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How much work and time does a great or perfect match need?


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#1 GOTNW

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 07:15 PM

This is probably something that's been beaten around the bush forever but is worth addressing on its own. How long does a match need to go before you're comfortable calling it great or perfect? How much work does need to be packed into that minimal amount of time? How do you want wrestlers to go about achieving greatness and perfection in the smallest amount of time you feel it can be reached?

#2 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 07:27 PM

How long does a match need to go before you're comfortable calling it great or perfect?

 

As long as it needs. This question does get asked a lot, and my answer is that if it's great I don't give a shit how long or short it is. I really don't get why people would.

 

Honestly I think it's my love of WWE women's wrestling that has made me appreciate just how much you can actually do with 7 minutes...with 4 minutes...even with 90 seconds. Like I said during GWE, Trish Stratus only had ONE singles match that went over 10 minutes in her whole career. One. She only ever had 20 singles matches that went more than 5 minutes, in a seven year career. And yet I've got a bunch of her matches at great or perfect or ***** or whatever.



#3 Loss

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 07:33 PM

19 minutes and 37 seconds. I don't mean to be dismissive, but I don't really see how this can be standardized. However much time it takes for a match to have a strong and fleshed out beginning, middle and end that doesn't feel like it was too short.



#4 joeg

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 07:45 PM

I think it depends upon the company's in ring style, card placement, and buildup. All of those impact how much time a match gets. I've seen Volk Han matches that went less than 12 minutes that I'd consider great. But a main event title match that only goes less than 12 minutes in a lot of places is a glorified squash or a non finish to build to the next big show so it all depends. 



#5 GOTNW

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 10:09 PM

19 minutes and 37 seconds. I don't mean to be dismissive, but I don't really see how this can be standardized. However much time it takes for a match to have a strong and fleshed out beginning, middle and end that doesn't feel like it was too short.

"Whatever it takes" is a useless answer in a world where there's a heavy bias towards longer matches that lives to this day. Looking at what the shortest matches you consider great/perfect are and contemplating around what time you start being comfortable calling them great is supposed to be the start of the discussion. Obviously I wasn't expecting a math equation and numbers set in stone.


Anyway I find it very hard to rate matches that are under five minutes highly. Not saying you can't build a memorable and very good match in that timeframe but I rarely find myself being able to put them on the same level as the longer greats. With 5-10 minutes you can already build a great match much more easily and possibly even hit perfection.

#6 Loss

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 10:37 PM

I wouldn't say there is a bias toward long matches as much as there is a bias toward matches that are long enough. I've seen plenty of sub five-minute matches I'd definitely categorize as fun or even good (***-ish), and even one that comes to mind that I'd call great (Lawler-Snowman), but even that I wouldn't rank at **** or more. Why? Because it still feels incomplete. Because I have yet to see an example of a match with that little time that doesn't feel like it would have benefitted from more time. Just like I have seen plenty of matches that would have benefitted from less time. I don't want to say it takes at least 8 minutes or whatever because I'm not sure it does. I can only speak to my viewing experience, not what's possible in all worlds. And I'd hate to say "a match has to be at least 8 minutes to be great" and then see a 7 minute match that flipped that idea on its head.

 

In general, I think a great match needs to have a compelling beginning, a compelling middle and a compelling final stretch. I wouldn't say that can't happen in five minutes. I just haven't seen it happen.

 

I'd also add that I've never seen a match I'd call perfect. I've been non-committal but I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist.



#7 El-P

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 01:32 AM

Between 12 and 25 minutes usually. Scientific fact.



#8 Jetlag

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 02:59 AM

The shortest truely great match I've seen (Ikeda vs. Ono) is 4 minutes, so I will go with that as an answer.

 

I think the hardest thing to deal with about short matches is the disappointment. I remember watching a Fujiwara vs. Otsuka match that went 60 or 90 seconds. The work in it was great, but the fact that it didn't even go 2 minutes was such a punch in the stomach. It was still a good match, just not GREAT. The above match avoids this.



#9 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 03:00 AM

I'm not convinced there is a bias toward longer matches. Give most people a choice between a 45-minute AJPW tag from the 70s and a 10-minute double juice brawl and I think they choose the brawl a lot of the time.

Pete and I have talked in the past about how 60-minute broadways aren't that well appreciated these days.

I've complained in the past that a match has gone on too long and by the same token that a match needed more time.

Context is a factor: you wouldn't want a wild brawl going much longer than 15 mins, NWA-style, AJ-style or NJ-style all demand more time. "Purpose" seems to be a good word to consider.

#10 goc

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 03:41 AM

7 minutes seems like a good minimum floor. That's about how long the Lawler/Bundy $10,000 match from Memphis is and that's my go to pick for best "short" match. I'm biased more towards shorter matches in general though because the longer a match goes the more likely it's either going to get into random matwork to fill out time (especially if it's going broadway) or in more modern times it usually just means an overly long finishing stretch filled with a bunch of finisher kickouts.



#11 GOTNW

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:08 AM

And I'd hate to say "a match has to be at least 8 minutes to be great" and then see a 7 minute match that flipped that idea on its head.
 
In general, I think a great match needs to have a compelling beginning, a compelling middle and a compelling final stretch. I wouldn't say that can't happen in five minutes. I just haven't seen it happen.
 
I'd also add that I've never seen a match I'd call perfect. I've been non-committal but I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist.

I don't see the big deal in praising a 7 minute match to that extent after saying that from your experience matches generally need at least 8 minutes to reach that level. Unless you're absolute about it it's even pretty consistent. It's certainly completely different than praising a two minute match like that.

Beginning/middle/end indicates a match needs at least three parts, I think you can have a great match with two control segments so I don't really look at it as splitting it that way. Beginning/middle or middle/finish can be kinda glued together

I don't believe in perfection but relatively perfect/five star is commonly used and everyone knows what it means.





A 45 minute AJPW tag from the 70s sounds like a nightmare. Does anyone really want to watch Abdullah The Butcher and Dory Funk Jr. for 45 minutes? Can't compare that to 80s New Japan and 90s All Japan tags that often go long and get insane praise, incomparable to an average 10 mimute brawl.

#12 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:21 AM

Just as an aside, Baba would never book Abby to go 45 minutes. Longest Abby match I've seen is around 30 mins singles vs. Terry Funk (1980). The stone-cold classic with Abby/Sheik vs. Funks in 79 is close to 30 as well I think, but legit 4.75 great match with outrageous heeling. The longer tags are generally Baba / Jumbo vs. Funks or any of the other international teams that come in. Guys like Billy Robinson, sometimes Bock, sometimes Mil and Dos Caras. I think a lot of those matches in 75-9 time frame are really good and worth watching. It's a great all-star international promotion then, anyone who was anyone came through, and you get to see guys with enormous reps show what they can do over the course of 40+ minutes. A lost art in some ways.

There's a late version of it in the 80s too, I'd point to Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr vs. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy (8/31/83) as a truly excellent match (5-star) that goes lonnnng. Generally I think I prefer the long 70s AJPW tags to the longer singles bouts a la Dory-Inoki 69 which get really clogged down in matwork and send me to sleep, I can't do 50s/60s mat classics a la Thesz, it's just too boring. With four guys you can tell a great well-paced story with action and high points over 40+ minutes.

For my money, the Funks, Baba, Jumbo and other workers from the 70s were FAR better at going 40+ than Misawa, Kawada or Kobashi, far far better. Because it played to their strengths better. Kawada and co seem like they are tremendous over 30 minutes, but the style struggles to go for 45+, they only manage to really knock it out of the park a few times when the clock gets up to that level (from memory one of the Jumbo 6-mans in that time range). At least in my view.

#13 Loss

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:40 AM

 

And I'd hate to say "a match has to be at least 8 minutes to be great" and then see a 7 minute match that flipped that idea on its head.
 
In general, I think a great match needs to have a compelling beginning, a compelling middle and a compelling final stretch. I wouldn't say that can't happen in five minutes. I just haven't seen it happen.
 
I'd also add that I've never seen a match I'd call perfect. I've been non-committal but I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist.

I don't see the big deal in praising a 7 minute match to that extent after saying that from your experience matches generally need at least 8 minutes to reach that level. Unless you're absolute about it it's even pretty consistent. It's certainly completely different than praising a two minute match like that.

Beginning/middle/end indicates a match needs at least three parts, I think you can have a great match with two control segments so I don't really look at it as splitting it that way. Beginning/middle or middle/finish can be kinda glued together

I don't believe in perfection but relatively perfect/five star is commonly used and everyone knows what it means.

 

My issue with the part I bolded ("from your experience") is that the words are rarely said and I'm not even sure it's just tacitly understood, especially in cases when people are seeking objective standards about what wrestling is supposed to be. People tend to see the potential for greatness as only what they've personally witnessed, and yes, it sounds pedantic, but I really believe in at least trying to avoid that because it strikes me as a little solipsistic. It was what tied me in knots with ranking wrestlers from GWE when I haven't seen them all, and it's where I struggle with questions like this too.

 

I haven't come across very many generally accepted "rules" about good wrestling -- to the extent they are even rules -- that don't have exceptions. It's similar to the simplistic idea that good wrestling is Remembering To Sell The Leg During A Comeback and bad wrestling is Forgetting To Sell The Leg During A Comeback. The hyper focus on it fosters a reductive way to watch wrestling where only one thing matters. 



#14 GOTNW

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 06:32 AM

 

especially in cases when people are seeking objective standards about what wrestling is supposed to be

Seeking objective standards about what wrestling is supposed to be sounds like a giant waste of time. :)

 

People tend to see the potential for greatness as only what they've personally witnessed, and yes, it sounds pedantic, but I really believe in at least trying to avoid that because it strikes me as a little solipsistic.

Really all you can do is familiarize yourself with as much different styles and continue being open minded about wrestlng. Wrestling isn't as diverse as other arts which probably causes a lot of redundant arguments that wouldn't exist (or wouldn't be as common) if it were. I'm not sure if it's ever going to be unless stuff like post-wrestling becomes more prominent.



#15 fxnj

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:21 AM

Between 12 and 25 minutes usually. Scientific fact.

This is the most sensible answer. I've seen plenty of great matches that don't fall inside that range, but that range still seems to be the most conductive for great matches. Generally speaking, guys have to be really fucking good at filling time to get a great match that goes over or under that time frame.

#16 jdw

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 02:00 PM

Just as an aside, Baba would never book Abby to go 45 minutes. Longest Abby match I've seen is around 30 mins singles vs. Terry Funk (1980). The stone-cold classic with Abby/Sheik vs. Funks in 79 is close to 30 as well I think, but legit 4.75 great match with outrageous heeling.

 

Their two matches in 1979 were under 20:

 

http://www.cagematch...?id=1&nr=102403

http://www.cagematch.../?id=1&nr=41366

 

They had a lot of other entrances, introductions, pre-match, post-match and what not, so the Youtube video count might have been up around 30.

 

Always hard on what to count and what not to count. We like to give credit for stuff like the Flair & Sting vs Funk & Muta brawl after the Bash match, and frankly for Flair's great blood & Muta-spay covered speach as well. But Hogan gets no credit for the Posing Routine, or for kicking the shit out of the heel and heel manager after matches. The haircut or mask removal after a lucha match gets credit, but do we give credit to the post-match of El Clasico?

 

I don't have a great answer to that. It does seem fair to give Hogan credit for the Posing Routine's ability to fire up and satisfy the crowd (as in monster fucking pop) if we give it to others. We probably can do that while also admitting that we personally don't give two shits for the Posing Routine and it doesn't work for us.



#17 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 02:12 PM

If you wanna expand more, jdw, there's some discussion of that exact topic (of whether or not to count post-match in ratings) here: http://prowrestlingo...tars/?p=5767162

Time length I'd say would have to be bell-to-bell. I think I was thinking of 2-out-of-3 fall one of those by the way, not entirely sure if I've seen the other one.

#18 jdw

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 02:13 PM

On the originally question... hard to know.

 

I've tended to use the Windham vs Pillman at SuperBrawl as an example of a terrific short match. That went 6:08. Perfect? Great? I don't know... never was super comfy with applying it to matches that short, or applying "MOTYC" to it. But it was awfully good.

 

The Fans vs Midnights from Clash 1 was 10:15. That's a terrific match. I think when you block out what they do, how they work a "match" into what's really a short amount of time for them, and by "match" I'm not meaning just tossing a ton of shit into it. Sure, there's a ton of shit tossed into it, but they also work a very good FIP section in there. It's like a truncated version of their longer matches, with extra shit tossed on, and some of that shit is GREAT FUCKING SHIT~! like the Table. It's really terrific for what it is. Great? Perhaps. MOTYC? It finished well in that race. Perfect? Pretty much for what they needed to do and were trying to do.

 

So it's a hard question. Mostly a personal one on what the viewer likes.



#19 jdw

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 02:15 PM

If you wanna expand more, jdw, there's some discussion of that exact topic (of whether or not to count post-match in ratings) here: http://prowrestlingo...tars/?p=5767162

 

It's been expanded for decades. Hence the Flair vs Funk Bash match reference, which was on we always use to talk about when the subject came up: the post match was frankly better than the match and a big reason (mentioned or not mentioned) that some folks rated it really high.



#20 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 02:20 PM

If you wanna expand more, jdw, there's some discussion of that exact topic (of whether or not to count post-match in ratings) here: http://prowrestlingo...tars/?p=5767162

 
It's been expanded for decades. Hence the Flair vs Funk Bash match reference, which was on we always use to talk about when the subject came up: the post match was frankly better than the match and a big reason (mentioned or not mentioned) that some folks rated it really high.


You might wanna have a little read of that thread cos that match is brought up, but with someone claiming the match is 5-star and post-match 1-star. Maybe some guys in 2016 with different takes from those in 89.




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