Thursday, July 9, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 128

Cena as a top worker doesn't sound so funny this year
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!

Asking a question like this in any other year might have greeted the asker with a barrage of rotten fruit, but this year, Cena has a legitimate claim to being the best worker in the US and Canada. I wouldn't call him the leader in the clubhouse, mainly because Sasha Banks wrestled this year too, and because both Kevin Owens and (allegedly) Roderick Strong have resumes that compare. But consider that Cena has been a workhorse on free TV and pay-per-view all year and that his only real stinkers were the two post-Mania PPV matches against Rusev, and it's clear that he deserves first-place vote consideration. The only thing that works against him is that he still has this stigma against him and I'm not sure how prevalent that will be when I call for votes in about, oh, eight months or so. But he deserves to be considered among the frontrunners, yeah.

From what I hear, McMahon has turned the corner on how he views women. He apparently watched the Sasha Banks/Charlotte match at the Mania weekend NXT show in San Jose and was wowed the whole way through. The problem is that he also trusts Dunn a bit too much, and his misogyny makes McMahon's look minuscule in comparison. Dunn is reputed to be there until McMahon leaves power or croaks, so the winds of winter whipping around will only make a dream of spring a dream since McMahon feels like one of those doggedly immortal types like Keith Richards.

However, ever since Triple H has wrested some control and influence in the main roster decision-making, women have gotten more of a chance to shine in the ring even if the stories have remained weaksauce commercials for Total Divas at best. I really think that if the rumored trios match at SummerSlam between Team Paige and Team Bella actually happens, it will get time, and it will impress. At this point, these kinds of moral victories are all one can hope for on the main roster, as sad as that sounds.

My feelings aren't wrong. MY FEELINGS ARE RIGHT. But they stem from actually watching him. He got such an advance hype ahead of him that I got excited to actually watch him work. He was a hoss who could do that indie athletic working style thing, so he was the best of all worlds. That was, until I actually started watching him on Pro Wrestling Guerrilla DVDs and saw that he was just Davey Richards with a more weirdly-shaped body. Situational no-selling is fine, but he overused the trope to an extreme. He also had a weird, aesthetically-unpleasing-to-watch robotic motion about him that made him appear as if he were stop motion animated in a field of guys who actually moved like humans.

He's gotten better over the years, but man, he always does at least one thing in a match that makes me want to throw something at him. Elgin is really one of the most frustrating wrestlers I've ever watched.

No one's wrong, to be honest. It's all unfortunate happenstance. One cannot blame Ring of Honor for trying to tap into the vein of wrestling fans in the area for an actual wrestling event, but its administrators had to know that WWE was going to try and capitalize on the weekend as well. I mean, it's not like WWE was running fuckin' Battleground in Brooklyn. SummerSlam is its second or third biggest event of the year, and it's one that WWE has tried presenting as a Mania-type event in the summer months.

But at the same time, you can't blame them for wanting to tap into that sweet manna itself, shortsighted prediction of what WWE was going to do or not. The New York metropolitan area has 23 million people in its gravity, and its proximity to Boston, Philadelphia, and even Washington DC makes traveling there for a big weekend attractive. That's a pool of 50 million or so people to draw from, and one that contains several wrestling-crazy individuals. While it's easy to blame WWE for trying to kill the indies (and believe me, I have been in that crowd from time to time), this case will have more fans than will fit in either the Barclays Center or MCU Park available to buy tickets for either event.

Honestly, I can't answer that question in completion because I was away from wrestling for most of his rise to the top. He's reputed to have had a few really good years between 2003 and 2008, but in the time since I've been back, I'd say 2015 is his best year. It might be closer than you think though. He had a pretty awesome 2011 as well. The CM Punk series was the biggest standout, but he had a few gems week-to-week on TV too. But weighing everything, I still think his 2015 has been better so far. Amazing what not having to work Randy Orton, Edge, or Big Show every week or at every PPV (who aren't bad workers, just bad fits for Cena) can do for you.

I actually haven't seen as many Styles matches as I would have liked, so I have to default to his match with Chris Hero for ROH in Dayton last year.

I'll be skipping the MMA-intensive categories because I don't do that, holmes.

Lou Thesz/Ric Flair Award
  1. John Cena
  2. Kevin Owens
  3. Ricochet/Prince Puma
Most Outstanding Wrestler
  1. Sasha Banks
  2. John Cena
  3. Kevin Owens
Best Box-Office Draw
  1. Brock Lesnar
  2. John Cena
  3. The NXT Brand Name
Feud of the Year
  1. Mil Muertes vs. Fenix
  2. Kevin Owens vs. John Cena
  3. Johnny Mundo vs. Alberto el Patron
Tag Team of the Year
  1. Young Bucks
  2. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
  3. New Day (Freebird Rules)
Most Improved
  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Moose
  3. Alexa Bliss
Best on Interviews
  1. Enzo Amore
  2. Kevin Owens
  3. Mark Briscoe
Most Charismatic
  1. Enzo Amore
  2. Finn Bálor
  3. Veda Scott
Best Technical Wrestler
  1. Sasha Banks
  2. Drew Gulak
  3. Dalton Castle/Ashley Remington
Bruiser Brody Memorial Award
  1. Kevin Owens
  2. Roman Reigns
  3. Mil Muertes
Best Flying Wrestler
  1. Ricochet/Prince Puma
  2. Neville
  3. Fenix
Most Overrated
  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Jay Lethal
  3. Paige
Most Underrated
  1. Roman Reigns
  2. Nikki Bella
  3. Mil Muertes
Promotion of the Year
  1. Lucha Underground
  2. WWE NXT
  3. Chikara Pro Wrestling
Best Weekly Television Show
  1. Lucha Underground
  2. WWE NXT
  3. Monday Night RAW
Match of the Year
  1. Mil Muertes vs. Fenix, GRAVE CONSEQUENCES
  2. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch, Takeover: Unstoppable
  3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi, WrestleKingdom 9
Rookie of the Year
Pass, because I have no idea who's a rookie and who'd be eligible among the wrestlers I've actually watched this year

Best Non-Wrestler
  1. Dario Cueto
  2. Catrina
  3. William Regal
Best Television Announcer
  1. Rich Brennan
  2. Hugo Savinovich (I don't understand a word he says, but he has such an animated voice that it adds to the matches more often than not)
  3. Corey Graves
Worst Television Announcer
  1. JBL
  2. Kevin Kelly
  3. Jerry Lawler
Best Major Show
  1. WrestleKingdom 9
  2. WrestleMania XXXI
  3. War of the Worlds Night 2
(Class B awards just gonna give a winner/loser, no top three)
Worst Major Wrestling Show - Money in the Bank
Best Wrestling Maneuver - The Pentagon, Jr. Armbreaker
Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic - Random indies using Dusty Rhodes' death to sell tickets
Worst Television Show - Smackdown
Worst Worked Match of the Year - pass, one does not come to mind
Worst Feud of the Year - John Cena vs. Rusev
Worst Promotion of the Year - TNA
Best Booker - Whoever's got the book in LU
Promoter of the Year - LU
Best Gimmick - Dalton "The Party Peacock" Castle
Worst Gimmick - Bull Dempsey, professional fat guy
That comparison seems unfair to Saxton, who hasn't had the time to grow into any bad habits. Like someone said on Twitter awhile ago (forget who, sorry original bearer of this opinion), Saxton sounds like a guy who is trying NOT to get fired. He's inoffensive in NXT, and his WWE main roster work seems hampered by the voices shouting in his headset. Meanwhile, everything out of Wheeler's mouth was borne of his own inanity. He got years to burrow in and be the aural violation he was up until he was mercifully let go a few years back. I don't know to whom Saxton compares, but Wheeler seems to be unfair and overly harsh.

For starters, he would have won the WWF and/or the WCW Championships. The guy had more charisma in his toenail at a given instant than a lot of people who enter the business have in their whole bodies cumulatively. And it wasn't that he was a bad worker either. He could turn in the kind of performances that make main eventers. I don't know how high his ceiling would have been, and maybe he'd still be active today. But man, drugs are bad, mmkay?

I don't know if I'd go as strongly as saying it's a watershed moment. Eras in WWE and wrestling in general aren't contained in hard epochal boundaries. Rather, they bleed into each other. Just like WWE is struggling to let go of traditional pay-per-view while trying to put all its eggs in the Network basket, the switch to more sports-based, intimate shows won't be one that happens overnight. But if WWE does take a tonal shift towards building towards wrestling more than other modes of entertainment, then yes, Beast in the East will be a landmark.

I have not. I am waiting to hit the lottery so I can go back and become a professional watcher of professional wrestling and catch up on all the NJPW I've missed since WrestleKingdom 9.

I think this is another case of harshness in comparison. Granted, Orton won't be remembered as fondly as guys who had fractions of runs in WWE that he had. For example, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will be rightly remembered as more important to WWE than Orton. But to denigrate him completely as forgettable seems like a mistake. He's had his good-to-great runs, especially in 2013-14 as the foil to Bryan. People will reminisce about him, but he'll be a clear tier below the Punk/Bryan/Cena stratum.

My guess is because they are projects for students at Full Sail. NXT might be the best weekly program WWE has ever produced, but it's clear that people in the office believe it to be developmental completely, so it probably gets a budget to reflect that mindset. WWE production workers aren't going to be spending time on graphics and Trons that may go to people who never make the bigs, but if that's the worst thing about NXT from week to week, then it's a good place to be.

A burial is so bad in wrestling that no other term could do the act justice than one that correlates with death. But with a burial on land, you can still visit the gravesite. Even unmarked graves rarely change position; you just need to know where you buried the body. Most land burials still have markers on them. You can visit the deceased, and hey, if the zombie apocalypse comes, it can still rise up from its grave. Wrestling has a certain magic to it.

But a burial at sea? You just toss the body out into the water, and the waves and currents take it from there. You have no idea where the body will land, or if it will even rest on the ocean floor before either being rent asunder by aquatic scavengers. So in wrestling, a burial at sea is a burial so bad, so grotesque, so damaging that the person can never show his or her face in that territory or promotion again. For example, Sammy Guevara was buried on his way out of Inspire Pro Wrestling, but he could have and has returned. He's risen from his grave, because again, wrestling is magic. But it's not magic enough that it would ever allow Jeff Jarrett to step foot in a WWE ring while Vince McMahon still draws breath. That "G-Double O-Double N-Double E" speech on the final Nitro simulcast? That was a burial at sea, my friend. Sure, Jarrett may have had a career on his own outside WWE, but in terms of Titan Sports, Jeff Jarrett doesn't exist anymore, and no one knows where the body is, because quite frankly, no one there even cares where it dropped.