Friday, June 23, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

Heroes end
Photo Credit:
Billie Kay: Don't let the mean werewolf lady scare you.  You got this, boo.
Peyton Royce: I do, right?
Ember Moon: I'm back, baby!
Full Sailors: Yay!  Welcome back!  Welcome back!
Ember: Yeah, four moves down.  Time for the Eclipse!
Peyton: Ref!  I think I'm hurt!
Referee: What?  Let me check.
Billie: Let me take Ember's injured arm into the top rope!
Ember: ow
Peyton: And it's into the post with the arm!  And into this other post!
Ember: Ah, hell.
Peyton: I'm going to do it!  I'm going to succeed where my bestie fai---uh, should've won!
Ember: LOL like I'm losing my comeback match.  Peyton Royce, consider yourself Eclipsed.
Referee: Winner!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 192

The odds of seeing a nWo-type feud/invasion in the indies feels slim
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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 hesitate to say yes because so much of the current independent scene dips from the same well. Maybe if you had a promotion from Eastern Ontario/Quebec dipping down south to battle a Georgia promotion, it could be interesting, but at the same time, are those companies big enough to sustain something that would "catch fire?" And of course, the question of visas would come up, but you know my thoughts on that. The only major invasion/promotion warfare angle that would truly turn some heads wouldn't truly be independent because one side is owned by a giant media conglomerate, and the other sucks off WWE's teat. Ring of Honor vs. EVOLVE/WWN Live would absolutely be the one interpromotional angle that would stoke flames, but with the bad blood between ROH and Gabe Sapolsky, WWE using the NXT/EVOLVE combo as a proxy to attempt WCW-ing ROH off the map, and ROH's legal haranguing of WWE signing former talent, it has a slim-to-none chance of happening. That being said, wrestling is a crazy art/sport, and stranger things have definitely happened.

Alpha Female, Kimber Lee, Tessa Blanchard Among Five New Names Added to Mae Young Classic

Alpha Female is gonna wreck some shit down in Full Sail
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
WWE announced five more names for the Mae Young Classic today, and two of them emanate from that wishlist I posted a few weeks back. They are:
  • Abbey Laith
  • Jazzy Gabert
  • Tessa Blanchard
  • Taynara Conti
  • Kavita Devi

Learning to Live with Smackdown

The problem with the women's division right now is its focus on... men
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Welp, we are now living in a post Overbooking in the Bank wrestling world, which means there's a whole lot of Smackdown stuff I have to learn to live with, including:

Blatant Appeasement Attempts
So just when I'm thinking about rage quitting this show, Smackdown just happens to throw Chad Gable and Luke Harper in my path, two of the people for whom I've been clamouring for weeks. Mmmhmmm. How very coincidental. I am not so easily mollified! I will not be distracted by such cheap manipulation! How dare you, Smackdown. How. Dare. You.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When You Wish Upon a Golden Star

Of all the G1 competitors, Ibushi is the one that elicits the most real response.
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
New Japan Pro Wrestling makes a big deal out of announcing the competitors in the G1 Climax - a round-robin tournament held every summer. Our fearless editor TH wrote about this yesterday, listing the announced wrestlers and giving his thoughts. Zack Sabre Jr. will be new to the G1. So will Juice Robinson. I highly approve of both. Also, Cody is not in it. *lowers head and laughs at the ground* The video package announcing all of this was shown during intermission of a Kizuna Road show at Korakuen Hall. As each wrestler was announced, the crowd clapped politely, or in the case of guys like Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, with great enthusiasm.

Your Midweek Links: Women's Money Fallout

Carmella and Ellsworth's scripted actions made a lot of people rightfully angry
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Hump Day is upon the world, and that means one thing and one thing only: LINKS ON THE WRESTLING BLOG, HEEEEYYYY YAH. The historic women's Money in the Bank with a historically shitty ending produced quite a few good reads this week. For the full list, see below!

WWE having James Ellsworth lift the Money in the Bank briefcase was bad, but the takes that followed from haughty, sexist, WWE-defending loons were worse. I took them down here. [The Wrestling Blog]

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Leftism and Wrestling: Embrace Immigration

Bailey is wrestling's poster child for immigration reform
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Even though capitalists and conservatives run and populate the wrestling business, as an artform, it lends itself to leftist ideals. This series hopes to show wrestling fans why they should embrace the left, not just for the sport/art, but also for themselves.

Remember Seleziya Sparx? Or Speedball Mike Bailey? Both are Canadian wrestlers who started to hit a groove in American promotions. Sparx was a fixture in Absolute Intense Wrestling who was bleeding over into other companies like Ring of Honor. Meanwhile, Bailey became an instant fan favorite when he was first booked in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and started taking dates for EVOLVE. Then, poof, they stopped appearing across the border. Sparx has nearly disappeared from wrestling altogether, making some token appearances in Alpha-1 Wrestling here and there. Bailey has continued working in Canadian indies and in other countries, but his American appearances are done for. Both are gone for the same reason; they messed up something during the visa process and were banned from obtaining American work access for five years.

The Field for This Year's G1 Climax Has Been Announced

Ibushi's tournament slate this summer is in New Japan
Photo Credit:
The field for the G1 Climax, New Japan Pro Wrestling's annual massive round-robin tournament, has been announced, and it is notable for its lack of surprises but up-and-down quality. The tournament, which will run from July 17 through August 13, will be the 27th installment. Kenny Omega won last year's fray, earning his chance to have his six-star match with Kazuchika Okada at the Tokyo Dome at WrestleKingdom 11 on January 4. He will have his shot to repeat, as he's one of the 20 wrestlers announced this morning during the broadcast of the NJPW Kizuna Road tour event. The full field is as follows:

RIP Chandler Biggins

Biggins shown here with Roddy Piper
Taken from @ChandlerBiggins Twitter page
Chris Bryan, better known to Cleveland and indie wrestling fans as Chandler Biggins, passed away early this morning from complications of a recent bout of illness. Biggins had been battling illness for the last month or so, and he'd made some signs of recovery, however, he must have taken a turn for the worse. Biggins was the co-owner of Absolute Intense Wrestling along with John Thorne. The two made the Cleveland area a must-follow territory for indie wrestling fans, and their AIW has become one of the weirdest but fan-friendliest promotions in the States. Judging from the outpouring of condolences from wrestlers pouring in, Biggins was a great promoter/booker with whom to work. Certainly, he left this mortal coil far too early. I extend my sincerest condolences to the Bryan family and to everyone in the AIW fold for this awful loss. RIP Biggins.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mansplaining in the Bank

Not the right message to send with the first ever women's Money in the Bank match
Photo Credit:
Money in the Bank opened last night with a HISTORIC briefcase ladder match featuring for the first time in history women's competitors, and when that match was over, a woman still had never lifted a briefcase from the hook, claiming it for herself. The match booking had James Ellsworth, Carmella's toady and hype man, snag the briefcase and toss it to her. I'm sure when the idea was pitched in the writers' room, it was a smash. "Let's build an incredibly hot antagonist by having her proxy cheat to win for her," sounds good in theory, but consider the history of women's wrestling in WWE.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The First Names for the Mae Young Classic Have Been Announced

Logan is one of four announced for the tournament
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WWE's big Mae Young Classic women's tournament is fast approaching, and finally, the company has announced some dang competitors for the thing, four to be exact. Two have actually made appearances on NXT television, one is a luchadora, and the other is a world-traveled Kiwi with a stellar resume in her young life. The time has come to dive into the first entrants into the latest WWE-sponsored tournament:

NXT In 60 Seconds

This feud must continue~!
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Drew McIntyre: gets an entrance
Red Shirt: does not
Everybody: Oh, okay, it's one of these.
DMC: Who's house? 98% of the offense, Claymore
Referee: Your hou... I mean, uh, winner!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 191

THEY DON'T WANT, THEY DON'T THEY DON'T WANT NONE (none meaning fandom without problem)
Photo Credit:
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:

Nearly everyone is problematic if one peels back enough layers. Maybe Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan aren't, but even Bryan apparently acts really disappointingly misogynistic on Total Divas, so hey, everyone Milkshake Ducks along a long enough timeline. But most guys are smart enough to keep it hidden. So to answer the question on those whose problematic nature are in public, well, AJ Styles may be a homophobe who may or may not believe in science, but I can put that aside in the moment and enjoy what he does in the ring.

So Meltzer Gave a Match 6.25 Stars...

This is Meltzer when you rage over a star rating
I try not to navel-gaze at the wrestling news/writing industry too much because look, it's ultimately meaningless. It's not that wrestling news and commentary itself is meaningless, but the amount of importance given to, say, Dave Meltzer compared to his relative power within the biz compared to other journalists in other fields is about as top heavy a ratio as MODOK or to use a wrestling analogy, ol' chicken legs Kevin Nash. It's also not to say that the distribution of power within the cottage industry isn't wholly undeserved for Meltzer. I have my problems and criticisms of him, and hoo boy, are they deserved. But the thing is, he's done the work. The man has been covering the biz, for better or worse, for nearly 40 years, a self-made industry giant who is able to rile up everyone from Vince McMahon (whether or not he'll admit otherwise) down to the randomest rando on Twitter Dot Com with three followers and an avatar of his dog draped in the American flag.

Learning to Live with Smackdown

Almost a giant spoiler for Sunday saying "NOT GOING TO HAPPEN"
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This week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

A Good Tag Match
I'm trying very hard not to resent the New Day for rolling in and taking over Smackdown's Tag Division. I do like them a lot, but I've also been really happy with the Usos and the Fashion Police and, of course, the MIA American Alpha. At least the New Day do give us fun matches. On this episode Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston teamed up with Tyler Breeze and Fandango against the Usos and the Colons. Everyone got a chance to look good in the match, with a couple of my favourite moments being Breeze fending off both Primo and Epico by himself, some great teamwork between Breeze and Woods, Big E supporting a hurt Tyler Breeze during the victory celebration (awwww) and Jimmy Uso starting the match by insisting that Kingston tag in... only to immediately tag out himself. Excellent trolling. I can't talk enough about how much I'm enjoying the Tag Division again, but can I have American Alpha back? Please?