Friday, October 24, 2014

Dispatches from the Lake: Some Helpful Advice

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS TO HAPPEN YET AGAIN????
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve sat down to watch Superstars. I’m sure you guys all missed the write ups on the show that literally no one watches except for me and a few other suckers who review it. Superstars is usually pretty inoffensive. Tonight was no different.

I’m having a hard time with WWE programming lately. I don’t know anyone who isn’t. The lack of coherent thought and just overall laziness is really starting to bother me. I’ve been arguing with myself about whether or not to keep the Network or not. I mean, I ultimately will. I really enjoy the back catalogue, and despite all my complaints, I do watch nearly every special event/Sunday Night Raw. I watch because I hope that we might get a glimpse of the fun and greatness that we sometimes get. I’m worried we aren’t going to get anything like that until December, which is usually when WWE decides to start kind of trying again.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 162

Austin reads a marriage proposal in his reader e-mails this week
Photo Credit : WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show Unleashed
Episode: 162
Run Time: 1:17:44
Guest: None

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 97

Halloween JACKPOT
Photo via Eat Run Brit blog
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 morning (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers!

The objective best Halloween candy to give isn't a kind of candy, but it's the serving size. Any house that gives out full-size candy bars is doing the work of the Lord, if the Lord had a vested interest in the propagation and success of diabetes medication. But disregarding future health concerns, getting that full-size bar was always the holy grail for trick-or-treaters. Subjectively, I've always found you can't have enough chocolate-covered peanut butter candy in your bag. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were almost currency for how valuable and delicious they were.

The worst candy, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is the dreaded Necco Wafer. I'm not even sure if they exist anymore, because really, I haven't trick-or-treated myself in over 15 years, and I just started taking TJ out around the neighborhood last year. But man, houses that kept their lights off and didn't give out anything on Halloween held children in less contempt than the sick fucks who gave out Necco Wafers. Chalky and flavorless, these candies were a scourge on anyone, and the sad kid who bit into one thinking he or she was getting an oversized roll of Smarties always will recount that moment as the worst in his or her Halloween history.

Best Coast Bias: Soft Cell

The closer managed to somewhat mitigate the train wreck of an opener, but not enough
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The opening segment died on its way back to its home planet now let us never speak of it again.

As for the rest of the Main Event? Well, at least nothing else was so bad Michael Cole could do everything short of bring a gong out from under the table and bang it while railing against how horrible what was happening in the ring was and be correct whilst doing it. The signature that closed out the show was a rubber match of sorts between Jack Swagger and Seth Rollins, both men seemingly eerily familiar in a match that like most of their previous encounters in their battles went to the self-proclaimed Architect and current golden briefcase holder. There was a fine bit of foreshadowing in the opening chunk via a (we don't like you if you're) Mexican standoff between the match participants, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury, and Unkie Zeb on the floor.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: The Ross Report Ep. 36

Madden is Ross' guest this week
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: The Ross Report
Episode: 36
Run Time: 1:52:16
Guest: Mark Madden

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Issue 6

What is CM Punk's current mood?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's me, it's me, it's that miner of ESS-SEE-DOUBLE OH-PEE-ESS, Horb Flerbminber BACK with the juiciest news, the hottest gossip, the steamiest rumors, and the most molten TAKES in all pro wrestling. If you're one of the many people reading this every week, you know you're getting the BEST in wrestling news around. If you're not reading FUCK YOU unless you decide to read. I don't know why anyone would want to DENY themselves the best and most informative thing they'd ever read in their sorry lives, but here we are. These scoops SAVE LIVES. In fact, the reason why ebola has only killed ONE person in America is because reading PRO WRESTLING SKOOPZ has been proven by medical science to be a vaccination against the disease.

Your Midweek Links: Who's Your Favorite?

Was Bryan Twitter's favorite wrestler?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It's hump day, so here are some links to get you through the rest of the week:

Wrestling Links:

- Twitter's Favorite Wrestlers: A Very Scientific Poll [Medium]

- Ten Planned WWE Title Switches That Never Happened [Camel Clutch Blog]

- The Merch Table: The King of Swag-Style, Shinsuke Nakamura [Wrestling on Earth]

- The Best and Worst of RAW: Katie Vick Now Available in TV-PG [With Spandex]

- NXT Report Card, Part One: The Brand's Successes and Failures [Wrassle Rap]

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 161

Austin took calls in his latest episode
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 161
Run Time: 1:23:27
Guest: None

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dispatches from the Lake: The Once Proud Intercontinental Championship

What the hell happened to you, IC Title?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Fourth of July, 2011. The place? Chicago. The time? No idea. I was floating in a pool with a beer in my hand, future husband at my side, and chatting with some friends about wrestling. These gents were roommates with my dearest friend, and had made the mistake of mentioning they liked wrestling once when we were hanging out. For the previous few years, I had only my cousin to chat with about it, so having some new folks to discuss the ridiculousness with was great. I didn’t watch religiously, but knew enough about what was going on at the moment that I could have a conversation about it.

The topic of conversation that day was CM Punk and the pipe bomb that pulled so many of us back into the wrestling fold. Excited and a little drunk, we all decided that we would attend the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view to see Punk challenge John Cena for the title.

I Listen So You Don't Have So: Steve Austin Show Ep. 160

Austin gives play-by-play analysis on this classic match
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show Unleashed
Episode: 160
Run Time: 1:06:12
Guest: None

Monday, October 20, 2014

Instant Feedback: Tropes vs. Wrestlers

Dammit, don't make Ambrose into just another guy
Photo Credit: WWE.com
In terms of narrative direction, WWE does one thing exceedingly well. This company knows how to turn its hottest wrestlers into "just another guy." The altar to its top star, whether it be John Cena or one of his forefathers, is soaked with the blood of up and comers who dared demand room made at the top. Sometimes, those wrestlers make it to the top of the food chain, but they never make it the same. They always lose something, because they have to make it on WWE's terms, not their own. Whether it be Ricky Steamboat or CM Punk or anyone in between who had a flicker of a spark, the WWE machine uncannily was able to grind them down into a fine paste before they were able to be rehydrated. The notable exception was Steve Austin, who made it because the company was lagging behind another, and because he hit so big, every character going forward had to be something like him.

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings, October 20

YOU NEVER GO FULL MEMPHIS, NICOLE
Photo Credit: @IchibanDrunk
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. Nicole Matthews (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Matthews unexpectedly won the SHIMMER World Championship this past weekend thanks to a timely fireball to the face of Madison Eagles to get the deciding pin in the four way title match. Matthews has been, no pun intended, on fire this year with her second big title win, as she's also the reigning and defending Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling Champion too. Some say that getting the title with shenanigans is cheap, but I say if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. Ninjas reign supreme, y'all.

2. Madison Eagles (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Of course, Eagles, a former SHIMMER Champion as well, has a legitimate gripe over being scorched in the face. Then again, being a native of Australia, the fire couldn't have been that much of an obstacle for the Punisher. Grabbing the morning mail is an activity where the average Aussie risks life and limb. Ficus plants are marginally deadly on the Continent Down Under. I'm sure she'll rebound just finely after taking a fireball to the face.

3. Filet Mignon (Last Week: Not Ranked) OFFICIAL HOLZERMAN HUNGERS SPONSORED RANKING - Anyone who says this cut of meat has no flavor has had it prepared wrong for them their whole lives. The king of steaks.

Best Coast Bias: Reedemable At The Pay Window

This here what you call redemption
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Coming up Thursday at 9 pm EST on Stamford New Classics, the Sami Zayn Redemption.

As opaque as things have been between himself and his friend frenemy friend for now at least Adrian Neville in the past few weeks, Zayn's promo after Baron Corbin beat some guy so fast time may have reversed was not. (It should also be noted that Alex Riley of all people calling Sami Zayn a choker is like a Raiders fan...well, like a Raiders fan saying anything this year that isn't "Dear God, what I have done?") He didn't dodge the loss that happened in last week's main to Titus O'Neil, and said he was sick and tired of it. His eyes were still set on the prize, and as the crowd was applauding him yet again a wild Tyson Kidd emerged with an InZayn shirt on to ruin the feel-good moment. Zayn was never going to win the Big X (a bit disappointing that Sami didn't have a rejoinder to that, since Kidd is currently on the outside looking in by edict of his last lost to the Man That Gravity Forgot), and how dare he lie to the NXT Universe, the people behind TK All Day? While Zayn got a You Got Served chant going by asking if Kidd had Nattie's permission to appear, he hit right back with saying he'd rather be on Total Divas than a total loser. Eventually, it sussed out they'd renew hostilities in the main event.

RIP Ox Baker

 RIP Ox Baker
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via WWE.com
Ox Baker, the pro wrestling legend known for his devastating Heart Punch, long, bushy moustache, t-shirts with ostentatious messages, and post-wrestling career in bit movie roles, has passed away. He was 80 years old. Baker's death was announced earlier this morning by Jerry Lawler on Twitter. The cause of death is unknown at this point.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat w/Chris Jericho

Jericho joined the boys this past episode
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Cheap Heat
Episode: Oct. 16, 2014
Run Time: 1:16:17
Guest: Chris Jericho