Friday, October 14, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 170

Harper should move back into the Intercontinental Championship scene now that it's rehabbed
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:

Luke Harper is back and by the side of Bray Wyatt once more, which is great for reasons of seeing that big bearded brute back in the ring, but kinda enh for reasons of being chained to Wyatt once more. Then again, Wyatt could end up being a huge deal in WWE if his booking gets slightly tweaked, which can happen as soon as the time the Smackdown writers and showrunners allow him to decimate Randy Orton. But this question isn't about Wyatt, it's about Harper. Personally, I know it would be a rehash of an old feud, but I would love to see Harper go after the Intercontinental Championship. Honestly, The Miz is above the IC Championship and needs to do main event things against Dean Ambrose or John Cena. Ziggler seems reinvigorated and his belt seems rehabbed. So having him have a meaningful program against someone like Harper, who is great in the ring and someone who can shine in a midcard program, would be good for all parties involved.

I like it. Candy corn is controversial now because some people online don't like it, which is fine. However, energy spent slandering candy corn could be better used rightfully knocking real bad candies, like circus peanuts or, ugh, Necco wafers. Look, candy corn isn't my favorite Halloween treat, but it's good enough that if I'm put next to a bowl of it on someone's endtable, I would go to work on it. Same with the candy corn pumpkins too. Sometimes, you just need convenient sugar in chewable form.

For those who don't know, Josh Alexander is the latest victim of work visa troubles between the United States and Canada. While he's not BANNED FROM THE STATES for five years like Seleziya Sparx or "Speedball" Mike Bailey, he's going to have to get his shit together before being allowed back in to work companies like AAW or AIW again. And that's horseshit, to be honest. As someone who is growing more and more weary of the concept of nationhood and borders, I'm idealistically opposed to work visas needing to be a thing, especially between countries that are on good terms like the United States and Canada (and Japan and the United Kingdom and Ireland and South Korea and well you get the picture). But I get why they're in place, I suppose. I just don't see how the hoops need to be so hard to jump through, especially for guys and gals who may be working for peanuts comparatively speaking.

Very carefully.

No, seriously, I would go with the simplest path. A Smackdown superstar, say, Dean Ambrose wins the Royal Rumble and decides he wants to challenge for the Universal Championship, held by Roman Reigns (or Seth Rollins, who cares at this point). RAW officials want someone of theirs to have a shot at winning the World Heavyweight Championship so they're not completely shut out in case Ambrose wins. Smackdown officials say tough shit. So Vince McMahon comes back to be the arbitrator and suggests a best of seven series between the choice of superstar on each brand going into WrestleMania. Smackdown presents Bray Wyatt or Randy Orton or John Cena or whomever, while RAW would select from Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Reigns/Rollins, Chris Jericho, or even Cesaro. The RAW guy would win, just as a way to keep people guessing, I suppose. It wouldn't happen that way, probably, but still, it's a simple fix.

The top match feels like a slam dunk. John Cena will challenge AJ Styles either to tie, or more likely, to break Ric Flair's record for World Championship reigns. From there, it gets murkier, because I don't see many of the feuds from now holding until March/April. That being said, I will take a stab at it:

  • Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt (AGAIN)
  • The Miz vs. Randy Orton
  • Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Luke Harper vs. Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin vs. Curt Hawkins vs. Jack Swagger vs. Heath Slater
  • Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. American Alpha
  • Smackdown Women's Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka
  • Pre-show multi-women tag match: THE GLOW, Nikki Bella, and Eva Marie vs. Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Carmella

I have Asuka in the challenger spot for Lynch because she's going to have no worlds left to conquer in NXT soon. She got signed at a weird time in between eras, and I feel like her staying there is a waste if she's there too much longer. Smackdown isn't going to have that marquee match for Mania unless you go with Lynch vs. Nikki Bella, which I'm not so sure about at this point.

I follow it enough to know what's going on. These predictions will be tenuous at best, and don't be surprised if they're completely wrong.

EAST PLAYOFF TEAMS: Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Florida, Boston
WEST PLAYOFF TEAMS: Nashville, Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, Minnesota, Los Angeles, San Jose, Calgary

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Los Angeles over Pittsburgh

CALDER TROPHY: Travis Kocecny

Because I'm a giant homer, Chikara is my answer here. But the reasoning isn't just because it's local and my favorite promotion. Chikara is a company that would work well in a weekly serialized setting because of its comic book ethos. It lends itself well to continuing stories, and continuing stories lend themselves to television.

The better question is, which WWE babyface has been a babyface and not a heel that adopts populist causes? Then again, isn't that what babyfaces are? Populists? I mean, wrestling is fantasy escapism, and even though Steve Austin cursed and drank, he did what everyone in the audience wanted to do, which was in a perverse, "fuck the system" way, heroic. How many people's bosses get to positions of management, or even more pointedly, capital without being ruthless? Power corrupts, and as society has seen with the economic troubles, a lot of bosses, CEOs, executives, and otherwise people in power have abused the American public for a long time. Doesn't that make what Austin did noble? Of course, WWE has xeroxed the template to the point where it no longer has any effect, which is why Bayley, and to a lesser extent Sami Zayn, feel different, like they're throwbacks.

I totally sidetracked your question though. The answer is no, because Austin was a pure babyface to be honest, but Bayley is the best "old-style" babyface it has had since Hulk Hogan.

I wouldn't call it a talent gap as much as it's an "overness" gap. To be honest, Ember Moon is right up there with Asuka, and Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, and Nikki Cross aren't too far behind. It's just like I mentioned above, Asuka debuted at a weird time. She came in too late to be immersed fully with the Horsewomen and too early to develop a rapport with Moon, the Aussie Mean Girls, and Cross. What I would do is build up Moon like a boss, have Asuka drop the NXT Women's Title to her at Takeover: San Antonio, and then bring Asuka up to Smackdown in time for a program with Becky Lynch.