Monday, August 3, 2015

Instant Feedback: Importance

This moment made Neville look important
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Dana White over the weekend threw major shade at pro wrestling, specifically WWE and the Network's price point, saying "...but fake shit should be $9.99." The statement has been parsed to death by everyone from the WWE World Heavyweight Champion down to various fans on the Twitter machine, and I have not come to parse White's intent any further. He can believe what he wants to believe, and honestly, whatever he says has no bearing on what is presented by any wrestling company, to be honest. Those who will defend wrestling will defend it to the end. Those who buy into White's comments probably already dismissed it and were looking for validation.

Piper and the Edge

Moments like these highlighted Piper's dedication to controversy
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Roddy Piper was a part of several of the most memorable angles in wrestling history, but not all of them were remembered positively. WWE likes to say wrestlers are "controversial" without ever saying why or embracing the definition of the word. CM Punk was "controversial" because he said scandalous things about Vince McMahon and Triple H as characters, but what did he do that was really edgy, like, genuinely edgy?

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show, Ep. 242

Austin's latest Unleashed is a Ted Fowler Ep.
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: 242
Run Time: 1:19:26
Guest: Ted Fowler

Guest Blog: Memories of Roddy Piper from a Scot

Even if he wasn't a Scot, Piper was as Scottish as one could get
Photo via Scottish Wrestling Entertainment
Adam Wilson is a native of Scotland and a wrestling Twitter regular (@GingerPimpernel). While Roddy Piper was about as Scottish as I'm a warthog, he still left a mark on his adopted home country. Wilson's guest blog has a reflection of a faux-Scotsman from a real one.

Last night, I got home from a wrestling event in Edinburgh, Scotland (before I start, I'm Scottish, born here, and have lived here all but three years of my life). I had a great time, and took photos until my phone ran out of batteries as the main event was starting. I was buzzing on the bus home, enthusiastically talking with my partner about the show. I couldn't wait to get home, charge my phone, and tell everyone I knew how awesome the main event I had just witnessed was.

Papa-Indigo-Papa-Echo-Romeo

Piper went face to face with Dean Ambrose at the Old School RAW
Photo Credit: WWE.com
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper's final appearance on RAW was around Christmas time last year where he basically served as a setup for a brawl between Rusev and Ryback. It was a decent use of Piper's talents, but man, it was underwhelming based on what he'd shown at the first bookend of the year. It was a halcyon time, when CM Punk still wasn't disillusioned with wrestling, when The Shield was still together, and when the New Age Outlaws still were on televis... you know, I'm gonna redact that last one.

Roddy Piper: The Biggest Loudmouth


A loudmouth jerk in a kilt
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The legend is that a young CM Punk happened to turn on an episode of WWF Superstars just as Roddy Piper smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head. Inspired by this, Punk became the loudmouth jerk that captured the imaginations of all of us who take pro wrestling much more seriously than it deserves. In the documentary Best in The World, Punk talks about digging Piper not because he was the biggest or most athletic, but because he was a loudmouth in a kilt who took joy in pissing people off.

Princess of Trios?

Can tasty treats act as proper retainers for a Princess looking to become "King?"
Graphics via @CHIKARAPro
The 15th team entered in King of Trios this year is the final one representing the Challenge of the Immortals squads. Crown and Court will be represented, and the head of the team shall be the group's royal contingent. Princess Kimber Lee will lead her frozen rudo minions, Ice Cream Jr. and El Hijo del Ice Cream, into action as the group tries to become the first ever Kings of Trios with a Queen in their midst. Meiko Satomura, Sendai Sachiko, and Dash Chisako made it all the way to the semifinals of the 2012 tournament, nearly pulling off the upset of the Young Bucks and Mike Bennett to get to the finals. Lee will look to be the first woman to burst into the finals.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

The greatest villain, and one of the greatest talkers, gone
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Rowdy Roddy Piper, the greatest villain in professional wrestling history, passed away late Thursday/early Friday in his sleep at the age of 61. The cause of death was ruled as cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife, Kitty Toombs, and four children, including aspiring professional wrestler and mixed-martial arts fighter Colt Toombs. Piper leaves behind a rich legacy, if a bit checkered at times, in professional wrestling as well as in acting. However, regardless of anything else, Piper was one of the most effective performers for his unpredictability and his outrageousness, a quality that sometimes got him in trouble but many times was able to get crowds worked into the hottest froths, either for his opponents or sometimes for himself.

Friday, July 31, 2015

John Cena's Gonna Miss Some Time, Y'all

Cena's gonna miss some time thanks to some impromptu rhinoplasty
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Thanks to the amateur nosejob Seth Rollins gave him on this past Monday's RAW, John Cena will be out for a few weeks at the very least. He needed emergency surgery after RAW to correct his breathing paths, and he's been pulled from WWE live events up to and including the August 10 episode of RAW (via WrestleChat). Any chance of seeing Cena drop the United States Championship will right now have to wait until the go-home RAW for SummerSlam on August 17, but even that date feels hairy at this point.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat July 30

More Hogan talk on this week's Cheap Heat
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: July 30, 2015
Run Time: 59:08
Guest: none

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Strange friendships equal mayhem on this week's Smackdown
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Strangest Friendships – Cesaro and Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens 
The main event on this episode featured Cesaro and Ambrose against Rollins and Owens, after Owens interrupted Rollins and Cesaro's match at the start of the show and Cesaro was given leave to find his own tag partner. It wasn't at all strange for Ambrose to throw himself in against Rollins, but it was strange that he didn't show up until the last second. The show tried to play up the drama of whether Cesaro could possibly find a partner or if he'd have to go it alone. It was just so needless and weird. Why on earth WOULDN'T he be able to find a partner? Owens is formidable, sure, but hardly indestructible, and Cesaro is definitely a match for him. Rollins has been pretty effectively neutralized at this point – Cesaro himself had clearly gotten the best of him both at the start of the show and last week. Basically, if you tag with Cesaro right now, you're in pretty safe hands.

Ronda Rousey Won't Be the First Horsewoman to Hit the Ring

Baszler comin' to take on Cheerleader Melissa
Photo Credit: Gleidson Venga
Ronda Rousey stepped into the squared circle at WrestleMania 31 in a strictly angular role. The appearance was a complete surprise to most observers, even though people in WWE, Stephanie McMahon most notably, rolled out the red carpet for Rousey and her Four Horsewomen compadres on several occasions in the past. However, she wasn't there just to pop the crowd along with The Rock; she was there strictly to set up a huge money match for next year's WrestleMania, one which WWE wants to be the biggest event in "entertainment" history.

Tetsuya Naito, Champion of My Heart

That Naito, he's so hot right now
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Before WrestleKingdom 9, I was only vaguely aware of Tetsuya Naito, in that I knew he won the 2013 G1 Climax and people weren't happy about it. His match against AJ Styles at that event left me nonplussed to say the least. Yeah, it was mostly because I didn't dig using the Styles Clash as a paralysis vehicle as a story for the match, and they both told that story as decently as possible, but you know how it is with bad first impressions.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 131

Is Lee the biggest reason why Paige and her peers are getting pushed so hard now?
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!

The current estimate is a solid 35%, which I reserve the right to change in the future depending on how this Divas' Revolution sticks. On one hand, the dedication shown to women's wrestling on NXT seems to suggest that forces in WWE that have hands in both pots (namely, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) want to have more of a positive female presence on the main roster. At the same time, Trips has also been named as one of CM Punk's chief antagonists behind the scenes, so I really don't know. The real litmus test will come when Nikki Bella passes Lee (you know Lee's getting passed). If the focus is still as intense after Bella gets dethroned, then I think all the fears can be put to bed. But WWE is a company filled with petty, bitter people who hold grudges from all reports, even the ones who seem to want to affect positive change like Trips.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report, Ep. 76

JR chats with recently-eliminated Patrick from Tough Enough
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: 76
Run Time: 1:29:47
Guest: Patrick Clark