Thursday, May 25, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 188

Don't expect Punk to be back in WWE anytime soon, especially not because of ratings hysteria
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 don't think ratings are the trigger you're looking for. It's revenue and profits. No matter what wrestling journalists tell their public, ratings by themselves aren't cause for concern. Ratings compared to other shows, or more pointedly, what USA Network thinks of those ratings, are what matters. As long as WWE continues to get that sweet, sweet ad revenue and pulls in money from things like The Network, touring, and other sources, well, Vince McMahon and his coterie of corporate goons and yes men won't attempt to swallow their pride to lure back CM Punk, at least for the reason of desperation. Obviously, that doesn't mean the company won't lure or hasn't tried to lure him back, because hey, capitalism is a hustle and McMahon is a capitalist. That being said, if Punk comes back, it won't be because of ratings.

I'm not sure what a correct analogue would be, except perhaps a company elevating a wrestler that it built from the ground up as a bona fide draw. For example, WWE cribbed off other companies' work establishing nearly every star it has ever elevated to the top since Hulk Hogan, who himself got over like a wildfire in the AWA (where he went after his first, truncated run as a villain in WWE in the Bob Backlund Era). One could argue the only true stars that it created that got over huge were made after it swallowed up WCW and ECW: John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns. WCW itself only had one it hit the lottery on in Bill Goldberg; everyone else was either inherited from WWE or the old National Wrestling Alliance territory days.

However, I'd probably argue that the NBA (and NHL) lottery system has no real comparison in wrestling, since the way talent is distributed in pro wrestling, even today, is purely capitalistic. It's free market shit, to put it lightly. Sports leagues that have drafts are high on socialism in some format, which is why the comparisons still feel shaky.

The Ottawa Senators appear to win Game 7 tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the right to face the Nashville Predators on a goal in sudden death overtime. However, the goal is waved off directly by Commissioner Gary Bettman after Sidney Crosby high-sticks himself, then tosses the broken stick to Erik Karlsson and dives hard. After being awarded a penalty shot, he scores easily after Evgeni Malkin hits goalie Craig Anderson with a steel chair, all while Phil Kessel distracts the referees. Then, in the Finals, Rusev comes out on behalf of his beloved Predators and demands that the series is now NO HOLDS BARRED, and the series goes seven games. In Game 7, Rusev comes on the ice and puts Pens goalie Marc Andre Fleury in the Accolade, allowing PK Subban a clear chance at the game winner, until MARK MADDEN appears on the ice to block the shot, throw a Primanti Bros. sandwich in Subban's face, and allow Crosby to score to give the Pens the win. But then, Madden TURNS on the Pens, clobbering Crosby with the Cup, and allowing the Flyers to SWARM onto the ice and score at will using their Money in the Bank briefcase and claim the title for themselves.

After superficial thought of people on the WWE roster who could be considered jobbers at this point, I'd like to see Sin Cara get the nod the most, mainly just because he's a backstage shooter. It might be dangerously irresponsible to push a dude based on how tough he is, but hey, Haku never got his run with the WWE Championship that he deserved. Allowing Sin Cara to get the due that Haku never got would be both hilarious and somewhat satisfying, especially since he can at least work at a high level if given the chance.

DISCLAIMER: I have not read a book in almost a decade. It's true; I consume most of my reading in short bursts online. The longest thing I've read in the last five years has been that Ta-Nehisi Coates piece about reparations. All my recommendations will be stuff I read in school. First thing's first, my favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye. I don't know what that says about me, but I haven't tried killing the President yet. I'd also recommend people read William Shakespeare plays, especially Hamlet, especially if they're in wrestling. Classic literature can be a great treasure trove for angle ideas, as long as you're not shoot-killing anyone.

It's hard to say, because it's always been a regular stop for Ring of Honor, WWE, and Impact Wrestling. If you're talking about talent, however, maybe you might have a point. Michigan rarely has had name guys coming from a scene there. In fact, outside of the Motor City Machine Guns, who was the last real name indie guy to come out of that scene? The only two that come to mind are Allysin Kay, who sorta latched onto the women's scene, and Truth Martini. But Michigan does have an indie scene. It's just few of them have broken out for whatever reason. In that respect, Detroit/Michigan absolutely is underserved.

I have the gut feeling it'll be whoever is put on first in Brooklyn. NXT is due for a colon cleansing with its titles. Sure, the World AND Tag Team Championships changed hands in San Antonio, but perception feels like it's a brand slow to switch titles. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all three changed hands. If I'm wrong, however, and Brooklyn has one or fewer titles changing hands, then I'd put money on Asuka being first. It feels like her reign is overripe, while the Authors have a few more challenges ahead of them before they get a bit stale.

This task is nearly impossible, because how the fuck does one build a perfect sandwich when so many variables are in it? I guess I'd fall back on a breakfast burger: 80/20 ground beef patty, three slices of crispy bacon, runny egg, cheese optional but melted white American if present, sriracha sauce, toasted sesame seed bun. A great sandwich CAN be elaborate, but it doesn't have to be.

In reverse order, assuming you mean "travel and eat shows" as the genre.

n/a. Marc Summers - Unwrapped was great, but man, he really stayed in the studio most of the time and did voice overs. Incomplete.
8. Anthony Bourdain - He's didactic and picks great spots in great food cultures, but god, his smarmy douche levels get insufferable sometimes. Last place in a strong field, in that I don't necessarily think he's bad at all. I'd watch and have watched his shows, but he's not as readily consumable on a mass scale as those ahead of him, if that makes sense.
7. Alton Brown - It's hard to rate Brown this low in any field because I truly believe he's the quintessential food personality, but his talents are better suited for a studio setting, not a road setting.
6. Michael Symon - I really like Burgers, Brew, and 'Q in both its incarnations, and Symon is a good host in a strong field who is hurt by his tendencies to be more chummy with the owners/proprietors rather than the audience.
5. Rachael Ray - Much like Brown, her personality plays better in the studio, but much like number three below, she really sold the concept of going out to eat, not just the food, but the experience. Plus, $40 a Day was kind of a genius idea, maybe even more needed today as folks have less and less money to play with on vacations (staycations?).
4. Adam Richman - Don't underestimate the non-challenge parts of Man Vs. Food. Richman was good not only at gonzo food challenges but at doing the info thing on local joints. That being said, he did have the tendency to get a little sing-songy and overly simplistic in his delivery.
3. Guy Fieri - Look, I recognize his douchiness may not be for everyone, but unlike Bourdain's, which is off-putting, his manic embrace of frat-bro culture is almost endearing in a way for reasons I can't comprehend or explain. If I had a critique of his, it'd be his almost showy way of talking over the cooks with this "PLEASE LOVE ME" explanation of how they're cooking their dishes. But I can forgive that because he and his producers not only pick great-looking places, he sells me on them with the way he eats, the reason why I don't mind if Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is the only thing on the television.
2. George Duran - In Food Network's middle period, away from the primordial ooze of nothing but cooking shows but before the blast-in-your-face slate of Guy Fieri, SUPERSTAR and Chopped and its knockoffs, Duran hosted a show called Ham on the Street which overall may have been my favorite show of its kind. He was affable and warm and knew his shit. I miss him and lament that the only time I get to see him anymore is on Hunts tomato commercials.
1. Andrew Zimmern - I understand that Bizarre Foods can get a little extreme for being extreme's sake, but in addition to providing a powerful message about sustainability and food source diversity, Zimmern is one of the warmest and most intelligent people I've ever seen on a food show. Plus, aside from John Cena, his Instagram account is the only celebrity variant worth following, and I even dug his podcast back when I was still listening to them.