Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Vol 3, Issue 8

FIRED FOR THIS PICTURE
Photo Credit: Jimmy Jacobs
Well, well, well, guess who has RETURNED to dispense all the news that you, your family, your friends, your enemies, and your hematologists can absorb into your brainholes? THAT'S RIGHT, IT'S ME, HORB FLERBMINBER. Despite attempts by certain people to have me blacklisted, not naming any names except for Ted Cruz, Sean Radican, and Charles Manson, I am BACK WITH A VENGEANCE with all the ACCURATE news and SALIENT rumors this week. My rumblings are ROYAL. My series of notes are SURVIVOR. My mania... is TO GET YOU NEWS. Wait, that can't be right. Wait, that has to be right because I'M ALWAYS RIGHT.

Your Midweek Links: Dangerous Selfies and Uncle Paul on the Gas?

Was he on the gas? Well, his nutritionist said yes and then said no...
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The week is halfway over. Huzzah! However, the long, slow crawl to Friday afternoon can seem oppressive, even as you're halfway to the promised land. Fear not, intrepid readers! I have links for you to peruse, that is to say you can read them. READ THEM. READ THEM NOW. READ THEM ALWAYS.

Men can leave WWE and thrive, but what about women? I argue that the indies and other places need to do a lot of work to create a framework for women to have a career outside of WWE. [The Wrestling Blog]

Willow debuted for TWB with this piece about how WWE's storytelling after Hell in a Cell didn't match the visual cues from the show, and that's a huge problem. [The Wrestling Blog]

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wrestling Six Packs: Wrestling-Food Tie-Ins

Imagine getting this at a restaurant owned by New Japan
Photo via PokeWorks site
Impact Wrestling has been active for a company that people have been spelling doom for for nearly a decade now. It's released its own streaming service and has been signing up-and-coming talent. However, the most curious and hilarious thing is the introduction of Impact Pizza. I was hoping this would be a full-on, Hulk Hogan Pastamania-type deal, but they're just taking over a pizzeria in Ottawa in advance of Bound for Glory. Still, wrestling and food go together like peanut butter and jelly, because what's better than watching wrestling than eating food while watching wrestling? It gave me an idea to propose other food and wrestling tie-ins that would work well.

1. New Japan Pro Wrestling's Japanese Fusion - New Japan is the most present and accessible Japanese wrestling promotion right now through size, word-of-mouth, and presentation. Part of that buzz comes from Dave Meltzer's evangelization, but also through certain American wrestlers heading over from stints in TNA, WWE, or the indies. So because it's a fusion of Japanese and American sensibilities, it should sponsor a fusion restaurant. The menu would include sushi burritos and tonkatsu sandwiches dressed up like burgers or American fried chicken sandwiches, and it would be staffed with people knowledgeable of all cultures involved.

Lefitsm and Wrestling: Gender Is A Work

Why should their genders matter anyway?
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.

Yesterday, I wrote about the limited career opportunities of women in wrestling outside of WWE and to an extent Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground. The easiest solution to this problem is to dissolve the distinction between male and female wrestling. It's an artificial barrier anyway, and it's one that even WWE disregarded for about half-a-decade bridging the turn of the century. When Chyna is on record as being a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion, and men are on film taking bumps from and giving bumps to Beth Phoenix and Kharma in the Royal Rumble match, one can no longer pretend that promotions anywhere on the dial have to keep women separate from the men. This bit of history doesn't stop people from clucking and cawing about how men and women are different and PHYSIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES and all that other happy pseudoscientific bullshit.

Fuck Warrior

Pictured: A gassed-up bigot
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When Ultimate Warrior died, I didn’t write a flowery eulogy to him. While I kept my feelings low key for the most part, I didn’t hide that I didn’t think he was worthy of the hagiography that had been written to him, both in his last act of life being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame or during his death. The man was a bigot and a spiteful, hateful man interpersonally. Of course, even though my words were tame in their truth, I was accosted by people online who didn’t agree with what I wrote on Twitter or even here. MMA “journalists” named Bloodstain Lane and Front Row Brian among others decided to attack me because I didn’t have the temerity to honor a mediocre performer who turned out to be an exponentially worse human being. While I held back because I didn’t want any vitriol to seep to the people mourning him, my point remains. You shouldn’t be forgiven for your heinous acts in death if you didn’t atone or at least apologize for them in life.

The Kane Malaise

Kane makes sense, but that doesn't make his addition good
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Before RAW began last night, the TLC main event was set at a nice three-on-four match that didn't seem like a handicap match because of how protected and popular a trio The Shield has been traditionally presented. Even if the foursome included Braun Strowman, it still felt like a fair fight in perception. WWE wouldn't be WWE if it didn't try to tinker with a thing that didn't need it, so the conceit of last night's RAW was totally about introducing the concept of a fifth person for the heel team and then presenting a show-wide mystery as to who that fifth guy would be. The assumption was that Curtis Axel would get put in the match to eat a fall and get put through a table or 23.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Instant Feedback: Keep It Simple, Stupid

Strowman's childlike id showed how simple WWE storytelling can be great
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The conceit behind Braun Strowman has never been complex, at least since the draft separated him from the Wyatt Family. He picked people up and threw them down, violently. The wave of mutilation he caused was so great that Sami Zayn didn't even have to beat him to claim moral victory with great heft. All he had to do was last with him.As the challenges got easier, he demanded more competition. In fact, those words were his rallying cry. He is pure id, driven by hunger for destruction. He has no understanding of manipulation or strategy outside of the instantaneous and instinctual reactions. He didn't lure Roman Reigns into the ambulance with wile and guile. He saw a spear charging at him, shouted "OH SHIT" and did his best olé. He is a simple character, and to the surprise of some, he has flourished.

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for October 16, 2017

Don't mess with Nigel Bradham, dorks
Photo via Associated Press
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. Nigel Bradham (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Several Eagles contributed to the team's defeat of the Carolina Panthers (and the officials) on Thursday, but none were more TITANIC than Bradham's, who even potentially injured himself to force a fourth down. Bradham was all over the field, making sure no Panther was able to take a step without fearing for his safety. Because of his efforts, the Eagles are in first place in the entire National Football Conference. Fly Eagles Fly!

2. Toni Storm (Last Week: 1) - Storm had the weekend off, at least according to Cagematch. Maybe she worked, maybe she didn't. Either way, I think it'd be nice to have her above the cut again this week, wouldn't you agree? Good, I'm glad everyone could come to this accord. Thank you.

3. Jazzy Gabert (Last Week: Not Ranked) - It'd be one thing if she were just bulldozing fools in the ring, and she did. But man, she posted this selfie and imagine not enjoying her not only destroying jabronis in the ring AND looking extra 100 percent fly like that. Couldn't be me.

The Wrestling Women's Wasteland

Try fantasy booking a run for Emma on the indies if she'd ever leave WWE. You can't, and that's a problem.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Austin Aries and Neville opened the show at WrestleMania 33. I remember the overwhelming narrative at the time was between people who thought this was a slight towards them and others who thought being on the pre-show didn't matter. Actually, that narrative war was mostly centered around the Smackdown Women's Championship match, which ended up getting switched to the main show anyway. However, more than six months later, the argument seems more prescient to that Cruiserweight Championship match. Aries has already been gone from WWE for three months, and while reports say that people higher up in the company were happy to see him go, he still initiated his contract release. Neville stormed out of RAW last week with his release requested according to reports. The reason why both wrestlers stormed out had to do with money.

The Football's Elbow

Tate layeth the smacketh down on a football, even as his team turned out to be a bunch of jabronis yesterday
Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
So when wrestling happens in football, it's usually player-on-player. While cool to look at, the football field wrestling moves are more dangerous in theory because it's a shoot. That is to say, the victim may not be as protected as the average wrestler taking the equivalent in the ring. That takes some wind out of the sails. However, Golden Tate, Detroit Lions wide receiver and maple bar enthusiast, made sure no one got hurt on his electrifying take on wrestling on the gridiron. When he delivered his take on The People's Elbow, he did it on a football.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pick Three: AAW Jim Lynam, ICW Anniversary, Glory Pro

Big weekend if you live in the midwest and like Feníx
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
It's the weekend, baby! You know what that means, time to drink precisely one beer and dial 911 wrestling is happening, and it's happening all around this great world. I'm going to highlight three shows which I think will be of most interest. Of course, I'm only one person. You can check out which shows are coming up possibly in your area via Cagematch. Anyway, go to, if you can, these great shows that may be happening in your area, on television/YouTube/streaming, or for later consumption via VOD, DVD, or whatever other means one uses to consume wrestling at a later date:

NXT In 60 Seconds

A Brooklyn rematch shone in the main event
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Peyton: This is so my opportunity!
Billie Kay: It so is, boo.  #iconic!
Liv Morgan: Must dance away the impending doom...
Nikki Cross: rants and screams sporadically, grabs Liv by the hand after yelling at her and lines Peyton out
Peyton: recovers, gets enzuigiried and quits recovering
Nikki: puts a sleeper on Liv
Liv and Peyton: slam Nikki down then fight over the cover, then just fight
Peyton: throws Liv down by the air and puts her in a rope-assisted bow and Octopus hybrid

Learning to Live with Smackdown

FRIENDSHIP!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

Tag Time
I've been, shall we say, less than impressed with Smackdown lately. This episode, however, got things back on track in a big way, starting with the opening segment, which gave time to the much neglected tag division. The Usos and New Day have been regularly stealing the show on pay-per-views for a while now, and they definitely deserved some time to bask in the limelight. There was so much good stuff here: New Day still selling their injuries from Hell in a Cell, the Usos offering respect but still kind of being jerks about it, New Day totally agreeing that they're the best but not wanting to throw the rest of the division under the bus. Then there was the parade of the rest of the division, which gave us Mojo Rawley pointing out that it's easier to be the best when you get the most TV time and the most title shots, acknowledgment that having a Shelton Benjamin brings a lot to the table (but still, BACK OF THE LINE), everyone agreeing that the Fashion Police are cool, and the Ascension still apparently following their would-be BFFs around. The rest of the tag division has largely been under the radar, but they've still been interacting and developing. We got a real sense that these are all people with relationships and history with each other, and it was fun as hell, which is not something one can usually say about a start of show talky segment.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 208

Do that failson Fargo Strut, Double J, you win the battle of Failing Upward
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:

Obviously Jarrett is the correct answer here because he's been doing it longer and has had a more diverse run as a failson. Sapolsky has only tripped up the ladder in one field. You could argue Jarrett has done so in three if you count hawking gold. Jarrett somehow got to be a major World Champion, promoted a single promotion for a decade, and actually got people to believe he'd make a big resurgence with a second one. Sapolsky has a long way to catch up to ol' Double J, especially since he'll probably never take a bump.

How The Shield Should "End" This Time

They don't have to break up again. They never have to break up again.
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose have finally gotten back together after a little more than three years doing their own thing. The Shield's official reunion shook the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to its core, and it set the stage for war with The Miz, The Bar HOSS International, and Braun Strowman. While most people are agog over the reconstruction of perhaps the most important group in WWE in this decade, it's becoming increasingly clear that it is a momentary diversion, something for Reigns at least to do while he waits for the lead-up to his final showdown with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Rumors seem to corroborate that this reunion is temporary, and that the principals will go back to doing their own things before Royal Rumble season.