Thursday, April 26, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 232

What a tag team!
Photo Credit: Touchstone Television
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:

Honestly, I feel like any sitcom protagonist could segue into pro wrestling and at least have the chance to be successful. What is pro wrestling, especially modern pro wrestling, but televised episodic storytelling with outsized characters? Any number of sitcom characters could port over, I have two in mind that would come in as a tag team, Tim "The Toolman" Taylor and Al Borland. They would form a tag team that plays on a classic trope of one mouthy but less skilled member with a more level-headed and talented partner. The big advantage of having Taylor and Borland in a wrestling arena rather than a sitcom one is that Home Improvement never really had any reason to have one turn on the other and make one a villain. I mean it's a fuckin' sitcom, right? But in wrestling, any and every team could break up. Just ask Vince McMahon! Plus, given their stated gimmicks as toolmen, well, they could have some really creative hardcore matches.

My thoughts of Radko Gudas are unprintable without violating local libel laws.

The "no girls allowed" thing with the Greatest Royal Rumble is terrible, but it's a symptom of a larger problem with WWE getting into bed with an absolutely abhorrent theocratic abuser of human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and the person pretty much running the country, wants you to think the country is getting more and more PROGRESSIVE! because he's letting women drive and putting on entertainment events that didn't happen in his country beforehand. David Bixenspan and Karim Zidan laid it out on Deadspin why this whole thing is a sham, but the KSA right now is still one of the most heinous nations in the world because of, but not limited to:
  • An ongoing (and US-aided I might add) war of cruelty on neighboring Yemen which could probably be classified as a genocide
  • Restriction of practicing any non-Islam religion on its soil, furthermore banning anyone with a visa stamp from Israel on their passport from entering its borders legally
  • Promoted guardianship of women, meaning if a woman wants to do anything more than breathe, she has to have a man's permission
  • Brutal suppression of minority groups, including Shiite Muslims and native Bedouin herders
But hey, WWE is getting paid in upwards of nine figures to put on this show. GOTTA THINK OF THE SHAREHOLDERS, RIGHT? I mean, the fact that people like Justin LaBar, a sycophant who never met a decision WWE made that he didn't like, can stand up and say that this is a good call because of the money is not only disgusting, but also a symptom of an even greater disease than doing business with KSA. Hell, the moral rot of capitalism is probably the biggest cause of the KSA's human rights abuses. bin Salman and his family can kill whomever they want and suppress women in the name of whatever they interpret Islam to be because they control all the oil and have a shitload of money. Pointing that out and saying it's okay is the most tedious and oppressively slavish to capital thing you can do.

So basically, the whole thing is a goddamn sham, from the head right down to the epidermis cells on the bottom of the feet. Women not being allowed to compete — all the while having their matches on RAW relegated to the inset screen while the main focus is primed upon advertising an event at which they cannot compete — is infuriating and hypocritical in the face of this faux-woke, Trump-enabling company proclaiming some kind of "revolution" or "evolution." However, it's only a part of the bigger problem.

And as a postscript to that answer, anyone who says WWE is doing this to "start a conversation" is not to be trusted whatsoever, and should probably be slapped in the face on principle. The only conversation WWE is having over this show and its entire ten-year deal with the Saudis is how much gross revenue collected directly from taxes there is going in the McMahon coffers. If you think Vince or Stephanie McMahon or Paul Levesque care about human rights of Saudi Arabians, fuck you. I can't even sugarcoat it.

The first question is easy, in that even back in the '90s, tech dipshits didn't have common sense. The second question has a less snarky answer. The real answer is that Pikachu was never supposed to be the mascot of Pokémon. That role was supposed to go to Clefairy. Pikachu actually took the mantel at the last minute, when the writers of the anime decided to go with the cute lil' electric mouse instead of the pink blob. However, that doesn't answer the question either, because Clefairy has a Gen 1 evolution as well in Clefable. Why bank everything on a Pokémon who wasn't finished evolving yet? I can't answer for Game Freak or Satoshi Tajiri, but I imagine it's twofold. One, making Pikachu the mascot while allowing it to evolve into Raichu allows for diversification of the consumer base. You have the young kids who flock to cute Pokémon and the adolescents who are more "gamers" who play and do things like create metagames who'll opt for Raichu. The second is that it provides for a great narrative for the anime, one they did explore when Ash struggled with the decision to evolve Pikachu so it could face off more effectively against Lt. Surge's Raichu. Again, I'm not sure if those are the concrete reasons; they're just my analytical reads on the question.

You may have heard, but a movie is coming tonight that is generating a bit of buzz. You may have heard of Avengers: Infinity War. I know, it's sort of a new kid on the block, an arthouse flick that is based mostly on word of mouth, but it has a lot of backstory behind it. If you don't have tickets for it already, and seeing as you want to stay back in your room this weekend, I'm guessing you're not an opening weekend guy. IF you DO plan on seeing it, I'd say you should maybe do a MCU refresher. Obviously, you don't need to watch ALL the movies, because you don't have that much time. But I'd watch the ones that deal directly with what's going to happen in this big one:
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The Avengers
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Thor: Ragnarok
Obviously, those may not be the best of the best. But that feels like the best skeletal outline for how Infinity War sets up along with where everyone is when it begins. Of course, you may not be into the MCU at all, which is fine! In that case, can I interest you in a Will Ferrell dumb-as-shit comedy fest? Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back-Anchorman-Zoolander-Stepbrothers is a good foursome of films if you just wanna laugh. Or maybe you don't like Will Ferrell, and that's okay too! In that case, well, uh, I don't know. Put all your favorite movies or movies you wanna see on a dartboard and let your projectile-tossing skills decide.

I feel like Johnny Gargano is the most cautionary example. I have felt like giving him a fatherly talk to talk every time he rushed into something headfirst after Tommaso Ciampa, like putting his NXT career on the line against a dude he was winless against and who also happened to be NXT Champion? Yeah, Johnny Wrestling needed someone to tell him "Son, don't be a smacked ass, you smacked ass." Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens recently piqued that interest as well, but less as a "give them advice" and more of a "I wanna fight Vince McMahon for letting his shitty kid be shitty to my beautiful, pure, French-Canadian sons." Fatherhood is a broad spectrum!