Thursday, January 8, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 104

Lookit that belt, LOOKIT IT
Screen Grab via Empty Coliseum Tumblr
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 afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

I dig it, to be honest. I haven't seen an episode of Lucha Underground yet, but only because Comcast in Philly doesn't carry El Rey, and I haven't had the time or wherewithal to watch a Spanish-language episode yet. But given what I know about the aesthetic of the promotion, I really like that design for the title belt. The arena where they wrestle is called "The Temple," so it should follow that the highest prize should look like an ancient Aztec artifact, right? That Championship looks like it was pulled from the tomb of Moctezuma II. Sometimes, it's just all about setting.

1. Roman Reigns - The worst kept secret in the world right now is that WWE wants so badly for Reigns to be popular and over enough to challenge and vanquish Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Even if he doesn't win, the threat of him winning has to be there to fuck with the crowd.

2. Daniel Bryan - If he comes back just to fall short of even making the Final Four, then WWE has fucked his return up royally from the start.

3. Rusev - He's too hot not to tease going to 'Mania to win the whole thing. He can't win, because then WWE is in a no-win situation with him for the immediate future, but he can come close.

4. Kofi Kingston - One of these days, WWE has to at least tease that Kingston's Rumble acrobatics could ostensibly pay off. He's in a new gimmick that needs some juice. A strong Rumble showing with a couple of highlight near-misses and an elimination at the hands of Rusev at the very end would go a long way into cultivating his rebirth.

As for who among that group should win, only one acceptable winner is in there, and it ain't Reigns. I'll leave you to guess which of those guys is more than a B+ player...

Not a chance. Sure, his daughter might be the one of the big players on Total Divas, but if he comes back, it won't be under a hood. Not a chance.

The first four picks are pretty boring in terms of the Chikaraverse. Dasher Hatfield and Mark Angelosetti have bones to pick with the Devastation Corporation for how the end of the Campeonatos de Parejas match at Tomorrow Never Dies turned out, and Ophidian and Amasis owe Bakabella and the other two members of his Wrecking Crew a receipt from the Tag Gauntlet at King of Trios. As for the fifth member of that team? Well, the DevCorp has three members, and the Throwbacks' main beef is with that particular subset of the group. So why not let that duo become a trio and welcome Sugar Dunkerton back to the fold? His Chikara comeback has been a long time coming, and The Arena would become UNGLUED when he came out to help his old buddy Hatfield out.

Sasha Banks was my favorite woman worker in all of wrestling and of course NXT in 2014. She was the glue of that troupe of wrestlers, having great matches with everyone even though she was more the bridesmaid and not the bride so to speak. Her series with Bayley made any random, non-Takeover episode of NXT worth watching on any given day. On the main roster, while she probably wasn't the "best" wrestler, Nikki Bella is worth a mention for how much she improved in the calendar year and how much of a rock she's become in that division. On the indies, I need to watch more matches between now and ballot time, but Kimber Lee is not only one of the best women working on the circuit, she's one of the best workers, period. If you're sleeping on her, then you need to wake the fuck up and recognize.

Harbaugh has had success at the collegiate level before, and he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who can work too hard. Being a college coach seems like a job that's a lot harder than the NFL because of how much work it is to bring in players and then mold them into a unit to play maybe a  handful of big games a year that you can't possibly hope to lose if you want a shot at anything more than the Bitcoin Bowl. In the NFL, players come to you, and you have a GM and a cap guy to figure out the logistics. In college, you have to recruit, which takes up any time during the year that might be construed as offseason. Then you need to have your players playing at the highest levels all the time, because not only can a loss submarine your season, but struggling to beat a shitty team could drop you in the rankings too. Harbaugh has been through the process before in a top conference, so he's not stepping into terra unfamiliaris over here.

However, at Stanford, he didn't have the crushing weight of expectation bearing down on his shoulders. He took over a traditionally weak program when it was down and resurrected it. Michigan boosters and administration demand excellence. (Boosters are another thing that probably makes college more difficult than the pros.) Harbaugh is going to have to make Michigan into a perennial contender sooner rather than later or else he'll have everyone at his throat. However, everywhere he's gone as a coach, he's excelled. I predict that within two years, the Big 10 East, with Harbaugh's Michigan, Urban Meyer's Ohio State, Mark Dantonio's Michigan State, and James Franklin's Penn State, will be as highly regarded as the SEC West was in the last few years.

From @KMB2476, who's gone private to protect himself and his Mr. Met looking family:
1/2 In regard to the alleged "Vince hates that NXT is considered better than WWE and is sabotaging the wrestler" story, How inclined are we to believe stories like that because it fits a narrative we want to hear? Does that impact discussion?
These stories are absolutely written to fit a narrative that readers want to believe because that's what drives up page hit counters. While I question the veracity of these "sources" sometimes, these dirtsheet writers and cut-and-paste aggregators aren't stupid in regards to knowing what kind of honey attracts the most flies. Of course, whether or  not that leads to honest discussion is another thing, because again, who knows if these "sources" are feeding the writers honest information. But that can of worms has been opened a billion times to no real resolution.

Vince McMahon. Triple H. Steve Austin. The Two-Man Power Trip (with backing from THE BOSS) was the most smartly assembled angle with the hottest beginning that was going to blow the doors off WWE post-Attitude Era until Trips tore his quad and gave way to the rousing pile of shit known as the Invasion. The stable was never really fully actualized because of the injury, but what was presented at first was phenomenal stuff. Of the stables that did have a full run, I would go with the Bruderschaft des Kreuzes, which had a bunch of my favorite wrestlers in it and who had an impressive first year until the wheels were taken off, leaving it to sputter towards its finish.

Wrestler #1 should be Daniel Bryan. I was talking on Twitter today with @gvntofly1021 and @brianbrown25 and the latter made an excellent point, that if Bryan comes out too late, the match will have the same effect as the main event of WrestleMania XXVII, when no one gave a holy shit about Miz or John Cena and just waited for The Rock to come out. Bryan should be the first out and the last one standing. Let him break Rey Mysterio's iron man record. Just get his entrance out of the way first so every other thing that the WWE has planned for the match can get its own time in the sun.

The #30 spot should go to some Authority stooge as a ringer spot. If Seth Rollins doesn't walk out of the arena as WWE Champion, I would go with him. If he does, then I would go with Corporate Kane. It would establish continuity and give a guy who has no business winning a reason for people to be outraged over a plum position.

I don't believe in star ratings, but if I did, then the following list would be my five-stars from January 9, 2010 to January 8, 2015, chronologically:

  • Akira Tozawa and Kevin Steen vs. the Young Bucks, PWG DDT4 2011, 3/4/11
  • El Generico vs. the 1-2-3 Kid, Chikara King of Trios '11, 4/17/11
  • John Cena vs. CM Punk, WWE Money in the Bank, 7/17/11
  • Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sara del Rey, Chikarasaurus Rex Night 2, 7/31/11
  • John Cena vs. CM Punk, WWE SummerSlam, 8/14
  • Mike Quackenbush vs. Eddie Kingston, Chikara High Noon, 11/13/11
  • Ayumi Kurihara and Ayako Hamada vs. Kalamity and Hailey Hatred, SHIMMER vol. 46, 3/17/12
  • ACH vs. AR Fox, AIW Straight Outta' Compton, 4/6/12 (Iron Man Match)
  • Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, WWE Extreme Rules, 4/29/12 (2/3 Falls)
  • Rachel Summerlyn vs. Jazz, ACW Queen of Queens, 6/24/12
  • Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Ryback vs. The Shield, WWE TLC, 12/16/12
  • John Cena vs. CM Punk, WWE Monday Night RAW, 2/25/13
  • William Regal vs. Kassius Ohno, WWE NXT, 4/10/13 (airdate)
  • Daniel Bryan, Kane, and the Undertaker vs. The Shield, WWE Monday Night RAW, 4/22/13
  • Sami Callihan vs. Jessicka Havok, WSU Queen and King of the Ring, 5/11/13
  • Ophidian vs. Amasis, Chikara Aniversario: Never Compromise, 6/1/13 (Sarcophagus Match)
  • Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, WWE Monday Night RAW, 6/24/13 (Hardcore Match)
  • Antonio Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan, WWE Monday Night RAW, 7/22/13
  • John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, WWE SummerSlam, 8/18/13
  • Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, WWE NXT, 8/21/13 (airdate, 2/3 Falls)
  • The Rhodes Bros. vs. The Shield, WWE Battleground, 10/6/13
  • Antonio Cesaro vs. William Regal, WWE NXT, 12/25/13 (airdate)
  • The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, WWE Elimination Chamber, 2/23/14
  • Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, WWE NXT ArRIVAL, 2/27/14
  • Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, WWE WrestleMania XXX, 4/6/14
  • Charlotte vs. Natalya, WWE NXT Takeover, 5/29/14
  • Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze, WWE NXT Takeover: Fatal Four Way, 9/11/14
  • Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn: WWE NXT Takeover: REvolution, 12/11/14
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi, NJPW WrestleKingdom 9, 1/4/15
That number might seem daunting at first, but note that I've seen maybe between 1,500-2,000 matches on the conservative side during that time, and then that handful up there represents a fraction of a percentage point.
Soldier Ant. He may already have three points if cibernetico eliminations count, but if not, he'll get there. I don't think Eddie Kingston winning "her" back has enough cache, especially since he and Kevin Condron can explore a lot of studio space over the next year with their feud. Icarus doesn't necessarily need to drop it to someone in order to get it back either. The money match for the finale will either be Green Ant or Fire Ant taking the Grand Championship from someone, and that someone should probably be Soldier Ant.

I don't think it's a fair comparison, since WK9 was New Japan's biggest event of the year and factoring in commercials and such, it had nearly double the televised content that RAW did. Additionally, WK9 was almost ALL wrestling. Still, I considered not watching RAW so as not to kill my wrestling buzz from the night before. WK9 was such a surreal experience since I had not watched a full NJPW show until that point, but going to RAW had me asking whether each show could be considered working in the same area. It wasn't so much that I thought RAW was bad, per se. It wasn't the best episode, but it was also presented so much differently. I don't know how exactly to put it, but even if one were to like both shows on equal planes, it would be hard to call them similar, if you're picking up what I'm putting down.