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What is "excess" in a pro wrestling match?

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#1 Microstatistics

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 07:56 PM

A common criticism of styles like 90s All Japan and a lot of modern wrestling is that the matches have a ton of excess. I was wondering what exactly is people's definition of excess. Is it too many big moves and spots? Is it too many nearfalls? Something else? For me, excess is anything that does little to drive the narrative and basically does not play any meaningful role in a match . So, hypothetically, if a match has a 100 nearfalls and all of them are consequential and further the match, then it's not excessive. While a match with 5 nearfalls, where 3 of them were pointless, that could be considered excessive.


I ask this because the criticism is mostly associated with maximalist styles. This might be a weird example but Sangre Chicana vs. Perro Aguayo from 2/86 has a ton of nearfalls, some of which I honestly thought were unnecessary and did little to further the match. That falls under my definition of excess. But that's a minimalist lucha brawl instead of a Kenta Kobashi match with lots of half nelson suplexes so would it be odd to say that match has excess?

#2 gordi


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Posted 06 October 2016 - 10:33 PM

I absolutely agree with your general thesis. It depends on the match, the promotion, the wrestlers, the fans... What is perfectly acceptable in one particular set of circumstances can certainly be excessive in another set of circumstances, and vice versa. It's yet another compelling argument in favour of judging wrestlers and matches on their own merits, and against blindly applying a set of predetermined standards across the board. Sometimes a pile driver is just way too much. Sometimes two Death Valley drivers in a row are exactly what is needed.

#3 overbooked

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 03:51 AM

It's tricky as a lot of this comes down to preferences and personal philosophies, but I think my ideal form of wrestling involves wrestlers doing the minimum required to tell a story. Anything that gets in the way of the narrative, or destroys the suspension of disbelief ("Nobody would kick out of that!") ultimately leads to excess.


I guess excess is also something that raises unreasonable expectations for future matches, as it leads to a style where volume is the appeal, rather than the story, and that approach requires greater volume over time as the novelty wears off.


I think there is also a more practical consideration, where excess is essentially what might limit that worker in the future. If they are risking their ability to work night-in, night-out it is excess.

#4 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 06:34 PM

To be honest, I think it's in the eye of the beholder. If you're into a match, and you're biting on the nearfalls, then you can't call that excessive. But if you're not into it, or they lose you somehow, then you're probably going to find it too much. I'm a big believer that the rhythm of a match is important when it comes to different styles, especially faster styles with a lot of non-stop action. It's hard to be in sync with that rhythm if you're coming in cold.


In general, though, I think most wrestling promotions were guilty of trying to outdo themselves from the mid-90s onward. Look at Japanese wrestling, particularly the reoccurring match-ups in different promotions. They fought each other so many times that all they could do was wrestle bigger and bigger matches with an ever-increasing number of kickouts and nearfalls. That's not really unusual. It happens in movie sequels and many other forms of entertainment, and most people reach a point where they've had enough of watching something even a favourite TV show. (How many times do you start watching a TV series that you never finish?) For me it became excessive, and I can't think of many late period match ups between workers that I like as much as their middle period work. For a lot of people, though, especially those who jumped on at a later point, the matches became more exciting. That's why I say it's in the eye of the beholder. 

#5 G. Badger

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 10:48 AM

When I think of excess in pro wrestling, I think of ultra violent death matches. I like a good barbwire or thumbtack match in the right setting or context but, I find nothing appealing about a light tube razor wire match where the winner has to powerbomb the opponent into a tray of salt. That's too much! It's not wrestling anymore...and frankly it's not even entertaining.

To take it more mainstream, I would say many gimmick matches where climbing is involved can be excessive. There is a fine line between a good cage match and contrived goofiness.

#6 stro



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Posted 26 October 2016 - 08:49 AM

My rule of thumb is: Would Arn Anderson do this or give you a thumbs up for doing it? If not, then it is excess.

#7 LifeIsAWork

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 12:52 PM

For my very first post (have long been an admiring reader): Excess, to me, is paradoxical, in that it usually manifests itself in repetition. It's pretty rare that I see something for the first time (or even the first time in a while) and said "Man, that was excessive." Katie Vick, maybe? 

When near-falls lack any suspense because a company has made them a regular feature of every match (obviously the current WWE product is an example; one thing that blows my mind is that everyone gets multiple near-falls in every match, now, on everyone)...that's excessive. They no longer serve the purpose they're supposed to serve, in keeping audiences invested in the outcome. 

If the WWE would simply save "Near-Fall-A-Paloozas" for special occasions, we'd start suspending our disbelief. 


As for hardcore, bloody, "pro-pain" promotions...I just want it to serve a purpose. If the guys are clearly beating the crap out of each other just because the audience has grown accustomed to it...same tired, excessive effect. 


#8 stro



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Posted 27 October 2016 - 06:31 AM

WWE's current style could be improved dramatically with having a few matches per month end with a non-finisher. It would instantly make the MOVE MOVE MOVE NEAR FALL NEAR FALL NEAR FALL stuff actually mean something and make those near falls be actual near falls again. Let Sami win with the BTB once in a while. Let KO win with one of his 15 moves that look more like finishers than the papa powerbomb. Let Charlotte win with the moonsault. And on and on.


As of now, the only way you can win a match in WWE is with your finisher, a roll up, or countout/DQ. The entire paradigm of the indie based spot fest style can be given substance and meaning with just letting a few matches end with one of those random moves. It's so simple that it's bizarre that I, as a drunk wrestling fan, can understand this concept, but people putting together matches in WWE can't seem to.

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