Thursday, July 23, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. Ten Times As Unlucky

How would I fantasy book Jimmy Rave and his 15 SCI cohorts?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
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!

First thing's first, people should definitely be checking back to Free Wrestling to check out the Scenic City Invitational Tournament Project written by the asker of this question, and keep checking back until the tourney gets here on August 8. Okay, the first round matches are as follows:
  • Caprice Coleman vs. Jason Collins
  • Mark Vandy vs. Ace Rockwell
  • Kongo Kong vs. Tank
  • Jimmy Rave vs. Anthony Henry
  • Corey Hollis vs. Joey Lynch
  • Chip Day vs. Gunner Miller
  • Moose vs. KT Hamill
  • Gunner vs. Chrisjen Hayme
Assuming those matches are listed how the bracket plays out, the following is how I'd book the thing. Jason Collins pins Caprice Coleman in the longest match of the night. Coleman is Georgia royalty, and Collins getting a win over him would be huge, especially in a main event slot. Ace Rockwell gets the nod over Mark Vandy. Tank takes out Kongo Kong in what should be the most violent match of the tourney, if not the whole year. Jimmy Rave handily defeats Anthony Henry. Corey Hollis goes over Joey Lynch. Gunner Miller dispatches Chip Day. Miller seems to me to be Empire/Chattanooga's golden boy. He's a former football player, and he seems to be held in high regard by the people in the know and in charge of things down there. Moose bests KT Hamill in a classic, probably the second longest match. Gunner defeats Chrisjen Hayme.

The quarterfinals would unfold first with Collins taking out Rockwell, then with Rave escaping Tank by the skin of his teeth. Maybe Rave tries something a little underhanded as has been his wont lately. Miller pins Hollis, while Moose convincingly takes out Gunner. The semifinals would set up a Rave/Miller final with Miller taking the whole thing in a classic match. I'd also set up an angle afterwards where Rave fakes out on a handshake, takes him out, and destroys the trophy over his back because firstly, no wrestling trophy should ever go undestroyed, and second, because a follow-up program with Rave, whether in Empire or not, would be awesome for Miller.

Becky Lynch/Ringo Starr - Lynch is the newest in the fold, like Starr was the last Beatle to join. Starr was also the oldest member of the band, and while I'm not sure how old Lynch is compared to the rest of her Horsewomen mates, she seems to have the most-tenured, most-storied pre-NXT career of the lot.

Bayley/George Harrison - In the same vein as Harrison's genius being overlooked in favor of the songwriting prowess of the other two, Bayley feels like she's a clear third behind Charlotte and Sasha Banks despite the fact that she has a case for being considered the best of them. Harrison seemed to be the most affable of the group, the least ingrained in all the bullshit, and Bayley's character paints her as friendly. However, I doubt Harrison was as much a hug enthusiast as Bayley is, but these are rough approximations.

Charlotte/Paul McCartney
Sasha Banks/John Lennon - It feels as if these two will be entwined for their entire careers, although their enmity is worked whereas Lennon/McCartney had bad blood in real life. I correlate Banks with Lennon because like Lennon, she feels more experimental, bolder, and with more artistic cache in the ring. Charlotte, like McCartney, is great at what she does, but she seems to play it safer, take fewer risks, play to more of an accepted crowd. The biggest difference between the Lennon/McCartney and Banks/Charlotte comps is that it feels like time will bear out that Banks is on a different level than Charlotte completely, while Lennon and McCartney still pretty much felt like equals even with the stylistic differences. Charlotte could improve and get on a level comparable to Banks on an every day basis though, which is the trouble of making comparisons between a new entity like the Horsewomen and an overly studied and established group like the Beatles.

Only if you promise to give me your eternal, undying soul, well, either that or half your untaxed earnings for the next five years.

It's more the latter than the former. Elements in WWE like Stephanie McMahon and Triple H can talk a good game when it comes to social progression, but as long as drooling simpletons like Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn man the creative decisions, then you have a good chance of seeing Young dress louder than he did as the NXT rookie to CM Punk and make "Exotic" Adrian Street look like Steve Austin. Be wary.

Absolutely not. You'll be missing the second and third weeks of a five week build towards SummerSlam that will more than likely spin wheels. The only two shows that will probably matter are the first one after Battleground that already aired Monday and the go-home show six days before the shindig in Brooklyn. Enjoy your vacation, and if you have to catch up on wrestling, absolutely watch NXT on your phone instead of trying to catch up on six hours of what will more than likely be pointless pap when you get back.

God, I hope so. Cena needs to go into that match as United States Champion as much as I need a hole in my head. The grand end to his US Championship Open Challenge should have been him dropping the belt at SummerSlam to a guy like Kevin Owens, Cesaro, or even a debuting Finn Bálor, but those plans seem to have gone up in dust because Vince McMahon gave himself an ulcer over ratings and because Kevin Dunn is an insecure piece of shit who can't bear to see any of the beauty of NXT bleed onto RAW and make it worth watching for more than 15 minutes at a time here or there. In a just world, Rollins would directly cause the US Championship to go to either Owens or Cesaro, and they'd wrestle an instant classic at SummerSlam over the belt while Cena does his best to carry the limp, lifeless body of Rollins' heel run across the finish line. But that ain't any of my business, kermy-sips-the-tea-dot-jpg.

He'll be able to reach his final form, which probably is his current frame with spikes protruding out of his deltoids, widening and darkening of his eyes, his hair turning into red peaks, and his sword tattoo coming out of his chest in manifestation as a real weapon. He'll also poop out a brass ring in the middle of the ring, and everyone who came out to break up his epic brawl with Undertaker on RAW Monday will try to reach for it.

First, one would have to talk talent. Adam Cole, Dalton Castle, ACH, Mike Bennett... all those guys could be in NXT at the expiration of their ROH contracts if Triple H wanted them there (and Cole is rumored to be working on a handshake right now). Then, Trips could follow through on his threats to squeeze ROH out of its normal arenas. It might dodge the bullet in Philadelphia if NXT sticks to the Tower Theater, and I doubt the duBurns Arena will budge in Baltimore, but what about Chicago? New York? Boston? Las Vegas? Nashville? Yeah, WWE could put the squeeze on. Then maybe Trips could offer a cushy job in creative to Hunter "Delirious" Johnston, although depending on which ROH observer one asks, that could be a blessing in disguise. Basically, the only thing off the table would be the Destination America contract, if only because NXT as a Network selling point seems important. WWE has no chill. None.

G1 Climaxing sounds like something Dave Meltzer does between shows. I keed, I keed.

I'm not watching it right now. I may revisit it if/when I end up getting New Japan World and some spare time to watch the rassles. But judging from what I've been reading and following about NJPW, I would place Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura in the finals. As much as I want to say Nakamura is going to win to make good on his Intercontinental Championship loss to Hirooki Goto and set up a CHAOS implosion, the symmetry behind a Tanahashi/Kazuchika Okada rematch at WrestleKingdom 10, only with the IWGP Championship on the other waist, is too tempting to pick anyone but Tanahashi.

It's hard for me to say because I don't know what you're looking for in a woman. But sparks seem universally important, right? If you don't feel like you can make the sexy time with her or spend an extended amount of time with her as your exclusive companion, then it's probably better to cut bait now rather than string her or yourself along when the obligation to stay together grows stronger, even in the absence of love or a true connection. You don't have to feel ashamed to initiate entering the "friend zone" (which is never a bad place to be). You have fun with her, so she's obviously worth having around as a friend. Talk to her, let her know how you feel, and go from there. To paraphrase the band Nada Surf from its smash hit "Popular," unless she's a real jerk or a crybaby, you'll be friends.

Wrestlers pop up in movies all the time, mostly in cameo roles unless you're talking Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Steve Austin, and The Rock. For the purposes of this question, I am disqualifying Rocky, because the dude owned acting better than any other wrestler who has ever lived. Anyway, my top five:

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Bam Bam Bigelow as Biker in Major Payne, Kevin Nash as Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze, Ernest "The Cat" Miller as The Ayatollah in The Wrestler, Vader as Francis Stecchino, Sr. in Boy Meets World, Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips in Rocky III

5. Hulk Hogan as himself in Gremlins 2: The New Batch - The Hulkster had a checkered history as an actor in leading roles, but his cameo in the Gremlins sequel is on point. It's a fourth-wall breaking gag where he's in the theater watching the actual movie when the Gremlins get into the projector room and eat the film. Only Hogan can save the day, which he does by cutting a promo on them and ripping his shirt off.

4. Tiny "Zeus" Lister as Tattooed Prisoner in The Dark Knight - Sure, the scene with the boats is the weakest scene in the first sequel in the Nolan Batman series. And all Lister has to do is project his cross-eyed menace up until the point when he does the right thing. But he does a good job redeeming the most hackneyed part of an otherwise fine script.

3. Necro Butcher as himself in The Wrestler - I'll be honest; the Randy the Ram vs. Necro death match scene was the hardest for me to watch because it was so visceral and real, but damn, the Butcher pulls it off, both in his locker room conversation and the actual death match portion.

2. Randy Savage as Bonesaw McGraw in Spider-Man - Look, if you're going to do a pro wrestling scene in a superhero movie, you go out and get the fuckin' Macho Man, okay? He was the perfect combination of manic and fearsome to play as Spidey's ersatz first supervillain test. Okay, calling Bonesaw a supervillain might be a reach, but then again, he was a challenge Peter Parker had to overcome, right?

1. Roddy Piper as The Maniac in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Piper's role on the show ended up being recurring, as his Maniac not only appeared in the pro wrestling episode, but in a later Ponzi scheme episode. In both his appearances, his deadpan and the self-deprecation he uses playing an almost autobiographical character just make either episode. It's hard to steal the show from a cast that includes Danny DeVito and Charlie Day, but by God, Piper does it.

Before you string me up by my toes, I've never seen They Live, which makes me the most shameful wrestling fan ever. I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry.
Both my answers to this question are John Cena, and both of his opponents are named Brock Lesnar. The first post-return Lesnar/Cena match showed a different side of the latter. One should have expected Lesnar to work a stiffer, more MMA-influenced style, but Cena went along with it against all expectation. I mean, he's the most sports-entertainery sports entertainer ever, and while he didn't necessarily grapple Lesnar purely, he did enough to help make it the most unique match that was probably ever contested under a WWE banner. The second notable match was their SummerSlam '14 main event where Cena acted as a squash match victim for the first time in several years. Every other match he was ever in as Cena saw him get some sort of substantial advantage, but Lesnar just beat him like he was rag doll. It was so shocking, and while I don't think the match was technically as good as some make it out to be, it was definitely surprising and satisfying from a cathartic standpoint, one that ached for Cena to get that kind of prison beating after over a decade of LOLCENAWINZ.

From @jetta_rae, a private user:
what are ways we can cover WWE that don't gratify and give credence to their overwrought truman show esque media identity?
The best way to do that is to stay woke and always call the company out for its bullshit. Don't just assume that because Stephanie McMahon wants a gay character that the creative team will do right by it. Don't buy it sight-unseen that the Divas Revolution is going to stick. Always keep the company on its toes, whether you think it's going to listen to you or not. If the counternarrative can get enough voices behind it, then maybe WWE will listen. Or maybe not. Never underestimate the power of a corporate bullshit machine.

I've never listened to Persistence of Time, and I quite like Among the Living, so my answer is obviously Lightning to the Nations.

Well, Emma and Dana Brooke have two-thirds of a trio. I hate to pry Alexa Bliss from the Dubstep Cowboys, seeing as she's the one element of their act that has made them interesting, but the Evil Blondes as a fourth trio in the fray would work. But that would leave Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch as the only babyfaces. They need reinforcements. They need... the Divas of Destruction to return. Nattie Neidhart charges in with her Mad Max-spiky gear and brings Beth Phoenix and VICTORIA out of retirement. Finally, Bayley needs to get in on this action, and let her ride into battle with the Aussies by her side. Jessie McKay and KC Cassidy, or Jessie and Cassie, come on down and ride with Bayley.

Much in the same vein as my number one choice for best acting performances, I gotta go with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's "The Gang Supports the Troops." From Piper's hilarious performance as The Maniac to the absurdity of the Birds of War to the final scene when the Garbage Man bites a hole in the Talibum's jugular and stands soaking in the cheers as Rickety Cricket bleeds profusely (but still survives, weird), it's perfection. Other pro wrestling episodes in other series have been good enough. Boy Meets World, That '70s Show, and even the Scooby Doo WWE special all warrant mention, but they can't touch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.