Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Your Midweek Links: Super J!

RED BELLY Rides Again
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It's hump day, so here are some links to get you through the rest of the week:

Wrestling Links:

- The Mandible Claw podcast, episode 21: the show about nothing [The Mandible Claw]

- The Heart Is RAW: The Question [International Object]

- The Best and Worst of RAW: Good News for People Who Like Bad News Barrett [With Leather]

- The most incredible single night of wrestling ever [Voices of Wrestling]

- WWE superstars answer the important questions [SB Nation]

The Best Moves Ever: Three Amigos

The vertical suplex is the most basic "move" in pro wrestling. Everyone does it. Everyone. But one person chained three together with the panache and style to make them a signature maneuver in the ring. Eddie Guerrero really was the GOAT, wasn't he?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The 2013 TWB 100 Slow Release: #100-#76

Roderick Strong was the last one in this year
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The main run of the TWB 100 kicks off today with the first 25 entrants. Let's get it started:

100. Roderick Strong
Points: 405
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 22nd Place (Steve Hummer)
Last Year's Placement: 62nd Place

LIST-O-MANIA: New Member of Evolution!

Pictured: A MYSTERY
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Evolution just seems incomplete without a fourth member to complete the group's oeuvre. Now that Triple H is Ric Flair, Batista is Triple H, and Randy Orton is Batista, who fills the role the Viper once did of the future blue chip prospect? Well, I wanted to dig to the bottom of this quandary, and I found a few options. Below are the likeliest possible additions to the group!
  • Sheamus
  • Prince Devitt
  • Prince (the musician)
  • Prince Joffrey (he's got some time now, doesn't he?)
  • Tywin Lannister
  • The Mountain

On Insider Terms and Teachable Moments

Hardy has a problem with YOU using terms
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Wrestlers and hardcore fans have been at odds for years over the use of "insider" lingo. The disagreements are as old as the age of the first non-kayfabed newsletter, when Dave Meltzer first started his endeavors of attempting to report the backstage dealings and wasn't shy about using the industry jargon to describe them. As knowledge of idiomatic terms increased in percentage among the fans, resentment from some corners of the wrestling world grew exponentially in relation to it. Backlash from wrestlers is not a new thing, but the easy access of Twitter plus the rampant insecurity of some personalities who tend only to interact with the "haters" and the people they deem stupid and needing to be called out makes its existence on schedule for daily reminder.

Michael Bennett has made part of his new, hardline old school character calling people out for using words that he thinks should belong only to wrestlers. Jim Ross is another personality on Twitter who, when not shilling his sauces or his podcast, likes to take people to task for being "keyboard warriors" who think they know more than they actually do. Last night, Matt Hardy had an episode of public shaming over the use of the word "worker:"

The Big Guy Does It All

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Can WWE please replace Michael Cole and JBL with Curtis Axel and The Ryback? Seriously, I derived more enjoyment from his anecdote about how his father used to serve Curt Hennig and Scott Hall at the bar back in the AWA days than anything JBL has said since he's come back to the announce table. Then again, the problem isn't so much the announcers as it is the man in their ears. But I digress. I'm falling more and more in love with the Rybaxel team each week. They are filling the void of "awesome bad guy team with superb double team offense" left by the dissolution of the Real Americans, and I love their mashup theme. Give me a months-long feud between them and the Usos, please.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Instant Feedback: Demon Forme

Dragging the Champ to Hell, I assume...
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Heat is elastic. As long as the performer can act a level above Eva Marie or is a better in-ring technician than what Great Khali projects to in 20 years, no wrestler can be fully submarined. Kane has gone through so many ebbs and flows through his career that he remains the best proof to that axiom. For as many times as he became an afterthought, when WWE has wanted to make Kane look like a monster, he has summoned the fire. He's called down the thunder.

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings, April 21

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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. Paige (Last Week: 3) - Scorpion Crosslock rule everything around me. SCREAM get the tapout, winnah winnah match y'all.

2. Daniel Bryan (Last Week: 1) - Bryan returns from his honeymoon rested, relaxed, and ready to kick some heads off. That is, until the reveal drops that Brie Bella was a DOUBLE AGENT OF THE AUTHORITY AND SHE POISONED BRYAN'S VEGAN SOY MOCKTAIL MARGARITAS AND NOW HE'S POWERLESS AHAHAHAHAHAHA BUT THEN KANE... goddammit Vince Russo, stop taking over my blog! Jesus.

3. Easter Ham (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - I move that ham become the official meat of Easter. Turkey shall remain the gold standard for Thanksgiving. And for Christmas, I move that everyone starts eating a roast beef. ALL IN FAVOR, SAY YAY. ALL OPPOSED... NO ONE SHOULD BE OPPOSED.

The Past is Prologue: Total Divas (S2, Ep. 5)/Legends House (Ep. 1) Dual Power Rankings

Piper's pitfalls were at center stage on the first episode of Legends House
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First of all, massive apologies for again promising something on Twitter only to completely delay it due to my own laziness and inability to properly remember what exactly I just saw. I don't usually take notes during Total Divas or now Legends House, so my tweets are kind of the only thing I have to go by. This is a terrible method to write. Kids, don't use your dumb tweets as recaps for your similarly dumb pro wrestling reality show report. It will make you manic enough to think to waste people's time in reading the method to your madness instead of actually covering the shows you opted to cover for a friendly website. I think I should start listing people now.

1. Roddy Piper

For this to not be weighed down by too many things, I'm taking the eight legends and the seven divas and listing them. No tertiary figures allowed, or in the case of Legends House, there is no mention of random Ashley who appears and then disappears. Although I'm sure she earned her stripes with that four star match with Flair in 1987, I'm sure. Anyways, I can't ever avoid being drawn to Roddy Piper. Piper is one of those personalities that truly is unpredictable. When motivated and used to his fullest in the ring, he is just magic. Other times, he can go off the rails. And as the main legend in the house, he centers what can look like an exercise in tedium.

From the Archives: Sara del Rey vs. Claudio Castagnoli, Chikarasaurus Rex Night 2, 2011

Several of my most cherished live wrestling experiences have come at shows promoted under the Chikara banner. I've enjoyed entire shows better than the one held on August 1, 2011 at the ECW Arena, but scant few matches stand out as more satisfying than the main event of that show. The 12 Large Summit created some matches that wouldn't normally be seen otherwise, the most notable of which pitted fellow members of the Bruderschaft des Kreuzes against each other. Claudio Castagnoli, the leader of the Germanic invading group, decided he didn't want to wrestle Sara del Rey, the breakout star poised to make her own name, so he demanded that she lay down for him. She refused. The match that followed was sheer brilliance. I've seen a lot of people wrestle at the Arena, but not a whole lot were more over than del Rey was during and after that contest, and thanks to the Estonian Thunder Frog, everyone can watch it legally and for free. Enjoy!

The 2013 TWB 100: Meet Your Voters and Others Receiving Votes

Close but no cigar for all four wrestlers pictured here
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Welcome, everyone, to the 2013 TWB 100, a crowd-sourced ranking of the best in-ring workers in North America. This year's survey, despite having fewer voters than last year, was still a rousing success. I collected 46 ballots – 12 of which contained 100 entries – with 402 distinct wrestlers receiving votes. Before I start unveiling the results, why don't you all sit down and meet this year's crop of voters:

TH - Eh, no one special

Angelo Castillo - Official emissary from the Philippines and bringer of lumpia

David Kincannon - Co-author of Irresistible vs. Immovable and the Aiden English of the wrestling blogger world

Alex Torres - Contributor at both Pro Wrestling Ponderings and Free Pro Wrestling and slayer of Mothra

Philip Rosenbaum - Official Wrestling Bro and possibly a shark

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Best Coast Bias: This Here What You Call Relegation

This feud must continue, I guess
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For the members of the main WWE roster who found themselves appearing on this week's episode of NXT it was a Dickensian best/worst of.

In the case of the Great Khali, he was feted to maybe the biggest babyface response of his career on his way to a semi-easy victory.  Facing CJ Parker down Full Sail way will do that, as the crowd hates this particular hippie so much (Regal mentioning mid pre-match promo that he'd like to punch CJP in the face) that a GLOBAL WARMING chant fired up when he got in his brief flurry of offense.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 73

Don't expect to see something like this in WWE for a good long while
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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, especially around Friday night after Smackdown, and wait for the call. Anyway, time to go!

This week's first question comes via Twitter DM by fellow Drexel Triangle alumnus and former Y-Not DJ @dhpdesign asks if the Shield/Evolution feud is going to culminate in a WCW-style War Games match at Extreme Rules, and if not them and there, where would such a match happen in the future.

Well, Trips announced a straight-up trios match for Extreme Rules on Smackdown last night, so the War Games match won't happen there. I would be so bold as to say a War Games match will never happen in WWE as long as Vince McMahon is alive. Standard operating procedure in WWE has borne out that the company rarely, if ever, will want to adopt something successful in another competing promotion. The company will steal ideas from indies like Ring of Honor or foreign companies like All Japan, but to take an idea from WCW, the company that Vince McMahon with his giant penis and genius brain put out of business? Yeah, right. McMahon's got way too much unearned pride to even believe that the current world of wrestling was anything but his creation.

The current main feud on WWE programming is not the first time a War Games match has been teased. When WWE bought WCW, fans were hoping that a lot of the stars and match types would come over. War Games was the biggest thing, and its introduction into WWE was teased. Of course, the net result was the birth of the Elimination Chamber.

Now, if/when McMahon dies/becomes non compos mentis and Triple H takes over in full, then I will not only expect to see War Games, but I would be absolutely shocked if it didn't happen within a year of his takeover. But as long as Vince is running the show, nope.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Polling Place: Real Americans, Daniels and Kazarian, Renee Young

Whom will Colter get to replace Cesaro?
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Welcome to another new feature, The Polling Place. I will present some polls for y'all on the hot topics of the week. First up, after losing Antonio Cesaro from his stable to the clutches of Paul Heyman, Zeb Colter is looking for another Real American to replace his model of legal immigration. The field seems infinite for Colter to choose from, but since Heyman took Cesaro away, the most logical choice to replace Cesaro should be someone to get back at Heyman, right? That criterion places both Ryback and Curtis Axel, both unceremoniously dumped as Heyman Guys, right in the crosshairs. The other choices might not be so obvious. He could pick someone already on the roster, or more likely someone from NXT. Who will get the nod?

Pick Three: Two iPPVs and a Cup

Steen will have his hands full with Alex Shelley tonight
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Welcome to Pick Three, a new feature here that will preview three of the best wrestling shows this weekend. As always, these shows aren't the only ones going on, but they're the best in my view, the ones to which you should pay attention if you will.

GOLD - 2CW Living on the Edge IX

Squared Circle Wrestling's signature event, Living on the Edge, is live on Internet pay-per-view this year, and so far, the card looks like one of the most loaded yet surreal of the year. 2CW's ethos reminds me of Pro Wrestling Syndicate in how the matches are put together, but it has far less of a scuzz factor and more of a local charm. The company has experimented with iPPV in the past, only it offered shows for free as both a sign of goodwill and a test of its systems. Now, the show will be offered for a fee. As an aside, the way 2CW eased into iPPV is probably the best way to go. Wrestling Is Fun! used a similar approach as well.