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3/12 - Thoughts On The Following Wrestlers


Marty
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I'll post my thoughts eventually, but I felt we could use another list of these. Hope I didn't repeat anyone (from previous lists):

 

Bret Hart

Shane Douglas

Toshiaki Kawada

Demolition

Diamond Dallas Page

Al Snow

Scott Hall

Yuji Nagata

Psychosis

Steve Austin

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Guest Some Guy

Bret Hart - Great worker. Maybe the best technical wrestler I;ve ever seen. He could cut a decent promo when he had material he believed in like the Pro-Canada stuff.

 

Shane Douglas - Was already done.

 

Toshiaki Kawada - Don't know much about him.

 

Demolition - I thought they were really cool when I was 8. I still like their entrance music. "Here comes the Ax, here comes the Smasher. We're Demolition walking disasters."

 

Diamond Dallas Page - DDP is luckiest guy in wrestling. He happend to live next door to the guy running WCW and as a result he ended up MEing WCW PPVs and is considered a star bu some to this day. He never really was much of a star though. Name a PPV that he headlined that didn't have Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, and Hulk Hogan in it that drew. He did have a great finisher and usually had solidm yet unspectatular matches and was a pretty bad promo guy.

 

Al Snow - He was a pretty good worker in 95, not so much after that.

 

Scott Hall - I'm a big mark for the guy. I can admit that he wasn't a great worker but he entertained the hell out of me with his goofy selling and mic work.\

 

Yuji Nagata - I only saw him when he as in WCW and from what I've read that wasn't an acurate representation of his skills.

 

Psychosis - He was already done.

 

Steve Austin - Great worker before the injury, great brawler after it and he did work in a few great technical matches with Benoit and Angle in 2001. Great talker and huge draw. Too bad he's an asshole who likes to beat up women.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

Bret Hart: A great technical worker in the US style. Underrated on the mic due to his interview style being more suited to serious promos rather than the SE style prevalent in the WWF.

 

Toshiaki Kawada: A tremendous Strong Style wrestler, and a great brawler as well. In his prime, one of the very best in the business.

 

Demolition: A great tag team, who could be part of **** matches with almost any other tag team of their era.

 

Diamond Dallas Page: A hard worker, whose efforts often get overlooked due to his political connections. His limitations as a worker, that being an inability or unwillingness to call a match, were his downfall during the Invasion, getting him a tag of being someone unable to work.

 

Al Snow: Never got the break his talents deserved. Could have been an IC-level talent in the WWF if he had been given the Crow gimmick originally planned for him.

 

Scott Hall: A decent worker, who was made to look better than he was by two legendary gimmick matches with Shawn Michaels.

 

Yuji Nagata: A tremendous worker, who?s career as a major player was killed by his ill-fated MMA fights. Thanks, Inoki, you clueless schmuck.

 

Steve Austin: Super hard worker, great draw, tremendous on the mic. Could have been even bigger had he not suffered his neck injury.

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Guest Some Guy

You really think Austin could have been bigger without the injury? I think the return from the initial injury gave him more cred as being "the toughest SOB in the WWF" and he was starting to get a little stale by the neck surgery (3 straight years of being all over every show and doing the same thing over and over will do that), he came back fresh in late 2000 and then slowed down with the ill-advised heel turn. By the time he turned face again his days as a super hot draw were pretty much behind him. Basically I think he got as big as he ever was going to be with or without the injury. This is not a knock on him at all, he was unquestionably a great, great draw and performer.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

Without the neck injury, Austin would have had more flexibility in regards to matches and angles he could participate in. For instance, his IC Title matches with Owen at SummerSlam and Survivor Series would have been so much better, especially the second one, and that surely would have given him even more of a boost. With a wrestling healthy neck, I think Austin would have been able to do more than he did, and he'd have been able to do things that could very well have drawn even more money. As for his growing stale, a few hot angles could have taken care of that.

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Bret Hart- An excellent worker whose matches to this day still draw me in to the action and make me stop thinking like a Smark. He was capable at promos though ususally nothing special.

 

Shane Douglas- I never really got Shane's appeal. He seemed to have above average mic skills but wasn't anything special in the ring.

 

Toshiaki Kawada- I haven't seen much of Kawada's work but what I've seen I have enjoyed.

 

Demolition- I thought they were an excellent tag team especially when it was Ax and Smash in the ring, not Crush. They were a good example of two guys who on their own weren't the greatest but together blended perfectly. Also, Their theme was one of the best of the era.

 

Diamond Dallas Page- Despite his faults (preplanning his matches) I usually enjoyed Page. He wasn't a great worker but he knew his limitations and built his matches around them. His matches were usually solid and entertaining.

 

Al Snow- Al had tremendous charisma and at one time was an excellent worker, and he may still be, however he never got the chance to really showoff his talent in the WWE.

 

Scott Hall- I am a Scott Hall mark. I'm a fan of his mic work which I found to be entertaining and I liked his selling. I don't think he was an outstanding worker but he was perfectly acceptable when not stoned/drunk.

 

Yuji Nagata- I vaguely recall Yuji from his time in WCW, but unfortunetly not well enough to feel comfortable giving an opinion on him. If anyone knows some good matches involving him, I'll check them out though.

 

Psychosis- Psychosis was one of the first Crusiers that I remember seeing and going "Wow, that was insane) at. He was overshadowed by Rey, Juvi, and some of the other top Crusiers in WCW but I always looked forward to watching him work.

 

Steve Austin- Austin was one of the first heels I really cheered for, back when he was "Stunning", I loved his work in the Blondes, and against Steamboat, and I only came to enjoy him more once he became "Stone Cold". His promos were simply amazing alot of the time and his matches much like Bret Hart's, always drew me into them.

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Bret Hart- I have always been a fan of Bret's work. In the Flair controversy, I am firmly behind Bret since Flair is full of shit. Flair's comments in his bio were full of shit and shameless HHH/HBK ass-kissing. I can only hope that he gets a better DVD comp than the fucking Screwed DVD that has been rumored. I also look forward to his biography.

 

Shane Douglas- I have never seen a good Shane Douglas singles match. A shit tlaker who couldn't back it up in the ring. I have zero respect for this guy. My favorite story is how the Radicals ditched him and left him in WCW when they made the jump. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

 

Toshiaki Kawada- The best wrestler of the 1990s who happened to be one half of the greatest tag-team I have ever seen.

 

Demolition- I grew up on the Road Warriors. When I saw these guys for the first time I knew they were a rip off. They had some good matches and I like their theme music. I guess that is the nicest thing I could say about them.

 

Diamond Dallas Page- It was mentioned earlier that DDPs planning of matches was a fault but it was probably the reason he had some good-great matches. For the boys in the back, I can see why that is a weakness. For those of us watching the matches, it was a good thing. More shitty wrestlers would do well to pre-plan their matches. Hell, Warrior and Hogan practiced their WM match for weeks and made it watchable. Imagine if they had gone in their and called it in the ring. It would probably be called the worst match in WM history.

 

Al Snow- Al has charisma but I never thought he was anything special in the ring.

 

Scott Hall- I always thought Scott Hall was what made the nWo work.

 

Yuji Nagata- What I have seen has not impressed me. I may have to watch more matches to get a better idea.

 

Psychosis- I loved his series with Rey in ECW. Then I watched his stuff with Rey in AAA and it blew me away.

 

Steve Austin - There has been so much said about Austin so I'll just chime in on the HTQ-Some Guy debate. I have to go with HTQ on this one. Before the injury, Austin was a really good wrestler who could already brawl if need be. The injury really forced him to stick with the brawling and also ushered in the dreaded WWF style that we all despise so much now. If Austin doesn't get injured at SS97, it is possible 98 and 99 WWF would have been much better in the main event.

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Guest Some Guy

I don't argue that he wouldn't have been a better worker, but I don;t think it possible for him to have been an even bigger draw.

 

I think that HTQ has a point in that Austin was limited in the gimmick matches that he could do after the injury but he was never really a big bump taker and was firmly a mat wrestler (he did the elbow of the second rope before his knees got so bad he couldn't take that bump, I don't think I've ever seen him go to the top rope in the WWF) in the first place so Ladder Matches and HiaC and the like didn't really fit his style anyway.

 

Either way I think the Stone Cold gimmick and mic work drew most of the money and the fact that he could more than back it up in the ring is what made him such a huge draw. As I said I'm not knocking him at all in that regard, I just think he was so huge that he couldn't have been bigger. I don't know how old you guys are but I was in high school when WM 14 happened (I live just north of Boston, so it was an even bigger deal here than most places because it was at the FleetCenter) but I don't think that there would have been anymore kids wearing his shirts than there were (probably 50 kids in my school wore 3:16 shirts the day after WM) or more people would have bought the PPV or any other Austin was in if he hadn't hurt his neck. He would have been a better worker but workrate alone doesn't really draw.

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Bret Hart: Excellent worker, however almost all of his problems seem to stem from him being a mark for his own character.

 

Toshiaki Kawada: One of the most unlucky guys in wrestling history, every time he wins the big one he ends up with an injury that cuts his reign short.

 

Demolition: I was a huge mark for these guys back in the day, looking back it was amazing they were able to stay at the level they were at for so long considering Ax was at the tail end of a long career.

 

Diamond Dallas Page: His promos were a little repetitive, but he always seemed solid in the ring. His work always seems to be diminished by his connections with Bisch despite the fact that Page usually proved himself in the ring.

 

Al Snow: He must owe someone in WWE a lot of money, its the only reason I can understand him being so loyal to a company that never seemed to run out of ways to misuse him.

 

Scott Hall: I first saw him in the AWA when he was still sporting the 70s porn star look, and even then he had the potential to be a top level guy. For all the credit HBK gets for the ladder matches, people seem to forget he wasn't in there by himself.

 

Yuji Nagata: I remember watching his work in WCW and I got a sense that he could be somebody in a place that would allow him to do his thing.

 

 

Steve Austin: Went from a great worker stuck in mid card hell in WCW to a brawler with almost no techinical skills and one of the biggest draws in wrestling history in the WWF/E. He's Exhibit A in the "workrate vs charisma" debate.

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There is no debate. Workrate *versus* charisma is a manufactured issue. There are ZERO good workers out there who have no charisma. If they don't have charisma, they aren't good workers.

 

There is not a single quality that is more important than another. It's more about having a total package that exceeds the sum of its parts, which is something that every big star in wrestling history has had in common.

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Austin had great workrate and charisma.

 

Where's the debate?

The debate is when workrate freaks demand that only wrestlers with high workrate should be pushed despite the fact that it's not what puts asses in seats.

 

Austin didn't really get anywhere on his workrate alone, it's not until he got fired and channeled his anger over that into the Stone Cold personna did he become huge.

 

There is not a single quality that is more important than another. It's more about having a total package that exceeds the sum of its parts, which is something that every big star in wrestling history has had in common.

 

*points at Hogan*

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

Hogan put the effort in.

 

You can't just rest on charisma, just like you can't just rest on athleticism. Ultimately, a successful wrestler has to deliver in and outside of the ring, I think you are blowing the issue out of proporation, whatever "workrate freaks" you are talking about are either long-dead or in the vast minority. I'd say there are more "charisma freaks" than "workrate freaks", who'd say that Hogan was all charisma and no inring ability and that Benoit was no charisma and all in-ring ability. In both instances, that's not the case. They both stood out in their own way and in wrestling "standing out" is the most important thing.

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I'd say there are more "charisma freaks" than "workrate freaks", who'd say that Hogan was all charisma and no inring ability and that Benoit was no charisma and all in-ring ability. In both instances, that's not the case.

 

 

But in the cases you cite, it *is* true. Hogan's whole appeal was his charisma. No one bought a ticket or a PPV based on Hogan's ability to work a good match.

 

As far as Benoit goes, he's no doubt one of the most gifted wrestlers ever, but charisma wise he's as bland as dry toast. What does he do to get the crowd involved other than sounding angry and doing the thumb-across-the-throat signal for the headbutt?

 

To get over in wrestling you have to have an abundance of charisma and be capable enough in the ring to not embarrass yourself.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

As far as Benoit goes, he's no doubt one of the most gifted wrestlers ever, but charisma wise he's as bland as dry toast. What does he do to get the crowd involved other than sounding angry and doing the thumb-across-the-throat signal for the headbutt?

 

To get over in wrestling you have to have an abundance of charisma and be capable enough in the ring to not embarrass yourself.

As far as Benoit goes, he's no doubt one of the most gifted wrestlers ever, but charisma wise he's as bland as dry toast. What does he do to get the crowd involved other than sounding angry and doing the thumb-across-the-throat signal for the headbutt?

Wrestle **** matches. And he gets a pretty good reaction when his music hits.

 

To get over in wrestling you have to have an abundance of charisma and be capable enough in the ring to not embarrass yourself.

Chris Benoit is over, and as you have admitted, he doesn't have a boatload if charisma, at least in the traditional sense.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

Does he sell PPVs and merch? Do people buy tickets because Chris Benoit is in the man event (outside of Canada)?

He has drawn somewhat on PPV, yes. Fully Loaded back in 2000, with Benoit v Rock on top, did a strong enough buy rate, something in the 400,000 range IIRC, that you couldn't say that he wasn't a draw. Benoit gets strong reactions when he comes out no matter where they are. Benoit is over. Could he more over ? Sure, but he's absolutely over, and he has drawn, and can still draw as much as almost anyone can today.
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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I was watching Benoit vs. Fit Finlay the other day, and Benoit was *huge* over. Loud "Benoit" chants. How can you explain someone who is "bland as dry toast" getting those reactions? And how can you explain him getting them for so long? Just because Benoit doesn't take 20 minutes to cut promos or walk the aisle, doesn't mean there is something about him that attracts the audiences attention. An abundance of charisma is not needed to get over, because if you can still manage to relate to the audience and get them emotionally involved in your match, then you can let your work speak for itself.

 

People pay to see Hogan wrestle. They didn't pay to see his movies, so clearly its not just his acting and charisma they want to see. What they get out of his matches are different from what they get out of Benoits matches, but Hogan couldn't just sleep through a match. At his peak, Hogan didn't suck in the ring and he certainly put the effort in his matches. Watch his match with Savage at WM 5, there's a ton of workrate from Hogan there.

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Guest Some Guy

I think Hogan was actually a pretty decent worker when he wanted to be. His matches were generally passable up until 95 or so and he always had the crowd on his side. Hogan/Rock, while obviously not a technical masterpiece was an incredible worked match. The crowd was going bat shit and they were able to bring them up and down and back up and eventually get Rock back over as a face.

 

Benoit's problem is not charisma or lack of mic skills it's is how he's been booked. He has had his knees cut out from under him and been beaten clean so many times that he always lost any momentum he was allowed to build up. In WCW, as was mentioned, when he was booked as a strong mid-carder in 96-98 he got huge pops and had the crowd behind him through out the whole match. Listen to the pop he got for beating Sullivan at GAB 96. But since he wasn't moved up the card at the appropriate time (98) the fans started to lose faith that he would ever go anywhere. Skip ahead to WWF, who did the exact same thing with him except they beat him in high profile matches and treated him as an after-thought to Shane McMahon. Then they started to actually push him (when they had no choice because HHH was hurt and Rock was gone) and he got hurt. They brought him back with no fan fare, having inexplicably come back to Raw despite being drafted to SD! and then switching him back to SD! (I don't even remember why). They used him to get Cena and a few other guys over before giving him a token World Title win at WM, during which he played second fiddle to HHH/HBK when he should have had a PPV singles match with HBK at Bad Blood, and then giving HHH his rematch after he carried Randy Orton to his best matcha and dropped the title. He didn't even get a title shot unitl New Year's Revolution adn he was basically just a warm body to fil out the match. It's really no wonder why he isn't a big draw or as over as he is capable of being. They don't treat him like he's a top guy, so why should the fans? Had they put him over HHH on his first SD! in a non-title match he would have been an instant star and been able to to headline successfully through out his WWF career, but they chose not to.

 

Plus, he's been stuck with some horrible catchphrases "Toothless Aggression" and "Prove me wrong! (which was ok except he was in fact proven wrong a billion times while using the line) and they took his already over and much cooler nickname (Crippler) and gave him the ackward sounding "Rabid Wolverine" thing.

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Guest Alfdogg

...he actually said "Toothless Aggression?" I thought I remembered it being on a shirt or something, but I didn't think he actually used it as a catchphrase.

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Bret Hart: One of my all-time favourites. What's happened to both his personal and professional life is a tragedy.

 

Shane Douglas: The pure definition of the term "overrated". Never saw what a lot of others saw in him.

 

Toshiaki Kawada: Great, great worker. I need to see more of his stuff.

 

Demolition: Not the greatest workers, but could hide their weaknesses as a tag team. I never got that much NWA in the past, so back then, I had no idea that they were a take-off of some other original team.

 

Diamond Dallas Page: Preplans his matches, as everyone knows, but a solid worker, and pretty entertaining.

 

Al Snow: Underrated guy who never got his due. His stories related to his 1996-97 WWF run are both sad and funny at the same time.

 

Scott Hall: Eh, average worker at best, who gets far too many props because of two ladder matches. His mic work is a guilty pleasure of mine. Might have been bigger than what he turned out to be had it not been for demons.

 

Yuji Nagata: Great, great worker from what I've seen. And from what I've heard, what Inoki is doing with the poor guy is insane.

 

Psychosis: He's kind of like Eddy Guerrero to Rey Mysterio's Chris Benoit. Even though Benoit and Eddy haven't had the same rivalry as Mysterio and Psychosis. And Mysterio and Psychosis have never been on-screen friends. Still, Psychosis is fun to watch and is definitely a lucha libre ambassador.

 

Steve Austin: Another one of my all-time faves, and I have to agree with HTQ: He would've been even bigger and better had it not been for the neck injury, due to being a more long-term success.

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Steve Austin: Went from a great worker stuck in mid card hell in WCW to a brawler with almost no techinical skills and one of the biggest draws in wrestling history in the WWF/E. He's Exhibit A in the "workrate vs charisma" debate.

I don't really think it's fair to say that Austin stopped being skilled technically after his neck injury, it was more that the brawling style was probably easier on his body and was working well for him. I think there were moments in his feuds with Angle and Benoit that he showed he could still do some technical work.

 

I also remember a Raw match he had with Mr. Perfect that was pretty much a technical match, that I enjoyed alot. Wether that was because the ringwork was good or because it was a markout moment I can't honestly remember though.

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