Friday, April 19, 2019

NXT In 60 Seconds for April 17, 2019

Wave goodbye, say hello
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Lloyd Braun voiceover: Last week, on the Leftovers, Jaxson Ryker beat Danny Burch and Candice LeRae beat Aliyah.

Some Full Sailors: chant for Velveteen Dream
Some Full Sailors: chant for Buddy Murphy's return one off
Some Full Sailors: chant for Both These Guys
Both: have a 50/50 exchange on the mat, get nearfalls and front flip forward onto their feet

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 255

GET THE SHIRT
Photo via Mid JP
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:

At the risk of sounding like one of those on a bandwagon, those Los Ingobernables de Japon shirts are really cool. In a perfect world, this shirt would have become the new nWo or Austin 3:16. Alas, it's the corny, crypto-fash Bullet Club that got t-shirt prominence. Oh well. Anyway, yeah, get that shirt. It's surprisingly minimalist for wrestling, especially since the big companies seem to love to vomit graphics on their shirts, and the indies just churn out parody shirts that aren't even clever anymore.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

As the WWE Roster Turns (And In Some Cases Doesn't)

Ambrose Out
Photo Credit: WWE.com
While WWE continues to be a vacuum cleaner of talent across the indies and other corporate promotions worldwide, it can be hard to imagine them releasing people like they used to even a couple of years ago on the fateful day that JTG picked up his phone. However, the company does have roster turnover outflow. It just happens less frequently, and unless it's the case of major fuck-ups like with Enzo Amore or Colin Cassady, it's initiated by the wrestler wanting to leave. So far in 2019, several wrestlers of note have left the company or are in the process. Many of them initiated it on their own accord, and two of them didn't. One of them, well, you shouldn't be surprised that he was cut because dude is an entirely gigantic dipshit. The other one was surprising but is the rare case where WWE might have been justified?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ray Rowe's Journey to Erik

Erik? Rowe? Either way, he'll kill it.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
In August of 2014, Ray Rowe suffered a motorcycle accident where struck a car and went flying through the rear windshield. When the dust cleared, he was in a hospital with his wrestling career in jeopardy. Motorcycle accidents are usually bad news for the ones riding the bike. So when he showed up at Inspire Pro's Ecstasy of Gold II on January 4, 2015, that alone was reason enough to feel an incredible amount of thanks for the man. A recovery time of four months from such a horrific accident is nothing short of miraculous. Everything after would be gravy, which makes his arrival last night to RAW a gravy train.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Ballad of Sasha Banks

The Boss knows her worth, and that should be applauded.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
In the year 2015, Sasha Banks was poised to take the world by storm. She lit NXT on fire with a series of Women's Championship defenses at Takeover that stand as one of the best runs in not only NXT's but WWE's history. Her match with Bayley at Brooklyn could be considered the best in NXT history, and their encore at Takeover: Respect came closer to surpassing it than most sequel matches do for their critically acclaimed originals. She came up to the main roster and proceeded to get the stage with Charlotte Flair. They had a long feud that culminated in them making WWE history as the first ever women to headline a pay-per-view. Flair has since ascended to demigoddess-level fame in WWE. She just got done headlining WrestleMania along with prize part-time big name free agent Ronda Rousey and cult hero Becky Lynch. Meanwhile, Banks lost the Women's Tag Team Championships at the same event after following up her feud with Flair languishing between irrelevance and existing in a women's midcard that is more threadbare than the men's counterpart.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 254

Finally, a place for all the shitty people!
Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, via the National Science Foundation
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:

Ooh, I like ejecting odious people into the cold death of space! The fact that it would be into this black hole that scientists were able to photograph is even better since I'm guessing at least part of my list is part of the throbbing Luddite throng asking what the big deal about photographing an object bigger than the solar system and more massive than the fucking Milky Way galaxy for the first time while using the entire planet as a radio telescope. I want to rip those people new assholes, all of them. They're probably flat earthers or anti-vaxxers or both too. I blame people dismissing that I Fucking Love Science Facebook page and going full contrarian on it. I digress. My list:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Look at This Year's Bloodsport

Gresham was one of the reasons why Bloodsport is worth your time
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
This past Thursday, Game Changer Wrestling held its second annual Bloodsport event. For those not in the know, the show is the shoot-style showcase of Mania weekend. Last year, Matt Riddle presented it. He couldn't this year, obviously, because he's a WWE employee. In his stead, Josh Barnett took the mantel over. One would think a minor change in the trappings wouldn't mean much. I mean, you would think that the GCW team did most of the putting of the card together. However, with the change in namesake came a change in atmosphere. It's not so much that the quality of match went down. In fact, I would judge that this year's card overall was better than last year's in terms of quality. But with the change from Riddle to Barnett, Bloodsport lost something.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ring of Honor's Increasingly Low Standards

Is signing this asswipe really worth it, ROH?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Once upon a time, Ring of Honor was known for pioneering advances in in-ring quality in the United States. It was the first notable company to feature wrestling that was most like the various styles found in All-Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Over the company's first decade in business, it featured Low Ki, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Homicide, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, El Generico, Kevin Steen, Nigel McGuinness, Tyler Black, and countless other wrestlers who laid the groundwork for what wrestling would become over the next decade or so. So many of its influential alumni went onto WWE and helped transform it. Of course, the company had its misses, but the sins of guys like Mike Bennett weren't that they couldn't work, but that they were different kinds of workers than what made the company famous. Even in the later years when ROH lost its founding fathers, it still was able to replenish the ranks with guys like Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, Tommaso Ciampa, Donovan Dijak, Hanson, and others.

Follow-Up: Eli Drake Got Fired from Impact

He gone
Photo Credit: ImpactWrestling.com
Last week, I wrote about how Eli Drake of Impact Wrestling fame had a very public meltdown over intergender wrestling. As it turns out, the tweets were the smoke behind a behind-the-scenes fire that involved Drake getting into a tiff with management because they wanted him to wrestle Tessa Blanchard. The disagreement got so heated that Impact didn't even wait until Drake's contract let up at the end of next month to fire him. Drake is now a free agent, although given he had a meltdown in the past over Kevin Owens' push in NXT and WWE, he may not be welcome at the Performance Center. Maybe Ring of Honor will give him a shot. I mean, they signed the Beautiful People and the Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady tag team, so their standards have become abysmal.

Monday, April 8, 2019

WrestleMania Reader's Digest

#KofiMania
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Since bringing this thing back, I pondered how to handle event reviews. Maybe I'll do TH-Style again, but for stuff like WWE events that nearly everyone watches, well, I don't think that kind of thing is worth the effort. So, what I'm doing for Mania this year is writing a paragraph or two about each match. This review is not for people who haven't watched the show and are looking for reasons to watch or skip. This is for people who did watch and want to find some kind of critical reasoning, read a different point of view, or hell, have something to get frothily mad over. This is WrestleMania's Reader's Digest.

Best Coast Bias: You Should See His Triple Crown

By Takeover: New York I guess they meant Niagra Falls
Photo Credit: TDE Wrestling

When I wrote about Takeover: Phoenix, at the end of that BCB I wondered if we were going to get more MOTYs, the Show of the Year, or possibly both.

W E L P.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 253

How can you have feelings for a promotion that hasn't run a show yet?
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:

Protected user @earthdog asks:
In three years time how will your circle of wrestling fan connections feel about the state of AEW?
That question assumes All Elite Wrestling will be around in three years. I want to be hopeful about it, but the company hasn't run a show yet and doesn't have television lined up. It is hard to predict the future of a company that only really has plans for three total arena shows so far. Yeah, they sold out the Sears Center, and they will probably draw five figures for two of their three scheduled shows. That being said, I don't know what the future really holds for that company. I hope Wrestling Twitter is sitting around and complaining about booking minutiae in three years, but I have no idea how to gauge that optimism.

NXT In 60 Seconds for April 3, 2019

#14: gone, but not forgotten
Photo Credit: WWE.com
War Raiders: come out
NPCs: are doomed
Full Sailors: cruelly chant "Let's go, jobbers!" clap clap clapclapclap
War Raiders: Woo knee strike! Roundhouse kick! Assisted hip attack! Two-man pop-up powerslam!
Referee: Winners!
Rowe: Master Regal has allowed us to come out here and deliver a message to our Takeover opponents.
Hansen: But they need not listen - they can just watch.
Rowe: Bring out the next team!
Team Brazil: it them
Hansen: Cartwheel lariat!
Rowe: Trademark knee! Slam my partner onto you! One man powerbomb/powerslam combination!
War Raiders: Fallout!
Referee: For the second time in three minutes, winners!
Full Sailors: are now covered in spring squash

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Shut Up, Meatheads

Eli Drake is just so tiring, man
Photo Credit: ImpactWrestling.com
Honestly, I've written so goddamn much about intergender wrestling for such a long time on this blog that when idiots like Eli Drake, the only wrestler to get owned harder by Kevin Owens than Alex Riley, start spouting off about how it's "unrealistic," it should roll off my back. Yet, something about how reductive these arguments still are nowadays triggers my anger reflex.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Vince McMahon's Occupational Malfeasance Has Hit the Mainstream

All McMahon cares about is money, and finally, someone outside the bubble has taken notice
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Professional wrestling, WWE in particular, has come under a lot of fire over the years for various things in the mainstream. However, for all the shit it's taken for things like HLA or the ribaldry of the Attitude Era, few commentators set their sights on the obvious labor violations committed by one Vince McMahon in labeling his exclusive superstars as "independent contractors" instead of what they really are, employees. That changed last night as John Oliver took aim at the company a week in advance of WrestleMania with the following segment on his weekly comedic look back at the biggest news stories of the prior seven days, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, or, as he renamed the show during the segment, Unfortunately, Not a Guy Exploding Through a Table with John Oliver: