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Under 30's perception of 1980's wrestling


sj5522

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This is a topic I've been curious about for a while.

I just turned 24 and my year in terms of getting into wrestling was 2004, though I have memories of video games and key characters going back to 1999 or earlier even. I love to get retrospective and binge on some network material, I was not watching live and I was not invested in the individual storylines but I still get a tremendous kick out of watching that late 90s/early 00s material, the Rock promos, the Austin pops, the overall outrageous-ness of the vast majority of the characters, the raucous-ness of the crowds. I also find the early-mid 90s stuff 'intriguing' at the very least for different reasons, even if obviously it wasn't always good, and occasionally in the case of the WM10 ladder match or the '92 Rumble, stuff cracks my all time favs list. But for whatever reason when I go to try take stuff in that's earlier than that, I'm left rather cold and bored much of the time.

I thought it would be an issue of familiarity, but I don't think that's that relevant. I know what Hogan's character is. I know what Piper's character is (and I do love it, just FYI). I know what Warrior's character is. I know what Savage's character is. So if something is still missing for me it must be a presentation issue

No warm fuzzy feeling here when I hear Gorilla, he's never annoyed me but I prefer a more visceral reaction from a commentator as that's what I'm accustomed to. A bit like how you laugh nowadays when you hear old footy commentary that was like "Ah yes, that was a tremendous goal."

The Brain is the absolute fucking man no doubt and being young doesn't stop me appreciating him at all. Enough said there. Though I'm a bit ignorant in terms of how often he was commentating in the 80s

Vince as a commentator irks me a fair bit and I don't know shit about who else they had doing comm. in those days

 

I appreciate work-rate a lot of the time, in my first year of properly watching wrestling I was exposed to ROH and such on TWC and that helped to form what my taste is today, and obviously work-rate probably wasn't even a term in the 80s let alone particularly valued. But in more recent times, I've become more of a massive promo/charisma mark, but still for some reason watching that 80's material, something isn't clicking. The characters are vibrant, just something doesn't hit the spot on the whole when I take in 80's wrestling (actually, I'm basically just talking about WWF and the snapshots of NWA i've viewed, but feel free to discuss whatever)

 

I apologize to anybody I made feel ancient with this post, I'm just really interested in what people's theories are as to why this era seems to be so much less accessible to the fans who weren't There. Is this a wide-spread thing or is it just me being a bit shite?

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I've never had a problem getting into any other era of wrestling. In fact I usually do a weird combination of allowing myself to fall into the mindset of people watching at the time whilst almost acting as if I did and then relishing in this nostalgia I wasn't there for. I do that with everything though. I love the recent past and have films and albums that correspond to what I percieve certain years to 'feel' like.

 

I think exposing myself to so many old wrestling tapes whilst I was getting into it helped as well. In a way I did grow up on 90s WWE even though I only started watching in 2000. So I can be nostalgic in a sort of odd way.

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I started watching as an 11 year old in 1997 and loved the product from 1991 onward. That said I have the same problem with 80s wrestling and earlier and I have to say I believe it is in part due to the fact that 80s wrestling has not (on the whole) aged particularly well. Flair vs Steamboat and Savage vs Steamboat aside you will be hard pressed to find any big event in the 80s that had consistently great matches. Sure you could go back to the early 80s of Dynamite Kid vs Tiger Mask if you want some more innovative stuff but even then you have to really put yourself in the eyes of someone who had never seen that style and frankly I can't do that very easily. 

 

Even nowadays I do not believe most of the 90s has aged particularly well either but something is different in 80s wrestling. It may well be because the fans at the time acted like it was real it lent some credibility to the whole product. Something as simple as a headlock takedown/arm-drag spot would get heat, nowadays it just doesn't work that way. We have been conditioned to expect so much more from our wrestling and we have been incredibly spoilt. When I was training I always got told to work the holds, make everything mean something but when I got in there basic technical wrestling just doesn't wash. Why? Because we know it is a work and having seen huge numbers of 'MOVEZ' we expect too much. 

 

For example if you look at WrestleMania II, Bundy vs Hogan in a cage was dire and we had a battle royal and Piper vs Mr T which didn't light the world on fire. Moving to the NWA we got mostly squash matches on TV and the big shows consisted of fairly decent action but with no personalities that made me want to watch it. Flair et al were probably the main reason to watch around that time but even Dusty Rhodes etc have aged terribly. 

 

 

In terms of matches that may draw interest: 

 

Flair vs Steamboat 89' series

Steamboat vs Savage WrestleMania III

Flair vs Funk Great American Bash

Hogan vs Big Boss Man Cage Match SNME

Hogan vs Orndorff Cage Match

Dynamite Kid vs Tiger Mask 81-82'

 

These are my top 80s matches but a lot of them don't stand up to repeated viewing.

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Well I'm 31 so I don't know if I'm welcome in this thread but...

 

There's definitely a point for me with wrestling where I can't really go back any further than a certain point without it boring me shitless. I started watching in the early 90s but I love a lot of 80s wrestling. I can't do any earlier than that though. And a lot of 80s and 90s stuff hasn't aged well. I think it was Pitcos recently who was on about the Flair NWA/WCW matches not holding up well, and I agree with that. But certain wrestlers/matches I just find timeless. The 92 Rumble, the 92 War Games, the Hogan vs Bossman cage match from 89, pretty much anything involving Randy Savage or Terry Funk - I can watch that shit any day.

 

But when I watch old footage of AWA, Stampede, World Class etc a lot of it doesn't grab me. Not that I think there's anything particularly wrong with the style or presentation or whatever, it's just before my time and it doesn't connect with me like 80s and 90s Big Two stuff does. Saying that, I can still enjoy stuff from all those companies. But it's usually the big flamboyant characters I like watching like the Freebirds, Bockwinkle etc rather than the no-nonsense straight wrestling types like Bruno Sammartino and Verne Gagne.

 

I can definitely see why someone who got into it in 2004 would struggle to go back to the older stuff though. The presentation and production values are night and day from the mid 80s to the mid 90s and especially 2000 and beyond. It never bothered me but I get why someone who wasn't watching in the 80s/90s would find it off-putting.

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Im hanging in to my pre 30-s my the skin on my bollocks but I can honestly I enjoy most off it. It might be that only the better stuff is avliable but minute for minute its possible the most enjoyable period ever.

 

Mid to late Flair is geniuenly my favourite performer ever

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I'm 31 and I love 80s stuff. Balls to you all. Memphis is the most fun thing to watch ever.

I'd assumed you were loads older tbh! Uhh no offense obvs. Mind elaborating on how your taste developed a little bit? Memphis stuff looks pretty fun in a really wacky way, remember catching a tiny bit of it on TWC - fuck knows when it was from, Lawler was on it, it was probably from not long before it was aired but it seemed to ignore the passage of time in a charming way. A bit like how CZW looks with 2016 eyes in niche terms, but instead of deluded people taking stupid risks, racism is the main drawback

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Moving to the NWA we got mostly squash matches on TV and the big shows consisted of fairly decent action but with no personalities that made me want to watch it. Flair et al were probably the main reason to watch around that time but even Dusty Rhodes etc have aged terribly. 

NWA had no personalities? Other than Flair and Dusty, you had the other horsemen, you had Cornette and the Midnights, the Rock 'n Roll Express. Magnum TA, Baby Doll, Jimmy Garvin & Precious. The NWA had personalities coming out of its ears, genuine characters. I honestly don't know how anyone could watch the TV from back then and not be enthralled.

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I'm from the North, so even at age 30, it feels like I've been around since the late 50s. I still regularly complain about how things were better when Sunderland had the mines. I dont even remember it. Dont even know where they were even located to be honest. Its just something you have to complain about up here.

 

"Sunderland had a good side in 73" I tell my nieces.

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nostalgia is probably what i love most about wrestling, i appreciate the business and i do like to go back a little further than i grew up with but nothing beats that period of time that hooks you as a kid, its a comfort thing with me that has only grown stronger since the network and youtube kicked in.

 

Your thoughts on it applies to anything though, music, movies etc.

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I'm 32 starting watching 89 or so, I like looking back with fondness seeing the usual big names plus Demoltion, Powers of Pain etc 

 

But 80s is like anything or era for every classic Hogan or Savage match or angle you have Ron Bass, Dino Bravo etc that are boring or shit to watch.

 

The matches were alot more basic, leg drops, side walks slams, powerslams were finishers, lots of punches and 'wearing down' but some guys were great at it 'getting more out of less' and some were boring and lazy doing fuck all then doing the finish.

 

Tag wrestling was truely great back them, too many names to mention but Demoltion, LOD, Rockers,Brain Busters, Harts, Powers of Pain, Bulldogs, shit I even liked Conquistadors, all different styles and sizes and great matches too.

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