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


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#81 El-P

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 11:06 AM

At this point, as far as following anything, I care less about the matches than about the overall feel of the product, that's why I love Lucha Underground. Well, of course, you have to have some strong matches too from time to time. That's why I love Lucha Underground too BTW, they deliver each time with big spectacle matches.

 

The whole "indy wrestling" feel that comes from the 00's has zero appeal to me. I loved 90's japanese indy sleaze. US indies ? Yuck.

 

I would watch NXT, but despite the hype and the fact I really enjoy their PPV's, the weekly shows really does have that WWE feel to it. Not as bad as the main brand of course (which is unwatchable to me, although the French announcing can make it bearable because these two guys are really good and fun to listen to), but still enough to make me not want to watch it.



#82 joeg

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 06:12 AM

 

The whole "indy wrestling" feel that comes from the 00's has zero appeal to me. I loved 90's japanese indy sleaze. US indies ? Yuck.

 

 

Agreed.

 

Right now I'm looking forward to the Portland set more than I am anything current. There are individual workers and individual matches from time t time that I enjoy just as much as matches from 10- 20 years ago, but I feel like what now constitutes a good match has changed. There are a lot of matches out there with no psychology and no selling, but some pretty cool shit that people rave about. 10, 15 years ago these matches were described as "fun" but not brilliant matches. Now these sort of matches are being described as brilliant and being given 4 and 5 stars. It feels like standards have changed and the bar has been lowered.



#83 Loss

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 06:09 PM

A huge part of the problem is that wrestling doesn't really canonize its classic matches as much anymore. It's funny to say that considering that we are in such a postmodern era, but it's the Monday Night Wars and ECW that really get canonized. Not much else, and definitely not much since then. WWE seems to have already forgotten about stuff like the Reigns-Styles matches and the IC four-way just earlier this year. If WWE marketed the Reigns-Styles matches as career-defining stuff that accurately sums up a generation, that's how it would be remembered.



#84 GOTNW

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 07:31 PM

That's also an issue in New Japan-Gedo is capable of booking things that feel like a big deal in the moment but the storylines almost never last longer than a few months and are quickly forgotten and/or have no greater importance. The biggest storyline they've done in the last few years has had Okada "dethrone" Tanahashi as the top dog twice yet Tanahashi is still the de facto ace. Big Japan is pretty good at pushing people up the card and making the essential victories feel meaningful.

 

Personally I couldn't really care how much WWE canonizes something. All I really want for them is to be invested in the present product. I don't think they were talking about those amazing 2003 matches in 2006 but people were caught up in the stuff going on and didn't care. Ditto 2013. I think Punk's depature has showcased just how valuable he was to them and how much more worth he is than Lesnar. Other than Cena (who's lost a lot of steam by this point honestly) WWE doesn't really have anyone that could make something feel important by doing very little.



#85 Microstatistics

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 07:49 PM

One aspect of current wrestling that is definitely not as good as it used to be and might account for a decrease in match quality is the crowds, specifically in the US. I would much rather watch a match with absolutely zero crowd heat than one with "this is awesome" chants or where the crowd tries to assert itself instead of focusing on the match. The "this is awesome " chant may be the my least favorite thing in the history of wrestling. It's not a huge factor but it does influence my perception of modern matches and their quality. It kind of dilutes the impact of matches and makes them seem like a choreographed performance for entertainment rather than a legitimate contest. The whole point of pro wrestling is to give an illusion of a real fight when it's actually a performance/storytelling piece. You wouldn't chant "this is awesome" during a play would you.



#86 joeg

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 08:18 PM

I will say that Reigns is as good or better than any top guy from an in ring stand point that WWWF/WWF/WWE has ever had. I just feel the exact opposite about the top guys pretty much everywhere else. 

 

The first time I heard "this is awesome" was in live in 2002 during Paul London vs American Dragon in a fucking rec center. Paul London climbed to the top of a backboard, using a rickedy ladder, sparking a "please don't die" chant. Then did a shooting star from the top of the backboard sparking "this is awesome". I don't think I've ever heard it since that didn't cause me to roll my eyes. 



#87 Parties

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:15 AM

Interesting to re-read this from six months ago and see how appalled I was with WWE/McMahon booking at the time. While I stand by all of it, and do think their approach to wrestling is kinda scorching the earth for everyone else, I am happy that I started the Viaje del Parties thread and set out to watch a bunch of stuff that isn’t just RAW. Because yes, RAW continues to suck, but RAW is so not the world. There is way more fun, unique, worthwhile stuff to watch every week. I’m much more positive about wrestling now than I was in that first week of 2016, because even my hunt-and-peck approach has caused me to see a good variety of companies, catch lots of new workers for the first time, and enjoy the ongoing footage revolution more proactively. In ten years time, 2016 would (will?) make for a perfectly solid Yearbook, with gems all over the world. The twists and turns of who’s working where alone have made 2016 a compelling year, and those shifts have produced some fantastic matches.

We had that other thread where we made 2016 predictions at the start of the year. Did anyone guess that in the first half we’d have Styles and Nakamura come to WWE and shake up everything, a new brand split causing a sudden raid of the indies complete with WWE putting on a fully blown international cruiserweight tournament, the WWE-EVOLVE union, Panteras vs. Navarros, the renaissances of Samoa Joe and Shibata, “Das Wunderkind” Matt Riddle, Anderson and Gallows going from being my least favorite team to one of the best, Galloway’s continued rise as wrestling’s Jon Stark, WOTY contenders Chris Hero and Hechicero, numerous MOTYC from CMLL, Naito inexplicably becoming a fun heel with a great faction, Lucha Underground improving, and a very intriguing crop of young/new guys (Yehi, Tracy Williams, Lio Rush, Darby Allin, the sons of Blue Panther and Felino, Team Tremendous, etc)?

Because the death of kayfabe was mentioned: I truly don’t understand why more companies/workers don’t work harder at preserving it. There seems to be this “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle” idea that justifies even guys in EVOLVE and Lucha Underground doing a bunch of nudge-nudge fourth wall breaking idiocy that would have gotten Russo fired again from TNA. Workers seem so afraid right now to look dumber than the fans, without understanding that if you’re a compelling character, no one’s going to join in with the one mark in the third row making fun of your vest and chanting “You fucked up.” You could maintain kayfabe today with Bill Watts-level scrutiny, yet still do genuinely funny comedy and remain entirely sports-minded, as evidenced by pretty much every wrestling company pre-1991. Re: all that, one thing I still stand behind six months later is that fans would love a company booked like mid-to-late 80s WWF right now. Especially if you had better workers. On a good day, that’s kind of what NXT is, but not often. You’d need better skits, more non-wrestling entities, more character. I’ve said as much during the GWE polling, but I think even with work-class technicians and other straight-laced workers, we underestimate how much persona and character play into what we consider a “great match”.



#88 El-P

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 05:35 AM

Lucha Underground doing a bunch of nudge-nudge fourth wall breaking idiocy that would have gotten Russo fired again from TNA.

 

Nope. There's no winking at the audience in LU. It's admitedly constructed as a fiction, with deaths and magic and shit, not a real "pro-wrestling promotion".



#89 GOTNW

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 08:42 AM

 

the renaissances of Samoa Joe and Shibata

I think these only exist if you didn't watch their stuff last year (on in Shibata's case the year before that or the year before that). Aside from the violent outburst after Balor busted him open Joe hasn't really looked much different.

 

Anderson and Gallows going from being my least favorite team to one of the best

I was actually pretty confident this was going to happen when they got signed. Gallows was always much better at working WWE style than New Japan style and Anderson has benefited from it as well. In real time I was more frustrated that New Japan wouldn't push a more interesting native team than I was appeled by their ring work but they had some very good matches there. Some not very good ones as well, but the potential was there.

 

CMLL has multiple MOTYCs every year so. Hechicero being a WOTY contender is something that depeneds more on how he's booked than anything.

 

 

Naito inexplicably becoming a fun heel with a great faction

This happened last year.

 

 

 



#90 joeg

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:36 PM

I love how GOTNW just like to be contrarian. 



#91 funkdoc

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:49 PM

One aspect of current wrestling that is definitely not as good as it used to be and might account for a decrease in match quality is the crowds, specifically in the US. I would much rather watch a match with absolutely zero crowd heat than one with "this is awesome" chants or where the crowd tries to assert itself instead of focusing on the match. The "this is awesome " chant may be the my least favorite thing in the history of wrestling. It's not a huge factor but it does influence my perception of modern matches and their quality. It kind of dilutes the impact of matches and makes them seem like a choreographed performance for entertainment rather than a legitimate contest. The whole point of pro wrestling is to give an illusion of a real fight when it's actually a performance/storytelling piece. You wouldn't chant "this is awesome" during a play would you.

 

this is more a symptom imo

 

the bigger issue here is that younger audiences are less likely to take much of anything seriously.  you can actually look at the Rock as a sort of preview in this regard - as Loss loves to point out, fans weren't invested in him winning or losing so much as getting a chance to sing along with his catchphrases.

 

even real sports have been gradually heading in this direction, with more fans following them mainly for the flashiness or the off-field drama.  i would argue that this generation is less likely to care about the narratives resulting from the events on the field (breaking records, being clutch or a choke artist, etc.) than previous ones, for reasons too detailed to get into here.

 

also, remember that there is now a whole generation that grew up on Mystery Science Theater, and a generation currently growing up on the Youtube superstars influenced by MST3K.  that lends itself to a more detached worldview with regard to this sort of thing...



#92 GOTNW

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 01:14 PM

I think the impact of CM Punk is wildly undersold here. I remember someone saying once he was a more impactful figure on WWE than someone like Rock or Austin-not from a business standpoint, but in terms of how the company goes about doing things and what is acceptable for the fans to say. This might still sound ridiculous to some but I think it's absolutely true. There was always a latent smarkiness in WWE crowds but Punk's rise allowed it to go beyond just booing Cena and whatnot. Crowds weren't NEARLY as smarky when I started watching-which wasn't exactly 1982. Comparing 2010 crowds and 2015 crowds is night and day. Could you imagine then every show would have twenty million New Japan namedrops and commentators talking about Choshu, Misawa, Kobashi, Stan Hansen etc. as well as WWE promoting an indy?



#93 Loss

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 01:35 PM

I think the impact of CM Punk is wildly undersold here. I remember someone saying once he was a more impactful figure on WWE than someone like Rock or Austin-not from a business standpoint, but in terms of how the company goes about doing things and what is acceptable for the fans to say. This might still sound ridiculous to some but I think it's absolutely true. There was always a latent smarkiness in WWE crowds but Punk's rise allowed it to go beyond just booing Cena and whatnot. Crowds weren't NEARLY as smarky when I started watching-which wasn't exactly 1982. Comparing 2010 crowds and 2015 crowds is night and day. Could you imagine then every show would have twenty million New Japan namedrops and commentators talking about Choshu, Misawa, Kobashi, Stan Hansen etc. as well as WWE promoting an indy?

 

Well yeah. Huge difference. It's not like Kevin Nash got over in 2011 feuding with HHH, but they literally could never get away with doing that program now without some type of mutiny.



#94 Parties

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 07:46 PM

 

Lucha Underground doing a bunch of nudge-nudge fourth wall breaking idiocy that would have gotten Russo fired again from TNA.

 

Nope. There's no winking at the audience in LU. It's admitedly constructed as a fiction, with deaths and magic and shit, not a real "pro-wrestling promotion".

 

 

Some of the stuff I'm referring to is in upcoming eps and season 3 discussed by Meltzer, so I won't go into it for spoilers sake, but to clarify: I love both EVOLVE and LU. But both have frequent moments in which by trying to be cooler/smarter than the audience, they poke holes in their own suspension of disbelief/kayfabe/whatever you wanna call it. I love Matt Riddle, but the dude is openly a goofball playing the role of a heel. (Some would say that makes him a unique "true" character, but the guy's still laughing when he should be scowling.) Joey Ryan vs. Mascarita Sagrada wouldn't look entirely out of place in 1987 WWF (see Bundy vs. midgets), but Cage vs. Taya might. My point was more that a lot of modern wrestling writers/producers/bookers believe that no one could never book a Kip Allen Frye style wrestling show in 2016 (or a late 80s Pat Patterson one), while I disagree and think that a show that held closer to the vest on kayfabe would actually be unique and refreshing today. But maybe - to your point - a fantastical show like LU has a unique kayfabe all its own, that's true to its own sensibility.






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