Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:49 PM
One of the little things I've been thinking about recently is how in the world of literary criticism and theory there are different critical schools and approaches.
I think these exist also in the world of watching wrestling and rating it, although they don't all have names. I have identified a number of different schools as follows:
Structuralism -- Matt D is a leading proponent of this; the approach of those for whom structure is everything. He's always looking for coherence as a guiding principle for the match. He doesn't like things for their own sake, they must have a purpose.
Blood, guts and violence -- this is Will's default mode, brawling, sweet punches, gallons of blood, brutality, violence for its own sake.
00s-Keithism -- this is the now dated "workrate" approach that dominated the early internet. Workrate is in scare quotes because it tended to be shorthand for "guys who could do suplex variations and / or who could do flippy moves from the top rope". At its worst, this approach was blind to a lot of things. At its best, it encouraged more casual fans to discover matches from Japan and elsewhere.
Role-relativism -- this is the "he played his role well" line, which can be a lens through which you see all wrestling. As in literary criticism, two different schools can often be "buddied up" in someone's approach. So you could be both a structuralist and a role-relativist. Role-relativism is one of the more forgiving schools of criticism.
Individualism -- this is a focus more on what guys do than on the structure of the match. The thing in focus is more on the how rather than the why.
Microism -- a subset or "advanced" version of the above. This is the study and appreciation of "the little things", often buddied up with other approaches. The wrestling equivalent of "close reading" -- more a tool than an approach itself.
Contextualism-- considering a match within the overall context of the booking, what it is setting up or blowing off, and how effective that is. I find myself thinking about booking quite a lot, especially when considering finishes. This is the approach that most considers factors external to the match itself. Its mirror in the world of literary criticism is known as 'historicism'.
There are probably other approaches too, although I can't think of them right now. I find myself flitting between all of these.