Sunday, April 20, 2014

Best Coast Bias: This Here What You Call Relegation

This feud must continue, I guess
Photo Credit:
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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Shiningest Moment of the Mean Street Posse

The Mean Street Posse, Shane McMahon's childhood friends from the hard streets of Greenwich, CT, were a walking punchline. However, they were damn good at being the butt of the joke during the Attitude Era. However, their careers were not without glory. WrestleMania 2000, the infamous Hardcore Championship Battle Royale, saw two of the three members win the Championship for a grand total of a minute combined. Rodney pinned Funaki and was immediately turned upon by Joey Abs, who won the title shortly after before dropping it to Headbanger Thrasher. Where was Pete Gas during all this? Well, although he'd win the Hardcore Championship in his own right twice, he was playing the good soldier here and keeping the drones from descending on his buddies. Way to take one for the team, Pete!

This week's entry was inspired by @trilotto. I kinda feel bad since he mentioned Pete Gas specifically, but hey, you can only work with what you're given, eh?

ROH Is Coming to Traditional, Live Pay-Per-View

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Via ROH's Site

Ring of Honor, a company beleaguered by its issues broadcasting live events via Internet pay-per-view, has announced it will return to the traditional PPV model for Best in the World 2014. The event will be held at the Nashville Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 22, and the event will begin live at 8 PM. The press release said nothing as to availability on iPPV. ROH recently announced a return to that medium via Ustream. ROH did traditional PPV starting in 2008, but the events were always taped at an earlier date before release to public.

This announcement's timing is curious. Just as WWE, the market leader in pro wrestling pay-per-view, started its mass exodus from the platform, ROH decided to dive back in. However, I see some logic behind the move. The company's history with iPPV has been atrocious, causing it to recoil away from doing live broadcasts of any kind. The company has not only fallen behind WWE and TNA in terms of live distribution, but other promotions like Dragon Gate USA, Chikara, and even localized companies like Squared Circle Wrestling in Upstate New York have leaned on iPPV to varying degrees of success. Will the move to traditional PPV be a fallback or supplement, or will ROH look to move away from the Internet altogether? I hope that the former is the case, because if ROH has to abandon Internet broadcast, then a company known for innovation will end up lagging behind the pack.

On Nancy Grace Pt. 2

Being an awful misogynist to her doesn't help
Photo via IMDB
Nancy Grace made a lot of enemies in the wrestling world when she hurled a lot of misinformation at her viewers regarding the death of Warrior last week. Obviously, she would end up receiving a lot of backlash, and most of it was deserved. If one wants to shed light on a topic, that person would be best served to do research beforehand not lump in folks who died of stomach cancer, car accidents, and on-screen deaths due to corporate negligence as part of the growing drug problem within wrestling. However, since the time of her ill-advised report, I've seen a lot of terrible, unnecessarily misogynist backlash directed at her.

Calling Grace out on her misinformation is correct and should be done. But some folks decided to stoop to the levels of body-shaming her. Others decided they would reduce her to a person whose worth was tied to sex. Still others I've seen around the Twitters thought it great to call her the c-word, but only after saying she really, really deserved that title unlike other women.

Driving the narrative to such base levels steeped in blasting the commentator for who she is rather than what she said not only takes attention away from her misinformation, but it's why wrestlers and fans can't have nice things. Grace's looks, sex appeal, and gender have as much to do with her report as the hair on my back, but women today still have to face those barriers before they can be taken seriously in discussion. Furthermore, the base, sexist behavior of folks who use those tactics to attack Grace end up taking attention off her misinformation and onto them when they're called out for ugly behavior.

Dana Warrior's Message to the Fans

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Regardless of how one feels about Warrior the person, I can't at any juncture feel anything but sorrow and empathy for the people he left behind on this earth. Among the people who survive him are his mother, two young daughters, and his wife. Dana Warrior took the opportunity to write a thank-you to the fans and a memorial about her husband, one that warms the heart and elicits a tear from the eye. No matter what you might think of Warrior, I honestly believe you'd have to have a heart of stone not to feel something for his family, especially after reading what Dana had to write.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ready for Prime Time

Paige's exposure in NXT has helped her hot reaction so far
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When NXT jumped from the realm of local television and Hulu to WWE Network, whispers of doubt started to spread around. NXT worked as a developmental territory because it had remained sheltered for so long, and if fans are able to watch wrestlers before they make it to the main roster, they might lose some of their aura, their surprise factor. I didn't necessarily agree with the take, but I saw from where those doubts and fears were coming until recently.

Paige has already made her main-roster debut, and both Bo Dallas and Adam Rose are about to make theirs within the coming weeks. All three are known entities from NXT, even if Rose spent most of his developmental life under another name with two completely different characters before his current, Aldous Snow homage took hold, which means a good portion of the Full Sail/Hulu crowd knows who they are and are familiar with them. I credit Paige's excellent reaction to a rather milquetoast and timid debut (even with winning the title) to the post-Mania crowd being full of those scions, and I doubt the sustenance of that crowd heat the next week was attributed to the crowd aping what it had heard the week before. Paige already got to show how awesome she was on a live stage, and NXT ArRIVAL kicked that streak into fuller gear.

Your Midweek Links: Warrior and Coming out in College Basketball

Lots of Warrior stuff to digest this week
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It's hump day, so here are some links to get you through the rest of the week:

Wrestling Links:

- Don't always believe [The Classical]

- Me and the Ultimate Warrior [Kayfabe Comedy]

- Saying goodbye to the Ultimate Warrior [SB Nation]

- The Ultimate Warrior was an insane dick [Deadspin]

- The Mandible Claw Podcast, Episode 20: Happiness Is a Tandem Bicycle [The Mandible Claw]

- The Heart Is RAW: Authorial Intent and WrestleMania [International Object]

- The WrestleMania XXX Box Score [Regressing]

- The magic of WrestleMania [¡OlĂ©! Wrestling]

- The Lo-Down Wrestling Podcast: The Streak Playlist [Lo-Down Wrestling]

- The Best and Worst of Impact Wrestling: Something's Rotten in the State of Dixieland [With Leather]

- Eric Young's turn [Voices of Wrestling]

- Who's left in TNA Wrestling? [International Object]

- Pro wrestler Larry Sweeney's suicide, three years later [Comm-digi News]

- The Ten Count: Barefoot wrestlers [Old School Jabronis]

- The Best and Worst of RAW: Rising above Hate (with Photoshop) [With Leather]

- Future solutions - Three proposals for the "new" WWE [False Underdog]

- WWE superstars tell us their hotel horror stories [SB Nation]

- A beginner's guide to New Japan Pro Wrestling [Voices of Wrestling]

Best Coast Bias: This Episode Is A Big Show

We the unconscious
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...and we are all Jack Swagger.  Was there any sort of glimmer of hope in an hour equivalent to 99 cent Jack in the Box tacos: easily consumed and evaporated the minute they've done so?


...buffering...ah, jeez...

5) I'm not afraid I've got Good News: Wade Barrett's career is off of life support.
The only problem for WWE is he may be turning himself babyface, at least if the bass in the fans chanting Let's Go Barrett and Bad News whilst he throws the Hammer at the likes of Sin Cara are any indication.  Him v. Sheamus in the semis of the Intercontinental Championship #1 contendership tournament next Monday should be fun and stiffer than an IT guy watching an Asa Akira marathon.

The Best Moves Ever: Diamond Cutter

The RKO is reputed as "coming out of nowhere," but as Randy Orton has gotten better in the ring over the last year or so, he's relied mostly on telegraphing when he's going to hit said finisher. No matter how good Diamond Dallas Page was, he always found a way to hit the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere or on a whim. Check out this highlight reel which mostly contains all his best Cutters.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Did You Pay Your Taxes?

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April 15 is a miserable day for most people, but Irwin R. Schyster is not like most people. WWE's most famous pencil-pushing former Tag Team Champion is in his glory today. WWE's mid '90s occupational gimmick bonanza had mixed results, but the IRS character was so dry and represented an entity so loathsome that it became one of the most effective and entertaining ones of the era. Of course, every child rebels against his or her father at some point, which explains why his one son decided to run off and found a crazy cult of hillbillies. Nothing could be further from the ethos of bureaucracy than squatting in a swamp trailer and talking about taking down the machine. I bet Thanksgiving is weird around that house, especially with Bo Dallas running around, making hand turkeys and trying so desperately to keep the arguments from getting hotter than the turkey...

Damien Sandow vs. The Machine

It could go somewhere, but it probably won't
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Damien Sandow was once a can't-miss prospect. Sure, he'd already floundered on the WWE roster as Idol Stevens and had to go back to developmental, but once he got there and was given the Sandow name and character, he'd seemed to have found his perfect storm. The erudite snob allowed him to channel disdain towards the fans in an engaging and thoroughly enthralling way, while he was able to claim a certain look that made him stand out above the rest of the roster. He got to the main show and turned a lot of heads. Being given the opportunity to chew scenery with Degeneration X and work long matches on television against Sheamus was a hugely positive sign for him going forward. His career arc seemed to reach its apogee when he snaked the Money in the Bank briefcase from Cody Rhodes and banked himself a near-guaranteed run with the World Heavyweight Championship.

As the story unfolded, however, Sandow backslid to the point where he's become almost a non-entity. Last night was a stark reminder of how far he'd fallen, when Big Show paid off his diatribe with a knockout punch to the face. The segment was straight out of Pro Wrestling 101, mind you. The bad guy mouths off, gets the crowd all riled up, and then hero comes in and provides instant gratification. Segments such as those are healthy and provide vicarious relief for the lizard side of the average fan's brain. Not everyone has upward mobility, nor should they. The reason why acts like 3MB or Santino Marella exist is to be easy butts of jokes for the faces to pop crowds or for villains to enact humiliation without damaging the goods of a guy with whom the company may want to draw money someday.

The Past Is Prologue: Total Divas Season 2, Episode 4

I don't mean to laugh at someone else's pain, but...
Photo Credit:
Sometimes the arc of a massive event in pro wrestling makes the passage of time feel like it is much grander than it actually is. Two weeks ago was the previous first-run episode of Total Divas prior to this one and yet in that time frame, everything happened. AJ went from big boss to sudden loser, Brie's man became the company's proverbial "face" as its champion, and a whole host of other shit from the exciting to the tragic and moribund shellacked everything in between that two week period. I honestly have to look back at my reports to remember that two weeks ago was the big slap episode where Summer Rae gave a deserved one to Nattie for her bullshit about singlehood and slut-shaming and terms that are all things I'd like to forget to avoid WS100 level preachiness in these columns about a show you don't even watch.

Anyway, that slap seems almost forgotten in terms of how much we see Summer, but the impact of Nattie having weird nose injury stuff (damn, Summer can do a good closed palm forehand) is one of three things in this episode. The only thing worth a damn is the Trinity music video stuff because every reality show needs a poorly conceived single and music video component. Also, every reality show needs a power ranking. So that's where this is going.