Monday, May 21, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for May 21, 2018

The Monster Among Men decided to slap hands of children rather than give Macron THESE HANDS
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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. Braun Strowman (Last Week: 8) - Honestly, I'm not ranking him here for any sort of thing he did in the ring. I just admire his restraint of heading over to Europe and not conquering any countries while he was there, especially France. I know the reputation of the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys is far overblown by the war-loving right, but honestly, Emanuel Macron seems like the sniveling shit-sucker who'd hand the keys to the country over to Strowman if he even looked in his direction.

2. Daniel Bryan (Last Week: 1) - The only drawback to him kicking the living piss out of Big Cass on Smackdown was that it happened in the United Kingdom, and thus Cass can claim it doesn't count because of liberal bias against Donald Trump and his supporters overseas.

3. Asuka (Last Week: 4) - Since Asuka interrupted the Carmella mock celebration of the Royal Wedding, can she be considered as antifa? Well, if you disregard all the times she dressed up in fascist-affecting military gear, you sure can!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 235

You poor unfortunate show
Screen Grab via Disney Wikia
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'm sorry, but have you made a deal with a well-endowed half-cephalopod, half-human witch who looks strangely like Divine? If so, which is the most sensible explanation for all this, you have to marry Scandinavian royalty before sundown or else you'll never get your voice back, and in lieu of that, you'll have to have your potential spouse stab said witch with a ship. Sorry, I don't make the rules here. Whoever at Disney adapted the original Hans Christian Andersen story does. Be thankful that the original author didn't make the rules though or else you'd melt into seafoam or something. Cruel, but fair.

NXT In 60 Seconds

Burch wins!  Burch wins!  Burch wins!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Johnny Gargano's Music: fires up
Johnny Gargano: strangely resembles Tommaso Ciampa this week
Full Sailors: this is some bullshit
Tomasshole: Everyone keeps saying your precious Johnny won, but that was just the battle and I won the war. I'm standing here and he's at home in a neck brace I put him in!
Full Sailors: YOU SUCK YOU SUCK YOU SUCK
Tomasshole: I broke him piece by piece, heart, mind and spirit.  Now that I've destroyed the body as well, he's gone.  I win.
Full Sailors: YOU TAPPED OUT YOU TAPPED OUT

Thursday, May 17, 2018

WWE About to Get Paid, So It Should Pay Its Workers

McMahon will make a lot more money that he'll hoard for himself and not give to the wrestlers
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE will not have to worry about where RAW is going to be broadcast for the next few years, and it will be shopping Smackdown potentially to a new network. The Hollywood Reporter has a report saying WWE is close to a new deal to broadcast RAW with NBC Universal, i.e. to remain on USA Network, for up to three times the amount the current deal pays out. It will not renew the option on Smackdown, which will go out to bid. Depending on who bids for the second WWE program, WWE could be raking in substantially more money for its cable broadcasting over the next few years. That is, any fantasy booking of WWE going Network-only is just that, fantasy booking. It's staying on cable, at least for the near future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Podcast Deep Dive: 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff

Bischoff and Thompson spend this episode running down The Hitman
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It apparently has been written in the stars (cue WrestleMania 27 music) that every person remotely involved in the history of pro wrestling must eventually have a podcast. Because this must be made so, Eric Bischoff has found some time in his busy schedule of creating TV shows for Scott Baio to start a podcast called 83 Weeks. This is in reference to the consecutive weeks in which Bischoff's World Championship Wrestling Monday Nitro defeated Monday Night RAW in the ratings, between 1996 and 1998.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for May 14, 2018

Still the man, even if the guy on the mat ended up beating him
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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. Daniel Bryan (Last Week: 1) - Oh, so you think losing to Rusev on Smackdown and causing a firestorm of the WORST TAKES ONLINE is reason enough to knock him down a peg? Think again, hot stuff. Bryan is so great that he generates this kind of talk from the peanut gallery. No matter what he does, he'll be fine, unless someone just shoot slugs him with a caber or something. In which case, everyone will have a new public enemy to go after. But don't get ahead of yourself here, okay?

2. Rack of Lamb (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - The family went to The Pub in Pennsauken, NJ to celebrate Mother's Day and instead of going for my usual three-quarters of a cow in prime rib, I got the rack of lamb. I've been getting into lamb lately, and this rack was no exception. Delicate yet rich and flavorful, it was a nice change of pace.

3. Joel Embiid (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Look, I'm not gonna sugarcoat that the Sixers' season ended with more of a wet fart than a bang. A five-game drubbing at the hands of the hated and hobbled Boston Celtics? Nah, kid, nah. That being said, this year was supposed to be when the Sixers got in the playoffs on the second tier and lost in the opening round. Earning the third seed and drubbing a game Miami Heat team was, in all honesty, better than what was advertised. Next year will be different, but hey, the team, led by The Process himself, did good.

Power to the Proletariat: All In Sells Out

The Bucks and their business partners scored a major victory with All In ticket sales
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Tickets to All In went on sale at 4 PM Eastern Daylight Time yesterday. At 4:29 PM EDT, tickets had sold out. Capacity at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL is over 10,000, so Cody Rhodes, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Kenny Omega, Marty Scurll, and Adam Page hit their goal in less time than it takes for the average sitcom to air on network television. This victory is personal for the wrestlers who set out to promote the show. It's also a victory for independent wrestling. However, most of all, it is a victory for labor against capital in an industry where capital is more superfluous than in other industries but where it's treated as far more essential for some reason.

Friday, May 11, 2018

To Leave or Not to Leave, The Daniel Bryan Question

Is Bryan a geek? Who cares, it's not really germane to whether he should stay unless he thinks it is.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Bryan Danielson should quit WWE, inasmuch as I think every wrestler should quit WWE. Vince McMahon holds too much power in the wrestler-promoter dynamic, and he sets the worst examples for other promoters with his blatant disregard for the independent contractor label and his bullying of the collective vis a vis unionization. A mass exodus from WWE by the workforce would force his hand and "allow" unionization (inasmuch as capital can allow or disallow the attempts at collectivization). Danielson would be a powerful figurehead to lead the movement, or hey, he'd be just fine being a part of the exodus. Hell, even if he alone just left WWE over the unfair labor practices, he'd be making a powerful statement in and of itself. As the leftist kids would say, it'd just be good praxis.

NXT In 60 Seconds

Tommaso Ciampa: the root canal of people
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Full Sailors:Rick O' Shea! Rick O'Shea!
Ricochet: I've always wanted to make sure people around the world remember me. I'm going to take over. Confidence/cocky/whatever, but each and every time I come out I prove I'm The One and Only (be prepared to buy the shirt). I want what I've wanted all year: championship gold.
After A Timely Interruption, Full Sailors: Velveteen! Velveteen!
Velveteen Dream: Who's given you the authority to come out and just get title shots? Babe, I need you to take a step back. You hit your catchphrase, and you do make this look good — but there's only one Dream.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 234

One of the all-time great title retentions
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 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:

For the purposes of this exercise, I am totally counting WWE Women's Championships, whether main roster or NXT. Chronological and off the top of my head.
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada, All-Japan Super Power Series Day 16, June 3, 1994 - Considered by many to be the greatest match of all-time, I watched this six or seven years after the fact on grainy VHS and was immediately hooked to a wider world of pro wrestling than what was going on on American cable television on Monday nights. It was just a mastery in brutality without the weapons and a clinic in escalation. I would recommend it to anyone.
  • Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, WWE SummerSlam, August 29, 1994 - Is it the greatest cage match of all-time? It wouldn't be a very high bar to clear, at least in WWE, but man, the Hart Brothers really knew how to work a wrestling match, especially with each other, didn't they?
  • Bill Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page, WCW Halloween Havoc, October 25, 1998 - In retrospect, would it have been better to have had Page win the title here and not deal with the messy clusterfuck of involving Goldberg's title reign ending in nWo fuckery. I think the rib tape added several layers of enjoyment here.
  • Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, Best Two-of-Three Falls, WWE Extreme Rules, April 29, 2012 - For as angry as I was when Bryan lost the title, I couldn't be mad at him not getting it back here, because him and Sheamus just kicked each other's asses in what might have been the highlight match of one of WWE's strongest in-ring pay-per-views ever. I guess whether you want to call it the best on the card depends on how you feel about John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar.
  • Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch, NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, May 20, 2015 - The Bayley matches were great, but I feel like Banks and Lynch having this match at that time was the most important of the Boss' title reign, because it did a world of good for the mystique of the Horsewomen, mainly because Lynch hadn't really found her footing yet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

On Clean Finishes on Tuesday Night

A clean pin isn't a death sentence, no matter how wrestling has conditioned you to think so
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Brian "Road Dogg" James and Michael PS Hayes have not really garnered the most sterling reputation for running Smackdown. Their creative decisions have often left viewers unsatisfied, turning a critical favorite during the early days of this round of brand extension into a wholly forgettable show, which is not an insignificant task when the Blue roster included AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Rusev, New Day, the Usos, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Naomi, among others. The latest Superstar Shakeup shoveled even more prime talent onto Tuesday nights. In addition to gaining Daniel Bryan as a full-time wrestler rather than an authority figure again, Smackdown traded Zayn, Owens, and some chaff for Samoa Joe, Asuka, The Miz, The Bar, and Jeff Hardy from RAW, in addition to SANitY, Andrade "Cien" Almas, and the Iiconics from NXT, but one couldn't be helped from wondering if that infusion of talent would just go to waste under the brutally inadequate creative direction.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

On the Road Again and Again and Again and Again

The Greatest Royal Rumble only added to WWE superstar stress and strain
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WrestleMania was 30 days ago today, in New Orleans, LA. From there, WWE went on a tour that, excluding North American house shows, went to southern New England, South Africa, St. Louis, Louisville, Saudi Arabia, Montreal, Long Island, and then Baltimore tonight for Smackdown. After tonight, the company will ship out across the Atlantic for its semiannual tour of Europe. I don't know about you, but that's a grueling schedule if I ever saw one. Like, that's a schedule that I would strategically schedule a month off after just to give my roster a well-deserved break. Well, scratch that, I'd probably have scheduled international tours around buffers and not taken Saudi blood money to put on a gaudy, barely canonical show weeks after WrestleMania.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for May 7, 2018

Did Bryan make Cass look somewhat passable in the ring? YES! YES! YES!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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. Daniel Bryan (Last Week: 6) - Look, his match vs. Big Cass wasn't exactly a match of the year candidate. I hesitate to call it good because it was just so... boring. However, I found myself rapt at points because Bryan put the weight of the world on his shoulders and tried making someone who has looked good in the ring exactly once — when he didn't have to sell for a literal rapist while kicking his ass — appear as if he was worthy of the kind of push that was in his future. I mean, he had to guide Cass' arm into position so he could get the finish he wanted, and it didn't even feel forced, which is something. Again, that match kinda was just "there," but it's proof positive that the wrestling world is seeing its GOAT, its LeBron James. Hm, interesting, keep that name in mind...

2. Nachos (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - The improper way to have celebrated Cinco de Mayo this past Saturday would've been to dress up in a poncho or a sombrero, speak in bad, exaggerated accents, and get piss drunk. I did not celebrate in that manner. No, my kid wanted to have Mexican, so we went to the local strip mall taco joint, which is owned and operated by ethnic Mexicans, and had dinner. Nachos may not be mole poblano or some other super authentic Mexican dish, but they get the job done, man, a messy, tasty, crunchy dish that can be eaten as a snack, or in my case, a totally grown up dinner.

3. LeBron James (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Okay, so the Sixers are pretty much shitting the bed in round two against an infirmed Celtics team. Que sera sera, the hated dickbags from New England put together a good team even with Kyrie Irving (and Gordon Hayward) injured. The Process was never supposed to manifest a true contender until next year anyway. So, let me talk about LeBron James for a minute, because how the fuck is he doing what he's doing? The Raptors shouldn't be buckling like this against James and a team of guys who might have won 30 games with someone who merely made an All-Star team this replacing the King, but they're shook. Hell, when the Cavs came up the floor in Game Three and James put up that wobbler, did anyone have any doubt that it was going in? No? That's how you know you're watching greatness manifested. Anyone who doesn't want this guy on their team is either a massive hater or is pretending to be one for fiduciary benefit.

Friday, May 4, 2018

NXT In 60 Seconds

♬ That's how you know you fucked up ♬
Photo Credit: WWE.com
You Know Who: Here's the thing about us in the Era. We're not just fighters, not just champions, but givers.  I made Oney Lorcan famous last week.  "Who did Adam Cole"
Everybody, Even You: BAY BAY!
Cole: "beat in his first defense of the North American title?"  He should tell his kids, his grandkids, at least in his pathetic career, he got beat by me.
Kyle O'Reilly: LOL at Danny Burch running down for the quote-unquote save.  He got what he deserved.
Robert Pescado, Esq.: I'll let rehab know we'll be sending them more people.
Roderick Strong, Totally Disrupting the CFO Logo: I'm soooo sad for my old Best Friend Fivever Pete Dunne except the opposite of everything I just said.  He thought New Orleans was bad?  That's going to pale in comparison to tonight.
Cole: Adam Cole here, reminding you nerds once again we are untouchable — unstoppable  and undisputed.

Kairi Sane: comes out to a big pop
Shazza McKenzie: comes out to a decent pop, tries to share her heart with Kairi
Kairi: throws it up to share with the crowd Do you know what Gorsh means in Japanese?
Shazza: ...uhhhh...no?
Kairi: Give it a few seconds.
Shazza: ...oh, no.
Kairi: Double chops!  Interceptor!  Corner sliding K!  Kabuki elbow!  Alabama Slam!
Mauro Ranallo: Tokyo Slam!
Kairi: Even better!  Insane Elbow~!
Referee: Winner!
Lacey Evans: I am definitely out here as a lady to apologize and sure aren't going to punch you in the face!
Full Sailors: applaud
Kairi: uhhh
Full Sailors: chant No! D-Bry style
Lacey: PSYCHE PUNCH IN THE MOUTH
Full Sailors: BOOO!
Kairi: ow
Shazza: ...oh, you're like "ow"

The Lovely Cathy Kelley: Candice, do you have an update on Johnny's condition?
The Saddened Candice LeRae: It hasn't been an easy year.  It started off so well. I got signed and Johnny had his title match, and we — I ——it was beyond best friend, he was like a brother. Why is he doing this?  I thought we thought we were done with this.  crying My husband left on a stretcher last week, and for what?  cries some more I... I have to go get ready for my match.  leaves

Street Profits: come out to a pop
TM61: also come out to a pop
Mauro: Both teams need a win here.
Montez: Spin heel kick!  Dropkick the Aussies!
TM61: Back suplex ^ Eddy style slingshot senton bomb combo!  Standing moonsault and fisdrop combo!
Full Sailors: chant for both teams
Hot Tags: are served
Shane: rolls up Montez, then puts his feet on the ropes
Nick: sees this, then helps hold them down
Everybody But The Referee Because That's How This Works: HEY!
Referee: Winners!
Profits: But they...
TM61: smirk the smirk of the re-established black hatters

God's Production Team: video package to set up War Raiders/Heavy Machinery next week
Certain People Who Run This Site: TAG HOSS FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!

The Lovely Cathy Kelley: Kassius, we saw you help with Johnny last week.  What are your thoughts on the situation?
KO1.0: I've known Johnny over ten years.  I know what kind of person he is and what Ciampa's become — an opportunistic coward.  Johnny's like family so when I saw him look absolutely helpless I knew despite all evidence to the contrary that I was the man to make Tomasshole feel that same way come next week.

Kona Reeves: comes out more orange than Fearless Leader's dandruff, beats on an NPC I'm the Finest!  I'm Kona Reeves!
Full Sailors: ...uh, okay
Reeves: Gutwrench suplex!  Trust fall second rope elbow!  Modified Samoan drop!
Referee: Winner!
Full Sailors: ...uh, okay

Dakota Kai, Earlier Today: The women's revolution just gets stronger.  Ember and, as much as I hate to admit it, the Double Eye Conics open up new opportunities in our division, and I want to make my mark.
Reporter: Any comment on your run ins with the NXT World Women's Champion Shayna Baszler?
Kai, Changing Dramatically: I Do Not Want To Talk About Shayna.  DO.  NOT.
Vanessa Borne: Look at this pathetic, sad scaredy cat.  If Shayna tried that with me I'd slap the bitch out of her.
Bald, African-American Reporter: But you said it, though.  You said bitch?
Kai: I'm not afraid of you.  I can take you on.

Candice: comes out somewhat listlessly, barely remembering to smile
Bianca: comes out with her usual swagger Yeah, this ain't gonna end up well for you.  Beating ensues!  Deadlift press into a Snake Eyes!
Everybody Ever, Even You: holy shit that's a thing wtf
Bianca: Torture Rack!
Candice: shiiit I need to fight back.  Forearms!  Chops!  Missile dropkick!  Tornado DDT!
Bianca: yeahno.  Alley Oop!
Referee: Winner!

Strong: swags out with a dope new jacket, his new belt, and his new backup
Bell: rings
Dunne: rings Roddy's bell with a hard forearm So YOUR life is forfeit.  Pummelling!
Roddy: Counter dropkick to a dive!  Backbreaker into the apron!  GUNSHOT chop!  Backplex backbreaker!
Pete: Counter X-Plex!
Full Sailors: Bruiserweight!  Bruiserweight!
Pete: Step up Owenzuigiri!  Second rope flying stomp to the arm!
Roddy: GEEEEYOD THAT SUCKED tosses Pete to the floor out of desperation
the Era: Look at us not getting involved!
Roddy: Knee Trembler on the way back in!  Butterfly backbreaker!  Second rope Angle Slam!
Pete: Kickout!  See that picture?
Roddy: What pic—oh, noooo JESUS H VISHNU I NEED THOSE FOR LIFE
Pete: Corner beatdown!  Snap German!  Penalty enzui kick!  BITTER BLOODY END!
the Era: Look at us getting involved!
Referee: Disqualification!  The guy getting his ass kicked is the winner!
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan: We're here for porkin' — uh, running in for the save!
Pete Dunne: recovers enough to help them clear the ring
the Era: look shocked and appalled, but hold up their belts on the way to retreat

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 233

What can WWE do to make Reigns at least as liked as Cena?
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 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:

To address the first part of the question, before WrestleMania 34, I wasn't so sure that Reigns was so universally hated as his crowd reactions might suggest. He's a top merchandise mover, and people in the audience do cheer for him. The dynamics changed though once Reigns again failed to beat Brock Lesnar not only at WrestleMania, but at Greatest Royal Rumble as well. I'm not sure how you can keep dragging him down the line if you're not going to pull the trigger on him as a guy who can get it done against the best competition on the biggest stages. Things might be different now if WWE had pulled the trigger on him in Santa Clara at Mania 31, but I covered that already. So how would I go about salvaging him? This topic is a favorite among other writers who like to do brainstorming sessions on a daily basis on the problem of WWE not getting its supposed "top guy" over. If you view Reigns as the ace, then yeah, this is a failed experiment, but honestly, a bigger picture view would reveal that WWE is probably past the idea that one singular top guy is needed, whether or not Vince McMahon knows it or not. Does one person sell the Network, or is it the brand? Has wrestling reached a stasis level where its popularity has leveled off to where people just watch wrestling to see the wrestling? It's all hard to say from a business standpoint.