Thursday, November 30, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 214

Strowman's at an intersection for me in terms of the title
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:

The first list is my preference:
Cesaro, Rusev, Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, Big E
Of this group, only Strowman feels like he has a real shot, which segues into my second list, the ones I think WWE will put the strap on:
Braun Strowman, Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin, Lars Sullivan, Tian Bing
I don't think WWE thinks it has as many potential "good" World Champions on its roster as many fans within the Twitter bubble, or even within the Twitter genpop, do. I don't think the company's given up on Corbin yet, but giving him the briefcase is a sure sign that it thinks he's going to be ready eventually. The main difference between him and Damien Sandow is that right after his failed cash-in, Corbin went into a big-time feud with the biggest guy on the Smackdown roster. With Nakamura and Sullivan, it's not that I don't want to be Champions, but their inevitability exceeds my desire to see them win. Bing is a longer shot, but WWE expansion into China is coming, and as soon as Bing is ready, he's probably gonna get up on the main roster and be a big deal, both much in the same vein as Jinder Mahal was for Indian expansion, and probably utilized in a less racist, more productive manner than Mahal was.

The first rule wouldn't be a rule so much as it would be a drastic revamp of the officiating system. All current referees would be fit tested in several biometric categories, and if they can't keep up, they will be released with full pension from the league. All those remaining and new referees who come in will be considered employees of the league. They will be given time to master the rulebook, which will be simplified and revamped to put emphasis on player safety above arcane procedural regulations. Emphasis would be on younger referees with good eyesight and judgment. These changes would be geared towards reducing penalties but not doing so at the expense of player safety.

Second would be to more stringently call leading with the helmet, whether on offense or defense. Players will not stop lowering their heads until they are consistently punished for it. The more stringent enforcement of the current rules would lead to teams being forced to change their practice techniques.

The third change wouldn't be as essential as the first two, but it would add excitement and change the game fundamentally without really changing it at all. Since rules have changed to all but eliminate kick returns or at least discourage them, I would give an incentive for kickers not to kick off shallow to induce a return, in that I would make it so that if you split the uprights on a kickoff, your team gets a point. It would be such a minor change that would have so many ripple effects that I couldn't not make it.

The NFL could tinker with its rules a lot to help ensure survival. Those three are the ones at the most top of my head at the moment.

First on the docket, not only will Giancarlo Stanton leave Miami, he will go to one of the two most evil places in the National League, either St. Louis or San Francisco. Don't be surprised if this current Marlins ownership is as skinflint and petty, at least at first when trying to implement its own version of The Process, and decides to keep him if they can't get enough of a ransom. However, because God hates baseball fans, expect Stanton to go to one of the two most annoying teams in the National League. The loser of the Stanton sweepstakes will probably console themselves with JD Martinez. As for the most evil team in the American League and all of Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees of course, I expect them to land the biggest free agent catch of them all, Shohei Ohtani. No, that's not an amalgam of Shohei "Giant" Baba and Shinjiro Ohtani (hey, it's The Wrestling Blog, I have to get that reference in when I can, okay?); he's an ace pitcher and a top-flight hitter, like Babe Ruth, only with the benefit of modern sports science. As for the other big names, well, none are bigger than Yu Darvish. The Rangers-turned-Dodgers ace will command a lot of money and suitors this offseason. While he'd be the type of pitcher my Phillies would receive a boost from, I think he's going to the Cubs as a replacement for Jake Arrieta, whom I have a feeling will go to a Mariners team on the verge of contention.

Owens' words often overshadowed his monstrous talent, which was a feat, because the dude was one of the best receivers in football for about five years. If given the choice, I'd probably only have taken Randy Moss ahead of him. His talent shone through more in no other season than 2004, when he was the missing piece to send the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Even though he missed the entirety of the NFC portion of the playoffs, his monster Super Bowl game was a huge reason why the Eagles were even in it to the end. He unraveled the year after, and Hall of Fame voters in any sport or area of sports entertainment are notorious sticklers for the off-the-field stuff. However, Owens was good enough for a long enough time that I think he is a slam dunk HOF candidate... y'know, if I cared about that sort of thing.

SOUL - New Day would correlate here. I can't just pick one; all three wrestlers embody soul in their own way.
TIME - Terry Funk fits because I doubt he'll ever retire, even after he's died.
SPACE - Matt Riddle, mainly because he's booked everywhere nowadays. Okay, maybe he's cooled off a bit, but still.
MIND - Bryan Danielson, because no one puts together a match like him, no matter what the setting.
REALITY - Triple H, because anytime you feel like you're getting ahead, he'll smack you in the face with the cold reality that WWE dominates everything, and within WWE, everything cycles through his ass even now.

No and yes to your respective questions. As for the first question, I've long held that pro wrestling shouldn't limit itself to a small palette of stories from which it can choose. It should pretty much steal from any and all entertainment media. Of course, I don't expect WWE to be able to retell something like The Metamorphosis in the ring, but the old Looney Tunes shorts in the desert? Yeah, that kind of storytelling is right up their alley. It was entertaining to kids and it's still entertaining to adults today.

I actually do have some kind of interest. Regular WWE pay-per-views don't really appeal to me because I'd rather soak them in at home, but Takeovers are different because they're such communal fan experiences. Having one in Philly seems up my wheelhouse, but I'll still probably watch live on the Network. As for the second half of the question, last year, NXT felt like it was in some giant holding pattern, but now, it feels vibrant because the World Champion is someone fresh and exciting (and INGOBERNABLE), the Women's Champion is vulnerable (or at the very least, more vulnerable than the last Champion) and set adrift in the sea of new and exciting challengers, the Tag Champions are within a lively and unpredictable stable, and stuff's going on in the undercard. NXT will always ebb and flow. Last year was an ebb, this year is a flow. That's just the nature of the game.