Thursday, August 21, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 90

Who can stop this raging beast?
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!

Brock Lesnar gets diverticulitis again, forfeits the title, and WrestleMania XXXI goes back to the well from Mania IV with a tournament, baybay.

Actually, no, in all seriousness, the best option is a wrestler that WWE builds up from now until Mania next year, but which wrestler? The choice isn't as cut and dried as saying "Roman Reigns" or "Daniel Bryan." Ask yourself what Lesnar's win at SummerSlam represents, or more accurately, what Lesnar's existence represents. Upon his return to WWE, he claimed to have wanted to bring legitimacy to the company. Each of his victims has been a piece of the theatrical architecture of WWE. Even though Triple H got the highest-profile win in their feud at WrestleMania, Lesnar ended up winning the feud in the end, beating the evil boss figure. Taking out CM Punk saw him destroy the Internet-favorite ring technician. He decimated Big Show without even needing the bell to ring, bringing down the classic giant. He pasted the supernatural element by destroying Undertaker and his Streak. And John Cena was his capstone conquest. Lesnar has defeated the cartoonish aspects of wrestling and done what he's set out to do. He legitimized WWE.

Of course, a "real" professional wrestling company is more often than not a boring one, shoot-style promotions that serve niche audiences like RINGS notwithstanding. So someone is going to have to reclaim WWE in the name of pro wrestling, someone who represents a new era, a fresh era. Right there, Cena, Undertaker, or even by the grace of God, Punk would be out of the question. Daniel Bryan, even if him bringing down Lesnar would result in mass hysteria, is probably in some kind of limbo between eras, especially since he got his turn this past year. Reigns is a good option too, especially since he's the one former Shield guy who still dresses like he's part of SWAT rather than a wrestling promotion. However, my pick would be Dean Ambrose. He wrestles in jeans and a tank top, exudes weird and wonderful personality, and is the closest thing to a lovechild between the Hollywood Blondes that anyone can get without major advances in science.

So, how do you get to that point? Well, he's been put out of commission by getting his head smashed into cinder blocks. If he can get mashed and come back, he can withstand Lesnar. His issue with Seth Rollins can be tied up, at least temporarily, at Survivor Series. Then he can move onto winning the Royal Rumble and goading Lesnar into a no disqualification main event. No matter what Lesnar throws at Ambrose, he gets up, almost like a zombie towards the end. Basically, Ambrose would be on his last mortal thread when he finishes Lesnar off. And then that last mortal thread would be run even thinner at the rematch for Extreme Rules. That spot would be where Rollins finally uses his Money in the Bank briefcase. But I've gone too far with that little tidbit.

That picture's definitely some peak 'Bama there, ain't it. Roll Tide. Bear Bryant. Roll Tide. ROLL DAMN TIDE. PAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

That squash could be 30 pounds on its right side and barely formed on the left, and it still wouldn't be as lopsided as the Lesnar/Cena match Sunday. I think I want to talk about how for its second biggest pay-per-view of the year, WWE offered its biggest star of the last decade as a sacrificial lamb for a dude who bailed on the company to try and play football. Forget about how gutsy that decision was, does anyone realize how out of the ordinary WWE booking that finish was? That finish wasn't even something the company would have tried at the peak of the Monday Night Wars unless Cena's foot was halfway out the door to WCW. For a company that is so formulaic, so predictable, so staid and stubborn in its practices, to have a major special event ending with a longform equivalent to a curtain jerking match from a 1991 episode of Superstars is almost off-putting. Like, what the holy shit is up with these people? Where's the catch? Is Cena going to get his win back at Night of Champions? The bloom came off that rose really fucking quickly, and I'm generally not one of those super-pessimistic fans.

It's a mutually symbiotic relationship. TMZ gets free material, unprecedented access to an entire roster of the biggest wrestling company in the world, and millions of clicks from a wrestling fanbase that is rabid and hungry to click on anything related to the thing it loves. Seriously, ask Brandon Stroud what got the most hits during the days before With Spandex came along. He will tell you that his Best and Worst reports far surpassed any "legitimate" sporting news piece on average.

WWE has a way it can release propaganda without having to deal with the dirtsheet writers that the company has despised for years now (although really, sometimes, the dirtsheets do a good job perpetuating what WWE wants disseminated without any cajoling, right Dave?). Additionally, TMZ provides it an outlet to get major mainstream attention, which of course is the thing Vince McMahon loves in this world the most, even more than money or his wrestling company (and sometimes, his love for fame seems to outweigh that for his kids). McMahon probably doesn't care that TMZ is the bottom of the barrel in terms of perception, because hey, wrestling is pretty much considered the basest form of entertainment. I'm not saying that he necessarily should pair with TMZ - wrestling doesn't need to be considered just for the hicks and dumbasses of society - but his reality is the one that dominates his company, sadly.

Predictions on the fate of NXT vis a vis the main roster are hard because WWE acts as a company on the whims of whatever will make it money. NXT as a separate entity is best to stay isolated, but at the same time, I certainly think that a title match on the main roster would be a phenomenal kayfabe carrot to dangle in front of the roster, and it would also bolster a B-show like Night of Champions. The timing of Takeover 2 makes having another HUUUUUGE NXT title match happening so shortly after a bit problematic (although the way I'd book it would be to have Tyson Kidd win the belt at Takeover only for Sami Zayn to finally get his big win at NoC in a singles match), but in the future, I certainly believe a NXT Championship match could benefit the show.

The theme song, regardless of Pokemon, would be a variation on the Pokemon Gym theme music that has appeared in every game so far:

As for the Pokemon? A lot of good options are on the table. Charizard would have all the best characteristics of Vader (high-flyin' HOSS) and Jerry Lawler (fireball), but the claws of all things might be the dealbreaker. Pangoro as a sassy fightin' panda would be great, but it's too close to El Hijo del Bamboo for me to want to book him in WWE. I respect Inter Species Wrestling too much. Alakazam might be too likely to go into business for itself, and Blissey, though approaching HOSS territory, has such weak offense that it wouldn't at all be able to get over. Of all the choices, however, my pick would be MACHAMP.

Image via Bulbapedia
Seriously, Machamp makes Brock Lesnar look like Zach Gowen. It's a HOSS, and its four-armed configuration would allow it to do moves that would make even the most fickle workrate mark wet his/her pants.

I need a beer with bright colors and fresh flavors that will let me savor the final days of the warmest season on Earth but with enough alcohol in it to dull the painful expectation of yet another cold, miserable winter. With those criteria in mind, I look to Belgium, either for a nice blonde ale or a farmhouse saison. As fate would have it, I don't really need to look to Belgium as much as I need to look at a Belgian-styled beer from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. Hennepin Saison is not only my favorite end-of-summer beer, it's one of my favorite beers to drink in any season.

Ah, you sound like you need a list that inspires hope, laughter, and general good vibes!

  1. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, WrestleMania XXX - Phenomenal match that is buttressed by the fact that the most allegedly evil wrestler of the last 15 years put over the most organically over wrestler since Steve Austin clean as a whistle at an anniversary edition of the biggest show of the year.
  2. Fire Ant, Carpenter Ant, Dasher Hatfield, Colt Cabana, and Lince Dorado vs. Scott Parker, Shane Matthews, STIGMA, Colin Delaney, and Vin Gerard, Chikara Hiding in Plain Sight - Even if you don't like baseball, you'll love a wrestling match where a baseball game breaks out. Trust me on this one.
  3. Santino Marella and Emma vs. Fandango and Summer Rae, 10/3/13 episode of NXT - When NXT is fun, nothing in WWE can be more satisfying, and this match is perhaps the most fun I've ever had watching NXT in its short history.
  4. Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage, WrestleMania VII - Amor vincit omnia, well, at least if you don't shut it off AFTER Warrior pins Savage, it does.
  5. John Cena vs. CM Punk, 6/7/10 episode of RAW - Because sometimes, you just want to see the world burn and feel good about the people lighting the torches.

The best Pokemon game is almost always the most recent one that came out. Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have created the rare gaming franchise where every generational sequel is an improvement on the last in terms of gaming engine, graphics, or mechanics. The stories may have fluctuated in quality over the years, and outside of Gen 1 and Gen 5, no actual plot is all that strong. Then again, the allure of the game isn't whether you can top Team Rocket or any one of its clones. You gotta catch 'em all, and then battling against friends, or thanks to the magic of Wi-Fi-enabled handheld consoles, total strangers in various parts of the world.

AS for the best spinoff, I've only ever really played one of them. Pokemon Snap was actually surprisingly fun. I could almost describe it as a non-violent first person shooter. I mean, you are shooting pictures, right?

I have no idea what is in the minds of Vince McMahon and his cronies, but my guess is that Henry/Rusev is the endgame, and the tag feud will conclude quietly on a Smackdown or something.


My knee-jerk reaction would be Andre the Giant, but you said in-character. I'd want to drink with Andre because he was a legendary boozehound, and I would just want to be in his presence when he put away the amount of beer I've drunk in my lifetime in one night. But if you're talking in-character, I would go with "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. He's rich, and if I got enough beers in him, I might be able to sucker him out of some money, more than I would if he were sober. Or who knows, maybe I could get him drunk enough that he'd want to fight me. Then I'd let him win and then he'd shove a few hundies down my throat. As long as I didn't catch an infection from the germ farm that resides on the average bill of US currency, I'd be okay, man.

For you and me? I doubt it. But for the kids? I picture Henry, for as ornery and fierce as he is towards his opponents, as a giant softie when it comes to kids. So while I would never have the temerity to ask him for a piggyback ride, I would totally let TJ ask. And you know what? That would be good enough for me.

WWE's favorite deus ex machina is the rematch clause, so your question answers itself, really. Of course, folks like Stroud have argued for the removal of that obvious story mechanic from the narrative, especially when Cena got murked as badly as he did at SummerSlam. But for now, it's an evil everyone has to live with.

Well, Keaton may have been the best Batman because he didn't really have to strain hilariously to get the voice down like Christian Bale did. He also was the best Batman of the three in the middle period, before the cinematic version of the character transitioned completely from the Adam West-goofball variant to the super-gritty Christopher Nolan-led no humor version. Really, should a guy who dresses in a bat costume take himself that seriously?

But Bale was probably the best Bruce Wayne, and the differentiation between alter egos is real.

Really, any promotion can do a "G1 style event" because all the G1 Climax is is a round-robin tournament. TNA did one for the last three years with the Bound for Glory Series, but I'm afraid you want a round-robin tournament on the size and scope of G1. A promotion needs market saturation (i.e. the ability to run shows across a diverse set of venues consecutively), a sizable and diverse roster, and lots of money. WWE has all three, and perhaps is the only company in America that has enough of all three to pull this off. However, would it be in the company's purview to even attempt such a wrestling-heavy tournament? My heart says yes, especially given how much prominence the actual in-ring product has risen in the last two-three years, but my brain says no.

Simple. Goldberg doesn't walk out. WCW letting Vince Russo turn "going off-script" into a thing was the worst thing it could have done. Worked-shoots are great when used sparingly and in situations where everyone is in on the supposed line being blurred. But Russo's reliance on them pretty much killed the old kayfabe and didn't end up bringing about the new kayfabe in a constructive manner.

The Batiri are down a member now that Kobald has gone to that big toilet in the sky. What better way to replace a literal poop goblin than to bring in a wrestler-turned-gigolo-turned-porn star into the fray? Buff Bagtiri for King of Trios '14 please.

I can't even name eight jobbers. So, I'll book a four-man mini tournament. SEMIFINALS: Barry Horowitz d. Stan Stansky. Iron Mike Sharpe d. Brooklyn Brawler. FINALS. Stan Stansky d. Brooklyn Brawler.

Dude, he's always big-timed me at home. He hops in my spot on the couch, tries to steal my food, muscles into my spot on the bed when I'm trying to sleep, and sits in front of the cable box when I'm trying to change the channel. I don't even know why I bother making him Internet famous...

Photo Credit: TH
Oh yeah, that's why. Who's a good doggie, WHO'S A GOOD DOGGIE.

It's not the best movie idea. Now, if he had to raise or work with kids as a buddy comedy with Charlie Day playing his It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia character, THEN you'd have the best movie idea.

WWE's roster is big enough to support a rotating offseason for various chunks. Injury angles, loser-leaves-town matches, other various things could be used to implement the plan. But anyway, I'm not sure if McMahon could be convinced of this schedule, but Triple H and Stephanie McMahon definitely could. They're young enough so that their minds could change. One would have to make a persuasive argument re: wrestler health, diversity in draws who can sell merchandise, fresh matches, big pops for returns, etc. and maybe they would consider it.

To be completely honest, my mind was never troubled by KOT's prospects. Really, I would've been okay with an all-natives slate because it would have fit the story. But yeah, the Spirit Squad being brought in is a great way to say "Hey, this Chikara is still the wacky fun Chikara you know and love with the cool guest stars."

I know everyone (including myself) loves Colin Cassady as Enzo Amore's muscle, but I think he'd make a great inheritor of the Kane mask. I wouldn't just put it on him willy-nilly, obviously. He's got money as BIG CASS, but a story where Kane himself retires but his mask "chooses" Cass would be interesting to flesh out.

Ambrose is so unpredictable that he could be anywhere and I wouldn't be surprised. In fact, WWE should totally run with that angle and do weekly "Dean Ambrose Sightings." The possibilities would be endless. Dean Ambrose at the Louvre? Keep your eyes on the Mona Lisa. Missing barrel at Niagara Falls? Keep an eye out for a Lunatic Fringe going over. Hell, even doctored photos from the Mars Rover would be fair game.

I haven't seen any show since You Only Live Twice, but of course, I've been following it closely. Deucalion's rampage taking out various roster members leads me to believe that when the Flood is quelled, the story will be far from over. I do not for a second think that the Estonian Thunder Frog or Kobald are gone forever, but when they come back, will they have changed? What will be the consequences of raising the dead? Those things will be what Chikara will have to deal with going forward after Deucalion's insurrection is put down and things return back to whatever normal is ready for Chikara to return to. That series of events has my interest piqued, but then again, I'm a rapt viewer of Chikara. The company  has earned my trust, and it won't lose said trust until it goes through a string of unsatisfying or uninteresting shows.

Buddy would be the first animal, and I would pair him with a lobster, just for the hilarity of Buddy trying to eat the lobster and then recoiling in fear when he gets pinched for the first time. Of course, the two would grow together and learn to appreciate each other, but I'm not that avant garde a filmmaker.