Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Vol. 4, Issue 3

Reigns on the sauce?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WELL, WELL, WELL, it's another week of wrestling, so it's another week of NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS. And who's here to deliver said news? THAT'S RIGHT, it's HORB FLERBMINBER, and I am BACK WITH A VENGEANCE. Everyone who disbelieved my news report on Randy Orton developing the gout WILL PAY. That means you, Todd Martin! And everyone who discredited me after I said it was John Cena who had a 13-inch penis when it was actually Rey Mysterio, THEY DID A RECOUNT, AND CENA'S HOG WAS 12.88 INCHES LONG, WHICH ROUNDS UP TO 13. So eat me.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ricochet, Candice LeRae, War Machine, Come on Down

LeRae comin'
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The next class to enter the Performance Center has formally been announced, and the worst kept secrets in wrestling have been unveiled formally. WWE has announced today that Ricochet and War Machine (the tag team featuring Raymond Rowe and Hanson, not the scumbag MMA fighter who is in jail for abusing ex-girlfriend Christy Mack) will report to the Performance Center. Candice LeRae is also signed and expected to be formally announced later today. LeRae wrestled in the Mae Young Classic and has made a few enhancement appearances for NXT before making her soft debut with the company in a dark match before the latest round of tapings for the developmental/premium brand.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for January 15, 2018

HELL YEAH
Photo Credit: Ya Boy TH
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. Homemade Cheesesteaks (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED ENTRY - You can get a decent cheesesteak anywhere in Philly unless it's one of the tourist traps (Pat's and Geno's both fuckin' suck, fam), but honestly, if you learn how to make one yourself, you're golden. I haven't really mastered the art yet, but my father has been making incredible cheesesteaks at home for years. Last night, he made them for dinner over my brother's, and let me tell you, they were good, not bad. If you just distilled them down to meat, cheese, bread, they'd be phenomenal, because my dad puts two types of cheese (sharp provolone and American) and high quality, Cajun-seasoned meat on crusty Italian bread. However, the add-ons put it over the top: fried onions, sauteed spinach, sauteed jalapenos. I was in heaven.

2. Ben Simmons (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Simmons got into a spat with Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry today in the Sixers' Martin Luther King Day game, but Simmons wasn't about to let the veteran bully him. Apparently, they had a confrontation in the hallway afterwards, it was that heated. When asked about the altercation, Simmons instantly galvanized his Philly folk cred by saying "I won't play around. I'm not going to take shit from anybody." I love this team.

3. Asuka (Last Week: 1) - On the eve of the Mixed Match Challenge, I'm still anxiously awaiting which male superstar Asuka is going to crack in the skull with her right foot. Hopefully, it's Miz, but even without dissension in the ranks, I'm excited to see some big roundhouses upside heads.

Year End Sorting Bins: The Creme de la Creme

Two of my super-faves going at it on NXT
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The end of the sorting bin extravaganza is nigh. This is the final category, the top of the pops, the wrestlers for whom I come closest to obsession. All of them get write-ups because they're the aces, man. The greatest. The finest. At least for this year. Sentence fragment.

Nikki Cross - SANitY is an incredible stable. Eric Young is a fine leader because the dude has them crazy eyes. Alexander Wolfe doesn't care about his own health or welfare. Killian Dain is exactly what one might think of if Godzilla took a human form. But the whole thing would just be another group of guys in the white noise if not for Nikki Cross. She brings that entire group together and elevates it. She's so kinetic and vibrant that it feels like if you took her away from not just SANitY, but NXT, the entire operation loses something. Whether it's the way she sensually gazes at Ruby Riotttttttttt, Tazmanian Devils her way down to ringside to fight anyone or anything that gets in the group's way, or the utter lack of fear she has taking down any competitor, whether it be Asuka or Adam Cole or anyone on the roster, she's a genuinely refreshing presence not just in NXT, but in WWE. No one is like her. I'm certain no one will ever be allowed to be like her, and that's for the best, because no one can pull off what she pulls off every week she's on camera.

NXT In 60 Seconds

Yeah yeah yeah, it's the year to be (mostly) hated
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Some Guy, BAY BAY: Welcome to 2018 — the year of the Undisputed Era.
Robert Pescador, Esq.: Of course, we started early by gathering these shiny World Tag Title belts at the tail end of last year, thus making us the baddest team on the planet.
Kyle O'Reilly, MMA Enthusiast: Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good.
RPE: There it is.
KOR MMA: This — tonight — is the night to end SAnitY.
Adam Cole: And on any night, any one who stands betwixt me and becoming the next NXT World Champion will be destroyed.  smiles  Enjoy the show.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Failed State of Wrestling Journalism

Pictured: A failed journalist
Photo via @Observerinthe90s
Journalism in pro wrestling has never had a high reputation. While its model of anonymous source reporting is unfairly maligned, as it is the basis of all journalism, the subjects of reporting, read, promoters and bookers, have unprecedented power to change plan on whims, discrediting reports and reporters. In an industry not helmed by legit crazy people, this would not be a problem, but when the most notable promoter is less a human and more a caricature of a paranoid robber baron, it sets a poor example for the industry. Accuracy in reporting in an industry such as this can be forgiven because of this atmosphere, even if many journalists in this field never really figured out how to adapt to the landscape.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 219

Their road to Mania should start at the beginning of the Royal Rumble
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:

MEN'S: One and two should be Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, fresh off their unsuccessful attempt at winning the WWE Championship in a joint effort from AJ Styles. It should kickstart their WrestleMania program. Number 30 should be John Cena, just because you want to give the live crowd as loud a groan as possible to send them off and lift their spirits with the eventual winner, provided said winner isn't Roman Reigns.

WOMEN'S: The first two wrestlers to enter the women's Royal Rumble should be Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano, as a statement that this women's "revolution" was started a long time ago, and that somewhere along the way, it was lost in favor or something more tawdry and less kind to women. They should get the chance to remind everyone that before WWE decided bodypaint handprint bikinis and HLA were the rule of the day, it was kinda serious about women's wrestling, and that the current revolution wasn't a beginning, but a resumption. Number 30 should be Nia Jax, a decidedly HOLY SHIT moment for anyone left in the ring who has been battling and battling and battling to have the largest, meanest, and now freshest competitor in the match be someone who's a goddamn wrecking ball.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Vol. 4, Issue 2

BREAKING: THEM LONG BOYS
Photo via Voices of Wrestling
So, are you cretins and dopes NOT HUNGOVER ANYMORE? Well, HORB FLERBMINBER still has a hangover, A HANGOVER FROM REPORTING ALL THE NEWS. That's right, your buddy HORB is back to dispense all the news he spent the last week gleaning, gathering, UPROOTING FROM THE EARTH LIKE A PIG SNIFFING OUT TRUFFLES. Unlike most James Beard Award winning restaurants, I WON'T CHARGE YOU AN ARM AND A LEG TO SHAVE MY NEWS NUGGETS OVER YOUR DOLPHIN RISOTTO.

Your Midweek Links: A Kingdom of Wrestling

Okada in them long boys like he was at WrestleKingdom
Photo via @Tanner1495
Okay, so you're still digging out of the winter weather everyone's been experiencing over the country in the last week. That's okay! Nature will help you out over the next few days. Still, you're probably back at work, behind on work from when you were out because of the weather. Don't forget to engage in some self-care and read some of the best stuff on the web. Links! I have them and you're going to want them. Read away.

The TWB 100 is underway. Make sure you cast your ballot before the deadline on Wednesday of next week! [The Wrestling Blog]

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Year End Sorting Bins: YOU'RE THE BEST AROUND

Pictured: A fookin' legend
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The second to last bin is comprised of the wrestlers I get excited for. "The Mark Out Gang" is the group of wrestling personalities who really stoke my fires for professional wrestling. I generally go out of my way to see them work, would buy their merchandise, and generally want them to be featured on their shows. Hell, I may even get mad if they don't win their matches. Again, I have a lot of wrestlers on this list, so I have blurbs for a handful and the rest are just listed below, ENJOY:

Sheamus - Rumors are flying around that Sheamus is battling spinal stenosis. For those who don't know, it's the condition that caused Edge to retire. It would be both a crushing end but the most appropriate one for the least appreciated modern WWE main event guy, perhaps ever. He finally found a niche where he's not only surviving, but thriving and fate had to do it to him like Vince McMahon and the writers have done to him all these years ever since he came up from WWECW like a bat out of the otherworld. It's cliche to say guys deserve or don't deserve things that happen to them throughout their careers, but Sheamus has always been a dude that worked hard and tried to stand out. His repayment for years of excellent work and striving to find a niche among a class of wrestlers that were either too bland and unambitious to try and find theirs or a group of guys who were made because they stood out "elsewhere" was constant shitting on from the crowd. It's like, McMahon talked and still talks about the fucking brass ring like it actually does exist, and people like to say Daniel Bryan or Sheamus' tag partner Cesaro tried grabbing it without notice, but fucking look at Sheamus. You say he was "given" opportunities like all you need to do to survive in the main event is be pushed there. I mean, the creative team plopped him in big spots with no help in the most backlash-able positions, and even though he still gave more of an effort in a random night during any point in his career than Randy Orton has in his entire life, it didn't work. Sheamus had the brass ring put in front of him, and every time he tried to grab it, McMahon yanked it away from him and laughed. Fuck that. Sheamus is a goddamn legend, and even though the only time before now where he was anywhere close to his potential that he had in him was the beginning of the Hall of Pain, I never stopped appreciating him as such.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for January 8, 2018

Let's see how long this lasts
Screenshot credit: WWE.com
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. Asuka (Last Poll: 4) - Asuka's partner for the Mixed Match Classic was announced today, The Miz. In addition to being the favorite team to win just because of how destruction and cheating form such a formidable duo, the possibility exists that at some point, Asuka will kick Miz's head clean off his shoulders for no other reason than she can, which is always primo.

2. Joey Janela (Last Poll: Not Ranked) - Missed in TWB's winter break was the first wrestling match of the year, David Starr vs. Janela in a fans bring the weapons match at Beyond Wrestling after the crack of midnight. One fan brought a dildo studded in thumbtacks, which is not only definitely not PG, but also the most Janela-appropriate weapon I've ever encountered in the history of knowing him and knowing wrestling.

3. Tetsuya Naito (Last Poll: Not Ranked) - Did Naito win the IWGP Championship in the Dome from Kazuchika Okada, even though Okada was in long-boys? Nope. Did he get the better of Chris Jericho after Y2J sneak-attacked him at New Year's Dash? Nope. But he still came out of the weekend looking just as tranquilo as he did coming into it.

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 218

New Year's resolution? Less of this shitbag's main product, more of the underbelly and below
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:

Christmas was okay, but I'm hoping that 2018 is a better year all around for ya boy, TH. First, I hope to lose some weight and eat a little healthier. I also want to watch a more diverse palette of wrestling more often. Doing just WWE, or more specifically, WWE main roster regularly has warped my sense of enjoyment of wrestling. Part of it is because I'm a dad now, but I mean, I could spend more time watching wrestling, and less time watching wrestling on Mondays and Tuesdays. I spend so much time shitposting anyway. Either way, more 205 Live, more NXT, more indies, more Lucha Underground, more worldly stuff, less Vince McMahon-approved family drama with a churn of supporting characters.

The 2017 TWB 100: Introduction Post and Call for Ballots

Will Styles repeat?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Hello hello! For the ninth year, the TWB 100 looks to reign supreme upon the world of wrestling! 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, 2017) 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:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Vol. 4, Issue 1

ARE YOU READY FOR WRESTLEKINGDOM?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
HAPPY NEW YEAR, HORBIACS. New year, but SAME OL' HORB FLERBMINBER, back at you mining them scoops like they need to be mined. CONTRARY TO RUMORS SPREAD ONLINE, I didn't take the last two weeks of the year off. It's just NEWS DIDN'T HAPPEN. It's true, sometimes, the world stops, especially when I'm off attempting to break the world record of cans of Hamm's beer drunk in one sitting. Did you know Andre the Giant set the record back in 1978 and every year I try and fail to break it? THAT SON OF A BITCH COULD PUT THE BREW AWAY.

The 2017 Bloggie Awards

The Wrestler of the Year!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's that time of year again, when I give out my awards for the best stuff to happen in wrestling in a calendar year. The Bloggie Awards are back, baybay! Before I start, a primer on what the Bloggies are and aren't:
  • The Bloggies are NOT a measure of who drew money or drove business. Look to the Observer for that scope.
  • The Bloggies are NOT a measure of kayfabe accomplishment. Pro Wrestling Illustrated has that covered like a boss.
  • The Bloggies are NOT crowd-sourced or openly voted upon. They're chosen by me and me alone, so if anyone has a problem, take it up with me.
  • The Bloggies ARE a measure of who did the most to advance the ART of wrestling. Who told the best stories? Who talked with the silverest of tongues? Who wrestled the best matches? Who had the biggest emotional impact? These are the questions that these awards have set out to answer.
And now, the awards, with nominees and winners!