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War is Raw

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  1. "Art" has many definitions and spinoffs. I could see someone saying pro wrestling is not an "art form" if they feel it is low brow entertainment. For example, I consider a Michael Bay or most Marvel movies (trigger warning) to be "entertainment" as opposed to art. Like pr0n. IMHO, art ought to tell us something about ourselves or society that we may not necessarily want to see or hear. It ought to hold its content up like a mirror to reflect warts, ways to improve, use symbolism, trigger deep thoughts, etc. On the other side of the coin, art is also beauty, i.e. classical music and paintings. But generally speaking, creating forms for mass appeal commercial profit usually is entertainment (Star Wars/Hollywood in general). It should be noted Stan Lee loved when Marvel comic books were considered "pop art" in the 1960s, and thus was accepted and seen as hip. However, he and his generation always perceived comic books as shameful- just a way to make a living- not true art at all. The "artists" were seen as draftsmen and laborers. Jack Kirby was not appreciated until much later. "Pop art Marvel" went out of vogue like a fad until mid-1980s when Alan Moore and Frank Miller established that comics were no longer for kids. Neil Gaiman was the cherry on top with Sandman in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Moore considers his work to be art, because he pushed the medium to new heights and had meaning and messages, but saw every comic book adapted movie as empty unoriginal entertainment. There is no doubt that wrestling is a craft; after all it is taught like a guild and some workers are better than others, and the basics and fundamentals are the most important. Wrestlers can craft matches, gimmicks, and storylines. It is definitely a for-profit entertainment. The messages are base and usually appeal to the lowest common denominator. At best wrestling tells stories, usually adapted from tropes, like beast slayer, jealousy, to be the best, betrayal, revenge, underdog etc. At worst, it is exploitative, ignorant, savage, crass, racist, sexist, and dumbed down for Homer Simpson. Does sometimes telling stories using pantomime make it art? Is pretending to have a competitive fight art? Especially when it is done at the expense of the money in your checking account? Does that the fact that W. Ospreay believes he is a performance artist make it art? Was Damien Sandow a performance artist with his comedy routines? How about The Librarians from AEW? Is pro wrestling a deep, universal, beautiful, or telling form of art? I doubt Vince McMahon views it as such. He created his own personal sandbox to have fun in and make money. Even when he made the leap to MTV and NBC in 1985, it was pitched as entertainment. Andy Warhol, in his diary, liked Dusty Rhodes and Wrestlemania I. An intelligent artist such as himself probably thought there was something more to wrestling- how they could manipulate the emotions of so many with over the top interviews and fake punches. But I'm sure Brock doesn't see it as art. Moxley does, which is why they miscommunicated at Wrestlemania. Music is art, yet not all forms of music are art. There is a difference between 2019 pop music and Mozart. Where does wrestling fit on the spectrum? Video games were never respected but now they are, yet does it change the truth that video games are entertainment and not art? I don't feel there is a clear answer. Is it even a binary question? "Back in the day" the workers and promoters themselves did not perceive wrestling as art. It was a way to make money by tricking audiences, just like the old comic book creators and publishers felt they were in a factory making dumb kiddie stories, not creating serious, timeless works of art which would be analyzed decades later. I am not sure if Kenny Omega's opinion could change the reality of wrestling being anything other than fun entertainment.
  2. War is Raw

    Rick Rude vs. Ted Dibiase

    Wow, this was actually a debate here. It's no contest. DiBiase was basically the uncrowned NWA babyface champion. Was a runner-up to take it from Race and Flair. Just didn't have all the necessary votes. DiBiase was a main event face and feel. Pre-1980s WWF, he was technically sound, had good offense and selling, carried raw talents, and was a total professional. He's basically a clean cut version of Dick Murdoch and Dick Slater, and similar to Gino Hernandez and Tully Blanchard. As a face, he was a less fiery Tito Santana. He's like the Funks' cousin. My point is, he aces the basics and could work any match in his sleep. Because he could work face and heel as a ring general, he's was very valuable. As a 1979 WWWF jobber, he was second to Backlund there on ring skill. His work holds up in the old footage from WWWF, NWA Houston, Mid South/UWF, St. Louis, and Japan. There is probably a lot more we will never see. The old timers I knew would put him on a Top 20 1980s List BEFORE The Million Dollar Man. For U.S. only, he was Top 10 to them. So let's talk the MDM gimmick. It was a character with lots of longevity and staying power. He was WWF's #1 heel. It ended when he ended physically. Does he have stinkers and does he play it too safe in the WWF? Was he boring and disappointing at times? Yes. So do a lot of people, including Rude. It's not totally their fault (travel schedule and WWF's policy to dial it down in-ring have more to do with this). But DiBiase (and Rude) managed to have great memorable angles and mic work. They were heels and we paid to see them entertain us and get beat up (or secretly root for them). Ted was in the real main event scene though- the big feuds with Savage and Hogan. Rude clearly was a step below, and his main event title feud with The Ultimate Warrior was predictably the end of his line. Rick Rude is almost the exact opposite in terms of career paths. Those old timers I spoke about never liked his workrate in World Class, CWA, Florida, or with Manny. You could verify this with footage. He was noticed as an up-and-comer due to his looks and mid-card feuds he was in, similar to Billy Jack Haynes. By his own admission, he was green as grass. But he was naturally talented and learned via experience by fighting the best (and worst) workers.His WWF run magnified all his good qualities and talents on a grand stage and covered his Jesse Ventura shortcomings (cliche tests of strength, awkward punches and stomps, boring wristlocks and chinlocks, etc.). Rude was comical but did serious stuff when he needed to be intense. For as much as Rude in real life claimed he never needed a manager, there is no question that his managers added to his act to get over and to cheat to win. He eventually found himself as a high end worker in WCW. But it was so short due to injury. Yes, Rude finally was a top dog and had fantastic matches, but it wasn't for long. As a draw, DiBiase beats Rude. He also beats him on longevity and peak. And in-ring work. And spot on cards over a career. He beats Rude on versatility and quality of opponents. Mic work is debatable. Charisma I'll give to Rude. But it seems like fans (probably younger who were not exposed to Ted before 1988 WWF) overate Rude's gimmick, looks, "likability", and that WCW run (it wasn't even the main World Championship anyway and is considered a low period in WCW- although one of my personal favs).
  3. War is Raw

    The Greatest Wrestler Ever Project: Postscript

    I was too late for the poll, but love listening to the podcasts and reading the debates and cases. Just want to thank everyone who contributed. It is an impossible task to rank wrestlers in one list because many times it's comparing apples to oranges across era and with incomplete footage but it was a great academic effort. I would have had separate lists for U.S. , Mexico, Japan, Male/Female, Eras, etc. or something like that. I just don't think it is possible to have a fair and accurate grasp on so many workers throughout the territories and eras. But I loved the effort and discussion. It was a worthwhile project for sure.
  4. War is Raw

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    It's not cool when they insist they tell it like it is and say they have no reason to work us. I mean I get it, they constantly are working to get themselves over, but it insults my intelligence and is just plain deceitful when they say they are telling the truth. I get that Corny was non-confrontational at first but just the concept of wanting to work an angle with Callihan and giving him his phone number is carny. It would be equivalent of shooting an angle with Joey Janela on TNT next year. With Corny going to Impact after spending years bashing TNA and now working at MLW, Bruce going to back to WWE, JR going to AEW, and Eric being hired to for Smackdown, we could clearly see that podcasting is the new job application. The only question is...WHERE WILL VINCE RUSSO END UP NEXT? ___ Regarding MLW, I am glad I could watch for free. It is better than 2019 ROH. I think Impact is technically better. But there's just something about MLW that prevents me from watching it every week- I skip around. Could be the taping schedule where stars I want to see are not there or how guys come in and out, or how they have so-so local talent and small crowds. Could be because Corny says AEW is an outlaw mudshow and MLW is great. I like the concept and some of the workers- mostly the second generation ones, but there's just something off that prevents MLW from living up to its name, Major League Wrestling. It's probably the budget. But creatively, it's feels bare bones. Some cringe backstage skits. The undercard matches are mostly time fillers. The "fusion" label really means lucha and Tom Lawlor on the same card as standard indy workers. I sound more negative than I want to be. I guess I just have to be in the mood for MLW. It seems like everyone is trying hard.
  5. War is Raw

    Dave Meltzer stuff

    It's a double whammy. Dave is much more than a movie critic, too. He's like Bill James from baseball. They both kept track of stats, created new philosophies, found hidden gems, created new standards, and wound up dramatically changing their industries forever. Current GMs or bookers grew up reading them. There was a time when on base % was never even talked about in baseball, but James was the one who campaigned for it in the early 1980s and ran computer simulations about it, showing how you could score more runs. In the 2000s players are seen as being more valuable for walking and getting hit by a pitch. Shawn Michaels was the first U.S. guy I really remember who wanted to "steal the show" with highspots regardless of context and tried to win MOTN. Shane Douglas tried to do that in ECW as well (ha). The cruiserweights in WCW and ECW also did (and succeeded). But nowadays? The last Takeover. Seemed like Shawn and Triple H in the back wanted to actually wanted Takeover to have a better star average than Double or Nothing. One of the best things about AEW is that they build the cards like boxing or UFC- the undercard is technically skippable and things heat up for the last three matches. True fans can appreciate the undercard with solid matches and excellent character work. But everyone went all out on Takeover- no warming up the crowd or building. Dave never takes any responsibility for his influence on the way modern wrestlers work. He's on the autism spectrum when confronted about it. He would have given the Ibushi match a super high rating but Bryan had already shit on it the second before he did on that podcast.
  6. War is Raw

    AEW Fight For The Fallen

    Dark Order- especially Numero Uno- really knew how to cut-off Jungle Boy's shine. He did his job to perfection as a heel, i.e. as a fan I hated him. The gimmick itself is satire and/or nostalgia- and over everyone's head. We shall see if AEW gets away from the meta commentary, obscure references, and memes once TNT starts or if they see The Dark Order as an example of a basic wrestling formula as seen on older wrestling TV shows and local indy events. Evil masked wrestlers have been a trope since the beginning of wrestling, and just because WWE has conditioned fans to see it as low-rent rasslin', there ought to be a place for The Dark Order IMHO.
  7. War is Raw

    AEW Fight For The Fallen

    I love Riho's selling and movez. Jim Cornette said she's never draw a dime in this "sport", but I'd pay to see her.
  8. War is Raw

    Nick Bockwinkel

    Nick was a timeless wrestler who could have worked any era. I'm glad much has made tape, but just imagine the things we have not seen. He was a consummate professional, highly intelligent, could work with so many different opponents, a fantastic character with great mic work, acted like a legit World and Tag Champion, was a final boss heel, a surprisingly good face, had a believable grappling style, could write the book on being a rulebreaking heel, had insane longevity and did impossible things in his 50s (!)- a shame most fans don't know who he was. Even AWA Gen X'ers only saw his ending as an "old guy" The criticism about him being a champ as an "old guy" is on Verne, not him. If I have any criticism of him, it's the style of the era (restholds), not him. I could only imagine if he existed today in any league besides WWE.
  9. War is Raw

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    I agree. I love old school wrestling, but this episode felt like bad retro. For as much as Jame E likes to call AEW low rent, well...MLW isn't fooling anyone. That said, I will continue to show my free support by watching, liking, and subbing on MLW's YT channel. I liked last week better.
  10. War is Raw

    Bruiser Brody

    NWA Classics had a few good Brody matches. Brody vs Mongolian Stomper was a fantastic double juice brawl, with multiple chairs. His match vs The Spoiler was excellent. Held his own vs Bockwinkel and Dusty's comedy routine.
  11. War is Raw

    [1985-07-20-WWF-Landover, MD] Ricky Steamboat vs Bob Orton Jr

    Yes, this match was a classic. I agree with everything in this thread. By the way, I re-watched Orton's work from 1984-5 WWF (he's someone I was not interested in as a kid), and he truly is a NWA-style technical heel. He was great in this time frame, and I remember old timers then telling me his previous NWA work was even better. I also was very pleased with Steamboat's charisma here. The Dragon unfortunately is boring to me in his Muraco and Roberts feuds- he tends to sell too much and work submissions too long, but here he really felt like a larger than life character early on his is WWF run and in the Orton match. Compare this match with the Muraco one in the other Best of the WWF Volume, and Steamboat's offense is like night and day. Steamboat also looks good when teaming with Tito Santana vs The Dream Team in this video series, although he had vanilla tights to match Santana's.
  12. War is Raw

    [1985-07-13-WWF-MSG, NY] Terry Funk vs Lanny Poffo

    I was not interested in this match when I was a kid. Back then I began to suspect that the people who made the Best of the WWF Volumes were selecting random meaningless matches (especially with the women, midgets, TV taping DQ matches, jobbers, and random tags). Lo and behold, I am going through this series as a grizzled veteran, and I must say I was BLOWN AWAY by Terry Funk vs Lanny Poffo. I gave it chance because I love Funk and Poffo is underrated and a good shoot interviewer and was glad I paid attention. This match broke so many routines for WWF in 1985. I would love to hear the story behind this match. I was expecting a squash. At best, I was expecting Lanny Poffo to shine and then do the job. Instead, we get an actual lengthy even-steven match with multiple comebacks, insane bumps, highspots, and an actual chance Poffo wins by pinfall or DQ. Funk's heel character work as a crazed cowboy was both humorous and scary at the same time. He's like a 1800s drunk outlaw who shoots his pistol randomly at saloons. Poffo actually pulled off an early hurricanrana and Funk took it like a champ. As far as the question of the psychology of how a JJTS could be so effective, actually WWWF/WWF has always been like this- TV jobbers had much longer and more effective undercard matches at house shows. So I wouldn't think too hard about that trope. I know Jim Cornette and others criticize modern day indie workers for "wanting to get all their shit in", but Funk let Poffo "get all his shit in" (Ric Flair and Harley Race were also open-minded about that). Poffo could have made a decent mid-card act in this time frame. I feel his gymnastic moves made up for his lack of muscle. I really, really loved this match. In many ways, it is perfect. I highly recommend it. It is truly a hidden gem and I wish more JTTS WWF matches were as entertaining like this was.
  13. War is Raw

    WWE Crown Jewel: No Girlz ALLOWED~!

    With all the controversy going in, and due to the Saudi fans just being happy to see the WWE brand, all Vince had to do was have some decent matches with better finishes with no angles, i.e. a glorified house show with babyfaces going over. The World Cup was a troll angle. Dolph vs Miz in the finals was ridiculous after the World Cup was being hyped as having legendary icons and had babyface vs heel matches until then. Shane O'Mac winning it was the nail in the coffin. I know this board is unique in that it generally does not rate highly Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, and Seth Rollins but the World Cup could have had some decent matches if booked as a real tourney. Brock and Braun could have at least had a 12-minute actual 50/50 match. Even decent matches like AJ vs Joe and the preshow had abrupt/quick clean finishes. Not sure how fans were supposed to feel satisfied with DX posing at the end, considering Triple H and Shawn screwed Taker in Australia. Felt like 1997 again in terms of politics. No wonder Hogan had to bring Jimmy Hart for locker room protection. :-) Taker and Kane missing Shawn's moonsault on the outside was bad. Anyway, really bad booking and finishes, leaving out all the real world issues. No, not as bad as 2000 WCW but still indefensible. But the so-called experts still pull their punches: instead of just coming out and saying it was a COMPLETE BOMB: Wade Keller: "There was some news and decent action on this show, but not enough to justify the near four hours it took, and the news is more puzzling than satisfying at this point." Jason Powell: "And while I won’t put Shane’s win in the Hit category, I will say that I’m not as down on it as a lot of fans seemed to be on Friday. In fact, the angle helped explain Shane’s dickish announcement that he would fire any Smackdown wrestler who lost to a Raw wrestler in the finals because he couldn’t handle his sister having bragging rights."