Thursday, October 16, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 96

Why take his side in any wrestler dispute?
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!

I notice this annoying phenomenon all the time from people who probably don't even mean to toady for a megalithic corporate entity that needs amateur quality control enforcement as much as I need a fecal transplant. However, it is not at all common to pro wrestling. How else could the Republican party run on a platform of protecting the lax taxation of the super rich and not get all out revolt from the poorest members of its voting public? It's all about promoting an atmosphere of desire and opportunity. The only thing is that instead of defending Republican brass on the slight chance that maybe you'll be rich one day, stans for the McMahon family don't really have a whole lot of personal gain that could be brought through their defense. Okay, so you're going to stick up for a monolithic corporation over someone who actually experienced the treatment behind the scenes. What's the benefit? Do these people think WWE is going to push their favorite wrestler if they defend the company in a public forum? I just don't get it either.

The more I think about it, the more I think War Games should stay in the past. I don't trust a Vince McMahon-led company to do a WCW creation justice, and no other company stateside has the budget to do one right. Japanese or Mexican companies probably could do it, but I don't watch as much of non-American promotions as others do. But if I could set one up, it would be in NXT, weaving together some current and older rivalries. On team one, captained by Sami Zayn with teammates Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, and Sho Funaki would lead the charge against the rough rogues on Adrian Neville's team, where he's seconded by Konor, Viktor, and whatever the name generator spits out for Kevin Steen. That environment could use a signature match for its own, and it has the roster to pull it off. Now the only question would remain whether or not Full Sail University could fit two rings in it.

Normally, I would laugh and say that the company won't be back for its season premiere, but TNA is in many ways the cockroach of wrestling companies. Any report that portends its demise should be taken with several grains of salt, and I will believe it is out of business when a report comes out and plainly states it. Anyway, it would be interesting to see how the narrative structure would end up resembling if a long period of time between airdates for Impact were to occur because of a lapse in television contract. Let's say that Impact goes to another network comparable in size to Spike TV, and it retains the same ratings and similar gates, then maybe other companies would be emboldened to take a month off here and a month off there.

Of course, the data's going to be skewed because the only network comparable in size to Spike TV that will likely pick up Impact is Spike TV. If TNA changes networks, it's going to go smaller because it is damaged goods. So the question would be whether the forced offseason would be representative of what a true offseason would be. I guess everyone's gonna have to wait and see on this.

The next time WWE promotes a marriage, it should be performed in the Cell. Why would the need for the structure be there? Why does WWE need a reason to do anything? Anyway, Heaven in a Cell would be ridiculous, sublime, and memorable.

Well, the ill-fated Wrestling Retribution Project was going to try, but of course, no one will know whether it would have worked because Jeff Katz is worse than Dr. Dre at delivering on a promised product. Sure, Detox has been in the works for awhile, but at least Dre gave the world Beats headphones. What has Katz ever given the wrestling fandom he took money from? But I digress.

I would give a Netflix-based wrestling service a shot, sure, but I am skeptical as to whether it can work on a large basis. Wrestling is more entertainment than sport up and down, but it feels like the rare form of art that needs to be presented LIKE a sport with a date of origin attached to it more than anything that isn't a sport. The live event-atmosphere barrier feels like one that'll take a lot of energy to overcome, but never say never, I suppose.

Marvel and DC are the two biggest comic companies for two different reasons. While Marvel has its stars, its lure is more the strength in the ensemble, while DC is powered by its Big Three while getting support from the rest of the roster. Of course, comic nerds will chime in and remind me that Green Lantern was the hottest thing in the comic universe for a hot second, but traditionally, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are the breadwinners. Marvel, however, doesn't really have a singularly iconic hero. Yes, Spider-Man comes closest, but is he more notable than the X-Men? Or the Avengers? Fantastic Four? Captain America by himself? Think of DC like the Miami Heat and Marvel like the San Antonio Spurs.

With that in mind, what iconic woman superheroes are on Marvel's roster? Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Rogue, and Storm are probably the A-listers historically, and up-and-comers include Miss/Captain Marvel and the new Thor. But right now, Black Widow, who isn't so much a superhero as much as she's a kickass civilian with hella tech. Sounds a lot like Batman, right? Black Widow is my answer. She's still no Wonder Woman, because WW is in a class by herself, but she's the closest thing Marvel has, and she's the best bet for a superheroine to carry her own box office movie right now.

I don't think I can follow the "no repeat superstars" rule because the best Hell in a Cell matches are centered around like three wrestlers (Triple H, Mick Foley, Undertaker). And the ratio of good HiaC matches to overall in the milieu is low. So, this mini-mix tape will have five matches that I think encapsulate the gimmick:
  1. Undertaker vs. Mankind, King of the Ring 1998 - The third match in the series is when it really arrived. I wish Foley didn't have to nearly fall to his death to make the match, but que sera sera, I suppose.
  2. Triple H (c) vs. Cactus Jack, WWE Championship, No Way Out 2000 - Foley made Triple H, and this match was the crowning jewel on that rise that was deflated somewhat when Trips anticlimactically retained the title at WrestleMania the next month.
  3. Brock Lesnar (c) vs. The Undertaker, WWE Championship, No Mercy 2002 - I remember being in a tizzy when it was reported that Taker "wasn't feeling" putting Lesnar over the month before, but it made this match, with its gore and brutality, feel even more important when he finally did.
  4. Shawn Michaels and Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr., Hell in a Cell 2009 - I was shocked at this match's quality, but the young guys kept up with the veterans in this one. Or was it the old guys being able to keep up with the youngsters? Either way, I dug it a lot.
  5. CM Punk (c) vs. Ryback, WWE Championship Match, Hell in a Cell 2012 - I might catch hell for putting this one on here, but it was Punk's magnum opus as a chickenshit heel. The cell also played to Ryback's strengths a lot. It wasn't as long as some of the other more famous matches, but maybe that fact works in its favor.

Sorry, I was just caught in a landslide with no escape from reality.

The worst case scenario that doesn't involve Bryan retiring for good is probably Shawn Michaels. The Heartbreak Kid went away after WrestleMania XIV in March/April 1998. He didn't return until June of 2002, an absence of four years. He left at the top of his game, albeit embattled in his personal life, and came back to break off yet another critically-acclaimed portion of his career that some observers feel is better than the first two-thirds of his run. Bryan, obviously, has no substance abuse problems to deal with, but his injuries seem to be more extensive. So, if he comes back, he'll be back sooner than you'll have settled down into domestic life. Honestly, I think he'll be back in time for SummerSlam next year in the wake of the latest news about his required surgeries. But

I would have him pass it along to either Hideo Itami or Finn Balor just to see the reactions from the peanut gallery, but then again, Itami would probably rock the shit out of a spinarooni, wouldn't he?

I actually don't think the venue was a rib on Russo. If WWE had booked that match to happen in New York, his native town, or even Nashville or Orlando, a shot at a company that Russo put more time in as an employee than WWE or WCW combined, I would probably give more credence to that theory. Instead, I chalk it up to WWE booking continuing in a nonsensical, throw-shit-against-the-wall pattern it's been in since around Battleground. In fact, I would say WWE more closely resembles death spiral-era WCW than any other company in existence right now, at least the main narrative does. NXT is a universe unto itself.

The irony here is that Vince McMahon, with no more worlds to conquer, isn't like Alexander the Great. He's not shedding a tear because he's got nothing left to destroy. Instead, he's continuing the battle against WCW as a propaganda and revisionist history war. McMahon seems to me to be the kind of guy who will hold a grudge until his deathbed unless the victim of that grudge can make him money. Bret Hart "screwed" him at Survivor Series 1997 (in his mind, not in reality, which I remind you BRET HART DID NOTHING WRONG), but fans would pay money to see him not only as part of WWE's family again, but to kick McMahon's ass from here to Calgary and back. Jeff Jarrett, conversely, pissed McMahon off but has really no potential to make him money. So no, Jarrett is stuck trying to strike out on his own.

With WCW, McMahon can make money, but in a way where he can totally continue to heap shit upon the company's legacy. You want a retrospective of the one time WWE got its ass handed to it? Sure, but you get it with an insanely pro-WWE slant. You want WCW nostalgia on shows? Great, but you're only getting shit like Shockmaster or reminder that there was something in WWE that was "better." WCW documentaries? Only with Mike Graham and other bitter ex-employees saying how much of a shitmire it was. Unfortunately, that attitude isn't going to change unless Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are a bit kinder to history than Papa Vince is. It's what happens when an egomaniacal sociopath-cum-businessman hits it big in a given industry, especially one that gives as much license to rewrite history as wrestling does.

Sami Zayn has been ready to work the main roster since AT LEAST the episode of NXT from 2013 where he went three falls with Antonio Cesaro. That match showed he was ready to join the rest of the crew working long matches on a regular basis in the WWE milieu, and he'd already shown a natural, boyish charm in interviews. I don't know what WWE's waiting for. He can beat the hump that has been placed in front of wrestlers like Adam Rose or Bo Dallas.

As for Amore, I'm not sure if his gimmick can work, but I think he can adapt. Well, let me put it this way. I don't think his gimmick can be nurtured by a WWE creative team that can't write episodically or allow a guy to riff on a microphone to a crowd of any size. However, the dude is magnetic, and he'll adapt. I am not worried about him as much as I am about Tyler Breeze or the Ascension.

St. Louis residents do, I guess. Other than longtime Cardinal fans though, my guess is only Satan, crusty old white sportswriters who love "playing the game the right way," and Vladimir Putin want the Cards to win.

The simple reason is because Flair was the man, and then Sting showed up and got all this adulation. Why? Over a draw. He didn't beat Flair, he just went the distance with him. And because wrestling is a far pettier world than fictional boxing, Flair never got over it, especially since Sting bumbled and stumbled his way through a career instead of becoming WCW's answer to Hulk Hogan.

Nothing anymore. Do you think WWE is going to waste Rocky on a shitty little podunk where he's never been to? Either that, or Rock is like the Christian representation of God and is EVERYWHERE AT THE SAME TIME so this question doesn't apply.

I really don't think I've read ten biographies or non-fiction books, to be honest. However, I'd say my favorite non-wrestling book probably doesn't count because it's more a compilation of columns and writings. Bill Simmons' Now I Can Die in Peace was a fascinating read into the mind of a long-suffering Red Sox fan.

I've seen her do both in Chikara. She was a foreboding villain as a member of the BDK, but who played the role of folk hero better than she did in the last five years? Icarus since early last year is a candidate, but del Rey not only filled a long-time demand, but she did it well enough to warrant getting a run at the top before she was plucked to run boot camp down at the Performance Center.