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Do "Standards change" in wrestling?

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#261 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:51 PM

If Show debuted in the late Sixties and was booked exactly like Andre was he'd be considered as legendary. And if Andre debuted in the 90's and was booked like Show he'd also have been sent to OVW. I'm being a little overly simple, but it's really apples and oranges. Both are fruit and good for you, but are totally different.

#262 Loss

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 10:55 PM

Who is "he" whose opinions are being shredded?

#263 Shining Wiz

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 04:46 PM

Well, Andre was never asked to do the things Show has been. Because, you know, changing standards and all.

#264 funkdoc


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Posted 24 March 2016 - 02:13 PM

so this thread got linked in a recent discussion...


i can honestly understand where people like Joe come from on this one.  the analytics community in sports has found that the quality of play improves over time in every major team sport, with all sorts of compelling evidence backing this up.  if you see wrestling as mainly or even partially an athletic activity, i actually think it's a reasonable position.


in case anyone was curious, this does affect people's "greatest of all time" arguments in sports, but in a rather complex manner.  generally it's assumed that the best players from the 1920s would still be some of the best today, since they would have access to the modern advantages.  however, it's harder to dominate any sport today like Babe Ruth did, so modern players often rate above older players with more impressive raw numbers.  higher quality of play means that there's less of a gap between the best and the average, so that gap counts for more in today's game.


i see people like Loss talk about "grading on a curve" or "rewarding what-ifs", and wanted to bring this up at some point.  statistical analysts in sports DO base their judgments off "what-ifs" in a sense, since there are scientific ways to adjust for those.  it honestly boggles my mind that people don't seem to understand that concept, but i guess it's not really widespread...

#265 Dylan Waco

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 03:37 PM

To be fair "what if" adjustments in sports are a relatively modern practice, and they tend to be based at least in part on much more concrete core metrics (size of ballparks for example) than what anyone could go on with pro wrestling for obvious reasons. 

#266 fxnj

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 09:01 PM

The thing with improvements in sports plays is that a lot of it is driven just by access to better doping methods so guys can train harder/more often. Not only do the drugs obviously close the age gap by letting guys keep going at a high level into their 40's, but I'd argue they also partly close the genetic gap as well, hence the tightening of competition. I can't blame guys for comparing players from the 1920's to today if your sport only runs for a few months and you need something to talk about for the rest of the year, but I've never been interested in debating fantasy match-ups like Tyson/Ali as there's far too many variables to account for.

I don't see how any of this applies to wrestling, though, since people don't rate matches based on how difficult they are to execute as athletic endeavors but on how entertaining they are as artistic endeavors.

#267 Loss

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:53 PM

i see people like Loss talk about "grading on a curve" or "rewarding what-ifs", and wanted to bring this up at some point.  statistical analysts in sports DO base their judgments off "what-ifs" in a sense, since there are scientific ways to adjust for those.  it honestly boggles my mind that people don't seem to understand that concept, but i guess it's not really widespread...


I am not quite sure why I'm being singled out for something many people have said, especially something I said years ago, but wrestling doesn't work as a comparison to sports analysis. It works better as a comparison to music or film analysis in my opinion. If there's a movement to demonstrate what Phil Spector could have accomplished as a producer in the 1960s had he had a Synclavier or been part of the sampling culture, to me, that comparison would work better.

#268 goodhelmet

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 10:48 PM

To add to Loss's point, I have always maintained that Meltzer's Hall of Fame shouldn't be compared to a random Sports Hall of Fame but to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame instead. Completely arbitrary system that has no rhyme or reason. 

#269 funkdoc


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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:49 AM

the difference is that a big part of what we discuss here CAN be added to through "sabermetrics".  namely, stardom/drawing power.  i was just listening to an older Exile where they talked about this random lucha show in Atlanta that had Hijo del Santo vs...LA Park, i think.  apparently it was a total one-match show, yet it drew a crowd of 6500.  given that 1000 is a strong number for US indies, i feel like there's a huge "Value Above Replacement Level" going on there with those guys, like HOF-level.  in fairness, some people here do argue along those lines, e.g. Dylan & co. with JYD.  but i still see a lot of this stuff being written off as "what-ifs".


Loss: i mentioned you because i try to name names with stuff like this, and you were the first that popped to mind.  in particular, i think of your use of the "what-if" line with regard to Flair getting main-event opportunities.  i absolutely would adjust for that if i were doing something like a top 100 list, because i don't believe much of anything is a meritocracy; there's always going to be reasons beyond skill that earn someone those chances.  the difference is likely in our vantage point for that kind of project, and this is actually something you see in sports as well.


most people think from the perspective of the fan, i.e. "will i be telling my grandkids how awesome this guy was?"  i suspect the majority of GWE participants fit this category.  it's always been more natural for me to put myself in the shoes of the general manager or booker, and the question i ask is more like "if i were the one bringing in talent, would i be begging to have this guy?"  that leads me to try and strip all surrounding context for evaluations, as well as one can anyway.  this seems to be a rare approach for wrestling criticism, but maybe i'm missing something.

#270 GOTNW


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Posted 30 June 2016 - 05:20 PM

I haven't said anything on this because I didn't really have anything to add to the discussion but I do have now!

Standards in how matches are worked change all the time. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better depending on what you're discussing and whom you're asking. But what I think is important is to look at exactly what kind of changes happen.

Simultaneously we also have to consider our perception of wrestling criticism, the primary of Meltzer-ism and the workrate dogma that ruled for so long. Because wrestling is what it is it took a while before platforms where people could seriously deconstruct it were created.

There is more of a general awareness of what works in a real fight now thanks to the popularity of MMA. The influence of this seems to be vastly overstated. Most of the changes actually stem from the UWF and other major japanese promotions adjusting their work to keep with the dives. I can't tell whether Blue Panther, Lizmark and US Indy workers saw the same tapes, but they saw the same workers and the same matches. We know how real submissions work. This doesn't really matter in pro wrestling. Pro wrestling continues to use chinlocks and arm wingers. This is why I don't really accept someone saying "well, we know about MMA now" when saying, say someone's armwork isn't interesting in a 2016 match. You can have interesting armwork using 1973 All Japan psychology that defies MMA logic in 2016 too. It just doesn't happen a lot.

Probably the biggest change in how matches are worked in how they are paced. Matches are much faster today with significantly more action. This might simply reflect the changes in our surrounding (and, among other things, why many people will long for wrestling from their days when it was "better"). It is a different world out there and matches are worked with different goals then they were fifteen, thiry or fifty years ago. It makes sense that you'd work one way when your target audience is the live crowd, another when your target audience is still the live crowd but television is becoming relevant for your promotion and another when television audience is your main goal and, well, people that enjoy your TV show up for the tapings. In that sense I find it somewhat pretentious to think that you can watch a match from 1963 and expect to have the same experience as a wrestling nerd that was in the crowd that night. The best you can do is understand why that style was worked the way it was, learn what to expect and appreciate and it and decide whether you like it or not.

Standards change in criticism. This is true from both a wider perspective with new ideas and theories constantly being added before eventually cycling eternally once all of them are on the table and in your personal experience as a fan/critic.

I liked the idea of "standard in wrestling don't change" because I liked its original intention (debunking the idea that the rise of athleticism, which isn't really athleticism but wrestlers doing more flips and whatnot-I highly doubt the Ricochets and Will Ospreays off the world would have the cardio to do a Billy Robinson-Inoki hour long match). But the more I think about it-there are things in wrestling I think are important. There absolutely are. But they vary so much from one style I like to another I can't just nod my head and say "yeah, good selling is important" when what good selling means changes so much depending on what we're talking about. And sometimes one value matters more than the other.  

Sometimes things in wrestling get dropped as a conscious decision, sometimes they are simply forgotten. You as a fan can of course argue that retiring something from use was a mistake. You like it so it has to be good!

Even if you construct some insane chart or whatever depicting how much things in wrestling matter and how they effect each other at the end of the day you're simply presenting your vision of what makes good wrestling. It's not really a yes/no thing but If I have to pick I'm leaning slightly towards yes because there are many other things at play too, including efficiency vs personal satisfaction as an artist, wrestlers thinking of their work as "just a job" vs. thinking it's their drug (look this may sound a little awkward but there's a video where Matt Sydal explains what wrestling means to him and you can imagine how that looked). How deep can we go?

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