This thread highlights the importance of not being all bi-polar, "it must be this or that" when talking about pro wrestling.
SOME matches absolutely tell a story. Often, but not always, a simple one.
If I were to say:
- in match A a veteran main event star faced off against a younger up and comer. The veteran not only respected the younger wrestler, he was close to the younger man's family as well. However, the younger man wanted to take back the title the veteran was holding. So, while there was respect, there was also animosity.
In match A, there was a point where the referee was out of commission. The veteran had a clear opportunity to win the match and retain his title, by cheating. He had to decide, did he want to win this way? He chose not to cheat. In the end, the veteran lost his title but gained a great deal of respect from the crowd.
In match B, the younger wrestler from match A had risen to the point of being a top world title contender. However his younger brother, who had always felt like he was living in his older brother's shadow, was consumed with a jealous desire to prove himself the equal of his more successful sibling. On this night, the younger brother would pull out all the stops, and prove to the world that he was in fact as good as his older brother.
In match C, the same wrestler from matches A and B had become the respected veteran: a former world champion, tournament champion, considered one of the best ever. An up and comer, himself a recent tournament winner, challenged the veteran to come and fight. At the beginning of match C, the veteran was generally considered the good guy and the brash challenger was more or less playing the role of heel. But, as the fight progressed, the younger wrestler won more and more of the crowd over with his toughness and determination. In the end, the younger wrestler, bloody and beaten, passed out from pain rather than giving up when trapped in the veteran's submission finisher.
I doubt anyone here would have great difficulty figuring out what matches I am talking about, based just on the stories they told.
SOME matches tell stories. Sometimes they are more complex.
There were these two tag teams, you see: One, a pair of handsome athletic heroes. One hero, the Ace of the company. The other hero, his right-hand man and protege. The other, a pair that was perhaps less handsome, less athletic, less heroic... but they were tough as nails and over time maybe even if they were not portrayed as the heroes so much, you could get behind them as the never-say-die under-dogs. Time and again the Ace had saved his protege's bacon against the two ungainly tough guys. In this match, the protege was coming in with an injured leg, which the two tough guys wasted no time in going after, dealing out hellish punishment. With the protege all but out of the picture, they turned their attention to the Ace, just beating him horrifically. Eventually, the protege sacrificed himself to try and save the Ace...
Do I need to continue? Is there even one person on this board who had to think long and hard to figure out what match that is, based simply on the story it was telling?
SOME matches absolutely tell a specific story. It's fine if you wanna add your own perspective to the interpretation, but if you think Bret vs. Owen from WMX (or their cage match, for that matter) was NOT in any way telling a story about the younger brother needing to prove himself... well, you are kind of a dumb guy and you just don't get things.
Not all matches are like that, though.
Indulge me for a moment: Most of Richard Strauss' orchestral works are meant to paint a very specific image. In Ein Heldenleben there is CLEARLY a passage where what is going on is that Mr. and Mrs. Strauss are getting it on. In Don Quixote there is a passage where sheep are being disturbed and if you know the story you can easily tell what is happening. Any person with adequate hearing, not suffering from any kind of specialized musical synesthesia, and at least aware of what sheep and sex are should easily be able to distinguish between those two passages, and understand which is which. Even a dumb guy who is bad at getting stuff should have no problem.
The problem was, at one point there were all kinds of musical bozos who wrote about EVERY Classical piece as if it were meant to paint a very specific picture. That is simply not the case. So, the pendulum swung 100 per cent in the opposite direction. It became, and remains, deeply unfashionable to write about any piece of classical music as if it is meant to tell a specific story or paint a particular picture.
Both extremes are stupid, and wrong.
That's also true in pro wrestling. Some pieces tell a particular story. Some matches tell a particular story. Some. Not all.
Saying all matches tell a specific story is stupid and wrong, Saying every single match is entirely open to interpretation? Also, stupid and wrong. It's case by case. It depends.
Hector Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique was meant to tell a particular story. According to Wikipedia, "The symphony is a piece of program music that tells the story of an artist gifted with a lively imagination who has poisoned himself with opium in the depths of despair because of hopeless, unrequited love." Which is accurate enough. Good job, Wikipedia. Of course, we are free to interpret it in our own way. Maybe it has some particular resonance for you or reflects something in your life that in no way involves opium or unrequited anything. Fair enough. If we listen to it together and understand it similarly, you and I will likely have different opinions about various aspects of the story being told and that is a good thing... BUT... if you insist that it's about a dude going fishing with his buddies on a cloudy day beside a peacefully burbling stream, and it's right because you are free to interpret it however you want... then, you are stupid and wrong and you have your head stuck up your own rear end.
Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 probably isn't about anything. But, if you think it has an unhappy or even an ambiguous ending, you are mistaken. That blaze of C Major sunshine has a near-universal meaning. If you insist that you have the right to hear it as a bummer if that's what you want to do, you should try listening again with your head removed from your rear end.
Same if you wanna insist that Bret vs. Piper from WM8 was a battle of who had the better full nelson (not that anyone ever would, but...) in this case, it's actually possible for an interpretation to be wrong.
So, perhaps, the degree to which storytelling" is actually the story you as the viewer are telling may in part depend on just how far you have yours stuck up there.