Friday, May 26, 2017

TWB ODDSMAKERS: The WWE World Championship Money in the Bank

Is Money in the Bank Corbin's for the taking?
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The calendar has almost reached the month of June, and you know what that means. It's time for dads, grads, and Money in the Bank. This year, the briefcase will belong to only one brand, Smackdown, and confined to only the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, although I wouldn't put it past WWE to pull a fast one and have the winner try to cash in on the Universal Champion. But that's fodder for another site altogether. Anyway, six wrestlers have been announced for the fray: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura. The field seems loaded, and conceivably, any one of them could win and have it make narrative sense. But some winners make more sense than others, and I'm here to place odds on each one, including people who aren't even in the match.

How to Watch (Or Not Watch) WWE Programming

Don't let Vince McMahon bully you into watching ALL of his programming
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If you were like me as a pre-teen, you took every possible opportunity to drown yourself in junk food or in soda (or "pop" as we call it here in Iowa). I used to buy 3-lb bags of Skittles and go buck wild, or I'd buy a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper and a friend and I would challenge each other to drink like, six of them in one night and sometimes throw up. We were taking a good thing and giving ourselves entirely too much of it, against our best judgment, and to the detriment of our enjoyment of those wonderful things. At this moment in 2017, fans of WWE are permitted, even encouraged, to be gluttonous pre-teen monsters whose appetites can never be fulfilled. But I don't think I can keep up with it anymore.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 188

Don't expect Punk to be back in WWE anytime soon, especially not because of ratings hysteria
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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:

I don't think ratings are the trigger you're looking for. It's revenue and profits. No matter what wrestling journalists tell their public, ratings by themselves aren't cause for concern. Ratings compared to other shows, or more pointedly, what USA Network thinks of those ratings, are what matters. As long as WWE continues to get that sweet, sweet ad revenue and pulls in money from things like The Network, touring, and other sources, well, Vince McMahon and his coterie of corporate goons and yes men won't attempt to swallow their pride to lure back CM Punk, at least for the reason of desperation. Obviously, that doesn't mean the company won't lure or hasn't tried to lure him back, because hey, capitalism is a hustle and McMahon is a capitalist. That being said, if Punk comes back, it won't be because of ratings.

The Fourth Trio...

The seal has been broken on the British teams
Graphics via @CHIKARApro
As you may have heard by now, King of Trios will be taking place in Birmingham, United Kingdom between September 1 and 3, taking it not only out of Eastern Pennsylvania, but the United States altogether for the first time. The first three trios that have been announced have a decided Chikara flavor, whether as regulars (Legion of Rot, Xyberhawx) or as cherished guests (defending Champions Sendai Girls). One would expect that with visiting the hottest current scene for pro wrestling, native Brit trios would litter the guest star slate. The first such team has been announced.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

So, the Mae Young Classic

It's coming...
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The WWE's women's wrestling tournament to happen this summer finally has a name. The Mae Young Classic will commence at Full Sail University July 13 and 14, although the mechanisms behind its dissemination are still up in the air. That is, WWE hasn't announced whether it will be a multi-week thing like the Cruiserweight Classic or a weekend affair like the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. However, WWE has given the 32-woman slate a name, albeit a slightly controversial one.

Your Midweek Links: Don't You DARE Hinder Jinder

No shortage of takes on Jinder Mahal this week
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Hey, it's Wednesday morning, so you know what that means, links! Carve some time out at your desk at work or at home or even at the gym to read some of the best wrestling (and some non-wrestling) writing from the past week. These links are HOT HOT HOT so watch your hands when you click those hyperlinks.

Hey, I've done 187 of these TweetBags so far. Why don't you check out the latest one, where I talk the Women's Tournament, Cedric Alexander vs. John Cena, and... over the counter medication? [The Wrestling Blog]

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Best Coast Bias: I Hate People When They're Not Polite

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Results, stray throughs, and takeaways from the Windy City iteration of Takeover a la TH just as soon as I live up to my nickname...

  • Roderick Strong fended off outside interference to beat Eric Young after a suplex backbreaker.
  • Pete Dunne pinned Tyler Bate after the Bitter End to claim the WWE's UK Championship.
  • Asuka successfully defended her NXT Women's World Championship by pinning both Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot at the same time.
  • Bobby Roode used a pair of Glorious DDTs, the second one rolling from the first, to beat Hideo Itami and retain the NXT World Championship.
  • the Authors of Pain successfully defended the NXT World Tag Team Championships against #DIY in a ladder match.

The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming (To Queens)

Bate (left) and Dunne will be among the PROGRESS contingent coming in August
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The United Kingdom has become a hotbed for professional wrestling, and PROGRESS Wrestling is one of the scene's leaders. The promotion ran both a solo card and a co-promoted show with the WWN Live network during WrestleMania weekend, and it appears the staff and wrestlers liked America so much that they're coming back. One week before Takeover: Brooklyn III, PROGRESS will be descending upon the Elmcor Centre in Queens at 8 PM local time. The August 12 date will be the second half of a doubleheader with EVOLVE.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Becky With the Wild Hair

If someone asks if you're a god...
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Becky Lynch made some waves last night with her hairdo. She wore it with the top up in a bouffant and the sides tightly braided. I had some laughs at it last night (seriously, those who've seen the original Ghostbusters will get some MAJOR Gozer vibes), but in all honesty, Lynch's look was cool. In fact, others in Twitter pointed out that it was an homage to Bull Nakano and her fearsome updo.

On Jinder Mahal, Randy Orton, and WWE's Fiat Narratives

Pictured: A wrestler who deserves to be a talking point, and Jinder Mahal
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For those who watched Backlash last night, you know Jinder Mahal is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. For those who didn't, well, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The guy who not 60 days ago was used as lubrication to facilitate the company's latest celebrity guest appearance is now the highest decorated full-time wrestler the land. The decision may have been questionable for those looking ahead when he won the six pack challenge for number one contendership (myself included), but strangely enough, the decision last night felt right. Could it have been the fact that it was a complete left turn? Or maybe that Mahal is a Person of Color Champion in a company that frankly has an embarrassing track record with non-White wrestlers? Or is the answer that finally, another dull Orton title reign is over?

The NJPW Invasion Is On Tap

Hiromu Takahashi will be one of the many stars in NJPW's landfall on American soil
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
New Japan Pro Wrestling, as I noted earlier in the week, is the second biggest wrestling promotion in the world and the only realistic shot to compete with WWE unless Sinclair Broadcasting Group really ramps up spending and promotion of Ring of Honor. As its American G1 Climax special nears closer and closer, plans for a full-fledged base of operations in the United States are becoming more of a reality. Takaaki Kidani, New Japan's chairman, announced in a press conference that he's looking for a stateside subsidiary by 2018. One could argue ROH is already NJPW's American subsidiary, but I'm sure both Sinclair and Bushiroad would have things to say about that train of thought.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

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Drew McIntyre: AYE!
Full Sailors: AYE!
Sean Maluta: Hey, maybe I can
Maluta: But I gave you a mouse under your eye and bloodied you up a bit, certainly that warrants a bit of
DMC: headbutt, Claymore
Referee: Winner!
DMC: If Wesley Blake wants to rumble, he'll get my full undivided attention next week if he's man enough to get in the ring and fight, 

Eric Young: Roddy, let me get this straight: you're a newfound dad with a fiancee and you want to fight us?  And WE get called crazy.  Usually we don't grant requests...but see you tomorrow night, pal.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. MURDER

Tell me you wouldn't be lit for Ceddy (right) vs. Cena
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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:

Basically, it's me replying to shitposting from Twitter with shitposting on Blogger. Quite a fine system of content generation if I do say so myself!

Your Periodic Reminder that Hulk Hogan Sucks

Hogan ruined this. Hogan ruins everything.
Screengrab via Keeping Kayfabe on YouTube
The New Generation Project Podcast just put out their episode covering Starrcade 1997, which brought about World Championship Wrestling's biggest pay-per-view revenue of all time and set the pro wrestling world ablaze with anticipation. Look at the descriptor: "anticipation."

*somewhere, Kevin Nash is agreeing with this verbiage, eating ravioli during a shoot interview and denying he ever sabatoged the career of any of his coworkers*

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Your Midweek Links: People's Champion in Chief? Hustle, Loyalty, Presidency?

Will Thrice in a Lifetime be for... THE PRESIDENCY?
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Welcome to the links list for this week, where I give you the best writing on wrestling and other things from the last seven days for you to savor. SAVOR. This week's slate is chock full of goodies, so without further ado...

Hey, Rip Rogers opened his big dumb mouth again, this time yammering about how indie matches all have the same formula. I wrote a rebuttal. [The Wrestling Blog]