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Pro-Wrestling Super Show #61 "Greatest Wrestler Ever: Our Lists, Part 1"


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#21 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 03:21 PM

Well, while walking miles in Nola -- which has an impressive grittiness about it -- and having a shrimp gumbo with corn bread and rice and beans with a root beer, I finally got to the end.

My main complaint is that part 2 isn't up already. Come on guys! That said, I was impressed that you managed to keep the energy up till the very end. And actually was struck by, lucha stuff aside, how similar Steven's list is in many ways to mine.

To Dylan's point, throughout the project, my proclivity to making selections was towards big matches in big settings. Yeah, I'm a whore for setting, and I personally get caught up in big matches to the point where in the middle, where I was having a tough time figuring out order, I was really just counting great matches in my head to figure it out. I totally understand the point you're making, though, and it was one of the more difficult things I dealt with in the selection process. In the end, for my sanity, I went with with my initial preferences for selection, which I think is reflected in my list (although there will be missteps, and I'm already anticipating a few to begin the next show).
To Parv's point (Ha), I think Ted was a good character in the WWF and he did some good work, but it hasn't stayed with me over time like other guys have. Kerry was a surprise to me when I watched some Texas stuff, and I understand your counterpoint to the post injury point I made. My thought is that before that happened, he had more high end stuff in the time before the injury and more standout stuff, although I know there are plenty of people who prefer Ted's Mid-South stuff. He was also a victim of my race to watch more footage, and Mid-South, as I mentioned, was one of my blind spots, along with some Memphis, some Texas, and World of Sport.

It kinda goes without saying that if you haven't seen the Mid-South stuff, that's basically Ted's case and all the other bits of his career are window dressing around it. I honestly can't fathom anyone who has seen that stuff recently ranking AWA Curt (as an example) over him. But it's all cool, the time for all those arguments was months ago, now it's just kinda nice to chill out. I'm hoping that you guys feel the same mixture of relief and easing off of tension that I did after you finish.

This period where we are going over lists and so on has been by far my favourite period of the whole GWE so far. It almost makes the whole thing worth it. Almost!

The run where you had like two or three guys in a row at the same number was pretty funny and a highlight.

One thing I'm a little interested in is how you both have Ricky Morton seemingly way above Bobby Eaton, one of those things I'd love to hear more on in part 2. I had Eaton like #22 or #23 and may we'll be the high vote on him but Morton wasn't far behind. To me their cases are quite similar but Eaton has better offense, which is the difference maker. I also recently watched his Memphis run and he was basically already great in 82-3 and the team with Koko Ware is one I can't imagine both of you not loving.

#22 Grimmas

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 03:36 PM

Parv,

 

Morton was a better seller. One of the greatest babyfaces of all-time. Sure Eaton had better offensive and was a great tag worker too, but his offense isn't like top 3 all-time while Morton was top 3 all-time in selling and gaining sympathy.

 

I also prefer Morton singles to Eaton singles. I think Morton was great longer. I don't see how they are that close.



#23 Woof

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 12:05 PM

Dylan's point about presentation has me wondering just what the effect of the old territory style "weekly booking" turning into a more sporadic "super booking" style has had not only on our perception of matches, but on the approach to those matches by the workers themselves.

Guys on the super indy circuit today (say Chris Hero for example) don't really get time to build to a match in the way the territory guys did. Hero on Evolve has to essentially deliver a 15-20 minute match on every show, without the benefit of weekly segments to incrimentally inch towards a match of that magnitude. He also can't go out and do a 2 minute match on a show that is purely about getting an angle over because the paying crowd for that show expects to see him in that longer match. So their goal with every match they wrestle is very different than say a Lawler, who could go out on TV and do whatever he needed with his match to get the story over, and even on occasion fuck around with his Coliseum matches, because that audience wouldn't really feel cheated knowing he'd be back in a week (and they would most likely be there too). If some fan paid explicitly to see Hero only to see him wrestle a total angle match and then deliver the payoff to a totally different audience somewhere else in the country, they'd be pretty pissed. So he wrestles accordingly. As a result what we get are a lot of really well wrestled matches that are excellent in a vacuum, but lack in the epic build that we as fans would prefer.



#24 Timbo Slice

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 01:23 PM

That's a great point and one that frankly seems inherent to a lot of my selections.

#25 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 01:29 PM

Dylan's point about presentation has me wondering just what the effect of the old territory style "weekly booking" turning into a more sporadic "super booking" style has had not only on our perception of matches, but on the approach to those matches by the workers themselves.
Guys on the super indy circuit today (say Chris Hero for example) don't really get time to build to a match in the way the territory guys did. Hero on Evolve has to essentially deliver a 15-20 minute match on every show, without the benefit of weekly segments to incrimentally inch towards a match of that magnitude. He also can't go out and do a 2 minute match on a show that is purely about getting an angle over because the paying crowd for that show expects to see him in that longer match. So their goal with every match they wrestle is very different than say a Lawler, who could go out on TV and do whatever he needed with his match to get the story over, and even on occasion fuck around with his Coliseum matches, because that audience wouldn't really feel cheated knowing he'd be back in a week (and they would most likely be there too). If some fan paid explicitly to see Hero only to see him wrestle a total angle match and then deliver the payoff to a totally different audience somewhere else in the country, they'd be pretty pissed. So he wrestles accordingly. As a result what we get are a lot of really well wrestled matches that are excellent in a vacuum, but lack in the epic build that we as fans would prefer.


Why is the conclusion to all that not just "wrestling was way better then"?

#26 Woof

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 01:51 PM

 

Dylan's point about presentation has me wondering just what the effect of the old territory style "weekly booking" turning into a more sporadic "super booking" style has had not only on our perception of matches, but on the approach to those matches by the workers themselves.
Guys on the super indy circuit today (say Chris Hero for example) don't really get time to build to a match in the way the territory guys did. Hero on Evolve has to essentially deliver a 15-20 minute match on every show, without the benefit of weekly segments to incrimentally inch towards a match of that magnitude. He also can't go out and do a 2 minute match on a show that is purely about getting an angle over because the paying crowd for that show expects to see him in that longer match. So their goal with every match they wrestle is very different than say a Lawler, who could go out on TV and do whatever he needed with his match to get the story over, and even on occasion fuck around with his Coliseum matches, because that audience wouldn't really feel cheated knowing he'd be back in a week (and they would most likely be there too). If some fan paid explicitly to see Hero only to see him wrestle a total angle match and then deliver the payoff to a totally different audience somewhere else in the country, they'd be pretty pissed. So he wrestles accordingly. As a result what we get are a lot of really well wrestled matches that are excellent in a vacuum, but lack in the epic build that we as fans would prefer.


Why is the conclusion to all that not just "wrestling was way better then"?

 

 
Speaking for myself I can only say I don't believe in the "things were better" theory in just about anything. Humanity evolves, and with each step we take in the positive, we lose something else. Music isn't better or worse today, it is merely different. There are aspects of it that I miss, but there are aspects of newer stuff that I enjoy. Its never a black-and-white issue for me.

I love modern wrestling. I love old school wrestling. The best part of being a fan today is that I can have both. 



#27 WingedEagle

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 01:59 PM

I don't want to be the cranky old guy, but there is absolute validity to an absence of stickiness today.  Its very easy for things to get lost in the shuffle of a 3+ hour Raw that is followed by a 2 hour Smackdown and a 3 hour PPV and and a 3 hour ROH show and an Arena Mexico show and then another Raw followed by a 60 minute NXT and then a 2 hour Takeover and then a 3+ hour Raw and 4 pages of discussion on some, and sometimes all, of these things, at least in these parts.  Yes, that sentence went 26.2 miles for a purpose.

 

Its why the opportunity is there for a Reigns/Lesnar to stand out because its in the spotlight position at Wrestlemania, or for a match with a build of more than a few haphazard quarters hours to stand out in our minds for more than a couple days.  I think its a disadvantage for the current product as the burden to become memorable is that much greater.  This isn't to comment -- at all -- on the quality of today versus yesteryear, but there was much more room for things to breather in prior eras. 



#28 funkdoc

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 02:36 PM

 

Dylan's point about presentation has me wondering just what the effect of the old territory style "weekly booking" turning into a more sporadic "super booking" style has had not only on our perception of matches, but on the approach to those matches by the workers themselves.
Guys on the super indy circuit today (say Chris Hero for example) don't really get time to build to a match in the way the territory guys did. Hero on Evolve has to essentially deliver a 15-20 minute match on every show, without the benefit of weekly segments to incrimentally inch towards a match of that magnitude. He also can't go out and do a 2 minute match on a show that is purely about getting an angle over because the paying crowd for that show expects to see him in that longer match. So their goal with every match they wrestle is very different than say a Lawler, who could go out on TV and do whatever he needed with his match to get the story over, and even on occasion fuck around with his Coliseum matches, because that audience wouldn't really feel cheated knowing he'd be back in a week (and they would most likely be there too). If some fan paid explicitly to see Hero only to see him wrestle a total angle match and then deliver the payoff to a totally different audience somewhere else in the country, they'd be pretty pissed. So he wrestles accordingly. As a result what we get are a lot of really well wrestled matches that are excellent in a vacuum, but lack in the epic build that we as fans would prefer.


Why is the conclusion to all that not just "wrestling was way better then"?

 

 

for me, because history hasn't looked kindly upon that approach in much of anything.  think of the people who kept saying the Eagles represented the death of rock 'n roll - how do they look in retrospect?

 

there's merit to each generation's work, it just takes a lot of effort to find for those not steeped in that generation and its attitudes.  i don't see what makes pro wrestling some special exception.

 

also New Orleans is the best goddamn city and you better be having a blast there!  quick recs: Central Grocery for a muffuletta, Jacques-Imo's so you can say you had a shrimp & andouille cheesecake.



#29 Matt D

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:41 AM

I'm 2:30 or so in. I sort of ape the previous comments to some degree. First and foremost, this is a HARD thing to do. There's no way I could explain it to someone not in our circle, like my wife, because unless you're going through it, it's impossible to see how hard it is. And Tim is so damn reasonable and earnestly excited for almost every one of Steven's picks, whether or not he could have included them on his list. 

 

I think, if nothing else, it showed me how thoroughly different my list will be from Tim's or Chad's, and I think while it's off the wall bonkers in some ways, it's very consistent with itself and with the values it presents.

 

And Tim's was as well so far, absolutely. As was Steven's. There are just different ways to tackle the question.

 

That doesn't mean I wasn't a little frustrated listening though.



#30 Mando

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 08:28 AM

Steven -- you said near the beginning you booted someone off at #98 (later giving the spot to Hennig). Who'd you have there originally?



#31 Grimmas

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 10:28 AM

Steven -- you said near the beginning you booted someone off at #98 (later giving the spot to Hennig). Who'd you have there originally?

Kandori... I felt I hadn't seen enough of her to be fair, but I know she belongs.



#32 Childs

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 10:43 AM

I popped when I heard where Tim has Nishimura. I also appreciate his broad-based optimism that virtually everyone you guys talk about will appear in the upper reaches of someone's list. I don't know that he's right, but it speaks to a good nature.



#33 Woof

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 11:06 AM

Steven's comment about how Christian managed to make people interested in a Randy Orton feud at a time when they were extremely burned out on Randy Orton was one of those mini eye-opening things that I love from these type of podcasts. Every now and then somebody will make a point that you've been vaguely feeling and never been able to articulate until they do. So thanks for that. Made me feel a little better about including Christian on my list.



#34 Timbo Slice

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 11:24 AM

I'm not going to talk down anyone's list at all. Going through this thing, I had about 200 guys on my initial list that I could have included, and I had an incredibly tough time getting down to 100, and like I said previously, there are gonna be times where my consistency lacked in spots more than others. Steven and I already know we are gonna have disagreements, but at the same time, my "optimism" for this is discovering what people find in high regard when it comes to wrestling. This was a discovery project for me and whether my list is "right" or not, I did the best I could putting it together and am stoked to see people's lists who are much, MUCH different than mine.

#35 NotJayTabb

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 02:43 PM

Not normally a podcast guy, as it feels like a few hours I could use to watch wrestling rather than listen to people talking about it, but I've loved these list podcasts. Only an hour and a half through, but it's really fun to listen to, love the enthusiasm you both have.

#36 Matt D

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 06:21 PM

So, I've been struggling with Villano III who I had on my draft list, but for reasons that felt like peer pressure. I had seen a bunch of his stuff but I just didn't feel like I had that 360 view I want if someone to have them on my list. He did not make my actual submission list. Because of the podcast, I looked at the Atlantis/Villano match again. I hadn't seen it since really the start of my lucha watching three years ago. Everything sort of clicked this time around (it was a sort of connective tissue of his range amongst other things). I decided that he had to be in there after all. I knocked out another "peer pressure" candidate to get him on. (I only had 2 on my list and both of them are gone now).



#37 shoe

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:11 AM

The Rude was good from the get go is an opinion I'll argue with. Personality wise he was pretty good from the get go. He had a little tweaking. Now as ring work he had 2 left feet early on. You guys brought up his Memphis run and looking good. I think that's a testament to Lawler's carrying ability. When he got to Texas he improved but still had a ways to go. In the tag team with Manny they were able to hide his weaknesses like offense. Late in his WWF run and then WCW he was able to put it together. It took years for him in ring to get it as a high level worker. He had flashes here and there.

#38 Loss

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:38 AM

 

 

Dylan's point about presentation has me wondering just what the effect of the old territory style "weekly booking" turning into a more sporadic "super booking" style has had not only on our perception of matches, but on the approach to those matches by the workers themselves.
Guys on the super indy circuit today (say Chris Hero for example) don't really get time to build to a match in the way the territory guys did. Hero on Evolve has to essentially deliver a 15-20 minute match on every show, without the benefit of weekly segments to incrimentally inch towards a match of that magnitude. He also can't go out and do a 2 minute match on a show that is purely about getting an angle over because the paying crowd for that show expects to see him in that longer match. So their goal with every match they wrestle is very different than say a Lawler, who could go out on TV and do whatever he needed with his match to get the story over, and even on occasion fuck around with his Coliseum matches, because that audience wouldn't really feel cheated knowing he'd be back in a week (and they would most likely be there too). If some fan paid explicitly to see Hero only to see him wrestle a total angle match and then deliver the payoff to a totally different audience somewhere else in the country, they'd be pretty pissed. So he wrestles accordingly. As a result what we get are a lot of really well wrestled matches that are excellent in a vacuum, but lack in the epic build that we as fans would prefer.


Why is the conclusion to all that not just "wrestling was way better then"?

 

 

for me, because history hasn't looked kindly upon that approach in much of anything.  think of the people who kept saying the Eagles represented the death of rock 'n roll - how do they look in retrospect?

 

there's merit to each generation's work, it just takes a lot of effort to find for those not steeped in that generation and its attitudes.  i don't see what makes pro wrestling some special exception.

 

also New Orleans is the best goddamn city and you better be having a blast there!  quick recs: Central Grocery for a muffuletta, Jacques-Imo's so you can say you had a shrimp & andouille cheesecake.

 

 

This works in theory. I'm not sure it works in practice.

 

Wrestling originated under cultural norms that have evaporated over time. The traditional, territory-based framework for wrestling really only works if local culture thrives and people aren't interconnected. We now live in the Internet age, and also one where we can pass dozens of small towns on the highway, and they all have the same gas stations and chain restaurants. Small, local businesses still exist and many are awesome, but they aren't nearly as prevalent as they used to be. I've seen lots of guys have good matches and I don't want to write that off, but we still haven't really seen anyone put forth a vision - at least not in America - that says "With local culture basically hemorrhaged, and with the Internet making people in different locales more connected than at any time in human history, this is how you get emotional investment and this is how you draw 15,000 passionate fans to a wrestling show in a culture where fans have seen every angle, know too much about the inner workings and are glued to smartphones." I don't count WWE in that because they have always played by their own rules and existed in a very different framework, even in the 1980s. But I think it's important to distinguish that comments about how wrestling used to be way better aren't inherently an indictment of declining ring work -- although that can be argued, it's not really what is specifically being argued. It's an argument about the infrastructure of wrestling. It's an argument about the cultural relevance of wrestling.

 

It's also hardly limited to wrestling. I still like lots of new dance music, to pinpoint a specific example, but the age of Detroit or Chicago or Houston or London or Berlin or New York or any other city churning out a new sound that originates in local clubs is sadly gone. The difference is that music has adapted to the times, or at the very least, has done a better job of adapting to the times than wrestling has. And I don't even have the first clue what the answer is.



#39 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:52 AM

The Rude was good from the get go is an opinion I'll argue with. Personality wise he was pretty good from the get go. He had a little tweaking. Now as ring work he had 2 left feet early on. You guys brought up his Memphis run and looking good. I think that's a testament to Lawler's carrying ability. When he got to Texas he improved but still had a ways to go. In the tag team with Manny they were able to hide his weaknesses like offense. Late in his WWF run and then WCW he was able to put it together. It took years for him in ring to get it as a high level worker. He had flashes here and there.

Yeah totally agree with this and have said it many times.

Also agree with where Loss is going with his last post.

#40 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 06:38 PM

I'm just starting on this ("just starting" meaning I'm over an hour in and still in the 90s...) but I wanted to jump in here straight away to say that Tim's opening spiel about subjectivity and the nature of his list is like EVERYTHING I think and feel about the subject. Just bang on. So thank you for expressing it so well for me.

 

Hearing that, and just your general enthusiasm about so many guys and "this was just one of the greatest things ever" of it all...I think we come to wrestling from really similar places and share that sort of...unbridled joy. So it's nice to listen to.






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