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Are current matches just not as memorable or up to par as previous decades?


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#1 rzombie1988

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 06:43 AM

I heard Dave say this on a podcast and after trying to put together a MOTY list, it really struck me that current day matches just aren't as memorable or as good as previous years. It really seems to all start to go downhill around 2005ish with all of the 90's stars being put out to pasture. I watched a ton of wrestling from 2010-2013, and more than any previous years and I can honestly say that I struggled to put together a list of matches that were comparable to previous years. For whatever reason, the matches don't seem to be as good or as memorable and those "big match feel" situations really seem to have gone away. I think it's kind of strange too when arguably, we are getting better matches on TV and on PPV than we ever have before and we are getting better execution/moves/timing.

 

What does everyone make of this? Is it just me? Is wrestling just not as good as it used to be? Have standards gotten too high?



#2 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 08:21 AM

I don't watch new movies or listen to new music, and I pretty much have my head buried in the past when it comes to wrestling too, but I will say it's easier to cherry pick the past than it is to wait for something good to happen. Picking and choosing what you watch can make pretty much anything seem better than it was. Pretty much the worst year I ever had watching wrestling was 1995 and I'm sure I could find matches from that era I think are better than today's stuff, but does that really mean '95 was better? Ease of access also makes things less coveted and therefore less special. Typing into a search engine's not quite the same as reading about all these great matches that only traders had.

 

The standard answer is that wrestling was better when guys came up through the territories, when there were a number of vibrant promotions and legendary trainers breaking guys into the business, and when the crowds were different, the stadiums older and the production values lower, but I think it's actually harder to appreciate matches as they happen as opposed to a decade later. Once people start looking back on this era and doing "best of the 10s" and what not, people will formulate the classics, the hidden gems, and so on. I know a lot of people do that already with ongoing MOTY lists, etc., but if 2014 is given the distance that say 1999 was given with the Yearbook, I expect some fresh ideas about it in the future, especially once you remove people's feelings about the booking and the backstage politics. 



#3 Grimmas

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 08:38 AM

I think Atlantis-Ultimo Guerrero and Wyatts-Shield is a good as anything from any other year.



#4 Zoo Enthusiast

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 08:39 AM

The thing I love about watching stuff from the past is that I don't have to wait to see what happens next. I can just keep going.

I don't know whether that means that I think matches are not as memorable today. I think it's just human nature. I don't think the stars are as big, but it's partly nostaligia, I'm sure. That's why nothing really feels like a "big fight" to me. I just have a colder relationship with current wrestling. There's more of it, and it's more readily available and easily disposable.

#5 soup23

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 10:26 AM

I think more footage spanning a widening environment of discussion has something to do with this.

 

For example, fifteen years ago most of the WON readership would link onto something Dave really hyped and seek that match out. Now, you have a wide community with people that watch a wide variety of stuff and others on this very forums that havent watched any 2014 New Japan for example. In addition, I think the star power and recycling of finishes has diminshed the memorability of certain matches.

 

2014 was a down year for tip top matches for me with only 1 ranked at ****3/4. However, 2013 had a few that I had in that area and was up there with many great 'Glory" years. I think it just depends to me on providing something different.



#6 Loss

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 10:26 AM

I don't watch new movies or listen to new music, and I pretty much have my head buried in the past when it comes to wrestling too, but I will say it's easier to cherry pick the past than it is to wait for something good to happen. Picking and choosing what you watch can make pretty much anything seem better than it was. Pretty much the worst year I ever had watching wrestling was 1995 and I'm sure I could find matches from that era I think are better than today's stuff, but does that really mean '95 was better? Ease of access also makes things less coveted and therefore less special. Typing into a search engine's not quite the same as reading about all these great matches that only traders had.

 

The standard answer is that wrestling was better when guys came up through the territories, when there were a number of vibrant promotions and legendary trainers breaking guys into the business, and when the crowds were different, the stadiums older and the production values lower, but I think it's actually harder to appreciate matches as they happen as opposed to a decade later. Once people start looking back on this era and doing "best of the 10s" and what not, people will formulate the classics, the hidden gems, and so on. I know a lot of people do that already with ongoing MOTY lists, etc., but if 2014 is given the distance that say 1999 was given with the Yearbook, I expect some fresh ideas about it in the future, especially once you remove people's feelings about the booking and the backstage politics. 

 

Wow, this just hit on every point so perfectly. Well said. The distance is something I have decided I need for my fandom. There were even matches that Dave rated as high as ***** in the 1990s that haven't been very remembered, so I don't think it's exclusive to this era.



#7 iamthedoctor

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 11:44 AM

I dont think so no. The Rock/John Cena matches should be memorable but they dont because fans will remember stuff like Steamboat/Savage or Rock/Austin or Andre/Hogan which in a way is a shame. It will be worse in 30 years time because guys like Seth Rollins or a Dean Ambrose will look like a flash in the pan and be a after thought long after they ve retired and all fans will remember from the past will be Cena, Hogan, Savage, Taker, Austin, Flair or a Sammartino.

 

In the past 6 years I havent seen one match that is up there with one of the all time greats of all time unless it featured someone whos regarded as a Legend.

 

Whos at fault I dunno whether its WWE or the fans because WWE has had a habit of over pushing guys who didnt deserve the push. La Resistance springs to mind.



#8 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 12:10 PM

As for Big Fight feel, I disagree even though WWE was pretty cold overall this year. I thought Lesnar/Cena had a HUGE fight feel on both occasions. Daniel Bryan's Wrestlemania run was crazy and felt momentous. I think WWE quality was down from a crazy awesome 2013, but WWE still got me heavily invested in three PPVs main events and won me over with the wild ride at Survivor Series. They can still build to a fever pitch when it counts, but overall quality is down.

#9 dawho5

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 12:31 PM

I have to question whether or not the homogenization of styles has had the effect of possibly making matches seem less memorable than they used to.  You look at 10-15 years ago and there was a huge difference between a match in Japan, a match in WCW, a match in WWF and a match in Mexico.  Now you see a lot of the same tropes as far as in-ring action at the very least in the WWE and New Japan (which are the two big promotions now).  Yes there are differences, but less than there were in the past as guys watch a bunch of footage and add moves/aspects they like from somewhere else into their style.  I'm not saying it lowers the quality of matches, but it might make individual matches seem less memorable due to their similarity to a lot of other matches you see during the year.

 

I would agree that it is much easier to find great matches in the past.  You get to skip all the stuff that doesn't appeal to you or doesn't matter or just plain doesn't work. 



#10 rzombie1988

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 12:50 PM

As for Big Fight feel, I disagree even though WWE was pretty cold overall this year. I thought Lesnar/Cena had a HUGE fight feel on both occasions. Daniel Bryan's Wrestlemania run was crazy and felt momentous. I think WWE quality was down from a crazy awesome 2013, but WWE still got me heavily invested in three PPVs main events and won me over with the wild ride at Survivor Series. They can still build to a fever pitch when it counts, but overall quality is down.

I know people like to look at DB's Mania run with rosy eyes but what I remember is:

- He was turned heel in 2013 as they tried to get people to stop chanting YES by making him yell NO. Even though he was the hottest guy at the time, this was somehow necessary.

- He was put in some of the dumbest comedy segments.

- Him being called a troll, a dwarf and a goat for months on end along with being called an internet geek and a dork

- Him being pushed as "the weak link" and pushed as not being able to beat people he had already beaten

- Him being embarassed for months on end with no retaliation by the authority

- Big Show crying

- Him not being in the Rumble and myself and others in the crowd destroying WWE for it live

- Him being passed over again at the Elimination Chamber and after in favor of Big Dave

- Punk leaving, finally giving him a chance.

- The sit-in and him finally getting his due at WM.

 

Compare that to say Big Dave when Evolution broke up where was pushed as a big deal and protected at all times before getting the big win, and I know which storyline was better.



#11 Mr. Lacelle

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 12:53 PM

I think you're all underestimating the aesthetic of today's wrestling. It just looks so pedestrian that it's counterproductive to being memorable. This includes most promotions. You look back at older matches and most of the time they have a more natural feel and appearance. Plus the commentary usually wasn't such a hindrance to watchablity.

#12 rzombie1988

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 02:51 PM

I have to question whether or not the homogenization of styles has had the effect of possibly making matches seem less memorable than they used to.  You look at 10-15 years ago and there was a huge difference between a match in Japan, a match in WCW, a match in WWF and a match in Mexico.  Now you see a lot of the same tropes as far as in-ring action at the very least in the WWE and New Japan (which are the two big promotions now).  Yes there are differences, but less than there were in the past as guys watch a bunch of footage and add moves/aspects they like from somewhere else into their style.  I'm not saying it lowers the quality of matches, but it might make individual matches seem less memorable due to their similarity to a lot of other matches you see during the year.

 

I would agree that it is much easier to find great matches in the past.  You get to skip all the stuff that doesn't appeal to you or doesn't matter or just plain doesn't work. 

I do agree that virtually everyone is wrestling the same style nowadays, which is really sad. The beauty of wrestling is having different styles and different takes on what wrestling is. Add in no one having gimmicks, any type of character, charisma or mic skills and it really brings things down.



#13 anarchistxx

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 03:21 PM

Hard to say. There are less memorable and unique and diverse characters, and that in turn makes the matches less memorable. Also, feuds are booked in a very linear, repetitive way now, at least in mainstream wrestling, so you are less likely to be excited and thus remember the match. There is also a drive to produce more and more content in all areas of entertainment and media, so huge matches that could be saved twenty years ago and built into a huge, memorable occasion are tossed off these days time and time again because they need to fill all the time.

 

An analogy would be jounalism - how often do you read an informed, fascinating piece of writing in the mainstream media? Hardly ever. If you read a journal or publication from fifty or a hundred years ago the standard is far higher - because journalists today are under pressure to churn out more and more content so resort to click bait or lists or just lazy, tossed off pieces.

 

Attention spans are more transient now, declining all the time, so we tend to forget things much quicker. We also tend to multitask, talking about wrestling online at the same time as watching it, texting on our phones, browsing the internet while viewing television. Before, the show could commans your full attention so things got embedded in your memory more. If this phenomena is occuring there are many reasons for it.



#14 BillThompson

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 03:56 PM

Depends on who it's supposed to be memorable for? If we're talking big picture I can see the argument that the wrestling of today is not as memorable as the wrestling of the past. That's not really due to quality though, but rather due to availability. Everything is available to us now, and that makes the matches seem a little less special in the long run. There's simply a much larger preponderance of wrestling in the year 2014 than there was in the year 1988, at least in terms of what we can watch on TV or find on the internet. That creates a situation where today's product doesn't seem as memorable because there's too much of it and thus none of it really seems special or unique.

 

Conversely, on a personal level I don't believe that wrestling today is any less memorable than in years past. It may not be as memorable to as broad of a scope of people, but to me it is just as, if not more, memorable. I can seek out matches and events that appeal to me and I can cultivate a library of matches in my mind that stand out for presenting qualities I like. I'm able to form more of a personal relationship with the wrestling I watch, simply because I can seek it out as opposed to feeling like it's the only thing on the TV to watch.



#15 Badlittlekitten

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 07:46 PM

I will never forget Brock/Cena, HHH/Bryan and the first Shield match.



#16 W2BTD

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 02:12 AM

The overall quality of bell to bell wrestling has never been higher. The great matches may not stand out as much as they did 25 years ago (i'm not even sure this is true) because there are more great matches now than there have been ever before.

 

That could be part perception due to easier access like OJ mentioned, but I personally think it's also the fact that wrestling is simply of a higher quality up & down cards now than it was year ago. You have to go far deeper down the WWE roster today before you get to the lousy workers than you did in any other era. Amost everybody is competent at worst. Same for New Japan, Dragon Gate, or just about any top promotion. 

 

The working standards have never been higher. The water level has raised. It's harder for great matches to stand out. I'll take '13 & '14 over any two year period ever.



#17 W2BTD

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 02:15 AM

I think 2013 was the best in ring year WWE ever had, and I don't think there is a close second. I think New Japan has never been better than 2012-current. 



#18 Matt D

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 08:35 AM

I won't go quite as far but I will say that 2013 was probably the best year for offering us consistently good TV matches that WWE ever had.



#19 stomperspc

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 08:43 AM

 

I don't watch new movies or listen to new music, and I pretty much have my head buried in the past when it comes to wrestling too, but I will say it's easier to cherry pick the past than it is to wait for something good to happen. Picking and choosing what you watch can make pretty much anything seem better than it was. Pretty much the worst year I ever had watching wrestling was 1995 and I'm sure I could find matches from that era I think are better than today's stuff, but does that really mean '95 was better? Ease of access also makes things less coveted and therefore less special. Typing into a search engine's not quite the same as reading about all these great matches that only traders had.

 

The standard answer is that wrestling was better when guys came up through the territories, when there were a number of vibrant promotions and legendary trainers breaking guys into the business, and when the crowds were different, the stadiums older and the production values lower, but I think it's actually harder to appreciate matches as they happen as opposed to a decade later. Once people start looking back on this era and doing "best of the 10s" and what not, people will formulate the classics, the hidden gems, and so on. I know a lot of people do that already with ongoing MOTY lists, etc., but if 2014 is given the distance that say 1999 was given with the Yearbook, I expect some fresh ideas about it in the future, especially once you remove people's feelings about the booking and the backstage politics. 

 

Wow, this just hit on every point so perfectly. Well said. The distance is something I have decided I need for my fandom. There were even matches that Dave rated as high as ***** in the 1990s that haven't been very remembered, so I don't think it's exclusive to this era.

 

 

Agreed with everything OJ said, too.  Wrestling is so context based and I think it is difficult to fully grasp the context of an era or event until after the era/event is over and there has been some time to fully digest the aftermath as well.  I think there has always been a tendency to be very critical and perhaps pessimistic of contemporary wrestling.  We endlessly compare ALL current wrestling to selective, cherry picked memories from the past which isn't fair.  We also don't know how what is current going on in wrestling will impact the future of wrestling. The impact a style or promotion has or doesn't have says a lot of whether it is ultimately effective.  The 1999 yearbook is a great example because with the benefit of time and distance, I have been able to appreciate the heyday of the Attitude Era much, much more.  At the time, there was a lot of bellyaching about the brawling intensive style, a lack of "technical wrestling", and shorter matches.  There was this perception that the crash booking philosophy was leading wrestling down a bad path that it would have difficulty recovering from.  In hindsight, the brawling style was really good when done right by guys like Austin and Rock.  Now that we are In an era with very little genuine heat, it sticks out how those guys (and others) were able to get a TON of great heat.  We all scoffed at guys like Test in 1999 because he wasn't Chris Benoit or Rey Mysterio, Jr. but re-watching it is clear he was a pretty good worker who got over quickly and perhaps should have been utilized better. We now know that wrestling didn't continue down a path of short matches and vulgarity and in fact, came out of it pretty quickly in 2000 - 2002 which was a very successful period for WWF,  The matches and that entire era seem more memorable now because we are able to put them in their full context.

 

Some things don't change.  Triple H was still clearly not very good in-ring and had little to no heat despite being booked as strong as you will ever see someone booked form mid-1999 on.  But that's the other good thing about watching older wrestling removed from the moment - it can reaffirm opinions.

 

It is difficult to fully appreciate anything in the moment, as it is happening.  I think the same goes for wrestling.  A lot of things can only be fully appreciated (either positively or negatively) in the proper context and after enough time has passed to properly reflect on them.  At the same time, I like watching stuff as it is happening because it gives you a different perspective that you can than utilize when you go back and re-evaluate years later.  There is plenty of good wrestling now and like with any era, I think we will find out five years down the line that some stuff wasn't as good as we might have thought while some 2014 stuff was better than we might have initially thought.

 

Lastly, I think heat has a lot to do with the point of view that current matches are less memorable.  I think it is fair to say that in general - at least in the US - fans are less invested in the matches and results than any other time in history.  That leads to less heated matches and therefore less matches that standout as truly epic and memorable.  Wrestlers may or may not be more athletic, soundly trained, or whatever but I am not sure how much that really means when not even the biggest matches are getting the kind of invested fan reaction that matches got 15, 20, or 30 years ago.



#20 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 08:46 AM

I've argued with one of my music buddies about this so often.

I think that there are really two modes of being into something:

1. "On the steam train" -- this is someone who is into the thing right now, part of the zeitgeist, a member of the "happening" scene.

This is my friend who I constantly accuse of following the latest fashions despite being blind to that fact. When I heard him talking up PC Music the other day, and claiming that he was into the label before Pitchfork wrote anything about them, I rolled my eyes.

But there's something else about being on the steam train. It's going to gigs, it's being part of something in the here and now, it's EXPERIENTIAL. I know a lot of women like this. The way they engage with interests -- they don't care about the dates, names of the directors of films, or even the names of songs or what songs are on which album -- they just don't care about that stuff. What's important is the experience and being "part of it". This holds no interest for me whatsoever. Never has, never will.

2. The historical approach or "the connoisseur" -- this is someone who doesn't really care about what is going on now, but who searches the back catalogues of the past, sampling eras, exploring areas in depth, finding out about particular things that happened mostly after critical consensus has been formed -- maybe 10 years or more after the fact. That's me. It's me in all things: music, film, wrestling, whatever. The only exception is sport, and even then I'm much much more into analysis and stats than being part of a crowd and cheering or whatever.

I'm not saying that people have to be wholly one or wholly the other of these two modes, but I think most will have a tendency towards one.




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