Jump to content


Photo

What did you learn about your fandom from GWE?


  • Please log in to reply
126 replies to this topic

#41 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11324 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:02 PM

The thing that I've learned the most is that wrestling should be viewed with an open mind.  Trying to view a joshi match the same way you judge an All Japan heavyweight match will just frustrate you.  They are different things with different rules, and different logic.


I think this was an intelligent point well made. Believe it or not, I agree with it.

Another thing I've learned is that fun is important to me.  I'm sorry, but I don't care about whether or not you are a great seller, have flawless psychology, and you have an arsenal of every move ever invented if I am not enjoying you wrestle.  If I have to choose between a dry ass worker who is technically great and a super fun worker with obvious flaws, the fun worker wins out.  
 
I also think the sum is more important that the collection of parts.  If a worker is constantly in good to great matches, it doesn't matter if they don't fill every criteria.  I don't care how good a painter's brush strokes are if they haven't painted any beautiful paintings, nor do I care if you have a seven octave range if you've never sang a good song.  If what a worker does in the ring doesn't translate into good to great matches it is irrelevant to me.  
 
Not everything has to make sense.  Even if I understand what you are doing is dumb, if you can make it work I'll give you credit.  Hogan wrestles in a way that doesn't really make any sense, but he has too many good to great matches for me to hold it against him.  What he does works, and it doesn't matter that it wouldn't work for anyone else.


I think I agree with all of this too.

#42 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10258 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:04 PM

I should see that Fuji match.

#43 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11324 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:06 PM

I should see that Fuji match.


I can't see how you won't think it's like ... a masterpiece. I'm not even being snarky. Straight shoot.

#44 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11324 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:07 PM

Probably quite a bit, but a few things stand out.
 
1) Action: I like my wrestling to have lots of activity.  My favorite wrestling has always been late 80s/90s All Japan.  If I were to list my all time favorite matches (coming soon - maybe), this era would produce more than that of any other promotion.  But that doesn't mean its the only way to provide bell to bell action. I'll watch Ric Flair or Dick Murdoch work a headlock for minutes on end, as long as they're active.  Wrench the hold, grind a forearm, tap a foot to keep the blood flowing.  Do something that holds my attention and forces me to engage and take note of the activity.  A hammerlock can be problematic to some, but I'll happily watch it the proponent is throwing knees at the arm or back, angling for position and the recipient comes up selling the arm as a reward for my investment. 
 
On the other hand, just because its a headlock, wristlock, hammerock, scorpion or some other hold applied for a stretch does not on the surface make it acceptable.  If this kind of matwork reaches a stalemate where there's not any effort to secure, break or improve a hold (yes, all eyes on you New Japan) then my attention will be lost.  The one big outlier her is lucha.  Big fan of the bloody brawls and there are notable exceptions to this next statement, but a lot of the highly touted mat workers don't measure up very well for me.  There is no doubt that they pull off creative and intricate matwork that is not at all laying around filling up the tank, but its a bit too cirque du soleil for me.  Just takes cooperative to a new level.  But what about juniors lying around waiting to take a big move off the top, you ask?  Yeah, that works.  I can buy that the accumulation of damage leaves someone in position to take a big move without defending themselves.  But a lot of lucha leaves me asking why a wrestler lets his opponent get away with as much as he does on the mat.
 
More to come!


I think I'd probably co-sign all of this. I think WingedEagle and I have a lot of similarities as fans.

#45 ohtani's jacket

ohtani's jacket
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 5724 posts

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:22 PM

I've only really hung out on the periphery of this project, but the things I've learnt the most is that what most people consider fundamentally solid matwork is amongst the most tedious stuff for me to watch, and I don't think people pick up on the transitions in matwork they claim is too cooperative. I also think people are unaware of how much more trained in amateur wrestling your classic luchador is than most other styles. I also can't understand why it's okay for someone like Johnny Saint to have a completely choreographed, unbelievable style but not a luchador.

I also learnt I can watch a match two years apart and have polar opposite reactions. I don't think I'll be putting faith in my opinions from here on out.

I was glad a number of people took time to watch some of the British guys and pleasantly surprised that the heavyweights were well liked. That was cool.

I also learnt that I'm quite happy to keep pottering about living in my own little wrestling bubble while others seem burnt out.

#46 InYourCase

InYourCase
  • Members
  • 451 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:25 PM

The thing that I've learned the most is that wrestling should be viewed with an open mind.  Trying to view a joshi match the same way you judge an All Japan heavyweight match will just frustrate you.  They are different things with different rules, and different logic.  

I preach this regularly. Context matters. Selling and psychology are different for every promotion. Dragon Gate is different from 80's New Japan. Most wrestling is great, it's just different. 



#47 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10258 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:26 PM

I just follow OJ around the wrestling world three years behind.

#48 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11324 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:24 PM

The thing that I've learned the most is that wrestling should be viewed with an open mind.  Trying to view a joshi match the same way you judge an All Japan heavyweight match will just frustrate you.  They are different things with different rules, and different logic.

I preach this regularly. Context matters. Selling and psychology are different for every promotion. Dragon Gate is different from 80's New Japan. Most wrestling is great, it's just different.

I do agree that everything -- and I mean everything (not just wrestling) -- can be great if you get into it enough and understand it from the inside out.

#49 Childs

Childs
  • Moderators
  • 4437 posts

Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:25 PM

OJ learning not to trust himself is my favorite thing in this thread.

#50 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10258 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2016 - 06:07 AM

 

Sorry Steven. Its not about logic to me. Logic is a tool. Selling is a tool. Spots are tools. Physical ability is a tool. Blood is a tool. Stiffness is a tool. Jim Cornette at ringside is a tool.
 
Working smart is using the tools on the table efficiently and effectively to maximize the potential meaning of everything that happens in the ring. 
 
I would add "in order to achieve a specific purpose" at the end of that sentence (or "in order to create a greater whole" works as well, or hey, "in order to achieve a specific purpose and to best build to a greater whole"), but that's something I'm still working out and I can see if other people care about that less.
 
And if anyone wants to get more clarification, ask me in 2017. I'm good for now.


I still think this way of looking at things comes out with Mr Fuji vs. Chief Jay Strongbow as the best match of all time. And if that is the case, surely something has gone wrong. In terms of "efficency and effectiveness", I cannot really think of a match that touches it.

 

I think this gets lost in the semantics and attempts at definition and explanation but 1.) Working Smart isn't the only thing I value when it comes to the GWE process 2.) What I value for the GWE process is not entirely what I enjoy in wrestling, though there's a lot of overlap. There is a difference between favorite and great. I acknowledge that, though usually if someone is your favorite then you find a lot of what they do great. I won't have anyone on my list that I'll sneer at, like how Parv said Low Ki on the podcast, but I'll have some wrestlers higher than wrestlers I enjoy more, because I think they are greater or better. They just happen to go against some of my preferences. We're trying to make the best lists we can. Getting OUT of GWE mode is going to take a few weeks I think. And 3.) I get that people might not believe this, but those of you who say "I enjoy what I enjoy because I enjoy it!"... That's not a radical thought. I think we're all in that boat. Have I found patterns in what I enjoy? Sure. Is it likely that if a match has certain qualities, I'll enjoy it more than ones that don't? Sure, but there are exceptions. Its not at all a science. I think there's a lot of value in trying to figure out why we like what we like, or why we think something is good, or not good, or what might have made it better in our eyes based on things within the realm of possible. That's the starting point for interacting with one another on matches and wrestlers.

 

But it's not a case where I decided on a philosophical point of view first and then sought out matches second. I can understand why people might think that way, but it stemmed organically from me liking matches and not liking others and trying to figure out just why that was the case for both.



#51 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11324 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:02 AM

This is a nice little quotation from OJ that highlights some differences between the way he watches wrestling and the way someone like me or Winged Eagle do:
 

The early part of this reminded me of things I don't like about Hase such as the way he'd dance while he had someone in a hold, or clap his hands and point to the crowd. That sort of thing is a lot more fun when someone like Kyoko Inoue does it. Hase has never struck me as anything more than adequate on the mat and the kind of guy who'd rather do gymnastics on the mat than actually wrestle. I always find that disappointing since he went to the Olympics as an amateur, but it's part of his charm and charisma that I just don't get.




I'm pretty sure on the last AJ Excite show I praised Hase in his match vs. Akiyama for literally doing push ups while he was in a leg-lock. A mat-purist like OJ is gonna think that stuff is all kinds of goofy. A philistine like me though? To me that's just doing a great job of keeping everyone engaged and awake during the mat stuff. Like so much of that rote NJ mat stuff is so fucking boring to me, and Hase is the one guy who will pull out tricks to keep me entertained. I don't care if he's balancing skittles on his nose and clapping like a seal while juggling fire, it's more interesting than a headlock on its own.

I don't really like matwork that is cutesy or intricate or anything like that. I like watching a guy work an arm or a leg, but anything more complex is above my level of understanding of these things. Picture a fairly bright 9-year old and that's probably about my level of watching pro wrestling to be honest. I mean part of the reason I'm so high on Jack Brisco isn't cos he does anything fly on the mat, it's cos he waves his arms like a lunatic when he's selling a basic hold. And also because his matches have pretty solid A-B-C psychology insomuch as you'll get the same bodypart worked over.

Anyway, I think it's interesting to consider the different ways people react to the same stuff. As I've said I respect the way OJ watches stuff, but I can't ever bring myself to care more about matwork than 1. "did this stop me falling asleep?", 2. "is there some sort of narrative throughline to what is being done?" (which is no more complex than looking for, move A: arm, move B: arm, move C: arm) and 3. "okay, when are they gonna ramp up into doing some throws now", which will kick in around the 8 or 9 minute mark, possibly a bit later if I know they are going long.



#52 supremebve

supremebve
  • Members
  • 318 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:11 AM

I don't get the people who are against showmanship in any entertainment venture.  Hase dancing in a submission hold doesn't bother me at all.  I've actually seen people do things like that in shoot fights.  Whether it is Randy Couture giving Tito Ortiz a spanking while dominating him on the ground or Nate Diaz locking in a triangle choke and flipping a double bird at the camera, showmanship generally makes things more fun.  I like trash talking, touchdown dances, bat flips, and anything that adds fun to sports/entertainment. 



#53 WingedEagle

WingedEagle
  • Members
  • 5112 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:41 AM

This is a nice little quotation from OJ that highlights some differences between the way he watches wrestling and the way someone like me or Winged Eagle do:
 

The early part of this reminded me of things I don't like about Hase such as the way he'd dance while he had someone in a hold, or clap his hands and point to the crowd. That sort of thing is a lot more fun when someone like Kyoko Inoue does it. Hase has never struck me as anything more than adequate on the mat and the kind of guy who'd rather do gymnastics on the mat than actually wrestle. I always find that disappointing since he went to the Olympics as an amateur, but it's part of his charm and charisma that I just don't get.




I'm pretty sure on the last AJ Excite show I praised Hase in his match vs. Akiyama for literally doing push ups while he was in a leg-lock. A mat-purist like OJ is gonna think that stuff is all kinds of goofy. A philistine like me though? To me that's just doing a great job of keeping everyone engaged and awake during the mat stuff. Like so much of that rote NJ mat stuff is so fucking boring to me, and Hase is the one guy who will pull out tricks to keep me entertained. I don't care if he's balancing skittles on his nose and clapping like a seal while juggling fire, it's more interesting than a headlock on its own.

I don't really like matwork that is cutesy or intricate or anything like that. I like watching a guy work an arm or a leg, but anything more complex is above my level of understanding of these things. Picture a fairly bright 9-year old and that's probably about my level of watching pro wrestling to be honest. I mean part of the reason I'm so high on Jack Brisco isn't cos he does anything fly on the mat, it's cos he waves his arms like a lunatic when he's selling a basic hold. And also because his matches have pretty solid A-B-C psychology insomuch as you'll get the same bodypart worked over.

Anyway, I think it's interesting to consider the different ways people react to the same stuff. As I've said I respect the way OJ watches stuff, but I can't ever bring myself to care more about matwork than 1. "did this stop me falling asleep?", 2. "is there some sort of narrative throughline to what is being done?" (which is no more complex than looking for, move A: arm, move B: arm, move C: arm) and 3. "okay, when are they gonna ramp up into doing some throws now", which will kick in around the 8 or 9 minute mark, possibly a bit later if I know they are going long.

 

Yeah, what he said.  I also think there's a pretty wide gulf between these various approaches on the mat.  You have OJ apparently looking for a pure, amateur approach.  That's fine for some, but not something I have any interest in seeing more than in passing.  Its why my mileage on shoot style varies so greatly.  I may be able to recognize the skill involved but appreciating talent is very different from finding the output worthwhile.  On the other end of the spectrum you have some very cooperative matwork in lucha where it literally feels as though they're dancing in the sense that one is leading and the other following.  It personally removes all sense of competition and struggle much as the shoot stuff is devoid of the entertainment. 

 

And in the middle you have twisting fingers on a wristlock, stomping feet and pulling back on a leglock and small, active signals that someone is working to hurt their opponent and keep you engaged.  It doesn't require much movement or even athleticism.  But it does require activity.  Probably a bit of understanding how to get a reaction as well, but I'm not concerned with the recipe if the meal tastes great.  Its not for everyone, but this type of matwork dichotomy has become clearer and clearer the more I've watched.  When I started watching older footage there was a point where I absolutely dreaded extended matwork sequences.  I truly look forward to it now, when done the right way.



#54 fxnj

fxnj
  • Members
  • 492 posts

Posted 15 March 2016 - 10:28 AM

I've only really hung out on the periphery of this project, but the things I've learnt the most is that what most people consider fundamentally solid matwork is amongst the most tedious stuff for me to watch, and I don't think people pick up on the transitions in matwork they claim is too cooperative. I also think people are unaware of how much more trained in amateur wrestling your classic luchador is than most other styles. I also can't understand why it's okay for someone like Johnny Saint to have a completely choreographed, unbelievable style but not a luchador.

This is going to sound hypocritical given how I mocked the "wrestling must be logical" approach earlier but I've been doing BJJ for the past few months and even with my still shallow understanding of shoot grappling, it's just totally changed my views on mat work. Most long headlock spots, for example, just look ridiculous to me now because all I can think when I see them is "why is he just sitting there?" or "why isn't he trying to force his weight onto the opponent?" And sorry but the obviously cooperative nature of lucha matwork is something I can't unsee now that I see it. It would be great if the guys did stuff that resembled amateur wrestling but what I see is guys clearly letting go of holds and blatantly feeding limbs to do flashy shit that looks nothing like any kind of shoot grappling. I can still like it if I'm in the mood for it but I don't see how luchadors doing cool shit on the mat is much different in concept from US Indy or Dragon Gate guys doing cool flippy shit.

#55 supremebve

supremebve
  • Members
  • 318 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2016 - 12:35 PM

 

I've only really hung out on the periphery of this project, but the things I've learnt the most is that what most people consider fundamentally solid matwork is amongst the most tedious stuff for me to watch, and I don't think people pick up on the transitions in matwork they claim is too cooperative. I also think people are unaware of how much more trained in amateur wrestling your classic luchador is than most other styles. I also can't understand why it's okay for someone like Johnny Saint to have a completely choreographed, unbelievable style but not a luchador.

This is going to sound hypocritical given how I mocked the "wrestling must be logical" approach earlier but I've been doing BJJ for the past few months and even with my still shallow understanding of shoot grappling, it's just totally changed my views on mat work. Most long headlock spots, for example, just look ridiculous to me now because all I can think when I see them is "why is he just sitting there?" or "why isn't he trying to force his weight onto the opponent?" And sorry but the obviously cooperative nature of lucha matwork is something I can't unsee now that I see it. It would be great if the guys did stuff that resembled amateur wrestling but what I see is guys clearly letting go of holds and blatantly feeding limbs to do flashy shit that looks nothing like any kind of shoot grappling. I can still like it if I'm in the mood for it but I don't see how luchadors doing cool shit on the mat is much different in concept from US Indy or Dragon Gate guys doing cool flippy shit.

 

Yeah, I can't look at wrestling matwork and think that it looks like anything but cooperative, because I've done some actual submission grappling.  Actual grappling is full of little things like wrist control, underhooks, and other things that just wouldn't translate to a worked environment.  I've just accepted that it is a different thing, that isn't anywhere close to reality.  I remember in Mick Foley's first book he said something about how a front facelock would pretty much win any street fight.  No one would actually want to watch someone grab someone's head and hold them down by subtly shifting their weight.  The thing that really makes it feel really cooperative is that no one would actually work an actual submission hold.  Once a submission is on a fight is pretty much over, there isn't any way of fighting an armbar or a choke for more than a few seconds.  

 

Why are people watching wrestling for realism?  The thing about wrestling at its best is when they can make you feel like it is real, despite the fact that you never forget that it is not.  I don't think that is a matter of realism as much as it is a matter of performance.  I love The Empire Strikes Back, and I find myself lost in it every time I watch it, but I never think that it is real.  I don't think the force is real, lightsabers are real, or Jedi's are real, but the movie is well done and works for me on every single level.  I don't have to believe that things are real for me to buy into them.  



#56 funkdoc

funkdoc

    free si oem

  • Members
  • 759 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2016 - 03:26 PM

as someone totally outside this project, this thread has been a breath of fresh air for me.  it's neat to see some of the most prolific reviewers acknowledging their own shortcomings, given the lack of that in their normal posting.

 

i mean, both JvK and OJ sometimes tend to have a "this shit sucks" tone about them.  here it's more like "there's something there but i just don't get it" and that's rad as heck!

 

even though i'm not doing ballots i guess i can give something from my recent watching: my head understands the flaws with high-flying spotfests, but my heart still has a place for them.  i've come to watch wrestling in general the way i would watch a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and thus not get hung up as much on cooperative spots or loose offense.  i regard kayfabe as completely irrelevant anymore, so "exposing the business" only hurts with me if it's at a level that would look bad in a movie fight scene.



#57 jackwebb

jackwebb
  • Members
  • 140 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 March 2016 - 10:17 AM

My taste changed radically. I just voted based on who does things I find emotionally engaging. Clean execution was important to me in the past. It was like it didn't matter at all now. The biggest beneficiary was Giant Baba. I just genuinely love watching the guy. Just found him really engaging and he seemed to love what he was doing in a way I found endearing. My viewing was almost completely visceral. Just a matter of who could pull me in.

 

There are some flaws in this approach that my ballot reflects. Since I was being sentimental while watching. It also made environment more of a factor than it would have been in the past for me. It hurt New Japan guys the most. Since there is something sterile about it. Might be weird way of explaining it but I often felt like it was a crowd I would see in a sci-fi movie or show.

 

Ranking I asked myself a simple question. Who would you rather watch? Combining this with being visceral/sentimental I end up with some unusual names at the top. Names that if high volume great matches are what is most important you will find the names justifiably laughable. A few years ago that is what I would have thought about it. I comfortable with that and as a fan content. I've never been someone that watches matches again. That was required and I enjoyed that element of it. Though it isn't something I plan to continue on with in the future. I thought I would end up being more analytical on 2nd watch but the opposite turned out to be true which was a pleasant surprise. 

 

I ended up with a more subjective list than I set out for at the start. Counting laughs and smiles over average star rating was a welcome change. Wish I had more to say while the watching process was going on. I am more of a reader than a writer. Appreciate all the hard work you guys put into this project. Definitely ended up motivated to watch stuff that I wouldn't have without the reviews I read here. 



#58 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11324 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 March 2016 - 12:04 PM

If purpose is too unknowable and context dependent to be a primary method to analyze wrestling, what does that say about how we value psychology? There is simple no way I know of to even discuss what is usually thought of as psychology in pro wrestling without seeing some greater purpose at work. I don't speak Japanese, and to my knowledge no one here other than OJ does, and yet the psychological genius of All Japan is widely touted here both explicitly and implicitly.
What we actually know about Kawadas actions in a given match is very limited. There is a ton that is unknowable even pertaining to things like selling. Im not as much of a "purposeist" as Matt, but I struggle with the idea that any real wrestling analysis can be done absent some search for purpose at minimum.


I think there are lots of things we can infer from things like card placement.

- We know an opener, a midcard match and a main event don't have the same goals.
- We know an NWA title match and a WWF title match in 1985 have different aims.
- We know a match designed to set up a feud is different from a blow off.

I think it is valid to talk about purpose on that general level.

What we can't know about is intention or specific orders from the back, unless those things are revealed to us in dirt sheets. And even then, we know the perils of that.

#59 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10258 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 March 2016 - 12:11 PM

 

This is a match which took place very shortly after Martel entered the Portland territory. They used up their shot at the NWA champ on the new guy. They pushed that he demanded the match be on TV, and in the weeks that followed, that he demanded kids would get in free to a show, etc. They were obviously trying to get him over.

 

The match was made him look strong in very specific ways.

 

It's not some amazing stretch to think that Harley worked the match in the way that he did to help get Martel over, which meant giving him almost the entire first fall. 

 

I appreciate it if people think I am somehow creative or deeply analytical but most of the stuff I come up with really isn't rocket science. It's connecting a bunch of not so disparate dots.



#60 WingedEagle

WingedEagle
  • Members
  • 5112 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 March 2016 - 12:14 PM

 

If purpose is too unknowable and context dependent to be a primary method to analyze wrestling, what does that say about how we value psychology? There is simple no way I know of to even discuss what is usually thought of as psychology in pro wrestling without seeing some greater purpose at work. I don't speak Japanese, and to my knowledge no one here other than OJ does, and yet the psychological genius of All Japan is widely touted here both explicitly and implicitly.
What we actually know about Kawadas actions in a given match is very limited. There is a ton that is unknowable even pertaining to things like selling. Im not as much of a "purposeist" as Matt, but I struggle with the idea that any real wrestling analysis can be done absent some search for purpose at minimum.


I think there are lots of things we can infer from things like card placement.

- We know an opener, a midcard match and a main event don't have the same goals.
- We know an NWA title match and a WWF title match in 1985 have different aims.
- We know a match designed to set up a feud is different from a blow off.

I think it is valid to talk about purpose on that general level.

What we can't know about is intention or specific orders from the back, unless those things are revealed to us in dirt sheets. And even then, we know the perils of that.

 

 

Agree with this almost entirely -- there are certain big-picture things we can deduce, but think that's generally because they are clearly demonstrated.  If something is subtle, and not built upon subsequently in the match, commentary, angle or match that follows shortly thereafter, I'm wary of drawing any conclusions beyond strict variance, and wouldn't want to use that as a basis for evaluating the participants' intentions or thoughts.  All we have is the execution.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users