|The Bucks are the last of a dying breed|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The easy answers are Matt and Nick Jackson, the Young Bucks. The ugly answers are Jay and Mark Briscoe. Outside of them, the pickings become harder and harder to discern unless one mines Japanese and Mexican promotions (Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Rush, etc.). Even then, WWE is starting to reach its tentacles into the puroresu and lucha scenes. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kana/Asuka, Mistico/Sin Cara, La Sombra/Andrade "Cien" Almas, and of course Jushin Liger all have WWE runs of varying lengths under their belts. WWE's plumbing of the American indies is even more astounding. ROH has had 23 distinct World Champions. Among them, only seven, Homicide, Takeshi Morishima, Jay Briscoe, Adam Cole, Michael Elgin, Kyle O'Reilly, and Jay Lethal, have never appeared for WWE or signed a WWE developmental deal. Four of them (Briscoe, O'Reilly, Cole, Lethal) have been linked to the company at various points, so it's not like WWE isn't observing. The scene is getting to the point where someday, the most famous wrestlers never to appear in WWE will be career New Japan Pro Wrestling midcard guys. Some may think it cool; I think that's scary.Who are the best wrestlers to become famous after the end of WCW to never have a WWE run? #tweetbag— Rich Thomas (@earthdog) June 28, 2017
The only historic benchmark that matters now will be headlining WrestleMania, and two women closing the show feels inevitable, if not in the next two years. Maybe WrestleMania 36 closes with Charlotte wrestling Ronda Rousey or something of the like. However, in terms of WWE fake prestigious parlance, the next historic benchmark will probably be a women's elimination chamber match. It'll combine the company's two favorite pastimes: patting itself on the back for being feminist and throwing a bunch of people in a multi-person match for whom creative has nothing.What’s the next “historic” benchmark for WWE’s main roster women? #TweetBag— Star of Savage (@StarOfSavage) June 28, 2017
If I had Bill Gates fuck money, you're damn right I'm watching WrestleMania in my own private suite with my own Brazilian steakhouse gauchos alternating among picanha sirloin, bacon wrapped filet mignon, ribeye, and leg of lamb. Why Mania and not an indie show or WrestleKingdom? Well, I don't respect Vince McMahon enough to not bring my own traveling horde of meat knights and other luxuries. If you wanted an interesting promotion, then I'd respectfully eat my meal outside, purchased from a local venue. Pro wrestling is proletarian, so for Battle of Los Angeles, it'd be In 'n Out or even a trip to the Oinkster if I was feeling saucy. Think along those lines. I would hope money wouldn't change me, but man...If time/$/Geography were no object, what would your ideal wrestling viewing meal be, and what are you watching?— Vlad Radinov (@thepartytsar) June 28, 2017
First off, I want to do a mini-dive into "The Progressive Liberal" Daniel Richards for a second. Normally, heels in podunk local promotions that even the median indies won't mine for talent don't make national news, but thanks to his ardent Hillary Clinton supporting oeuvre, he's landed on Deadspin, The Hill, NPR, and other national outlets. The problem is that it's another outlet for feckless center-left Democrats who are #StillWithHer to laugh at Trump-voting rednecks, because poors don't deserve the benefit of the doubt, right? But only Deadspin so far has picked up on the fact that crowds are chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" at him as a way to get a rise out of him, or in reaction to his All Hillary Clinton, All the Time character. Leftism is strong in the reddest of red states, and people want things that candidates like Bernie Sanders and folks to the left of him (that's right, Sanders isn't a complete leftist) are offering. But no, keep demonizing those folks and attempting to poach the white whale known as Ｗｈｉｔｅ， ｍｏｄｅｒａｔｅ， ｓｕｂｕｒｂａｎ Ｒｅｐｕｂｌｉｃａｎｓ. But that's a tangent.The Progressive Liberal "Damn" Daniel Richards vs Sandow, WHO YA GOT?— Codename: Explainer (@vox_employee) June 28, 2017
Anyway, Richards wins in a walk, because man, Damien Sandow has sadly lost his fastball.
Well, this TweetBag has taken a turn for the morbid, hasn't it?Anniversary morbidity alternative universe! What happens to WWE and THIS BUSINESS if Foley dies at or within a week of KOTR '98?— Butch Hussein Rosser (@butch619) June 28, 2017
My guess is if Mick Foley dies at King of the Ring or directly as a consequence from it, Owen Hart is still alive and well today as risky stunts such as that are scaled back, at least for people who aren't named Shane McMahon. Other than that, did anything really change when Hart died? Nope. Maybe Hart gets all of Foley's runs with the title subsequently, and the Bret Hart reconciliation happens sooner than it did, but otherwise, not a chance anything really plays out that differently.
In-ring, the entirety of 205 Live would be better off if it had the reins loosened, and the roster was allowed to go buck wild as if they were wrestling on EVOLVE On The Network instead of doing WWE Main Event Style, Only For Smol Men. TJP is a deplorable beanbag, but at least he'd be a deplorable beanbag who could work if he wasn't restrained by WWE agents and the cookie cutter molds that might work for guys like John Cena but not for him. As for promos, imagine a WWE where Big E was given a live mic and absolutely no restrictions. Of course, the trade-off would be a TV-MA rating for his promos alone, but it would be worth it.If there were little to no restrictions on promos & ring style who do you think in WWE would benefit the most from that freedom?— Willow Maclay (@willow_catelyn) June 28, 2017
You know as well as I do that Vince McMahon has no rhyme or reason why people are in his hall or not. Maybe he went to one of Bundy's stand-up comedy shows and thought it was unfunny? I don't know. Bundy sure fits the mold of a WWE Hall of Famer, but he, along with Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, and other mainstay pre-Attitude Era wrestlers that McMahon loves to say that he honors, isn't in for reasons I can't understand. Trying to understand the mind of Vince McMahon, however, is a fool's task.Groovy! My question is, Why is King Kong Bundy not in the HoF? Studd is... #Tweetbag— boxwatcher (@boxwatcher) June 29, 2017
Someone on my Twitter timeline, I forget who at this point and searching has been a dick, keeps predicting Rey Mysterio, Jr. every year. This year might have the best chance of being right, and I think much in the vein of Jushin Liger last year, it would be one of the best options. That being said, is his Lucha Underground roster membership enough to be as hype-inducing as if he were just coming off his WWE run? That enough gives me pause to change my answer to Kenny Omega. Sure, he's a former PWG Champion who has multiple appearances and rich history, but he also has the six-plus star endorsement of Dave Meltzer and several big notches on his New Japan belt since his last appearance. Omega would send shockwaves through Wrestling Twitter, by Wrestling Twitter, I don't mean The Bubble, but everyone on Twitter who remotely likes anything associated with PWG and NJPW.Late thought: Who will be the 24th aka "Hammer" announced participant for BOLA to generate the most hype?— DGUSA Rememberer (@LUtang_Secret) June 29, 2017