Friday, February 5, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

WHOOPS!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Most Condescending Friend – Dolph Ziggler
I came so, so close to liking Dolph Ziggler this week. He was on guest commentary during Kevin Owens' match against Kalisto. Much as I am in despair over Owens being relegated to joining Ziggler in his eternal purgatory after having dynamite interactions with both AJ Styles and Sami Zayn at the Royal Rumble, Ziggler sold the hell out of a feud between the two of them. He talked up Owens as a fierce competitor and expressed frustration over constantly losing to him. He managed to convey that beating Owens would really mean something to him, even though their feud is based on pretty much nothing and would achieve pretty much nothing in the grand scheme of things. But Dolph Ziggler cannot help ruining things, and even though he also supported Kalisto and was enthusiastic about his performance, it was in a super condescending tone. He even kept referring to Kalisto as “kid.” Dude. Seriously. However, it was nice to see Kalisto get another win, and the match was a ton of fun. Owens just launching Kalisto directly into Ziggler and then superkicking him was probably my favourite part of this entire week, let alone this episode.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Feb. 3

Lots of Miz talk on Cheap Heat this week
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Cheap Heat
Episode: What’s Best for Mizness (Feb. 3, 2016)
Run Time: 1:06:36
Guest: None

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. Bacardi

The ultimate football food
Screen Grab via YouTube
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!

Super Bowl Sunday is MADE for finger foods, so the choices are nearly limitless. In addition to hardcore football fanatics, the game attracts indifferent normies who only watch for the commercials, so the pool for creativity on food choices increases exponentially. However, I'm a simple man with simple tastes, and the ultimate Super Bowl food is the nacho. Whether one gets fancy and has slow-cooked meat and artisanal ingredients or that person just dumps Tostitos, pickled jalapenos, and Cheez Wiz on a plate and microwaves it, the nacho is the perfect hand-delivered food for all football applications, especially the Super Bowl. However, I have a caveat; "neat" nachos are a war crime, and if you serve them, you get a one-way ticket to The Hague, you monster.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The New Generation Project Podcast, Episode 55

Some nWo chat on the New Generation Project this week
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: The New Generation Project Podcast
Episode: 55 (WCW Souled Out 1997)
Run Time: 2:57:02
Guest: none

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 295

Austin takes a look at this iconic night in the Monday Night Wars
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown: We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 295 (Feb. 2, 2016)
Run Time: 1:14:34
Guest: None

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Year End Sorting Bins: Fave Five, Dawg

Always at war, always in my heart
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Welcome to the final Sorting Bin as well as the final entry in the Year End BLOWOUT, the Fave Five. These wrestlers are the tip-top of the game. No one was above them this year.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn - They're destined to do this forever, and honestly, I hope it never ends. Even as they're on their retired legs, being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame far down the line, I want them to be at each other's throats, razzing each other with their induction speeches. Zayn spent a good chunk of the year on the shelf, and Owens had an ascendant year in his stead. But they were never too far from each other's narratives. Owens, after all, "put Zayn on the shelf" with their second of two Takeover main events. But even as Owens made the RAW roster his own, the lack of Zayn in NXT helped create an uneasy atmosphere that in a way helped the women have the year they had. Still, no matter what they do, I will tune into what their story is, and that goes double for when they're entangled together.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 294

Only is on the Austin show this week
Photo via Loaded Radio
If you’re new, here’s the rundown: We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show — Unleashed!
Episode: 294 (Jan. 28, 2016)
Run Time: 1:08:14
Guest: Jerry Only, part one (14:33)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Impressions from Chikara's 5 Senses

The end of the Chikara encore
Photo Credit: TH
So, I checked out the second part of the Chikara season premiere doubleheader Saturday at the new Wrestle Factory in Northeast Philadelphia, 5 Senses. The show was truncated with seven matches instead of the eight or nine that normally take place, and one of the matches was a squash to set up an angle. In essence, it felt more like a "Wrestling Is" show than a Chikara one, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I had some thoughts about the whole thing; please allow me to share them with you.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 287

Kevin Matthews is on the AOW this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If you’re new, here’s the rundown: We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 287 (Jan. 27, 2016)
Run Time: 1:06:47
Guest: Kevin Matthews (9:06)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Bad friends and Titus O'Neil
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Best at Being the Worst Friends – The Usos and Dolph Ziggler
Wherever the Rock goes, he leaves a residue of homophobia behind. Thus on Smackdown, emboldened by their relation's dressing down (but in a totally not-gay way, despite the constant references to dicks. No homo, guys! For the love of god, NO HOMO) of the New Day on Raw, the Usos came out to do the exact same thing on Smackdown, throwing a little extra gay panic the Miz's way for wearing a “dress” (showing themselves to be fashion-phobic as well because Miz's robe is fucking magnificent). Naturally, this set up a match, and the Usos were joined by Titus O'Neil (why, man, WHY?!?) and Dolph Ziggler, head ruiner in charge of ruining things, as always. However, I'm at least glad to see that Ziggler and the Usos are apparently still besties. Besties who are terrible people, but I'll take all the character consistency I can get.

Best Coast Bias: Like A Mudder

Pictured: the number one contender
Photo Credit: WWE.com
As Samoa Joe piled on with a crossface while Baron Corbin was already locked down in Sami Zayn's Sharpshooter (not a typo), he did what any logical wolf would do; he tapped out, presumably looking forward to a future where he could send a certain Greatest Man Who Ever Lived back to IWA-Mid South.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Jan. 27

Lots of talk about Triple H winning on this week's Cheap Heat
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Cheap Heat
Episode: Ryzin D’etre (Jan. 27, 2016)
Run Time: 1:10:41
Guest: None

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 150

C'mon, man
Screen Grab via HipHopWired.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!

Protected user @bee_tee_ess asks:
What will it take to officially retire the Crying Jordan meme?
Unfortunately, the crying Jordan meme, which arose from his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, is not going away anytime soon on its own volition, and I'm afraid it's not going away that easily or satisfactorily. Either it will die out in slow, agonizing time, which means the world at large is stuck with it forever, or some other equally annoying meme will pop up and blow it to oblivion. Either way, it's probably going to stick around like an annoying gnat because human nature is to latch onto popular things until the life's been sucked from them. What is passe or annoying to a small crowd usually remains popular with the larger populace because that's how things work. The worst part about the Crying Jordan meme is that it came from his Hall of Fame induction. The dude is perhaps the greatest basketball player ever, and if not ever, the best of this lifetime, and he's still genuinely moved at being honored like that. And the reaction is to make fun of him. Not a good look. But whatever, I'm just a stick in the mud, I guess.

Numbers breakdown: Royal Rumble 2016

This Royal Rumble was definitely a treasure trove of statistics
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re interested in how the methodology I apply to Rumble statistics leads me to certain results, please see the explanatory note at the end.

While 2016 was third straight Royal Rumble to prominently feature a Roman Reigns narrative, it can be argued there at least was some more variety this year. As much as I love to discuss Rumble stories, we’re here to talk numbers, and the fact 15 wrestlers logged at least one legal elimination, the most since 2013 (the record is 18 in 1998), is a sign there was a bit more fun stuff to go around than what we’ve seen of late.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Old School Wrestling Podcast, #169

The Old School Wrestling Podcast takes a look at the '91 Rumble
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: The Old School Wrestling Podcast
Episode: 169
Run Time: 2:42:41
Guest: none