Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Black Should-Have-Been WWE Champions

Kofi Kingston is a worthy Champion, but WWE's history with Black wrestlers is not ideal
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When writing about the looming Sword of Damocles that was Shane McMahon as WWE Champion yesterday, I noted that giving a company that has only allowed four Black men to hold a version of its top title in its 50+ year history the benefit of the doubt would be a mistake. It made me wonder what the demographic breakdown of everyone who held the WWWF/WWF/WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, and Universal Championship would be. As it turned out, 61 men held some version of the top title. Of that number, 47 were White, three Black (Booker T, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston), four Latinx (Pedro Morales, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Alberto del Rio), two Pacific Islander (Yokozuna, Roman Reigns), two Indian (Great Khali, Jinder Mahal), one Persian (Iron Sheik), one Asian (Batista who is Filipino), and then you had The Rock, who claims a multiracial background that includes Pacific Islander and Black heritage. Seeing as WWE is a worldwide company, and White people are vastly outnumbered, the 77 percent White World Champions is out of whack with what the representation should have been. Focusing squarely on America, the disproportionality of White vs. Black Champions specifically feels off, especially given how many Black fans WWE has at a given time.

Social Justice Is a Good Thing, or Shut Up, Boomers

Young, shown here staring down Punishment Martinez, has some ugly opinions
Photo Credit: ROHWrestling.com
Pro wrestling has at least in theory been for everyone for most if not all of its existence, at least dating back to the rise of Gorgeous George. Where else but a wrestling ring could you find men dressing up gaudily and flamboyantly, playing up every detail that was socially taboo for them while wriggling and writhing against each others' bodies. Even if the people telling the stories heeled gay or effeminate men, they still resonated with gay fans. And even though, thanks to the Fabulous Moolah, female representation was stunted in pro wrestling for at least two decades in total and even longer in America, women could get their fill of hunks parading around without shirts or long pants on. It might be a crude view of a neanderthal-minded business, but it's not like wrestling had to be woke to appeal to all demographics.

Read Linda McMahon's "Red Flags" for the Trump Cabinet

All those red flags
Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The friendship between the Trump and McMahon families goes back at least 30+ years. Donald Trump hosted two consecutive WrestleManias, and he was a fixture in WWE crowds over the years. The relationship culminated in him cornering Bobby Lashley against Umaga (cornered by Vince McMahon) at WrestleMania XXIII. So it would make sense that if Vince didn't get a nod for Trump's cabinet that his wife Linda, who ran two unsuccessful Senate campaigns, would. If you can't win an election, the next best thing is to have your family friend shuttle you into government in a position only he can choose. The grift continues.

Meet the Field for the 2019 Scenic City Invitational

Is it finally Henry's year?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The Scenic City Invitational has carved out quite the niche, filling in a marquee tournament for the South that has been left vacant since the end of the Jeff Petersen Memorial Tournament in Florida. Several wrestlers have cycled through including the likes of Matt Riddle, Moose, Joey Janela, Darby Allin, Fred Yehi, PCO, Jaxson Ryker (Gunner/Phil Shatter then), and Jimmy Rave. This year continues the Chattanooga tradition, the fifth annual tournament. Only one past winner returns, so the field might be wide open for a new Champion. All the names have been announced, so I will run them down for you.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for June 24, 2019

Photo Credit: Burning Hammer Photography
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Nick Gage (Last Week: Not Ranked) - AAA announced that they will be booking The King in a hardcore match against Pagano, Psicosis, and Joe Lider. If you're going to do a deathmatch, you best bring in the best to do it, or at least one of the best. Maybe AAA will book Gage vs. Masashi Takeda. Or maybe Gage will just find his way to just stab everyone on the roster and claim his rightful place as the Extreme King of Mexico. I guess it's just wait and see on that one.

2. Sasha Banks (Last Week: 7) - The newest Corgi Mom of Wrestling showed she can do the memes too. Whatever WWE pays her to come back won't be enough.

3. Fried Chicken and Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - Everything at the Jersey Shore is about 20 percent more expensive than it should be. Still, you want to look for the best stuff regardless. You don't want to pay $10 for a shitty fast food cheeseburger, you wanna spend it on a perfectly browned grilled cheese sandwich with solid melted American cheese AND cheddar cheese sauce, perfectly fried fresh chicken, and crispy bacon. Bonus points if you can get it delivered to the actual beach.

The Failson and the Championships Won

Look, he's red just talking on the mic, and I'm to believe HE'S Championship material?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you haven't been paying attention to WWE in the last year or so, and I can't blame you for whatever reason, Shane McMahon has been a major part of the programming, even more than when he was at his peak as an in-ring competitor nearly 20 years ago. He won a "best in the world" tournament at the Fed's second Saudi Blood/Fuck Money show, Crown Jewel, one he wasn't a part of until getting a bye to the finals. He and the Miz won the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, and when they lost the belts, he turned on Miz setting up a match of theirs at WrestleMania... which he won. He segued from that feud without ever really giving Miz resolution into a feud with Roman Reigns, against whom he got a victory at the latest Saudi Blood/Fuck Money show, Super Showdown.

The Trash Feud of the Century

Rollins defending the company line online is almost as embarrassing as when his former fiancee leaked pics of him
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Everyone knows that while in the short term, All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling pose no risk to WWE's financial hegemony, that the Worldwide Leader in Sports Entertainment™ is quaking in its boots because those promotions have what at least Paul "Triple H" Levesque and Stephanie McMahon want — approval from the cool kids. Of course, WWE's response to that loss of critical cache isn't to put on the best show it possibly can while renouncing ties to Donald Trump (or at least not fucking donating to him) and also cancelling its morally repugnant deal with Saudi Arabia, but to shout loudly from all corners of social media how good its product is. While NXT can at least have a claim to being a quality product without reasonable doubt, the main roster slogs through its existence with no such consistency, bright spots coming either at pay-per-views in individual matches or during the Firefly Funhouse. I don't count the 24/7 Championship as main roster so much as it is the wrestlers and Jeremy Borash allowed to use WWE money and a part of RAW or Smackdown each week to have a little fun outside of Vince McMahon's Eye of Sauron-like gaze. I swear, if you tell me that title has any input from the eldest McMahon whatsoever, I will laugh in your fucking face. Anyway.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 264

Gotta load up like the Big Dog if you wanna win the parents' youth baseball rumble
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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:

You've gotta keep it simple, stupid. When you have dozens of parents going at it in a battle royale, you don't have the time to set up an elaborate move that may or may not hurt like you're Will Ospreay. You have to hit hard and fast, which is why you gotta be throwing spears like you're Bill Goldberg, Roman Reigns, Edge, and Kairi Sane all rolled up into one. You clear the field by putting respective combatants on their asses, especially if you're a big guy like me. I mean, if you're some wimpy pre-teen umpire, would you think twice about calling a questionable pitch a strike on my kid if I can floor multiple parents with a spear? I don't fukkin' think so, brah.

Is the DDT Waterslide Figure Four the Greatest Spot Ever? Yes, It Is.

One-half of the greatest spot in history? Yes.
Photo via Ikigai Pro
Dramatic Dream Team, the most unique wrestling promotion not just in Japan but in the world, is known for bringing wrestling to places where wrestling rarely ever happens outside of kids "trying this at home." It has graced train stations, forests, and creeks among other locales, and this past week, it took the fight to a waterpark. Granted, doing wrestling moves in the pool is perhaps the most time-honored tradition outside of doing cannonballs off the diving board and ignoring folks telling you not to swim until a half-hour after you've eaten. While the whole show was a hoot for those who watched, I want to focus in on one spot in particular, shared by the intrepid MrLARIATO on Twitter:

NXT In 60 Seconds for June 19, 2019

Coming soon to a Takeover near you?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
PA: SHOCK...the system.
the Undisputed Era: swag their way out
Full Sailors: Adam Cole! Adam Cole! Adam Cole!
Him: Told you so. I said in '19 UE would be draped in championship gold, and this holds up the Big X is the start of fulfilling that prophecy. We don't start at the bottom and hope all our hard work pays off, no: we start by attacking and taking out the guy at the top, taking whatever it is we want and if anyone gets in our way, we make sure they regret it. Starting with this title we'll remake the NXT Universe into an undisputed image.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The New Japan United States Champion Cannot Currently Work in the United States for Them

No Moxley in Dallas
Photo Credit: WWE.com
So, the complete card for the Dallas G1 Special has been released, and one name in particular sticks out as missing. Despite carrying New Japan Pro Wrestling's United States Championship and competing in the B block of the G1 Climax Tournament, Jon Moxley will not be appearing at the G1 Climax Opening Day special in Dallas on July 6. The reason? He's under American exclusivity for All Elite Wrestling. According to The Man Who Says WWE Should Simply Create New Stars, Todd Martin, AEW approached New Japan early on to form a partnership. New Japan rebuffed the offer, citing its existing relationship with the sinking ship known as Ring of Honor. Chris Jericho and Moxley, for example, working for New Japan in Japan makes sense if AEW isn't going to compete with them there.

Trio Number Four Has International Flair

Kicking it back to 2006
Graphics Credit: ChikaraPro.com
Back in the late Aughts, Prince Nana commanded a stable whose reaches extended far and wide at points. The Embassy at points in time had wrestlers like Daizee Haze, Claudio Castagnoli, Erick Stevens, Bison Smith, Sal Rinauro, Jimmy Rave, Xavier, Alex Shelley, and even towards the end, the Necro Butcher. It was a scourge on Ring of Honor at two different points in the company's tenure, and whether or not they were in the opening match or the main event, they would annoy and terrorize their opponents effectively. Although the stable nominally broke up in 2010, like all good classic properties, it is due for a comeback, this time in King of Trios '19.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for June 17, 2019

He may be frugal, but never let it be known that Kawhi Leonard doesn't have a sense of humor
Photo via @TheUndefeated
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Kawhi Leonard (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Leonard has now led two teams to denying three-peats in the NBA Finals, and if you count his falling out and forcing of a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, he has now ended three legit NBA dynasties. Leonard's legend is enhanced by his legendary frugality, where stories have come out that he drives a minivan with over 200,000 miles on it, among other things. In an era where the modern sports superstar is marked by excess, it's unique and almost charming to see someone making bank and clipping coupons. Of course, the kicker is that while in college, he'd use to talk shit to his teammates during practice while saying things like "Board Man Gets Paid," and well, that turned into a rallying cry that turned into a t-shirt. Either way, congrats to Leonard, the Raptors, and the City of Toronto.

2. Orange Cassidy (Last Week: 1) - Look, I forgot to take him out of the rankings and then thought it appropriate to keep him here for just that reason.

3. Gritty (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Today is International Mascots Day, and while the City of Philadelphia has the Phillie Phanatic, the addition of Gritty has made this town THE mecca for mascots. Add in that Gritty is also a leftist icon, and boom.

Don't Touch the Wrestlers

Bordeaux doesn't deserve your greasy mitts on her
Photo Credit: ImpactWrestling.com
Here at The Wrestling Blog, I've covered extensively Bully Ray stealing away a fan because he booed his girlfriend in an attempt to interrogate him. That being said, it's important to note that situations where fans and wrestlers are involved in physical altercations are rarely the wrestlers' faults. In most cases, a fan gets belligerent or thinks that they are qualified to be part of the action. The world saw it with a fan crossing the line in getting personal with Taya Valkyrie before spitting on her, and now with AAA's Verano de Escandalo last night. Scarlett Bordeaux was touched inappropriately by a fan in the front row after she had just hit a dive.

Your Booking Dollars At Work

Rose's day-job shouldn't cost her bookings (also, that's a sweet shirt)
Photo via @FeliciaRose
Felicia Rose, who rose to prominence as a ribald sign maker as a fan and later as a manager for indie wrestling promotions, revealed she was fired from a promotion because they found out that her day-job involves her doing pornography. She did not reveal which promotion fired her, but that the company fired her after finding her Manyvids account, a site that is not available to people under the age of 18. In another promotion, Northeast Wrestling to be exact, Jon Moxley wrestled CaZXL. If you think these two bits are unrelated on the surface, well, on the surface they are unrelated. But in the grander undercurrent, it shows how fucked up the state of who receives wrestling bookings is.