Thursday, August 9, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 247

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:

If anyone deserves to be the dude who spoils Kenny Omega's perfect G1, it's Toru Yano. It's not just because it makes the shitty fanboys who think comedic wrestling is bad mad, but because comedic wrestling is something that should be recognized. If the goal of pro wrestling is to get a rise out of the crowd, and it's harder to do comedy in wrestling than it is to be serious, then shouldn't it follow that great comedic wrestlers are the best of the lot? In that case, Yano should probably win the damn title and hold it until Chuck Taylor is ready to take it from him. But everyone knows that won't happen because wrestling is never really that simplistic. Yano beat Omega because it was a unique opportunity to shake things up during a tournament where you do that by law, but the fact that New Japan Pro Wrestling offers that opportunity means that yes, the world has some intrinsic value. Or something.

What I really want to know is who let the person with the second pick get Roman Reigns, Carmella, and Elias? That's a winning combination judging by the rules, especially since Reigns is in so many segments and Carmella is a major focus of the Smackdown women's division. Like I get taking Braun Strowman first, but then loading up on NXT wrestlers, especially when NXT weekly doesn't really count? Plus, Kurt Angle isn't going to be getting much in the way of match points, even if he racks up like three or four single points in a show, he's still not really gonna be eligible for the big payouts on a weekly basis. Having that Reigns/Mella/Elias core with a B-Team member and Ricochet eating up Takeover appearances feels like the slam dunk favorite to win it all.

The critical thing to consider is how many of the wrestlers that Ring of Honor needs to keep around will actually stick around. WWE is already looking at opening up the checkbook to sign guys like Shane Strickland and the Lucha Bros. Additionally, the main players in ROH's crossover appeal from New Japan — Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Cody Rhodes — have contracts that expire before the Madison Square Garden date. If WWE keeps vacuum cleanering wrestlers with no real plans to utilize their talents in a way that would make them critically more relevant than if they stayed indie or in competing corporate promotions, then the landscape will have changed for much worse. I mean, I want a promotion like ROH to do well, but it's not really going to be leading any revolution with Bully Ray and Matt Taven at the top of the card. New Japan has bankable stars at home, but if it loses The Elite, it loses a lot of its cache with American fans. And honestly, as much American fans do like wrestlers like Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito, a lot of its push east across the Pacific has been built on the backs of The Elite. Besides, who said that WWE wouldn't come after New Japan guys with blowaway offers? They signed Shisnuke Nakamura, and they're already gathering the much easier-to-harvest (for whatever reason) joshi scene. WWE is not going quietly.

But the best thing to come out of this whole watershed moment would be for ROH and NJPW to roll out the checkbook, for NJPW to start yelling at ROH officials to start investing more in building buzzworthy superstars so that they had some help in selling shows, and for ROH to get some kind of watershed level of exposure that would help it compete for a bigger market share that would make people believably say it's the new number two promotion (which it already is but still) and not slip into a brain fog and think it's still Impact. If that happens, then this time will be considered the point in which the American wrestling scene changed for the better. I don't have high hopes, but I'm naturally pessimistic, and this is Trump's America after all. Still, hope exists.