Thursday, July 26, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 245

All four of those women would play major roles in the big matches at Evolution if I were in charge
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:

Alright, lemme take a crack at this...

The War To Settle The Score: Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke vs. Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch - Horsewomen vs. Horsewomen. You could do it at Survivor Series, but if you want to have a match that feels like it has some gravity to it without blowing a potential WrestleMania main event title match, you got one here.

RAW Women's Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Mickie James - This match continues the theme from the Royal Rumble of "past vs. present," and I think it's high past time to split these two up again.

Smackdown Women's Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Sonya DeVille (w/ Mandy Rose) - Asuka has no real reason not to be Smackdown Women's Champion at this point, even if she has to win the belt at a piddling little post-SummerSlam pay-per-view. DeVille is her challenger because it would be a goddamn rough and tumble match that might do well to elevate the Tough Enough alumna, even in defeat.

NXT Women's Championship Match: Kairi Sane (c) vs. Bianca Belair - Hopefully, Belair is healthy enough by the end of October for the title shot. I really think she's money waiting to happen, and her vs. Sane was a highlight match from the first Mae Young Classic, so do it again here. Speaking of which...

Mae Young Classic Finals: Io Shirai vs. Deonna Purrazzo - Hey, why not.

WWE Women's Tag Team Tournament Finals: Glowfire (Ember Moon and Naomi) vs. the Riott Squad (Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan) - I know Stephanie McMahon has said that WWE isn't ready for Women's Tag Titles yet, but I think she's just trying to cool it before announcing them closer to the event. And if she's not, then she's wrong. WWE's women are past due for tag titles, even back to when the fuckin' Jumping Bomb Angels were working WWF shows. If they're going to be cross-branded titles, then it would be appropriate for the first team to be a cross-branded team, getting the duke over an established team.

Nia Jax vs. Ruby Riott - Of course, the Squad's leader needs a match too, and having her be the blue-ass fly that won't leave poor Nia Jax alone is a perfect feature match for her.

The Bella Twins vs. the Iiconics - I need to get the Bellas on this card, and who would be better to annoy them than the Aussie Mean Girls?

Carmella vs. Nikki Cross - No, I'm not sadistic. Well, maybe a little. I think Cross beating the shit out of Carmella in the ring might be satisfying, but I also think they'd interplay really well off each other.

NXT UK Women's Showcase (Pre-show): Toni Storm vs. Jinny Couture vs. Killer Kelly - I mean, put your best foot forward if you're going to be promoting a new brand, right?

Past, Present, Future Battle Royale (Pre-show): Natalya vs. Lana vs. Tamina Snuka vs. Alicia Fox vs. Mandy Rose vs. Dana Brooke vs. Kaitlyn vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma vs. Serena Deeb vs. Dakota Kai vs. Lacey Evans vs. Isla Dawn vs. Candice LeRae vs. Aliyah vs. Vanessa Borne vs. Taynara Conti vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Nicole Matthews vs. Lacey Lane - Again, it's another pre-show filler match to get as many people involved as possible that would be a fun use of the people involved. Now, why have Kharma here instead of in a feature match? Well, it feels like she's past wrestling and into acting, but she'd still do a battle royale for old time's sake. But if not, and she really wanted to do a real match, well, the Bella Twins deserve a receipt and they don't have to wrestle the Iiconics...

Hey, you're missing a few shows here, like NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 5 the night before Mania, [INSERT WRESTLER HERE]'s Bloodsport that same weekend, Joey Janela's Lost in New York SummerSlam weekend, and of course, RAW and Smackdown after Mania. With that in mind, I'd have to give the nod to Lost in New York, to be honest, because the card is known, and it's pretty goddamn good. It's going to have Janela taking on Jinsei Shinzaki, Nick Gage vs. Meng/Haku, and hey, if it's Matt Riddle's final indie match before going to NXT, then it's an insanely good one vs. PCO. I give it the nod over the others for the following reasons.

Brooklyn 4 will be good, but I'm scared to death they're going to muff things up by having Aleister Black in the Tommaso Ciampa/Johnny Gargano trilogy capper. Brooklyn 5 will also be good, but man, who knows what NXT is going to look like by then. Spring Break 3 will be crazy, no doubt, but who knows what the indies will look like by then. WWE has co-opted its "night after Mania" shows so they're not as good as they usually are. Finally, the Madison Square Garden show will be fine, but be real with this. Ring of Honor barely brings anything to the table, and yet it will probably have primacy on some of the matches, and while the show will be good, it's hard for me to get excited about, like, Jay Lethal or Punishment Martinez in bigtime matches. Lost In New York is your best bet.

1. Tecate - I'm not sure how cheap it is outside of Texas, but when I was there, and I wanted to get a buzz on in my hotel room, I got a sixer of Tecate for not a lot of money and a whole lot of drinkability.
2. Bud Heavy - I mean, it gives me a headache the next day every time, but for the price, it's way better than any of its macrobrew light beer counterparts.
3. 40s of Malt Liquor - Look, I'm not sure the brand matters. It all tastes the same, like shit. But it's not a stale shittiness said light beers, and something needs to be said for being able to get nearly four beers worth of drunk power at higher ABV for really cheap. If you're a teenager, you can't fuckin' beat that.
4. Yuengling - Like, five years ago, this might have been number two, but ever since going nationwide, it feels like the quality has gone down. It's an important beer in my development, because it's my entree into craft beer, but man, if you wanna get fucked up, get a 40 instead.
5. Milwaukee's Best - Bonus points if you get it "Ice." I got so fucked up on this at a keg when I was 18, I just have to rank it by itself for sentimental reasons.
6. All the Cheap Beers I Haven't Drank in a While Or Ever - This includes Coors Banquet, Miller Genuine Draft, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Michelob, or whatever. I'll take your word for them for cheap drinking, but I can't really rank them because I'm so far removed from them.
7. Literal horse piss
8. Drinking isopropyl alcohol around the house
9-30,000,000,000. Whatever else you can think of to get drunk that doesn't cost much money
30,000,000,001. Macrobrew Light Beers - I would rather die than drink Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, or Michelob Ultra ever again. Fuck, if you're so worried about losing weight, stop drinking or drink a good beer, cheap or otherwise, less frequently.

I'm not so sure a Vader Classic is in the works, but I'd totally go for that if it ever happened. But as for boutique classics, really, even though WWE doesn't do blood anymore, I'd kill for them to do a Crash Holly Classic and have a total garbage hardcore tournament. I mean, I may be in the minority, but WWE garbage matches can be really fun without headshots from chairs or blading. They don't even have to raid the indies for it. Anyone can do a plunder match and be at least 15 percent more entertaining than they already are. Let guys who otherwise don't have personality show it by giving them carte blanche to explore what kinds of weapons they'd use or whatever. You want Adrian Jaoude or whoever to get over? Let him carry a stop sign around and just wail on dudes with it.

This is a hard question to ask because what can you really do with your influence? You can either use it to enrich yourself or to make things better for the greater good. Personally, I try to do a lot more for the latter, but really, are you going to listen to me navel gaze at my own reflection in the mirror? At the end of the day, you have to look at the following you cultivate. You can try to do good, or you can join in the brigades of people punching at marginalized groups. All I can do is try to be part of the former and ask you to keep me in check if you see me drifting towards the latter.

If you're talking about my opinions on wrestling, well, I'm not sure anyone listens to me in that department. I don't think I blame them.

I get the feeling Solo Darling's gonna do it Saturday. While taking the belt of Juan Francisco de Coronado prior to King of Trios, where he and the Closers comprise a Golden Trio, it might make the future Darling/Travis Huckabee blowoff match have higher stakes, which is always a good thing. If it's not Darling Saturday, then I'd say Coronado holds the strap until the finale when Dasher Hatfield wins it a year too late.

Really, most of them except for like Kelly Kelly could work today. The evidence is the Bella Twins, who were the avatars of Laurinaitis' looks first, ability optional key to hiring, and they evolved into decent-if-not-elite workers. I mean, it's not a meme to say Nikki Bella turned into one of the best wrestlers among the women during her second run. Brie was always a step behind, but she wasn't necessarily bad. But of the other ones, plenty could work today, even if they came back now. Mickie James, for example, already is. Michelle McCool and Beth Phoenix would kill it today. Eve Torres is another one who probably could slide right into either show and be a top heel based on the work she put in right before she left. Basically, the only one I'd discount would be Kelly Kelly, because she seemed like the rare wrestler who was just incapable of picking anything up.

Discounting people who are plucked from sports, bodybuilding competitions, modeling agencies, fitness rackets, or other countries out of the purview of my greater scope, and not necessarily in order...
  • El Hijo del Fantasma/King Cuerno - He knows English, is big and athletic, and would be yet another piece in the company's eventual conquest of Mexico. His signing may not come right away given his entanglements with Lucha Underground, but I'll be shocked if he's not high on WWE's list.
  • Josh Briggs - WWE has hit the New England area's talent pretty hard (Dominic Dijakovic, Hanson, Oney Lorcan), and Briggs is that area's latest big guy. He's got size and charisma, but he's just raw enough that WWE could shape him into what it wants at the PC.
  • Shazza McKenzie - She's been working guest shots at NXT, and while that's not entirely a precursor for success, WWE has mined Australia/New Zealand pretty good. She seems on their radar.
  • "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams - The EVOLVE relationship and the upcoming "Loser Leaves EVOLVE" match he's in lead me to believe that he's heading out of the territory for NXT. He feels like a classic "Triple H NXT filler" signing as well.
  • Chelsea Green - The connections are just too numerous: Tough Enough alumna, several tryouts, great look, several contacts within the company. Her signing feels inevitable now that she's free of TNA.
  • Hangman Page - I get the feeling WWE is going to start attempting to poach a bunch of the gaijin from New Japan, starting with the Bullet Club's Elite. I don't know how many of them they actually get, but Page feels like the guy who could be most easily persuaded to break off on his own and get a fresh start in NXT instead of always being the low guy on the totem pole.
  • PB Smooth - He's a Cleveland/AIW-area worker who's big and has a good rep. Being trained by Johnny Gargano is a plus.
  • D'Angelo Williams - He's pretty much done in the NFL, but his wrestling career is just taking off. He came back to Impact Wrestling after his spectacular one-off date last year. I'd expect WWE to swoop in and try to keep him from sparking any kind of crossover appeal for its most infamous non-rival.
  • Hiroyo Matsumoto - She's been on WWE's radar for awhile, and it feels like she'll be the next among the big joshi names to come over.
  • A Female MMA Fighter of Note - I don't know MMA all that well enough to know who might jump at the offer to go to WWE, but I don't think the Four Horsewomen are the end of WWE's recruitment of women's MMA. The question is which one will WWE offer, and which one will actually jump at said offer. Will it be Miesha Tate leaving the world of retirement to take back bumps? Will WWE answer Cris Cyborg's outward thirst to join the company? What about someone older like Holly Holm or Cat Zingano? I literally don't know! However, I think someone, even if it's a name I'm not familiar with, will come aboard.

Protected user @adamsgroove asks:
Predictions for the 2018-19 NFL season? Division champs, MVP, Rookie of the year, all that noise.
Asking for predictions before training camps begin is reckless and dangerous, but I'll do it anyway!

National Football Conference
d-1. Eagles
2. Cowboys
3. Giants
4. Slurs

d-1. Packers
w-2. Bears
3. Vikings
4. Lions

d-1. Falcons
w-2. Panthers
3. Saints
4. Buccaneers

d-1. Rams
2. 49ers
3. Cardinals
4. Seahawks

American Football Conference
d-1. Patriots
2. Dolphins
3. Jets
4. Bills

d-1. Steelers
w-2. Ravens
3. Browns
4. Bengals

d-1. Texans
2. Jaguars
3. Titans
4. Colts

d-1. Chargers
w-2. Broncos
3. Chiefs
4. Raiders

The above standings I'm not too sure about. The NFC is gonna be a meat grinder. THe only team I really can't see contending is the Seahawks, but man, it's hard to count them out completely with Russell Wilson at quarterback. To be honest, the race for four of the six playoff spots is going to be murder, and honestly, the Rams and Eagles are both a few key injuries away from putting their spots in jeopardy. The AFC is a bit less hectic, given you can probably write the Pats and Steelers names into their playoff spots right now. I feel the least good about Texans over Jags in the south, but I feel like a full season of Deshaun Watson might make a huge difference, and Blake Bortles is due for some regression. I don't know, it's all a crapshoot. Anyway, speaking of crapshoots....

Wild Card
Falcons over Bears
Packers over Panthers
Ravens over Chargers
Texans over Broncos

Eagles over Packers
Falcons over Rams
Ravens over Patriots
Steelers over Texans

Championship Round
Eagles over Falcons
Ravens over Steelers

Super Bowl
Eagles over Ravens

Yeah, it's hard to repeat, but I'm rolling with the home squad.

MVP: Carson Wentz
DPOY: Von Miller
O-ROY: Lamar Jackson
D-ROY: Bradley Chubb
Coach: Doug Pederson
Comeback Player: Aaron Rodgers

"Ethical" concerns means that you're not looking at WWE, which is fine. My caveat is that when people say that ethical consumption under capitalism is impossible, it's really the truth, especially in wrestling. But I get it, you wanna cut out the big offenders, which is fine. WWE and also Ring of Honor, the other big-time streaming/television options weekly, are out because they're effectively members of the Trump administration (ROH, remember, is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which is effectively Trump's local news propaganda arm).

So that leaves you with, as you mentioned, Lucha Underground. What are some other weekly television options though? Major League Wrestling Fusion is on beIN Sports. You don't get beIN Sports? Well, you're in good company; almost no one does! However, they do post Fusion to their YouTube for free, so you got that going for you. Also on YouTube every week is Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, which broadcasts live from Puebla every Monday night, so you can watch wrestling every Monday without having to indulge WWE. Other promotions broadcast locally. I'm not sure where you can find them online if anything, but as with anything, wrestling takes some effort to follow.

I've always hated the term "playing the game the right way" as a way to pump up a dude like Jeff Francoeur or Danny Woodhead or whatever. You play the game the right way when you're goddamn good at it. Being cocky or showing emotion is human, and should be celebrated. No way should I have to celebrate some boring White dude with slightly above average stats over a POC player just dominating because they're demure. Man, they're demure because they know they have more of a chance of being shown their ass than if they were really good. Barry Sanders was the exception to the rule, because that's just who he was. But he also played the game the right way in that he was the best running back I've ever seen with my two eyes. Humility is overrated.

I think "pound-for-pound" doesn't have the same punch in wrestling, where it's regarded that the smaller guys might be better than the big guys. So Ciampa would have to be better than all the people his size, which is a tricky proposition. The thing that might set him apart is that he's one of the only guys in the world who can get an arena just to want to pelt him with rotten garbage on sight, which is a huge part of excelling in wrestling. So you might be onto something, because while he might not be as "good" in the ring as someone like, say, Fenix or Kenny Omega, it feels like what he's doing as a character is leagues ahead of everyone else it's not even funny.