Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100 Slow Release: #60-#41

Kyle O'Reilly, shown here giving it to Katsuyori Shibata, opens the entry for today
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Today, the list blows through the halfway point.

60. Kyle O’Reilly
Points: 1454
Number of Ballots: 23
Highest Vote: 6th Place (Sean Orleans)
Last Year’s Ranking: 43rd Place

Elliot Imes: I mostly watched his work in Japan, but I did catch his match with Jay Lethal where he fought valiantly through a prior attack from Adam Cole, and that was the type of genius work that convinces me O'Reilly might have a real shot in WWE.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100 Slow Release: #80-#61

Mustafa Ali, seen here superkicking GPA, kicks off this entry
Photo Credit: Ichiban Drunk via Freelance Wrestling
The list rolls on as the most #nice wrestler is revealed among others.

80. Mustafa Ali
Points: 982
Number of Ballots: 20
Highest Vote: 12th Place (Dylan Hales)
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked

Brock Jahnke: Ali’s rise to the top in 2016 was something special. Having seen him cut his teeth in IWA Mid-South ten years ago and suffer through a pair of terrible knee injuries, watching him take the Chicago indie scene by storm only to get signed by WWE in the process was nothing short of extraordinary.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100 Slow Release: 100-81

The countdown begins with Candice LeRae
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Hello people of all genders, and welcome to the 2016 TWB 100. The list gets started this year with the first 20 entrants, so dive on in:

100. Candice LeRae
Points: 759
Number of Ballots: 14
Highest Vote: 12th Place (Hayley Erin)
Last Year’s Ranking: 79th Place

Friday, March 24, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

the Kaiser Chiefs saw this one coming
Photo Credit:
Andrade "Cien" Almas: ¡Yo soy El Idolo! poses repeatedly, rolls out when it looks like he might get touched
Oney Lorcan: Sure.  chops, European uppercuts, enzui lariat
Almas: (from the floor before getting back in) ¡Puto!  boot chokes, stomps, running slap Let's see how you like this, cabron!  powerslam on the floor
Oney: gaaaaaaaaaah
Almas: Estupido Gollum.  fireman's carry Snake Eyes, middle rope choke And now to finish this
Oney: Running Blockbuster!  Christ, my back hurts.   Euro!  Euro!  EURO!

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 182

Photo Credit:
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:

Big Bartholomew is the sympathetic, strapping young everyman hero, but since this is a Southern territory, the rule dictates that his successes are only fleeting. So while he will get the visual win at Lethal Leap Year, expect Lance Catamaran to announce on Southpaw Saturday Morning that the decision has been reversed, giving Mackelroy control of the farm and all its riches. Life is pain.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

WrestleMania 22: A Sea Change By the Lake

Suffice to say, the Chicago Mania crowd didn't like this result
Photo Credit:
The last WrestleMania that wasn't held in a gigantic stadium that kills intimacy and crowd excitement, WrestleMania 22 came from the AllState Arena in Chicago - site of Bret Hart and Steve Austin's masterpiece at Mania 13, and future site of CM Punk's greatest achievement at Money in the Bank 2011. Yes, CM Punk did show up at WrestleMania 22 as one of John Cena's nondescript mobster guys carrying a fake tommy gun, but that fun bit of trivia isn't the focus today, though Punk does figure in to what I'm thinking about with this show.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100: Others Receiving Votes, or BEHOLD THE TWB 500

No Way Jose BARELY missed the cut
Photo Credit:
Okay, so yesterday, the voters for this year's TWB 100 were revealed and venerated. Now, the time has come to list the wrestlers who received votes but not enough to make the actual top 100. In fact, so many wrestlers received votes this year that I can finally unveil a dream I've had for this list since I started it. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome yourselves to the first ever TWB 500. Pro Wrestling Illustrated got nothing on me, baybay. In order are the 400 wrestlers who didn't make the top of the list. In case of a tie in point totals, well, I'm going to be honest with you. I didn't put too much thought into breaking them and in some cases order may be alphabetical. Still, we, meaning you the voters and I, have gotten to 500! Check it out!

101. No Way Jose Points: 746
102. Jonathan Gresham Points: 736

And because Brock Jahnke used his first place vote on Gresham, I let him write a blurb:
If Tom’s word is to be trusted (it’s not), I was the only person to vote for Gresham at number one, so I guess that means I have some explaining to do. Gresham embodies a few of the qualities I most admire in wrestling, things like variety, believability, subtlety, and the ability to escalate fellow wrestlers to his level. While I think he’s nearly off the charts in all those categories, that last quality is really the one most important to Gresham’s case, as I don’t think there’s a wrestler alive who does more with less. Whereas other top wrestlers like Chris Hero, Zack Sabre, Jr., and Trevor Lee tend to be working towards the top of cards with other top wrestlers of comparative skill, Gresham spends much of his time in the midcard of less popular indie shows. While his stellar matches with the likes of ZSJ and Lio Rush are great, I’m much more impressed when he’s able to draw good matches out of a 21 year old Xavier Bell or a well-past-his-prime Homicide. And hey, two of those ZSJ matches ended up in my top ten Match of the Year list, so that certainly helps.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Enjoying Wrestling, Even in the Face of Armageddon

Paige's intimate moments stolen from her are just one of the many things horrifying in wrestling right now
Photo Credit:
The last week to week and a half has been rough in the wrestling world. Kevin Condron and Pinkie Sanchez have become the latest now-former Chikara wrestlers to come forward accusing the company, head booker Mike Quackenbush in particular, of improprieties concerning payment. Condron claims he'd never been paid more than $30 for a Chikara appearance, that wrestlers were discontinued usage for sickness, and that it's common practice for Wrestle Factory students to work for free. Sanchez's accusations are a lot more pointed and actually allege criminal action. Namely, he showed up late for a show, worked it, and then was refused payment afterwards, which is pretty much illegal. Chikara employees, past and present, and other wrestling personalities circled the wagons, defending the actions for various reasons that involve tradition or "it's always been like this" or paying dues.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100: Meet Your Voters

Welcome to the rollout for this year's TWB 100! All the votes are in, the blurbs are hard at work getting written, and the tallies are tabulated. Of course, one cannot have a TWB 100 without voters, and this year, the grand list received a total of 66 ballots from 67 people (two people collaborated on a ballot). The following is a list of people who submitted ballots in this year's list, so if you have a problem with how it turned out, talk to them*:

* - Do not harass TWB 100 voters.

TH - Notable nobody.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

Same, TAFKA Hero
Photo Credit:
the Ealy Brothers: Our first match!  Maybe this week we can
the Authors of Pain: whatever LOLNOPE is in Samoan, Super Collider, Final Chapter
Paul Ellering: I'm not just molding champions, I'm building a dynasty!  And that statement will lead to no comeuppance, so thanks, everyone for
#DIY: If it wasn't for the Revival, we would've won back the belts in our rematch!
the Revival: Reality check, if it wasn't for us there wouldn't BE a tag division!
Master Regal: All of you will face each other down the road and in a fortnight under elimination rules.  Last team standing wins the prize.
All Six Of Them, Even the Authors: The prize...

WrestleMania XX: Reckoning with the Redacted

The only result of a World Title match at Mania that doesn't feel COMPLETELY gross today
Photo Credit:
In 2004, I was the very definition of a lapsed wrestling fan. I hadn't actively watched in about three years. I may not have even known that they had gotten the "F" out and were now WWE. But my younger brother had taken up my wrestling fandom, and he and his friends were ordering WrestleMania XX on PPV. He asked if I would come, and I wasn't sure. But then he explained that The Undertaker was coming back as his original Deadman character, and I said, "Okay, I'll be there."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 181

The beginning of my favorite episode of Sunny ever
Screen Grab via Recap Guide
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:

Protected user @adamsgroove asks:
I need your recommendation for the best episode from each season (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
SEASON 1: "The Gang Finds a Dead Guy" - Some have postulated that the show didn't really start getting good until Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds showed up, which I don't completely agree with. The first season has a lot of gems and holds up better than the first seasons of some other beloved shows like Seinfeld or The Simpsons. This episode, where Mac and Charlie discover Dennis' and Dee's grandfather to be a Nazi and use it against Dennis as a mic drop when he brags that he had sex with the comely lass whose father died in their bar, is the one that got me hooked on the series.

NXT In 60 Seconds

Photo Credit:
Tye Dillinger: All right, let's do this damn thing.
Orlandoians?  ites?: 10!  10!  10! 10!
Eric Young: Yes, let us have a standard one on one match, thus prefaced by the removal of my associates as you see now.
10ye: ...well...okay, you're being weird.  But one-on-one, as promised and I'm gonna punch you right in the
E.Y.: What a nice Roderick Strong you have here.   Well, beaten up and dragged from the back by my associates.
10ye: ...
Roderick: ... :( ow
Associates: cackle maniacally with an undercurrent of raving
No Way Jose: ¿Porque?
E.Y.: Don't look at me.  I didn't do this.  You did this.
10ye and Jose: We're doing this.  rush the ring
SAnitY: So we're doing THIS.  lay Jose and Tye the eff out 

WrestleMania XI: The One that No One Likes

The worst Mania main ever is still interesting to look at through the lens of history
Photo Credit:
If you're like me and you spend the month of March going back and catching up on WrestleManias of the past, don't watch WrestleMania XI. Don't do it. You will have a bad time. Your time will be better spent cleaning your gutters or doing your taxes (with the help of Irwin R. Schyster, of course). Seriously. Don't do it. But please let me tell you about the show.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The 2016 TWB 100 Announcement and Call for Ballots

Sasha Banks is the defending top dog in the TWB 100. Can she repeat this year?
Photo Credit:
All the fine humanoids around the wrestling world, the time has arrived for the TWB 100, 2016 Edition. This year will be the eighth year the exercise has taken place. For the uninitiated, the TWB 100 is a crowd-sourced, fan-voted, open-participation list that looks to rank wrestlers from the last calendar year (in this case, 2016) in terms of their performances in the ring as wrestlers/workers. That bolded part is important. It is not based on character development or promos or how much you liked that wrestler. It's based on the matches, the actual ability to tell a story in the ring. Participation is open to ANYONE who wishes to submit a ballot with few exceptions (if you have to ask if you're banned, you probably aren't). The following list are the criteria for voting, the rules if you will: