Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The 2014 TWB 100 Slow Release: #2

BOMBS AWAY
Photo Credit: WWE.com
2. Seth Rollins
Points: 6769
Ballots: 72
Highest Vote Received: 1st Place (James Girouard, Dan McQuade, Brock Lutefisk, Frank McCormick, Rene Sanchez, Brian Brown, John Henderson, Bill DiFilippo, Brian Coulter, Joey Splashwater, Brandon Armstrong, Pablo Alva, Kevin Newburn, Mike Tunison, Ian Riccaboni)
Last Year's Placement: 3rd Place

TH: While I was not nearly as high on Rollins as my peers or even as I was last year, one cannot deny that he was among the top workers in WWE and in America in 2014. When The Shield turned face, he was allowed to settle into his most natural role, a hard-bumping, high-spot taking, best-possible-Jeff Hardy babyface who got the crowd invested by nearly getting pummeled to death before pulling out the ultimate gamble in an attempt to win. The couple of months between the Royal Rumble and Payback featured his best work with no coincidence. Afterwards, he was shunted into a heel role that didn't suit him as well, and even though his matches with anyone but Dean Ambrose left a bit to be desired, he worked hard and put his back into working the way he was asked to. I'll be counting down the days when Rollins turns back and becomes that which he is destined to be, but in the meantime, he's still doing some fine work in WWE rings.

James Girouard: From an in-ring perspective, Seth Rollins basically held the WWE upper mid-card and main event scene together the second half of the year. If there's a reason why I voted Rollins over Sami Zayn (and I can certainly the argument the other way around) it's that Rollins had to do more on a bigger state, and thus, had more opportunities to lay an egg. And I can't think of a single high-profile Seth Rollins match from 2015 that was anything less than very good.

Who Won Sting/Triple H? Obviously, Kevin Nash

Big Kev had him a Mania, didn't he
Photo Credit: WWE.com 
While Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall made bigger waves for taking bumps on the floor despite their perceived physical conditions, it was Kevin Nash who ruled the day among the New World Order cavalry that came to back Sting up at WrestleMania. I don't know how many people caught it - I know I missed it on first go-around - but when Billy Gunn trucked him, Nash fell to the ground and in a moment of self-awareness, clutched his famously-much torn quadriceps muscle, as captured in this mini-video captured by @Connox94.

Do Farmer Frogs Dream of Electric Amphibians?

Is anything as real as a dream?
Photo Credit: Zia Hiltey
The Estonian Farmer Frog saga has taken a turn for the bizarre as he released a curious video on his YouTube page. As it turns out, being an agriculturally inclined anthropomorphic amphibian allows that being to video tape his or her dreams and post them to YouTube. This dream featured the Farmer Frog battling with a familiar face, or maybe he was wrestling with... himself?

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 243

Tarver is Cabana's guest this week
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: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 243 (March 26, 2015)
Run Time: 1:08:54
Guest: Michael Tarver (10:27)

The 2015 TWB Tournament of Champions, Second Round: WCW Region

DDP and Sting will be facing off in today's matchups, and hey, Flair has a match too!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The second round comes to a close today with the WCW Region, but before, it's time to recount the winners from the ECW Region: Raven, Terry Funk, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Sandman. WCW will now take center stage, even after Triple H did his best to continue WWE's ongoing burial of a 14-year dead promotion. IT STILL LIVES IN HERE *points to where heart is on chest*

1. Ric Flair vs. 8. Booker T, TALE OF THE TAPE II
FLAIR - 243 lbs., from Charlotte, NC, finishing hold - Figure Four Leglock, The Nature Boy

BOOKER - 256 lbs., from Houston, TX, finishing hold - The Bookend/Harlem Hangover/Axe Kick, King Booker

Monday, March 30, 2015

Instant Feedback: Every Week

Protecting the Champions shouldn't be a once-a-year thing
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Why can't every RAW be the RAW after WrestleMania? I saw this question posed on Twitter a couple of times before tonight's show began, and the flat ending notwithstanding, I'd say the three hour telecast delivered at least partially on its lofty expectations. The simple answer is that because WrestleMania can't happen every week, the watershed RAW that follows cannot occur every week either. But who says that WWE is only limited to booking a complete show from top to bottom one week out of the year?

The 2014 TWB 100 Slow Release: #3

Cesaro made a lot of hay in 2014, even if the booking did him zero favors
Photo Credit: WWE.com
3. Cesaro
Points: 6598
Ballots: 73
Highest Vote Received: 1st Place (Charles Humphreys, Mike Pankowski, Niel Jacoby, Francis Adu)
Last Year's Placement: 2nd Place

TH: Cesaro was the poster child for booking obscuring sheer results. One thinks that a month such as Cesaro's February could not be forgotten? WWE and Vince "I think Cesaro doesn't connect because millennials or some shit" McMahon took it as a personal challenge to make the audience forget. I'm the biggest proponent of not letting booking obscure results, but I didn't really realize I'd probably underrated Cesaro (and I had him sixth!) until I had already tabulated 20 or so ballots and thought it a pain to revise. The truth is, Cesaro put on a goddamn show any time he was in the ring, whether he was given all the shine in the world in February or he was languishing in jobber roles at the end of the year, being made to enhance everyone but himself. The man hustles like no other, and he stands out whenever the bell rings.

Dave Kincannon: Cesaro is proof that talent can often overcome bad booking. The first few months of 2014 featured Cesaro wrestling brilliantly, and rising in the ranks as part of the Real Americans with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. He won the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale by lifting up Big Show and throwing him out of the ring, which still impresses the hell out of me. We thought big things were in store for him, especially when he got Paul Heyman as his new manager. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t turn out as well as most fans would have hoped. He floundered in the middle of the card most of the year, but if he was bothered by his placement, he never let it interfere with his work in the ring. He is a consummate professional, and one of the best wrestlers in the world…I just hope that WWE figures that out soon.

More Details on Global Force Wrestling's Debut Events

The first shows have been announced
Graphics Credit: Global Force Wrestling site
Press release via WrestleChat

More news about Global Force Wrestling's proper debut have been released, and the big hook is that the first three shows will be television tapings. The shows will all emanate from the Orleans Arena on July 24, August 21, and October 23 of this year, all falling on Fridays. The curious thing here is that while the dates are all confirmed for taping, no television deal has been announced yet. Again, the end of the release says to keep watching for more details coming out, but I would think that an outlet for the end result of these tapings would be necessary.

Suplex City Is Burning: WrestleMania 31 Review

All hail your new overlord
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This review is in the TH style, and yes, you're gonna want to get your free month of WWE Network on April 1 so you can see this goddamn glorious event for free in its entirety.

Highlights:
  • Tyson Kidd and Cesaro retained the WWE Tag Team Championships in a four-way match against the Usos, Los Matadores, and New Day. Jimmy Uso hit the superfly splash on Big E, but Cesaro blind-tagged in before the splash and pinned E for the win.
  • Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale by lastly eliminating Damien Sandow.
  • Daniel Bryan won the Intercontinental Championship ladder match after headbutting Dolph Ziggler off the ladder.
  • Randy Orton countered a curb stomp into a RKO for the win against Seth Rollins.
  • After run-ins from the nWo and dX, Triple H defeated Sting with a sledgehammer shot to the head.
  • AJ Lee and Paige defeated the Bella Twins when Lee tapped out Nikki with the Black Widow.
  • John Cena wrested the United States Championship from Rusev after the former Champion knocked Lana off the apron and walked right into an Attitude Adjustment.
  • Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were chased off from the ring by The Rock and Ronda Rousey after the former made bold claims that they "owned" all the wrestlers and fans.
  • Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt with a tombstone piledriver.
  • The Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns WWE World Championship main event was turned into a triple threat match near the very end when Rollins cashed in his briefcase during a moment of mutual vulnerability. He captured the belt when Reigns speared Lesnar out of the ring and Rollins hit Reigns with the curb stomp to get the pin.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Triple Shot

Austin's last three shows detailed here
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 Unleashed!
Episode: 204 (March 19, 2015)
Run Time: 1:41:46
Guest: Bas Rutten (5:42)

The 2015 TWB Tournament of Champions, Second Round: ECW Region

Funk and Sabu will be tangling again, only in the polls instead of in barbed wire
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The weekend is over, so that means the Tournament of Champions is back on the docket. Before getting into today's region, the time has come to announce Friday's winners from the TNA region, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe. Today sees another venture into the land of extreme with the ECW Region:

1. Raven vs. 9. Masato Tanaka, TALE OF THE TAPE II
RAVEN - 235 lbs., from The Bowery, finishing hold - Even Flow DDT, leader of The Flock

TANAKA - 209 lbs., from Tokyo, Japan, finishing hold - Diamond Dust, Dangan

Friday, March 27, 2015

The 2014 TWB 100 Slow Release: #4

YES! YES! YES!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
4. Daniel Bryan
Points: 6291
Ballots: 70
Highest Vote Received: 1st Place (Cewsh, Jesse Dlugosz, Luke Starr, Lee Spriggs, TJ Hawke)
Last Year's Placement: 1st Place

TH: Daniel Bryan was well on his way to defending his crown as top vote in the TWB 100 when he got bad news from his doctors. He had a neck injury that would have ended his career and possibly his life if he continued to wrestle without surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation. For his own sake, I'm glad he took the time off, but a selfish, shit-headed part of me that was thoroughly enjoying his output in the ring through Extreme Rules was disappointed. Bryan did in four months what some wrestlers fail to do in 40. Whether through his tremendous opener against Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble through his magnum opus at WrestleMania XXX against Triple H and in his ultimately last match, a garbage brawl against Kane that was entertaining against all odds (and featured Bryan driving a goddamn forklift). His candle burned brightest, and while it was out by the end of May, he still turned in a resume that ultimately netted him a top 10 vote on my ballot.

Dave Kincannon: Daniel Bryan’s 2014 boils down to about 5 months, which is probably a big part of why he’s not number one on this list. Those five months were so good, that he couldn’t help but be elevated. He had a bunch of great matches with the likes of Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, and Christian, and tag team matches against the Shield, and the Usos. But, of course, the highlight of his year was that magical night in April when he defeated three quarters of Evolution to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I said in my blurb for Triple H that his match with Bryan may be one of the best WrestleMania matches in the event’s history. I was being a bit coy, because it definitely is one of the best matches in WrestleMania history, and Daniel Bryan’s performance throughout that WrestleMania is one of the best performances in the event’s history.

Dispatches from the Lake: The Lady’s Guide to Surviving WrestleMania 31

You're not excited after THIS BUILD? Well, then, survival tips are below for you
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hello friends. You wouldn’t know it, but WrestleMania is only days away. While I’m tempted to just roll my eyes, let out my best Jay Cutler-esque ‘Who Cares?’, and then play StarCraft all of Sunday, I’ll suck it up for you, gentle reader, and run down the card with tips on how you can survive the Show of Shows.

There’s only one thing that is absolutely necessary. I give you permission to ignore everything else if you follow this golden rule: You must watch this crap with someone. You need someone to talk to while the commentators are babbling incoherently over the wrestling and to hold you as you gently weep while clutching the confetti you saved from last year.

Angelus Layne Is Mad As Hell, And She's Not Gonna Take It Anymore

Angelus Layne gives zero fucks anymore, and Delilah Doom's gonna pay
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Angelus Layne may be the most snake-bitten wrestler on the indies when it comes to injuries. She's had more boo-boos and ouchies befall her when she was on the precipice of something bigger than I can care to recall. The latest of such injuries happened at Inspire Pro Wrestling's Undeniable in February, when she snapped her ankle in a three-way match to determine the final spot in the XX-Division Championship match earmarked for a future date. Delilah Doom, the New Movement's plucky underdog, snapped up the victory, which really didn't set well with Layne.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 58

Shamrock was on the latest Ross Report
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: The Ross Report
Episode: 58 (March 25, 2015)
Run Time: 1:52:38
Guest: Ken Shamrock (32:49)