Thursday, October 23, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 97

Halloween JACKPOT
Photo via Eat Run Brit blog
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!

The objective best Halloween candy to give isn't a kind of candy, but it's the serving size. Any house that gives out full-size candy bars is doing the work of the Lord, if the Lord had a vested interest in the propagation and success of diabetes medication. But disregarding future health concerns, getting that full-size bar was always the holy grail for trick-or-treaters. Subjectively, I've always found you can't have enough chocolate-covered peanut butter candy in your bag. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were almost currency for how valuable and delicious they were.

The worst candy, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is the dreaded Necco Wafer. I'm not even sure if they exist anymore, because really, I haven't trick-or-treated myself in over 15 years, and I just started taking TJ out around the neighborhood last year. But man, houses that kept their lights off and didn't give out anything on Halloween held children in less contempt than the sick fucks who gave out Necco Wafers. Chalky and flavorless, these candies were a scourge on anyone, and the sad kid who bit into one thinking he or she was getting an oversized roll of Smarties always will recount that moment as the worst in his or her Halloween history.

A lot of people are going to tell you it's Paul Roma. Those people are wrong. Roma may have been an ill-fit for the group, but at least he wasn't an actively bad wrestler like Steve McMichael. The dude really had no business being a wrestler. He couldn't wrestle. He couldn't talk. And next to Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, [REDACTED], or even Jeff Fucking Jarrett, Mongo looked even worse than he even was. The Horsemen were supposed to be for the elite. McMichael is about as far away from elite as you can get without being a civilian mark like you or me.

No art form is inherently any kind of political. However, wrestling since day one has been co-opted by the conservative elements in business and society, and thus marketed to that kind of clientele. Plenty of liberal wrestling fans exist - over here! - and I'm sure marketing to a liberal audience might bring good returns. However, as it stands right now, wrestling is always going to seem like conservatism is in its DNA because of the people controlling it.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules 2012 stands out as the best match on maybe the best WWE pay-per-view of all-time from an in-ring standpoint. Firstly, it might be the best possible a make-good in history, obviously from their 18 seconds of ANGER at WrestleMania. Second, it's the rare WWE match where the heel comes out of it looking just as strong as the triumphant babyface WITHOUT needing to resort to shenanigans. Bryan controlled most of the match, and Sheamus only won the second fall because of a disqualification, which Bryan tried to use to set up a quick win in the third fall. Third, it was a showcase between maybe the two best workers WWE had going at the time with a seeming free reign to tell a master story. The Cesaro/Sami Zayn match from NXT last year comes close, and Chikara always seems to deliver on its Campeonatos de Parejas matches, but this contest will always stand out best.

  • Paul Heyman - He invented modern indie wrestling. Every company that has come after ECW has either aped ECW or aped a company aping ECW in some respects. Obviously, the way the company ended still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but Heyman had the vision to get something started even without big money backing.
  • Bryan Danielson - You have to include the greatest non-mainstream performer of all-time, right?
  • Mike Quackenbush - He made his bones both as a wrestler and a promoter, and he was/is in the upper echelon historically as both.
  • Samoa Joe/CM Punk - They should go in together, as they're inexorably linked in their time on the indies. Their feud helped enhance the spotlight shone on companies outside the mainstream purview.
  • Allison Danger - Women in the indies might still have the same standing if not for her work and influence, but I'm having a hard time thinking how they might have progressed as far as they have with her.

I would totally listen to cases for other candidates - Gabe Sapolsky, Christopher Daniels, Sara del Rey, the Briscoe Brothers, Spanky, Paul London, etc. - but those six are the ones I would think DEFINITELY deserve in on the first ballot.

  1. Classic Jorts - While they wouldn't be my first choice for fashion, they are tied to Cena's iconography way too tightly. Slam dunk number one choice in my book.
  2. Khaki Shorts - They're stylish, but not too stylish as to give Cena an air of false class.
  3. Camo Shorts - Whom are you trying to fool, John? YOU'RE NOT THE MARINE ANYMORE.
  4. Black Jorts - Nope.

Freddy Krueger would most definitely win, because while they're all evenly matched while awake, when they fall asleep from exhaustion, Krueger would make his killshot there.

With the current creative team in place, nothing WWE could do that's more complex or requires more careful booking than what it's doing now could make it more interesting. For a brand split to work, you would need careful planning, sequestration of booking teams, and most importantly, for Smackdown to have as much cache as RAW does. WWE would be better off having the board slap an emeritus title on Vince McMahon, firing Kevin Dunn into orbit around Pluto, and reorganizing the booking team so that RAW has a fighting chance to make sense and play out well.

Orton might be turning face, but John Cena will never turn from whatever alignment he is now, at least not until WWE has at least two, if not more, wrestlers it feels can replace him. Daniel Bryan is the only one on Cena's level, and he may never wrestle again. Basically, Dean Ambrose AND Roman Reigns have to catch fire in order for Cena to turn at the very earliest. But then again, Cena's already a heel to the people that want him to be heel. His alignment changes play to the whims of a different group of fans than what consumes writings by yours truly.

@MrsKillerRoo, whose account is protected, asks:
If you had to choose between being 12 inches taller or 12 inches shorter, what would you pick? #tweetbag #notwrestlingrelated
Taller, definitely, with the rider that I keep the same weight I have right now and that, ahem, other parts of my body grow proportionally, if, well, uh, you know.

I would want something along the lines of a "true" win/loss percentage. How many times has a given wrestler come SO close to winning but was foiled at the last minute by outside interference, a match getting thrown out, or a referee missing something blatant? What would that say about how the promotion views its individual wrestlers within the narrative? Furthermore, how many times did that wrestler kick out of a finisher, or did that wrestler's opponent high-tail it out of there before the match was over? Wins and losses don't tell the whole story, and no pure *stat* in a worked art could paint the same kind of portrait it could in a pure sport like baseball. However, I would like to see some kind of illuminating number attached to a wrestler within the story to see how much faith the bookers have in him or her outside of it.

My reaction:
.gif via Peter Berkes/SB Nation via FOX

Now, as for the WrestleMania XXXII card in DALLAS, TEXAS YEEHAWWWW:

  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Cesaro (c) vs. Sami Zayn - The culmination of YEARS of feuding ends here. Cesaro, after finally ascending to the top of the mountain, will have taken on all comers. Zayn, after winning the Royal Rumble, finally has the chance to prove that he can not only hang with Cesaro, but defeat him.
  • Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan - Lesnar's contract with WWE supposedly ends after Mania XXXI, but I'd re-up it and build to this match. Sure, having two David Beats Goliath matches at the top of the card might seem overkill, but this is TEXAS. MANIA AT JERRY WORLD. EVERYTHING'S GOTTA BE BIGGER HERE. 
  • Bray Wyatt (w/ Goldust) vs. Stardust (w/ Sister Abigail) - Wyatt recruits Goldust to his family. Stardust counters by luring Sister Abigail into the stars with COSMIC MAGIC. Why not go all-in on the supernatural elements, put it in one match, and make it the best thing possible?
  • Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns - I'm playing the long con on a lot of these matches, but if you can hold off on The Shield's final showdown for another 17 months, you can have a third marquee match that features mostly recently homegrown wrestlers for a marquee Mania.
  • WWE Divas Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley - Another match that would have been brewing for a few years, Banks and Bayley could end up putting to bed once and for all that women "can't wrestle" for big stage with a match here.
  • WWE Unified Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E Langston (c) vs. Kevin Steen - HOSSSSSSS FIIIIIIIIIGHT
  • Andre the Giant Battle Royale: John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. The Big Show vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Robert Roode vs. Adrian Neville vs. Tyler Breeze vs. The Miz vs. Damien Sandow vs. Magnus vs. Enzo Amore vs. Colin Cassady vs. Viktor vs. Konor vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Jimmy Uso vs. Jey Uso vs. Charlotte - Okay, so some of the names here seem odd, but I'm banking on TNA to be out of business by the time March/April 2016 rolls around. Now, of course, the old WWE wouldn't bank on TNA retreads, but I would certainly want to take some of the best from that roster for my company. Guys like Magnus and Roode could stand out right away, and others such as Rockstar Spud could either grow in NXT or fill out the depth on the roster there. Charlotte is included here because again, I'm me and I like my intergenders, but also because she's a Flair and she totally would be cocky enough to believe she could win the Battle Royale. I wouldn't necessarily book her to win (I'd give the duke to BIG CASS here), but she'd definitely hold her own.
  • WWE Tag Team Championship TLC Match: Hideo Itami and Finn Balor (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Harper and Rowan - The Dudley Boyz would be free agents by then, presumably, so why not bring them in to lend credence to a TLC match that would make both the other teams?
  • Pre-Show NXT Showcase, Championship Match: Solomon Crowe (c) vs. Baron Corbin - Eh, why not?

Not totally, because I'm sure some of those "nice guys" in GamerGate think wrestling is dumb and stupid and for babies. I also happen to know a few ROH fans who aren't total human garbage as well. But yeah, a lot of the stereotypical neckbeards who chant disgusting shit at ROH shows totally fit the GamerGate profile, don't they? Sometimes, I hate even associating with the term "nerd" because of how the creeps have co-opted it...