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What happened to wrestling?


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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Supremo said:

Because that’s what, “psychology,” really is. Not what grumpy retired wrestlers told you in RF Video shoots. 

On this subject, in the days when shoot interviews were the thing before podcasts basically killed them off, I used to hate when Feinstein would pipe in with the psychology bollocks. I don’t know if he did it as much as I recall or if I kept choosing the wrong interviews but he seemed to regularly chime in as if he was some grizzled veteran and he’d throw in “there’s no psychology anymore, it’s all high spots”. As if anyone was watching for his input. Then it’d be back to his “…memories of working with the Red Rooster” cack. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I'm surprised so many feel psychology in wrestling is such a myth or misunderstood by the masses.

It means the same in wrestling as it does in any other walk of life and is executed brilliantly in all the highest drawing box office feuds, main events, PPVs and eras since the dawn of time and been devoid in less popular down times. 

You can't have high drawing box office events without the participants displaying great psychology and telling a story that makes sense. It's hardly ever about working a body part. It's more about physical and verbal interactions that make fucking sense and aren't fucking random and stupid. 

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For me psychology is getting the fans/viewers invested in the match or storyline.

For example on AEW this week Cody v QT in a strap match. As soon as you saw QT in the ring before Cody was announced and the commentators had finished their opening spiel, you knew the outcome already so weren't bothered to follow it closely. If QT got a proper entrance and told a story in the match, then it would have kept me much more interested. Move forward to Inner Circle v Pinnacle 6 man. That was match that could go either way and until the bell rang you still thought either side could win. That's psychology IMO.

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Yeah, I don't think that people are saying it to score points. I don't know where the 'body part being the only thing people refer to with psychology' bit comes from either. 

I think there's been some very interesting counter-points here. And they're true but they don't change how I 'feel' about modern wrestling. It just isn't my cup of tea, and I accept it is other people's, so I don't watch it any more. There'll be a lot of others that feel similarly - we grew up with a framework of what the plausible boundaries of wrestling were when we were kids (I grew up with The Worm which was massively over) and grew out of it.

Which isn't to say I'd like my wrestling uber-serious now; that's what's likely to bore me the most. The whole epic match thing that proliferated in mainstream wrestling since HBK vs. Taker doesn't do it for me. A thousand super kicks a show and dives to the outside bores me too. The Japanese style (strong style?) that became more prominent with a thousand spinning forearms and dropping each other on their bonce and no selling it because of fighting spirit or whatever bores me because my suspension of disbelief has then gone (even if those things happened in MMA).

I believe there's wisdom to not treading on each other's toes at an event and having variety in purpose, story, length, and content. I've been to non-WWE shows where I'm burnt out by the main event and nothing is sinking in at all because I've seen the same thing earlier so many times and with wrestlers rushing through sequences. And of course WWE shows that go too long. 

I'm most interested in a unique entertaining character who adds a different dynamic to a match now. Someone who from the entrance you're intrigued and is doing something different. Then you can make your matches unique because no one else can tell that same story without your character in it. Or just something completely daft, but someone that people will remember and talk about after leaving the show, doesn't matter if they're a great 'wrestler'. 

I think wrestling works well if it's like Top Trumps - they have their strengths and weaknesses particular to their character and that's where the intrigue comes from. Like, from the top of my head, Angle vs. Mysterio - world class wrestler but he can't keep up with the pace of Mysterio. I guess it's happened in the past too but I saw a trend of matches where no one showed any weakness, partly because the line between face and heel was so weak. The moves were the face and there was no heel.

Wrestling should evolve but that's not to say lessons from what's worked in the past aren't still valuable.

Sorry for the fragmented rambling.

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Posted (edited)

This seems as good a thread as any to discuss this. Turns out the guy who jumped the rail and tried to attack Jericho and MJF on Wednesday’s Dynamite has admitted to do doing it in the name of Jim Cornette.

Cornette responded negatively and announced that the guy was blocked, but fucking hell Jim. Maybe it’s time to rein it in a bit. Look, I get it. For guys like Russo and Cornette this is just a new way to work the fans, stay relevant and make some money. You shit on everything, go on these, “epic,” rants and piss and moan about no psychology and wrestling being killed and all that other shit. Clearly though, there’s a limit here. When guys are jumping the fucking rail in the name of your shitty campaigns, completely oblivious to your shock jock routine, maybe you’ve lost sight of your own psychology?

Edited by Supremo
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Posted (edited)

I’m not blaming Cornette directly, nutters are nutters, and I almost respect the niche grift he’s developed for himself online. But the least he could have done is dropped the act a bit. Instead, he’s arguing with Kenny Omega that this wasn’t, “real violence,” like what he used to experience.

Nice one, Jim. Hopefully someone will jump the rail with a knife next time, like the good old days, so that they can, “save wrestling,” from the lads who created a national company and gave everyone in the industry a six figure raise due to competition.

I know it’s completely removed from what the topic was originally about, but I think there’s a through line here. What’s, “happened to wrestling,” is that instead of just enjoying or not enjoying the TV show people have become obsessed with being so smart and so above ever being worked. At best, they’re just idiots who say words like “psychology,” without ever really understanding it, unable to comprehend complexities and screaming that everything is shit because it doesn’t fit the rigid, myopic, “insider,” rules they discovered in a Yahoo Group. And at worst they end up believing all this shit and jumping the rail so they can potentially get a like or a retweet from Yokozuna’s old manager.

Edited by Supremo
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I’m probably misremembering this one. As much as enjoy seeing mutant fans getting battered by wrestlers, my favourite one was when someone came in angry at Lawler and he stood there pointing and laughing at the guy, then did a theatrical run away scared flounce before returning to the laughing. 

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One thing we all forget about pro-wrestling is how much we had to learn about the conventions when we started watching. It really confused me that there wasn't a standing ten count. I didn't know what rope breaks were. I didn't know if there was a difference between a kick-out and a shoulder-up. I had no idea what the 3-time-hand-drop was about. I didn't necessarily know every wrestler's finisher. But it's difficult to remember that when you see some other conventions.

The first time I saw a Japanese match (on Eurosport in the 90s), it absolutely baffled me. People taking ridiculous moves and getting up. The way the pacing was different. It just seemed more fake to me immediately. 

But then... it's always fake. It's just fake in a different way. I've now seen enough MMA to see people get punched/kicked in the face or dropped on their head and keep going. I actually love Kenny Omega's selling and ring-work, because he's amazing at getting across bursts of adrenaline and then having nothing. I'm fine with the over-the-top approach of lucha wrestling, where it's a whirlwind of moves and it's all about momentum and constant movement.

I've come to love the variety of it, and the different ways they work. In some ways, modern pro-wrestling has changed in the same way that MMA has changed compared to individual disciplines - the best now take elements of all the different styles and make a hybrid that works.

It's absolutely an art form, and if their style doesn't appeal to you, that's fine - nobody's taking away the stuff that you used to like.

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Wrestling has too many fans that won’t admit parts of it are not for them anymore and move on like we all do with normal tv shows. I stopped watching wwe religiously about 4 years ago now and have never enjoyed wrestling more. If you don’t like a company, there’s rarely Been more easily assessable than there is now to watch something else either from the present or past 

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The word I always use in relation to good wrestling that few others use is drama. My favourite matches have drama. My favourite storylines and angles have drama. When a good match happens these days, it's one of the few with drama.

Imo these days most wrestling is either embarrassing parody wrestling or when trying to be more legit it's boring.

To me the fundamentals is engaging characters we get behind or relate to and convincing fights that suck us in. But it's been few and far between for years.

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I despise the current day product, but that fat cunt who jumped the rail at the AEW show needs fucking put down. There are more important things in the world to get angry about than getting physical over a putrid wrestling show. Wrestling being in the toilet is no excuse to act like a maniac.

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I think a few things happened which have made wrestling what it is today. I am not going to try to go into the "psychology" aspect of it as 1) I am not an established wrestler and don't want to pretend I have some sort of specialised, insider knowledge and 2) because it is so subjective that people just fight over semantics. 

Why should we care?

The key thing that I feel has changed over the past 20 years has been the complete lack of interest I personally have for any of the people involved. Part of that is the fact that all of the lads and ladies are now on social media and bare no resemblance to what they are like in the ring. Most of the guys have no gimmick and I started watching wrestling for larger-than-life characters (Michaels, Hogan, Hart, Rock, Austin, Angle). I simply don't "buy into" them anymore because I have no reason to. I am unsure why this is the case because there is no real reason for it. I think the issue I have is that they have tried to make wrestlers relatable and that simply isn't what I watch for. I almost liken it to Peter Parker going against Clarke Kent rather than Spiderman versus Superman. One has some intrigue, the other is just two fairly average guys having a scrap. Even the massive lads like Strowman, Reigns etc just have something missing. 

Meaninglessness

Again not something that is unique to the current product though with the high saturation of wrestling (esp. WWE) we seem to have the same matches happening year in and year out. I can only watch Ziggler versus Kingston so many times before it all becomes meaningless. What separates one show/event from the next? I can honestly not tell you a single card top-to-bottom since about 2002. That said, they have tried to add some uniqueness in the past year or two (including McIntyre, Lashley etc into top spots) so I can't totally blame them on that front. 

Stupid Shit

This one has changed since the 1980s - yes in the 1990s it was becoming a problem but not on the scale of what it is now. Cinematic matches, maggots transposed onto the ring mat, Houses of Horror, Swamp Matches, matches that jump between eras and locations, Bliss bleeding gunk from her hairline. Sure the Undertaker and Kane were ludicrous for some aspects of their act but you could forgive it because it was used relatively sparingly. I've noticed more nonsense in the past year than the whole of the 1990s combined. It simply isn't wrestling, its artsy nonsense. If I have to actively suspend my disbelief for any length of time there is something really wrong. We all know you can overlook things like an Irish Whip but people being burnt alive and regenerating? No sorry that's ridiculous. 

All I want in wrestling is a story - good guys versus bad guys. I want to care that they win or lose and I want someone who has lost a big fight to have to redeem themselves before getting another shot. I want things that I give a shit about. Any other drama can pull it off, its not that difficult. Unfortunately they have tried to be too creative, too "mainstream" and it has simply turned off older fans like me. All I want to see is a fuckin fight with a winner, a loser - people I desperately want to see win and an arsehole heel that I want to see lose. Other than MJF and maybe Sammy Guevara I haven't seen a great twatty heel who I believe in for years. 

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