Friday, April 28, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

This week on World of Sport!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Nikki Cross: (sans music while the announcers are making show introductions, essentially clanking two glasses together) Ruuuuuuuby!  Come out and playay!
Ruby: Don't have to ask me twice.
Both: slide into the ring at the same time and start throwing hands
Full Sailors: Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fiawww BOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Referees: break it up..ish
Nikki: takes down a security guard as collateral damage, resumes brawling
Ruby: also resumes brawling 
Full Sailors: Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fiawww BOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Referees: actually separate them this time
Full Sailors: Let them fight!  Let them fight!  Let them fight!  Let them fight! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 184

WHICH SPIDER-MAN???
Screen Grab via @RetroSpidey
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:

I think you need to get bitten by a radioactive spider? Or do you have to know how to build web shooters? Which Spider-man continuity am I supposed to be following here?

Jim Cornette: Old Man Yells at Fun

This guy blew up again? shock
Photo Credit: Kevin Steen
Our fearless editor TH felt almost obligated to write a piece Tuesday, addressing both Roman Reigns detractors and defenders, thanks to an annoying bit of Reigns hate making the rounds on Twitter. Reigns is a factory of cognitive dissonance, and alongside him in this conundrum is our Muslim-hating friend Jim Cornette. Corny made news for his recent appearance on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast (gotta work on that name, guys), where he declared Kenny Omega to be "a piece of shit who should never be in the business because he had matches with blowup dolls and nine-year old girls...if I had complete control over pro wrestling I would have Dan Severn go and beat the fuck out of him and leave him laying in a fucking ditch."

Learning to Live with Smackdown

Nakamura doesn't need to talk, and Ziggler never should talk ever again
Photo Credit: WWE.com
I haven't watched Smackdown since before the shake-up, which means I've got more than usual to learn to live with. So here's what I'm learning to live with post-The Shakening:

Things That Never Change
I guess it should be weirdly comforting that no matter how much Smackdown is both shaken and stirred, Dolph Ziggler will still be around to ruin things. Of course he's the one to rain on the Shinsuke Nakamura parade. Of course he is. Even by Ziggler standards, though, this episode's particular ruination was pretty bad. It started off with Ziggler just being a standard prick, which, fine, he's supposed to be a jerk in this situation, but then he spiraled into this bizarre spiel about how Nakamura is literally Michael Jackson and therefore a freak. Michael Jackson jokes! That's what will appeal to the youth! It went on way too long and then instead of just dropping Ziggler (as he should have done the minute Ziggler opened his smarmy mouth) poor Nakamura was tasked with delivering a standard sassy WWE face comeback, but his English isn't good enough, and the crowd started “What?” chanting him and my heart just sank and sank.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Breezango and How Sex Sells for All

It's about time WWE started pushing Breezango
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Sex sells. That statement isn't necessarily a scathing critique of marketplace trends, because sex, as long as it's consensual, isn't a bad thing, regardless of what "holy" men want to preach to the masses. Granted, when sex usually sells, it's through the objectification of women primarily for straight, cisgender men to ogle and forget themselves to buy a product, which is bad. People shouldn't be reduced to their curves or their "fuckability" in order to have agency. However, should a company want to highlight the natural attractiveness of its talent as a supplemental bonus, that is not only fine, but perfectly natural. WWE has implemented both strategies, even if their adoption of the latter has been less an embrace and more a sighing, begrudging acceptance that women are actually people. But calling female wrestlers "Superstars" and not "Divas" is a start.

TOPE CON BEISBOL

smdh baseball going to flippy shit, no psychology
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP
Chris Coghlan is a former National League Rookie of the Year-turned-journeyman baseball player who has had trouble sticking to rosters over the last few years. Still, he's remained in the bigs for this long, so he's gotta have something to give a Major League roster. Last night, however, he showed he might have something to give a wrestling company as well...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Shut Up About Roman Reigns, Part ∞

Pictured: Me when the cacophony over Reigns starts up
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Wrestling fandom's relationship with Roman Reigns would be hilarious if it wasn't a constant reminder at how annoying people can be with shitty talking points and a desire to have them heard and to think theirs is the most original and the most in need of being heard. The fire that started when he was awarded the 2014 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award and will not be extinguished until someone else comes along to incur the wrath of WWE fans who think they're anti-establishment but just want the establishment to crown their guy comes along was stoked today when someone of little note posted an "open letter" on Twitter chastising WWE yet again for pushing Reigns. Granted, Reigns wasn't on the program for a second straight week, making the letter's timing curious, and the person who wrote it railed against decisions not to push other wrestlers like Damien Sandow (who is semi-retired and probably damaged goods at this point, regardless of how much I dig his work) or Kevin Owens (who, uh, is one of the most pushed wrestlers in the damn company). All in all, it felt like one of those Wayne LaPierre tangents where he'd start out swearing to protect gun owners' Second Amendment rights but flutter off on deeply partisan topics just to castigate then-President Barack Obama.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Optics of Pushing Jinder Mahal Right Now

Mahal is the number one contender to Orton's title, but why?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Jinder Mahal is the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship right now. I don't know if his title match vs. Randy Orton (or Bray Wyatt, I guess?) will headline Backlash or feature as support for the Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles United States Championship contest that's almost guaranteed to happen (unless WWE pulls a massive Charlie Kelly and gives the strap back to Chris Jericho), but it's definitely something that's going to happen. The timing seems curious at best. Mahal is coming off stooging at WrestleMania and his first show as a member of the Smackdown roster for Rob Gronkowski (and Mojo Rawley I guess), and before that was a barely-seen member of the RAW roster. Of pushes that came out of nowhere, this not only rivals but surpasses Jack Swagger's Money in the Bank win or Sheamus' quick capturing of the WWE Championship after coming to the RAW roster. However, at least both of those guys were relatively pushed. Why is Mahal getting his main event shine now, of all times?

Ain't Gonna Stop Me Now: Total Divas Season 6, Episodes 11 and 12

Renee Young is the top of the heap for the last two episodes
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When Total Divas returned a couple of weeks back, they did so with the nice dramatic seismic shift of the 2016 WWE Draft. This worked nicely as a narrative device to split up the season because holy shit look at where everyone is going. And said episode seemed to imply a real split in the whole lineup, especially when the following episode involves exclusively folks on the Smackdown Live roster. But it didn't quite work out like that. When you expect Total Divas to get weird, it'll get traditional as hell just to make you wonder just what you were to expect. And also, as you can tell, I've given myself two episodes to power rank because sometimes the combo works (i.e. there wasn't much to write about last week and it's better to combine the two now).

Friday, April 21, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

A new contender emerges!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Bobby Roode: I'm the biggest box office superstar in the business today!  I killed off every last remnant of the old NXT.  Shinsuke didn't get promoted, he ran away because I'M the champ!  Get on the bandwagon or hit the bricks, losers!  Ahhhh...you know what the best part about gloating time is, well, besides the gloating, is that there will be no comeuppance!
Hideo Itami: walks out silently
Hideo: slaps Bobby in the face
Bobby: (after recovering) Did, did you... did you just... (sets down his belt) You're going to learn to respect the champion.
Hideo: silent
Bobby: (taking off his jacket and rolling up his cuffs) Things have changed!  This place is about me!  Not you, not them, not
H.I. Punk: makes Robert GO TO SLEEP
Robert: does so
Hideo: straightens his tie, see above, lays it back down and leaves
Robert: silent

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Podcast Deep Dive: Killing the Town with Storm and Cyrus, April 18

Kelly is on the Storm and Cyrus show this episode
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Show: Killing the Town with Storm and Cyrus
Episode: 4/18/17
Run Time: 1:23:11
Guest: Kevin Kelly

It's been a while since we've checked in with Lance Storm and Cyrus (now usually going by his real name: Don Callis), and not much has changed. Storm is still a genial, serious host who keeps things level-headed, and Cyrus likes to be the more opinionated guy and to talk shit on the Disco Inferno. This is a noble pursuit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Braun Strowman Is Your God Now

BOW BEFORE THE ALMIGHTY STRENGTH OF YOUR NEW PHILOSOPHER TITAN
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If I were in charge of WWE through some genie's wish or accursed monkey's paw (the latter is more likely, be real about it), what I would do right now is pencil in the main event of WrestleMania 35 as Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn. Everything else between now and that point two or so years from now would revolve around making that match not only happen, but be the biggest possible match in the company since The Rock vs. Steve Austin II at X-7. Everyone knows my feelings on Zayn, and honestly, his path to wrestling immortality has been sung ever since he wore a mask and pretended he knew how hablar Español. It was always Strowman whose path was more obscured when he debuted. The history of Vince McMahon's attempt at finding the next Undertaker or Andre the Giant is littered with the bodies of failed experiments from Giant Gonzalez to Heidenreich to Mason Ryan and all the other failed body guys in between.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fun with The 2016 TWB 100, Finale: TH's Ballot

Number one on my ballot grapples number 64
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Yes, the time has arrived to put the TWB 100 to bed for another year. However, before settling back into the groove of regular posts* around here, I will do as I have done in every other year this list has been done and release my ballot to the public, along with blurbs for any wrestler who didn't make the top 100. IF you have any comments about it, please take it to Twitter since TWB hasn't had comments since the Great Spam Explosion of '1something-or-another. Also, be sure to check out and spread around the actual TWB 100 list. Awareness is a big part of expansion. I don't care if it's a massive time sink; I want as many voters next year as possible. But without further ado, my ballot.

Wrestling Is Anything, Wrestling Is Everything

Yoshihiko, shown here pinning Kota Ibushi, is not killing wrestling, sorry Rip Rogers
Professional wrestling is a wonderful thing, but it can be the subject of heated, divisive debates that fall into several categories. Some are constructive, others not so much, but perhaps the most destructive form of debate comes from people who want to dictate what wrestling can and cannot be. Usually, the ones driving the debate come from a bygone era where men with barrel chests and beer bellies threw punches and stomps at each other and finished matches with body slams or flying hammerlocks. Their definitions of what wrestling should be are narrower than Hank Hill's urethra. The patron saint of GET OFF MY LAWN takery is Jim Cornette, who once wished someone would set off a dirty bomb at a Lucha Underground taping. As a dabbler in shitposting left irony Twitter, I can respect the exaggeration, but I think you get where I'm going with this.

Friday, April 14, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

A final bow from the King before bluer pastures (Photo Credit: WWE.com)
WWE: New graphics!  New theme!  We're back at Full Sail!
Full Sailors: WHOO!

Tommy End Aleister Black:  Who are you?  Oh, that's right, I don't care.  ROUNDHOUSE
Referee: Winner!
Full Sailors: Holy crap, dude.
Black: silence