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Authenticity/Cosplay


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#1 GOTNW

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 02:41 PM

This has been a talking point for a while so have at it.

Continuing from here :

 

The smart line of enquiry here would be to ask something like "weren't Flair and Garvin doing Wahoo McDaniel cosplay anyway?"

This was actually going to be my next point. Flair vs Garvin isn't much different than Wahoo vs Jimmy Valentine-not as good :) but has the same basic idea.

 

The issue of authenticity doesn't really come up when wrestlers stick to basics but when they overreach and people argue whether they've come up with characters that are distinctive enough on their own as well as when they appropriate just because it looks cool, not considering the context of what made it as efficient as it was originally. If you look at how no-sells are used in Akiyama vs Kobashi 7/24/98 or Akiyama-Misawa 2/27/00 and then compare that to Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins there's a world of difference. What you saw first probably also makes a difference-is people checking out Kawada and Misawa after seeing Samoa Joe use their any different than people watching Wahoo and Ray Stevens matches because Flair talked about how great they were? You encounter a different experience when you've followed the original and have to judge those influenced by them.



#2 Mrzfn

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 03:34 PM

This is really interesting and timely for me because just this morning I watch Kobashi vs. Joe for the first time, a match I have heard the "cosplay" accusation leveled at. Personally I didn't interpret the match that way. Does Joe use several classic All Japan spots? Yes, but not as pure imitation, but rather as tools to build a larger story. On one side it's Samoa Joe, on top of the world but now placed against a towering legend, trying to apply everything he has watched and learned from his opponent's past, and on the other side you have Kobashi, who slaps down the young gun whenever he sees him trying to use the same tactics he's battled so many times in the past. I thought it worked even better because whenever Joe was forced to go back to his own offense, he actually seemed to make a lot more headway. It's not a case of Samoa Joe "dressing up" his moveset like Kawada or whoever, it's a device to further the story of the match.

 

I have seen cases where I thought wrestlers were imitating others a little too much without adding anything of their own, which is what the complaint boils down to, but I also think it is thrown out too often as a blanket complaint, when in many cases it's more of a question of influence or homage. I think it's hard to say where to draw the line, because everyone borrows from everyone else in wrestling, especially now when basically everything has been done in one form or another.



#3 Microstatistics

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 03:58 PM

What is peoples definition when they say cosplay?. Doesn't cosplay imply copying heroes/influences as a sort of tribute to them?. I don't think the majority of modern puro or indie wrestlers do no selling sequences or strike exchange, for example, in homage to 90s All Japan or to conjure nostalgia.

 

 

This is really interesting and timely for me because just this morning I watch Kobashi vs. Joe for the first time, a match I have heard the "cosplay" accusation leveled at. Personally I didn't interpret the match that way. Does Joe use several classic All Japan spots? Yes, but not as pure imitation, but rather as tools to build a larger story. On one side it's Samoa Joe, on top of the world but now placed against a towering legend, trying to apply everything he has watched and learned from his opponent's past, and on the other side you have Kobashi, who slaps down the young gun whenever he sees him trying to use the same tactics he's battled so many times in the past. I thought it worked even better because whenever Joe was forced to go back to his own offense, he actually seemed to make a lot more headway. It's not a case of Samoa Joe "dressing up" his moveset like Kawada or whoever, it's a device to further the story of the match.

 

I have seen cases where I thought wrestlers were imitating others a little too much without adding anything of their own, which is what the complaint boils down to, but I also think it is thrown out too often as a blanket complaint, when in many cases it's more of a question of influence or homage. I think it's hard to say where to draw the line, because everyone borrows from everyone else in wrestling, especially now when basically everything has been done in one form or another.

 

Agree with all of this.



#4 Loss

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 04:18 PM

I don't really use the term, but I would guess it comes down to facial expressions, intensity, the ability to react in the moment and character conviction. 



#5 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 07:19 AM

I stumbled on this review I wrote back in February and I think it highlights some of my general concerns around "authenticity". "Cosplay" is not a term I use typically, mainly because I associate it with the people who dress up like Lord of the Rings characters in the board-game conventions I attend.

Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA (9/16/06)

This is from ROH. Hey, at least it's not TNA. Bryan is the world champ and carrying a shoulder injury from which he's coming back. KENTA meanwhile is on an undefeated streak.

I found this pretty slow going for long portions. All the elements are there: crisp work, focus on an injury and limb work, call backs, genuine strategy, big spots, a pretty hot crowd, and touches of character work from both Kenta and Bryan, the highlight probably being Bryan shouting "Fucked up? I never fuck up!" The violence also escalates as the bombs get bigger and more ambitious as the match progresses. So why do you feel there's a big "but" coming? Well, it feels like a smart fan's idea of a five star match being played out in front of me. And it probably is many smart fans' idea of a five star match. I will say that the hard elbows by Danielson in the finish are pretty disturbing in their intensity, and you buy that Kenta taps. The finish is really good. But I guess what I'm saying is that this is the wrestling equivalent of a "worthy" Oscar film, it seems designed to win awards and accolades and I'm not sure I can get behind that degree of self-consciousness. Technically, there's no flaw I can point to, the match tells a story, it is well executed, it has heat, it has intensity and a real sense of high stakes. And yet ... It left me cold. I've had meals like that at top restaurants, y'know, everything about it was technically perfect -- designed to dazzle critics and garner Michelin stars -- and yet it doesn't give you that warm feeling inside that a tub of Mac n Cheese from a shack at a street festival might. I see this as the wrestling equivalent of that meal. Probably says more about me than it, but I can't imagine myself ever watching it again or recommending it to anyone even if it was entirely successful it what it set out to achieve.

****



#6 Childs

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:32 AM

But I don't think you explain why that match struck you as inauthentic. Though I share your feelings about a lot of modern wrestling, that match isn't a good example. It was a pretty classic wrestling story, with the legitimately wounded champ digging deep to fend off an invader who'd laid waste to the promotion all year. And a crowd that was legitimately invested in said story. If that's inauthentic, we might as well shut the whole thing down and watch only classic footage.

#7 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:31 AM

The thing is, it goes to things that are beyond what is fair to the wrestlers. In ROH in 2006, it's commentators crowing about Match of the Years and watching a five-star classic as you are watching the match.

And some of that doesn't come down to much more than maintaining kayfabe vs. not.

Like Jesse Ventura or Jim Ross would often mark for classics as they were happening. You can tell that they switch into another gear and are calling stuff that they think -- non-kayfabe wise -- is great wrestling. But it will come out with them saying stuff like "I have to say -- and I don't always agree with the actions of wrestler X -- but this has been a tremendous match". Something like that.

Here I've talked about commentary which has nothing to do with the guys in the ring, but it has a massive impact on my investment one way or the other.

EVERYTHING about ROH in that period is about saying "these guys are great wrestlers and they are going to put on a classic for YOU, aren't you lucky?"

I mean I still gave it **** not *, which is a recognition of very good work in a vacuum, but it's inextricably tainted by super-indy context for me. And that's nothing to do with Bryan or Kenta, although I do think they were asked to perform (and indeed did deliver) a made-to-order MOTYC here.

#8 Childs

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 10:16 AM

You need to see the recent PWG six-man that ended with the crowd chanting 5-star match as the wrestlers fixed solicitous stares on Meltzer, who was sitting in the front row :-)

#9 Phil Schneider

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:27 PM

Gross



#10 GOTNW

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 05:27 AM

You need to see the recent PWG six-man that ended with the crowd chanting 5-star match as the wrestlers fixed solicitous stares on Meltzer, who was sitting in the front row :-)

I only watched the finish because a friend pointed out to me that Meltzer was full of shit about not getting involved in the angle. As soon as the match was over he started marking out and talking to his friend about how it's "five stars". The friend then signalled five to the crowd who THEN started chanting five star match. The wrestlers even came to Meltzer and asked him about it.



#11 Loss

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:35 AM

I just thought of a good music analogy, which I know GOTNW just loves.

 

Lenny Kravitz isn't as good as Prince or Hendrix. Why? There are many reasons, but the main one is that almost all of his entire sensibility is derivative.



#12 Matt D

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:36 AM

Poor Dick Slater.

#13 Loss

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:37 AM

That's a very good wrestling example. I like Dick Slater, but he's a Terry Funk clone. I like Tom Pritchard promos, but he's a Roddy Piper clone.



#14 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:40 AM

Even worse for Dicky Slater is that no one remembers him in the 70s and early 80s when he was a very good worker and not much like Funk at all.



#15 Loss

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:42 AM

And that being said, I can't think of a Dick Slater *match* that feels like cosplay. To me, that's stuff like indy wrestlers copying sequences in Misawa-Kobashi matches.



#16 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:44 AM

HHH is an interesting one to think about in this regard since he does the Harley Race knee and the Arn Anderson spinebuster and most of the time JR actually called them that as well.

Is HHH the first true "cosplay" wrestler?

#17 Loss

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:53 AM

HHH did mix things in that are his own, so I wouldn't say that about him in the ring most of the time. I don't see Tommy Rich doing a Thesz press or someone doing an O'Connor Roll other than Pat O'Connor as cosplaying. I would say, though, that HHH was cosplaying Ric Flair during Evolution as a character.



#18 BrianB

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 01:16 AM

HHH is an interesting one to think about in this regard since he does the Harley Race knee and the Arn Anderson spinebuster and most of the time JR actually called them that as well.

Is HHH the first true "cosplay" wrestler?

 

Maybe. Especially in terms of just picking and choosing for the moment, he copied that Harley Race look for awhile too with those mutton chops. 

 

His wrestlemania special entrances lately have been very heavy on the cosplay level....he came out as the Terminator recently for christ sakes and Conan. I don't even know exactly what to call his entrance this past year....besides over the top.



#19 G. Badger

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 04:14 PM

Super Delfin dressing up as Liger in the '94 super juniors (i think thats the right year) is pretty early for that type of thing but is more mockery...Men's Teioh as Terry Boy would be the earliest, I could think of straight up cosplay of Terry Funk. Not lifting a gimmick like people did with 'Nature Boy' but, his gimmick was that he was a mark for the Funker.

Sakuraba dressing up during his Pride fight entrances and trying dropkicks is cosplay. Wrestlers doing Street Fighter and MK moves is coplay.

I think doing moves a certain way is imitation, or homage though. Any bit of earlier ROH doing "cosplay" is the result of a lot if those guys working in Zero-1, Noah as well as the type of wrestlers they wanted to be. I think that is true of most folks on the Indys trying to find themselves.

HHH coming out as the Terminator though! That's fucking hilarious!!!




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