Friday, October 21, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 171

Farewell, Big 12?
Photo via Big 12 site
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:

Honestly, booking one defection from the Big 12 is boring, because once one team decides to leave, the whole conference is going to split down the middle like Ken Bone's olive-suit pants before the second debate. So I will give you a fantasy booked-future timeline of the dissolution of the Big 12 Conference. Note, this exercise will only be partially rooted in realism, at least as it stands right now. I don't guarantee any of this will happen, but it's what makes the most sense in my head.
  • March 2017 - Frustrated by Texas' forced inertia towards expansion, Kansas puts out feelers, which are picked up by the Pac-12 Conference, which wants to expand a geographical footprint and improve its standing in basketball. Kansas is more than happy to reciprocate because of the chance to visit lucrative recruiting grounds in Los Angeles for both football and basketball. Kansas agrees on condition that it takes little brother Kansas State as well.
  • Early April 2017 - West Virginia is the next school out as it has been playing footsie with the Atlantic Coast Conference since the Big 12 decided it wasn't going to expand in October 2016. The Mountaineers make the move official, while officials from the University of Pittsburgh glower publicly but secretly are ecstatic at the reinstatement of the Backyard Brawl.
  • Late April 2017 - Seeing the writing on the wall, the University of Texas announces it will leave the conference and go independent, buoyed by its Longhorn Network. This move signifies that it is open season on the rest of the conference members. Oklahoma immediately gets heavy interest from the Southeastern, Big 10, and Pac-12 Conferences.
  • May 2017 - The Big 10 makes a move into Texas, taking Texas Christian University. Commissioner Jim Delaney said that while TCU wasn't the sexiest remaining school from the Big 12 available in terms of history and prestige, he couldn't pass up expanding into the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • Early June 2017 - Oklahoma makes its decision and decides to join the SEC. Thanks to some political maneuverings from T. Boone Pickens, the SEC takes Oklahoma State as well. In response, the now Pac-14 decides to take Texas Tech, and surprisingly but not surprisingly, Houston to solidify its eastern reach into Texas.
  • Late June 2017 - The Big 10 decides that it needs to get to 16 teams, and at the behest of Iowa, the conference absorbs Iowa State. Delaney spins the move as strenghthening its basketball prestige, but at least El Assico now becomes a conference game.
  • September 2017 - Baylor, left out of the big proceedings because of too much baggage off the field, begrudgingly accepts an offer to replace Houston in the American Athletic Conference for the 2018 season. In order to even out divisions for football season, the ACC in turn absorbs the University of Connecticut.
These moves would create four mega-conferences. In some cases, I went with geography. In others, especially the Pac-16, I thought differently, especially since I've heard in the past that schools were hesitant to expanding if it kept them from getting trips into Southern California for recruiting, so I did a "zipper" plan.
  • Big 10: East - Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, Indiana, Purdue; West - Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Texas Christian
  • SEC: North - Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, South Carolina; South - Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Louisiana State, Texas A&M
  • ACC: Coastal - North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh, West Virginia; Atlantic - Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Boston College, North Carolina State, Connecticut
  • Pac-16: Empire - Washington, Oregon State, Stanford, Southern California, Arizona State, Utah, Texas Tech, Kansas; Golden Bear - Washington State, Oregon, California, UCLA, Arizona, Colorado, Houston, Kansas State 
Texas, Notre Dame, and Brigham Young would be your three power independents, while the AAC is still the mid-major of note. Again, I doubt it shakes out exactly this way, but I think that makes some semblance of sense.

I was at a solid 9. The only thing keeping me from going full 10 on it was the lingering suspicion that the ensuing match wasn't going to be all that good. Brock Lesnar has phoned it in since WrestleMania, and Goldberg hasn't been in the ring in what, at least ten years? I'm not sure when his last New Japan Pro Wrestling match was. Either way though, Goldberg let out a side of him that no one really knew he had. He hit on so many different notes, and at the end, he sold me when he grabbed his kid out of the crowd and put him on his shoulders. As a fellow dad, I will now ride carrying Goldberg's banner.

Imagine a Hell in a Cell match full of plunder with a title belt hanging overhead. That's right, I would fuse Hell in a Cell with both the hardcore and ladder matches with the door padlocked shut to achieve the ultimate in wrestling violence that would still be within PG parameters. Hell, even throw in elements of Ultimate X and have the roof of the Cell be the wide-barred old school WWE cage style for monkey-bar action. WWE's going to have the TNA tape library soon anyway...

Apparently, someone DM'd him about pushing Summer Rae, and things got a little testy. All would've been fine if that person didn't make the transcripts of those DMs public. Foley caught a bunch of flak for it, and then left Twitter. Part of it is on him for keeping his DMs open, engaging people on pushes, and taking his kayfabe responsibilities too seriously, but c'mon people. One, don't post private conversations without someone's fucking consent. Two, Foley isn't the real general manager of RAW, and my guess is his kid Dewey has more sway on pushes since he's on the creative team. Three, how fucking corny can you be to pester someone in the company for a push? Remember when someone hacked Cesaro's Twitter and used it as a forum to bitch about his lack of push? Fun times. Anyway, wrestling fans remain bad at their worst.

Just when you think TNA's not going to make it INTO 2017, the parent company for its Canadian carrier lends it some money to stay afloat. So I'm still thinking that TNA will be around when the meteor crashes into R'lyeh, summoning both the largest tsunami in recorded history and the ancient foul Cthulhu into wiping out the human race. Until I see Vince McMahon's wrinkled yet still oddly vascular build strutting into the Impact Zone claiming victory over an entity that he never considered competition anyway, I will never believe any report that that infernal company is dead.

I will give more than one, but fewer than five:

  1. Rich Swann - When I first saw him, in a Rey de Voladores qualifier in Chikara, I thought he looked out of place. But then he started getting more of a chance to show his wares in both Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and I was hooked.
  2. Chris Masters - I thought he was just one of those WOOF body guys, but then after he came back from his first future endeavoring, he became one of the best workers on the roster. He was one of the first Superstars MVPs on the roster.
  3. Mercedes Martinez - My first exposure to her was in EVOLVE where she was working that whole squash match/"I WANT COMPETITION" angle which rarely works out. Then she wrestled Awesome Kong and just disappeared. However, her work in SHIMMER and Women's Superstars Uncensored won me over, great brawler, great ring general.