This is interesting, I’m not sure I have many. I listen to a great deal of podcasts and YouTube shows. For the most part, I respect the opinions of the people I listen to (I respect all of their opinions as a rule…that is why I listen to them). At the same time, I am not sure there is someone who influences how I approach analyzing what I see. I guess if anyone is an influence on how I approach looking at wrestling critically it would be Dave Meltzer.
The reason that Meltzer is the biggest influence on me is because he looks at wrestling the way that it should be looked at, which is what works. I completely agree with his philosophy that the key to getting over is getting over. That is how I look at wrestling as well. I don’t really have many preferences…I just like to see things that work. My philosophy on entertainment is completely different from my philosophy on “real life.” In entertainment the goal is to engage the audience and whatever draws the audience (with very very very few exceptions) is good…no matter what it is. In my real life I try to be as different as possible and I get frustrated by the bandwagon mentality, but in entertainment the idea is to create that mentality….I accept and endorse that. Getting back to Meltzer, I do not agree with everything he says…but his approach to looking at wrestling is similar to mine.
I am not sure anyone else is an influence. I could listen to someone talk about a show or a segment or the overall landscape of a promotion or wrestling in general and I could agree with their isolated opinion…but for instance Wade Keller, Sam Roberts, Dalyxman, JD from New York, Bruce Mitchell, Todd Martin, Bryan Alvarez, Good Mic Work are all people that I listen to, but only Martin and Mitchell are even close to being “influences”…the other people I just named are just guys with a microphone. I enjoy listening to them, but that’s where it stops.
Even though Meltzer gets criticized for how he views certain matches in terms of actual match quality….I see where he is coming from. His mentality is the goal should be to engage the audience and people who do that should get credit for it. Do our favorite matches line up? I don’t know. At the same time, I will say that I tend to be more on the Meltzer scale in terms of what makes a good match than those who favor minimalism. I absolutely respect and endorse those who do more with less because efficiency in wrestling is the best approach, but I am not going to complain about a crazy Young Bucks match.
I also think there is a difference between looking at booking/presentation versus matches. I may not always agree with Meltzer on matches, but first of all (as I said) I tend to have the same approach on analyzing matches as he does and secondly I think that even if someone disagrees with Meltzer on match quality…that is easier to ignore, especially because he seems to have his favorites. You can agree to disagree on matches while still respecting Meltzer’s opinion on the booking/presentation which actually does more to draw because in that sense Meltzer is as unbiased as it gets.