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Do "Standards change" in wrestling?


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#41 Matt D

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 09:09 AM

So wait, does that make SFX fans into Deathmatch fans?



#42 funkdoc

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 10:56 AM

here's something related i was thinking about...

 

for anyone who knows about OSW Review, one of them made comments during their WM3 video that seemed awfully facepalm-worthy to me: during Savage-Steamboat he kept going on about how standards are so much higher nowadays, this would be nowhere near a 5-star match, and "Christian vs. Orton from Over the Limit[?] is 10 times the match this was."

 

granted, these guys are far more blatant movez marks than Meltzer, but it's still interesting to see how often hardcore fans buy into this sort of thinking. i personally think that if you see changes over time as inherently positive, you aren't looking hard enough for the strengths of older styles and/or the weaknesses of current ones, or you only care about personal enjoyment and not the wider context of the work (which i can respect a lot more than the former, nothing wrong with being into something for fun and not wanting to think about it too much!).

 

also Matt D, i don't want to derail this thread but i think you misconstrue postmodernist positions a bit. from following many different social movements, the impression i get is more "you can't wholly understand the struggle if you benefit from the power structures we're struggling against." postmodernism is about recognizing that no matter how much you fetishize "rationality" you are going to carry countless subtle biases that color your fundamental view of the world. but this would be a massive conversation in itself so i'll leave it at that =)



#43 Matt D

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:21 AM

I get the mindset behind it, absolutely. I just look at it from a practical point of view, like I do most things. I generally come into these big arguments in a "Will this help us or hurt us in having a constructive, interesting conversation?" Amusingly, my personal bias was pretty strong in how I framed my comments like I did, which was probably not entirely fair or complete.

 

But yes,  no need to derail! 



#44 W2BTD

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

 

I agree 1000% with the second point, because I firmly believe in the idea that standard change. In wrestling, in film, in TV, in comedy, in almost any for of entertainment. Shit moves forward and advances. That will never change.


I think this is equivocation and an assumption that lies at the root of this debate.

Time moving forward = / = "advancement"

There is some weird theory of progress at stake here that I'm just not seeing. Art forms aren't like technology where you can just draw a straight graph of computing power exponentially increasing over time. Just doesn't work like that.

I'll admit, my own view is pretty harsh on this: I see the fetishization of the new as an acute form of laziness. It's a very convenient little assumption that means:

1. You have a ready-made excuse never to check out stuff from the past.

and

2. (more appropriate to Meltzer), you never have to re-check conclusions you drew in the past.

This is just laziness in my view and nothing more.

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With wrestling, it may be true that the average wrestler in 2014 is more athletic and may do more MOVEZ than the average wrestler in 1983, but who knows how to work better? Who can control the crowd better? Who are the smarter workers?

And more to the point, what makes good wrestling? Being athletic or knowing how to work?

But I don't want to make any old vs. new claims. There'll be great and shitty workers in both eras.

The fact is that any claim for one over the other is a form of fetishization. And both can entail laziness: old guys assuming things were better in their day (so they conveniently don't have to give anything new the time of day), and other guys not wanting to looking beyond the present (and so ignoring the past).

Fact is, regardless of the field, there'll be X amount of great films / matches / albums / games / etc. etc. released every single year. You may sometimes get bumper years, you may get more fallow years, but on average there is X% of GREAT things produced year on year, Y% of really shitty stuff and then Z% of all the stuff in between.

Anyone who argues otherwise has some agenda they are pushing. And my suspicion is always that the root cause of such agendas is laziness.
 

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It's just as easy to make "standards are generally declining" type arguments. For example, when was the last time a major film -- one that would be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars -- come out with a script as intelligent and witty as, say, All About Eve?


Is that what is meant by standards in this case, though? All About Eve is black and white, dialogue heavy and shot on set (apart from some establishing shots filmed by the Second Unit and using stand-ins.) The same script shot in 2014 would look dramatically different.

 


So is the argument coming from Meltzer, W2 et al the wrestling equivalent of "better special effects = better film"? Who really believes that?

 

 

You failed to understand any of the points I made. Maybe because I wasn't articulate enough. I don't know. 

 

Nowhere in my post did I suggest people shouldn't "check stuff out from the past". You seem to have this same idea that Dylan does that believing standards change also means you believe there is no merit to watching old footage. I have no idea why the two of you are automatically so defensive about this. Never did I say standards changing meant it wasn't worth watching old footage. I watch plenty of old footage myself.

 

As far as re-checking conclusions from the past, this is the slippery slope. Meltzer said he doles out his ratings in the moment, and will not go back and check them for two reason. One, he feels it's only fair to rate the match in the moment, in context. And two, he doesn't care enough about it to do so. He seems content to let his ratings stand. I agree with his first reason, and I respect the second. Personally, I think you could go back and rewatch things and "rerate" or change your view on them, but this is the slippery slope I talked about. I'll give an example.

 

When the Malenko/Guerrero ECW match originally aired, I thought it was the greatest thing I ever saw. I watched it like three times that night, then me & my friends watched it over & over again for a week. I watched it about a decade later, and it broke my heart how badly it help up through 2005 eyes or whatever year it was. A major, major part of what made it so great to me in 1995 were the cutting edge spots and sequences that I wasn't as familiar with. By 2005, those things that I was so impressed with were no longer as impressive. It was still a good match, but it didn't blow me away the way my mind's eye remembered it. 

 

Does this mean I changed my opinion on the match? Not at all. I still consider it one of the best matches I ever saw, because it was. It doesn't matter that it doesn't hold up. They weren't working to impress 2005 Joe Lanza, they were working to impress 1995 Joe Lanza. The standards changed in what was cutting edge & fresh by 2005, and to me that was a large part of the appeal in 1995. Just because something doesn't hold up (and most, but not all, things will likely cease to hold up at some point) doesn't mean it isn't good anymore. It just has to be viewed in context. This is why you hear things like "That was a great match for its time", or "That was a great match, even by today's standards".

 

You can toss around the MOVEZ stuff if you want, but it's funny that you indirectly call me lazy for my argument, when to me there is nothing lazier in a pro wrestling debate than people who toss around "MOVEZ" if somebody likes an athletic match or style, as if psychology can not exist if good athleticism is displayed or state of the art moves are used. Talk about bias & laziness. God forbid wrestlers leave their feet or use advanced throws. Must automatically mean they don't know psychology. And it instantly means they can't sell, which is the the most overused, misused, unfairly applied, lazy trope around. Grab a hold, kid. Eyeroll.

 

But yes, like it or not, athleticism in wrestling is one of the things that does move forward, and yes, the advancing athletic standards are a part of what leaves some matches behind in terms of not holding up. If you want to equate advanced athleticism with MOVEZ, that's YOUR laziness, not mine.  



#45 W2BTD

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

Last night I went to an indie show, and a young wrestler by the name of Sammy Guevara (who you will all be familiar with very shortly), did a moonsault off the top of a ladder inside the ring, to the outside of the ring. This was an amazing spot, done at just the right time in the match, and not only that, it was the only ladder dive done in that 30+ minute ladder match. One of the guys who caught him sold it like he was dead and didn't move for 5 minutes. I feel the context is important, before everybody just tosses MOVEZ at me or accuses him of being an indie spot monkey.

 

Had that same exact spot been done in 1983, the tape would be part of the holy grail of wresting footage, and it would be considered a legendary spot. Do you know how I know this? Because in 1983, Jimmy Snuka doing a simple top rope splash was considered state of the art flying, and his leap off of the cage is one of the most famous spots of all time. 

 

What Guevara did last night blows away anything Snuka ever did in his life. But Snuka is (rightfully) considered a legend, and the cage spot is (rightfully) considered legendary and ground breaking. Guevara's move won't cause a blip historically.

 

Why?

 

Because standards change.

 

Not sure why this is even debatable, or why some find this simple concept insulting. 



#46 Dylan Waco

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 12:22 PM

All that deserves a much more detailed response, but it's worth noting the guy you have argued is the best big match wrestler of his generation uses a finish that would have been borderline cutting edge...In 1988.

#47 W2BTD

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 12:26 PM

All that deserves a much more detailed response, but it's worth noting the guy you have argued is the best big match wrestler of his generation uses a finish that would have been borderline cutting edge...In 1988.

 

And there is certainly an inherent skill in getting a move like that over in 2014, just as there is an inherent skill in Cena getting over a fireman's carry or Foley a sock or The Rock a weak looking elbow drop.

 

Please do not equate my argument of standards advancing to great workers being able to get by with less is more. Those things are intertwined to some extent, but not equal.



#48 goodhelmet

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 02:13 PM

Actually, I think I figured out the disconnect and it has nothing to do with the actual year. It actually has to do with the amount of wrestling you have been exposed to, not what year you have viewed it in. Dylan will be the first person to tell you 5 years ago that he was no lucha expert and had no business making judgments on something he had limited amount of exposure to. Now, he is going on podcasts espousing the virtues of lucha to the masses!!! The standards haven't changed because things automatically got better as time went by. They changed because the amount of wrestling we are exposed to has increased and you can't decrease the amount of wrestling you have been exposed to. Everything else... movesets, selling, characters, etc... purely a matter of taste. Somebody who has only seen 200 matches (for simplicity of argument, 1995 Joe Lanza) Eddie-Dean may be one of the best matches he has seen in his limited viewing. 1995 Joe Lanza also has no business being on a podcast and voting for Hall of Famers. Someone who has seen 10,000 matches from all over the world (2005 Joe Lanza) probably has a better grasp of why 1995 Eddie-Dean doesn't hold up. It is also why Meltzer does a disservice to people who watch older footage by dismissing them. All of us have matches we rated highly that no longer rate as high. It doesn't mean we can't acknowledge our fandom or love for those matches that evoked some sort of emotion in us. However, it also doesn't mean we have to turn a blind eye to the flaws of those matches and keep the illusion going that they hold up as great matches. They were only great in our limited viewing, not because they were actually the greatest thing that actually existed. With Tiger Mask-Dynamite Kid, we still put every single one of those matches on the New Japan 1980s set because we acknowledged what they mean historically, Aesthetically they didn't hold up even when the stuff done by their peers in the same time frame did. 

 

Somebody brought up Steamboat-Savage. When the first WWF DVDVR poll went up, Steamboat-Savage still ranked #2 for the decade. That is with hundreds of guys voting. Some of those guys have probably seen more wrestling as individuals than this entire board combined. When we do the WWF re-release, Steamboat-Savage will probably drop a few places, not because the match doesn't have merit but because we have discovered other matches that may not have had the reach of a Wrestlemania 3. Now, with technology, those other matches can have the same ability to reach the masses. 



#49 Dylan Waco

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 04:06 PM

 

 

Nowhere in my post did I suggest people shouldn't "check stuff out from the past". You seem to have this same idea that Dylan does that believing standards change also means you believe there is no merit to watching old footage. I have no idea why the two of you are automatically so defensive about this. Never did I say standards changing meant it wasn't worth watching old footage. I watch plenty of old footage myself.

 

As far as re-checking conclusions from the past, this is the slippery slope. Meltzer said he doles out his ratings in the moment, and will not go back and check them for two reason. One, he feels it's only fair to rate the match in the moment, in context. And two, he doesn't care enough about it to do so. He seems content to let his ratings stand. I agree with his first reason, and I respect the second. Personally, I think you could go back and rewatch things and "rerate" or change your view on them, but this is the slippery slope I talked about. I'll give an example.

 

When the Malenko/Guerrero ECW match originally aired, I thought it was the greatest thing I ever saw. I watched it like three times that night, then me & my friends watched it over & over again for a week. I watched it about a decade later, and it broke my heart how badly it help up through 2005 eyes or whatever year it was. A major, major part of what made it so great to me in 1995 were the cutting edge spots and sequences that I wasn't as familiar with. By 2005, those things that I was so impressed with were no longer as impressive. It was still a good match, but it didn't blow me away the way my mind's eye remembered it. 

 

Does this mean I changed my opinion on the match? Not at all. I still consider it one of the best matches I ever saw, because it was. It doesn't matter that it doesn't hold up. They weren't working to impress 2005 Joe Lanza, they were working to impress 1995 Joe Lanza. The standards changed in what was cutting edge & fresh by 2005, and to me that was a large part of the appeal in 1995. Just because something doesn't hold up (and most, but not all, things will likely cease to hold up at some point) doesn't mean it isn't good anymore. It just has to be viewed in context. This is why you hear things like "That was a great match for its time", or "That was a great match, even by today's standards".

 

You can toss around the MOVEZ stuff if you want, but it's funny that you indirectly call me lazy for my argument, when to me there is nothing lazier in a pro wrestling debate than people who toss around "MOVEZ" if somebody likes an athletic match or style, as if psychology can not exist if good athleticism is displayed or state of the art moves are used. Talk about bias & laziness. God forbid wrestlers leave their feet or use advanced throws. Must automatically mean they don't know psychology. And it instantly means they can't sell, which is the the most overused, misused, unfairly applied, lazy trope around. Grab a hold, kid. Eyeroll.

 

But yes, like it or not, athleticism in wrestling is one of the things that does move forward, and yes, the advancing athletic standards are a part of what leaves some matches behind in terms of not holding up. If you want to equate advanced athleticism with MOVEZ, that's YOUR laziness, not mine.  

 

 

This new board is nightmarish for breaking up things and responding in quotes or I'm an idiot.  Possibly both.  Anyhow, taking this point by point where relevant:

 

Firstly I would note that if I'm being defensive it's only because I'm taking Dave's argument seriously.  Dave believes that it's unfair to judge old wrestling through modern eyes.  He doesn't believe that this can be done fairly because people have seen too much, "standards have changed," and new biases have formed in favor of certain elements that aren't present in older matches.  This is not an argument about Dave's star ratings, Dave going back and watching old footage, Dave responding to criticism by admitting that perhaps he overrated something, et.  Really this argument has little to do with Dave's particular tastes, but rather Dave's view - and a view that I THINK is shared by you Joe (hard to tell to be honest) - that there is extremely limited value at best in exploring old footage.  For Dave it doesn't matter if you try and learn the context, if you watch everything in one grouping and compare it directly to other stuff from the same promotion and/or period.  It's all tainted by "modern eyes" so there is only so much you can take away from it.  While I certainly think one can make the argument that you can't precisely replicate the feeling or context of certain matches, feuds, et, I think it is bizarre to argue that there is no real value in reevaluating old stuff or even watching newly found footage.  The idea that it is hopelessly compromised, or historically shaky because of "changing standards" is a viewpoint that I think this mighty convenient, hopelessly flawed, and not consistently applied. 

 

The most obvious problem I see with Dave's argument is that it assumes that everyone shares his biases.  This simply isn't true.  Do the majority of wrestling fans share Dave's biases?  Impossible to say, and largely dependent on how you measure fans.  In my view it's completely irrelevant one way or the other.  The fact is that some of us don't care about athletic offensive spots to nearly the degree Dave or Joe Lanza do. Do they hurt a match?  No.  Are there matches that have been enhanced by them?  Yes.  Do I think 630 splashes and Ricochet dives are suggestive of a higher standard (or even a changed standard in terms of what I want to see) in wrestling?  No way in hell.  Hell, I like Richochet fine, but I've never seen a Ricochet match that would have finished in my top thirty on the AWA 80's set.  I imagine I could find a whole lot of people who would agree with me on that point.  While the standards for what is a more visually impressive spot may have changed (even that is debatable and dependent on preference), I don't see how the standard for what is good and bad has changed much if at all. 

 

I also think it's interesting there is an allegation of defensiveness being made here, and yet you (Joe) have been extremely dismissive of the notion that Dave might have anything to be defensive about.  I think we are all defensive to one degree or another, but it's Dave's sacred cows and opinions that have been challenged regarding stuff like TM/DK, Brody, et in recent years.  The idea that his position might not at least in part be defensive  strikes me as remarkably naive at best.  I know I'd be at least somewhat defensive if I was in Dave's shoes, and I can't imagine who wouldn't. 

 

I also don't thing Dave applies his argument consistently, because if he did he wouldn't do history pieces.  Ever. 

 

On the moves thing, I could care less if people prefer modern wrestling to old wrestling because they like more athletic offense.  But that's reflective of a personal bias, not reflective of a universal standard.  That strikes me as a completely uncontroversial point, which is why it's so mind boggling to me that you are resistant to it.  Why are you so defensive about that? 

 

Also Jimmy Snuka's dive is remembered for two reasons.  One is that it was a huge spot for the time.  The other - and equally important - is that it was treated as a huge moment, and it is a moment which has been treated as such for years and years.  There were other huge spots and moments that occurred during roughly the same frame that aren't remembered nearly as well - even in matches that are regarded more highly (Final Conflict for example) - because they haven't been replayed, promoted, et. to death.

 

Context, promotion, presentation, et.  All these things are huge and central to wrestling.  Tanahashi's splash isn't over huge as a finish because Tanahashi is uniquely talented, it's over huge as a finish because it was protected and treated as a huge finish.  People yawned through a twisting plancha on the last indie show I went to not because it was an unimpressive spot, because it was meaningless filler. 



#50 goodhelmet

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 04:12 PM

So, in short, when it fits Dave's worldview, history is important. When it doesn't, it's not? 



#51 Dylan Waco

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 04:14 PM

I don't think it's nearly that simple or deliberate, but I do think Dave has adopted a position that allows him to deflect or ignore criticism about these things.  I'm not saying that's the sole reason for his position, or even necessarily a conscious reason for it, but in a thread where people are being accused of being defensive, it seems odd to ignore the fact that Dave himself would have great reason to be engaging in defensive reasoning. 



#52 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 04:41 PM

This will get us off on a tangent, and maybe we should discuss this elsewhere OJ (I don't got to DVDR much), but I've always thought that Sight and Sound types privilege the visual way way too much in their estimation of films. Far more is made of camera angles and framing and so on among that brand of film buffs than other aspects of movies (script, performances) because they want to make it above all else the director's medium.

A lot of my favourite films -- not just All About Eve by Mankiewicz, but Sleuth too, Rope, Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf, Glengarry Glen Ross -- are generally dismissed for being too dialogue heavy and "stagey". Unfairly in my view. I don't know if that's a 1950 vs. 2014 thing, but a "Sight and Sound type" vs. a "literary / drama type".

To try to bring this back to wrestling, I don't know if it boils down to much more than the difference between two types of fans in this way. "Athleticism and MOVEZ type" vs. "psychology and storytelling type". But perhaps that is being unfair on Meltzer and co, I dunno.

 

 

 

Film is above all a visual medium. When I was a screenwriting major, it was instilled in us that we had to write visually no matter what type of story we were telling. I watch all sorts of films, but I dislike the "filmed stage play" aesthetic immensely. 

 

I don't think we can totally dismiss athleticism. If you were to compare the Shield, for example, with 80s WWF tag wrestling then I think a big difference in the standard of quality would be athleticism, and I suppose moves too. A lot of workers who we think are great at psychology or storytelling were originally lauded for their athleticism. Bihari always likes to say that older lucha fans likely felt the same way about early 80s Casas, Fuerza and Santo that we felt about Mistico, etc. So, athleticism has always played a part, much as it does in real sports. The reason why most 90s wrestling was originally praised was because 90s wrestling ratcheted up the athleticism. 

I also think a lot of the psychology and storytelling type matches today are wretched because they try to be too cinematic. There's been a big change there and not for the better. But you have to wonder whether they're going in that direction for a reason. Perhaps the dramatic pre-match montage and in-match soliloquies are the new standard.



#53 goodhelmet

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:08 PM

 It is notable that when I made this argument on twitter, both Joe and Rich didn't buy it, with Joe in fact calling it "bullshit" to suggest that Dave Meltzer's views on the subject reflected an individual bias toward certain forms/styles of wrestling.  This is important because it suggests that the "standards change" argument is something that they see as universal and global in scope.  In other words - if I am following their argument correctly - they are not talking about a change in personal tastes, but in fact a change in some sort of objective or at least consensus based standard for what constitutes good wrestling.

 

 

 

I keep thinking I have the answers but you keep throwing out some loopholes so i am going back to the original post and breaking it down. What is good wrestling to them is limited to the WON sphere of good wrestling. Since the Observer is highly popular, I think the assumption is then it must be the global standard. That is why in the past, PWO has been dismissed as Fetish Fandom or that the DVDVR project is not valid because it doesn't represent the "global" perspective. 

 

 

But even the particulars of the spots in question are not what really interests me.  Instead I am most interested in the context of the particular spots.  Why is Thatcher doing what he is doing?  Why is Flamita doing what he is doing? The internal context of a match does NOT change, even if the external context does.  Do "modern eyes" really preclude us from understanding the psychology of a match?  Do they make it difficult to understand the history or storyline that contributed to the context of the match itself?  Is it really impossible, or even extremely difficult, to analyze an older match merely because it's older? 

 

 

The age of the match doesn't prevent us from analyzing the match, the experience of the viewer does. 

 

 

And going further than that, if it is true that these matches were worked for particular people at particular points in time and thus it is unfair to judge them unless one was a part of that place and time, how far does that window extend?  NJPW ran a show last night in Japan that was reviewed by Joe from VOW.  I read the review and enjoyed it.  But Joe is not Japanese.  Is he the target audience?  Does that even matter?  Going further if I watch the show next week has the window closed?  What if I watch it in a year?  To take another example, what if a house show is taped by  a fan, who shows it to his friends the next day?  Those wrestlers certainly weren't working for any cameras, or intending their efforts to be seen by people outside of that building that night.  Does that matter?

 

 

 

How much DK-TM did Dave see live or on videotape? If it really was that revolutionary and important to wrestling, why didn't it become the standard way of working since there were other fast, flippy guys who could fly around the time? I am sure there were guys who weren't as sloppy as Sayama. I enjoyed the hell out Wrestlemania 28 and you didn't enjoy watching it live. Did it matter that I told you that the matches were a blast in the arena? No, because you weren't enjoying them while sitting in front of your TV set. We watched the same show from a different perspective at the same time but one doesn't automatically invalidate the other. Knowing how Dave felt in 1983 or how Johnny Sorrow felt watching Muraco when he was 12 is a  valuable tool for historical purposes but it doesn't mean it is the only acceptable way of viewing wrestling. 

 

 

Are we talking about standards here or tastes?  Or is there no difference?  To me there is.  More later

 

 

I'll retract this if I find your answer later in this thread but what are the standards you think have remained constant from say... 1983 until the present day? I think we have already established that what people want from their wrestling is a matter of taste. 

 

 

Well part of the purpose of this thread is to get to the bottom of what people mean when they use the "standards change" argument or when they discuss how to evaluate or look back at past wrestling "through modern eyes."  I don't think we all mean the same things.  My general point of view is that the standard for what makes a good match doesn't necessarily change just because movesets now are more athletically impressive (or to take another example I don't think bumps have to be bigger now because Foley got chucked off a cage). 

 

 

 Once again, I'll go back to the experience vs. year argument. The actual year does not matter, the experience of the viewer does. Maybe Meltzer is saying that wrestling fans know too much now and back then, they were stupid and didn't know it was fake and what guys did back then worked for the stupid audience. Since stupid fans back in the 80s thought Brody was awesome, we just have to accept that he was awesome. 

 

 

donsem43...  I personally think that the whole "Changing Standards/Modern Eyes" argument is just a mask for people who don't want to state what they truly like in wrestling. On Meltzer, I'd respect him if he just said "That's what I thought of that match when I saw it and I either don't have the time or the interest to go back to rewatch it." For others, it's probably fear that they'll get roasted for simply saying, "I love matches with big flashy moves and don't really put much value in context." It just seems like they are trying to make their opinions have more thought behind them.

 

Shit, here i am making long posts and I think you really summed it up right here. I am still going to make a long post.

 

 

-First, he (Meltzer) said he doesn't put a single second of thought into his star ratings after he makes them. He rates the match in the moment, and then never thinks about it again. He doesn't care enough about the ratings to think about going back to change them.

 

 

It shows that he puts no thought into them or even cares to explain why a match is good. 

 

 

 

His second point, was that he would never change a rating anyway, because it's not fair to look at an old match and change what you thought about it "in the moment", to what you think about it out of context years later. He used the Kerry/Flair cage match as his example, of a match he liked "in the moment", and it doesn't really matter if he goes back and doesn't like it now (or likes it more, for that matter), because it only matters if it worked for him in context in 1982. They weren't working a match for 2014 eyes in 1982. 

 

What is interesting about this argument is that we often do hear about wrestlers wanting to have a match for the ages or announcers calling a match one for the ages even back then, the same as sports announcers calling a game one for the ages. Nobody wants Meltzer to change his ratings. However, when a work of art from the past doesn't hold up or loses some of its value, nobody is trying to rob him of his memories. 

 

 

I agree 1000% with the second point, because I firmly believe in the idea that standard change. In wrestling, in film, in TV, in comedy, in almost any for of entertainment. Shit moves forward and advances. That will never change. 

 

We always talk about certain matches that "don't hold up". The reason some matches don't hold up, is usually because standards have changed. The basics of psychology may not ever change (I would argue this point, but it would derail the thread), but the athletic standards certainly do.

 

 

Athleticism is almost never given as the reason that something doesn't hold up. Moving forward doesn't mean moving upward. Just because something is new or current doesn't mean it is actually better. Are the athletes today better than in the 1980s? Yes. Does it mean the body of work is better. No. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#54 Matt D

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:09 PM

 

This will get us off on a tangent, and maybe we should discuss this elsewhere OJ (I don't got to DVDR much), but I've always thought that Sight and Sound types privilege the visual way way too much in their estimation of films. Far more is made of camera angles and framing and so on among that brand of film buffs than other aspects of movies (script, performances) because they want to make it above all else the director's medium.

A lot of my favourite films -- not just All About Eve by Mankiewicz, but Sleuth too, Rope, Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf, Glengarry Glen Ross -- are generally dismissed for being too dialogue heavy and "stagey". Unfairly in my view. I don't know if that's a 1950 vs. 2014 thing, but a "Sight and Sound type" vs. a "literary / drama type".

To try to bring this back to wrestling, I don't know if it boils down to much more than the difference between two types of fans in this way. "Athleticism and MOVEZ type" vs. "psychology and storytelling type". But perhaps that is being unfair on Meltzer and co, I dunno.

 

 

I don't think we can totally dismiss athleticism. If you were to compare the Shield, for example, with 80s WWF tag wrestling then I think a big difference in the standard of quality would be athleticism, and I suppose moves too. A lot of workers who we think are great at psychology or storytelling were originally lauded for their athleticism. Bihari always likes to say that older lucha fans likely felt the same way about early 80s Casas, Fuerza and Santo that we felt about Mistico, etc. So, athleticism has always played a part, much as it does in real sports. The reason why most 90s wrestling was originally praised was because 90s wrestling ratcheted up the athleticism.

 

 

I think this is an important point but not an exclusive one because there are also workers who were originally lauded for their athleticism that we don't look back at as being great with psychology and storytelling. 

 

Is it worth looking at whether the opposite was true? No one gave Slaughter credit for bumping like he did in 90-91? That seems like sort of a dead end road though unless people feel otherwise.



#55 W2BTD

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:13 PM

Every time someone types TM/DK, I think to myself briefly, what do Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls have to do with this?

 

Anyway, I'm not gonna die on a hill defending dave's mindset because i'm not dave. I *think* I have a good grasp of what he was trying to convey, and I think you (Dylan, as i'm not quoting that wall of text to preserve thread continuity) are misinterpreting him. You seem to think he sees no value in analyzing old footage, and as someone who likes to analyze old footage, you obviously got upset about that, because to you that's shitting all over what you do. That's not what I picked up from his comments. I *think* he meant that it isn't fair to change your thoughts on a match in hindsight, because what you thought in the moment is what matters. I never got the idea from his comments that he "sees limited value at best at exploring old footage". 

 

But enough about dave, you can take that up with him. 

 

A big problem here is I keep reading people talk about "athletic/MOVEZ" type vs "psychology/selling" type. What does that even mean? This is suggesting that if a match is very athletic with lots of action, it means there is no psychology. Or that a mach with a lot of selling automatically has great psychology. That, of course, is total bullshit. I don't believe pacing or how much groundwork you can shoe horn into a match means a damn thing in terms of psychology & storytelling. It all depends what kind of storytelling YOU enjoy. This is where taste interjects itself.



#56 W2BTD

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:22 PM

RE: goodhelmet

 

I never, ever said everything is automatically better because it is new or current. I said standards change. These are two completely different thoughts. 

 

And athleticism is absolutely a valid reason for something not holding up. I'm actually baffled that anybody could possibly think different.  

 

For those who don't think standards change, do you not think that certain matches or shows look dated (not better or worse - dated)? That's because standards change! I'm not even sure how this is being argued.



#57 Dylan Waco

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:24 PM

What Dave said in that particular instance was one case of a consistent viewpoint he's made for years regarding viewing old footage.  in isolation it can be viewed a couple of different ways, but taken as a whole I think it's clear Dave doesn't see the point of watching old footage, at least not in "project" form. 

 

I don't think Athletic/highspots v. psychology/storyline is a particularly helpful way of looking at things either, but when the "standards change" crowd keeps talking about athleticism and moves when talking about the changes in standards that's where the conversation is going to end up. 



#58 Dylan Waco

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:26 PM

RE: goodhelmet

 

I never, ever said everything is automatically better because it is new or current. I said standards change. These are two completely different thoughts. 

 

And athleticism is absolutely a valid reason for something not holding up. I'm actually baffled that anybody could possibly think different.  

 

For those who don't think standards change, do you not think that certain matches or shows look dated (not better or worse - dated)? That's because standards change! I'm not even sure how this is being argued.

 

When you watch entire eras of wrestling and/or wrestling promotions or wrestlers careers it is very rare for the word "dated" to come up.  I doubt it has come up more than a handful of times in the whole of the 80's projects threads, maybe not even that many. 

 

If someone says they don't think something holds up for reasons of athleticism I wouldn't necessarily argue against them without knowing the particulars.  But I would identify it as a personal taste/bias and not indicative of some non-existent universal standard.



#59 W2BTD

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:26 PM

 

This will get us off on a tangent, and maybe we should discuss this elsewhere OJ (I don't got to DVDR much), but I've always thought that Sight and Sound types privilege the visual way way too much in their estimation of films. Far more is made of camera angles and framing and so on among that brand of film buffs than other aspects of movies (script, performances) because they want to make it above all else the director's medium.

A lot of my favourite films -- not just All About Eve by Mankiewicz, but Sleuth too, Rope, Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf, Glengarry Glen Ross -- are generally dismissed for being too dialogue heavy and "stagey". Unfairly in my view. I don't know if that's a 1950 vs. 2014 thing, but a "Sight and Sound type" vs. a "literary / drama type".

To try to bring this back to wrestling, I don't know if it boils down to much more than the difference between two types of fans in this way. "Athleticism and MOVEZ type" vs. "psychology and storytelling type". But perhaps that is being unfair on Meltzer and co, I dunno.

 

 

 

Film is above all a visual medium. When I was a screenwriting major, it was instilled in us that we had to write visually no matter what type of story we were telling. I watch all sorts of films, but I dislike the "filmed stage play" aesthetic immensely. 

 

I don't think we can totally dismiss athleticism. If you were to compare the Shield, for example, with 80s WWF tag wrestling then I think a big difference in the standard of quality would be athleticism, and I suppose moves too. A lot of workers who we think are great at psychology or storytelling were originally lauded for their athleticism. Bihari always likes to say that older lucha fans likely felt the same way about early 80s Casas, Fuerza and Santo that we felt about Mistico, etc. So, athleticism has always played a part, much as it does in real sports. The reason why most 90s wrestling was originally praised was because 90s wrestling ratcheted up the athleticism. 

I also think a lot of the psychology and storytelling type matches today are wretched because they try to be too cinematic. There's been a big change there and not for the better. But you have to wonder whether they're going in that direction for a reason. Perhaps the dramatic pre-match montage and in-match soliloquies are the new standard.

 

 

Great post, and I agree that dismissing athleticism is silly. That aspect is never going backwards. Being a better athlete doesn't make you a better wrestler. That's absurd. But it sure as hell gives you an enormous advantage over the shitty athlete. That can not be denied.

 

And I completely agree with the idea of matches these days being way too cinematic. It's a drum I bang constantly on the podcast, but I use the word "theatrical". The Cena/Wyatt stuff, which I think is some of the worst shit to come down the pike in many years, is a great example of this. Same for Bryan/Kane, which isn't far behind. 

 

EDIT - In fact, I would argue the theatrical/cinematic style of storytelling is a GREAT example of standard changing, but for the worse. It goes both ways.



#60 Matt D

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:29 PM

It would be so amazingly unproductive for me to pull the "athleticism is a crutch" card right now.




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