Monday, October 16, 2017

The Wrestling Women's Wasteland

Try fantasy booking a run for Emma on the indies if she'd ever leave WWE. You can't, and that's a problem.
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Austin Aries and Neville opened the show at WrestleMania 33. I remember the overwhelming narrative at the time was between people who thought this was a slight towards them and others who thought being on the pre-show didn't matter. Actually, that narrative war was mostly centered around the Smackdown Women's Championship match, which ended up getting switched to the main show anyway. However, more than six months later, the argument seems more prescient to that Cruiserweight Championship match. Aries has already been gone from WWE for three months, and while reports say that people higher up in the company were happy to see him go, he still initiated his contract release. Neville stormed out of RAW last week with his release requested according to reports. The reason why both wrestlers stormed out had to do with money.

The Football's Elbow

Tate layeth the smacketh down on a football, even as his team turned out to be a bunch of jabronis yesterday
Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
So when wrestling happens in football, it's usually player-on-player. While cool to look at, the football field wrestling moves are more dangerous in theory because it's a shoot. That is to say, the victim may not be as protected as the average wrestler taking the equivalent in the ring. That takes some wind out of the sails. However, Golden Tate, Detroit Lions wide receiver and maple bar enthusiast, made sure no one got hurt on his electrifying take on wrestling on the gridiron. When he delivered his take on The People's Elbow, he did it on a football.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pick Three: AAW Jim Lynam, ICW Anniversary, Glory Pro

Big weekend if you live in the midwest and like Feníx
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
It's the weekend, baby! You know what that means, time to drink precisely one beer and dial 911 wrestling is happening, and it's happening all around this great world. I'm going to highlight three shows which I think will be of most interest. Of course, I'm only one person. You can check out which shows are coming up possibly in your area via Cagematch. Anyway, go to, if you can, these great shows that may be happening in your area, on television/YouTube/streaming, or for later consumption via VOD, DVD, or whatever other means one uses to consume wrestling at a later date:

NXT In 60 Seconds

A Brooklyn rematch shone in the main event
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Peyton: This is so my opportunity!
Billie Kay: It so is, boo.  #iconic!
Liv Morgan: Must dance away the impending doom...
Nikki Cross: rants and screams sporadically, grabs Liv by the hand after yelling at her and lines Peyton out
Peyton: recovers, gets enzuigiried and quits recovering
Nikki: puts a sleeper on Liv
Liv and Peyton: slam Nikki down then fight over the cover, then just fight
Peyton: throws Liv down by the air and puts her in a rope-assisted bow and Octopus hybrid

Learning to Live with Smackdown

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This week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

Tag Time
I've been, shall we say, less than impressed with Smackdown lately. This episode, however, got things back on track in a big way, starting with the opening segment, which gave time to the much neglected tag division. The Usos and New Day have been regularly stealing the show on pay-per-views for a while now, and they definitely deserved some time to bask in the limelight. There was so much good stuff here: New Day still selling their injuries from Hell in a Cell, the Usos offering respect but still kind of being jerks about it, New Day totally agreeing that they're the best but not wanting to throw the rest of the division under the bus. Then there was the parade of the rest of the division, which gave us Mojo Rawley pointing out that it's easier to be the best when you get the most TV time and the most title shots, acknowledgment that having a Shelton Benjamin brings a lot to the table (but still, BACK OF THE LINE), everyone agreeing that the Fashion Police are cool, and the Ascension still apparently following their would-be BFFs around. The rest of the tag division has largely been under the radar, but they've still been interacting and developing. We got a real sense that these are all people with relationships and history with each other, and it was fun as hell, which is not something one can usually say about a start of show talky segment.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 208

Do that failson Fargo Strut, Double J, you win the battle of Failing Upward
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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:

Obviously Jarrett is the correct answer here because he's been doing it longer and has had a more diverse run as a failson. Sapolsky has only tripped up the ladder in one field. You could argue Jarrett has done so in three if you count hawking gold. Jarrett somehow got to be a major World Champion, promoted a single promotion for a decade, and actually got people to believe he'd make a big resurgence with a second one. Sapolsky has a long way to catch up to ol' Double J, especially since he'll probably never take a bump.

How The Shield Should "End" This Time

They don't have to break up again. They never have to break up again.
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Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose have finally gotten back together after a little more than three years doing their own thing. The Shield's official reunion shook the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to its core, and it set the stage for war with The Miz, The Bar HOSS International, and Braun Strowman. While most people are agog over the reconstruction of perhaps the most important group in WWE in this decade, it's becoming increasingly clear that it is a momentary diversion, something for Reigns at least to do while he waits for the lead-up to his final showdown with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Rumors seem to corroborate that this reunion is temporary, and that the principals will go back to doing their own things before Royal Rumble season.

Sami Zayn's Heel Turn and the Problem of WWE Storytelling

A heel? As if...
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The world's worst wrestler stood high above the Hell in a Cell structure waiting to do his signature move, “Falling to his death”. He is an artless hack, but because he is the multi-millionaire boss's son he gets opportunities that other wrestlers do not. He barely wrestles and only shows up from time to time elevating the level of dangerous spots wrestlers have to work with in the confines of PG. This man ended up falling from ludicrous heights and the crowd watched in the same way they'd pay close attention to a car accident on the side of a road. He can't realistically work within the confines of a wrestling ring in a satisfying manner, but he has this one skill that he comes back to over and over again, and the crowd screams because of the danger associated with the spot and the brief hint of nostalgia wrestling fans felt for the '90s, a time before their lives went to shit and Donald Trump became president, but his family gave money to our Sexual Predator in Chief, and his mother sits on his cabinet.

Jimmy Jacobs Fired from an Increasingly Paranoid WWE

The latest casualty in WWE's rampant punching down
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The war between WWE and the Bullet Club has claimed another victim in Jimmy Jacobs. The former Ring of Honor superstar had been working in creative, at least until his bosses found out about the picture he took with the Bullet Club when the group invaded RAW in Ontario, CA on September 27. According to Pro Wrestling Sheet (and corroborated by Dave Meltzer), WWE officials were furious and fired Jacobs as a consequence of him meeting up with and sharing a picture online with friends.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Vol. 3, Issue 7

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Hey, do you ever think "Hey, I don't get all the news I can handle?" to yourself while the doors to your bedroom are closed and you contemplate your life? WELL YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANYMORE, BECAUSE HORB IS HERE, BABY. Yes, that's right, I am BACK AGAIN with all the news your feeble bodies can handle, and do you know why? BECAUSE IT'S MY DUTY TO PLEASE THAT BOOTY and also provide you all the scoops that I can before spontaneously combusting into an inferno of tidbits, rumors, analysis, and Jeppsen's Malört. WILL WADE KELLER EVER PROMISE TO IMMOLATE FOR YOUR EDIFICATION? No, he only immolates if Kofi Kingston breaks kayfabe with his children. THE HORROR.

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2017

A main event so good it got seventh graders interested
Graphics via F4WOnline
King of Pro Wrestling is typically regarded as the biggest show to come around during the autumn lull between the G1 Climax and WrestleKingdom. The show was also named after a trading card game made by Bushiroad, the card and collectible company that bought New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2012 (they also had a convention going on down the hall from the G1 Special in Long Beach, at which I shook my head in disbelief because I'm not a child so I don't play with cards, but I do fly halfway across the country to see pro wrestling because I'm a normal adult). As of this writing, I've only watched about half the show. I did not watch the debut of Roppongi 3K (returning young boys Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu), but it was probably good. I did not watch the 6-man tag with Cody, Kenny Omega, and Marty Scurll, even though that's a juicy little combo there. And I did not watch the fourth iteration in a month of the same three-way match for the tag belts, and I might never even do that.

Neville Might Be Quitting WWE

Neville done with WWE?
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In case you were curious as to why Kalisto won the Cruiserweight Championship on RAW Monday instead of at TLC in two weeks, it's because he was thrown into that lumberjack match at the last minute. Enzo Amore was always set to work the match, but he was supposed to go over Neville instead. Additionally, the entire cruiserweight division was around ringside except for the former two-time longest reigning Champion. That's because Neville walked out on RAW and has apparently quit the company. Neither Pro Wrestling Sheet nor F4W Online gave reasons yet, but I mean, the knee-jerk assumption is because 205 Live isn't exactly the best endpoint for someone who signed with the company with hopes that he'd get the big boy career path.

Your Midweek Links: Hell in a Cell Fallout

Fallout from the above main event and more this week!
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Wednesday has arrived, and if I know you (I actually don't), you're probably looking forward to the weekend (you totally are though). However, roughly two days stand between you and the riches of Friday night. What is a human being to do? Well, you can help pass that time by reading some of the best stuff from this past week. Get engrossed in the best columns from the last seven days, and before you know it, you'll be taking goofballs and drinking the spiked punch with your chums in NO TIME AT ALL!

Do you want to read the DEFINITIVE review of Hell in a Cell? Of course you do! Check mine out and realize that friendship is indeed magic. [The Wrestling Blog]

Can you do lucha without any Mexicans on staff? I guess. Should you? Definitely not. Why Lucha Forever is just a little bit problematic. [The Wrestling Blog]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wrestling Six Packs: Who the Next Crop of Singles Champions Should Be in WWE

Do it again, only have Strowman win, dammit
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Hey, the Six Packs are back! For the return, I'm going to look at the current singles Champions on the main roster of WWE and to whom they should lose their titles. WWE has transitioned from bouncing titles back and forth from person to person to lengthy title reigns as the rule of the day. While this change from the Attitude Era hot potatoing has taken hold over the last decade, it seems like title runs are getting longer on average. Or not. Maybe it's just perception. Still, when a title changes hands, it's exciting, and what's more exciting than fantasy booking? I'll combine the two here.

1. WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar to Braun Strowman - Honestly, Brock Lesnar should have lost the Universal Championship to Strowman at No Mercy, because Roman Reigns/Lesnar II doesn't feel nearly as compelling a WrestleMania main event as Reigns/Strowman, the FINAL SHOWDOWN. I've covered this before, but it's worth reiterating. Of course, Reigns is being groomed for the big coronation at Mania now that he has The Shield by his side, but coronations aren't nearly as fun as culminations. Besides, who doesn't want perhaps the best giant man wrestler since Vader ruling RAW from his throne of bones? It can still be done at Survivor Series, I promise!

Roman Reigns the Latest to Chime in on WWE's Proxy War Against the Indies

Reigns spoke out against unoriginality, but his bosses are worse
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WWE has no competition, and it would like to keep it that way. Whether it be signing up anyone who has star potential for a fledgling, partnering with successful or dormant promotion, partnering with successful or influential promotions here or abroad, or serving cease and desist letters to wrestlers even thinking about using anything remotely resembling intellectual property, the company has a stranglehold on the wrestling world. Any good monopoly doesn't just attack from the front office; the foot soldiers get their jabs in too.