Thursday, September 6, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 250

FEED. ME. MORE. (cheeseburgers)
Photo Credit: TH
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:

Personally, I would go for 1/2 pound burgers when I myself are making them. I like 'em thicc. If my jaw doesn't get tired from chewing them, I don't want them. Of course, that's not entirely true. I will eat any cheeseburger at any time. I am the 24/7 Hardcore Champion of cheeseburger eating. It's just when I'm making them for myself, I go big (and go home too since I am almost always at home).

Man, I too hate Bayley going from arch-babyface in NXT to just another Vince McMahon-painted-grey character on RAW, and I am dreading Velveteen Dream going to main out of him becoming Black Goldust (circa the Jerry Lawler "Are You Gay?" feud). However, my attention span for main roster WWE rarely ever depends on getting singular characters right. I mean, one could argue that from between Hell in a Cell until CM Punk walking out, WWE punted on Daniel Bryan's character, and yet I was still into it because he was still working bomb matches, and despite the attempts at turning up his misogyny and unlikability as a character, moments like sitting atop the cage upon gaining freedom from the Wyatt Family and obviously the end of WrestleMania XXX still resonated huge. Character integrity is something I've learned not to expect from WWE over the years, which isn't a defense of the product at all.

Right now though, I'm on a break from watching main roster television weekly because nothing matters even more than ever. The company has entered into a stretch of television that leans even more on constant rematches and no character progression than at its doldrums in 2009 and 2010. To wit, it's always been a big picture thing for me. If it feels like I get something out of following the company overall, I'll watch, even if half the characters are loathsome or shiftless or homogenized. When nothing matters, then I'm off it. I still watch pay-per-views/Network specials for main, but that's because I like the actual matches too much to be able to quit what I can access easily (and honestly, the Network itself is worth it for NXT, 205 Live, the extraneous tournaments, and other weird shit they like to put on there, which is saying nothing about the massive archives).

Buddy, I didn't think this blog was gonna last through April 25, 2009, and I'm here now.

But yeah, I kinda figured that if I started writing mailbags and if they took off that I'd be writing them far after anything else on this site interested me. I mean, sometimes, the audience is a better muse than your own viewing, and I've received a lot of thoughtful, interesting, or just plain crazy questions over the year that served as great canvases for me to write. By far, the TweetBag has remained the easiest thing for me to write on here.

The hardest has been and will always be full show reviews, by the by.

The answer is real, authentic Canadian poutine. Sure, people in America make it (and I've yet really to try it here), but I believe the people saying that it's not the same because Quebecois/Canadian cheese curds are raw and give it a different flavor. Obviously, I'd have to go north to try it, but I'm down for any trip that takes me to food. Just ask my wife.

Philosophers in deathmatches? This feels extremely niche, but I'm down. Anyway, I'll take Friedrich Nietzsche, Rene Descartes, Karl Marx, St. Thomas Aquinas, Confucius, Sir Francis Bacon, Henry David Thoreau, and Socrates. I figured rather than make it heavily slanted towards one certain country or region, I went mixed. Sure, Germany is represented twice, but honestly, Nietzsche is the Ubermensch guy and Marx birthed modern collectivist thought, so forgive me. Anyway, who wins? Well, I'll just let Twitter luminary @leyawn answer that for me...

If you don't wanna be a fan anymore, just quit, man. Nothing's keeping you around the biz.

Between this and other fan revolts leading to big moments, it only makes the current push of Roman Reigns that much more impressive in its obstinance and stubbornness. I mean, Vince McMahon didn't let a main event between two core members of his son-in-law's vanity stable headline Mania without the insertion of the Internet fave (although if you read between lines and that Daniel Bryan is and has always been a Vince-favorite, and that McMahon and Paul Levesque, while close, remain in state of eternal rivalry as two meatheaded alpha males are wont to do then maybe that wasn't as surprising...), but he'll go five years propping up Reigns without even the benefit of an initial heel turn like what he did for John Cena at the beginning of his run. It's impossible to theorize the reasons why the Reigns experiment continues even with all the static from the crowd, and honestly, even though Reigns has been booked in an incredibly vulnerable fashion over that period compared to his most notable comparison in Hulk Hogan, the perception has always been that Reigns is the top guy on the top brand who's there every week. That is impressive in its dedication, to be honest.

So why waver on Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair then? The question maybe should be "When did WWE writers and producers realize they were telling a bad story?" The purposeful rejection doesn't seem to be rooted in Lynch and Flair as wrestlers. They're both Horsewomen, and thus have more than a modicum of cred with the audience at large. Any attempt at recreating a Bryan/Reigns authenticity gradient with them feels nerfed by the fact that they were both so popular in NXT before getting to main. I think the purpose was in the fans knowing that the storytelling was obviously flawed to its core. Lynch did nothing wrong, and Flair did everything wrong. The bill of goods was bunk from get-go one. So, that crowd in Brooklyn and every one subsequently decided to react accordingly, ignoring the fact that WWE decided to make one-half of its prospective WrestleMania 35 main event the hero despite the fact that she acted in backstabbing, expecting-entitlement fashion the whole way through.

So yeah, the fact that it worked here can embolden the fans to at least try to make WWE reverse course on other things. Reigns' massive push (and to a lesser extent, the John Cena push that preceded it) looms so heavily that it obscures the fact that McMahon does at times realize he's made mistakes in judgement. However, the bigger thing is going to be from smart-ass wrestling "smarks" and company suck-ups yelling at fans for not reacting the way McMahon initially intended them to getting louder because of this, which will probably lead to me rolling my eyes so hard they detach from the optic nerves someday. I hope that day is soon; it'll give me a reason to give up Twitter.

Probably Vincent J. McMahon, so I could browbeat him for procreating.

Okay, okay, I keed, I keed. I'd probably want to talk to Jerry Jarrett and Angelo Poffo. Memphis feels like it was such a different animal than any other of the old-time territories, and Jarrett, even though he comes off as a skeevy, loathsome crank nowadays, probably has, and especially would've had back then, great ideas on how to create a viable wrestling promotion. Poffo comes into play since he ran an outlaw promotion in Jarrett's territory which culminated in one of the first real invasion angles. Memphis was so fascinating, man.

*holds up a sign that says ALL SUPLEXES ARE VALID*

Actually, in all seriousness, I'm torn between two ends of the spectrum. On the simplistic end, you have the German suplex, perhaps the second or third most basic suplex you can do, but yet it feels like one of the most devastating. Lifting someone over your head to throw them back recklessly on their necks feels like something you do to someone you hate, and yet it's so goddamn intuitive as a wrestling move. On the other end is the Japanese Ocean Cyclone suplex, which not only captures my macabre fancy for ornate moves, but also shows how much more extra and impressive joshi is and has always been.

I think Lee's title reign has got super stale, to be honest. It was fun at first, when CWF Mid-Atlantic was hot, but how much buzz does he have now? Like, it's not there anymore. You can blame the shit with Brad Stutts going down taking the bloom off the rose, but shit that goes for sheer length in wrestling rarely works.

First is Ghostbusters. Before you say that's not cheesy, it was four dudes in Nomex jumpsuits chasing around poorly-aged effect ghosts shooting lasers at them. So what if it's the best comedy ever, it's also got 80s cheese all over it (and that's okay). Second is Roadhouse because it's Patrick Swayze kicking the shit out of hulking weirdos in a random shitkicker of a bar in the sticks. Duh. Finally, Coming to America feels like a movie that wouldn't get made today because it skirts a lot of lines, but I mean, Eddie Murphy used to be a comedic genius, and it shows here.

It's hard to say. All In's success was predicated on the core group's webshow reaching supernova popularity among the second level of hardcore wrestling fans. I'm not sure anyone else can boast that right now, unless you get someone like Colt Cabana trying to turn the Art of Wrestling into an actual card. I think where you will see the change is the relationship with the media. While I don't think Dave Meltzer (who's a rape apologist, by the way, never forget that) had as big a hand in selling the show as some say he does, he certainly had influence in getting some people in the door or ordering it on pay-per-view. Wrestling has an adversarial relationship with the media more than any other sport or entertainment medium it seems, but All In really embracing said media, both with Meltzer running clear advertisement for them and with the existence of Starrcast itself, maybe promotions below WWE on the totem pole will begin to lean more on media more, which will make them more legit in some ways and less legit in others. So in a word, wrestling media will start to become like all other media, which is a huge sign that maybe wrestling itself is ready to normalize. But I digress.

Zack Ryder still comes to mind, even though his meme factor has decreased exponentially since the height of Long Island Iced Z, the YouTube show. Still, he knows how market himself. He loves the business. Regardless of what anyone says, he's a good worker, but even then, who saw Cody Rhodes work in WWE and came to a consensus that he was some virtuoso capable of doing high-workrate shit with New Japan elites? I don't think he is, but again, he marketed himself so well and worked really hard. Ryder is possibly the best possible version of Rhodes in terms of total package even if he doesn't have the famous surname.

The Revival is another act that I think would do gangbusters on the indies. They should fit well in WWE, but for some reason, management really doesn't like them enough on main to consistently push them commensurate to their talent level. On the indies, they'd be a great spark to get the Southern indies on the map. They have NXT cred that would get them booked in any arena they want to. And most of all, them vs. the Young Bucks would give All In 2 a shot to double their attendance, and I'm only half-joking.

For the male competitors, I'm torn. I think the title matches at WrestleMania 35 for the men are penciled in as Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz, with Reigns and Miz as the Champions going in. It would depend on which brand McMahon wants to give the shine to. If it's RAW, Rollins wins, no doubt. Ambrose's character would benefit more from him getting into the title match through devious means. If it's Smackdown, then Bryan would get the Rumble win that folks have been clamoring for him to win for five years now.

The women's Rumble is Ronda Rousey's to lose, whether or not she's still RAW Women's Champion by then. Rousey/Flair is the play for Mania, I think. WWE would probably want to drive home that either Rumble could be for the main event at the show, and Rousey winning is the kind of emphasis win McMahon would look for to drive that home.