Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WWE Live in Edmonton, February 18, 2017

The (American) apples of Lacy's eye
Photo Credit: WWE.com
I feel like it was just yesterday that I went to my last WWE Live event, and this time around I got to see the Smackdown roster. Well, most of them. There were no Wyatt Family sightings, so I did not get to yell at Luke Harper how much I appreciate him. But on the other hand, Mojo Rawley! Uh, yeah, we'll get to that. Anyway, here's the scoop on what I saw.

The Crews Conundrum
I focused a lot of my attention on crowd reactions, since there's a big difference between hearing/seeing something on TV and being part of a live audience where things are happening organically. Our opening match of the night featured Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews and, like me, I could feel people WANTING to like Crews, but there's just no connection. Unlike me, most people are still way into Dolph Ziggler and it's not hard to see why. Despite ostensibly being a heel, Ziggler still played up his cocky, show-off persona. I don't like Dolph Ziggler (though I did dig his side ponytail that he of course RUINED by taking out) but he interacts with the audience. He makes them feel that their reactions are playing a role. Crews doesn't. People would cheer like mad when he showed off how flippy or super strong he is, but there was no follow-up. A big part of Crews' problem is that he is given nothing to work with other than “guy who smiles” or lately “Kalisto's friend” but I feel like there has to be more that he can personally do to appeal to the audience. This is why those “Let's Go, Ziggler” chants are still happening (and I heard some during this show) while he's being a jerk. We can still fix this. Apollo Crews does some cool-looking shit and it is super fun to watch live. He's just got to go that extra mile.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show Ep. 404

Roma is on for the second part of his Austin interview
Photo via Online World of Wrestling
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show — Unleashed!
Episode: 404 (Feb. 16, 2017)
Run Time: 1:16:14
Guest: Paul Roma, part two (18:46)

Monday, February 20, 2017

RIP Ivan Koloff

Koloff, left, on the night he defeated Sammartino, right, for the WWWF Championship
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via WWE.com
Ivan Koloff, a legendary wrestler for both WWE (then-World Wide Wrestling Federation), the National Wrestling Alliance, and other wrestling territories, has passed away at the age of 74. Koloff had been suffering from liver cancer. The Canadian native's career spanned over three decades, and after he had retired, he'd become a Born Again Christian who toured the world with a ministry.

Friday, February 17, 2017

NXT In 60 Seconds

Mustache Mountain EXPLODES! (temporarily)
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Full Sailors: It's fun being here for a taping.  Kinda hungry though.  Maybe a concession stand run before...
the Authors of Pain: yell and grunt in Samoan
Full Sailors: Never mind, we'll have all this squash.
Cannon Fodder: goes splut real quick

RIP George "The Animal" Steele

The turnbuckle-eating icon has passed away
Photo Credit: WWE.com
George "The Animal" Steele, wrestling legend, has passed away at the age of 79. He had been battling serious if undisclosed health issues recently, and earlier in the week was moved to hospice care. He is survived by his wife, Pat Myers, and their three children. Steele was a devoutly open practicing Christian who had great love for college sports, especially for his alma mater, Michigan State.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 338

Havok sits down with Cabana this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 338 (Feb. 15, 2017)
Run Time: 1:12:33
Guest: Jessicka Havok (12:16)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 178

It's gotta be gabagool, capiche?
Photo via MenuInProgress
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:

If you want peak, then nothing beats a good prosciutto. Among hams, it is king, but if you don't get a really good version of it, then you get a really funky tasting meat that will give all prosciuttos a bad name. If you want consistency across the board, then it's gotta be capicola (or gabagool if you're an East Coast Italian). Even cheap versions are still tasty and don't have the disgusting textural/slime factors that other deli meats can have (looking at you, turkey breast).

Learning to Live with Smackdown

Wyatt murking Cena? CATHARSIS!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This week on Smackdown I'm learning to live with:

The Eater of World Heavyweight Championships
If you haven't read the venerable TH's essay on the subject of Bray Wyatt's win in the Elimination Chamber, you should probably do that. I completely agree that a character like Bray Wyatt shouldn't ever need a championship – I'd much rather see him manipulate others into and out of championships solely for the fun of fucking with the status quo – but my sweet Lord was it ever satisfying to see him win the title and then successfully, definitively defend it. I'll never get tired of watching replay of him pinning Cena. It's cathartic as fuck.

Podcast Deep Dive: The New Generation Project Podcast

The New Generation Podcast talks about stuff like the above picture, but this post is about something deeper
Photo Credit: WWE.com
This article is not about a particular episode of a podcast. It is about the podcast itself, and that is The New Generation Project Podcast.

Since 2013, Stewart Brookes, Adam Wykes and Paul Scrivens have co-hosted a show whose expressed goal is to cover every WWF PPV between the years of 1993 and 1998 - the "New Generation" era typically regarded as the less-than predecessor of the Attitude Era. Every episode runs between two to three hours, as Brookes does a huge amount of research on the background of each show, and writes extensive notes on each match. Wykes and Scrivens break up the scripted notes with group discussion of what they watched.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Wrestling Blog Drinks the Steve Austin Beer

A swig of beer for the bloggin' man
Photo Credit: TH
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly. Enjoying a cold one was never just gimmick, for better or worse. But as a self-proclaimed man of the people, he'd always stuck to mainstream macrobrews or name imports like Corona (or Corona Light). But one day, as he regaled on his podcast (which Scott reviews here for most of his content), he tried a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and changed his outlook on beer. So it was only natural that not only would he start drinking more craft and microbrews but that some enterprising smaller brewery would try to partner with him to create a branded beer for Austin and his podcast.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Art Of Wrestling Ep. 337

Juice Robinson is Cabana's guest this week
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Art Of Wrestling
Episode: 337 (Feb. 8, 2017)
Run Time: 1:05:23
Guest: Juice Robinson (11:03)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Never Venture Outside the Formula: An Essay on Elimination Chamber

Wyatt was booked well, but was he booked on brand?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Elimination Chamber, the final Smackdown pay-per-view/Network event before WrestleMania, was a lackluster show up to the last two matches. Naomi and Alexa Bliss battled each other in a fun and spry if flawed Women's Championship match, which set up a raucous and violent Elimination Chamber match where all six competitors had their working shoes affixed to their feet. The result was telegraphed two weeks prior, when Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble. Wyatt's first single's title in the company and his long, slow arc (by modern WWE standards) of tension and alliance with Orton came into full eclipse for WrestleMania. I wouldn't have done it that way, but maybe adding the title stakes will ensure it has a place on a card that will otherwise be stacked with the part-timers needing their showcases and the multi-man human salads that populate the rest of the card. Everyone needs a Mania payday, but only a few get a chance to shine for real. But I digress.

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin 400, 401, 402

A trio of Austin interviewing legends
Photo Credit: WWE.com
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show — Unleashed!
Episode: 400 (Feb. 2, 2017)
Run Time: 1:36:31
Guest: Bruce Pritchard (13:00)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 177

Which one of these two gets to the main roster first?
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:

I was convinced that Nakamura was going to get the call-up for the Royal Rumble, but now I'm not sure who gets called up first, to be honest. Nakamura would have seemed like a no-brainer after losing the NXT World Championship and having no worlds left to conquer, but similarly, like The Revival, he has PLANZ going forward in NXT instead of shuttling up to RAW or Smackdown and doing his thing in advance of WrestleMania. What is left for him to do in NXT? I'd say "wrestle Kassius Ohno," but the Full Sail Framers seem to be cold on that idea now, which uh, I don't know why? If the main event of Takeover: Mania Weekend is Roode vs. Nakamura II, I'm going to scream. But to answer your question, I wonder if the answer will come down who debuts first on the RAW-after-Mania, or who gets shunted to what brand.

NXT In 60 Seconds

Live (to tape) from Full Sail, it's gloating time!
Photo Credit: WWE.com

Nigel McGuinness: Evening, Yanks.  What sort of technical exhibition will I be privy to first?
Asylum Breach Alert Horns: blaring