Thursday, August 28, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 91

More Roode, less ripping off WWE
Screen Grab from
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!

Is "blow my brains out" an acceptable answer?

I keed, I keed. The first thing I would do as the head of TNA would be to clean house in the front office. Everyone who has had a hand in the direction that company has gone would be given the heave-ho, and Vince Russo's contact information would be shredded, fed to dogs, and then by order of a federal judge, the poop would be burnt. I don't know the specifics of whom I'd replace those people with, but I would make sure that the culture would change completely. No more aping WWE, no more sweatshop-like treatment of the wrestlers, no more institutional misogyny.

Second, I would aggressively get involved in trying to keep the Spike TV contract. Hopefully, the house-clean in the front office would be enough of a sign of good faith to start over again. Finally, I would jettison Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, D-Von Dudley, and anyone who was still playing any modicum of their character from WWE or any other established company. I would build around guys like Robert Roode, James Storm, Eric Young, Austin Aries, the Knockouts roster, and Magnus, among others. If a name comes up in free agency that makes sense to sign, I would bring that wrestler aboard, but I would not make the same mistakes that TNA did in the past, specifically when the ultra-hot Samoa Joe was sacrificed to the altar of Angle.

Would this plan work? I don't know. I wouldn't know until I would have the unrealistic chance of implementing it. But man, doesn't it sound better than what Dixie Carter and her band of happy morons have been doing for the last decade or so?

All three are fine answers from an actual, in-ring product standpoint. However, I would probably suggest you tackle them in ascending order in terms of storyline intensity. First order of business should be Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. PWG may have the best in-ring action, but the story implications are the lightest. Next on the list should be Absolute Intense Wrestling, and then finally, sink your teeth into the meaty narrative of Chikara.

I would blow my brains out.

Again, I keed, I keed. A wrestling hall of fame is tricky because unlike baseball or another sport, what metric is the best for induction? One can fashion a sporting hall of fame based on statistics, and the inductions would be reasonable. But then for wrestling, the only statistic that exists is drawing power, where the territory gets murkier and murkier as one progresses further down the timeline. It's easy to say that Andre the Giant was a draw because of how the territory system was structured, but how is WWE to be considered today? Those numbers don't even begin to take into account supporting casts, and whether the primary draw was propped up by hot midcard feuds or great foils in their own programs.

Furthermore, wrestling, unlike legitimate sport, is a business where the best possible talents may never get a shot because of politics or subjective analysis from biased bookers, producers, and money marks. Someone like Miguel Cabrera may not have gotten a chance as a wrestler due to body size, but in baseball, he forced himself to get into the lineup because the dude can rake.

Basically, Dave Meltzer and his WON Hall of Fame have a good idea on how to get people collated into one group of elite, even though the voting process ends up producing absolutely baffling results sometimes. For example, Kurt Angle getting into the Hall in the middle of last decade would've been perhaps the funniest joke ever told in terms of wrestling if it didn't really happen. Still, the induction process for any good hall should probably mirror or mimic Meltzer's.

But the criteria for induction? Outside of drawing, what criterion could I conceivably come up with? Match ratings are super-subjective; case-in-point, someone out there will make the argument that the greatest match in the history of The Streak was the Triple H match at WrestleMania XXVII, and I would rather watch three hours of post-2009 Great Khali matches than sit through that slogfest again. I think the criteria would have to be vested in the voters rather than in actual rules or guidelines. Basically, the voting pool would need to be diverse, both in opinion and in scene covered. The voters would also have to be vetted by yours truly and a few other people whom I trust. But creating a hall of fame is no easy task; I think that statement might be the most agreeable truth uttered in this whole answer.

Bad RAWs end up making me shake my head in disgust or boring me to tears, but the one that stands out the most was the episode where Beaver Cleavage threw down his gimmick on the air and "shot" on management to become "Chaz." I don't remember anything else about that episode, but Attitude Era RAWs tended to be really bad anyway outside of a few memorable moments with the biggest stars like Steve Austin. Still, the sheer excess of the "worked-shoot" mindset at the time dripped off that segment so badly that even though I was watching it by myself, I was embarrassed to be a wrestling fan.

When you say is gonna happen now? When's it exactly gonna be? See, I've already waited too long, and all my hope is gone.


  1. Brisket - Ranking a cut of beef this high outside of Texas might be anathema, but I go with what brought me to the dance, folks.
  2. Pork Shoulder - #butts
  3. Pork Country Ribs - You haven't lived until you've had country ribs BBQ style.
  4. Pork Tenderloin - Not as fatty as the shoulder, so it's not as tasty, but the coals are kind to the loin
  5. Chicken (whole) - Something about smoke brings out the best texture in chicken in addition to the flavor.
  6. Sausage - I could rank all the sausages individually, but then I'd be here for hours. In aggregate, the five hole is a good ranking.
  7. Beef Rib - This cut would rank a lot higher if it weren't for the insane fat content, but still a delicious cut of meat regardless. 
  8. Pork Sparerib - I know Memphis BBQ gourmands would chastise me, but for all the different kinds of pork I've grown a taste for in the last couple of years, I still don't like the spare rib.
INCOMPLETE: Pork Belly, Turkey, Most Other Meats
NOT BARBECUE: Burgers and Hot Dogs (I don't want to incur the wrath of Southern BBQ aficionados, so I'll label these as "grilled meats" or "cookout food."

Blowing my brains out.

I'm not kidding on this one.

I've only ever used the crockpot twice - once for beef and once for chicken. I'll give you the latter, since I used chicken for tacos. Take two breasts (or thighs if you're nasty) and season them with salt and pepper. Put them in the crockpot, then add one onion, one red bell pepper, five cloves of garlic, and a couple of jalapenos that you've diced yourself as well as a can of diced tomatoes. Season liberally with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Cook on low for eight hours.

Then get corn tortillas, and warm them up 30 seconds to a minute on either side. Get your favorite cheese, some sour cream, your sauce of choice (I prefer sriracha, but taco sauce, enchilada sauce, Cholula, or any other sauce of your choosing is also okay), and a couple of sprigs of cilantro, and build your tacos.

TRIO NUMBER ONE: THE FIRE FERRETS - Korra, Bolin, Mako: I can't break up a trio that's been together for three seasons, even if they've grown apart over the course of the series. Asami is the fourth member, who comes in for atomicos matches or even just for right now, when Korra is, well, uh, incapacitated.

TRIO NUMBER TWO: THE AANG/KITARA FAMILY - Tenzin, Bumi, Kya: Aang may not have been the best father, but he and Kitara birthed and raised three stout fighters. Tenzin is the world's foremost airbender at this point, and his little brother isn't a slouch either despite just getting his powers recently. Plus, he's a military man. Kya provides both healing support and her mother's waterbending prowess. This group has wisdom and power, and they'd be super formidable if they didn't bicker amongst themselves all the time.

TRIO NUMBER THREE: THE RED LOTUS - Zaheer, P'Li, Ghazan/Ming-Hua: This trio has the same problem as the first one does - one too many options to fit in a trios environment. However, the tossup between Ghazan and Ming-Hua is a bit harder to decide than putting Asami on her team in favor of either Mako or Bolin (because no one's replacing the Avatar, right?). No matter what the combination, this team would be the most powerful group across any timeline or any continent, but their hubris would end up being their collective downfall.

The Last Airbender universe has a lot of interesting combinations at its disposal. Even just limiting to Korra, I could have gone with the Metal Clan, the New Airbenders, Unalaq and his kids, or even thrown back to season one with Amon and two of his followers. Still, I think the three I picked above are the right trios to go with.

If all five titles are defended at the event - and the card looks like that will happen - then would that be enough of a draw? My guess is no. The idea of the NXT Championship being defended on the show was floated in a prior TweetBag question, and I think that idea is a start. However, titles should be the main focus of the entire show. If every match isn't a title contest, then the other matches should be for title opportunities. For example, if Brock Lesnar/John Cena is in the main event, then instead of running another Roman Reigns/Randy Orton match, why not float out a six-pack challenge for a shot at Hell in a Cell? Reigns, Orton, Seth Rollins, Big Show, Mark Henry, and Bray Wyatt could all compete. Or if Wyatt is bound to make Chris Jericho retire, toss in  Jack Swagger or Rusev. If the show is called Night of Champions, then the Championships should be the "gimmick" so to speak.

Sure thing!

Photo Credit: Tiff Petherbridge

Brie Bella makes her sister Nikki look like Meryl Streep in comparison, and yet Nikki herself is godawful.

Yes, actually, I'll be trying to make some front page driving news. WORKIN' ON DA NIGHT MOVES.

Actually, I'm gonna try to watch more college football this year. I feel so lost on Saturday afternoons when the meat of the games are going on, so I want to be more knowledgeable, especially since the evil empire of the NCAA is closer to being taken down than Roger Goodell's totalitarian mockery of a league is.

If any exist, I don't know about them, but holy crap, those things sound like the best ideas ever. Maybe I need to start one...

Full disclosure - I've never seen SummerSlam '89 in its entirety. However, assuming that the Brainbusters vs. the Hart Foundation is the best SummerSlam opener of all-time, then Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler in 2009 has to rank second, at least from the one's I've seen (again, haven't seen the Mysterio/Kurt Angle opener from '02). Ziggler was on my radar by that time, but this match was his first real standout contest. Of course, even in 2009, anyone could look good against Mysterio, who remains one of the most criminally and wrongly disparaged wrestlers in the last decade. But still, it was a great table-setter for the event. Too bad the rest of the show was a wet fart until the CM Punk/Jeff Hardy main event.

I can't say either way. Shamrock certainly was ahead of his time, a different breed of worker in a time when outrageous character was the coin of the realm. I think he would've fared better if he came up with Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, and [REDACTED], but I'm also not sure he would have even entertained WWE at the time. Assuming that you want him translated from the late '90s to the early '00s without changing his age rather than having the older Shamrock come through, he may have never left the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Remember, UFC was beginning its ascent into the mainstream at that time. Then again, a lot of that rise had to do with Shamrock bringing it to prominence as a fledgling entity in the late '90s. So many different variables are at play here. My brain just melted.

Well, first, Buddy would be the dog, because he wouldn't poop on a non-grassy surface, and because he humps legs like WHOA, he provides a legitimate threat against leaving the cage. As for the wrestlers, uh, I guess I'd put Damien Sandow against Fandango? I want two guys who can tell a story with their body language and who aren't afraid to get into absurd situations, but I also want two guys who can work as well. Sandow and the former Johnny Curtis fit that bill nicely.

I don't think a complex fix is needed. Brandon Stroud has been saying it for weeks and weeks in his Best and Worst reports, but the Wyatts just need to be able to enact change in the staid narrative in which they exist. The allure of the characters in NXT wasn't the fireflies or the singing or the smock, but in the fact that Bray Wyatt is able to lure people into his trap and fundamentally scar their souls. His character is not supposed to be about wins and losses, and yet WWE is booking him as such. If he can retire Jericho at Night of Champions, and then in his feuds going forward, he can make his opponents fundamentally change something about them, then he'll be back on the right track.

My favorite facepainted wrestler is Goldust. He's always been great in the ring when he's been motivated, and he always pops up in interesting stories here and there in WWE. My favorite facepaint design though is probably Road Warrior Animal's. The design is intricate to contrast the simplicity of Hawk's, and it made him look even grumpier than he came off in the ring.

I got three. First is Great Khali. He makes me sad when he comes out, not because he's a bad wrestler, but because he looks like he's in so much pain just walking. Second is R-Truth. He's dangerously close to RVD-territory of stale in the ring, and he only seems to be brought out when someone needs to beat up a black dude. Third is Kane. He's just embarrassing to watch in the ring anymore because  no one gives him anything on offense. What threat does he have left? Let him go be with his people, and by people, I mean libertarian politicians.

Since the Wyatt Family has risen to prominence in WWE, I believe Troy alumnus Bray Wyatt will will his Trojans to a Sun Belt. FOLLOW THE BUZZARDS (to the end zone).


The Miz by the slimmest of margins. He owned it a little more than Sandow, who looked a bit awkward coming to the ring in it on Monday. Then again, Miz is more of a natural at acting like a douchebag, so maybe he should be docked points...

I'm assuming the judges would be from the regular Chopped series, so give me Aaron Sanchez, Scott Conant, and Amanda Freitag. The contestants would be Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Jim Ross, and Naked Mideon. Orton would only be there to use red onions in his first dish and flip the fuck out when Conant bitched at him for using them. Now, if you want the judges to come from WWE as well, I'd go with Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Michael Cole, because they should match the douchiness and annoyance of the normal judges from the series.

The theme is The Simpsons in Sport. The episodes:

  1. Dead Putting Society
  2. Homer at the Bat
  3. Lisa on Ice
  4. The Homer They Fall
  5. Boy Meets Curl

Eh, I can't complain, although I always do.

Only if they had something in between them that wasn't part of the pizza topping. Then again, would that thing between them then become a pizza topping? IS EVERYTHING ON EARTH A PIZZA TOPPING? YOU JUST MADE MY BRAIN EXPLODE, YOU MONSTER.