Thursday, June 30, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. Baseball Season

Which one has been bounced back and forth more?
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:

I'm going to struggle to accurately judge this because I was gone for a lot of John Cena's rise to the top of WWE. That being said, judging Cena's beginnings from afar (I was still on a wrestling message board at the time), it feels like their careers took very similar paths in terms of critical reception. I think Rock may edge Cena out on the number of twists and turns because he entered WWE hated while Cena came in red hot. Either way, both men are among the most polarizing figures in wrestling history.

Zack Sabre, Jr. was my pick to win up until a few days ago when I realized WWE wasn't going to book someone it didn't have under contract to win its first big set-piece tournament. Of the wrestlers in the deal, only two are under contract: Brian Kendrick and Rich Swann. Kendrick is out because he's a trainer and he'll be used to put someone over along the way. Swann is the smart pick to win, and I think WWE will run with him as the winner. He'll probably be joined by Gran Metallik, Sabre, and Akira Tozawa in the final. AS for the MVP, that answer is simpler; it'll be you, the fans for watching this thing.

I'm still a novice at this, but my best advice is to make time for your children. If you're going to be career minded, then don't have kids. If you're going to have kids, everything comes second to them. Work becomes a mechanism by which you provide for them. Time is important. Your kids are going to be your most lasting legacy, and they will need your guidance as well as their mother's. Don't shrug them off for work, pleasure, anything.

WWE should probably end up signing most if not all of the people it recruited for the tournament. Like, this whole exercise isn't just to give fans what they want; WWE isn't into gratification as much as it is telling its fans what they should like. I have to believe it is mostly a scouting venture, and the wrestlers it has scouted seem to be on the high end of the indie/foreign world. If fewer than ten guys end up getting signed out of this, I will be utterly shocked.

Getting over is the only currency in pro wrestling. You can have the gift of gab or be the most gifted in-ring performer, but if you don't connect with the fans, then you might as well be Stan Stansky or Arthur Rosenberg. A wrestler's role in getting and staying over is neverending. It's a constant attempt at connecting with an audience, and it's tied to everything they do. It also takes time. The thing that spurred on this question is Dave Meltzer bitching and moaning that Andrade "Cien" Almas isn't nearly as over in NXT as he was in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. As La Sombra, Almas had so much time to cultivate a character and use his natural charisma to connect with lucha audiences.

But once he got to WWE, he traded in the distinct lucha style and tradition for something way different. NXT/WWE thought that he shouldn't have a mask on because the man's face should probably be insured by Lloyd's of London it's so handsome. So now he has a different set of challenges to get over, and the folks in NXT administration didn't make it easy on him by programming him against Tye Dillinger at first. It might sound like making excuses, but even if he came right in his La Sombra mask, was he going to be cheered like he would be at Arena Mexico his first couple of nights at Full Sail? Fuck and no. He has to work for a new audience, and fans are already responding to him. He didn't come in cold.

The point is, and I may not even have answered the question here the way the asker wanted to, that being over isn't something that is owed or that happens magically. Look at Apollo Crews, who was probably recruited to WWE for what he did in Dragon Gate and then was plopped on NXT television to do a whole different style at a whole different speed with no character development. You can't just transfer aura. It has to be earned, and a good portion of that is on the wrestler to try and work within the parameters he/she is given by management. Wrestlers have to build rapport with audiences. Some of them have it easy (like No Way Jose). Others not so much (Elias Sampson). The point is that Almas doesn't have an impossible gimmick; in fact I'd say he doesn't have a gimmick at all. He's got room to freelance, and whether or not he gets over will be partially dependent on what he does to connect with fans.

He would have been a heel, straight up, but one who was probably respected by the "smarter" fans in the audience. He would have been someone like Kevin Owens. If you didn't get him, then you'd probably hate him. His policy of bounties would have gotten him suspended to high heaven in today's National Football League. But Eagles fans adored him for it because it was entertaining and it got catharsis on a level other than results on the field.