast is just so damn cool. What started as a side conversation on the Art of Wrestling podcast has turned into a thing all unto itself, and it just runs counter to mostly everything he stands for as a character. Even his comedic side is edgy and adult, so it's jarring to think he's into such an innocent pastime like going to the zoo and observing animals.
The world won't burn, but maybe wrestling just goes into a mini-ice age in the States? Or maybe with TNA going down, more people will pay attention to their local promotions, and a renaissance of the territory system will replace WCW and the ideal of TNA as the pseudo-competitor to WWE (an ideal in TNA that was never reached, for the record).
Chris Jericho has struggled the most at not having a great finisher, at least in the WWE. His Walls of Jericho post-WCW was watered down and dumb, and asking me to buy a fucking Asai moonsault on the level of the Rock Bottom or the Pedigree as a match finisher was even dumber. Then he got the Codebreaker, which I guess is a little better, but it was so hard to pull off.

Meanwhile, Buff Bagwell may be one of the shittiest, continually-pushed wrestlers in the history of recorded man, but he'll never, ever be considered a total lame-o because the Buff Blockbuster was so cool. The same goes for him doing a Canadian Destroyer in Absolute Intense Wrestling. I doubt any of his matches during that weekend were anything approaching good, but he went viral because he did a badass move. Such is life.
To be honest, I didn't even think about Chikara in terms of the old Greek myths, and other than Icarus' and Deucalion's names, I'm not sure I get the references. It also doesn't help that I haven't seen any of the shows since You Only Live Twice, and that every show is named after a James Bond movie. However, I am curious to see that the company is "killing" various characters, but I'll get into that a little later with another question.
Maybe you're just hanging around with the wrong crowd. Overrated/underrated arguments always seem to hinge on what outlets one is listening to. For example, if you frequented the Stone Temple Pilots official message board in the mid '00s like I did, then you might come away with the impression that Jane's Addiction was one of the seminal bands of our time, or that some dude named Gilby Clarke was a premiere guitarist. But then in other corners, people agree with me that Jane's was kinda dumb, and that they've never heard of Clarke.

My guess is that you should be the change you want to see in the world. If that means linking Jodeci on Twitter all day and twice on Sundays, then let yo' freak flag fly, son.
You'll get to hear all about the show when my episode of What A Maneuver! comes out in the near future, but the fact that people still believe Montreal was a work both amazes and befuddles me. I understand that Vince McMahon sometimes might come off as an over-the-top evil genius straight out of the comic books, but he's not self-destructive. He could not have known that Hart would have flamed out on an epic level in WCW, and furthermore, that washout had nothing to with the Hitman and everything to do with WCW not knowing how to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Well, you could ask me how my day went for once. Humph.
Sometime in 2013, when Alberto del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger were embroiled in an eternal scuffle for the World Heavyweight Championship. As a lark, a triple threat match featuring Rodriguez, Zeb Colter, and Big E Langston was scheduled for RAW. It was one of the funniest yet well-worked comedy matches I've ever seen, and a lot of it had to do with Rodriguez bouncing around and throwing Jerry Lawler punches on speed.

Honorable mention goes to his turn in the 2012 Royal Rumble when he came out as a dime store del Rio. That was great.
At first, I loved her passive-aggression towards AJ Lee, and I thought it would have made for a great sort of double turn-on-each other where it went from "besties who happened to have a match" into "blood-rivals." Now, much in the same way that gross white dudes are probably scripting lines for Brie Bella despite having no idea how real women talk, Paige is being written as a stereotype of a woman who is the ultimate in catty. For as much as WWE is improving its stance towards women, this sorry-ass company still has a long way to go.
Real question, does a "politically responsible wrestling company" even exist? Would such a company be like, say, Chikara, where current events aren't even used as fodder for the every day stories? On one hand, I believe that everything and anything can be used as fair game for a wrestling story, but on the other, are some scenarios, especially ones as politically charged as the one in Israel/Gaza, just too toxic or precarious for the average wrestling booker to touch? My answer may be a cop out, but when I go to a wrestling show, I kinda want to forget about all the fucked up shit in the world and focus on clearly cartoonish villainy to be defeated by the heroes. But then again, you may say that I'm a dreamer...
Epcot Center wins hands down, because I want the experience of watching Captain Eo with him. That, and because Epcot has like a billion places to eat and drink, so I'm all about that.
Given that Bryan was at WWE's San Diego Comic Con, I don't think the company's forgotten about him. Officials probably don't want to get people's hopes up because his injuries are worse than expected on the outset. That being said, keeping him with a low profile makes sense if the endgame is to have him make a huge surprise return somewhere down the line. If he comes back at the Royal Rumble next year as a surprise entrant, the roof will come off the damn place. Well, it was going to explode anyway whether or not his return was known or not, but the extra surprise would make for a far more special moment.
Well, Kobald and the Estonian Thunder Frog are both "dead" right now. So are deviANT and Tursas, but if you think about it, neither of the rudos are really necessary to the story. Meanwhile, both Kobald and the Frog have become in the last year or so two of the most popular roster members. I don't think they're completely gone for good. I think dear ol' Mr. Cottonbelly is looking for a way to raise the dead, which comes with its own problems, sure. But maybe the consequences of resurrection will be the next big story after The Flood is cleared away.
Assuming that Kevin Steen is only waiting to sign his contract and is as good as at the Performance Center by the end of next month, I'm going to go with Eddie Kingston. He's exactly the kind of brawler who would fit in WWE main events, and he has just enough "workrate" (I hate using that word, but w/e) to be able to fit in the current oeuvre of Ring of Honor/ROH-type guys with the most upward mobility. He's done everything he could do in Chikara, and honestly, no other indie seems to know how to handle him outside of maybe AIW and AAW. So let him take the next step and see what comes next.
No, no one wants to see a fat dude fight a senior citizen, unless the fat dude is Vader and the senior citizen is Terry Funk.
  1. Rockstar Spud - ROH needs some class, style, and personality. Spud would provide it in spades.
  2. Jessicka Havok
  3. Gail Kim
  4. Madison Rayne
  5. Athena - ROH has been teasing the Women of Honor getting jump-started for five fucking years now. If I were to buy ROH, I would make building up strong women wrestlers my first priority, because that company needs an infusion of feminism. Misogyny, both in the performers and especially in some of the gross-ass fans who go to these shows, has been allowed to reign for too fucking long.
It would be a tossup between WrestleMania XXX and PWG DDT4. The former may end up being the best Mania of all-time with great wrestling up and down the card, the shock moment of The Streak coming to an end, and Daniel Bryan getting the kind of VIP treatment that Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, and John Cena all never got in the same night. DDT4 was the strongest iteration of the event since 2011. The tourney matches ranged from solid to stellar, the four-way number one contenders match was maybe the best of that match type I've ever seen, and the Best Friends pulling out the trenchcoat gag was perhaps my favorite actual moment of the year to date. Flip a coin.
If you already have The Network, I doubt today's news will affect you. The monthly price for a continuing sub is still $9.99. IF you're not a subscriber and just want to try it out for a month, then you can for a price of $19.99. In the past, you couldn't do a la carte pricing, so that change is huge for people who want to try it out for a month. It's still a way better deal than shelling out $50/$60 to a PPV company for a monthly special event, plus you get the archives, NXT, and live Main Event.

I'm not going to do an entire breakdown of the financials - you'd be better off following @mookieghana or going to Voices of Wrestling for that - but I will refer you to the first post on TWB this morning about how Vince McMahon's desire to show the world his dick pretty much fucked the company on The Network from the gate.