Friday, October 20, 2017

The Friday News Dump to End All Friday News Dumps: Angle Is Wrestling Again

Angle is back, it's true, it's damn true
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When Kurt Angle came back to WWE, the idea of him wrestling again was tantalizing, even though his myriad medical issues might have precluded that for awhile. The general vibe was that he'd be ready for action by WrestleMania, where he'd probably wrestle Triple H in a vanity match. Or, he'd end up replacing Roman Reigns in the main event of a RAW-branded B-pay-per-view because of an outbreak of viral meningitis in the WWE locker room. If you had that scenario as your entree for Angle back into a WWE ring, congratulations on hitting for a trillion dollars on your five dollar bet, because hoo boy, it's happening. WWE just dropped the news item as a news dump on WWE Dot Com two days before the scheduled event, TLC, was set to happen.

Pick Three: PWG All-Star Weekend, ChickFight, Anarchy in Austin

Taylor will cap his weekend with a PWG Title defense
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
It's the weekend, baby! You know what that means, time to drink precisely one beer and dial 911 wrestling is happening, and it's happening all around this great world. I'm going to highlight three shows which I think will be of most interest. Of course, I'm only one person. You can check out which shows are coming up possibly in your area via Cagematch. Anyway, go to, if you can, these great shows that may be happening in your area, on television/YouTube/streaming, or for later consumption via VOD, DVD, or whatever other means one uses to consume wrestling at a later date:

Blockbuster News: Powerbomb TV and Smart Mark Video Are Teaming Up

Teaming up with Smart Mark to give you the best in indie wrestling for a low, low monthly rate
Graphics via Powerbomb.TV
Remember the halcyon days of FloSlam? When Wrestling Twitter and other insiders spoke of something that would CHANGE THE INDUSTRY in hushed tones before their embargo on it was lifted, it felt like this streaming service would change things drastically, except it was an overpriced option with limited content. Of course, everyone knows how that tale ended. Simultaneously, another streaming service, Powerbomb TV, started up on the low key, collecting promotions from around the world on its own service at a price point similar to that of WWE Network. Well, hold onto your britches, because PBTV has announced the most ideal partner possible: Smart Mark Video.

Learning to Live with Smackdown

Not going down how anyone might have hoped
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Remember last week when everything was pretty good and even the bad things weren't THAT bad? Yeah, this week is nothing like that. Frankly, I should have know I was in for a bad time when my first thought was, “Since when does Tom Phillips sound so much like Michael Cole? ... oh, fuck.” It was indeed Michael Cole filling in for Phillips (who was “on assignment,” whatever that means) and over the course of the evening he shared with us such insights as Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens' previous bad blood being down “some differences in opinion over the years.” Differences. In. Opinion. WHY ARE YOU HERE?

I was pretty disappointed with most things on this episode, including:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 209

Can he be interesting again? MAYBE
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:

As much as I'd like to say he'd have to leave, I am inspired by the last time a wrestling company made a mostly abhorrent wrestler interesting. From January through May in 1999, Sid showed up in Extreme Championship Wrestling just to do nonsensical run-ins and powerbomb people before leaving. Orton doing the same as a chaos agent with the RKO would be pretty amusing. I don't know how long the novelty could last, but at this point, man, what does he have left to do before just becoming a drain on the company and nothing else? It also makes me appreciate John Cena a little bit more, because at least Cena kinda stayed interesting, maybe even got more interesting as his career went on. But that's a whole other question.

Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, and The Arguments That Bring Out the Worst

Cody Rhodes making arguments about drawing power is, well, curious
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The worst kind of argument in wrestling is over drawing power. At its core, it strips a vibrant and diverse art into an economic skeleton, and those who usually make it are looking for validation of worth, as if money is the only thing that matters. People fallaciously equate profitability with worth, which is patently false. Sure, some good things make money, but bad things make money too. Take, for example, the highest-grossing film of all-time, Avatar and the cultural amnesia surrounding it. It was so lucrative that James Cameron is emboldened to make a ridiculous four sequels to it, and if you ask an average person on the street what it was about, you might get a shrug or some rote answer about blue aliens or a substance with a funny name. I’m not at all saying good things never make money – looking at the same milieu, other films like The Avengers made boatloads of money and were undoubtedly good. It’s just not the only metric worth discussing.

NXT In 60 Seconds

You think the story's over, but it's ready to begin
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Sonya Deville, Ember Moon, Ruby Riot: spend the opening moments of their qualifying match all trying to roll each other up
Ember: LOL Sonya my dropkick will make you DDT Ruby!  Cover!
One, Then The Other: kickout
Sonya: goes to work on Ember's ribs and lands some gutwrench suplexes on her, then one on Ruby
Ruby: Counter argument: Deadly Nightshade! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pro Wrestling SKOOPZ on The Wrestling Blog: Vol 3, Issue 8

FIRED FOR THIS PICTURE
Photo Credit: Jimmy Jacobs
Well, well, well, guess who has RETURNED to dispense all the news that you, your family, your friends, your enemies, and your hematologists can absorb into your brainholes? THAT'S RIGHT, IT'S ME, HORB FLERBMINBER. Despite attempts by certain people to have me blacklisted, not naming any names except for Ted Cruz, Sean Radican, and Charles Manson, I am BACK WITH A VENGEANCE with all the ACCURATE news and SALIENT rumors this week. My rumblings are ROYAL. My series of notes are SURVIVOR. My mania... is TO GET YOU NEWS. Wait, that can't be right. Wait, that has to be right because I'M ALWAYS RIGHT.

Your Midweek Links: Dangerous Selfies and Uncle Paul on the Gas?

Was he on the gas? Well, his nutritionist said yes and then said no...
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The week is halfway over. Huzzah! However, the long, slow crawl to Friday afternoon can seem oppressive, even as you're halfway to the promised land. Fear not, intrepid readers! I have links for you to peruse, that is to say you can read them. READ THEM. READ THEM NOW. READ THEM ALWAYS.

Men can leave WWE and thrive, but what about women? I argue that the indies and other places need to do a lot of work to create a framework for women to have a career outside of WWE. [The Wrestling Blog]

Willow debuted for TWB with this piece about how WWE's storytelling after Hell in a Cell didn't match the visual cues from the show, and that's a huge problem. [The Wrestling Blog]

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wrestling Six Packs: Wrestling-Food Tie-Ins

Imagine getting this at a restaurant owned by New Japan
Photo via PokeWorks site
Impact Wrestling has been active for a company that people have been spelling doom for for nearly a decade now. It's released its own streaming service and has been signing up-and-coming talent. However, the most curious and hilarious thing is the introduction of Impact Pizza. I was hoping this would be a full-on, Hulk Hogan Pastamania-type deal, but they're just taking over a pizzeria in Ottawa in advance of Bound for Glory. Still, wrestling and food go together like peanut butter and jelly, because what's better than watching wrestling than eating food while watching wrestling? It gave me an idea to propose other food and wrestling tie-ins that would work well.

1. New Japan Pro Wrestling's Japanese Fusion - New Japan is the most present and accessible Japanese wrestling promotion right now through size, word-of-mouth, and presentation. Part of that buzz comes from Dave Meltzer's evangelization, but also through certain American wrestlers heading over from stints in TNA, WWE, or the indies. So because it's a fusion of Japanese and American sensibilities, it should sponsor a fusion restaurant. The menu would include sushi burritos and tonkatsu sandwiches dressed up like burgers or American fried chicken sandwiches, and it would be staffed with people knowledgeable of all cultures involved.

Lefitsm and Wrestling: Gender Is A Work

Why should their genders matter anyway?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Even though capitalists and conservatives run and populate the wrestling business, as an artform, it lends itself to leftist ideals. This series hopes to show wrestling fans why they should embrace the left, not just for the sport/art, but also for themselves.

Yesterday, I wrote about the limited career opportunities of women in wrestling outside of WWE and to an extent Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground. The easiest solution to this problem is to dissolve the distinction between male and female wrestling. It's an artificial barrier anyway, and it's one that even WWE disregarded for about half-a-decade bridging the turn of the century. When Chyna is on record as being a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion, and men are on film taking bumps from and giving bumps to Beth Phoenix and Kharma in the Royal Rumble match, one can no longer pretend that promotions anywhere on the dial have to keep women separate from the men. This bit of history doesn't stop people from clucking and cawing about how men and women are different and PHYSIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES and all that other happy pseudoscientific bullshit.

Fuck Warrior

Pictured: A gassed-up bigot
Photo Credit: WWE.com
When Ultimate Warrior died, I didn’t write a flowery eulogy to him. While I kept my feelings low key for the most part, I didn’t hide that I didn’t think he was worthy of the hagiography that had been written to him, both in his last act of life being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame or during his death. The man was a bigot and a spiteful, hateful man interpersonally. Of course, even though my words were tame in their truth, I was accosted by people online who didn’t agree with what I wrote on Twitter or even here. MMA “journalists” named Bloodstain Lane and Front Row Brian among others decided to attack me because I didn’t have the temerity to honor a mediocre performer who turned out to be an exponentially worse human being. While I held back because I didn’t want any vitriol to seep to the people mourning him, my point remains. You shouldn’t be forgiven for your heinous acts in death if you didn’t atone or at least apologize for them in life.

The Kane Malaise

Kane makes sense, but that doesn't make his addition good
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Before RAW began last night, the TLC main event was set at a nice three-on-four match that didn't seem like a handicap match because of how protected and popular a trio The Shield has been traditionally presented. Even if the foursome included Braun Strowman, it still felt like a fair fight in perception. WWE wouldn't be WWE if it didn't try to tinker with a thing that didn't need it, so the conceit of last night's RAW was totally about introducing the concept of a fifth person for the heel team and then presenting a show-wide mystery as to who that fifth guy would be. The assumption was that Curtis Axel would get put in the match to eat a fall and get put through a table or 23.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Instant Feedback: Keep It Simple, Stupid

Strowman's childlike id showed how simple WWE storytelling can be great
Photo Credit: WWE.com
The conceit behind Braun Strowman has never been complex, at least since the draft separated him from the Wyatt Family. He picked people up and threw them down, violently. The wave of mutilation he caused was so great that Sami Zayn didn't even have to beat him to claim moral victory with great heft. All he had to do was last with him.As the challenges got easier, he demanded more competition. In fact, those words were his rallying cry. He is pure id, driven by hunger for destruction. He has no understanding of manipulation or strategy outside of the instantaneous and instinctual reactions. He didn't lure Roman Reigns into the ambulance with wile and guile. He saw a spear charging at him, shouted "OH SHIT" and did his best olĂ©. He is a simple character, and to the surprise of some, he has flourished.

The Wrestling Blog's OFFICIAL Best in the World Rankings for October 16, 2017

Don't mess with Nigel Bradham, dorks
Photo via Associated Press
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. Nigel Bradham (Last Week: Not Ranked) - Several Eagles contributed to the team's defeat of the Carolina Panthers (and the officials) on Thursday, but none were more TITANIC than Bradham's, who even potentially injured himself to force a fourth down. Bradham was all over the field, making sure no Panther was able to take a step without fearing for his safety. Because of his efforts, the Eagles are in first place in the entire National Football Conference. Fly Eagles Fly!

2. Toni Storm (Last Week: 1) - Storm had the weekend off, at least according to Cagematch. Maybe she worked, maybe she didn't. Either way, I think it'd be nice to have her above the cut again this week, wouldn't you agree? Good, I'm glad everyone could come to this accord. Thank you.

3. Jazzy Gabert (Last Week: Not Ranked) - It'd be one thing if she were just bulldozing fools in the ring, and she did. But man, she posted this selfie and imagine not enjoying her not only destroying jabronis in the ring AND looking extra 100 percent fly like that. Couldn't be me.