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How do you get into workers and styles?


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#1 GOTNW

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 06:30 AM

There are a lot of things that affect our perception of wrestling that haven't been discussed yet, I think this is an important one. It's only natural you'd compare something new to things you've seen before. Personally I try to get a feel for a wrestler and a promotion/style before watching their best stuff. That's not always going to be possible and if I think it's truly elite stuff I'll usually give it a rewatch if I feel I may have missed out on my first watch due to not understanding the conventions of the style. Similarly I think it's possible to overrate a match based on your lack of exposure. Someone's regular spot may amaze you when you see it for the first time and be completely unimpressive the tenth time you see it. By familiarizing yourself with the worker you're able to distinguish between the spots that look great every time (Volk Han's Guillotine Hammerlock, for instance) and those that lose their sparkle quickly (a 630 Senton and indy backbreakers would be my examples). Getting into a style by just watching the commonly accepted best stuff seems inherently toxic, even if it works just fine quite often. How similar a new style is to what you're already familiar with will surely play a factor but how willing you are to expand what you can deem great wrestling will probably play an even bigger one.



#2 CapitalTTruth

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 10:38 AM

It kind of depends. I actually think the approach of understanding the style or the wrestler in the week to week or month to month before jumping into their best work. It is probably a lot better, I rarely do it.  I recently jumped into Joshi and Lucha. I didn't immediately find the best matches, but it didn't take long. Falling in love with stuff like MS-1 vs Sangre Chicana  El Dandy vs El Satanico helped motivate me to look at as much Lucha as I could. Part of it is that I assumed there is stuff I would like as much or more out there that other people were lower on, part of it was I saw how good lucha could be and wanted more.  The same thing happened with Joshi. After watching  Hokuto vs  Kandori I became sort of obsessed with Joshi.

 

Another part of it for me - at least with styles - is that I tend to get really into something and more interested in the nuance when I find my favorites.  I immediately fell in love with Sangre Chicana and El Satanico when was watching the 80s lucha set. Watching their matches helped me get into other wrestlers and start to really parse out nuanced differences.  Same with Kandori. She blows me away and because of that I have watched a lot of joshi that isn't necessarily heralded as the top stuff and really enjoyed it.

 

One sort of strength - though, again, I don't recommend it - to this pattern of watching is that when you go back and watch the really high end stuff it takes on new layers. In some ways it lets you see some of the top shelf stuff twice. Those spots that might amaze you the first time and be boring the 10th can still bring you a lot of joy watching. I know I wind up paying attention to the nuances differently. It can also bring some weight to the move, weight that at least to some degree it should probably have not completely lost just because it is a regular spot. Watching some of my favorite matches at different points has always provided me with a more well rounded picture of what is happening in the story they are trying to tell. When it comes to elite stuff I watched cold, even if I didn't get the nuance the first time it is something I gain an appreciation I am not sure I would get without that first blind watch.

 

I would love to watch everything chronologically, but I just don't have time and more often than not when I do have time to sit down with some new wrestling I want to see good wrestling. I often find myself thinking that life is too short to not watch great wrestling when you have the chance.



#3 GOTNW

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 03:52 PM

Thank you for your response. I do find the comment about wanting to watch "great wrestling only" somewhat relatable, but it's more of a mood I get sometimes than a fixatated state. The cons of it seem pretty obvious-you're going to find plenty of matches disappointing for whatever reason and might miss out on other great wrestling due to not being willing to expand what you think constitutes great wrestling. Lord knows I have lots of issue with the "WOS cosplayers" as Matt has called them but if I didn't bite the bullet and start watching Evolve stuff I wouldn't have seen Matt Riddle who is a tremendous talent (let's ignore his inevitable WWE signing). I watch wrestling by freely jumping from promotions and eras depending on what I feel like watching, I often feel like watching mediocre and bad matches is just as important in understading why something works, even though I don't really actively seek them out.



#4 CapitalTTruth

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 04:05 PM

Yeah, I agree that it can be a hang up, but it has never been a personal problem for me because I always want to explore new styles. I just - sometimes, not always - wind up starting with top stuff because I will look up what people like and where people suggest to start and all that. Personally, the expansion part comes for me in not really wanting to jump from style to style too quickly. For example, I am really excited to get into some WOS and shoot style eventually, but I am still making my way through some more Joshi and Lucha first. Plus, I got in the mood to rewatch some mid 00s ROH recently. So I am putting off getting into Shoot and WOS until I am ready to commit some weeks and months really wading through it. So even if I wind up starting with some top end stuff there, I will want to immerse myself in it for a while so I feel like I understand it. Once I am pretty familiar with a style or genre I feel better about jumping in and out a little more freely.

 

 

The larger point is a good one. Everyone watches differently and finding methods for one's self that help expand one's horizons is - I think - really important.



#5 Microstatistics

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 09:34 PM

Personally I try to get a feel for a wrestler and a promotion/style before watching their best stuff. That's not always going to be possible and if I think it's truly elite stuff I'll usually give it a rewatch if I feel I may have missed out on my first watch due to not understanding the conventions of the style

I think that is the right approach. When I first watched many Lucha and WoS pimped classics, I didn't really get them. It was once I watched more and more from each style and then rewatched them, they clicked for me because I had a better understanding of the characteristics of each style and what made them different.



#6 El-P

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 11:29 AM

I'm from the "buy a few VCR and wait 6 weeks to get them" era. So I got into different styles by getting the best stuff, because it was expensive to see anything. It worked pretty well. 



#7 joeg

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 11:05 PM

Same. I'm from the trading VHS generation. So you found a worker/style by trading for "Best of" and compilation tapes. As a kid I'm make 3 big buys a year, usually two from Lynch for Japan and one from RF or Highspots for lucha, indies, and ECW. Then when I watched them I'd hook 3 VCRs together and make copies to trade with. So at first I saw the most hyped workers in their most hyped matches on the most hyped shows and branched out from there. when youtube and torrenting came around about 10 years ago, it opened up a whole new world. I was free to see all sorts of stuff and not worry about video quality or spending money on a bad match or bad show. It has totally changed the way I watch things. 



#8 G. Badger

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 10:53 PM

If using the internet to check out an unfamiliar person or promotion, I'll try to find a match with someone familiar in it. A known quantity or 'control' that I can use to compare against. One that keeps coming to mind is an Indy match with Cedric Alexander and AJ Styles. AJ is the control...how does the promotion frame him? How does Cedric (the person I want to learn about) work with AJ? What level of offense, selling, drama etc are they bringing? So on and so forth...

But sometimes, its worth just jumping into the unknown as well. A lot of my enjoyment from wrestling anymore is just being surprised. If I can be surprised then, I'll give someone a second look.

That's true of contemporary wrestlers/promos as well as those from the past.

#9 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 04:39 AM

There are a lot of things that affect our perception of wrestling that haven't been discussed yet, I think this is an important one. It's only natural you'd compare something new to things you've seen before. Personally I try to get a feel for a wrestler and a promotion/style before watching their best stuff. That's not always going to be possible and if I think it's truly elite stuff I'll usually give it a rewatch if I feel I may have missed out on my first watch due to not understanding the conventions of the style. Similarly I think it's possible to overrate a match based on your lack of exposure. Someone's regular spot may amaze you when you see it for the first time and be completely unimpressive the tenth time you see it. By familiarizing yourself with the worker you're able to distinguish between the spots that look great every time (Volk Han's Guillotine Hammerlock, for instance) and those that lose their sparkle quickly (a 630 Senton and indy backbreakers would be my examples). Getting into a style by just watching the commonly accepted best stuff seems inherently toxic, even if it works just fine quite often. How similar a new style is to what you're already familiar with will surely play a factor but how willing you are to expand what you can deem great wrestling will probably play an even bigger one.


I agree with this broadly, and think that there is no substitute for watching whole cards. However, there are two realities that make this difficult: time and access. And on top of that inclination. We have an easier time watching what we are familiar with and contexts we already understand than those we don't. Watching a random old 80s WWF show is like comfort food to me even if everything on it is shitty, the prospect of watching a 00s indie show or modern WWE card meanwhile is genuinely painful. Most days, what are you gonna choose?

I think it's important to try to resist the natural instinct to compare everything to your existing favourite stuff and instead try to appreciate it on its own terms in its own context. This is one reason I think exploratory watching during GWE was toxic, cos you couldn't really enjoy stuff without having "well how does this stack against Arn Anderson", "is this as good as Ric?" ... Most things aren't gonna stack well in that exercise. Now I feel a bit more liberated just to watch and explore stuff for its own sake.

#10 Loss

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 06:55 AM

I like to see what else is going on around the world at the same time so that I get the appeal, as far as what makes it unique or special. I know that's unconventional, but it helps me frame context.



#11 GOTNW

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 09:02 AM

 

I agree with this broadly, and think that there is no substitute for watching whole cards. However, there are two realities that make this difficult: time and access.

You don't need to watch every show-in fact I'd go as far as to say you don't even need to watch a single full show if you make sure to watch every type of match the company/style regularly presents.






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