Thursday, September 17, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 138

Was Kingston tailor-made for American Ninja Warrior?
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!

For one, Facade's gimmick is that he's the Neon Ninja, so he definitely makes the cut. Apollo Crews can do all that flippy, agility shit and is a big giant guy with freaky strength, so he's in too. Kofi Kingston's battle royale escapes are choice, so I'd put him on the roster too. Finally, Becky Lynch seems to have ++ dexterity, so she makes the cut.

You aren't kidding when you said that this field was loaded. The 16 competitors are as follows:
Arn Anderson, Steve Austin, Keiji Mutoh, Barry Windham, Bam Bam Bigelow, Scott Norton, Masahiro Chono, Jim Neidhart, Kensuke Sasaki, Hiroshi Hase, Terry Taylor, Shinya Hashimoto, The Barbarian, Rick Rude, Tony Halme, Super Strong Machine
I'm not familiar with Super Strong Machine or  Halme, and Barbarian and Neidhart both kinda suck, but other than that, a field where 12 of 16 competitors are super caliber wrestlers is pretty good. Among the matches that didn't happen on the course of the tournament though, the golden match for me has to be Shinya Hashimoto vs. Steve Austin. Arguably, you have New Japan's all-time ace on one side and one of the finest pro wrestlers in American history on the other who worked wildly divergent styles through his whole career. That is the definition of a dream match to me.

Honestly, Night of Champions has been such a forgettable event that I don't know if I can make a mixtape from it. The only match I'd definitely feel the need to include is the Cesaro vs. Sheamus United States Championship match from last year's event. Maybe, just maybe, I'd also throw in the CM Punk vs. John Cena draw from 2012 too, but I'm not sure I actually watched that match. My memory is so hazy at this point. Really, NOC has been an inessential pay-per-view, which could very well be a function of how WWE treats its titles.

Seth Rollins is overexposed, so he's out. Daniel Bryan will never be cleared to wrestle for WWE again, so he's out. I don't wanna break up New Day, and WWE has a bug up its ass about letting women wrestle men, even though Sasha Banks would be the best goddamn wrestler among that hypothetical six. The rest of the pool is pretty deep, but among the remaining answers, only one really fits the bill...

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Tell me you wouldn't lose your shit if Shinsuke BY GOD Nakamura didn't moonwalk his way down the aisle to give Reigns and Ambrose that last boost to beat the Wyatts. TELL ME.

I have this itching feeling that as soon as WWE can pry the Hardy Boys from TNA, the company is going to revive old enmities between them and the Dudley Boys. The question is when that extraction can happen. I'm not entirely sure the Hardys can get out of their contracts by December, but stranger things have happened. However, I'm also not entirely sure that WWE isn't going to try and hotshot either Ambrose or Reigns into a program with Seth Rollins sooner rather than later, or that the company won't try to turn Reigns or Ambrose against each other. So it's a hard call. If I had make the choice though, it'd be Wyatt/Reigns, because pointless, meandering feuds featuring Wyatt are WWE Creative's jam.

For one, because WWE hasn't wrested the New Japan partnership from Ring of Honor yet. But when it does, do you think New Day can be NOAH's saviors? I'm going to use some transitive property here. Brock Lesnar absolutely annihilated New Day at Beast in the East. Minoru Suzuki is one of the few people in the world as fearsome and destructive as Lesnar, and in fact, he's probably got fewer inhibitions about breaking someone. New Day, as awesome as they are, will not stand a chance against Suzuki. None whatsoever. But it'd be fun to see them try.

In the interest of full disclosure, the only full Trios tourneys I've seen are 2010 and 2011. I have also not seen any footage from before 2009. If I were to extrapolate my experiences from '09, '12, '14, and this year over how I assumed the rest of the weekends turned out combined with word of mouth from the people who were there, my rankings would look something like this:

  1. 2011 - Perhaps the finest three days of wrestling I've ever experienced
  2. 2015 - Night three was tremendous, and from what I heard, the first two nights lived up to their billings
  3. 2009 - How could one go wrong with a tournament featuring Claudio Castagnoli, the Young Bucks, El Generico, and Bryan fuckin' Danielson?
  4. 2010 - Another fine full weekend with a tremendous night two close, even if the heels winning felt a bit too heavy-handed.
  5. 2012 - The last night was very good, although word of mouth put the first two shows as stinkers. Still, the Envoy winning ranks as perhaps my favorite Chikara moment ever, outside of the end of High Noon.
  6. 2014 - It wasn't bad, per se, but the final night was perhaps the weakest overall show I went to. Still a good time though.

On one team, you have Paige, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks, who defected to Team PCB after the Bella Twins lured Tamina away from Team BAD and had her put Naomi on the shelf. On the other, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Alicia Fox, and Tamina. They battle it out until Banks is the only one left standing.

Steve McMichael will never be inducted into any hall of fame unless one exists for bad ponytails, but if I had to guess, I'd say WWE, if only because the bar for entry is so low that I'm pretty sure Frank the WWE Clown will end up getting inducted eventually.

No, in fact, that should be your biggest hope outside of Vince McMahon realizing retirement is good, not bad, and handing the keys over to Triple H and Stephanie. You should want the women to be booked just like the men because then at least you'd know they'd be equal. Right now, the booking still leans slightly sexist, and it's totally based on groups rather than individuality with none of the groups having any of the coolness of the Shield, the mystique of the Wyatt Family, or the whimsy of New Day. Room for improvement is still there, and if they get on an equal footing, even if that equal footing is rooted in incompetence, then at least you know WWE has made strides into making everyone look dumb the same way, not having special, worse degrees for people who happen to have different genitals than the people currently in charge in the world.

Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and The Rock. Imagine Owens all doe-eyed asking Rock question after question and angrily telling Zayn to shut up every time he tried to get in a word edgewise. It'd be fantastic.

Randy Orton's not a conventional choice, but imagine an episode where the Titans get bored of him overexplaining his plot and move on to do something else, only for the payoff to be him RKOing the entirety of Jump City?

The randomizing hat has to be in the game, whether as an actual feature for when you want to play one-player but don't necessarily have your heart set on an opponent, or as an easter egg for matches that comes up at random intervals.

Only if you're coming nowhere near Wawa territory. WAWA FOREVER, SHEETZ NEVER.

Okay, I have to make a confession. I actually don't mind Sheetz. I'm a bad Pennsylvanian by having affinity for both stores, but honestly, Sheetz does some things better than Wawa. For example, the coffee cups at Sheetz are insulated foam, whereas I need to double up my cups AND use the sleeve in order to hold my coffee. Also, Sheetz has a more diverse hot food menu, even if the burgers and burritos they do offer aren't necessarily as tasty as they should be for it to be a total win. But overall, Wawa is definitely better. Come at me, Yinzers and Pennsyltuckians. COME AT ME.

The 2012 tournament was tops for me, mainly because I was so invested in UltraMantis Black's journey over the last three-and-a-half years, because it was the best-worked final I've ever seen, and because the Young Bucks and Mike Bennett were such great heels all throughout their run. The catharsis I felt at the moment where the Spectral Envoy won was tremendous.

Single elimination, eight wrestler tournament featuring the spookiest wrestlers in the history of wrestling? I'm down. Place the Undertaker, demonic cult leader Kevin Sullivan, the Boogeyman, UltraMantis Black, Hallowicked, La Parka, OG Kane, and LA MOMIA (arguably the most popular South American wrestler ever) in a witch's cauldron. Add in some eye of newt and whisker of a manticore, then stir until it comes out with Undertaker battling La Momia in the finals. Then, when Undertaker unravels La Momia's wrappings, thus cursing himself and causing him to wither into dust YOU HAVE YOUR WICKED SUPERNATURAL TOURNAMENT. MUHUHUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Easy. Terry Funk vs. Bob  Backlund. PRINT THEM DOLLAR BILLS, Y'ALL.

The more I think about it, the more I think Rollins is keeping that title for at least 435 days. Triple H seems to love the guy so much that he's turned him into a miniature version of himself. He does get heat, and he wrestles in a way that people other than me are really into it. Plus, the whole "WWE loves to spite people it has beef with" thing is in play. If you think that Nikki Bella's record-breaking Divas Championship reign was an accident, then I have tickets to the 2013 King of Trios event I need to sell you. CM Punk is a far greater cause of consternation in WWE right now, and the sooner his longest-title-reign in post-Hogan history is vanquished, the better.

Of course, I could be wrong, especially since 435 days of Rollins as WWE Champion would only give Sheamus an eight day window to cash in his Money in the Bank successfully. Also, the rumored Seth Rollins/Triple H match that's coming down the pipe feels like one that doesn't need the title. I don't know. But if you want my gut feeling on the whole thing, expect to see Rollins with that belt over his shoulder for a long, long time.

Private user @Conley76 asks:
can we Freebird Rules the presidency and just elect New Day to run the country?
On one hand, they would conquer all America's problems with the power of positivity, but on the other, you see how racist the Republican party and the genpop conservatives are with ONE Black guy in charge. I'm not sure I wanna subject those three to THAT much racism. They're too awesome to get that down and age that quickly.

Quite contrarily, it would post the highest ratings ever and cause the next boom period.

This is in reference to Jake "The Snake" Roberts. The one question I'd ask would be which wrestlers were absolutely terrified of Damien? Someone had to have an inordinate fear of snakes and was programmed against Roberts as a rib by Vince McMahon. I want to know who.

Just for the sheer hilarity, I loved Billy Gunn jacking the jackhammer and not even using it as a finish. It was a dick move for sure, but it was funny that Gunn of all people took Goldberg's big finish and made it a transition/near fall move.

I sure know that if you don't shoot a movie in one take and keep all the flubs, YOU'RE A FRAUD.

In all seriousness, getting to work out the kinks of a match at the Performance Center is no different than in the olden days when guys would do the same match over and over on the house show circuit, sometimes in preparation for the big arena show/pay-per-view. Hell, Randy Savage meticulously went over his WrestleMania III match with Ricky Steamboat with a fine-toothed comb. This idea that wrestlers getting to rehearse moves, spots, or entire matches diminishes their final efforts is asinine, and it portends that practice makes perfect. It doesn't. You can practice all you want, and you can still fall victim to jitters, or the conditions can change to something unknown, or hey, bad luck could take over.

If you don't think Sasha Banks or Bayley are among the best wrestlers going right now (or to be fair, Sami Zayn last year), that is your prerogative. Interpretation of wrestling is highly personal and subjective. Giving bullshit "factual" reasons as demerits of product makes you sound idiotic at best, and in possession of a sinister agenda at worst. Don't be that guy. Just explain why you think the finished product isn't as good as someone from New Japan or the main roster or ROH.

Zack Ryder - He's a meme now, but when he first broke as his Long Island Iced Z character in ECW, he was an effective character and a hard worker. Give him a chance to run as the "star" portion of EVOLVE or even local indies against guys like Roderick Strong or Mike Bailey and he could prove some of his doubters wrong.

Nattie Neidhart - She's increasingly lost in the shuffle. I don't watch Total Divas; is she even a featured player anymore? She could use a veteran's tour around the women's circuit and even prove her Hart Dungeon mettle against men in some places.

Heath Slater - The biggest reason for his release into the wild would be having 3MB participate in King of Trios next year, but imagine him taking big bumps for guys like Moose, Kongo Kong, or Matt Tremont. He'd be everyone's favorite opponent within a week.

Fandango - Johnny Curtis is way too charismatic to be left to rot in Superstars hell, and either as his Durty Curty character or a riff on Fandango (with a different name, obvs), he could provide some color to any indie card.

Curtis Axel - He submarined himself with that Genesis of McGillicutty promo, and the Heyman Guy experiment was a failure from jump. The truth is he's a talented guy who just happened to have the worst breaks, whether on his own or from above, happen to him at the worst times. Put him on a series of EVOLVE shows, and he'll show his worth.