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#1 GOTNW

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:27 AM

We live in a time where there is more content than ever, and watching every match of a wrestler that's made tape is only possible if that wrestler has wrestled a lot less frequently than an average one does, had a short career or there isn't much tape of him. At what point do you become more entrenched in your opinion? And, once you've seen what the best matches and performances of a wrestler look like as well as his worst and have firm grip on what he stands for does watching another match that confirms what you've already concluded really matter that much? What point is there in watching more of the same if you've already assessed its worth? If this sounds like an argument for peak match quality and performances over quantity, well, that's pretty much what it is. If I've only got so much time dedicated to watching wrestling, look at it philosophically and constantly re-evaluate my own taste I don't see having fewer matches as an inherent negative. 100 matches is A LOT-if you wrestle that much over a period of 8/9 years quite frankly I don't need *more* to figure out what I think about a worker. More footage of a worker over a longer period of time does inform us, but saying more matches/years as a good worker=better feels pretty, ahem.........reductive.



#2 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 10:03 AM

My feeling is that the way we were watching wrestling during GWE wasn't a very good way to watch wrestling. What I mean is: watching lots of matches from the same guy all in a row.

I think it's much better to watch whole cards, including all the undercard shit, whole TV shows, whole TV runs, etc. to get a better feel for what's going on. I know some people look at me or Kelly strangely when we say that Mr. Fuji was a good worker, but he definitely was when you see the stuff in context. If I was to pick out all the highlights and make a big youtube list or 3-disc "Best of Fuji" comp, I'm not sure it would come through in the same way.

It's less about watching lots of matches of the same guy in isolation as it is about getting a feel for certain times and places.

Here is the stuffy old historian G.R. Elton talking about his ideal "professional" historian:
 

The hallmark of the amateur is a failure of instinctive understanding. This expresses itself most clearly in the readiness to see the exceptional in the commonplace and to find the unusual ordinary. The amateur tends to find the past, or parts of it, quaint; the professional is totally incapable of this. On the other hand, the professional, truly understanding an age from the inside – living with its attitudes and prejudices – can also judge it; refusal to judge is quite as amateurish a characteristic as willingness to judge by the wrong, because anachronistic, standards.


Now while there are issues with this in terms of the historigraphy, I think that if we think about what he's saying when to comes to judging wrestling matches and workers, there are some some decent ideas at stake.

As one example, I don't think one can appreciate Roddy Piper fully just by watching clips of Piper on Youtube. Part of his explosive impact in the places he worked, you have to see what the norms of the environment are in order even to feel the impact. I felt it pretty strongly when I watched Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask from MSG. If you look at it with 2016-eyes, it's just a bunch of spots. But if you look at it from the 1982-MSG perspective, it's totally mindblowing.

In a sense, to appreciate Ric Flair or Tully Blanchard, you kinda need to see Ron Bass or whoever else was on the card. I don't beliebe people build up their views of wrestlers from deep-diving on them, it comes from seeing them on many shows over many years. The whole culture of splitting up matches, watching only the best stuff, etc. etc. has the overall effect of creating a kind of false economy, a false set of standards, etc.

I guess now some guys have matches knowing that it is going to be separated off from the rest of the show, and in effect they are "wrestling for youtube", but probably the vast majority of workers ever were not thinking like this.

#3 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 10:21 AM

Pretty good example, in action, is this Terry Funk vs. Sal Bellomo match I stumbled on the other day: http://prowrestlingo...-edn/?p=5768333

That's a truly incredible performance from Funk, but I don't think it would mean much to anyone who doesn't have a good idea of what a typical WWF house show from 1985 was like, what a typical Sal Bellomo match looks like, and so on. To me that's an example of Funk working miracles, but if you showed someone that match in isolation (i.e. someone who doesn't watch 85-WWF much, doesn't remember it, spends most of their time watching other types of stuff), I suspect they'd see it as "just a match".

#4 Childs

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 11:13 AM

We live in a time where there is more content than ever, and watching every match of a wrestler that's made tape is only possible if that wrestler has wrestled a lot less frequently than an average one does, had a short career or there isn't much tape of him. At what point do you become more entrenched in your opinion? And, once you've seen what the best matches and performances of a wrestler look like as well as his worst and have firm grip on what he stands for does watching another match that confirms what you've already concluded really matter that much? What point is there in watching more of the same if you've already assessed its worth? If this sounds like an argument for peak match quality and performances over quantity, well, that's pretty much what it is. If I've only got so much time dedicated to watching wrestling, look at it philosophically and constantly re-evaluate my own taste I don't see having fewer matches as an inherent negative. 100 matches is A LOT-if you wrestle that much over a period of 8/9 years quite frankly I don't need *more* to figure out what I think about a worker. More footage of a worker over a longer period of time does inform us, but saying more matches/years as a good worker=better feels pretty, ahem.........reductive.

 

I agree you can reach a good understanding of what a wrestler could do without watching everything. If you see how a guy handles a decent range of situations (especially if, as Parv said, you understand the context), it becomes less important to watch him handle those situations over and over.

 

But I'm not comfortable completely ignoring volume as a factor in comparing workers. If worker A and worker B are roughly similar in quality but worker B wrestled near his peak for three times as long, I'm going to favor worker B. I'm not sure you're even arguing against that. But for me, there is a limit to saying peak transcends volume. 



#5 Loss

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 02:43 PM

I think if your goal is to get a feel for how good individual wrestlers are, then yes, you can restrict your viewing to a much smaller sampling. I'm far less interested in assessing wrestlers than I am assessing time periods. I'd rather explore how which companies had the best wrestling around the world in 2003, for example, and which ones didn't, and what is different in other time periods than that that is both better and worse, than just staying in the lane of wrestlers. I enjoy immersing myself in an era much more than I do a wrestler's career. My goal is to understand what great, bad and in-between wrestling looked like in a given year or series of years. And to do that, watching a lot of stuff is pretty important. I prefer this because I prefer variety -- if I watch too much of a single company or style, no matter how good it is, I get bored. 



#6 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 03:51 PM

If If I like a worker, I generally want to see more of their work even if I've already formed an opinion on them. If I don't like a worker then I'm less inclined to watch more of their stuff. The former leads to diminishing returns at times. The latter doesn't really give you a chance to change your mind or have some sort of a breakthrough. But to me, the entire process is about finding stuff I like.

 

I'd say I need far less than 100 matches to make up my mind about someone. A half dozen matches is enough for me. If I like you after a half dozen matches, I'm going to watch more of your stuff. If I'm not feeling it then I'll stop. Things might change in 2-3 years as my tastes are always shifting, but I'm a low volume watcher so I don't really have time to burn. 






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