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Loss

Introducing The Microscope

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This new forum is a place for anyone to make the case for any wrestler as whatever they think they should be -- overrated, underrated, GOAT candidate, and so on. You can add YouTube links, match reviews and general thoughts into it over time. The threads can be used to debate the merits of the case being made, and can be bumped anytime. I think it'll make a good reference, and at some point, I'll scour the board and look for existing topics that we can plunk there.

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I am not done moving threads here, in case anyone was curious. I realize there are more.

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Great idea, but is there a way the Ted DiBiase stuff can be kept to the Ted DiBiase thread? I'm sick to death of reading about fucking Ted DiBiase in every thread (I'm looking at you, Jerry).

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BRM, I agree with youmnd your general point and have had to remind people to stay on topic but Dibiase is the hot shit right now because Jerry insists on comparing him to everyone who worked in the 90s. I'll just remind Jerry to take a comparison to the Dibiase thread when he gets that urge.

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I want to defend myself a little bit here, the DiBiase comparisons haven't come from my urges, they've come from my reactions to people making wildly controversial claims like "Bossman is a better worker in WWF" and "Luger vs. Windham is better than any match DiBiase ever had in WWF".

 

However, I think I've hit the point Loss did a week ago and got burnt out so I'm going to chill for a week or two and concentrate on AWA and Yearbooks.

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One of the little things I've been thinking about recently is how in the world of literary criticism and theory there are different critical schools and approaches.

 

I think these exist also in the world of watching wrestling and rating it, although they don't all have names. I have identified a number of different schools as follows:

 

Structuralism -- Matt D is a leading proponent of this; the approach of those for whom structure is everything. He's always looking for coherence as a guiding principle for the match. He doesn't like things for their own sake, they must have a purpose.

 

Blood, guts and violence -- this is Will's default mode, brawling, sweet punches, gallons of blood, brutality, violence for its own sake.

 

00s-Keithism -- this is the now dated "workrate" approach that dominated the early internet. Workrate is in scare quotes because it tended to be shorthand for "guys who could do suplex variations and / or who could do flippy moves from the top rope". At its worst, this approach was blind to a lot of things. At its best, it encouraged more casual fans to discover matches from Japan and elsewhere.

 

Role-relativism -- this is the "he played his role well" line, which can be a lens through which you see all wrestling. As in literary criticism, two different schools can often be "buddied up" in someone's approach. So you could be both a structuralist and a role-relativist. Role-relativism is one of the more forgiving schools of criticism.

 

Individualism -- this is a focus more on what guys do than on the structure of the match. The thing in focus is more on the how rather than the why.

 

Microism -- a subset or "advanced" version of the above. This is the study and appreciation of "the little things", often buddied up with other approaches. The wrestling equivalent of "close reading" -- more a tool than an approach itself.

 

Contextualism-- considering a match within the overall context of the booking, what it is setting up or blowing off, and how effective that is. I find myself thinking about booking quite a lot, especially when considering finishes. This is the approach that most considers factors external to the match itself. Its mirror in the world of literary criticism is known as 'historicism'.

 

There are probably other approaches too, although I can't think of them right now. I find myself flitting between all of these.

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So are we all Postmodernists up in here then. I guess it's not possible to be anything else talking about this stuff on the net. Or is it. I wonder if we could get a Marxist critique going of some wrestling, it wouldn't be about the match itself though I suppose. In all seriousness though that's an interesting post Jerry, I'll have to dig out the old Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory to find out if I fit in anywhere.

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Well JQ, I think a Marxist critique of wrestling would be very easy to do. It would take the form of your standard Althusserian ideology critique -- the ideologies and values being promoted and perpetuated are embodied in the faces, those against which they define themselves are embodied in the heels.

 

The only complication comes in the Attitude era, especially with Austin and those sections of the fans who cheered for the NWO. For that, I'd switch to a Foucauldian analysis of power relations and rearticulate the standard line on power-containment, i.e. the dominant power actively fosters dissidence only to contain that dissidence. In the Austin case, the WWF were actively fostering a dissident perspective in Austin, but in fact the net result of what they were doing reinforced the status quo (i.e. everyone gives their money to the The Man aka Vince). The narrative of dissidence is entirely contained in the product -- the same fans who cheer wildly for Austin and boo Mr. McMahon, are the same fans giving their money to the real Mr. McMahon for tickets, Austin t-shirts and so on. It's not real dissidence but the illusion of dissidence.

 

Wrestling lends itself almost too readily to this sort of analysis, to the point where actually making it feels a little trite (because the conclusions feel so obvious).

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the most simultaneously distateful and high brow joke in the history of wrestling forums?

Thanks for the nice compliment.:)

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