Friday, August 29, 2014

Inspire Pro's Relentless Preview

Graphics via InspirePro.com
Have you made your travel arrangements for Sunday, August 31? You need to because Inspire Pro Wrestling’s RELENTLESS is going to be yet another can’t-miss event. There’s a reason they say “All Killer, No Filler,” because there won’t be a single match on this card that you’ll be able to take a piss break during. Bo-Lieve that! (Man, I’m sad now. WWE could have totally replaced Seth Rollins in The Shield after the backstabbing with Bo Dallas. If anyone needed a pick-me-up after that, it was Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, but that’s a story for another time.)

Check out what they have in store for us lucky fans:

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art of Wrestling Ep. 213

Cabana finishes his residency in Edinburgh this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If you're new, here's the rundown: I 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 better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Art of Wrestling
Episode: 213
Run Time: 1:16:05
Guest: Des Clarke (at 8:15), Noam Dar (30:00), Mark Dallas (45:21), Chris Brooker and Billy Kirkwood (1:00:30).

Summary: It’s Cabana’s last show from the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, following the same template as the previous episodes: standup comedian who’s also a big wrestling fan, slimmed down version of his traditional podcast with someone from the wrestling business, improv comedy bits with the guys from Whose Clothesline Is It Anyway?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 91

More Roode, less ripping off WWE
Screen Grab from ImpactWrestling.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 morning. Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

Is "blow my brains out" an acceptable answer?

I keed, I keed. The first thing I would do as the head of TNA would be to clean house in the front office. Everyone who has had a hand in the direction that company has gone would be given the heave-ho, and Vince Russo's contact information would be shredded, fed to dogs, and then by order of a federal judge, the poop would be burnt. I don't know the specifics of whom I'd replace those people with, but I would make sure that the culture would change completely. No more aping WWE, no more sweatshop-like treatment of the wrestlers, no more institutional misogyny.

Second, I would aggressively get involved in trying to keep the Spike TV contract. Hopefully, the house-clean in the front office would be enough of a sign of good faith to start over again. Finally, I would jettison Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, D-Von Dudley, and anyone who was still playing any modicum of their character from WWE or any other established company. I would build around guys like Robert Roode, James Storm, Eric Young, Austin Aries, the Knockouts roster, and Magnus, among others. If a name comes up in free agency that makes sense to sign, I would bring that wrestler aboard, but I would not make the same mistakes that TNA did in the past, specifically when the ultra-hot Samoa Joe was sacrificed to the altar of Angle.

Would this plan work? I don't know. I wouldn't know until I would have the unrealistic chance of implementing it. But man, doesn't it sound better than what Dixie Carter and her band of happy morons have been doing for the last decade or so?

Best Coast Bias: Land Of Confusion

Stardust doing an impersonation of this week's Main Event viewer
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's episodes like these that bring back warm fuzzy memories of Nat King Cole. Not because they were smooth, ahead of their time, or cruelly underrated by the masses, but because they seemed to be a good idea in theory but in reality they'd end up becoming a thinly held up shield that could only be the idea of a coked-out daughter.

Also?

Incomprehensible...that's what this was...incomprehensible...seemingly just because...

(Just imagine that was to the tune of "Unprofessional."  If that doesn't ring a bell, curse your youth and use the damn Google.)

An Interview with Inspire Pro's Justin Bissonnette

Biss says that Barbi Hayden's NWA Women's Championship is a big centerpiece for Inspire Pro
Photo Credit: Kelly Kyle/Texas Anarchy
Inspire Pro Wrestling has yet another stacked show planned for Sunday, August 31st, at 6 PM Central Daylight Time inside the Marchesa Hall and Theatre in Austin, Texas. You can get all the relevant information at InspireProWrestling.com or just check out my preview of the show later this week on this very website! *bask in the cheap pop*

So, if this isn’t a preview, what is it? Well, you clearly failed at reading comprehension when you didn’t look at the title of this column when you clicked on it. And if that is the case, I’m not sure anything you read here will matter. In the event that you just go around to random websites and click on links willy-nilly, well, welcome. Happy to have you. What you are about to read is an email interview with one of the men behind Inspire Pro, Justin “Biss” Bissonnette.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 28

Tony Schiavone, in the flesh, on the podcast
Screen Grab via the Big Lead
If you're new, here's the rundown: I 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 better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: The Ross Report
Episode: 28
Run Time: 1:39:13
Guest: Tony Schiavone

Summary: The interview starts at 30:20 after the usual Ross opinions on the state of WWE and TNA. He and Schiavone talk about Tony’s fandom before becoming a wrestling announcer, their early days with the Crockett family, his year with WWF and the Nitro era.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Wrestling Blog Retro Live Tweet Series, Episode 3: WWF In Your House: Canadian Stampede

Oh yes, it's gonna go down
Photo Credit: WWE.com
A month or so ago, several titanic users of the Twittah Machine ventured forth on an odyssey to watch one of the worst pay-per-views ever produced by a mainstream wrestling company in WCW Sin. Several months before that, several others, some the same, some not, gathered 'round the television to view WrestleMania 2, the forgotten Mania for a reason, to celebrate the launch of the WWE Network. Because both of those shows were so bad, I, the charterer and benefactor of these voyages, ended up feeling super-duper bad about putting people through those shows. So, as a make-good, I am beyond ecstatic to announce that the third installment of The Wrestling Blog Retro Live Tweet Series shall be centered around one of the best, if not THE best pre-2000 World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view events. I am officially setting a coordination time of 8 PM Eastern Daylight on Wednesday, September 3 for this trek into the past of the great Northern neighbor to the United States. Yes, the third episode will deal with...

WWF In Your House: Canadian Stampede

The Impact Report: The Assassination Of Dixie Carter By The Coward Bully Ray

Eric Young the beneficiary of a confusing finish to Hardcore Justice
Photo Credit: ImpactWrestling.com
Hey guys, sorry I’ve been super late with last week's Impact Report. Some personal things came up and more important, Impact has been super depressing lately, and I really just needed to clear my head and get into the right frame of mind to do this justice. Plus I totally forgot about the change to Wednesday night and I usually write these the same day the show airs to get everyone caught up. Honestly this review is going to be really short because not a lot happened on Impact the past two weeks. Spinning wheels has become an unfortunate theme among televised wrestling lately, and with TNA basically on life support at this point I’m just waiting to see what’ll happen when they pull the plug.

Best Coast Bias: Up The Bracket

Definitely not pictured: three generic luchadores
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Sans the NXT Champion or the suddenly-MIA Tag Champions, it was the contendership tournament semifinals that bookended and took center stage on NXT.  And when the dust cleared, it was a case of the sizzle overwhelming the steak involved.

Let's set the stage: with their respective wins the Vaudevillians will be set to face off against Sin Cara and Kalisto.  But while the throwbacks put a surprisingly quick win on the board against the Jersey Boyz more notable for the Legionnaires shaving a husk out of the beard of Enzo Amore after the match (per last week, note they waited for the victory to occur before deciding on revenge on the certified G and bona fide stud), the luchadores had to put in more work to put away the Red Rosebuds in the two-segger that finished off the program.

King of Trios to Be Devastating, Canadian

Graphics via @CHIKARAPro
Both announcements via @CHIKARAPro

So, Chikara has upped the pace on announcing teams for King of Trios this year, going seemingly every day with a new team. Neither of the latest two teams are all too surprising, but they are essential to the current main narrative. Yesterday's announced trio is also the first troika from The Flood to make entry into the tournament. Max Smashmaster, Blaster McMassive, and Flex Rumblecrunch, known collectively as Sidney Bakabella's Devastation Corporation, will HOSS their way into the tournament. The massive mountains of man have to be considered one of the favorites to win the whole thing. In fact, their fate in the tournament may be foreshadowing as to how long the current fight between Chikara and The Flood will last. If the Corp (or some other Flood-affiliated team) happens to win, the Chikaraverse could reasonably expect at least another year of all-out war. If a Flood team gets to the finals and loses to, say...

Your Midweek Links: Clickhole Does Rasslin'

Vader made Clickhole!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's hump day, so here are some links to get you through the rest of the week:

Wrestling Links:

- These wrestlers look flawless with or without their masks [Clickhole]

- The man without a mask [The New Yorker]

- The Best and Worst of RAW: A Womb of One's Own [With Spandex]

- Thank you, Lesnar. Thank you, Lesnar? Thank you, Lesnar! [Grantland]

- WWE's actual Plan B is John Cena [TJR Wrestling]

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 145

Ross is the guest on this show rather than the host
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I 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 better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 145
Run Time: 1:29:56
Guest: Jim Ross

Summary: Austin opens up with brief thoughts about the opening of Raw Monday (he hasn’t watched the rest of the show), then brings back his old fan JR to shoot the breeze a bit before taking questions for both of them from Steve’s Twitter followers. They touch on many familiar topics — Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Sting and the Survivor Series 1997.

The Best Moves Ever: BRAAAAAINBUSTAAAAAHHHHH!!!

This week's TBME will be the last one in the series. I have enjoyed posting YouTube clips of my favorite moves, but the motions are just getting too repetitive. Besides, y'all got YouTube and search functions. Anyway, the last one in the series will also be the first one I ever posted, one of my favorite moves, if not my most beloved move of all-time, El Generico's corner BRAINBUSTAAAAHHHHHHH. If he ever does this move again, he'll either have persuaded his opponent and WWE to let him do such a risque maneuver, or his WWE career as Sami Zayn will have gone terribly wrong. Either way, at least footage is available of it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kill Commentary on RAW

JBL's barely good for getting his hat taken from him, let alone adding to the show
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE's announce table, at least its main announce team on RAW, has taken a lot of lumps over the last couple of years for good reason. If one were to listen to the old guard, the fact that Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL do not call the action in the ring is anathema. While I can empathize with that point of view, I don't necessarily agree with it. Wrestling is a visual art, and outside of letting people know what the moves are called from time to time (especially signature spots), I don't need to have the Vin Scully play-by-play breakdown on what's going on in the ring. However, I do need to have constructive commentary that helps inform and move stories along. I need to know why things are happening from the unbiased/good guy perspective. I would love to have some kind of rebuttal from the black hats too. Over and above everything else, I need my announcers to help fill in the blanks on what has happened before, and what might be happening in the ring at the moment. The worst thing in the world for any wrestling show is a commentary track that adds not information or emotional gravity, but cacophony.

The current three-man team has had several examples pointed out over the last couple of years where it has failed and failed miserably at getting stories over in the ring. Whether it be cracking jokes, making obscure references that don't fit in the moment, or perpetuating ugly racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted points of view from an unchallenged heel or even worse, one of the babyfaces in the group, the group has been an unmitigated failure. While my breaking point at the ugly sexist language has been breached a long time ago, the last straw in terms of the group's ability to inform the audience of happenings on the show was shattered.

Break Out the Sugar and Hide Your Magnifying Glasses, the Colony's In

Ants! In my pants! Err, I mean my tourney!
Graphics via @CHIKARAPro
Via @CHIKARAPro

The rightful 2011 Chikara King of Trios Champions are in the tournament. Actually, this Colony is slightly different from the one that bested Team FIST to cap off perhaps the best weekend of wrestling that I have ever experienced. Worker Ant 2.0 replaces Soldier Ant, and Green Ant has evolved into Silver Ant. Still, what's a Chikara tournament without ants crawling around? While I doubt the Colony: Original Recipe will be the only set of formidicae in the proceedings, these three mighty mat mites will be the best. Sorry Missile! Assault! Ant!