Thursday, March 24, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 157

Everyone gets a spot at Mania
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!

In the olden days, when the WWE Network was but a dream, WrestleMania was the biggest revenue driver in the company. It drew the most pay-per-view buys, so more money was available to spread around to the boys. Basically, the WrestleMania check was the roster's Christmas bonus, so Vince McMahon tried stuffing as many wrestlers onto the show as humanly possible. That mentality is still in play because vestiges are hard to completely cut off. Right now, the big revenue driver is the Network. Theoretically, everyone across the board should get more money. But I doubt that's the case. Either way, it's still a boon for a guy to say he or she competed at Mania that year. Everyone wants them a WrestleMania moment, y'know?

Well, first thing's first, I'm going to run down the teams that are in it:
  • Rock Lobster and Hermit Crab
  • The Osirian Portal (Amasis and Ophidian)
  • The Colony (Fire and Worker Ants)
  • The United Nations (Prakash Sabar and Proletariat Boar of Moldova)
  • The Sea Stars (Delmi Exo and Ashley Vox)
  • The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch)
  • Los Ice Creams (Ice Cream Jr. and El Hijo del Ice Cream)
  • Punk Rock All-Stars (Shaun Cannon and Drake Carter)
Okay, so I've seen all but the last team up there in action. I'm not sure if the PRAS have any sort of cache above being rookies, so I will eliminate them from contention. Watch them win now. Anyway, Los Ice Creams are dead in the water because the Devastation Corporation has it in for anyone who was even remotely associated with Crown and Court's Challenge of the Immortals win, and in turn, DevCorp ain't winning because they haven't won poop since Sidney Bakabella got his hairpiece forcibly removed by Oleg the Usurper. I wouldn't rule out an "illegal" appearance from a rogue Max Smasmaster though. The Sea Stars are too new, although I'm glad Chikara has booked them in an attempt to help get more female talent in tow.

That leaves the Colony, Portal, and the Crustacean Connection as the legit contenders. The Portal is being advertised as "one time only," so even though I will be rooting for them to win the whole thing, I'm gonna put them behind the other two. Lobster and Crab fit the profile of a homegrown, rudo foil to put against the current Campeones NRG, but my guess is The Colony wins to give the Champs a prestige title defense and to allow Worker Ant to get his big showcase match that he's deserved for a couple of years now.

Last year, by far. Last year's event had the echoing din from the Royal Rumble that Daniel Bryan should have won and Roman Reigns was not worthy of the Mania main event. The thinkpieces flowed like ouzo at a big fat Greek wedding. Madness wracked the wrestling community. This year, most of the reactions have been silent resignation. From my vantage point, various sects of Wrestling Twitter™ have come down with Stockholm Syndrome in regards to Triple H as Champion. Plus, the whole vibe right now seems that Reigns' momentum is waning and that Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker will close the show. I haven't seen the outrage I saw last year. Maybe I'm not looking in the right corners. Either way, last year induced more complaining from my experience.

That would be one heck of a project, but I fear I've lost some of the early spreadsheets used to tabulate the first couple of years. Watching how the aggregation of opinions formed a consensus over ten years would be super interesting, however. It might be a project worthy of trying if I have all the materials to do it, of course.

Absolutely yes! I mean, WWE's booking going into Mania hasn't been this shambled in... well, uh, a year? But at the same time, Mania isn't necessarily a show you need to be invested in to enjoy. For example, last year's show was supremely fun despite the milquetoast run-up, and this year's could be the same. Taker/Shane McMahon could be a fun schlockfest. Reigns/Trips could go either way, but it'll be worth seeing if just for how WWE goes forward, from a NASCAR car crash perspective. Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar could very well be the best match of the year. Every other match on the show at least could be decent, with most of them having a ceiling high enough to get excited for. I can't speak for your tastes, but at the same time, this show could be worth the four-plus hours it takes up ten days from today.

This question is where I plead the fifth, because sadly, I didn't listen to a lot of A Tribe Called Quest. But it sucks that Phife Dawg lost his life at such a young age. The hip-hop community seems to be analogous to the wrestling community in terms of early deaths, even if the causes are different between the two. But I'm dodging your question, albeit for a shameful reason. I will now walk from the Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep with a nun-looking lady walking behind me saying "SHAME. SHAME." Clothed, of course, because no one needs to see my hairy ass naked.

If one is to assume no new faces are going to pop up between now and then, the main event of Payback 2016 will be Roman Reigns vs. Triple H in a street fight. The event after Mania is usually a repository for rematches with exotic stipulations. The question is whether it will be for the title or not, and I'm leaning towards it not. Whether or not the title changes hands at Mania, I have a mighty strong feeling that it will switch owners the night after, and the person who does win it won't be Reigns or Trips. Still, with the possibility of Shane McMahon and Undertaker headlining Mania, Reigns and Trips will get their consolation prize as a main event of the pay-per-view afterwards.

I think it's already happening with Bayley and Finn Bálor, to be honest. But WWE is going to have a logjam going forward, one where the only solution will be releasing wrestlers. Whether it be guys in NXT who are sick of waiting for their turns like Bull Dempsey and Solomon Crowe asking for releases, or members of the RAW roster who are just expendable like anyone in the Social Outcasts or Damien Sandow, guys are going to be let go to keep the flow of talent from turning stagnant.

Excluding WrestleMania I, because everyone was a first-timer, you may be right. The list of Mania first timers for this year is as follows:
  • Sami Zayn
  • Kevin Owens
  • AJ Styles
  • Sasha Banks
  • Charlotte
  • Becky Lynch
  • Xavier Woods
  • Summer Rae
  • possibly Emma
  • possibly Bayley
That is some heavy duty first-timeage there. I'd have to do research to confirm or deny this gut feeling, but yeah, I would definitely agree this is the best Mania for "rookies" ever.