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Bryan Alvarez


Eduardo
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His "overview" of Misawa's career and his childish defense of it are embarrassing, and it made me think, how did he get in the position he is at right now? Does Meltzer deserve the credit of his success by putting him as his sidekick on WOL in 1999? Nothing against Alvarez, I like him at times and he's done some great work in the past, but it just makes me wonder how he got chosen to be the number 2 guy and if there would be someone better.

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A summary of some of the errors and failing of Bryan's overview of Misawa's career (cribbed from other people):

 

- Poorly proof read, as names were mixed up in a couple of key spots.

- Listing all of his Observer awards and five star matches with next to no context.

- No mention of his lengthy reigns with the Triple Crown and the significance of that. Little discussion of how Misawa became the star that he was, what made him so beloved and so over, the storylines behind his career defining feuds, etc.

- No mention that Misawa suffered a serious concussion and a cervical sprain in his match with Takeshi Morishima in January 2007.

- Inaccuracies in his description of NOAH's formation.

- Incorrect speculation that Misawa planned to pass the torch to Yoshihiro Takayama because he beat him for the GHC title twice, but didn't because Takayama suffered a stroke before he could do so. He also blamed Takayama's brain trauma entirely on the punishment he suffered in his MMA matches.

- Suggested that Misawa attempted to make Yoshinari Ogawa and Takashi Suguira into megastars like he attempted to do with Rikio, Marufuji and Morishima.

- Didn't grasp how badly Marufuji bombed as GHC champion, criticizing the move to talk the belt off him as incredibly short-sighted and impatient.

 

Bryan's defense of these criticisms:

 

- Short deadline.

- Sent it to people to read beforehand who he felt were very qualified to comment on it, none of whom criticized the piece, including a long time Japanese reporter who called it "super good and informative".

- It was only meant to be an overview, you can read Dave Meltzer's bio for the definitive version, no need to replicate his work (specifically replying to someone who said that it read like a wikipedia overview of his career).

 

To be fair to Bryan, if you gave the same task to his rivals for the number two spot, none of them would do much better. Wade Keller always relied on others to cover Japanese wrestling for him (like Chris Zavisa and jdw), before he lost interest completely. Dave Scherer has also focussed his coverage for ages on American wrestling too. The childish defense of his article isn't surprising given that for every one poster who had a valid criticism of his article, there were ten posters who instantly jumped to his defense. Often, the wrestling reporters are in a bubble almost as much as the subjects they cover. Finally, Bryan got to the number two spot not just based on his association with Dave, but because he's the leader in providing audio content, regularly having guests to interview on his show. Though Wade provides the same amount of content, he can't compete anymore with Bryan's ability to get guests for his audio shows.

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To be fair, you really can't expect Bryan Alvarez to give you the same details that Dave Meltzer would give you in an obituary, that's just not what he does. I'm not defending the factual inaccuracies, which is just lazy writing, but at the same time, I don't think I've ever had the same level of expectations out of Alvarez, so it didn't really bother me. I wouldn't bother with Figure Four Weekly if it wasn't part of the Observer subscription package, and I only read it to kill time at work on Tuesdays. Now, if Meltzer ever decides he's had it with the fake stuff and Alvarez ascends to the #1 spot by default, that's another story, and that's when pro wrestling "journalism," such as it is, falls completely off the cliff. But I don't think Alvarez is trying to be Meltzer, and I've always thought of Figure Four Weekly as a supplemental item to the Observer.

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Alvarez also totally took a shot at our man Bix on the latest free Bryan & Vinny show. Which is aggravating, cuz I like Alvarez, so for him to call out one of my e-brethren fills my soul with ambiguity.

Oh geez, what'd he say and when on the show?
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Yeah, I found it. I have no idea what he was going on about and why he was so revved about it since I've certainly never had a problem with someone saying Punk had a bad match. I did make a post as a joke where I noted that in the newsletter's SD report, he joked that he hoped Rey talked for awhile so the match would be short, when he raved about their previous match (and thus, didn't really make sense as a joke). But that was it.

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Between occassionally listening to a free edition of the Bryan and Vinny show and reading Todd Martin's RAW Report on the Observer site, I sometimes wonder if Alvarez and Martin are having a secret contest to see who can hate RAW the most each week. There are weeks that I wonder if I've even watched the same show that they're discussing. And this is coming from a guy who doesn't even care enough watch RAW live as it happens just so I can fast forward through the parts I don't care about. Even worse is Martin clearly is so focused typing his notes that he misses one or two key moments on the show each week.

 

The more I listen to Alvarez or see something he writes (it should be noted, I'm not even a subscriber), the more it seems he totally hates pro wrestling beyond repair right now. He seems so burnt out.

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The more I listen to Alvarez or see something he writes (it should be noted, I'm not even a subscriber), the more it seems he totally hates pro wrestling beyond repair right now. He seems so burnt out.

Ha, his bitching about WWE is nothing compared to his TNA hatred. Don't get me wrong TNA consistently does more than it's share of dumbass stuff, but he's pretty much given up on it years ago. Even when talking about other subjects he always manages to squeeze in a TNA diss.

 

I always read the Observer, big fan of Meltzer's writings. Between UFC and wrestling I don't know how he keeps up the pace every week.

 

I usually skip Figure Four Weekly, not cause I don't like it (his reviews are pretty funny), I just don't have the time to read both. Just went back and read his Misawa bio, seemed pretty good to me. For someone of Misawa's career there could always be so much more, but it's seemed OK.

 

Alverez more than makes up for it with all his time on audio shows.

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- No mention of his lengthy reigns with the Triple Crown and the significance of that. Little discussion of how Misawa became the star that he was, what made him so beloved and so over, the storylines behind his career defining feuds, etc.

I tossed the Triple Crown point out as being the single most obvious one. In an "overview" that he defended as being solid, the phrase Triple Crown was mentioned once:

 

Nine days before his death, Baba, who had seen as much live pro wrestling as pretty much any human being who ever lived, declared the Kawada vs. Misawa Triple Crown match on January 22 as the best pro-wrestling match he'd ever seen in his life. The match was notable for the fact that Kawada legitimately broke his arm just moments after it started and then finished the match, the two of them working it as if it was just part of the story and nothing out of the ordinary.

That's it.

 

Pretty much like doing a Flair overview and mentioning the NWA Title once, in a sentence about the 1993 match with Rick Rude. Or a Hogan overview and you mention the WWF title once, and it's one of the Yokozuna title changes.

 

We can accept that Bryan sent it around to folks who know puroresu and Misawa's career, and not a bunch of idiots who have been watching puroresu for six months or only know about it from skimming the WON. One can only assume that none of the people Bryan sent it to had the heart to give him honest feedback that it wasn't any good as an overview of Misawa's career (setting aside the reporting of the death portion of the story).

 

John

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Guest LShunter

I don't mind Alvarez, mainly because I listen/read knowing not to expect Dave's level of factual accuracy.

 

Also, he handily has his online newsletter in PDF format that I can print off at work over four duplexed pages. I'd get busted printing off 30-50 odd pages of Observer...

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I didn't have a problem with the bio, but I think he wrote it knowing that the readers just expected an overview in anticipation of Meltzer's exhastive obit. Regarding the Triple Crown point, my guess is he either didn't think of it or just knowing that it was an obvious thing known to the audience reading it that he didn't need to recap it all.

 

As to how Alvarez got to #2, I think it's a combination of things. I think people grew tired of Keller's douchiness, endless debating, and extensive coverage of US mainstream stuff and not much else and just moved on. I don't know if Sherer was ever considered as #2 but he long ago moved from the print media (where he was largely an ECW trumpeter) to online only and people grew tired of his pop-up, ad friendly site and moved on. Alvarez rode Meltzer's friendship for all it was worth and got his position more by attrition and being in the right place at the right time with an audience that was more accepting of him already.

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Regarding the Triple Crown point, my guess is he either didn't think of it or just knowing that it was an obvious thing known to the audience reading it that he didn't need to recap it all.

The first would lack understanding of Misawa's career.

 

The second is inconsistent with how the GHC Title, especially title changes, was handled in the piece.

 

I think we can eliminate the second. It would be like a Flair "overview" covering 3/4 of his WWF Title changes, and mention the NWA Title just once, and it being winning back the title from Ronnie Garvin. Not that Kawada is Ronnie Garvin, but the Triple Crown match mentioned really isn't terribly important other than to make the point on Kawada's injury. In Flair's case, the Garvin match isn't terribly important other than to make the point that Starcade was a monsterous bomb that helped JCP on the path to its death.

 

Those *are* points to be made in a bio of either Misawa or Flair. But when you think of Flair as the long term NWA Champion, or Misawa as the long term anchor to All Japan as their Triple Crown Champion, to get to Flair-Garvin and the 1/99 Misawa-Kawada, you sort of need to lay down the foundation of the success first.

 

John

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That bio was pretty weak.

 

The worst part was the "five star matches" crap, as if it was an objective number of five star matches. Why not saying matches rated five stars by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. I agree that saying that without context of what that means is pretty bad.

 

Isn't this the same guy who tore into me a few years back for stating my opinion as fact?

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Thanks for the thread link titled "Issue 730 out now"".

 

Am amused to no end that Alan4L was one of the proofreaders.

 

Did people defend Keller when he confused Great Sasuke and Kensuke Sasaki with the same kind of "this is a general purpose survey post not in depth researched piece" explanations.

 

I really liked the narrative piece Bryan wrote at beginning of decade about going on the road with Buddy Wayne during Waynes supposed last run. But his defense that reading figure four and expecting more than Shanon Rose level insight seems accurate. He's smarter than Babinsack, but probably less insightfull than Todd Martin, maybe functional equivalent of Wahlers. I wouldn't read any of them for anything more than shit and giggles. his obits embarrasing but did anyone actually expect better.

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