Friday, March 24, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 182

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:

Big Bartholomew is the sympathetic, strapping young everyman hero, but since this is a Southern territory, the rule dictates that his successes are only fleeting. So while he will get the visual win at Lethal Leap Year, expect Lance Catamaran to announce on Southpaw Saturday Morning that the decision has been reversed, giving Mackelroy control of the farm and all its riches. Life is pain.

In retrospect, this video is the only good thing associated with Limp Bizkit, ever:

Rude was such a volatile character that it feels almost impossible to pinpoint his exact impact. One thing that seems fixed on his timeline is walking out on WWE after the Montreal Screwjob. Would he still be alive if he never had to retire from active competition? That is harder to answer because the circumstances around how drugs work with someone's body are more difficult to ascertain in different settings than something like the content of the guy's character. Anyway, back to his actual career, he retired around the same time Hulk Hogan made his way into WCW. According to Wikipedia (and Wikipedia NEVER lies), Hogan was scared shitless of Rude and thus never really faced off against him. Political machinations and stunted chances probably would've sent Rude back to WWE, where he would surprisingly rise up the card as a babyface against a nascent Shawn Michaels. Vince McMahon would've hesitated in pushing Diesel and given the big Madison Square Garden title win over Bob Backlund after Survivor Series '94 to Rude. However, Diesel would've eventually won the title from him and the path to the Iron Man Match would've continued unabated. However, Rude would've been a fixture in the company and hailed as one of the people who helped launch the Attitude Era. He might've gotten a few more runs with the title as well before bailing over the shitty business dealings vis a vis the Montreal Screwjob.

After that, he would've banked a major deal with WCW, but again, Hogan would've maneuvered his way around Rude, causing him to leave again to go to ECW in at the beginning of 1999. His shtick would've fit in well there, but Paul Heyman's inability to pay him would leave him a man without a country. Basically, he would've floated on the convention circuit for a few years until WWE bought out all its competition and new competitors showed up. Rude would've ended up a fixture on the indie scene with a few tours of TNA as well before finally reconciling with WWE around the time of Bret Hart's reconciliation with the company. Rude would've gotten a Legends contract and several appearances on shows, though not as a wrestler, and he would've been a member of a much earlier Hall of Fame class than now.

I can't argue with the most recent one, if only because someone named Lunch Money Lewis has a feature on it

First thing's first, what the fuck did I just watch? If I have to, you have to too:

Second, my rankings are as follows:

6(t). The Rockers, Sheik Adnan al-Kassey, Crusher Jerry Blackwell, Greg Gagne, Verne Gagne - Do any of these corncobs know how rap works?
5. Ken Resnick - Seriously, one can judge how cool a music form is by how well children's shows or other corny-by-design forums co-opt it. If '80s wrestlers can do your music well, it's not cool. The '80s American Wrestling Association was not full of people who could do rap well at all, proving how cool it actually is.
4. Scott Hall and Curt Henning - At least they took bumps into the pool.
3. Scott LeDoux - The wrestlers here used the term "mumble" twice to rhyme with Rumble, but that didn't stop LeDoux from mumbling through his verse. However, his rhythm wasn't bad.
2. Nick Bockwinkel - How the fuck did basic-ass Nick Bockwinkel get it somewhat right? For fuck's sake.
1. Larry Zbyzsko - Even more shocking, how the hell did curmudgeonly old Larry Z figure out how to spit bars (relatively speaking of course, no one would confuse Larry Nabisco for Rev Run or Master Gee)????

To answer a question laid out by K. Sawyer Paul in reply to this tweet on actual Twitter, no the Hardy Boys don't count because they went from one corporate wrestling company (Impact) to another (Ring of Honor). But they, in reality, don't fit in WWE right now, because they'd be groan-inducing as a nostalgia Team X-Treme act and their talents woefully mishandled in their Broken forms. The three who probably work best already have WWE tentacles on them. The first for RAW is Pete Dunne, who fits in nicely with Triple H's stable of Large Adult Sons What Wreak Havoc on Unsuspecting Good Guys. The second for 205 Live is Zack Sabre, Jr., who is the best option at making a cruiserweight revival work that isn't wholly reliant on turning the flippy dude aspect up to 11. The third for Smackdown is Sami Callihan, who can work short matches well and brings an air of unpredictability that isn't wholly reliant on THE SHOOTZ to enhance the midcard.

That number is 12. I get the idea to add interstitial brand exclusive pay-per-views back now that the Network makes keeping up with ALL of them affordable, but stretching out stories on television for multiple PPV arcs gets tiresome when the PPVs are bunched together. Basically, WWE should have between four and six co-branded events (The Big Four, Money in the Bank, perhaps a retooled Bragging Rights that has actual stakes), which would leave between six and eight events to split between the brands. This accomplishes two things. One, it doesn't run the risk of big event fatigue that can still happen even without the killer price points of the mid-Aughts when WWE last tried this. Two, it can allow each individual show to have prolonged feuds that make sense rather than feel compressed and get tired. Plus, it can allow shows to have "PPV quality" or "Saturday Night's Main Event" feels to them. Smackdown has already done this on a couple of occasions. Anyway, I'm not going to complain about the increased number of shows because hell, it gives me something to watch on Sunday nights and the PPV events themselves often have decent wrestling. But man, from a narrative standpoint, WWE would benefit both its brands by streamlining.

I feel like I've done this before, but I'll do it again:
  1. W (Kota Ibushi) - Kota Ibushi is always number one.
  2. Original (Satoru Sayama) - He's still one of the most influential junior heavyweights ever.
  3. II (Mitsuharu Misawa) - Emerald Destiny may be the greatest puroresu wrestler of all-time, and he was a fine Tiger Mask, but not like the other two ahead of him.
After that, I tap out, because who the fuck has time to keep up with Tiger Masks who aren't those three? Not I, says I. Not I.

After some thought, I give you these rankings, which run contrary to my memed rankings from the other day.
  1. Nikki Bella - Look, she has a bad neck and still gave Tyler Breeze the TKO. That's strength.
  2. Breezy Bella (Tyler Breeze) - Okay, so on one hand, Breeze owned it, which is why I enjoyed his turn in drag so much on Tuesday. But other people raise good points. WWE's treatment of LGBTQ people, especially in character, has never been the best, and even though the presentation felt more innocuous than normal, I still can't help but shake the feeling of the bad intent behind it. Either way though, I will defer to actual trans* people and their opinions, because everyone should listen more to the marginalized.
  3. Maryse - Honestly, she was a far better Brie than Nikki.

  1. WrestleMania X-7 - Rock was at the top of his bell curve in the ring at this point, not too green and not too checked out into acting. The build (referenced by the video package above) was a great mix of Attitude Era schlock and classic wrestling storytelling, and the match reflected all of the tension. I loved the turn at the end, but that puts me in a minority, I suppose.
  2. WrestleMania 19 - 'Twas the end of an era for both. It was a great finale for both guys within WWE.
  3. WrestleMania 15 - Pure Attitude Era/Vince Russo-inspired mess, and Rocky was still kinda finding himself in the ring at this point. However, the overbooking made the match entertaining. This trilogy was very good.

I'm not broken up about it. Honestly, I find Shawn Michaels' in-ring reputation to be overblown. Don't get me wrong; he's definitely been a good to great worker in his career. Also, AJ Styles could get a good match out of a broomstick (which makes a broomstick a better worker than Brian Myers at Battle of Los Angeles '15). But what comes with lugging his deer-stand ass out of retirement is so much annoying pomp from the announcers about how Shawn Michaels is "MR. WRESTLEMANIA!" or about how he just has great matches. I hate that shit. Look, I'm not looking forward to Styles being fed to Shane McMahon at Mania either, and I would much rather him be up against Shinsuke Nakamura or John Cena or an actual wrestler. But putting him against McMahon means he's actually got an intriguing story for Mania, not some "I'M JIZZING BECAUSE HE'S WRESTLING HBK AND IT'S GOING TO BE A GREAT MATCH!!1" build from announcers getting cues from producers who don't get why using that as an in-kayfabe plot point is off-putting and damaging to the narrative.