Thursday, April 30, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 118

NXT is hot. RAW is not.
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 afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

While house shows showcase the best part of the WWE roster, the actual wrestling, the actual narrative might make even attending those match-intensive cards unsavory. Additionally, you have the chance of seeing Kane, Big Show, and now R-Truth in headlining matches that will get a lot of time. Sure, NXT has some clunkers on the roster, but it's reasonable to believe that Baron Corbin, Dana Brooke, and Bull Dempsey will get better with time, while most of the main roster's dead weight is either at peak or will be getting worse. Plus, NXT's in-ring and its narrative are both fun, and maybe the biggest factor, it's in demand right now with a scarce supply. I imagine Chicago will get its turn to host one or more NXT dates in the near future, so don't fret.

The possibilities are endless, but my imagination, sadly, is limited. However, I do have a few good ideas. The first would be something akin to the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament. Obviously, it would not be as massive in scope, but it could be a way to showcase some of the roster's depth. An eight-man round robin held over two or three weeks would definitely drum up some interest. Secondly, the introduction of the Queen of the Ring tournament is long past overdue. Women on the roster are no longer warm bodies for eye candy, and if WWE really wanted to "Give Divas a Chance," it should have a women's counterpart to the King of the Ring, preferably held out of KOTR's gravity. Finally, WWE taking a crack at a torneo cibernetico would offend many lucha purists, but it would certainly provide intrigue and interest, especially if it was given a large chunk of dedicated time on The Network.

With apologies to the John Cena United States Open Challenge, my favorite current node on RAW is the rise and development of Adrian Neville. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of his in NXT, mainly because he seemed awkward as a top guy working as the ace with this kind of confidence that didn't fit him. But this underdog run on RAW has been nothing short of brilliant. His oeuvre fits, his matches are better, and he's in a spot where WWE can do nearly anything with him without killing his momentum. He's appointment-viewing right now, which can't be said for much else on the show.

Favorite member is hard because I like a lot of the characters and portrayals of said characters by their actors. Phil Coulson is a sentimental favorite because of how warm and charming a guy he is. If you're counting Agents of SHIELD, Melinda May is the perfect grumpy bad-ass. Tony Stark won my heart the moment he started speaking in the first Iron Man movie. Captain America and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo version) are fine characters too. But how could my favorite NOT be Loki? Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of the god of mischief has added nothing short of a defining aura to him, and he's almost charismatic enough to make you want to root for him, both in Thor and The Avengers.

As for least favorite, again, if Agents of SHIELD and other televised properties count, then it's a toss-up between Grant Ward from AoS or Chief Dooley from Agent Carter. The former is a total mayonnaise boy who went from zero to barely compelling with his heel turn. The latter really generated zero sympathy which made his heroic death lifeless. If you're sticking with just the movies, then it's probably Odin. Odin is a major dick.

While Steve Austin has seemingly calmed down in his old age, no doubt he used to be in the Floyd Mayweather spousal abuse category. On the other side of the ring, pre-"finding Jesus" Shawn Michaels was reputed to be a huge piece of shit. And they headlined WrestleMania XIV. Your answer is right there.

The real answer is because WWE seems to hate it when someone isn't completely homogeneous, more than likely. The fake but amusing answer is that it's being used to set up an atheist character to feud with Bad News Barrett based off Richard Dawkins in what will be the ultimate God vs. No-God feud of 2015.

Going back to the MCU question, the answer is Melinda May. She's dead inside, so the ravages of the business wouldn't faze her one bit. She was brought up in the male-dominated field of espionage, so she can deal with misogyny and egos. She knows martial arts and would only have to learn how to bump, and she has plenty of footage of her kicking the shit out of men so that when the dorks who hate intergender wrestling come calling, she can kick them in the faces too. Forget Ronda Rousey, Melinda May would be the first transcendent woman wrestler in WWE since Chyna.

Well, wrestlers HAVE gotten sponsorships, even recently. The problem is, outside of Adam Rose being used for Party City ads on WWE dot com, are they really believable? John Cena hawking shaving razors would be something if I believed his baby-ass face could grow even a single fiber of hair. And I'd believe Daniel Bryan freebased nightly more than I would him being a habitual consumer of Five Hour Energy. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing wrestlers I dig get that promotional scrilla, but if you want a great fit, then you need to see Alex Riley hawking Hellman's Mayonnaise. You see, Riley is the perfect guy to be selling mayo because he is the very definition of a mayonnaise boy. Sell what you know.

I would debut him at SummerSlam as John Cena's mystery opponent for the US Championship Open Challenge, which means he would debut in the paint. After that, I would just let him be him while continuing the Open Challenge, mainly because his bread and butter in New Japan was wrestling, and if he's going to be shunted to the top right quickly, then he should pretty much wrestle high profile dudes every week, right? The paint, however, would be reserved not just for any PPV, but for the biggest ones like SummerSlam, WrestleMania, and the Royal Rumble.

The fake question's answer is they lost because you broke the rules and asked two questions for the TweetBag. As for Neville, I would plan an endgame for him first and build to it. The endgame should be one of the two secondary titles. The US Title would be nice, but I wouldn't put him against the wood chipper of new talent that is John Cena this close to his call-up. I also wouldn't have him defeat Daniel Bryan for the title unless Bryan can reliably stick around and not miss chunks of time as Champion. Let Neville win the title either at Battleground or Night of Champions (so as not to make his big win completely coincide with my planned Finn Bálor United States title win at SummerSlam) and transition him from plucky underdog to confident, established wrestler who still works mostly as an underdog.

Well, he's famous enough to get a gig on Lucha Underground, but not famous enough to get booked regularly by Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. So... maybe he's a 0.07 out of 1 on the Bieber Scale?

Honestly, while I hate arguing against the path NXT took getting to Sasha Banks, NXT Women's Champion, I would have taken a far different one that would have given the world Banks/Bayley as a standalone singles match. Then again, everyone wanted to get to the fireworks factory with Sami Zayn last year, but the path taken turned out to be satisfying. Right now, Emma is the Tyler Breeze to Bayley's Zayn, and no offense to Prince Pretty, but Emma's character is a much more intriguing foil. Plus, NXT  has earned my patience, so I can confidently say that waiting for a payoff is a viable option here. Plus, that Banks/Becky Lynch match on the table for the next Takeover event is *40,000 "Keep it 100" emojis lined up in a row*.

It's not the Cuerno/Cage/Texano trio because for whatever reason, I kinda don't like Texano. He bugs me. My pick would be The Mack, Killshot, and perhaps the best-designed character in pro wrestling right now, Big Ryck. While watching Cage throw around relatively tiny Chikara luchadores would be fine and cool, Big Ryck throwing them around would be like Mike Awesome tossing around Spike Dudley, in that it would be legendary. Plus, how often would I get to see Willie Mack coming east? But I wouldn't complain if Cage, Texano, and secret Baratheon King Cuerno came to King of Trios either. They just wouldn't be the best three to make the trip.

First, they'd have to be selected. Since you qualified by saying "WWE," I guess that eliminates dudes like Harley Race (prime was before heading to Titan), Lou Thesz, and several other greats who made their bones in the NWA and elsewhere. So, my field of eight would look something like this:

  • 1967 Bruno Sammartino midway during his first WWWF Championship reign
  • 1987 Hulk Hogan
  • 1975 Andre the Giant, when he was still mobile
  • 1992 Ric Flair, closer to his prime than not, and just having won the greatest Royal Rumble match ever
  • 1997 "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, pre-neck injury
  • 2011 John Cena, pushed to his limit by CM Punk with The Rock looming
  • 2000 The Rock
  • 1988 "Macho Man" Randy Savage
First round - Sammartino beats Cena, Hogan beats Savage, Andre takes out The Rock, and Austin and Flair go to a draw when Bret Hart comes out and beats on both of them out of bitterness of his exclusion in the tournament. Andre the Giant gets the classic bye that happens in most of these tourneys.

Semifinal - Hogan defeats Sammartino


Was it something I said?