I think there are a few things to cover here, and this feels like an exercise in getting the questions right as much as finding the answers.
The predominant mode of critiquing wrestling seems to be rating matches on the ol’ star rating system. Aligned to this is the match review, which more often than not is an intro, followed by play-by-play, concluding thoughts, star rating. I know there are exceptions.
Is this focus on matches the right way of critiquing wrestling?
While in the in-ring action is generally the most important aspect, it isn’t the be-all and end-all of pro wrestling as an art form/performance/spectacle. Promos, angles, skits and VTs all play their part, as does commentary, pre- and post-match formalities and shenanigans, look and feel of the arena/studio etc etc.
From a narrative perspective, any sort of decent pro wrestling story arc takes place over months or years, not just over the course of one match. And that is before you start weaving in any behind-the-scenes stuff that may have had an impact on what happened in the ring.
In this light, match reviews feel pretty reductive, or at least offer a disproportionate focus on one aspect of what pro wrestling is. While “having good matches” seems increasingly an aim of pro wrestling, I’m not sure that was always the case, or will always be the main goal.
So, are we missing a trick just viewing wrestling through its matches? And how else could we construct a critique?
And would this lead to a greater variety of wrestling writing? While there is some great wrestling writing out there, it feels like there aren’t that many modes of writing about wrestling. And for wrestling analysis or appreciation to take the next step it feels like the writing needs to adopt more sophisticated forms than a match review.