Thursday, September 25, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 94

He seems to have gotten his scar removed, but where did Khali get said chest scar from?
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 (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

You know that scar that Great Khali has between his two pectoral muscles? It has never been explained, although people extrapolated that it's a knife or gunshot wound from when he used to be a cop. Well, while the most logical explanation is probably the best one, in this case, it's not true at all. In his early days as a wrestler, Khali went to Thailand for a tour for a seedy promoter who only put his talent up in shitty hostels with no really good places to eat in the vicinity. Being a veteran of dealing with eateries in third world slums, Khali ventured out to a local place that was reputed to have the best food despite its grimy outer appearance. He ate three bowls of tom yum soup, several skewers of various rodents and snakes roasted over open flames, and finished it off with a rice drink of some kind.

Later on in his hostel bed, he felt a sharp pain in his chest, feeling like a heart attack. He started panicking and the promoter brought the local doctor in. With a cigarette in mouth and possibly half-shot-in-the-ass from drinking the Thai equivalent of moonshine, the doctor did his best to diagnose what was wrong with Khali to no avail. As soon as he turned around to the promoter, something popped out of Khali's chest, almost like out of Alien. Khali, who amazingly kept his wits about him, yanked the surprise out and threw it hard against the wall, while everyone in the hostel jumped on him to restrain him and put pressure on the wound that had opened up on his chest. Once Khali was calmed down - rumors say that he didn't do it on his own and instead had to be injected with enough morphine to put down a bull elephant - the doctor went over to where Khali threw the protrusion out of his chest. Instead of finding the foreign object/organism, he just saw a splat on the wall and a trail of slime and blood leading out of the room. Of course, the trial was not without its rewards. Khali had a decent sized scar on his chest as a visible reminder not to eat at any strange places.

How's that for a whopper of a tale?

The cynical answer is that WWE had no idea what to do with a character that had flopped, and the company just threw him in the BLACK POWER group because of his race. Logically though, a lot of fighters who end up doing hard time or going through struggles even without prison have undergone changes in their lives. The better, though somewhat depressingly similar explanation would be that Kama's fighting career in WWE hit a brick wall. No matter how he tried to advance past "dude who womped on preliminary wrestlers," he failed miserably. So then one day, Faarooq Asad comes came around and started preaching that The Man had been holding him down and people who were like him. Finding truth in the message, Kama joined up as hired muscle for a guy whom he admired.

Now, how'd he get from Kama Mustafa to The Godfather? I don't even wanna touch that evolution with a ten-foot pole.

I saw someone, maybe Jason Mann, on Twitter say that "Macho Man" Randy Savage would be a dandy in today's wrestling ring, and I'm inclined to believe it for the most part. Obviously, the biggest disconnect comes when trying to reconcile Savage's coke-fueled ad libbing with WWE's rigidly scripted and drug tested current environment. However, Savage's personality would be manna from the heavens for a crowd starved for someone organically charismatic. Plus, his in-ring style made him a better fit for today than yesterday. Back in the '80s, he was the anomaly rather than the standard, a great mat general in a time when it was more important to be a garish cartoon character, at least in WWE. Furthermore, I'm not entirely sure that the other territories, especially the NWA southern lands, were as well-rounded as WWE is today, even if Jim Crockett and company promoted a sterling in-ring product by the standards of the time. Forget Savage vs. the usual suspects (CM Punk, Daniel Bryan etc.). Imagine him in a WrestleMania main event vs. John Cena. He would have gotten the best out of Randy Orton before Orton's seed awakening some time last year. Savage/Brock Lesnar would have been supreme theater.

As for the guy I'd send back in the time machine, Rusev, along with Lana, would come to mind. Rusev would have been a far better Soviet Monster of the Month for Hulk Hogan than Nikolai Volkoff, and he would have fit in fine in Southern territories because he can actually work.

Like I wrote Monday, saying Ambrose could be the next Stone Cold is a disservice to both guys because they fundamentally represent something different. Steve Austin felt like a guy who just wanted to kick as much ass as possible without any interference from above, whereas if anyone from The Shield represented the idea of wanting justice, it would be Ambrose. However, much like Zaheer from the third season of The Legend of Korra, his justice isn't so much gained through legal channels as much as it is rooted in anarchy. Ambrose is the closest thing to a real wrestling anarchist as WWE has ever produced. Of course, the narrative will pitch this as "being crazy," because having nontraditional motivations is insane. I mean, if the AJ Lee character were coming up in a theoretically modern version of WWE but in the 1910s, her craziness would've manifested in wanting suffrage. Those crazy broads!

Of course, WWE is very likely to screw it up, because in the minds of the old guard running things, all crowd heroes morph from their original, interesting forms, into some hybrid of Austin and Hulk Hogan, where they treat anyone who isn't like them like shit and always overcome the odds. When Dean Ambrose is using gendered language to insult Bray Wyatt and "overcoming" odds like a mofo in two  years, then you'll know why.

I'm trying to imagine the pressure points on the move in my head, so this explanation might not be the best. You'd have to ask someone who's actually applied the Figure Four before and has had it reversed. However, I would assume that yes, the pressure does get reversed in some way. In order to put more leverage on the legs, the user arches his/her back up, so I would assume in the reverse, the person who was originally caught in the move could do the same (although the range of motion in the reverse is not as large as it would be in the normal). But again, you'd be far better off asking someone who's actually applied it in this case.

My criteria are so ingrained in my own brain and hard to explain in a consistent matter that they would fill up several tomes and have so many footnotes, riders, and exceptions to the rule. Basically, each thing I look for is distilled down into one question. Is what that performer does beneficial to telling the story? For example, Shelton Benjamin is as athletic as they come, but has he ever been able to use that raw ability to tell a story in the ring that wasn't "I can do all these feats HA HA HA?" It's the same principle with guys such as Davey Richards or Michael Elgin. Sure, you can kick out of a shitload of moves just to do even more elaborate ones, but since when has wrestling been about how many different maneuvers you can do in a match?

I hate to use the old definition of pornography for what's good in wrestling, but it applies. I know good wrestling when I see it. Normally, I'll watch something, form an opinion on whether it was good or bad, and then I'll work backwards into analyzing why I judged the quality level to be where it was. Wrestling is not something one can watch with a slide rule or a set of rigid, preformed rules. It's art. Sometimes, what works in one story or for one character won't for another. But as long as you're telling a story that resonates with me in a good way, you're golden.

I checked with Horb Flerbminber, and he says this TweetBag is actually a rib on all my readers because I'm a terrible asshole. I really gotta stop asking him about his opinion of me.

"Under-appreciated" and underrated are such loaded terms, because what standards of consensus are applied? Every time I express a sentiment that "I must be the only one who likes ______," I get a bunch of replies saying that that performer/story/thing is liked too. My stock answer here would be The Miz, but even he's getting a groundswell of support lately for his excellent character work. My point, maybe it's time to put overrated/underrated to bed and stop couching arguments on relativistic terms on perceived levels of popularity, whether they're accurate or not.

Surprising to some, but he loves him some Sofia the First actually. The show is bright and colorful, has a lot of engaging characters, and features at least one catchy song number a show if not more. I've probably seen every episode at least twice so far, and it's inoffensive at its very worst, clever and engaging even for adults at its best. He also likes Sheriff Callie's Wild West, which is also surprisingly tolerable for adults, especially in the amount of absurdist humor in any given script.

Traditional logic say that the heel team has to win the coin flip so that it can get the numbers advantage and generate sympathy for the faces when they make their many comebacks during the match. The method is tried and true, but in theory, it's not the only way that the match could go. Obviously, the good guys winning the coin flip and following a similar template beating down the black hats doesn't seem effective at all, which is exactly why WWE would probably co-opt that script if it ever broke out a War Games match. However, I feel two different templates COULD work with the babyface team winning the advantage-giving coin flip. Both would end up flipping the script and actually reverting back to the old formula of giving the bad guys the temporary man advantage.

The first and most intuitive method would be to book a turn early in the match. Let's use the theoretical War Games lineup of John Cena, Dean Ambrose, Mark Henry, and Big Show vs. Triple  H, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and The Demon Kane™. Henry and Show are in the ring facing off against Rollins. Henry gets Rollins up in the World's Strongest Slam, but Show knocks him the fuck out and allows Rollins to get the pin. Then, Show would either stand guard in the ring as a de facto extra man for the Authority's team, or he'd allow himself to get pinned, then allowing Rollins and, say, Kane to mill about the ring until either Cena or Ambrose got himself into the match.

The second, more subtle way of running that formula would be to have the same scenario, Rollins in there against Show and Henry, and have one of the good guys get eliminated via hubris or sheer happenstance. Show would have Rollins lined up for the knockout punch and instead hit Henry, or Show and Henry would have way too much fun beating the stuffing out of a clearly defeated Rollins that they get caught by an immediately incoming Kane taking one of them out.

I have been to the gym maybe once in the last two months, so I'm the last person you want to ask about plateauing on workouts. I am lazy and unmotivated when it comes to physical movement. However, I will ask if you're dieting to go along with the workouts. If not, then try shaking up the food intake. Go for egg whites and chicken breast instead of fatty red meats, or whole wheat instead of white on grains. If you are dieting along with exercise? Then my best advice would be to go see a personal trainer.

Fossil Ant, based off the extinct sphecomyrma, would be my identity. Basically, my role in the group would be the brutish bruiser with a limited vocabulary, to be the final option in case Worker Ant's might and girth weren't enough to finish the job.

I have a lot of problems with Dave Meltzer, but he's not insufferable at all. Of course, the most vocal of his asshole cultish defenders are insufferable, but that problem belongs to said asshole cultish defenders. I think the closest thing to "insufferable" he does is constantly adopting the attitude that MMA and wrestling are the same thing and should be treated as such, but comparatively speaking, it's not even close. Meltzer's writing is pretty straightforward for the most part (even if at times it borders on hard to read). Peter King, however, meanders all over the place into annoying territories. To the best of my knowledge, Meltzer has also never stolen a foul ball from a kid or reprinted private conversations from strangers in his column just because they mildly irritated him on the Acela quiet car. And even though at times I get annoyed at his attitudes that take the extreme side of management over the workers, Meltzer has never really ventured outside of the garden variety stock defenses of promoters, and they've always been couched in the interest of "doing business." Meanwhile, King could be confused as Roger Goodell's PR agent. So yeah, it's not even close.

Goddammit, don't make me spoil a future column! Oh alright. The short answer is no, it hasn't, only because WrestleMania XXX through SummerSlam already provided enough evidence that you don't need to watch RAW anymore. Nothing happens of note on free TV anymore that isn't spammed in recaps anyway, so you could probably get away with just watching pay-per-views, NXT, and Main Event to get the best of what WWE has to offer in a concise package.

If it were to happen, I don't think it would until WrestleMania. With Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan both being out of action indefinitely, I can see Vince McMahon push the panic button and go back to status quo. The story seems to open up for it as well. But if anyone beats Lesnar for the title between now and Mania, my guess is it'll be Seth Rollins via cash-in, and that's only if the concerns about Lesnar's health are grounded in reality.


  1. Andre the Giant - He was the prototypical hoss, a giant of a man who, before the ravages of age and disease laid waste to his body, could move around pretty nimbly for someone of his stature.
  2. Vader - As Andre was the proto-hoss, Vader became the template for the modern one. A guy that fat shouldn't have been able to do moonsaults and flip around the ring like Ricky Steamboat, but Vader smashed those perceptions and made people realize that what big fat guys could do in wrestling shouldn't just been limited to the traditional weight-based leverage tactics.
  3. Stan Hansen - Hansen showed that pure girth or height wasn't the essence of hossdom, but it was how one used it. His lariat is the greatest gift a pro wrestler has ever given to man.

It has to be genetic, right? Either something misfires in the brains of both Dusty and Cody Rhodes, or their genetics made their bodies grow flesh where it shouldn't have been, and that's why the "s" sounds come out slurred. I really don't know. Either way, I find that Dustin Rhodes lacking said lisp is interesting, and it neither proves nor disproves its genetic embedding inside the Rhodes family, because of stuff like recessive and dominant genes and whatnot. Plus, Cody and Dustin had different mothers.

It depends on what the endgame is. Two possible resolutions to The Flood's invasion of Chikara are on the table (barring a swerve or some strain in storytelling that I'm just not seeing right now). The first is that the carnage wrought by Deucalion will give rise to a legion of zombies that will be the big bad for Season 15. Evidence for this plot wrinkle exists in Jervis Cottonbelly's quest for dark magicks that might raise the dead, and while a grand return of characters like Kobald, the Latvian Proud Oak, and possibly even the Estonian Thunder Frog might turn the tide against The Flood, the unintended consequences could raise a bigger evil than what they put down. If that path is the correct one, then no, Icarus won't be turning rudo again because he'll be needed to fight alongside Kingston to put down the hordes of the undead.

However, the second end could have The Flood's subsiding signal a return to the correct timeline. The rise of the group sprang from disturbances in Chikara's spacetime. Archibald Peck has been a confirmed time-traveler. The Titor Conglomerate drew its name from John Titor, a supposed traveler from a dystopian future where the United States fractured into several splinter groups, like how Chikara for a short time was smashed into the Wrestling Is promotions. The time waves also may have made Kingston go full Gollum over the Grand Championship and as an equal and opposite reaction, made Icarus eschew his status as Worst in the World to fight for something better. If the endgame is for the timeline to reset back to normal, and Kingston snapping out of it at the end of Trios is the first sign of it, then I think a turn by Icarus isn't just on the table, it's to be expected. Because really, how weird has it been cheering Icarus, the most dickish member of Team FIST by a country yard? As much as I've enjoyed him as the banner-carrier for Chikara, I'm ready for him to go back to using his heinous tattoo for massive heat and stealing pizzas from pre-show cookout gatherings.