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JaymeFuture

Your most "Against The Grain" opinion on wrestling

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So for this week's podcast, we're looking to talk about viewpoints contrary to popular opinion, and are looking to get some feedback. This forum has always been great for exploring commonly held beliefs and challenging them, so I'm keen to find out which opinions really stick with people on here.

What do you see as something most people enjoyed (a wrestler, a show, an angle, a gimmick, etc) but didn't click with you at all? What was it and why didn't it work for you?

This can go vice versa as well, did something really click with you but is largely panned by others? And why did you like it so much?

As always the best contributions will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly - so what's your most "against the grain" opinion?

 

EDIT - Part 1 of our shows on your "Against The Grain" opinions, featuring many of your contributions, is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/web/sk26vj/SCG_Radio_93_-_Going_Against_The_Grain_Part_1.mp3

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The Rock is more annoying than entertaining.

 

I know around here or with hardcore fans in general he's not especially celebrated but within the general fandom he's seen as the best thing ever. People anticipate him taking 25 minutes to walk down the ramp (gotta stop and cock your head like a raptor every two steps), then running through his usual schtick on the mic for 45 minutes, then destroying the credibility of whatever heel they decide to have him quickly beat down (most recently Rusev and the Wyatt Family).

 

Honestly I hate it. Every bit of it. If I never saw The Rock in a wrestling ring again I'd be perfectly happy.

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I've already moaned about him on the UKFF, but as I sit here on my barstool in the majestic Duke of Wellington in Ruabon, I'll say it again. That boss eyed shit house Shawn Michaels

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I don't care about Misawa, Kobashi, or any of the Puro matches that some people seem to think are the holy grail of wrestling matches and can just refer to by a date like everyone should know exactly what masterpiece they are discussing. If it's not Terry Funk, Bruiser Brody, Hayabusa, or Muta, I don't give a damn about Japanese wrestling.

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Tully Blanchard was the most complete wrestler in the Four Horsemen. Much more varied style in the ring than Flair, more varied promo guy than Flair, and could work with anyone.

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Intergender wrestling is just fine, and we should have more of it. Women should contend for every title. Is it seriously less credible for Awesome Kong to be "world heavyweight champion" than Rey Mysterio Jr or some of the other tiny lil' fellas that have held those belts?

 

 

That boss eyed shit house Shawn Michaels

Around here, that's not against the grain at all.

 

and can just refer to by a date like everyone should know exactly what masterpiece they are discussing.

That's just how Japanese wrestling is documented and written about. They list things by simple date, much more often than by a collection of made-up show names. It's much more accurate and clean a system than saying "that Thunder that happened a couple weeks before Uncensored that one year".

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I've been here long enough to know that my fellow announcer, I just wanted to put it in two forums so there's some bass in it. Without Jannetty hes nothing better than solid. And the worst seller amd actor in wrestling history.

 

There's a great and late British comedian called Rik Mayall who wrote and starred in the young ones and Drop Dead Fred and the finest political comedy ever called The New Statesman.

 

He was also in a great sitcom called bottom which owed loads to Waiting For Godot and Samuel Beckett.

 

They would do live tours where he would over act on purpose

 

 

Enjoy that great two hours. But his over the top action is fuck all

compared to Shawn Michaels

 

See what I mean in short 3 minute form?

 

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I haven't watched absolutely everything from his acclaimed 04-06 run but Samoa Joe is someone who doesn't resonate with me on any level. I admit he's in some really great matches from that time period but I'm just not into it. There's still a bunch of stuff for me to watch but I'd much rather watch Low Ki, Daniel Bryan, Necro Butcher, Super Dragon, Brisco Brothers, CM Punk, Aj Styles, Chris Hero and Homicide at least and probably a few guys I'm forgetting. I'm sort of crossed up between Dylan's Jumbo argument and Matt's Hansen argument about Samoa Joe. I see him as a great tool, I admit that he's been in some great matches, I get why people would like him, and I'm not at the point where I just can't watch his matches...but man I am not far off from it.

 

Shit even though I mentioned him above as someone I like more than Samoa Joe in the 04-06 time period, I'm not really in love with Danielson in this time period either but I think that has more to do with all the Nigel McGuinness matches I've had to watch because of Bryan. The "goes too long" criticism is a real thing and while not nearly as bad as a lot of his peers, he was definitely prone to excess. I think the 2001 Low Ki match with Stemboat as guest ref is still the best Bryan match I've seen from the indies. I prefer "BattlArts Bryan" a lot more than "KENTA's Spirit Twin Bryan" and he seemed to spend a lot more time as KENTA's Spirit Twin than BattlArts Bryan. Again, this is probably Nigel McGuinness' fault.

 

Fit Finlay is probably my biggest one, but no one wants to hear me bitch about Finlay. Same thing with All Japan.

 

Oh, Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Steen are/were/and probably always will be terriblel. Just stop it, parts of the internet I'm not actually going to.

 

Ok enough with the negativity.

 

To take it a complete opposite direction, I've really enjoyed The Young Bucks in the small sampling I've seen so far. I had never seen a Bucks match until the last couple of months when I got Lord Helmet's 2000s MOTYC Sets. I read MattD's post in their thread and I had no idea what he was talking about but just assumed i would hate them. I kind of love them. They are completely ridiculous and over the top but it is much more charming than the ridiculous and over the top stylings of people like KENTA or Davey Richards or Nigel McGuinness. I dunno, I've watched probably 10 of their matches, I still don't know what MattD was talking about in his post, but I've enjoyed the matches in a Bad Boys 2 kind of way.

 

This is more against the Meltzer Grain and only because I just watched a bunch of matches from there last night, but I fucking love AWA in the early 80s. There's just a plethora of fun workers and matches and the heat is often out of this world. The crowd heat for the 3/13/83 is beyond words. Also, excluding Lee Marshall and Eric Bischoff, I'd rather listen to any commentator the AWA wants to throw at me than Jim Ross.

 

I'm not sure if this counts as an against the grain opinion, but I think that Rey Mysterio Jr vs Low Ki match was one of the 5 best Rey Jr singles matches I've seen. Speaking of Rey Jr matches, I thought Rey vs Dean Malenko was an awesome match-up in spite of what a lot of people say. I prefer Rey vs Dean to Dean vs Eddy and Rey vs Ultimo Dragon.

 

I'm all the way in on the 619 now. It is like the People's Elbow but better. The People's Elbow is great because it is completely preposterous. The 619 is awesome for many reasons. One of which is how Rey builds entire matches around setting it up. They got that thing over to the point where I just saw Daisuke Ikeda attempt one in a 2010 BattlArts match. Great move.

 

Just using the GWE Results as a Guideline for defining "the Grain" I think MS-1 is probably the most underrated wrestler ever. He finished 192 overall appearing on 22 ballots with a high vote of 34. This guy, oh man. We often focus on Sangre Chicana in the Sangre Chicana vs MS-1 match and I'm certainly guilty of that. I ranked Sangre Chicana 21 in the poll and MS-1 49th. Sangre actually finished 95th overall and on 46 ballots total. MS-1 is definitely hurt in the comparison because Sangre has other REALLY high end singles stuff outside that match that MS-1 doesn't have. But what we do have is the trios matches. And holy shit if El Satanico is the best trios match wrestler ever, then MS-1 is no worse than the 3rd or 4th. He was tremendous. Literally at no point in their time teaming together did MS-1 look like an inferior wrestler to Satanico. MS-1 may have been the sidekick, but as a wrestler he was a peer. He was an awesome brawler and mat wrestler so he could do a lot within Trios matches. And WHAT A RUDO! He was just a completely hateable prick. From the moment I hit submit on my GWE list, I knew MS-1 was my biggest mistake. He's a top 25 wrestler of all time. And if we were doing a list of top heels of all time, he's a top 10 candidate. MS-1 y'all. What were we thinking?

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Although there seems to be a trend towards moving away from treating prime AJPW as the undisputed best wrestling ever, I'm such a big fan of the promotion I have difficulty finding motivation to seek matches from outside of it.

 

I even think modern AJPW has been the best promotion in the world for both great top-to-bottom cards and high end matches for the few years since Akiyama took over. I would still much rather watch it than NJPW.

 

It annoys me seeing people use event date for Japanese matches but air date for US matches.

 

I dislike the cartoony and tropey style much mainstream US wrestling moved towards in the 80's and 90's and think 50's-70's was a much better period for American wrestling.

 

I think it's very regrettable US wrestling moved away from the quasi-shoot style stuff seen in the surviving 20's and 30's footage.

 

I see Brody, original Tiger Mask, and especially Inoki as all-time greats despite 80's set "reevaluation" leading many to see them as shit.

 

I think Undertakers past 3 Wrestlemania matches against Brock, Bray, and Shane were all great in their own way and stand up fine with his matches before those.

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Johnny Curtis is the single most under-utilized wrestler in the entire WWE.

 

Here's a guy who won the 4th season of NXT, meaning he must have garnered at least some interest from the public. Doesn't get his promised mentor tag title shot because R-Truth suddenly got caught up in the Awesome Truth storyline. Gets a couple of promos on Smackdown, gets squashed in his debut, then ends up back on NXT for the brilliant Redemption series. Goes on to be by far and away the standout of the series, hilariously sleazy and putting on solid matches in the ring. The backstage skit where he and Maxine kidnap Matt Striker is one of the most intentionally funny backstage bits the WWE has ever done ("Why do you have chloroform?" "Why DON'T I have chloroform?")

 

Finally, he gets called up to RAW, but is given a gimmick that should be hot death. Seriously, who saw "husky-voiced ballroom dancer" lasting 6 months? Yet Johnny Curtis fully embraced the role of Fandango, giving the character a shelf-life that I certainly didn't see coming. Fandango has been pushed, he's been de-pushed, been turned face, barely even made TV, yet through it all, he's maintained a level of commitment to the character. I saw him on a houseshow in a total jobber tag (Fandango/Sandow vs Rose/Slater) where none of those guys was getting regular TV, yet as soon as Fandango came out, he was bang on character, slinking around the ring, riling his opponents with hip thrusts and dance moves, and he got the crowd into a total nothing match. He's a good worker who isn't given enough chances to show what he can do in the ring, but still offers enough glimpses that you can tell he know's his way round the ring. I'm delighted to see the Breezango team, because at least he's finally getting another regular role on TV, and there's potential for them to be a really good tag team going forward. It also means more great Fandango skits, like the recent Pokemon Go bit where Fandango totally steals the show. When guys like Ziggler, who don't have half the charisma, talent or commitment, are getting world title shots, it really feels like they've missed the boat on Johnny Curtis.

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I would never call him a bad wrestler in a million years, and he's certainly done plenty of things I've enjoyed....but I would be perfectly happy if I never saw Brock Lesnar wrestle again. He's good, to be sure, but I don't see him as the super-worker a lot of people seem to do, and the mystique surrounding him wore off for me a long time ago, so now he's mostly just another old part-timer who's job it is to make the rest of the roster seem unimportant to me, and I really didn't need another one of those.

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I've already moaned about him on the UKFF, but as I sit here on my barstool in the majestic Duke of Wellington in Ruabon, I'll say it again. That boss eyed shit house Shawn Michaels

Is that really "against the grain" though? Michaels is quite a polarizing figure.

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I do not get much joy out of watching single matches, I much prefer to either watch an event or a tv show. I just feel no attachment to random matches but watching a card I can experience the whole show for what it is, an overarching story. Single matches are kind of like reading a chapter in a book without reading the whole book.

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Johnny Curtis is the single most under-utilized wrestler in the entire WWE.

 

I fully support this opinion. Sleazy Johnny Curtis in NXT was a gimmick that had legs. We all know the dude who is just problematic enough that everyone looks at him like a creep, but not problematic enough for him to be arrested. Nobody likes that dude, but there is one of those dudes on every reality TV show. They cast those dudes over and over again for a reason, it's because everyone knows that guy and everyone hates his guts. Instead of bringing him up with a gimmick that would get real heat they make him a ballroom dancer.

 

Speaking of dancers, I loved Disco Inferno. Sure it was a goofy comedy gimmick, but I loved how seriously took his role and all the subtle things he added to the character. The fact that he wasn't a complete jobber is what made it work. He was actually good enough to compete at the TV/US Championship level, but he was so busy dancing like an idiot that he'd make a stupid mistake and lose. The crusierweight title match at Bash at the Beach 96 is pretty much the story of Disco's career. Malenko is a wrestling machine who is super serious about taking systematically taking Disco apart, but Disco is game and puts up a good fight. Disco would occasionally hit a big move, but instead of covering Dean, he'd stop to fix his hair or to do a stupid dance. It was basically worked like Disco and Malenko were equals except that Dean took his craft seriously and Disco didn't.

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I have two and some against the grain opinions within each macro one.

 

1. I liked the NWO Wolfpac (1998) both in terms of the idea and the execution. If it was my company, I would have tried to babyface the NWO too because of the merchandising possibilities. Moreover, I did not mind Sting joining the Wolfpac because they needed a top babyface so that they could be looked at as faces. Savage, Nash and Konnan had all had long runs as heels and the Wolfpac may have worked with just them (if Savage had stayed around), but Sting and Luger made it "okay" for everyone to cheer them. Getting back to Sting in particular, to me he was the best fit to get to the Wolfpac to the destination of being universally cheered. Luger by himself is flawed because most people probably thought that Luger would join the NWO eventually. Goldberg wasn't a fit. Page was a good fit, but not as over as Sting. Flair was not a fit and was gone anyway at the time. I almost feel it had to be Sting. Of course many people did not like the NWO Wolfpac so my premise is flawed to those people, but if you were going to do it-I had no problem with Sting joining. I do think it sends the message that Hogan was always the enemy as opposed to the NWO, but I don't think that is a deal-breaker. I just wish that Savage had been around and I wish that Liz had not turned heel just because she was beautiful at the time and could have helped with the group's popularity (it also would have been interesting to see her as a babyface without the innocence of 1980's Elizabeth, I would like to have seen how she handled that nuance).

 

2. This is one of those instances where I am someone who "cares about business." I'm actually really interested in how companies and wrestlers go about making money. Before I get to the point, as a rule I am an advocate for companies and wrestlers doing things that will make them money. The reasons for that are (1) I want to see companies I watch continue to exist (2) I am going to watch anyway so from my perspective they may as well do what's best for them (3) I don't really dislike any entity in wrestling, anything can be entertaining to me as long as it is done well (4) because I'm just interested. (5) I still think that booking and making stars can make a difference. I am not interested in every detail in the WWE quarterly report, but I am interested in the macro. I also am interested in ROH and New Japan attendance and overall business.

 

With that long setup aside-I don't mind cool heels because there is not nearly the incentive (and that's an understatement) to be a traditional heel that there has been in the past. Don't get me wrong, if a heel could really get over, even today the person could make a difference in numbers...if the framework was in place. I don't believe that the framework is in place and the structure of wrestling companies would have to completely change for it to be better to be a heel who goes for heat than it is a heel who winks and nods because he or she still wants to buy their t-shirt. Right now it is better to be a heel who at least some fans like because those fans may buy his or her t-shirt. Financial discussion aside, I like engaged crowds and if that means that they like the heel-then that is fine. It's better than them chanting for C.M Punk or announcers or anything else that has nothing to do with what is in front of them.

 

Bonus Big Picture thought (related to 2): I don't like the idea that fans should play along. I think the best reactions are organic and visceral. That means if someone likes a heel, then they should cheer them because if you boo someone just because they are a heel-that means you are thinking about it and that to me is a flawed reaction. I want the reactions that aren't based on anything but the feelings that fans have about what is put in front of them.

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Tempted to get into my Trish Stratus Top 100 debate again but actually it's this..........

 

 

I think Dusty era Crockett is some of the most boring TV around. Each week nothing happens. You have a bunch of squash matches that are either so short it's absurd or way too long. You rarely have a decent match and when you do it's guaranteed to end in a DQ. You have Ric Flair and the Horsemen cutting the same promos week in and week out and never really saying anything, you have everyone putting over Dusty so much it's silly and you have a lousy announcer like David Crockett and an overrated one in Jim Ross a bit later on. There are a FEW exceptions (last episode of 85 and Ole's turn) but they are very rare.

 

The WWF weekly shows are a heck of a lot more varied and interesting to me. Not putting on the whole roster each and every week makes a big difference.

 

It's not an anti-Southern thing on my part either because I think Memphis, Smoky Mountain and Mid South are all great. Dusty era Crockett is the most overrated product in wrestling history IMO.

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The most entertaining wrestler in the world in 1996 was Shane Douglas. Douglas is badly underrated because ECW's exposure expanded just as his body broke down and severely limited his ability to be entertaining in the ring in '97-'99, but he was an exceptional promo and character in '95-'96 and was on fire in the ring.

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Studio shows. I always disliked them in the 80's. Give me the JCP Worlwide or Pro shows over the studio. Same goes for Memphis,as I preferred the arena clips over the studio.

 

I grew up on the AWA which had a studio show and I was so glad once they went to the Tropicana and then the Showboat. Such a better look.

 

I just never cared for the atmosphere of 50 fans in that small of a setting. Maybe that's why to this day I love World Class despite its flaws. As the Sportatorium was second to none.

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The most entertaining wrestler in the world in 1996 was Shane Douglas. Douglas is badly underrated because ECW's exposure expanded just as his body broke down and severely limited his ability to be entertaining in the ring in '97-'99, but he was an exceptional promo and character in '95-'96 and was on fire in the ring.

 

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Tempted to get into my Trish Stratus Top 100 debate again but actually it's this..........

 

 

I think Dusty era Crockett is some of the most boring TV around. Each week nothing happens. You have a bunch of squash matches that are either so short it's absurd or way too long. You rarely have a decent match and when you do it's guaranteed to end in a DQ. You have Ric Flair and the Horsemen cutting the same promos week in and week out and never really saying anything, you have everyone putting over Dusty so much it's silly and you have a lousy announcer like David Crockett and an overrated one in Jim Ross a bit later on. There are a FEW exceptions (last episode of 85 and Ole's turn) but they are very rare.

 

I can see your point in reference to the WCW show. Week after week of squashes with an occasional Superstation Championship Challenge Series thrown in.

 

But Worldwide and Pro were both waaaaay more than just squashes. All the hot angles happened on them and they had TONS of big matches, including a then-unheard-of world title switch.

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