Friday, May 22, 2015

SmackDown: Friendship is Magic

Fuck off with your transphobia, Paige
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Most Eloquent Friends – Xavier Woods and Titus O'Neil
The first match of the night was a sort of preview for the upcoming Tag title defense at Elimination Chamber, featuring Tyson Kidd and Cesaro versus Los Matadores versus Lucha Dragons versus the Ascension. The two remaining teams, the New Day and the Prime Time Players, were both on guest commentary. As could be expected, the presence of so many bodies and voices made things pretty chaotic and occasionally too overwhelming for my taste. Wisely, Xavier Woods and Titus O'Neil mostly took on speaking duties for their teams. Both men are witty and quick with a response, which was entertaining, but they also both had a clear agenda to hype up the Elimination Chamber match and the teams in it while maintaining a heelish bravado. Lord knows the WWE has done very little to make much out of the Tag division lately, so it's nice to see some of its members take it upon themselves to prove that the tag teams are worth watching. The match itself was too short for my liking, but definitely high-energy. I chose to look at it more as a brief teaser for what we're in store for on May 31. All the teams had time in the spotlight to show their stuff, and Kalisto pinned Diego for the win. I'm pretty sure most people expect the title match to eventually come down to Kidd/Cesaro and the New Day, but having the Lucha Dragons win here, as well as spending a lot of time with the Ascension in control of the match, made it seem like it could be anyone's game. Considering the WWE's chronic inability to focus on more than two teams at once, I appreciated the possibilities that this match opened up.

Your Feud of the Year is Dave Meltzer vs. the Lead Singer of Zwan

Billy Corgan getting into feuds he know he can't win
Photo via Rolling Stone
If you think professional wrestling can't be quirky, weird, wonderful, and plain entertaining, then you've probably stopped following it a long time ago. Sure, the exterior might be a bit off-putting thanks to the warts shown by various wrestlers in and out of character. The Smackdown promo from Paige last night where she went full transphobe on Tamina Snuka is a disappointing example of this, and one Lacy will be covering around 1 PM Eastern today. But if you're immersed in wrestling culture, then you'll find a whole ton of just the weirdest, most amusing happenings, like the godfather of wrestling journalism getting into a subtweet war with multi-platinum front man of such groups like Smashing Pumpkins.

AAPW Gold Rush Review

Graphics via AAPW Facebook Page
Ladies and gentlemen, this past Saturday (May 16th) at Gold Rush, America’s Academy of Pro Wrestling crowned it’s Heavyweight Champion and that person is none other than the leader of the Nations United Terror Syndicate (aka NUTS), QUENTIN LYNCH!

Now, last month when they announced a Gold Rush Battle Royal to determine their new Champion, four people immediately jumped to mind as to who should be that person. Only four. That isn't to say someone like Donnie Giovanni (he of the beautiful bridging Northern Lights Suplex) or Kody Krash wouldn't have made a good Champion, it simple means there were four people who would make great Champs.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Ep. May 20

The Cheap Heat lads discuss Owens' debut on RAW and more
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: Cheap Heat
Episode: May 20, 2015
Run Time: 55:32
Guest: None

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Best Coast Bias: This Kills The Fan


!!!
Screen Grab via WWE.com
...so.

Apparently, Triple H lied to the shareholders on that conference call earlier in the week. And the shareholders haven't been so happy since Seth Rollins changed his password.

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 11-Squared

Don't fuck with the Lariat
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via 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!

Honorable mention goes to the Dubstep Cowboys, who aren't really cowboys and don't have a gimmick unless you count the Brandon Stroud/Erin Provolone joint theory that they're secretly in the closet and overpursue Carmella (and now Alexa Bliss) in order to hide that. Of course, that doesn't give you the right to chant homophobic shit at them, and I hate that I think I need to explain why in order for the densest/most ignorant in the crowd. But regardless.

3. "Cowboy" James Storm - While not so much during his post-Beer Money singles run, his half of the team worked as a contrast to Robert Roode and his Wall Street cash glommer gimmick.

2. "Cowboy" Bob Orton - Something about a "rough and tumble" cowboy who always had his arm in a cast felt like a cool juxtaposition to me.

1. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen - The man was legally blind and had a fat wife and nine children at home to feed. I don't care how hard he adhered to the cowboy ethos, the ten gallon hat is enough for me to stay on his good side. Plus, LARIATOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The Mountain Goats Enlist the Help of Joey Ryan and Others for Their Latest Video

"The Legend of Chavo Guerrero" is tiiiiight
Photo Credit: Lissa Gotwalls/courtesy of the band
Indie rock icons The Mountain Goats have been all the rage in wrestling circles with their album Beat the Champ, an entire collection of songs dedicated to the art of professional wrestling. It's been drawing rave reviews, not just for the musical craftsmanship that Mountain Goat fans keep telling the world about, but also for the dedication to the theme. The video for the track "The Legend of Chavo Guerrero" takes said devotion to a whole other level. Peep it after the jump:

Destination America Cancels TNA Impact

It's over, Dixie.
Destination America has cancelled TNA Impact, with the final episodes airing in September. The move came before the decision to move Impact from Friday to Wednesday. The news was broken on the Wrestling Observer newsletter by Dave Meltzer last night, and the passage from the paid newsletter pertaining to all the details was graciously screen-shotted by Twitter user @DeathToAllMarks. The move comes as somewhat of a shock, as the network had JUST taken Impact into its schedule five months ago. However, rumblings that DA was unhappy with Impact started to be heard within months of airing.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 66

Madden is JR's guest this week
Photo Credit: Bill Wade/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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: 66 (May 20, 2015)
Run Time: 1:57:27
Guest: Mark Madden (3:20)

Gregor of House Clegane Meets... Renee of House Paquette?

Renee Young's trial by combat looks... interesting
Photo via Renee Young's Instagram

NXT Takeover: Unstoppable was notable for the flashy entrances, the straight *five fire emoji* Women's Championship match, and the debut of Samoa bah gawd Joe, but it also had a topical guest. While his status on Game of Thrones is up in the air so to speak, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is still one of the coolest people associated with the show. While his character on-screen, Gregor "The Mountain That Rides" Clegane, is so evil that it makes (er made, or is still it makes?) King Joffrey look like a choir boy, his feats outside of the fictional world of Westeros have inspired awe among those who know of him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WWE Marketing Is a Mess

What Adam Rose is doing to his opponent here is what WWE has done to him in terms of marketing
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE announced that Elimination Chamber would be returning to the special event slate after it had been unceremoniously dumped from its perch in February in favor of Fast Lane. However, the announcement was made that it would be a WWE Network exclusive. To be honest, it's the kind of thing that the company should have been doing from jump. Network exclusives that people want to see are going to get people to subscribe to the goddamn thing. The library is nice, and the discount pay-per-views are a huge start, but stuff like NXT, Legends House, other original series that weren't pitched by people scribbling on a cocktail napkin after downing a sixer of Schlitt's at the local hipster bar, and special events that you can only see via said Network.

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Issue 30

Austin back on the Network with the podcastin'
Photo Credit: WWE.com
That's right you peons, HORB FLERBMINBER here and ready to give you all the wrestling information your feeble brains can handle. You think I'm being harsh? THEN YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM, just like Todd Martin when he not only ducked out on Dave Meltzer to join the Torch, but when he continually ducks my challenges for a knife fight on Eight Mile Road in Detroit. WHY ARE YOU SCARED, TODD? WHY? I post all the best news, the stuff you want, nay, need, nay, ARE REQUIRED TO SEE IN ORDER TO LIVE. My rumors always come true. YOU PEOPLE THINK /u/falconarrow AT r/SquaredCircle IS GOOD? FUCK YOU, HE'S BEEN DOING THIS FOR A INFINITESIMALLY FRACTIONAL TIME COMPARED TO ME. I AM AGELESS. I have EARNED the right to libel AND slander anyone I want because REASONS.

Four Years Gone

Four years ago today, the "Macho Man" Randy Savage had a heart attack behind the wheel in Pinellas County, FL and crashed into a tree. His wife, Barbara Payne, was in the passenger seat, but she survived. His death came at an apparent end of his hibernation from wrestling and the thawing of his chilly relationship with WWE, and the surreality of it all is that he is more a presence in the business after his death than he was in his final years. Savage was the rare wrestler who stayed away from an industry whose siren call is all too strong.

Who's Part of the Next Guard of NXT?

Don't laugh, Dempsey could end up being a net positive for NXT sooner rather than later
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The current golden age of NXT is not over yet, and it won't before the end of the year, I imagine. While Neville and Kalisto have already hit the main roster running and haven't looked back, the rest of the group will still have things to do in the territory, even if they're making waves on the main roster like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are currently. Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch (who may be there the longest of this group), Bayley, Finn Bálor, Tyler Breeze, and a convalescing Hideo Itami will all provide continuity between eras so that a brain drain isn't in the cards. However, when Zayn and Owens are gone for good and the rest of the stars start to filter into circulation on the main roster, they're going to need to be replaced. So who will replace them?

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 221

Barnett shoots the shit with Austin this week
Photo Credit: Josh Hedges/Getty Images via UFC.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: 221 (May 19, 2015)
Run Time: 1:30:11
Guest: Josh Barnett, part one (17:20)