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GIVIN? ?EM WHAT THEY WANT

By Ben Miller

[email protected]

 

Almost ten years after the internet explosion that brought the inside

of the business out, a fascinating phenomenon has blossomed. The

arguments always seemed to sway between the old timers who thought

fans would scatter once they uncovered the magician?s secret and the

web generation?s idea that deeper analysis leads to greater fandom.

 

While both sides have plenty of ammunition to support those broad

reaching arguments, what can be pinpointed is the fact that so many

of those former tape traders and online addicts are now part of the

business. Be it WWE writers, TNA on-air talent or independent

promoters, more and more folks want to emulate the folks in the 90?s

who sold the steak rather than the sizzle.

 

In the world of these hardcores, individual performance reigns over

all. It becomes crystallized in the indy world, where low budgets

allow hardcore promoters to book for hardcore fans. Gym time out;

ring time in. Run-ins out; clean pins in. Light punches out; stiff

elbows in. The small time is bursting with talented workers who put

on shows where every match is competitive, nothing lasts less than

ten minutes and the workers get to ply their craft.

 

It?s everything the fans say they want. To hear the hundreds lined

up outside the Pro Wrestling Guerilla show in Los Angeles last

weekend a half an hour before each show, these shows where the

promoters? and wrestlers? mentality matches the hardcore sensibility

of the internet fans is a welcome relief from WWE.

 

But as is true in any aspect of life, conscious desires and what one

actually wants are often two entirely different things. Even for the

hardcores -- this segment of the larger counter-culture that treats

logical, competitive wrestling with such reverence ? the actions of

the fans revealed undeniable truths about the business.

 

Hardcore fans say they want to see all the great wrestlers ply their

trade on each show, but when the first night of the tournament lasted

over four hours, the second night saw many fans stay away even though

a winner was to be crowned. Hardcore fans say they want matches that

build logically, but many of these matches saw lengthy quiet periods

broken only by polite clapping for highspots. Some ?Shhhh? chants

even started up among the more cynical sections of the crowd when the

building got silent.

 

There were more subtle signs of a subconscious desire for a WWE style

production as well. Not one character was over to the point that

they drew an emotional reaction to their match. The work was

technically phenomenal, but winners and losers were largely

immaterial. Pops for nearly every finish came no matter who got the

duke. There are wrestlers who play babyfaces and heels, but the

competitive match must come first. Sacrificing hot moves to get over

as a heel, for example, is not and option.

 

By the end of nearly nine grueling hours spread over two days, the

author?s conscious and sub-conscious wrestling desires finally seemed

to merge into one. A squash match, a Ricky Morton formula tag match

or a ?roided up monster in the ring who actually looked like he could

kick someone?s ass all would have been welcome sights. From the

exhausted look on most people?s faces, surely this was not an

isolated feeling.

 

In a month, this will pass. Anyone burned out today on competitive,

realistic matches that respect the business will probably get enough

of the alternative from WWE. By then, the conscious and the sub-

conscious will part ways once more. But for the hardcore utopia of

PWG-style indy shows to find a broad audience, sacrifices must be

made. Be it Total Non-stop Action, Ring of Honor or anyone else, if

a competitor is to arise on the national scene, the promotion has to

give ?em what they don?t want.

What's your take on this? I have a lot I want to say, and I'm not even totally sure where to start. I'll come back to this shortly, but I thought he made some excellent points.

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I don't watch much indy wrestling because I just can't get into it so I can't comment on the overall scene. However, from what I gather the authour here is saying that the wrestling audience can't handle a million matches trying to be a 5 star AJPW classic with no strong charactors to get behind. Variety is the spice of life.

 

 

And he's right. That's why I watch several different organizations such as AJPW, AJW, Stampede, the WWF, the WCW, Michinoku Pro and the lucha libre organizations. You need that variety. Not only with different federations but you need it on the same card because if you don't everything gets redundant and nothing means as much as it could. You've got to avoid the dreaded J word -- Jaded.

 

You need strong/entertaining/believable charactors that you can get behind who make you care (Joshi), a strong hierachy, 4 minute matchups, big wrestlers, little wrestlers, a comedy wrestler, fat wrestlers, small wrestlers, average quality matchups so you can appreciate the better ones and a few squashes on the side but not too many.

 

I would you say you need different match styles too but I think it's important not to get away from a main formula too much because I believe it's important for your audience to be familar with the style so they can really feel part of something and get into a match. Some variety but not too, too much in that instance.

 

All this is easier said than done of course.

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Man, reading your post, I swear I was listening to the Dusty Rhodes Secrets of the Ring.

 

So, do I agree with what the guy is saying? No and I also have a problem with being described as a jaded wrestling fan. If I am jaded, it is only because so much crap has been shoved down my throats by companies I used to enjoy that i am forced to seek out alternatives to get my wrestling fix that at least on the surface do not insult my intelligence. If PWG is trying to make every match a MOTY than bravo for them. I would rather see them attmept that and fail than be force-fed mediocre shit on Monday/Friday nights. Jillian Hall's mole skits are different from an Eddie-Rey match but I don't want to have anything ot do with the former.

 

I think each wrestling fan can get something different out of the product but what they appreciate is based on experience. 5 years ago, at my experience level, I would have told you that Owen-Bret from WMX was a bonafide 5 star classic. Now, I struggle giving it 4 stars. I have been exposed to so many great wrestling matches that followed it and preceded that match that it is hard for me to get excited when watching it. What entertains me now is much different from what entertained me 5 years ago. This is what disturbs me about fans that won't even try to experience a Japanese fed or Lucha. No one is saying you have to like it but to not even try is a line of thinking similar to "Ignorance is bliss".

 

When I was a child, growing up in the 80s, win/loss records mattered to me, title holders mattered and it disturbed me when the face lost. Now, all of those things are insignificant when I watch wrestling. As I grew older I had to find other reasons to care... whether it was "workrate", seeing smartly-worked matches play out, discovering strengths or weaknesses of wrestlers or any other attempt at critical thinking. Something has to keep me coming back. I rarely watch wrestling because of the notion that wrestling is entertainment that should not be analyzed or looked at critically. If I can't view wrestling as a higher form of art (which it can be) then there is no real reason for me to watch. There are too many other entertainment alternatives out there.

 

Another aspect I find fascinating is watching wrestling history being made. I enjoy feuds and angles but I find them entertaining from a historical perspective. If I am watching a crappy angle or bad matches from the past, I have to fit it in the historical context it deserves and what was going on behind the scenes to even having it on my TV screen. If not, give me a comp that bypasses the shit altogether. Life is too short.

 

Seriously, why do perfectly normal logical humans get excited about men rolling around in their underwear? It could be some underlying homo-erotic subconconscious longing for sweaty man love... or it could be a way for non-violent people to release thier violent urges. Hell, as a wrestling fan, unless i want to admit I am wasting my life away on trash, I need to find a reason to justify being a fan because the idea of supporting a worked sport devoid of reality isn;t good enough. It could be because of some vain attempt to justify it as an an art-form that deserves a critical look even though it appeals to the lowest common denominator... but it is what keeps me watching.

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I think what he's saying is that expecting every single wrestling match to be competitive, serious and well-worked is trying to make wrestling something it isn't. It's not the goal of every match to be the best one ever, nor should it be, nor can we hold it against every match that can't be or isn't.

 

The same argument applies to me when I'm going through my DVDs. I have to take breaks sometimes after great matches, because if every single match I watch is great, I become numb to them. They all start running together after a while. We saw what happened in the late 90s when the bar became raised too high with dangerous bumps and highspots. I remember King of the Ring 2001, when they were without Rock and HHH already and Austin, Benoit and Angle walked away from the show injured. Chris Jericho was considered the lucky one, walking away from the show with a concussion. In that case, the blame can be laid on the promoter for raising the bar so high that the wrestlers had to kill themselves to not underperform based on fan expectations.

 

And those expectations have the ability to be manipulated. Take the greatest match you've ever seen. We all most likely have differing views on what that match is, but let's say that your favorite match is a 45-minute classic featuring two wrestlers who hate each other pulling everything out of their arsenals to show that this match is special. They reference past matches, the crowd is molten, there are tons of nearfalls ... whatever personal criteria for what constitues a great match in your mind. Okay, now imagine eight matches exactly like that on one show. Watching two matches like that back to back would leave me numb. Watching eight would burn me out on anything the company could ever do again, and my expectations would be so high that there's no way they could perform at that level for any length of time. It's great for the short term, but in the long run, it only hurts them.

 

Wrestling at its core, is entertainment. But wrestling, at its core, is death when *presented* as entertainment. I have a problem with indies making match quality a selling point. Wrestling is visceral. It's based on emotion. Fans should care who wins and who loses because they relate to the characters personally. You take out the visceral nature and you take out the emotion and you're left with, as goodhelmet said, two guys rolling around in their underwear pretending to fight. Who cares if a match is "technically proficient" -- that's a nice concept, but that's not wrestling. That's something else entirely (gymnastics?) and watching it based entirely on that guideline is trying to change the definition of something that has been pretty consistent in its definition for a long time.

 

The art of a good wrestling storyline has basically been lost, because in the past ten years, quite frankly, there have been far more offensive, badly written and badly executed storylines than satisfying ones that are done right. So that creates an attitude among the hardcore fan that the promotion is going to do everything they can to screw up a show, but the guys in the ring can still save it if you factor everything else out. It's understandable how we got to that point. It's also unfortunate that we've had indies try to surface as alternatives that haven't grasped that concept.

 

Sports entertainment is not a phrase that's even said in WWE all that much. But, watching ROH, you'd think they say it constantly in WWE. Truth is, while Vince McMahon still has my resentment for creating the term, the indies are far more obsessed with the term than Vince is. Wrestling has always been sports entertainment, and for the record, it was DAVE MELTZER who coined the term. Vince just started using it later. That's what wrestling is. It's sport and it's entertainment. The problem with WWE isn't that they strive to be both sport and entertainment, the problem with WWE is that they rarely do either very well. 90s All Japan Pro Wrestling was sports entertainment. It had the feel of a sport and many people were entertained by it. Very rarely does an indy promoter ever stop to think about what the term means and what exactly it is that they're fighting against, possibly because if they did, they'd realize how silly it is to do so. Are they saying Vince and WWE are embarrassing because they have their writers/bookers create a reason for every match to happen? Or are they saying Vince and WWE are embarrassing because they book their storylines in such poor fashion and the matches aren't as good as they should be for such a large, arrogant company? I have no problem with the latter, but it seems like the former is their point of view more often than not.

 

The goal of a wrestling match is to get the desired reaction from the audience. How I decide whether I like a match or not is in seeing what methods they use to reach that destination. I think this is lost on the majority of people, but the reason words like "psychology" and "transitions" get thrown around is because if you're looking at the very core of what they're doing in the ring, that's how they get to Point A to Point B. I care that if a wrestler attacks another wrestler's arm, he sells it all the way through because that's a great way to get sympathy for a babyface. I care that the babyface sells that arm because being able to perform moves normally without the arm hurting tells the audience that the struggle isn't real, that the heel isn't a threat and that the match is trivial. It's NOT because logically, it should play into the finish, or because it's the "technically proficient", correct way to work a wrestling match.

 

Let's use Hulk Hogan as an example. Lots of people think he sucks. Why do you think he sucks? Because he doesn't execute a lot of great moves and because the ones he does execute look like shit? That's bullshit. Let's ignore his ability to capture a live crowd's imagination and say he's a shit worker because he doesn't have a cool shooting star press. Bravo, watch gymnastics, and the rest of us will move on. It's like saying AJ Styles is better in the ring than Hulk Hogan because he has more moves, ignoring the fact that he really understands very little about how to work a match.

 

If PWG is trying to make every match a MOTY, then how can you distinguish them? How can you go back and say one was better than the other? How does the main event mean more than the undercard, which it should? It's a lost concept on many, but all things are not supposed to be equal in wrestling. Certain wrestlers should be established as being better than others. Certain matches should be more memorable and exciting than others. That's how you get people and events over -- by making them stand out of the pack.

 

I agree that my standards are higher because I've watched more footage from more eras in more styles and in more companies. But wrestlers in training should be watching just as much Memphis footage as they are All Japan footage -- two almost totally different products in how they do business, but they both have the same fundamental goal ... to reach an audience.

 

Goodhelmet, in all honesty, your post really makes you sound like you hate wrestling and that you're constantly having to justify watching it, which I know isn't true. Phrases like "there are better forms of entertainment out there" and saying that you no longer care who wins and who loses throw me off, and prove that you just might be a little jaded. I know I am. If not, why were you a fan of both WCW and the WWF at one point and what caused you to stop watching? Obviously, there were wrestlers in both companies you liked but the way they were handled tested your loyalty to the promotion. Those wrestlers are still there. What's different between now and then? And honestly, I'm not sure that when wrestling is at its absolute very best, there are better forms of entertainment out there. It's why I'm a fan. Think about your favorite movie and think about your favorite wrestling match ... on an entertainment level, would you say they're equal to each other? I would, personally.

 

I could write on this subject forever, but I've written enough for now.

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Indy feds can never hold my interest because of the constant harping on sports entertainment and slipping the smart lingo in there. I find smart lingo to be more insulting than a lot of what the WWF does. It totally ruins the illusions. Also it makes RoH in particular look stupid when they're preaching about no sports entertainment here and they have two gay wrestlers making out with plants in the crowd 5 minutes later.

 

Also trying to make every match a MOTYC totally kills my interest as well. You have the announcers calling it that 2 minutes into the match. It also sucks when you just finish a match and know you'll be sitting through another 15-20 minutes because of "workrate." When you use MOTYC to describe the main event of every show you've had this year how am I supposed to know what's worth watching. It also makes the matches less exciting because you know nothing's going to happen until the 20 minute mark because most indy workers think match length = quality.

 

I think it's a big part of why I like TNA so much. They aren't stuck on the WWF constantly. Yeah, they take jabs but it's rare. They seem to get it as far as not being insulting towards the people watching.

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I always found it hilariously ironic that most of the indy feds who try to cater to the smart crowd never seem to remember that most of them grew up watching endless squash matches and well crafted promos on TBS Saturday Night, or Prime Time Wrestling, and very rarely did we ever see a match even break ***. So where did they get it in their head that they demand a show of all MOTYC matches and no "sports entertainment"?

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Everybody knows I'm a big Benoit fan. One of the reasons is because he has something that others don't when I start watching too much wrestling and become jaded somewhat. Intensity. It makes him stick out and gives him matches that extra something which drags me into it. The intensity factor is stronger than being jaded. Even if someone could magically be transported into a Benoit match and magically do the exact same thing move for move it wouldn't be the same because the intensity wouldn't be there. That's something that sucks me into a match and keeps it alive for me.

 

Some of my other favourites also have special traits that allow me to watch them more intently on the TV - Andre the Giant/Dynamite Kid/Bad News Brown with the ring presence, Ozaki with the personality or Johnny Smith with his heel charactor.

 

The author mentions sacraficing a hot move for a heel spot. I've seen Smith do that before and you know what I was wondering? I was wondering if people watching this match would think more of the bout if Smith had done some cool/flashy move instead of choking his opponent on the ropes. But if you start doing stuff like that too often than your charactor starts to weaken and what makes you special is out the window.

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I think I strayed off the topic and it s one that Loss and I have debated before but it's a fun topic to discuss so here we go....

 

I think what he's saying is that expecting every single wrestling match to be competitive, serious and well-worked is trying to make wrestling something it isn't. It's not the goal of every match to be the best one ever, nor should it be, nor can we hold it against every match that can't be or isn't.

Actually, if you watch an entire Indy show, most of the time each match isn't designed to be a MOTY and, for the most part, ROH shows do mix it up. As for PWG, maybe they miscalculated their audience. However, I would stil lwant to see two guys having a logical match that progresses throughout in an attempt to be the best match it could be than to see a stupid spotfest with no rhyme or reason... but hey, that move looked cool. I also think you can have MOTYCs that are worked in completely different styles.

 

KOR 2001 paragraph

Agreed... but I don't watch wrestling for unnecessary highspots or bumps.

 

Take the greatest match you've ever seen. We all most likely have differing views on what that match is, but let's say that your favorite match is a 45-minute classic featuring two wrestlers who hate each other pulling everything out of their arsenals to show that this match is special. They reference past matches, the crowd is molten, there are tons of nearfalls ... whatever personal criteria for what constitues a great match in your mind. Okay, now imagine eight matches exactly like that on one show. Watching two matches like that back to back would leave me numb.

On one show, sure. But the way I watch wrestling has changed. I have comps of great matches that go back-to-back-to-back-back. Hell, I have made you comps that are designed that way. when we start compiling the Best of DVDs, we will have DVDs with 5-6 MOTDs back to back. I embrace the idea of watching great matches back-to-back. I have spent time watching 90s All Japan marathons. Can't egt enough of it.

 

On a personal note, when I went to Iowa and watced a ton of wrestling. I watched, in order... Flair-Lawler from Memphis, A ton of Mid South inc. Murdoch-Nightmare, Fantastics vs. MX, Jumbo-Funk, Jumbo-Tenryu, and one of the Clash of the Champions shows. My goal was to watch as many great wrestling matches and talk about them. I still have the wite-ups somewhere but the point is that I would rather watch a high quality wrestling product than a typical wrestling show with peaks and valleys. You have even said yourself that when you start taping wrestling shows in Jersey, you are going to keep the best matches and discard the junk. At some point, your experience level allowed you to make the determination what was junk and what was quality.

 

Wrestling at its core, is entertainment. But wrestling, at its core, is death when *presented* as entertainment. I have a problem with indies making match quality a selling point. Wrestling is visceral. It's based on emotion. Fans should care who wins and who loses because they relate to the characters personally. You take out the visceral nature and you take out the emotion and you're left with, as goodhelmet said, two guys rolling around in their underwear pretending to fight. Who cares if a match is "technically proficient" -- that's a nice concept, but that's not wrestling. That's something else entirely (gymnastics?) and watching it based entirely on that guideline is trying to change the definition of something that has been pretty consistent in its definition for a long time.

I'm not arguing any of this BUT what I am saying is that MY expectations of what wrestling are have changed. Really, when I was a child, I cared about all of that stuff. I hated Tully friggin Blanchard. I still do but I can sit through a Tully match and appreciate it for what it was. I love Steamboat and still do but I can criticize a shitty Steamboat match as well. If you and I are talking about a match, we don't say, "Oh man, can you believe what Batista did to Eddie?!?!?" No, it is more along the lines of "The fed is botching this Eddie-Batista feud to the point I do not want to watch anymore." You can't deny that as much as you want to lose yourself in a match, and we all do, that you don't watch wrestling the same way you did when you were 13. For me, it isn;t just about the gymnastics part, although I like that as well, but determining the strengths and flaws of a match and evaluating its worth. You do it. I do it. It's what entertains me and for as many reviews that you have done, it is another reason why you watch as well.

 

The goal of a wrestling match is to get the desired reaction from the audience. How I decide whether I like a match or not is in seeing what methods they use to reach that destination. I think this is lost on the majority of people, but the reason words like "psychology" and "transitions" get thrown around is because if you're looking at the very core of what they're doing in the ring, that's how they get to Point A to Point B. I care that if a wrestler attacks another wrestler's arm, he sells it all the way through because that's a great way to get sympathy for a babyface. I care that the babyface sells that arm because being able to perform moves normally without the arm hurting tells the audience that the struggle isn't real, that the heel isn't a threat and that the match is trivial. It's NOT because logically, it should play into the finish, or because it's the "technically proficient", correct way to work a wrestling match.

This isn't always true. Of course we look at things logically and if the moves make sense and if they look "real" and if they are using transitions. After observing it this way, it allows us to make comments like "They were filling up time to go broadway instead of working logically," or when we admit that 90s NJ Jrs. would have meaningless matwork in the beginning and finish strong. Yes, selling is an important part of the match but its only one part. Why do some matches bore you when the crowd is going bonkers (a Sid match?) and others excite you even when the live audience is bored out of their minds (Brisco-Funk 74) ?

 

Let's use Hulk Hogan as an example. Lots of people think he sucks. Why do you think he sucks? Because he doesn't execute a lot of great moves and because the ones he does execute look like shit? That's bullshit. Let's ignore his ability to capture a live crowd's imagination and say he's a shit worker because he doesn't have a cool shooting star press. Bravo, watch gymnastics, and the rest of us will move on. It's like saying AJ Styles is better in the ring than Hulk Hogan because he has more moves, ignoring the fact that he really understands very little about how to work a match.

Well, at my age, if Hogan executes a bunch of shitty moves and does his shtick that I have seen a hundred times before then I have no reason to support him or enjoy his matches. It isn't bullshit to expect him to perform at the highest level. We've made the point hundreds of times that the excitement people get from Hogan now is for nostalgia and how we need to not over-expose him. Also, Hogan could do a hundred SSPs and still be a shitty worker. How many times do I want to see a backrake or a half-ass punch. Young Hogan could probably throw a decent punch. Old Hogan is collecting a paycheck.

 

As for AJ Styles, have you seen any recent AJ Styles matches or just the limited ROH I have sent you? Sometimes, that is the wonder of wrestling as well, seeing a wrestler grow and learn through the years. I can watch 2004-05 AJ and dig what he is doing alot more than I can 2002 AJ.

 

If PWG is trying to make every match a MOTY, then how can you distinguish them? How can you go back and say one was better than the other? How does the main event mean more than the undercard, which it should? It's a lost concept on many, but all things are not supposed to be equal in wrestling. Certain wrestlers should be established as being better than others. Certain matches should be more memorable and exciting than others. That's how you get people and events over -- by making them stand out of the pack.

For live events, which is the point the author is talkign about, I can see the point. For watching wrestling in general, I stand by my original point... try and fail rather than not try at all. And still, you can vary a card up where matches are worked in different styles and still have several MOTYCs. Look at the Dreamslam shows or 6/5/89 or any other show listed in the Best Back-to-Back threads. Eddy-JBL is not the same as Rey-Chavo but they both worked on the show they were on. And they would have both still worked on a show like Wrestlemania if they had to go on alongside the Money in the Bank match and Angle-HBK and whatever else people liked. WM17 had three matches that people raved about (Angle-Benoit, TLC and Austin-Rock) but all were different and all were argued as best match of the show. Did the crap make the other matches stand out? Maybe but I still contend that you can have a great show from top to bottom without filler and it will not burn people out. In fact, I long for it.

 

I agree that my standards are higher because I've watched more footage from more eras in more styles and in more companies. But wrestlers in training should be watching just as much Memphis footage as they are All Japan footage -- two almost totally different products in how they do business, but they both have the same fundamental goal ... to reach an audience.

And in many instances, the point is that they are both "Smartly" worked and can reach different audiences while maintaining their core base. If ROH and PWG are keeping their core base intact then they are doing it correctly. Now, whether or not they reach you or the "casual" fan is another story... but what they do is what works for them. If they alienate their core base (like WCW did) and numbers dwindle to the point of folding then you could probably come down harder on them.

 

Goodhelmet, in all honesty, your post really makes you sound like you hate wrestling and that you're constantly having to justify watching it, which I know isn't true. Phrases like "there are better forms of entertainment out there" and saying that you no longer care who wins and who loses throw me off, and prove that you just might be a little jaded.

In 1999, I was jaded. Then I discovered the internet and a new way of watching wrestling that allowed me to not give up on my hobby despite the absolute crap that I was provided with from the Fed and WCW. I am exposed to more matches, more experienced and more educated to the business. If it wasnt for the internet and tape trading, i would have stopped watching wrestling in 1999. So, I am no longer jaded but I also don't have time to sit through crap wrestling shows and accept it because that is what a good wrestling fan does. I also know that I want the illusion it is real BUT I know it is not real. I am no longer secretly wishing it was real even when my mother told me when I was 10 that it was fake.

 

If not, why were you a fan of both WCW and the WWF at one point and what caused you to stop watching? Obviously, there were wrestlers in both companies you liked but the way they were handled tested your loyalty to the promotion. Those wrestlers are still there. What's different between now and then?

Bro, I have already explained this. The reasons that I watch wrestling have changed. The availability to new products or old undiscovered products and the experience I have with other promotions, other styles, etc. That is what has changed. That is why I prefer to watch about 100 other products before watching the current Fed. And when i do watch it, I need it to be in abbreviated form through comps and DVDs that allow me to skip the crap.

 

And honestly, I'm not sure that when wrestling is at its absolute very best, there are better forms of entertainment out there. It's why I'm a fan. Think about your favorite movie and think about your favorite wrestling match ... on an entertainment level, would you say they're equal to each other?

No, I do not equate wrestling matches with movies.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

"I Don't give the audience what they want, I give them what they need."

 

- Joss Whedon

 

I really don't like agreeing with WO.columnists cause they're all daffy, but the guy is right. Paul Heyman said that one of the things he learned from working under Vince is how to structure a card. The WWE doesn't randomly throw out matches, each is there for a reason. The opener is to get the crowd active, but not to the point of upstaging the rest of the card. The main event usually is very protected in terms of match quality, gimmicks (blood, ref bumps, near falls, etc), and time. They don't put on 5 minute womens matches cause they think the crowd will love it, they put on the TNA matches because they know the fans won't die because of it and it's more of a breather than anything else. Tag matches and title matches are strategically put on the card, as a gimmick matches.

 

It's like if you're running a restaurant. You don't see appetizers being better or more filling than the main course. They are usually "light" foods like chicken wings, garlic bread, soups and salads, etc. Enough to keep the customer busy, to give them a bit of a fix, to get them ready for the main course... but not enough to make them full and not want what they came to get. And people don't go to restaurants for the appetizers - it's a bonus, but that's not why they go - they go for the main course. And sometimes it's a learning process, knowing which foods should go where and when. And it's the same for wrestling.

 

I went to a UWA Hardcore show a while ago and almost every match was a singles match, they all went over 10 minutes, they all had crazy spots, they all had headlock spots, they all had the same face/heel structure, they all had the same nearfalls. And most of the fans there loved it - it was considered by them to be one of the best shows of the company. I thought it was horrid (Except for the main event, which was a COMEDY MATCH (for your main?! GOD! Awful booking). But this was the audience it was booked for. At least, it was what the bookers thought the audience wanted. IMO, they could have cut 6 of the 8 matches on the show and the fans would still have been happy with the results. 2 strong matches is all the audience really needs to go home happy (if they paid under $30). The rest of the card should be built around those 2 matches.

 

That's not to say those matches are meaningless, it's just to say they are the garnish, the appetizers, the drinks, and the desert which go around the main course. A squash match to build up a challenger or a debuting guy, tag matches for a change of pace, a gimmick match for the same reason, a fluff/comedy match, interviews to build characters and matches, 3 ways, 4 ways, 3 on 3, 4 on 4... there are so many combinations that you can book a dozen shows and not have the same format twice.

 

The audience may want all the matches to be MOTYC's, but what they need is something to get behind. You do that by building feuds and wrestlers. You build feuds and wrestlers by structuring storylines, cards, and characters. If a fan is going to your show to see "great wrestling", then what if theres another show in town featuring the same thing?? Now, if they go to your show to see feuds and wrestlers that are exclusive to your show, then it doesnt matter what the competition does, because you have their attention.

 

Today its not really harder to get fans to care about wrestlers and feuds, I just think HOW you get them is different. There needs to be more creativity, a new form of kayfabe, and attracting the right audience. Because getting 200 fans to your show when you could be getting 2000 is not where indy companies want to be. ECW was a good model for the 90's, but its a different wrestling climate today and I don't think getting by on cult status is enough. Companies are just cutting themselves off at the knees trying to just appeal to their hardcore base rather than reaching out to the masses and making your product suitable for a wider audience.

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a new form of kayfabe

Awesome! Seriously, Rudo, that was a great post, but I thought that was the most thought-provoking point you made and it's SO TRUE.

 

The "what is wrestling?" debate with goodhelmet is always fun and never gets old, so I'm loving this thread. I will be responding to his response to me either later tonight or tomorrow.

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Here is the problem though... I don't know if I, personally, want to see a new kayfabe. I don't miss kayfabe. "Experts" everywhere from Meltzer to Heenan to Cornette all know that once you let it loose you can never go back. I like reading the Observer every week and finding out what went on behind the scenes to see why certain things happened. However, once the bell rings, I want to see how they choose to structure the match and tell their story.

 

I stopped watching wrestling because I knew kayfabe was dead long before it was dead. While I got back into it because of storylines and angles and wrestler involvement (NWO story, Canada Angle, Benoit and Mysterio love), It is alot different watching as a 30 year-old and a 22 year-old. Also, the net has completely changed what I look for in wrestling. I am not saying it is better, just different.

 

Also, I was completely off-base when re-reading the article. Yes, I agree with all of you, and even Dusty Rhodes, that that is the proper way to construct a card. I guess in my old age that I do not have the patience to sit through an entire wrestling card anymore and watch the crap in order to get to the goods.... and certainly not by myself.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

But you need a way to suck fans in. I don't think what's happening nowadays is illiciting the maximum amount of emotions from the audience. Yes, you can get big pops from big moves, big pin falls, big wins. But what does that all mean? Exciting the fans is just one element of wrestling, and its on a low tier in terms of genuine emotions. Now, getting the fans to HATE a wrestler, to CRY at points, to cheer emphatically - to jump up and down, to hug the stranger next to him... those are emotions that you have to WORK for, and once you get them, you got them.

 

I think the fans are too self-aware, and somehow the promoters have to find a way to take them out of the stands, to take the attention off of themselves and to get them to stop the warring chants and the pat on the backs, and to put their eyes, their ears, and their hearts in the ring.

 

How do you do that?

 

I dunno. I haven't really put a lot of thought into how to do it. Can it really be done??? Maybe here and now is a good place to start thinking of ways to do that.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

And I don't think CRAP has a place on any card. I think any match you do should be good, it just doesn't have to be great. If you have an objective, and you have chosen a certain way to achieve that objective, you should do your best to make sure that objective is met. If you have a squash match, make it a good squash match. If you have a titty match, make it a titty match that gets the crowd ready to bukkake the ring. If you do a comedy match, do one that had the audience on the floor.

 

I think step 1 in trying to get the audiences emotions "into the ring" is getting the "simple" emotions like laughter, sexual arousal, maybe even fear, and then when they're ready to experience sadness, joy, etc. you spring it on them.

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But you need a way to suck fans in. I don't think what's happening nowadays is illiciting the maximum amount of emotions from the audience.

 

I think the problem with that is fans nowadays look for different things out of wrestling. I illustrated three different times in my life where I looked for different things out of wrestling.

 

Exciting the fans is just one element of wrestling, and its on a low tier in terms of genuine emotions. Now, getting the fans to HATE a wrestler, to CRY at points, to cheer emphatically - to jump up and down, to hug the stranger next to him... those are emotions that you have to WORK for, and once you get them, you got them.

I'm past the point of jumping up and down. I might break a hip.

 

And I don't think CRAP has a place on any card.

But it inevitably finds its place on the card... always.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

What I mean is that it is never (or at least should be never) the objective to put out crap.

 

Maybe I misread what you said. I saw crap as something bad, while maybe you said crap in a way I'd say "filler" or "fluff". I think filler certainly has its place on a card, you can't just have the fans going at 100mph for the whole show - they won't last. You want to have them ready to go nuts for the main event, because you want them to feel that the main event -the match they came to see- delivered. If they are too tired to fully get into the match, then they will probably feel let-down.

 

I don't think I watch any form of entertainment without looking to get emotionally involved with it. The shows that I love - the LOSTs, the Gilmore Girls, the Fireflys, the Deadwoods - these are shows that I get emotionally invested in. I cheer, I laugh, I fight back tears, I get excited, and there is always this big smile on my face. I think the same thing applies with wrestling and as I become less and less invested in it in one way or another (my investment for the past few years has been more on the smark/intellectual level, where the emotional involvement would be found in discussion rather than the in ring goings on) the less and less I am watching.

 

I am looking forward to TNA coming on TV on the intellectual level of seeing how this new company will position themselves and their show in the marketplace. But I don't know how long that appeal will last. Their best bet is to have someone on TV that I can get behind, because that is the easiest way to get peoples emotions into the ring. I love watching UFC and PRIDE because they can still manipulate my emotions. When my favourite fighters are fighting, if they do well I get HAPPY, if they do bad, I get sad. You should have seen me watching the last PRIDE show. I was going nuts. By the very end I was RUNNING OUTSIDE in the street YELLING. I dunno if anyone else is like that (the last time I did that with wrestling was with ECW in the invasion), but that's the way I am. I have grown up with television, I am able to very easily suspend my disbelief and make everything around me go away and become completely invested into a TV show.

 

I like to think wrestling can still do that. That they can still manipulate your emotions. But with the standard form of Kayfabe being dead as you mentioned, where fans no longer believe that the wrestlers are the characters they portray and that the matches are planned ahead of time and that the workers are buddies, you have to go about creating that aura in a different way.

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Will, you'd risk breaking a hip if the Spurs won an NBA championship, no? Wrestling should strive for the same emotional attachment. It shouldn't matter that it's worked -- the fact that it *is* worked and wrestling is all about making the audience forget that, even if it's just for a moment, makes it great. Watching Eddy/Rey from Halloween Havoc '97 the other day, I thought about how awesome Eddy was as he was making his way to the ring, but as the match progressed, I started genuinely wanting Rey to win and even rooting against Eddy because both were playing their roles so well.

 

Wrestling without kayfabe is wrestling without roles. Wrestling without good and wrestling without evil. Punk and Joe can wrestle a great 60-minute match. Why should I really care? I'm not saying I don't, or that they don't give me reason to, but on that statement alone, why should I care?

 

I think part of it is that society has generally become more cynical and has a darker undertone itself, and that's played out in wrestling. Pretty much all the protagonists on hit shows anymore are more antihero than hero. Hulk Hogan was the face of wrestling in the Reagan era and it was a radically different time socially and in pop culture. At this point, winners, regardless of the ways in which they do so, are revered and losers are frowned upon. When the moral norms change, wrestling, which is a morality play in itself, has to change as well.

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In terms of kayfabe, I don't know that you have to go completely back in the closet with wrestling and make people truly believe that what they're watching is real. I think fans just need believable situations in which they can reasonably play along. Everyone knows the movies are fake, but I don't see it affecting their popularity. Wrestling, with the right booking, should provoke the same emotions in the viewer as any other storytelling medium.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I think it is integral for the fans to lose themselves into the match. Like, when you're watching TV, do you see the screen, and then the tv set, then the DVD player, then the cable box, then the wall, and all the other surroundings... or do you just see what's on the screen and block everything else out? Same thing with wrestling. The goal of a wrestling match should be for the fans to be so into the match that the place could be on fire and they wouldn't notice.

 

The simplest way to do that is to put someone they have gotten behind and genuinely like against someone they hate. The theory being, they want to see the guy they like win and so will watch attentively to see if he does (the last time this happened for me was Cro Cop/Fedor :) ). The issue becomes, especially with the new kayfabe, how do you get them to genuinely like someone and how do you get them to hate someone? We're talking about the internet days when most wrestlers have websites, blogs, etc. and are generally likable people who interact with the crowd and sign autographs after matches. Wrestlers who fans cheer and boo out of duty rather than because of genuine emotions.

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I think it is easier to lose myself when I know it is real (a Spurs game, UFC, the Super Bowl) rather than knowing it is worked.

 

And I didn't just mean filler. I meant that there is usually at least 1 or 2 subpar wrestlers on every show that are a waste of my time. I understand the need for diversity and the need to open with a hot opener and then mix in the midgets, comedy, gimmick match, etc. However, rarely does any show ever eliminate the crap completely. Even a show like WM17, which I think is severely overrated, has an abundance of crap.

 

EDIT: Ok, I did not see the lst three posts. I was responding to Rudo's post that directly followed my last one. I 'l respond again.

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On one show, sure. But the way I watch wrestling has changed. I have comps of great matches that go back-to-back-to-back-back. Hell, I have made you comps that are designed that way. when we start compiling the Best of DVDs, we will have DVDs with 5-6 MOTDs back to back. I embrace the idea of watching great matches back-to-back. I have spent time watching 90s All Japan marathons. Can't egt enough of it.

You're a better man than I. I quickly get desensitized to what I'm watching, and really, about 2-3 "great" matches in a day is about all I can handle where I feel like I'm being fair to them. I know when I finally watch the Joe/Punk matches, for example, that there's no way I'll have the patience to watch both of them back to back. I wish I did, but once you've been mindfucked, some recovery time is in order. We live in an era of instant gratification, but I try not to go overboard being a product of that.

 

On a personal note, when I went to Iowa and watced a ton of wrestling. I watched, in order... Flair-Lawler from Memphis, A ton of Mid South inc. Murdoch-Nightmare, Fantastics vs. MX, Jumbo-Funk, Jumbo-Tenryu, and one of the Clash of the Champions shows. My goal was to watch as many great wrestling matches and talk about them. I still have the wite-ups somewhere but the point is that I would rather watch a high quality wrestling product than a typical wrestling show with peaks and valleys. You have even said yourself that when you start taping wrestling shows in Jersey, you are going to keep the best matches and discard the junk. At some point, your experience level allowed you to make the determination what was junk and what was quality.

I think this works for a wrestling fan who's seen God knows how many hours of bad wrestling and knows what the standard is and knows what "good" and "bad" are. But if I hadn't watched a show since 1989 and started watching again in 2002, I think I'd need to watch some surrounding footage, good and bad, to put what I'm seeing in context. Matches are often far more easy to appreciate in the context of their time. Yes, a great match will withstand the test of time, but knowing the context can only help the case. And personally speaking, I want to appreciate everything I watch as much as it's possible to appreciate it, not just enough to like it.

 

I'm not arguing any of this BUT what I am saying is that MY expectations of what wrestling are have changed. Really, when I was a child, I cared about all of that stuff. I hated Tully friggin Blanchard. I still do but I can sit through a Tully match and appreciate it for what it was. I love Steamboat and still do but I can criticize a shitty Steamboat match as well. If you and I are talking about a match, we don't say, "Oh man, can you believe what Batista did to Eddie?!?!?"

Of course not. But just a few years ago, had we been talking then, I could have easily said, "Did you see what Rock and Jericho said to each other?" or "Did you see that Hogan/Rock interview? Can you believe that?". Yeah, I knew what I was watching was entertainment, but because it was well done, it was still possible to be lost in the moment.

 

Are you saying you're no longer capable of marking out over *anything*?

 

You can't deny that as much as you want to lose yourself in a match, and we all do, that you don't watch wrestling the same way you did when you were 13. For me, it isn;t just about the gymnastics part, although I like that as well, but determining the strengths and flaws of a match and evaluating its worth. You do it. I do it. It's what entertains me and for as many reviews that you have done, it is another reason why you watch as well.

True. But I'm not the type of fan wrestling companies should be catering to. They should be catering to that 13-year old kid who buys action figures, who subscribes to the mags, who has the 619 t-shirt and that thinks Eddy Guerrero is an asshole. The same kid who thinks that somehow, in a world where his voice isn't often credited, John Cena is speaking for him. Guys like you and me have already established that we're sticking around through thick and thin ... I can safely say it would be virtually impossible to totally run me off. Companies that book for their hardcore audiences don't typically do well in the long run because they're catering to an audience that isn't going anywhere. I enjoy watching the way I watch, but I try to keep in perspective that the way I watch, at least if I'm going to do a review, is not the way wrestling is supposed to be watched. Critical acclaim isn't going to sell a ticket. You'd think ROH would learn that lesson and stop pimping Meltzer's star ratings to sell their DVDs.

 

This isn't always true.  Of course we look at things logically and if the moves make sense and if they look "real" and if they are using transitions.

Not just if they're using transitions, if the transitions are good and make sense and build to the next spot in good fashion. I could care less about how moves look, as long as they're sold the way they're executed. If Matt Hardy punches Edge in the face and misses by six inches and Edge sells it anyway, I take issue with it. If Kurt Angle goes for an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and drops the guy on his head, sell it like a death spot and keep going. That's why Misawa and Kawada are in a class by themselves -- they were able to improvise when a botched spot created the Ganso bomb. That spot being blown isn't something that should detract from that match. And I'm not even a fan of that match, but it has nothing to do with how the moves look. An Irish whip, a dropkick, a powerbomb ... any high impact moves that aren't on the mat aren't going to look real. And I'm fine with that.

 

The cool thing about wrestling is that it has its own mythology and its own universe. As long as everything is internally logical within that universe and makes sense according to the mythology surrounding it, it's not the type of thing that deserves criticism most of the time. You'd say the same about a comic book or a film.

 

After observing it this way, it allows us to make comments like "They were filling up time to go broadway instead of working logically," or when we admit that 90s NJ Jrs. would have meaningless matwork in the beginning and finish strong. Yes, selling is an important part of the match but its only one part.

I think there's nothing more important in a wrestling match than the selling.

 

Why do some matches bore you when the crowd is going bonkers (a Sid match?) and others excite you even when the live audience is bored out of their minds (Brisco-Funk 74)?

I can't think of a Sid match off the top of my head that had the audience going bonkers unless he was in with someone like Michaels or Bret or Benoit and they were actually having a good match. I'm sure there are some, but I'm struggling to think of a bad match with great heat.

 

Heat doesn't just mean "noise" though. It means the wrestlers did something to prompt the reaction they got. It's not WM 3-way main event noise where the crowd was just so sick of Michaels and HHH that they would have given you or me the pop of the century if we were going for the title. There's a difference.

 

Well, at my age,

Dude, you're 30. You're five years older than me. Besides, they say 50 is the new 30, so 30 must be the new 10.

 

:)

 

if Hogan executes a bunch of shitty moves and does his shtick that I have seen a hundred times before then I have no reason to support him or enjoy his matches.

So is it the shitty moves or the schtick? Or both? Well, I'm sure it's both, but which is it more of? And how is it different from Baba or Inoki having matches with great aura and atmosphere where some of their strikes look weak or the action is a little slow? I think both Baba and Inoki (who I'd put only slightly ahead of Hogan as a worker) are smarter workers than Hogan, which is my answer, but I'm curious your answer.

 

It isn't bullshit to expect him to perform at the highest level. We've made the point hundreds of times that the excitement people get from Hogan now is for nostalgia and how we need to not over-expose him. Also, Hogan could do a hundred SSPs and still be a shitty worker.

The act redefines old. That's why I'm not so much of a fan of his at this stage. But it apparently still works, shockingly enough, because he knows how to work a crowd. Hogan is even more inconsistent than Inoki, but he's a great dramatist and a great worker, despite not being much of a wrestler. On the flip side, Kurt Angle is a great wrestler and not much of a worker.

 

How many times do I want to see a backrake or a half-ass punch. Young Hogan could probably throw a decent punch. Old Hogan is collecting a paycheck.

No argument there, although I still think Hogan/Rock from WM 18 is an excellent match.

 

As for AJ Styles, have you seen any recent AJ Styles matches or just the limited ROH I have sent you? Sometimes, that is the wonder of wrestling as well, seeing a wrestler grow and learn through the years. I can watch 2004-05 AJ and dig what he is doing alot more than I can 2002 AJ.

I've seen enough Styles on here, and from what most people say at DVDVR, he's the same guy he was then. That may or may not be correct. I'm not a fan of his at all. He's a total spotmonkey who's pretty good when he's wrestling someone like Joe or Danielson who can reign him in.

 

For live events, which is the point the author is talkign about, I can see the point. For watching wrestling in general, I stand by my original point... try and fail rather than not try at all. And still, you can vary a card up where matches are worked in different styles and still have several MOTYCs. Look at the Dreamslam shows  or 6/5/89 or any other show listed in the Best Back-to-Back threads. Eddy-JBL is not the same as Rey-Chavo but they both worked on the show they were on. And they would have both still worked on a show like Wrestlemania if they had to go on alongside the Money in the Bank match and Angle-HBK and whatever else people liked. WM17 had three matches that people raved about (Angle-Benoit, TLC and Austin-Rock) but all were different and all were argued as best match of the show. Did the crap make the other matches stand out? Maybe but I still contend that you can have a great show from top to bottom without filler and it will not burn people out. In fact, I long for it.

Maybe we should do a "construct your all-time dream card" with eight matches where we have everyone here pick any 8 matches that have ever happened from any promotion and put them all together as one supershow. I'd be interested in seeing your answers, and I'd be interested in coming up with my own.

 

And in many instances, the point is that they are both "Smartly" worked and can reach different audiences while maintaining their core base. If ROH and PWG are keeping their core base intact then they are doing it correctly. Now, whether or not they reach you or the "casual" fan is another story... but what they do is what works for them. If they alienate their core base (like WCW did) and numbers dwindle to the point of folding then you could probably come down harder on them.

WCW alienated everyone -- hardcores and casual fans alike. They alienated the casual fans first, which is when the product really started to suffer. The treatment of Ric Flair probably drove of all the longtime fans after that.

 

In 1999, I was jaded. Then I discovered the internet and a new way of watching wrestling that allowed me to not give up on my hobby despite the absolute crap that I was provided with from the Fed and WCW. I am exposed to more matches, more experienced and more educated to the business. If it wasnt for the internet and tape trading, i would have stopped watching wrestling in 1999. So, I am no longer jaded but I also don't have time to sit through crap wrestling shows and accept it because that is what a good wrestling fan does. I also know that I want the illusion it is real BUT I know it is not real. I am no longer secretly wishing it was real even when my mother told me when I was 10 that it was fake.

I'm in the same boat. I owe a debt of gratitude to the Internet for "saving my marriage" with wrestling, so to speak. It's made everything old new again in many ways, and it's also helped me branch out and see things I would have only read about in PWI otherwise. I also know, again, that I'm not the type of fan promoters should be looking to attract. They already have me, and they aren't losing me. Cornette said the same thing in his Secrets of the Ring.

 

No, I do not equate wrestling matches with movies.

Any reason? Bret Hart has said many times he viewed his matches as short films. You'd judge a movie on the same criteria you would a wrestling match, would you not?

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I think it is easier to lose myself when I know it is real (a Spurs game, UFC, the Super Bowl) rather than knowing it is worked.

This is sort of on topic, sort of off topic, but Dave Meltzer has said many times that the majority of wrestlers honestly believe that all major, televised sports are worked. I thought that was an interesting bit of trivia that could or could not relate to the discussion at hand.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

Wrestlers are retarded.

 

I like the idea of an "all time" card. I think it would work better if we did it match-by-match though. Finding the perfect opening match, the perfect main event, the perfect mid-card match, the perfect filler matches, the perfect "work rate" match, etc. The fun comes in both deciding what match should be the 5th match of the show, and in that context, which match would be perfect for that category.

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Guest brian

Wrestlers are retarded.  

 

I like the idea of an "all time" card. I think it would work better if we did it match-by-match though.  Finding the perfect opening match, the perfect main event, the perfect mid-card match, the perfect filler matches, the perfect "work rate" match, etc.  The fun comes in both deciding what match should be the 5th match of the show, and in that context, which match would be perfect for that category.

This is just my general guideline for all the cards I used ti write up back in the day on TSM, and it's one I currently use when drawing out some of my characters that I'm working on (and I need to throw some of these your way Rudo, you'll love what I've been working with).

 

5-7, maybe ten minute spot-fu to warm-up

Classic Southern-style tag to get the crowd involved

A semi-main event of teh cruiserweight variety

Intense promo selling one of the later matches or lingering angles

Gimmicky match (and it could be any sort of gimmick; three-way, ten-man tag, comedy, even a womens match that breaks the flow of the previous matches)

High-card match

Shooting an angle for later

Main event

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Will, you'd risk breaking a hip if the Spurs won an NBA championship, no?

No, but it did cause my daughter to utter her first word... "SHIT!"

 

In terms of kayfabe, I don't know that you have to go completely back in the closet with wrestling and make people truly believe that what they're watching is real. I think fans just need believable situations in which they can reasonably play along. Everyone knows the movies are fake, but I don't see it affecting their popularity. Wrestling, with the right booking, should provoke the same emotions in the viewer as any other storytelling medium.

See, wrestling illicits a different response from me than it did 5-10-20 years ago. I watch it for different reasons.. .and as you mention later on, reasons that aren't intended by the promoters.

 

Wrestlers who fans cheer and boo out of duty rather than because of genuine emotions.

RIGHT!!! I can't boo Nikita Koloff. i have already seen the shoot interview and know he isn't really Russian. I can't cheer a babyface HBK because I know he is a dick in real life. The illusion is dead! I need new reasons to cheer these guys on. If it is based solely on their wrestling ability then so be it.

 

You're a better man than I. I quickly get desensitized to what I'm watching, and really, about 2-3 "great" matches in a day is about all I can handle where I feel like I'm being fair to them.

Just curious, but how in the hell do you expect to get through the greatest matches project?

 

I think this works for a wrestling fan who's seen God knows how many hours of bad wrestling and knows what the standard is and knows what "good" and "bad" are. But if I hadn't watched a show since 1989 and started watching again in 2002, I think I'd need to watch some surrounding footage, good and bad, to put what I'm seeing in context. Matches are often far more easy to appreciate in the context of their time. Yes, a great match will withstand the test of time, but knowing the context can only help the case. And personally speaking, I want to appreciate everything I watch as much as it's possible to appreciate it, not just enough to like it.

Agreed. This is also why one of the reasons I watch is for historical context. It is the reason I requested EJ put the McMahon-Bischoff-Heyman encounter on the altest RAW comp. It has some historical context. Trust me... to me, bell to bell is the most important aspect of wrestling to me but I would not be above ordering a Wrestlecrap DVD if I put it in historical context and purely on that level. I certainly wouldn't watch it so I could be entertained. The entertainment would be purely through understanding the time when it happened and the surroundings of what transpired.

 

Of course not. But just a few years ago, had we been talking then, I could have easily said, "Did you see what Rock and Jericho said to each other?" or "Did you see that Hogan/Rock interview? Can you believe that?". Yeah, I knew what I was watching was entertainment, but because it was well done, it was still possible to be lost in the moment.

We ca still have this conversation. A good interview is a good interview. It isn't why I watch wrestling but it can entertain me. No argument there. Still, I don't makr out for interviews because I know they don't really mean what they say. On the rare instance when I do believe a wrestler, I would agree... but that is so rare, I can't watch just for the hope of a good interview. Just the other week, Eddie gave this creepy interview to setup the cage match with Rey and I loved it but when interviews used to hype me up for a show, now, even the good ones won't make me purchase a PPV or go to the house show.

 

Are you saying you're no longer capable of marking out over *anything*?

Of course not.. it is just that I mark out over different things than i used to. I marked out when I saw Nash throw Mysterio around in 1997. Now, I mark out when I see Terry Funk and Jumbo hold onto an arm segment even after they get thrown out of the ring and then go back in, maintainng the focus on the arm. I mark out for that.

 

 

True. But I'm not the type of fan wrestling companies should be catering to.

And this is where the argument dies. I am definitely not the type of fan that wrestling companies should cater to. It isn't that they have me because the fed already ran me off. It is that I have alternate means of getting my wrestling fix and sifting through a minimum of trash to get to the good stuff.

 

Not just if they're using transitions, if the transitions are good and make sense and build to the next spot in good fashion.

Agreed but sometimes a match is devoid of transitions. That was the point I was getting at.

 

Dude, you're 30. You're five years older than me. Besides, they say 50 is the new 30, so 30 must be the new 10.

They, whoever they are, are full of shit. I feel old. Maybe it is because I am surrounded by teenagers all day long.

 

So is it the shitty moves or the schtick? Or both? Well, I'm sure it's both, but which is it more of? And how is it different from Baba or Inoki having matches with great aura and atmosphere where some of their strikes look weak or the action is a little slow? I think both Baba and Inoki (who I'd put only slightly ahead of Hogan as a worker) are smarter workers than Hogan, which is my answer, but I'm curious your answer.

I am not saying Hogan did not have good matches but I have seen more bad Hogan matches than good ones. And I think Baba was head and shoulders above Hogan and Inoki. I don't look at Baba doing 6 man comedy tags as the same Baba who wrestled against Harley Race. Also, look at Bab's hands. His chops used to bother me until I realized how big and thick his hands were. That would hurt and I have convinced myself of that. On the other hand, the laziness of Hogan's strikes don't make me think anything he is doing would hurt.

 

I've seen enough Styles on here, and from what most people say at DVDVR, he's the same guy he was then. That may or may not be correct. I'm not a fan of his at all. He's a total spotmonkey who's pretty good when he's wrestling someone like Joe or Danielson who can reign him in.

I think I would like 100 AJ styles matches more than I would like 100 Hogan matches. Maybe it is the quality of his opponents but I think you are ignoring the good for the bad to make a point. Substitute a guy like Amazing Red and I would agree wholeheartedly.

 

Maybe we should do a "construct your all-time dream card" with eight matches where we have everyone here pick any 8 matches that have ever happened from any promotion and put them all together as one supershow. I'd be interested in seeing your answers, and I'd be interested in coming up with my own.

Start the thread.

 

Any reason? Bret Hart has said many times he viewed his matches as short films. You'd judge a movie on the same criteria you would a wrestling match, would you not?

No, not really. I enjoy mindless movies but cannot stand most of the junk that fills a wrestling ring. Now, even when a movie is logical, tells a good story, etc. sometimes I do not appreciate it. For individual wrestling matches, I view them more like songs. I have my favorite songs, I watch certain types of wrestling in different moods the same way I listen to different songs or types of music. Wrestling matches may be visual but they are songs for me. I get bored by what I call lazy songs even though I don't mind some "fun" songs once in awhile. The same concepts apply to wrestling.

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5-7, maybe ten minute spot-fu to warm-up

Classic Southern-style tag to get the crowd involved

A semi-main event of teh cruiserweight variety

Intense promo selling one of the later matches or lingering angles

Gimmicky match (and it could be any sort of gimmick; three-way, ten-man tag, comedy, even a womens match that breaks the flow of the previous matches)

High-card match

Shooting an angle for later

Main event

I think that does the thinking for everyone. I'd rather not use that format myself.

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