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The Cancellation of Jim Cornette

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On 7/2/2020 at 7:05 PM, TheDuke said:

Wow I finally got to the end of this episode of The Experience, and watched along with the Midnights/Fantastics from Clash I. It's the very last thing on the podcast,  so I would suggest just skipping ahead to the last like 20 minutes or so. It's amazing. Seeing the match while hearing it broken down like that, wow. Did they really call it in the ring like that? I feel like something must be lost in wrestling tradition if in the old days it was just called on the fly like that, and today its planned out before hand. Like I know that's how they used to do matches, but until he walked us through it like that I dont think I appreciated how complicated that process could actually be. I would love to hear more of these. 

"We used to work. Now we perform." - Steve Austin

I'm fine with either approach and sometimes the exchanges are complex enough that I think they would be awfully difficult to pull off on the fly now. That said, the best matches are probably the ones that have a happy medium -- they go in with a pretty clear idea of what they're going to do, but if it's not working, they're aware and skilled enough to shift gears on the fly.

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Well it also shows where the disconnect maybe between older wrestlers and modern fans when comparing good and bad wrestlers. A wrestler may look at a match and see things that are difficult to do or things that just look like shortcuts. But the fan just sees the end product and so is not watching through the same bias. Hence the different opinions on the same match.

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11 hours ago, Loss said:

"We used to work. Now we perform." - Steve Austin

I'm fine with either approach and sometimes the exchanges are complex enough that I think they would be awfully difficult to pull off on the fly now. That said, the best matches are probably the ones that have a happy medium -- they go in with a pretty clear idea of what they're going to do, but if it's not working, they're aware and skilled enough to shift gears on the fly.

Funny side note to this. I was listening to a part of some Sherri Martel shoot and she said that Randy Savage had given Ultimate Warrior something like 29 pages of notes for their Wrestlemania VII match.

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18 minutes ago, Mad Dog said:

Funny side note to this. I was listening to a part of some Sherri Martel shoot and she said that Randy Savage had given Ultimate Warrior something like 29 pages of notes for their Wrestlemania VII match.

To be fair, that was probably necessary for a Warrior match.

Didn't Pat Patterson meticulously lay out Hogan vs. Warrior anyway?

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I think it came up on one of the Roundtables that the joke in WWF locker rooms when they heard Savage and DDP would be working together was that they'd never make it away from their notepads and to the ring for their match.

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19 hours ago, Loss said:

"We used to work. Now we perform." - Steve Austin

I'm fine with either approach and sometimes the exchanges are complex enough that I think they would be awfully difficult to pull off on the fly now. That said, the best matches are probably the ones that have a happy medium -- they go in with a pretty clear idea of what they're going to do, but if it's not working, they're aware and skilled enough to shift gears on the fly.

THIS.

For instance, since Austin's name came up and the match with Bret came to mind instantly, some of my favorite matches growing up were Bret Hart matches. And over time, Bret has discussed laying out matches and sequences for three hours with some of his opponents. Watching the matches, they play out like a well-told story. So I can absolutely see that. But they don't look or function like rehearsed performances.

There is a struggle and a resistance there. Today, more often than not, there's just layers of cooperation piled on top of those pre-planned moments. And it all just comes across as a recital of clearly staged dance steps.

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8 hours ago, C.S. said:

To be fair, that was probably necessary for a Warrior match.

Didn't Pat Patterson meticulously lay out Hogan vs. Warrior anyway?

It was a Savage thing. I think Steamboat got the same amount of notes and Savage at one point wanted to fly Steamboat somewhere so they could practice.

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If you watch Savage/Steamboat, it may have been meticulously planned out and rehearsed beforehand, but there were no sequences that were too complicated to have been called on the fly. That's the key for me. Plan it out if you must, but don't choreograph it to such a degree that you lose the feeling of spontaneity.

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Steamboat went over every step in great depth that him and savage laid out on his dvd in 09.

I also remember hearing stories of how Vince and company in 01 thought that DDP was not a good worker because he laid out his matches step by step, any truth to that?

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The story as I understand it is that DDP gave Undertaker a script for their match at Summerslam and Taker threw it away without even looking at it. DDP already had heat for not taking flat back bumps to feed babyface comebacks, and that incident solidified him as a WCW guy who didn't know how to work in the eyes of the office.

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Since this was brought up, I assume it was impossible to Savage to script all of his matches. Can anybody point to a clear example of a Savage match where it's being called in the ring, or where Randy is letting the other guy call the match? What about the Hogan matches? How come we never hear any talk about Savage scripting those?

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10 hours ago, SomethingSavage said:

There is a struggle and a resistance there. Today, more often than not, there's just layers of cooperation piled on top of those pre-planned moments. And it all just comes across as a recital of clearly staged dance steps.

I think this talking point is overused today - it's basically a criticism of early-00s indy style that doesn't really apply to most matches you'll see in either major promotion in the last 10 years.

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9 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Since this was brought up, I assume it was impossible to Savage to script all of his matches. Can anybody point to a clear example of a Savage match where it's being called in the ring, or where Randy is letting the other guy call the match? What about the Hogan matches? How come we never hear any talk about Savage scripting those?

I'd assume the first main events they did in '85/'86 were fairly scripted. I'm sure the WM V main event was. I'd guess the '89 house show run was probably something they just workshopped and then were able to feel it for the night, because they did it so many times.
 

On that latter point, I'd think that's the answer for why we don't hear about more specific instances of Savage scripting - either he was working with the guy on a house show loop for long enough that they could figure out a match in time, or the matches weren't important enough to spend a month scripting. 

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I remember rip Rodgers saying in relation to randy savage planning his matches out meticulous that in his experience working for the poffos he never saw that happen. He doesn't deny that the steamboat match probably was planned out like said, but it seems like one match has created a narrative that his whole career before and after that match was scripted to within an inch of its life. I mean I doubt the ric flair matches were scripted given flair didn't work like that. 

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12 hours ago, Migs said:

I think this talking point is overused today - it's basically a criticism of early-00s indy style that doesn't really apply to most matches you'll see in either major promotion in the last 10 years.

I dunno, I've seen way more examples of major matches having that super scripted feel in the last 6-7 years than I did in the early/mid 00s indies. The undercard with, like, SAT and their ilk? Yeah, but the ME was usually filled with folks trying to struggle and "compete."

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This is all a matter of perception and bias. No one can watch a Hogan match and pretend it looked like anything other than a complete cartoon. All of John Cena's big matches totally came off scripted as all hell, no matter how good is selling was. Once you've done an irish whip or done a spot off the ropes, it's completely ridiculous to talk about struggle. Some worker bring more of a sense of struggle, for sure, but as a form as a whole, pro-wrestling always kinda looks like a dance, because that's what it is. The major difference is that spots have became much more complicated and athletically demanding. And there's also a lack of learning the basics in the US, whereas in NJPW those Young Lions are just hammered with it for years, which is why there are so above everyone else. I mean, I do like Private Party, but I gotta chuckle at the guy doing a standing moonsault as his very first offensive move in a match !

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@El-P I concur. It was eye opening the first time I saw the original Irish whip and how much it resembled a legitimate push into the ropes.

There's always going to be a level of silliness involved in working a match, but I wish we'd get something more akin to a Raid or John Wick sequence instead of the MCU flavor we typically get. It's clearly something that can be done, but I just think most talent don't even want to try because it's easier to meet expectations than it is to challenge them.

Even if challenging them can be as simple as "selling a headlock."

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12 hours ago, Migs said:

I think this talking point is overused today - it's basically a criticism of early-00s indy style that doesn't really apply to most matches you'll see in either major promotion in the last 10 years.

Yeah, I'm not buying that. There's some early 00s stuff with LowKi, Danielson, Joe, and even AJ that looks plenty stiff and snug without gaping holes in the work. It's still a performance, but it's more an athletic struggle and less a dance recital than a lot of what I see today.

I'm not saying there isn't SOME of that happening today. But I think the majority is an abundance of rehearsed stuff. That's perception, and I'm not alone in that. Feel free to dismiss my talking point as just some generic opinion I'm parroting from elsewhere, but I'd say you're living in a bubble. Because tons of folks feel the same way without perusing message boards or having their faces in wrestling Twitter to tell them what they should think.

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3 hours ago, Cornette's racket said:

I remember rip Rodgers saying in relation to randy savage planning his matches out meticulous that in his experience working for the poffos he never saw that happen. He doesn't deny that the steamboat match probably was planned out like said, but it seems like one match has created a narrative that his whole career before and after that match was scripted to within an inch of its life. I mean I doubt the ric flair matches were scripted given flair didn't work like that. 

In Flair's book, he talked about having to fly to Savage's home to practice the WM8 match, which really bothered him because he had never practiced a match in his life.

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Laying out matches beforehand has apparently been standard practice for a while in Mexico. Konnan's Observer HOF bio mentions that his match with Flair at Bash at the Beach 1996 was the first of his career that was called entirely in the ring.

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I believe all the big All Japan matches from the 90's were carefully laid out beforehand too. There's no way you put that much deep psychology and so many intricate sequences without planning them.

Too me there's a total over romanticization of the "call everything in the ring" stuff. It's easier to call everything in the ring when the matches and the spots are that much simpler. I also don't believe for a second the whole "every night was a different match because we listened to the crowd" discourse. Sure, it may not have been *exactly* the same match moves for moves but really, when every match is built around super simple spots (headlocks, dropkicks, armdrags) and a shine/heat/comeback structure, it's not like you're playing free jazz either. 

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One thing that heavily implies matches are too scripted (or maybe that the participants aren't so great) is when a spot is blown, or something else goes wrong, and the wrestlers just attempt the very same spot or sequence again rather than moving on or changing it up. Even if it's supposed to be the finish, why not just improvise something else on the fly? Trying the same thing again  just looks bad in most cases. This also speaks to the workers just "wanting to get their shit in", something I used to be skeptical about but nowadays is something I'm recognizing a lot more.

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One of favorite matches of the last decade was Shasa Banks/Bayley at Takeover Brooklyn and we all know that everything was laid out and took nothing away from it. For me whether it's called on the fly or laid out step by step did they make think damn that was a great wrestling match or man that was phony as hell.

WWM you're right about the blown spots. I think it comes down to the level of worker on how to make those situations look authentic. Only example I can think of is the blown spot between Jushin Liger/Great Sasuke at the 94 Super J cup. 

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