Friday, November 21, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 225

Davis, the head honcho of OVW, is Cabana's guest this week
Screen Grab via YouTube
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: 225
Run Time: 1:13:35
Guest: Danny Davis

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 101

The above is not needed in hockey anymore
Photo via TopBet.eu
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!

Personally, I think the phasing out of enforcers has been a long-time coming in the NHL. Professional athletes like to project an image of toughness, but the way so many professional leagues have rules against taunting, unwritten rules, or in hockey, sanctioned physical retaliation, it seems like so many people who play sports are thin-skinned and whiny when it comes to their feelings, as if someone's pride is more important than the "offender's" physical well-being. Fragile egos are a terrible thing to prop up. Just play the game of hockey and don't get a stick up your ass because someone celebrated over scoring a goal or because you didn't think the penalty given to the other team's goon for roughing up one of your players was stiff enough.

As for wrestling, I'm not sure an analogue exists since it's not a sport but entertainment. I would imagine backstage areas have their share of enforcers, or guys who make sure that things are on the up and up through threats of physical violence. Tony Garea's long-tenured WWE employment had to have been owed to his shoot prowess, and stories are told all the time of tough guys making sure booking decisions go over the way they're supposed to. The most famous story has to be Undertaker making sure Shawn Michaels did business for Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV. The roles are fundamentally different, in that the hockey enforcer seems to be more of a retaliatory position, while the theoretical wrestling enforcer is more proactive or a deterrent. I also think that the wrestling enforcer might be on its way out too. Money talks louder than physical violence anymore, and as more and more promotions grow more corporate in structure, the currency value of violence declines further and further. Personally, I would rather not hear stories of violence being threatened or perpetrated backstage at a wrestling show, ironic given how combative in nature the art is, but I can understand or condone better why a wrestling locker room would have its own tough guy to enforce the rules rather than on the ice in hockey.

Dispatches from the Lake: No, YOUR Time Is Now

Cena needs to shock the world
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Soon as WWE announced that the Network would be free for November, I had a thought in my head. And that thought wasn’t rage, though I was plenty pissed I wouldn’t be allowed to partake in the free month because I signed up from day one. I have a feeling that many of you had the same thought, and have continued to have for low these many years.

It is time.

IT IS TIME.

John Cena needs to turn heel. I can hear your eyes rolling from here, gentle reader. Please, let me explain.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 40

Jim Ross talks to the Hardy Boys 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: The Ross Report
Episode: 40
Run Time: 1:51:44
Guest: The Hardy Boyz

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Issue 10

Where will Brock Lesnar go in 2015?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
HORB FLERBMINBER here with your weekly jackpot of NEWS, RUMORS, SPECULATION, and PROMOTER HAGIOGRAPHY. It's a jackpot because my reporting and takes are always GOLDEN. In fact, my opinions are so HOT HOT HOT they melt steel, unlike the temperature at which jet fuel burns. At least that's what Jesse "The Body" Ventura told me during our sitdown interview that I will have EXCLUSIVELY for you on February 30 next year. Anyway, I bring you the news that is the most pertinent and IMPORTANT. In fact, I report on the stories that the other DIRT SHEET WRITERS are afraid to tell you about. For example, how many nipples does Vince McMahon REALLY have, and who financed the secret operation to get 50% of them removed. The answer may shock you.

The Hammer Has Dropped: ROH Contracts to Become Exclusive Immediately UPDATE

Elgin will be one of many affected by Sinclair's new policy
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Rumors have been floating around for awhile that executives within Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the corporate entity that owns Ring of Honor, were mulling over not allowing any contracted wrestlers to compete in any other promotion. These rumors have been confirmed by Dreamwave Wrestling promoter Jay Respel, and effective immediately, all ROH wrestlers are to be exclusive with the company, and they will not be allowed to take bookings with any other company. Michael Elgin is the only one that affected Dreamwave's plans. He was booked for the Southern Illinois company's December 6 event. However, ROH wrestlers compete all across the country and even overseas. The company has had a good relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling in the last few years, but with NJPW joining the Global Force Wrestling network as an affiliate promotion, I doubt that relationship will continue past WrestleKingdom 9 if at all.

Your Midweek Links: Grumpy Cat Rules RAW

"This cat is rich as hell"
Photo via @RealGrumpyCat
It's hump day, so here are some links to get you through the rest of the week:

Wrestling Links:

- No Survivors: The 15 Worst Survivor Series Teams Ever [With Spandex]

- Who Will Replace The Authority? [Wrestledelphia]

- Wrestling Fan Shorthand [4CR Wrestling]

- The Best and Worst of RAW: Grumpy Cat's Worst RAW Ever [With Spandex]

- And Now, the Best of Wrestlers Posing with Grumpy Cat [With Spandex]

Best Coast Bias: WWE Mehwork

An accurate visual representation of the program
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Episodes of Main Event that are the last ones before Network specials (nee pay-per-views) are almost the dictionary definition of purgatory. They exist in neither Hades nor a Victoria's Secret lingerie show backstage; they merely are, forgotten almost as soon as they're done airing.

This could've been the hour to break that sturdy but unspectacular chain.

It wasn't, however.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nothing Gold Can Stay: The Fleeting Nature of WWE Alliances

Where have you gone, Wyatt Family?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Around this time last year, WWE boasted two strong, cohesive trios that defied traditional standards within the promotion and that looked like they could stick around for awhile. The Shield was going through trial turbulence, but the Hounds of Justice hadn't been the subjects of any massively obvious foreshadowing. Meanwhile, the Wyatt Family, which had been in its infancy as a group, was already entangling itself within the tendrils of main event creatures in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Even if The Shield was bound to fall apart in a fiery wreck, the Wyatts were to remain a stable, nuclear stable unit.

Now, heading into Survivor Series this year, neither group is together. The Shield famously broke up like a hacky RKO after dominating Evolution in a series of pay-per-view trios matches. Meanwhile, WWE Creative scrambled to fix Bray Wyatt after it had ruined him in bad stories against John Cena, the Usos, and Chris Jericho, and the braintrust felt that stripping the Eater of Worlds of his acolytes was the best thing for all three. When Erick Rowan emerged from the back as a member of Team Cena and immediately started jaw-jacking with his former partner Luke Harper is when I felt the feeling at its strongest. Alliances in WWE are never meant to stay together.

Icarus. Deucalion. Jakob? Your Tomorrow Never Dies Update

Will Deucalion, center, send Icarus to a grisly end?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
December 6 at the 2300 (formerly ECW) Arena in Philadelphia, Chikara's landmark 14th season will come to a close, and the assumed last match on the show has been set. Icarus, the current Grand Champion, will engage in a final showdown with the Flood's mammoth and seemingly invincible leader, Deucalion. Because Director of Fun Mike Quackenbush has instituted a points system for contention, the title will not be on the line; Deucalion has not wrestled a singles match yet, and in fact he only made his in-ring debut at the show in Haverhill, MA this past Saturday. Just because the gold isn't on the line, however, doesn't mean the stakes aren't crucially high.

Lutefisk List: Things to Do Instead of Watching Survivor Series

Don't want to watch Cena overcome the odds again? Do something else!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hello friends, Lutefisk here! If you're like me, you probably didn't watch Monday Night RAW and you don't really have any reason to complain. However, if you're not like me, then you probably watched RAW and probably didn't like much of what you saw.

For what it's worth, I'm not subscribed to the WWE Network. I don't plan on ordering the Network anytime soon. I've more or less stopped watching WWE. I'm never home to watch Smackdown and I've gone weeks without watching ANYTHING from Raw. It's pretty great and less stressful this way.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 168

Another Austin call-in show 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: Steve Austin Show Unleashed
Episode: 168
Run Time: 1:24:12
Guest: None

Monday, November 17, 2014

Instant Feedback: They Can Rebuild Him, They Have the Technology

The guy on the right was rehabbed just fine. Why can't the guy on the left?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Missy Hyatt, back in the day, was one of the first true sex symbols in professional wrestling. Valued for her looks, she became a multi-territorial star and a heat magnet of the first degree, laying the groundwork, for better or worse, for her entire gender for the next couple of decades. Like many stars of the past, she's made a comeback on Twitter, and whether I agree with her or not in various instances, she's proving to add value with her insights into wrestling she's watching, current or past. To wit, an observation from tonight's RAW:

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings, November 17

Not only is he deadly with his elbows, he'll beat you with a boot too
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Welcome to a feature I like to call "Best in the World" rankings. They're not traditional power rankings per se, but they're rankings to see who is really the best in the world, a term bandied about like it's bottled water or something else really common. They're rankings decided by me, and don't you dare call them arbitrary lest I smack the taste out of your mouth. Without further ado, here's this week's list:

1. Chris Hero (Last Week: Not Ranked) - AT the Five Boroughs Wrestling show on Friday night, Hero wrestled Drew Gulak, and at one point during the match, beat Gulak with his boot. I ain't even mad. That move is some next-level grumpy old man shit. Hero may be the closest thing the indie scene will ever get to an American Tenryu, and it'll be fabulous once he becomes fully actualized in his curmudgeonly glory.

2. Sasha Banks (Last Week: 1) - She named her team with Becky Lynch BAE. Best. At. Everything. ONE OF US. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

3. Falafel (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - Middle-Eastern cuisine has become one of my staples over the years, mainly because falafel is so goddamn tasty. It's crunchy, earthy, and it pairs well with the herby and spicy harif sauce that you can find at most joints. Highly recommend.

Stricken By Nostalgia


Maybe he wasn't the "biggest draw" or the "greatest promo". He was way more than that to me. He was my friend. 

I could relate to Eddie Guerrero more than any other wrestler. I saw him every week on Smackdown. I met him every Tuesday evening. That was when they would show the Smackdown that aired two weeks ago in the USA. I was always two weeks behind but it never mattered to me. I had Eddie, Rey Mysterio, Edge, et all on Smackdown. These guys were the best. And the best out of all of them was Guerrero. I had no spoilers then and I didn't need them. All I needed was to see him walk out and perform in the ring alongside the stellar cast that they had at the time. Bad guy, good guy, weak guy, guy who lost to Brock Lesnar, it didn't matter.