Friday, December 6, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 283

The best moment of the '10s is also the last time WWE really mattered
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:

Okada's rise to the top was bold and satisfying, but if you're talking a singular moment, it has to be the end of WrestleMania XXX, Daniel Bryan tapping out Batista and ending the show with confetti raining down on him. In retrospect, it should've been WWE's series finale. The way the company has been decaying ever since has been both a shame and endemic of what corporate suits drunk on capitalism do to businesses when they only care about a buck. WrestleMania XXX was the last time one could expect this wrestling promotion to actually get wrestling right. It was also cathartic and satisfying and the culmination of a year of the Fed's best product that it's ever done. They've hit high notes here or there, but they've been sporadic. Bryan's triumph was the last time WWE was anywhere close to being excellent at its stated craft.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Dy-No-MITE, Episode 10

LEXICON OF LE CHAMPION
Screengrab via AEW YouTube
While Dynamite didn't take the week off, TWB did for Thanksgiving. Surely, turkey and stuffing are more important than... A LITTLE BIT OF THE BUBBLAY. This week, the report returns from the show emanating from the University of Illinois.

Dustin Jackson - Death. Taxes. Dynamite kicking off with a hot match. Outside of last week, every show so far has begun with a match that turned out to be if not the best match on the show at least one of the five best matches in a given week. This week saw another chapter in the Elite's overarching war against the Inner Circle erupt in another skirmish. The Young Bucks and Dustin Rhodes, wrestling with a cast on his arm, took on Sammy Guevara and Proud and Powerful. It was the kind of fast-paced highspot derby you'd come to expect from five of the six competitors. Rhodes seemed like the odd man out, but that would not be the case.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2019 Year in Review/2020 Year in Preview: Chikara

Whisper was the straw that stirred Chikara's drink in 2019
Photo Credit: Chikara Live Instagram
Persons of all genders however infinite, it's time for the Year End BLOWOUT. The first thing up, year in review/preview for Chikara.

What Happened in 2019: Chikara Pro Wrestling entered 2019 with the top of its card in a tizzy because Dasher Hatfield went from lovable stalwart to an Old Hoss Radbourn who could throw a suplex. Dasher Hatfield may have ended 2018 as Public Enemy No. 1, but the looming threat developed in 2019 would be far greater than a traitor to his friend and a bad father to his son. Ophidian was revealed to have been training young wrestlers on the sly along with The Whisper and Lance Steel to act as Chikara's autoimmune defense system. Called The Crucible, they resembled less a wrestling stable and more a paramilitary operation. Their methods were so harsh that Mike Quackenbush decided that Ophidian was no longer allowed to hold sessions in the Wrestle Factory. That's when the autoimmune defense system turned into an autoimmune disease. The Crucible was turned on the Chikara roster with great effect.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for December 2, 2019

Jericho selling people THE BUBBLAY is genius level getting over
Screenshot via AEW YouTube
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. Chris Jericho (Last Week: Not Ranked) - I think it's time to start discussing Jericho as the best ever to do it. He's gotten so much random shit over in his 20+ year career and even now is still at least a decent wrestler. I mean, he sold 10,000 bottles of cheap hooch he slapped his image on in a week. That's impressive. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I'm not even sure it's close. I don't give a shit about drawing metrics or whatever. He's gotten over and stayed over for a long time changing his act when he saw it fit. Ric Flair being Ric Flair for four decades and staying prominent is impressive no doubt, but when a simple gimmick change sinks a wrestler, you have to give it to Jericho who kept changing and stayed not only excellent, but over during his whole time.

2. Orange Cassidy (Last Week: 7) - So what, he dressed up as a turkey and still did his hands in his pockets plancha to the outside? No big deal, man. No big deal at all.

3. Maki Itoh (Last Week: 5) - Will anyone dethrone Itoh as Princess of Joshi Champion? My sources say no, she shall be Champion until the Earth burns up thanks to climate change and only becomes inhabitable for the 0.0001 percent. So, until August 2021.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for November 25, 2019

NOBLE BIRD, GIVER OF THANKSGIVING NOURISHMENT, WE SALUTE YE
Photo Credit: CA2HILL/iStockPhoto
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. Turkey (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - No, not the country but the bird, turkey takes center stage this week as the protein of choice for a vast majority of non-vegan Thanksgiving plates. Hell, even vegan plates will have vegetable protein made up to look and taste like turkey no doubt. Why is this the bird of choice and not chicken or other land fauna like pig? Well, I don't know. What I do know is that I don't abide by the slander of this noble bird. Although the flesh is mild, well the white meat flesh, it is a perfect complement to the traditional sides, and the gravy tastes great. I salute this noble bird on Thanksgiving.

2. Darby Allin (Last Week: 1) - Sure, he didn't defeat Jon Moxley at Dynamite, but my god, I'm not even sure Kenny Omega took the fight to him as bad even without weapons. Allin should be the AEW Champion within a year the way he's going, and if he's not, well, Cody and his pals done fucked the fuck up.

3. Josh Richardson (Last Week: Not Ranked) - The Sixers destroyed Richardson's former team, the Heat, over the weekend, with the man getting 32 points in a victorious effort. The Sixers got pushed to the limit against the awful Knicks earlier in the week and then blew out the Heat, a team that at that point had been 11-3. The NBA is weird. Anyway, if Richardson can get between 20-35 points on a consistent basis, the Sixers will be a hard team to beat playing that defense.

On Kylie Rae

Kylie Rae finally spoke out about why she left AEW
Photo Credit: James Musselwhite
On May 25 at Double or Nothing, Kylie Rae made her first and final appearance for All Elite Wrestling. Three weeks later, she worked for Freelance Wrestling and then went totally dark, both on her booking calendar and social media. Then, in advance of All Out, Tony Khan confirmed that she and AEW had parted ways. It was one of the weirdest stories of the year mainly for the fact that it was so shrouded in mystery. Rumors swirled, and people pretending to be newsmen on Twitter claimed up and down that they had the story on why she'd disappeared but they wouldn't tell. Folks thought she'd quit wrestling given she left an allegedly well-paying job with television exposure. And then Freelance Wrestling announced that she would wrestle Isaias Velasquez on September 21.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 282

I spit in the face of people who don't eat apples
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:

1. Honeycrisp - Almost never mealy, super sweet, and really juicy
2. Granny Smith - Also almost never mealy, and I love the tartness behind the sweetness
3. Gala - They have a high mealy/non-mealy ratio, but when they're good, they're good.
4. Red Delicious - They're the ones I grew up with
5. Them Apples - How 'bout them?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Dy-No-MITE, Episode 8

Mox talked the talk last week and walked the walk this week
Screenshot via AEW YouTube
Last week on All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, Jon Moxley said "balls" a lot and laid down a challenge, Darby Allin accepted it, MJF did his villain's soliloquy, and Scorpio Sky pinned Le Champion. This week, the show comes to you live from Indianapolis, IN, home of The Whopper! The time has come to get down and dirty on this week's episode.

No Respect for Authority - The streak of straight bangers to open Dynamite continued week eight with Nick Jackson taking on Rey Feníx. It couldn't have been a tag even if they kayfabe wanted it; the commentary solemnly stated that he was out after being powerbombed last week through the stage. Anyway, once again, the show opened with the best match on the show, which is kinda what you need if you want to keep viewers hooked for that all important live rating number, I suppose. I don't want to call it the platonic ideal of a high-flying match, because Feníx's feet failed him a couple of times, starting with his exit out of the tunnel. That being said, I'm not really as hard on the high flyers for that kind of thing as long as they're not always out of position. Anyway, this match was a lot of slick counters and flips wrapped around a central theme worked around the superkick, namely Feníx matching Jackson on those kicks. The theme culminated with both wrestlers going for a kick only to have Feníx kick Jackson's leg (outta his leg!) on his attempt. It was rudimentary psychology, but it worked.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

the Black and Gold Standard: Episode 9 (11/13/19)

SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY
all photos courtesy of WWE.com
WWE's multiverse is crossing all the streams this autumn, and it's caused legit chaos off-screen to match the spandexified chaos on screen. Dream matches show up unadvertised, moved around, great on Wednesdays and above average on Fridays and Mondays...well, we don't like to talk about Mondays here. Angries up the blood.

The fact remains that on the penultimate show before the third TO: WG every cliche about chaos got filled, sometimes with blood on multiple occasions. Couple that with Papa Haitch's open invite to the entire "main roster" to come get some on tonight's show, and the only thing to know to expect is a ladder match with Cole/Dijakovic and the WarGames advantage on the line; even that, as with the rest of life, the card is subject to change.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for November 18, 2019

Crazy enough not only to take Mox's challenge but to beat him during it? That's Darby Allin!
Screenshot via AEW YouTube
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. Darby Allin (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Jon Moxley offered to do everything short of killing his opponent, and you'd think no one would challenge him. Well, no one has the iron will and lack of respect for their own lives like Allin does. Will Allin prevail this week against Mox? Probably not. Will he take a chunk of Mox's flesh before falling? I think that's a guarantee.

2. Lamar Jackson (Last Week: Not Ranked) - At this point in the season, he'd have to disappear completely from Baltimore's lineup not to win the Most Valuable Player award. In a duel with fellow Black Excellence QB Deshaun Watson, Jackson went off for four passing touchdowns and another on the ground as the number two team in the AFC routed the number three, 41-7. Jackson is putting up numbers and leading the Ravens to the playoffs while being the most likable player in the league. If you're not rooting for Jackson, you're one of three things: a University of Kentucky football fan, a fan of the fellow team in the AFC North, or a racist.

3. Maki Itoh (Last Week: 8) - Did you know Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling is going to have a show in America during WrestleMania weekend? I think this announcement while Itoh is the Princess Champion is no coincidence. The Maki Itoh Respect Army is strong here in the states.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 281

The Mandalorian
Photo via Polygon
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:

I'm sorry but you have to phrase your question in the form of a question.

I kid, I kid. I haven't been able to watch the first episode yet, but it's the only original thing on Disney+ that I'm REALLY looking forward to. The MCU stuff, I can take or leave. Part of it is the lineup of characters feels underwhelming, even Loki. Like, his story wasn't perfect, but it was complete. I know in comics, only Uncle Ben stays dead, but the movies and shows, it's such a commitment. With The Mandalorian, the Star Wars Galaxy is so huge and it doesn't all have to be connected, even though George Lucas then and Kathleen Kennedy now demand that it is. Either way, I think the door is more open for creativity, and generally, Star Wars has a higher ROI than most anything I'm in to, no matter what the nerds say about the new trilogy. I'll be sure to let you all know on Twitter how I feel about it when I DO watch though, which will probably be tonight!

Dy-No-MITE, Episode 7

He Beat the Champ
Screenshot via All Elite Wrestling YouTube
Last week on Dynamite, well, who cares, Full Gear was Saturday! Read my review!

Ow My Balls - The show this week kicked off with a short recap of the entire Full Gear show, but that first segment was dedicated to the Kenny Omega/Jon Moxley match. First, Omega seethed that Mox was cleared but he wasn't, and then Mox squashed Omega's buddy Michael Nakazawa, who threw away his baby oil and then got stomped into the mat. The main thrust of the whole thing was Mox telling the world that getting into the ring with him is capital punishment, for better or worse. No one has better delivery than him in AEW and possibly anywhere but in the National Wrestling Alliance (seriously, those lads on Powerrrrrrrrrrrrr can speak). The fury behind his voice really speaks to the fact that maybe he was just bored and disrespected in WWE and now he's in a place where he can shove people into shard of glass and shove chains in their mouths. That being said, and I'm probably expecting too much from a testosterone-soaked industry like wrestling not to equate courage with the male sex organ, but I'm difficult like that, you see. The fact he said it four times felt like that was the main thrust of the whole promo. I didn't dig that part as much. Ah well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Vince McMahon Wins Again

Punk's return has robbed the victims of capitalism even the smallest victory against rogues like McMahon.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When CM Punk walked out of WWE after the 2014 Royal Rumble, the one won by Batista that kicked off the coronation of Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX. It was the culmination of several years of grievances piled up into a staph infection lump on his butt, one that WWE doctor Chris Amann allegedly prescribed a Z-Pak for. The split was acrimonious enough that Vince McMahon and Paul Levesque decided they'd send the notice of his termination from the company on his wedding day to April "AJ Lee" Mendez, and Punk went on his then-friend Colt Cabana's podcast to dish about all the grievances he had with the company. Punk even had careers lined up as a pop culture talking head, a comics writer, an actor, and a mixed martial artist, even if that last career didn't turn out so good for him.

the Black and Gold Standard: Episode 8 (11/6/19)

BRAAP BRAAP PEW PEW
all photos courtesy of WWE.com
The problem with staplegunning solutions is that they're a salve, and not a fix. Injecting NXT into the main roster storylines earlier than probably planned due to the spade of flight delays helped out when it was necessary, but conversely and kind of inexplicably went from Saudi Arabia back to the States only to be back the next week in the Great Kingdom of Britain. This Jet Airliner itinerary meant good things for Imperium, but it didn't really help Black and Yellow Prime form some of the impactfulness that other USA episodes have blessed us with.

Fear not, however; a receipt from the main roster provided the bulk of the show's narrative, the midcard got multiple chances to shine, and even with a rare black mark in their ledger the women's division either stole the show yet again or flat out provided the best part of the show.

Let's begin at the beginning and the end...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

On Brock Lesnar and Class Solidarity

Lesnar's preferential treatment shows how lack of class solidarity is ruining wrestling
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Brock Lesnar is a sore subject for wrestling fans. Some people love him and think he's the best thing since the shiranui flipping reverse DDT, better known as Sliced Bread #2. Some people think he's boring. Personally, while I've enjoyed his matches, his overall presentation and primacy over wrestlers that showed up every week in WWE whom I enjoyed immensely is part of the reason why I don't watch WWE anymore. As with any creative output, your mileage may vary with him. This is not an essay on the creative merits of Lesnar or how good a wrestler he is.