Thursday, May 21, 2020

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 294

But first, Pearl Jam
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 280 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:

Here's an attitude that would've been hotly debated maybe ten years ago, but I think it's the default position for a good reason. Bill Simmons sucks. He may be the godfather of what the sports blogging community has become, and thus an indirect founder of The Wrestling Blog. That being said, while his writing has never really been insightful even at its peak, it was funny. But then he delved deeper and deeper into his bunker of comparing everything to stereotypical White-boy-from-the-Northeast prestige bullshit, trying to connect everything to how it affects Boston teams while simultaneously lamenting shit like the Celtics' 1997 draft when he's seen an unprecedented bajillion sports titles over his lifetime. That alone makes you Dan Shaughnessy with a millennial following, but then you get into the union busting and selling The Ringer without telling your staff, and he's kinda downright evil at this point. He's capital. He's not your friend anymore. I'm not sure he ever was.

Honestly, you should probably be more deferential of someone like Drew Magary or David Roth or any of the other writers who came from the former Deadspin (not the Vichy Republic Deadspin that's ongoing right now). Magary, for example, has delved a little into hackery, but I mean, everyone does after awhile. I'm probably gonna be a crank later in life if I'm not one already. But what he writes still feels genuine, funny, and ostentatious at the same time. Of course he also gets kind of a pass for bouncing back after his brain nearly exploded too. Just saying, don't deify anyone, but you can choose your writing icons carefully and not have to worry about them becoming misers.

I feel like I get this question every five or six TweetBags, which is okay! I'm not bashing the question-asker; that would be egregiously insensitive. However, every time I get this question, I always feel like I have a different urge. One thing is the same; all my perfect burgers have eggs on them. I've been hooked for close to 15 years now. So I will submit to you the Walk of Shame burger I submitted to local restaurant franchise Nifty Fifty's for a hypothetical burger cook-off since COVID-19 precludes actually cooking them in person. You start with beef, which is either 80/20 or 75/25 if you're nasty. I am nasty. You top it with a runny egg, preferably sunny-side, but over easy works too. Add a slice or two of pork roll, a griddled hash brown patty, and put it all on an everything bagel, and voila, it's the perfect burger, for breakfast or for anytime. My philosophy that breakfast food is anytime food should be well-known by now, and if not, now you know, friendo. You might ask "where's the cheese?" and I don't blame you. You can add a melty slice of American or a cutting chunk of sharp cheddar and it would not ruin the vibe, but I think the seasoned egg yolk should be enough unctuousness to get you by. But hey, everyone's palate is different. Embrace it!

I love hard and heavy music if I have to do cleaning, manual labor, or just work out. The musical inspiration can vary, but it always comes back to the OG. James, Cliff, Kurt, and I guess Lars. Their final album together, and one of my three favorite albums ever. PULLING YOUR STRINGS.

See, you're thinking too big-box here. The most OBVIOUS choice for a match that suffers without fans is one where the fans bring the weapons. It's fine though, not everyone is in tune with the kinds of promotions who let fans bring the weapons. The Rumble is probably the second match up, mainly because you have no one to react to the surprises and returns, no one to count down til the next entrant, no one to lavish praise upon the person who's going to WrestleMania, unless that person is Roman Reigns in Philadelphia with his cousin raising his hand indignantly. I think second is a Falls Count Anywhere match. No fans in attendance would make the actual mechanics of the match easier and open things up, but honestly, is the potential for innovation worth having the action spill out in front of fans going apeshit with security holding them back? I'm not sure it would. Again, All Elite Wrestling did as good a job with it on Dynamite a few weeks ago, but I think the visual of Sammy Guevara getting run down with the golf cart is enhanced if you have a bunch of fans losing their shit just offset from behind or the sides.

I'm assuming that everyone's on the same playing field in terms of their primes and modern nutrition and training. You take two of the consensus best players ever and the field from where I'm picking. Here's my starting lineup

C - Shaquille O'Neal - Over a longer period of time, Shaq grated on teammates and forced exits from every team he played. In one game though, at his peak, who was guarding him? Who was scoring on him? Who took up the key like he could? Who dominated the paint or threw his body around? No one. Shaq Diesel is a no-brainer number one pick.

PF - Tim Duncan - If Shaq was the most dominant non-LeBron James player of the post-Jordan era, Duncan was the best and most consistent. A banger underneath the boards and a versatile, stalwart defender, he was the biggest reason why the Spurs were a problem from 1999 through at least the mid-Aughts. He was still pretty good when Manu Ginobili and then Kawhi Leonard became the alpha dogs for the Spurs, but if I'm talking primes, Duncan is the guy, the beast, the monster.

SF - Kevin Garnett - A big who can play facing the basket and spotting up for threes was revolutionary for the post-Jordan NBA. I'm not sure how he'd react to having Garnett, a long and tenacious defender, would affect Jordan. James can, and has, handled him, but again, with Shaq and Duncan backing him up, having Garnett at the 3 would be almost a luxury.

SG - Steph Curry - It's the modern NBA. Gotta make it rain.

PG - Allen Iverson - Would AI be able to cross prime Jordan over? Dunno, but I mean, MJ was still on top of the world the year Iverson broke his ankles. No one could slash to the basket like AI, and he would be a consistent problem for Jordan and James and any of the other guys playing out there with him.

BENCH - Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, Klay Thompson - 'Melo provides scoring burst off the bench. When he gets hot, he gets RED HOT. Rodman provides clamps for the late game. There's a reason he signed with the Bulls, so Jordan didn't ever have to deal with him. Thompson is the late game sharpshooter or at least an insurance three-ball guy in case Curry gets cold.

Depending on the other six guys picked up by your team, I would feel pretty darn confident even going against the big two of the modern NBA.

It's hard to judge because there's a whole undercurrent of Philly R&B artists from the '70s that I've not been immersed in. Philly will also attempt to claim Taylor Swift, from Reading, PA, but that feels like cheating. Anywhere further west than West Chester or further north than like Doylestown feels like skirting the metropolitan area. For me, Boyz II Men's stiffest competition is probably Hall and Oates, who were hitmaking machines in the 1980s. You couldn't go a single hop of a radio station without running into "Maneater" or "Private Eyes" or some other monster hit. Boyz II Men probably hit a far higher peak, but Hall and Oates were longer-lived. So, personally, I think Boyz II Men are a close number two to Hall and Oates in the Philly Pantheon. Objectively, you gotta hit someone who knows more about the soul/R&B scene.