Thursday, July 6, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 194

Who knew this guy would be a feature gaijin in NJPW?
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:

Michael Elgin may have not been my cup of tea before his New Japan run, but I feel like he had more of the pieces in place. His incremental improvement was expected, and he didn't have nearly as long a jump to make. Robinson, however, man, did anyone see his elite potential available in NXT? It just wasn't there. Whether WWE/NXT repressed his talent or he just needed a trip to the NJPW dojo, he underwent a metamorphosis that few if any saw coming. Robinson is the perhaps the most improved wrestler on the planet of the last two years.

Terrible. Just awful.

I've listened to only a few albums from this year so far:
  • Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life
  • Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
  • Incubus - Eight
  • White Reaper - World's Greatest American Band
  • Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?
  • King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana
Of those, I'd plug White Reaper firmly at the top of the list. All killer and no filler, and it's fun and raucous. Japandroids, Mastodon, and Royal Blood all turned in good efforts. Incubus' album was middling, and I found the first of King Gizzard's proposed six (SIX!) albums this year to be disappointing and underwhelming.

I'm guessing the "Pro Bowler" here is more a professional bowler and not a NFL all-star. Anyway, I'd be amiss if I did this without mentioning Splits McPins, a British wrestler with a bowling gimmick. However, I don't know much about him and can't say whether or not I'd be ripping him off with mine, so I'll just shoot my shot and say if I were crafting such a gimmick, that person would be modeled after Big Ernie McCracken from Kingpin. Same height, same weight, same build with just enough difference to avoid legal action from the Farrelly Brothers. His finishing move would be Seven-Ten Split, where he'd do a Manhattan Drop and an Atomic Drop in quick succession. As for a catchphrase, "The Turkey" Lou LaCroix says "Shine my balls If you ain't with Lou, then in the gutter goes you."

Obviously, it's the Boss Baby. He's a baby AND a boss. What's not to love?

The easy answer, and correct one, is the cheeseburger. Burgers are sandwiches, and you can cook them indoors or out easily. Burgers are ubiquitous for a reason; they're delicious, convenient, and please most people. Plus for those who don't eat burgers, they can easily sub out the beef for a chicken breast (although it's not a burger, just imitates one) or a veggie/black bean patty (which at least look like beef patties).

I think after surviving the [REDACTED] murder-suicide with passing interest in wrestling and then DIVING back in a year later kinda was my way of making peace with how bad the industry can be behind the curtain. I've found the best way to combat the scuzziness of pro wrestling is to fight against it, try to make it better. It's why I've taken TWB on the path I've taken it on in the last eight-plus years. I haven't always had the best opinions, but I'd like to think they've evolved and that every day on here, I'm striving to be a voice for good in the wilderness. It might not be much; it might not be anything. It might even be worse than intention because it provides a shabby excuse to continue watching wrestling despite the fact that few wrestlers and fewer promoters are good people worthy of financial support. But at the end of the day, the only thing one can do is try.

In no particular order

  • ACH vs. AR Fox, 30 Minute Iron Man Match, AIW Straight Outta Compton, 4/6/12
  • John Cena vs. CM Punk, Money in the Bank, 7/17/11
  • John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, SummerSlam, 8/18/13
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi, WrestleKingdom 9, 1/4/15
  • Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, Takeover: Brooklyn, 8/22/15
  • Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, Hardcore Match, Monday Night RAW, 6/24/13
  • Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, ArRIVAL, 2/17/14
  • Fénix vs. Mil Muertes, GRAVE CONSEQUENCES, Lucha Underground S1E19, airdate 3/18/15
  • El Generico vs. 1-2-3 Kid, Rey de Voladores Final, King of Trios Night 3, 4/17/11
  • Mike Quackenbush vs. Eddie Kingston, 12 Large Summit Finals, High Noon, 11/13/11
I could be persuaded to change my mind on another day, but as of right now, those ten matches feel right.

It feels like a different promotion from the one that closed out season 16 with Quackenbush vs. Drew Gulak. Between all the wrestlers leaving and the secret season and the various masks "dying" this season, I'm completely lost. Coupled with the export of King of Trios to England and the various accusations of impropriety against Quack by former wrestlers, I feel alienated. It's jarring, and at the root of it is capitalism, pure and simple. When WWE plays the game, it makes sense because its revenue pool is millions of dollars. It's still incredibly gross, mind you, but the motives are tangible. The reward compared to the alienation on the indies is paltry. Like, forget Kevin Condron and Pinkie Sanchez making accusations for a second; what would Quack have to gain by copyrighting the Jervis Cottonbelly character. He's well within his rights, sure, but what's the payoff? How many more people can he cram into that school building, which never seems to have problems filling up when I've been there, by taking the Cottonbelly mask from its current user? It feels pennywise but pound foolish. I understand that everyone must grow and new stories have to be told, but roster turnover feels done more out of economy than artistry, which seems to run counter to Chikara's public MO. I don't know, I don't want the Chikara of 2011 back because I don't want to live in the past, but I do want a Chikara that has that same zeitgeist but with evolution. I think the company has lost that over the last year.

1987: Hey, you, see those big rubber LJN WWF action figures? Don't let Mom give them away. You're gonna be obsessed with wrestling, and those action figures are gonna have big sentimental value. You don't know it yet, but you will in three, 13, hell, 23 years.

1997: Okay, so Triple H... yeah, that guy, the dude who not a year ago was some blueblood boring shithead. Yeah, well he's gonna get a lot of power in WWE. You're going to hate it. Do us and our blood pressure a favor; don't get too mad about him. He's gonna piss you off, and it'll be justified. Just don't let him ruin this thing we love for us, alright?

2007: I know Chris Benoit just fucked your head up royally, but imagine this. It's 2017, and you've written a blog about pro wrestling for a little over eight years. You get back into it in about a year. What you need to do is go scorched earth on Benoit and don't let him ruin this for you. Instead, be on the forefront for fighting so that dudes never do that again. Also, a dude with the screen name on Twitter, trust me you'll know what Twitter is, named @SoDuTw. Block him right away. Trust me, it's not worth the shit he's gonna give you.

Everyone who jumped the gun on this tweet as it happened said Teddy Roosevelt, and while it seems like a correct answer, I see ol' TR as one of them hard-ass MMA bros who wants REAL fighting, not that lame fake shit. That being said, he isn't even the best answer. I have five words for you that will sell you on my choice:

William Howard Taft Bodyslam Challenge

GUARDS - John Wall and Gordon Hayward: Neither one may be the best guard in the East (Kyrie Irving, hello?). However, they're marquee players in rabid basketball markets. Hayward has the extra added bonus of being a White superstar in Boston. I mean, unless he fucking tanks, he's making the All-Star Game every year he's with the Celtics. He may even be the highest vote getter once LeBron James moves to Los Angeles.

LEBRON JAMES - LeBron James: I mean, c'mon.

BIGS - Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetekounmpo: Embiid is the wild-card because of his health issues, but if he even plays half the games before the All-Star Break, Philly fans are gonna go nuts voting him into the game as a starter. Antetekounmpo will get all the "smart fan recognize great player" votes. Again, neither one may be the best big in the East, since Hassan Whiteside broke out huge for the Heat last year, but they'll be at the intersection of best and most popular.