Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Grimmas

What did you learn about your fandom from GWE?

Recommended Posts

One thing I figured out about myself is that I value smarts over most skills in wrestling. The smarter the worker the higher the praise from me. The more stupid things a worker does, the more down I am on him.

 

What did you learn about yourself during GWE?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is weird, but I learnt that while I love fluid, smooth matwork sometimes, I do not love it all the time. To make it clear, I can watch Hansen brawl for 6 hours and not get tired. I can watch Breaks for an hour and love it, but probably not for more than that.

 

I also realised that while I do not mind formula, I do hate repetitive spots, particularly if said wrestler is eating those spots. I have no issues with Lawler matches following a formula, and involving only punching and brawling, but after the fifth time I watched Flair get thrown off the top rope in the exact same way, it started to really annoy me. Not annoy me in the sense that "This match is horrible. 1 star!", but more like "Fucking hell, this takes it from 4 stars to 3.75/3.5 stars."

 

Pre-comeback Shawn smokes post-comeback, and I have zero idea how so many people claim his 2nd run is better than the first.

 

I fucking love Sara Del Rey, and I think she is criminally underrated. She is someone who understands selling and psychology really, really well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably more later, but I care much more about purpose now. What is a match meant to accomplish? What is it trying to accomplish? etc. Every match in the history of wrestling had some purpose or another and usually it's not just to entertain or to fill time (though some are). I think it's really interesting to look at the balance between those goals, how the wrestlers try to achieve them, and if they can do so while having an entertaining, engaging, compelling, interesting, (and maybe logical) match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Matt. I really started penalizing people who didn't work smart. I think if the story is easier to follow, you rate higher with me.

 

Also, I realized that my likes didn't really change that much over time. The things I liked more, I just looked for more in wrestlers and they showed up in those I voted for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried to separate my thoughts into three chunks, only have time to share the first one, next two maybe later or tomorrow:

 

1. Workers vs. Matches

 

One thing I figured out about myself is that I value smarts over most skills in wrestling.

Over 20 hours of reviewing 90s AJPW matches with Steven and over however many years of reading Matt's posts, I still have to admit that I don't really understand what this means. In a recent post I made, I talked about how I was concerned that fans are losing the fundamentals or basics of psychology, storytelling and logic in wrestling matches and angles. And I praised my man Ted for his ability to work around the limitations of someone like Bob Sweetan. But this doesn't seem to be what Steven or Matt mean by "working smart". Or if it is, Ted working around Sweetan or the Midnights working around Watts and JYD is not typically the sort of context in which I see those guys talking about it.

 

After doing the first part of the WTBBP countdown with Chad, he mentioned how much he struggles to rate workers as opposed to matches. And I've come to realise that about myself too. I'm far far more comfortable talking about specifics in matches and breaking them down and talking about who did what well in those matches than extrapolating out generalisations about workers from five-minute TV matches. Whenever the debate moved to generalisations and away from specifics, I found myself getting pretty frustrated. Like let's say when people brought up certain tendencies of Flair (let's say the idea that he always worked the same match), my response was almost always to point to specific matches against specific opponents. I didn't like it when things tried to move beyond the match as our basic unit of analysis.

 

And I've come to realise that about myself as a fan. Like Chad, I am pretty wedded to match analysis. I don't think it is a coincidence that I host all the most review-driven shows on the feed. I guess I like to have a text to analyse and to point to tangibles and that's much easier to do with guys working great or very good matches than guys working "just there" TV matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I realized that my likes didn't really change that much over time.

This was pretty true for me as well. If I'd made such a list back in 2006, I don't think most workers' placement would be all that different from the one I've got today. Of course there's some changes (ten years ago, I'd never heard of Yuki Ishikawa and had never seen much Destroyer, just for two examples) but largely my tastes have stayed pretty consistent.

 

Aside from that, I guess "variety is the spice of life" is the main theme of my list, because there's simply no underlying theme to any of the placement. Lou Thesz might be right next to Great Sasuke, who might be right next to Necro Butcher, who might be right next to Sergeant Slaughter. There is no real rhyme or reason, I pretty much put the whole thing together on pure impulsive "do I like This Guy better than That Guy?" instinct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^I agree. If you want to see guys doing logical things to beat each other go watch MMA.

 

I didn't participate due to lack of time but the handful I've went out of my way binge watch random matches from guys so I could speak of them in vague generalities I just couldn't enjoy it. I agree with JvK that it's much more enjoyable to be able to go in depth on specific matches. I'd argue it gives much more solidas the format by its nature is going to give undue weight to those 5 minute TV matches while we're often missing huge untapped sections of guys' careers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that about selling? Most wrestlers do logical things in the ring -- hit moves and go for the win.

Selling, logical progression of moves, moving to get into position for your opponent to hit a move on you, etc.... If I watch a wrestler and don't think to myself that "this doesn't make sense" or "why would he do that" then they are logical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Is that about selling? Most wrestlers do logical things in the ring -- hit moves and go for the win.

Selling, logical progression of moves, moving to get into position for your opponent to hit a move on you, etc.... If I watch a wrestler and don't think to myself that "this doesn't make sense" or "why would he do that" then they are logical.

 

 

How far does logical go though? Shouldn't most offensive moves actually finish someone? Where each promotion can essentially establish the rules of their own universe it would seem to take away quite a bit to only buy what's logical. Shouldn't every wrestler roll away from an opponent coming off the top? Once there are certain standards or "laws" with consequences then it would seem at that point we can react to occurrences in the ring that prove consistent or not. Sometimes those inconsistencies make for tremendous moments, such as kicking out of something near the finish that has previously been the death knell, or can be problematic where it happens too early.

 

It just seems if we're really being logical then every match should end pretty quickly and just about everything a wrestler does is illogical. Once he's taken any sustained punishment, how is he alive, much less able to mount a fiery comeback? Enjoy it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Steven. Its not about logic to me. Logic is a tool. Selling is a tool. Spots are tools. Physical ability is a tool. Blood is a tool. Stiffness is a tool. Jim Cornette at ringside is a tool.

 

Working smart is using the tools on the table efficiently and effectively to maximize the potential meaning of everything that happens in the ring.

 

I would add "in order to achieve a specific purpose" at the end of that sentence (or "in order to create a greater whole" works as well, or hey, "in order to achieve a specific purpose and to best build to a greater whole"), but that's something I'm still working out and I can see if other people care about that less.

 

And if anyone wants to get more clarification, ask me in 2017. I'm good for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Is that about selling? Most wrestlers do logical things in the ring -- hit moves and go for the win.

Selling, logical progression of moves, moving to get into position for your opponent to hit a move on you, etc.... If I watch a wrestler and don't think to myself that "this doesn't make sense" or "why would he do that" then they are logical.

 

 

How far does logical go though? Shouldn't most offensive moves actually finish someone? Where each promotion can essentially establish the rules of their own universe it would seem to take away quite a bit to only buy what's logical. Shouldn't every wrestler roll away from an opponent coming off the top? Once there are certain standards or "laws" with consequences then it would seem at that point we can react to occurrences in the ring that prove consistent or not. Sometimes those inconsistencies make for tremendous moments, such as kicking out of something near the finish that has previously been the death knell, or can be problematic where it happens too early.

 

It just seems if we're really being logical then every match should end pretty quickly and just about everything a wrestler does is illogical. Once he's taken any sustained punishment, how is he alive, much less able to mount a fiery comeback? Enjoy it!

 

It doesn't have to be MMA, it just has to make sense within the context of wrestling. An irish whip is completely fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Expecting consistency in all of wrestling is ridiculous. Things vary a lot from setting to setting. A Piledriver is a deah blow when Buddy Rogers does it but it's no sold when done on the floor in the 1984 New Japan gauntlet several folks think is the best match of all time. Both "make sense" in their respective settings. And even if they chose not to follow the selling "rules" established in the promotion you'd probably get plenty of people defending it (see: Shibata-Ishii Wrestle Kingdom).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Expecting consistency in all of wrestling is ridiculous. Things vary a lot from setting to setting. A Piledriver is a deah blow when Buddy Rogers does it but it's no sold when done on the floor in the 1984 New Japan gauntlet several folks think is the best match of all time. Both "make sense" in their respective settings. And even if they chose not to follow the selling "rules" established in the promotion you'd probably get plenty of people defending it (see: Shibata-Ishii Wrestle Kingdom).

I don't care what people defend.

 

Obviously different promotions have different logic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And their logic changes with time. Sometimes the different usage of selling and such leads to change, sometimes it doesn't. And of course there's the question of whether someone likes the setting altogether. Anyway I just find it too interesting of a topic to think it can be summarized with such a brief comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Is that about selling? Most wrestlers do logical things in the ring -- hit moves and go for the win.

Selling, logical progression of moves, moving to get into position for your opponent to hit a move on you, etc.... If I watch a wrestler and don't think to myself that "this doesn't make sense" or "why would he do that" then they are logical.

 

 

How far does logical go though? Shouldn't most offensive moves actually finish someone? Where each promotion can essentially establish the rules of their own universe it would seem to take away quite a bit to only buy what's logical. Shouldn't every wrestler roll away from an opponent coming off the top? Once there are certain standards or "laws" with consequences then it would seem at that point we can react to occurrences in the ring that prove consistent or not. Sometimes those inconsistencies make for tremendous moments, such as kicking out of something near the finish that has previously been the death knell, or can be problematic where it happens too early.

 

It just seems if we're really being logical then every match should end pretty quickly and just about everything a wrestler does is illogical. Once he's taken any sustained punishment, how is he alive, much less able to mount a fiery comeback? Enjoy it!

 

It doesn't have to be MMA, it just has to make sense within the context of wrestling. An irish whip is completely fine.

 

 

Point is that there are different contexts, and those contexts can be changed. You have Jumbo piledriving Kawada on the floor on 4/20/91 and then later following with a spike piledriver on the floor, but that's still regarded as an all timer rather than a stop the presses moment because the piledriver wasn't a finisher that told everyone it was time to go home.

 

Or a series of spectacular dives in countless lucha matches where one should be sufficient.

 

Not suggesting there's a problem with an Irish whip, but where do you draw the line? Is it what's been put over as a finisher or a Mortal Kombat fatality that must end things, or when the viewer thinks its enough, conditioning and history be damned?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate consistency more than anything. The Dragon Gate crew, Fujinami, Hansen, and Vader are all going to benefit greatly from that. Guys like Misawa, Cena, and Jumbo are all ranking highly for me, but they are hurt by their lackluster performances more than anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know where to put this - just wanted to say that this place has been on fire lately. The content in the GWE threads has not only inspired me to put together my own list but it has sparked my interest in watching wrestling again. And I'm loving it again.

 

I guess I've learned that it will never truly go away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that I've learned the most is that wrestling should be viewed with an open mind. Trying to view a joshi match the same way you judge an All Japan heavyweight match will just frustrate you. They are different things with different rules, and different logic.

 

Another thing I've learned is that fun is important to me. I'm sorry, but I don't care about whether or not you are a great seller, have flawless psychology, and you have an arsenal of every move ever invented if I am not enjoying you wrestle. If I have to choose between a dry ass worker who is technically great and a super fun worker with obvious flaws, the fun worker wins out.

 

I also think the sum is more important that the collection of parts. If a worker is constantly in good to great matches, it doesn't matter if they don't fill every criteria. I don't care how good a painter's brush strokes are if they haven't painted any beautiful paintings, nor do I care if you have a seven octave range if you've never sang a good song. If what a worker does in the ring doesn't translate into good to great matches it is irrelevant to me.

 

Not everything has to make sense. Even if I understand what you are doing is dumb, if you can make it work I'll give you credit. Hogan wrestles in a way that doesn't really make any sense, but he has too many good to great matches for me to hold it against him. What he does works, and it doesn't matter that it wouldn't work for anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2. Different styles of work

 

One of the things I became known for during this project was my defence of Dory Funk Jr from the revisionist view that, contrary to the old received opinion, he wasn't a great wrestler. In some ways, that is profoundly ironic because Dory represents a style of wrestling that that isn't exactly my favourite:

 

 

If Vince's vision of pro wrestling was the Wrestlemania moment or if Bill Watts's was a standup American male jock overcoming an evil doer / foreigner / sissy boy, then Sam Muchnick's was the idea of wrestling as a legit sporting contest played out as much in the mind as in the ring.

One could make an argument that it is wrestling in its purest form. You could draw a straight line from the 19th-century shooters through Thesz to Dory and Brisco and Inoki and from them through Maeda and Fujiwara to modern shoot style. One narrative gives you that as the purest tradition.

 

Now I respect the hell out of the way OJ watches pro-wrestling, but as I've come to realise over the this process, it isn't what I'm about. I can appreciate the game of human chess, but ultimately a lot of the time I find it dull.

 

The term I've started to use to describe what I value most highly is "baroque wrestling". Stories can be painted using different techniques. I favour broad brush strokes, bold colours and strong contrasts. I've had a go at trying to itemise all of these things.

 

JvK's Seven Virtues and Seven Deadly Sins of Pro Wrestling

 

1. Big selling that can be seen from the cheap seats, not mugging for the camera

 

2. Cool and effective offense, not spectacle, flippiness or exhibitionism (e.g. Billy Robinson backbreaker good, Rey 619 bad)

 

3. Grittiness and authenticity not self-consciousness or knowing referentiality / meta-wrestling

 

4. Violence, brutality and hatred not gimmickry

 

5. Stiffness and snugness not choreography or "dance wrestling"

 

6. Natural showmanship, character work and crowd control not artificially "playing a role"

 

7. Real heat not crowds being "appreciative"

 

It is no coincidence that the times and places that most hit the sweet spot at the cross-section of all of these -- mid-80s Crockett, Mid-South and AJPW 86-90s -- also happen to be my favourite wrestling promotions. Most of the wrestling I dislike tends to break one of these seven broad rules.

 

I guess I kinda knew these things before the process started, but they were not made explicit and clear nor were they fully articulated until now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading the Kofi stuff, I have to ask Jimmy if she is explicitly FOR any of the things after the "nots" in that list.

 

I feel like I want to ask Dylan too, given some of the guys he champions. Or anyone really. I'd love some reasoned counter arguments to those general principles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×