Thursday, July 30, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 131

Is Lee the biggest reason why Paige and her peers are getting pushed so hard now?
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!

The current estimate is a solid 35%, which I reserve the right to change in the future depending on how this Divas' Revolution sticks. On one hand, the dedication shown to women's wrestling on NXT seems to suggest that forces in WWE that have hands in both pots (namely, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) want to have more of a positive female presence on the main roster. At the same time, Trips has also been named as one of CM Punk's chief antagonists behind the scenes, so I really don't know. The real litmus test will come when Nikki Bella passes Lee (you know Lee's getting passed). If the focus is still as intense after Bella gets dethroned, then I think all the fears can be put to bed. But WWE is a company filled with petty, bitter people who hold grudges from all reports, even the ones who seem to want to affect positive change like Trips.

I honestly don't know what the story originally was supposed to be. Steve Austin definitely was injured at that time, but I'm not sure how long WWE thought he was going to be out. WWE never knows how long someone will be out, because it either tries to rush someone back too early, or it keeps a wrestler out too long if he/she has prior injury history. Big Show stepped into the match and surprisingly won the title, which leads me to believe he was the original choice to have run over the Texas Rattlesnake rather than Rikishi having done it FOR DA ROCK. However, Show had his run-ins with WWE's gross image obsession problem and had to go to Ohio Valley Wrestling fat camp, and then he fell out of favor with the booking for awhile, and well, he wasn't nearly as viable an option by the time late 2000 rolled around. Of course, the above is speculation. If someone like a Dave Meltzer has written an account of what really happened and what the plans were, I'm sure someone on Twitter will loudly proclaim my ignorance and point it out.

Even better, his major scene is painting him as a two-pump chump, which totally flies in the face of his "I'M A REAL MAN AND YOU ARE NOT, SETH ROLLINS/CM PUNK/RANDY ORTON/INSERT HEEL HERE" character narrative. It is delicious irony.

Anything can happen in entertainment, but as freelance writer and Philly bon vivant Dan McQuade points out, Meek Mill is going up against a huge pop star who may actually have the ghostwriters that Mill is accusing him of having. Of course he's going to have problems going toe-to-toe lyrically with Drake. The saddest part is that before Drake dropped his first diss track, Mill was shouting him out and trying to make nice in anticipation of the impending bomb, reminding me of the kinds of dudes who made hateful comments towards certain writers for having legit critiques of a certain wrestling promotion, and then when confronted about those comments, tried to leverage them into getting on various people's podcasts.

Which is to say, maybe this whole stunt was calculated from the beginning to try and get more people talking about a certain rapper from Philadelphia looking to push his fame to the next level. Of course, the biggest flaw in that strategy is that a clear line of demarcation exists between good and bad attention, and once the novelty of the beef goes away, Mill may just end up in the same spot or worse than before he picked his fight with Drake. Plus, any time you fuck with a famous or well-known person, the stans come crawling out of the woodwork, and the more famous you are, the more famous the stans are. I mean, Joe Budden has already wrote a Meek Mill diss. What fuckin' business does he have between those two? He may have brought it on himself, but I still feel bad for him in a way. But Drake has owned him, and probably should have all along.

Conversely, Drake can rot in the fucking Black Cells in King's Landing for using Joe Carter as cover art for his second diss. Old wounds, man, old wounds.

Photo via

Yes, but the improvement would be minuscule. WWE's booking problems run far deeper than the number of people in a given match. Besides, against all odds, most of WWE's multiman matches have skewed of higher quality lately than they were ten to 15 years ago even. Basically, WWE's booking needs a complete overhaul first before that problem is adequately addressed.

To an extent you may be right, but at the same time, Cena has brought prestige to the United States Championship, has left his opponents in far better shape than Bray Wyatt was at the end of his run-in with him, and most importantly, he's held up his end of the bargain in the matches. Cena's always been a fine if unheralded wrestler, but this year has clearly been his best in the ring since I've started watching wrestling again. To say he's been carried in all those matches puts a lot of onus on workers who maybe tremendous but also who don't have the big spotlight experience. Maybe one can buy Sami Zayn or Kevin Owens "carrying" Cena, but Rusev, who was reared in the WWE developmental system exclusively? Stardust, who has never had a better singles match than the one he had with Cena over the US Championship? I don't buy it.

I think if you're looking for a culprit to knock Cena down a peg or two, you should look at the pathetically anemic main event scene without The Champ. WWE is in the process of nerfing Brock Lesnar something serious. Seth Rollins has been a dogshit Champion, not necessarily just because of booking, but the booking definitely has been a huge sore spot. Creative has not a blessed idea to do with Roman Reigns, and it's even more clueless about how to handle Wyatt. Randy Orton and Sheamus are stuck in this feedback loop. Dean Ambrose feels like an orphan. Big Show and Kane continue to suck up prime real estate despite being well past their sell-by dates. Wouldn't Cena and his travails which include fantastic matches nearly every week look way the fuck better by comparison?

The answer was Roman Reigns. It still might be Roman Reigns. WWE did him dirty. I don't think I'd go as far as Dylan Hales and say it was a political hit, but ever since he came back from his hernia injury, Creative has left him out to dry. He never should have won Superstar of the Year, not because the award has any prestige, but because it was guaranteed to cause major backlash. His scripted promos were straight from the fever dream fantasies of Vince McMahon. The Royal Rumble was laid out in a way that made his victory even more unpopular than it was bound to be. And then when he finally started getting over, WWE bypassed him for Rollins, stuck him in meaningless feuds, and strung him along to the point where it should have been a foregone conclusion that he was going to win the title no later than Battleground and face off against Brock Lesnar one more time.

But that has not happened, and he's stuck in a garbage feud with Wyatt who is a garbage character in the hands of McMahon, because really, who else would have this transformative character and book him exactly like every single heel has been booked with the exception of a few in the last 40 years other than a guy whose brain still thinks he needs to put territories that haven't existed for decades out of business? If any justice exists in the world, Rollins will eke by Cena at SummerSlam, and sometime during the fall, Reigns will win the title, unless one believes that Reigns is not the kind of guy WWE should strap in the irrelevant winter months. Then, maybe Ambrose is the guy who beats Rollins and then loses the title back to him at the Rumble to set up a Shield three-way at Mania next year. I don't know. Thinking about WWE booking makes my stomach ache with acid reflux.

Sasha Banks, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, Becky Lynch, and Big E, in that order. I would take that group over Seth Rollins (who's showing he can't cut a promo to save his life and that his ring mechanics are a bit too... mechanical right now), Bray Wyatt (who cannot overcome bad booking like Ambrose and Rusev can and have), Paige (who got way overrated way early because she was the first of the NXT troupe), and Charlotte (who is good but has a whole lot of learning and seasoning to do). Banks is a legit Wrestler of the Year AND Steamboat/Most Outstanding candidate even now. Ambrose and Rusev continue to show prowess all around despite terrible booking. Lynch, whom I had some doubts about earlier this year about her character chops, has gotten a huge chance to show her well-roundedness in addition to her unfuckwithable in-ring game lately, and Big E finally has a chance to shine in the New Day, showing he's better than his lot in the company.

Also, that exercise allowed me to learn that Bo Dallas is only 25. That's really fuckin' young. He can stand to play "young boy" for awhile before he really gets a chance to take off.

I would shoot it into the Sun and show reruns of Shotgun Saturday Night, if only because I would then have a chance to advertise Cena in Trainwreck!

No, in all seriousness, I would pick half the field to be models/body types/non-wrestlers and half to be indie wrestlers and really showcase the dichotomy between the two. Also, everyone would probably get signed to NXT afterwards unless they really sucked or had terrible attitudes. Oh, and on the first week, everyone would get a chance to hit Bill DeMott hanging from the ceiling by a pulley like he was a piñata. BECAUSE REASONS.

As bad as Dixie Carter could be at times, she at least tries to emote. On the rare occasion, it actually comes through as genuine and effective. Linda McMahon is a robot set to monotone at all times. She wins... or loses?

NOMINEE NUMBER ONE - Finn Bálor's Demon Entrance. It's definitely the best semi-regular entrance on the scene right now.

NOMINEE NUMBER TWO - Tyler Breeze at Takeover: Unstoppable. The faux-fashion show motif was a home run. Breeze doesn't have to make the main roster to be a star if the NXT brass will let him own the studio space like that every time he appears.

NOMINEE NUMBER THREE - Triple H at WrestleMania, but only if I can divorce the actual entrance from the cheesy mini-movie/trailer for Terminator: Genisys introduction. I'll admit, the cyborgs with rifles lining the stage came off super cool, and he gets bonus points for using a bunch of NXT dudes, including Solomon Crowe and Smilin' Drake Wuertz as the stand-ins. Hopefully, they use their leftover props for when WWE signs Nick Gage and DJ Hyde and stages the big Combat Zone Wrestling invasion of NXT. I'm only half-kidding.

FIRST RUNNER-UP - Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleKingdom 9. I was disappointed at the lack of gaudy entrances at WrestleKingdom this year, especially since they've been a highlight in years past, but Nakamura's was special and didn't disappoint.

WINNER - Rusev at WrestleMania. C'mon, he came to the ring in a goddamn tank. He wins the world.