Category Archives: Wrestling

The Type of Wrestling Fans I Dislike the Most

First of all, I should say that I am not a self-loathing wrestling fan. I love wrestling more than just about anything in my life. I proudly wear my wrestling t-shirts and hoodies (and Seth Rollins wristbands). Just about everyone I know is aware of how much I love wrestling. Moreover, I try not to judge how wrestling fans react live in arenas because I don’t believe in “boo the heel, cheer the face” doctrine. Wrestling would not have reached many of the strong periods that it has if people reacted differently than how they were actually feeling. With that said, there are types of fans that do annoy me and I thought I would share it for documentation purposes.

Annoying Fan Type #1: Fans who disrespect the performers.

There was a Raw after Wrestlemania a few years ago where the fans made sexual references to the women wrestlers based on who they were dating at the time. That was a bad moment or wrestling fans and the apex of disrespect. There are also the fans who chant for announcers, “CM Punk”, “Randy Savage”, “Rusev Day” and any one of a number of chants that are not about the wrestlers in the ring. Let’s not forget the beach balls.

I am the first to say that the company should be the ones to get people engaged in what is going on in the ring. At the same time, there are three things about that. The first is the wrestlers work hard (for the most part) and it is not ideal that the fans “go into business for themselves.” The second is that silence also sends a message and is not as disrespectful. The third is that this is my list and my visceral reaction to people engaging in beach ball antics and random chants is “that’s disrespectful.” I am not saying (other than what happened on that one night after Wrestlemania in the women’s tag match) that the chants cannot be justified, I am saying that they annoy me.

Annoying Fan Type #2: “You’re just a basement dwelling, Bullet Club t-shirt wearing virgin.”

I have written about this before. There is something to be said for the “elitist fan” who cannot wait to tell people how much they love NJPW or PWG or some other non-WWE promotion. Yes, that can be annoying….but they are not even on my list. It might be partial bias because I have followed NJPW regularly for the past 14-15 months and I really enjoy it. Moreover, I am starting to get tired of people ranting about WWE without giving other promotions a chance.

The above preamble in mind, the type of fan who truly annoys me is the one who wants to take shots and judge someone personally because they seek out non-WWE wrestling. First and foremost, to a certain degree many wrestling fans are nerds or geeks…and there is nothing wrong with that. Simply watching the most mainstream product does not make one immune to that (nerd or geek) distinction. Secondly, as I noted in my Bullet Club post from a while back, I do not understand the idea of shaming someone for liking wrestling enough to seek out non-WWE versions of it. Granted, sometimes the shaming is in response to an elitist, but that does not make it right. Moreover, it seems just liking a different promotion from WWE is cause for ridicule. I have seen people insulted simply for praising other promotions in juxtaposition to WWE. I have seen people insulted simply for praising non-WWE promotions.

Even taking away the wrestling angle of it, there is just something wrong with taking these types of shots at people. Either it’s (the people being “loser virgins”) not true and even if it is…it’s no one’s business what someone’s personal life is like other than the people involved closely with the person. This idea of wrestling fans making fun of people who like wrestling is…you know what…it’s disappointing. That is the best way to put it.

Annoying Fan Type #3: “I” and “Should”

There is no connection to I and should when it comes to wrestling analysis. I’ll just say upfront that what I look for in wrestling analysis is for someone as best as he or she can to speak for the fans. I’m have little interest in the “I don’t like this so it’s bad” approach to discussing wrestling. That is what I mean by “I” and “should”. I see it so often, someone on a YouTube video or a podcast saying “I don’t like this, Company X should do that.” That is not how it works and to me that’s a good thing. The better approach is to say “I don’t like this, I wish Company X would do that instead.”

“Should” in wrestling comes when there is something that is obviously going to work or  something that is obviously not going to work. Other than that, it is all someone’s opinion on what is good and what’s not. No company “should” do something based on someone’s taste in wrestling. Dalyxman and JD from NY are very much guilty of this approach, but they are not the only ones.

Annoying Fan #4: Those who do not try something else

If a promotion bothers people so much and it’s so bad, then it would be nice if the people who hate it would watch something else instead of ranting about the same company all of the time. Certainly WWE is the organization that comes to mind when I say this.

I acknowledge that out of all of my subjective annoyances, this may be the most subjective. I understand that for some people (like those on YouTube especially), the WWE is where the interest is. Indeed, if the people who post about WWE stopped posting about WWE, then their numbers would go down no matter how good people who watch NJPW think it is…because most wrestling fans here in America do not watch NJPW. I can’t ask someone to do something that is going to cost them in terms of money or exposure. Moreover, NXT is just about universally praised by people who complain about WWE main roster programming so there are some positive videos and there is something to compare WWE’s main roster product to and perhaps the biggest reason for my disillusionment with the constant complaining is that there is no comparison to another product…but if I am being honest there is (NXT).

I’ll compromise my argument even more by saying that I completely understand the idea of a wrestling promotion being like a home team in the sense that if my team is not good, I still watch and support my team…but I am not going to accept that team not being good.

With all of my own counterarguments out of the way, this post is my list of annoyances and people who constantly complain about the WWE without sampling other promotions is something that I have a viscerally negative reaction to. I also am just not a fan of ranting, nitpicking things that don’t matter and the idea of watching something that one does not enjoy. Not to mention the thought that constantly comes to mind that these rants are somewhat manufactured in order to get exposure and in some cases money.

Also people who constantly rant about wrestling sometimes lose perspective. I will admit other than God and some people in my family (two people in my family actually), there is nothing or no one more important to me than wrestling. I am saying that to say if I think someone does not have wrestling in its proper perspective then you know people take their criticism too far. I’ll reference JD from NY’s reaction to Paige’s apparent forced retirement, it did not matter to him because she was in a bad storyline and/or her character was compromised by the Absolution faction (in his opinion). That is so lacking in perspective (and it goes back to #3 on my list) it is not worth elaborating on. What an unfortunate viewpoint.

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Is What Works Always What’s Best?

First of all, before I get into this, I should say that what works is usually what’s best when it comes to wrestling. Indeed, whether it is booking or matches, if it gets over…then it is what should have been done. I have said this before and I am sure that I will say it again, pro wrestling should be analyzed more on a reactive than a proactive basis because the goal of wrestling is to get over. If something gets over than it’s good. If it does not get over, then it needs some tweaking at least and it should be overhauled at most.

With all of the above said, there is part of me that takes issue with Dave Meltzer’s claim that if it gets over, that’s all that matters. I want to point out that I am complete agreement with him if we are talking about drawing money, as long as it is not unethical…then if it draws money or ratings…then it is all that matters. I am not so sure about that position when it comes to a match. It is something that I would have to think more deeply about.

I’ve heard Meltzer debate this with Jim Cornette and there is part of me that agrees with the latter that making a mockery of wrestling is dangerous even if the match gets over. Of course, the Young Bucks in general, Joey Ryan’s penis gimmick and infamous matches featuring Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi are examples that go to the heart of the argument. I would argue that wrestling styles in general should be included when looking at this argument (ie: are there some styles that keep people from taking less seriously).

While I am not sure where I stand on this argument, one thing to keep in mind is that if wrestling styles get people booked and help them make money…then it is tough to argue with what the wrestlers are doing. On the other hand, another important thing to keep in mind is that some things can go too far. A prime example of that is Lio Rush no-selling a powerbomb off a ladder through a table. That is one of those things that whether “it worked” or not, probably should not be happening.

I’m all for throwing away wrestling conventions in the pursuit of getting over and making money, but there are some things that if they are encouraged keep wrestling from even being wrestling. As subjective as I think wrestling is (outside of acknowledging what works and what doesn’t), I do believe that we need to have some standards.

Roman Reigns

I was thinking about whether or not someone else should just win the Elimination Chamber match because of the (well-documented) problems that Reigns has in getting positive reactions from the crowd. My ultimate opinion is that they should just go with Reigns. There is nothing they can do about the crowd reaction in general, maybe they can turn some people around before, during and after Wrestlemania, but as I said in general it is going to be what it is going to be for now. The issue is that there is no one else that has so much momentum that they would have to go away from what has been their plan for years and certainly for the last year.

I know Braun Strowman is very popular. I personally am a big fan of Strowman. There are several issues with Strowman though.

Issue number 1 is that I don’t think he is over enough for WWE to change their one year plans. If they were going to “go with Strowman”, he should have just won at No Mercy. He is borderline over enough. If management (meaning Vince) decided to go with Strowman over Reigns, I would not argue it…I just would not do it. I would like to see a little more in terms of some kind of metrics that show Strowman could be a draw with just one more push towards the top (meaning winning the Universal Title at WM).

Issue number 2 is that while Strowman is popular, I would contend that a great deal of his popularity is based on his destroying things and beating up Roman Reigns. Those are two easy ways to get over. I would think that there are diminishing returns to breaking things and lifting things every week. He also cannot beat up Roman Reigns every week either…I mean he could, but then it just becomes a meme. I would need to see a little more before I change my long-term plans one month before the end of those plans materialize.

Issue number 3 is related to issue number 2, Strowman is a limited performer. He is great at what he does and what he is asked to do. Moreover, he is charismatic. At the same time, in this era in order to avoid backlash, there probably has to be a bit more. It would be great if the day came where someone had so much charisma that he or she could be a big draw and become accepted by fans even with limitations. I am not sure that Strowman is that guy. I just think that there could be push back against a main event push for someone who by most standards is not a great worker nor a great promo. I believe he benefits a great deal from the fact that Roman Reigns is seen as the chosen one. I am not certain that Strowman’s popularity would survive that perception.

No one else in the chamber (including any of the four who may be added to it on Monday’s Raw) is even close to being an argument in juxtaposition to Reigns. Even if the idea was to turn Reigns heel (which is something that I want to get into another time), I would probably just do it at Wrestlemania at this point or the night after.

In short….screw it. Do Reigns versus Lesnar. You’ve come this far…time to see it through. See what happens with Reigns as a long-term champion.

 

What Wrestling Character am I Most Like?

In my first post for this blog, I mentioned some wrestling characters that I have commonalities with. Since then I have started watching New Japan Pro Wrestling and that has introduced me to more characters that remind me of who I am in real life. This post will be naming some wrestlers (including those in NJPW) who remind me of…me.

C.M Punk

Why? Anti-authority, felt/feels like he does not get enough respect, not afraid to say what he thinks of someone.

Eddie Kingston

Why? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cHefF4FmHg

Steve Austin

Why? Well, I don’t drink…but I am anti-authority. I also do not care for most people.

Raven

Why? Brooding, angsy, can be emo, feels rejected by society.

Tetsuya Naito

This is the guy. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I wish I was more like his character…I kind of am. When you look deeply into his character, he never stopped caring about acceptance, he just acts like he does not care. The WrestleKingdom match shows that he does still care…just like I still care. That does not mean he is not anti-authority because he is (just like me). That does not mean that he does not lack effort at times when working on lower-leverage situations because he does (just like me). That does not mean he is not still angry about being rejected by his society because he is (just like me). That does not mean he does not like to have fun because he does (just like me).

 

Another Analogy-Nakamura and Me

So last analogy was between soap opera character Jake McKinnon and A.J Styles  (in terms of how they both got me into another soap opera and wrestling promotion respectively). This analogy is between me and Shinsuke Nakamura which is argument for him winning the Royal Rumble. I’m not hellbent on Nakamura winning the Royal Rumble, but if it were up to me I would have him win it.

Now, Nakamura is popular, but he has underachieved on the main roster when it comes to said popularity. While some of that can be contributed to WWE’s writing and booking, Nakamura has not had the level of performance on the main roster that could get past that questionable writing and booking. That is where the analogy comes in.

When I was a freshman and sophomore in high school, I did very well in math. In my junior year, I struggled early in the semester with the advanced concepts. My math teacher and the math supervisor knew that I was not applying myself. The decision they made to get me back on track was certainly unconventional…they made me a math tutor. The idea was to get me around math so that I could get back in the proverbial groove. Anything that I had trouble with in my current class is something that I would be able to get help with. I would certainly be able to help students at lower levels (because I did so well in 9th and 10th grade math). More than anything for me (here is the essence of the analogy), it was my first paying job. In other words, I was essentially rewarded for underachieving…but that was not the goal of Mr. Miller. The goal of Mr. Miller was to motivate me to be a better student by giving me more responsibility.

One could argue that Nakamura does not “deserve” to win the Royal Rumble because he is not over enough and/or has not worked hard enough. My argument is that putting him in a top 3 or 4 match at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship versus A.J Styles can be the motivation that he needs to be the Nakamura that we know he can be. Just like I needed to be motivated into the reward instead of being motivated for a reward. While there is no telling what will happen with Nakamura after this match (ie: the Styles match may be great, but that does not mean he will be great afterwards). It is time for Nakamura to have a standout performance. We can worry about later…later.

I should add that there are more reasons Nakamura should win, but I am just going to stay with the analogy.

WrestleKingdom Thoughts Part II

IC Title Match

This is a case where having a great match could and should be enough for Jay White. Moreover, if White loses here, it actually frees him up to win the New Japan Cup which might do just as much or more than winning the IC championship. At the same time, Tanahashi is banged up and may take time off after Wrestlekingdom so having White as the Intercontinental champion may be a necessity. My thoughts are essentially based on Tanahashi’s ability to wrestle going forward. If Tanahashi needs significant time off, then this is a perfect opportunity for him to drop the IC title now and get healthy for the Spring and Summer. If they have big plans for Jay White beyond this title and Tanahashi can give them one more big event, then Tanahashi should and probably will win.

US Title Match

I am pretty sure that Omega is going to beat Jericho. I am also pretty sure that he will do it at WrestleKingdom…but that is not automatic. There is a New Japan event called Strong Style Evolved on March 25th so Omega could beat Jericho on that event. I am not usually for even-steven booking, especially when the idea is to get a new person over. At the same time, this could be more than just about Omega. In fact, it is more than about Omega. Anecdotal evidence says that Jericho wrestling at WrestleKingdom has at least gotten people interested enough to check out this show. If this is Jericho’s only match with New Japan, then obviously Omega should win. If not, the only question is whether or not it is a negative to have Omega lose at WK which will have a bigger international audience than Strong Style Evolved. Then again, Jericho could always put over Omega twice. Let’s also not forget the social media friction between Jericho and Naito which could lead to a match between those two, but Jericho does not need to beat Omega to have a match with Naito, even the Naito match is for the world title. I’ll say Omega because Jericho does not have to beat him to do more with NJPW and if he does not do more-the result is obvious.

World Title Match

Personally, I would love to see Naito win..but as I have learned from those who have followed NJPW longer than I have…the Ace does not lose at WK. Someone on Reddit brought up a good point, if you have followed Naito’s story…this could easily be another chapter in the story. In other words, once he comes out for the main event…that is a triumph in the Naito story. Naito does not have to beat Okada right now. I think he should eventually and if it was me, it would be this year…but Okada winning is not a bad choice.

One argument against Okada is that there is no one left for him to face. I thought so too. Then I was walking to the store and I thought of several more challengers who he has not gone through in this reign (or finished telling the story with in this reign). There is Jay White, Zack Sabre, a heel Goto, Ishii, a tiebreaker with Omega, a rematch with Naito and even Jericho. In essence, there are fresh matches no matter who wins. I went from being all in on Naito to trusting Gedo and enjoying whatever happens.

Wrestlekingdom 12 Thoughts Part I

I am very excited for Wrestlekingdom 12. There has been some talk that this particular card is a setup for the future more than it is a standalone card. I am fine with that, although there is only one match that I would have done differently (Suzuki against Ishii instead of Goto) so as a standalone show, it is fine with me. I am just going to talk about the show with a limited structure…even though I think I may get the match order right by accident.

Junior Tag Title Match

This could go either way and be fine. A win would do wonders for Roppongi 3K. At the same time, barring injury-Roppongi 3K will get their win over the Young Bucks. The Young Bucks certainly do not have to win to be over, especially with North American fans. At the same time, because this is such a tough match to call…I lean towards the Young Bucks because more North American fans are going to be watching this show…including people who have never seen the Young Bucks so for those fans (especially if wins and losses matter to those fans). Roppongi 3K will have their time.

Six Man Title Match

Well, we are almost 100 percent sure that War Machine and Elgin will not win. That leaves Chaos, Suzuki-Gun and Bullet Club. I think that the Bullet Club or Chaos team makes the most sense. There is a chance that they are getting Fale ready for Naito (if Naito wins the title), to me that means booking him strong and having him win this match. They switch the titles a lot and I am intrigued by Ishii, Yano and Baretta as a team…so like I said either Chaos or Bullet Club.

Ibushi vs Cody

Very interesting match here. There is part of me that thinks that Cody lost the ROH title just so he could also lose this match. Furthermore while Ibushi is not signed, I am almost positive that he is going to have a major match with Kenny Omega so he (Ibushi) should be kept strong for that. Certainly with the potential BC split coming the history between Omega and Ibushi could influence this match. For example, Cody could be aggressive in an “inappropriate” way to get at Omega. Then again, would you want Omega and Ibushi to be overtly aligned before the two have their match? Another option is that Cody could lose to Ibushi and then Ibushi could lose to Omega which makes Cody jealous. Yeah…this is interesting.

Tag Team Titles-Heavyweight

I like Evil and Sanada as a change of pace. I agree with the sentiment that the heavyweight tag division is the weakest part of NJPW in many ways. I actually enjoy KES, but it does not seem to be working so why not go with something fresh? They still need more teams so hopefully Best Friends are part of the NJPW tag division this year.

Never Openweight Title

I would have preferred Ishii in this match. My idea since I knew this was the planned match was that Goto was going to win to make up for the two losses to Suzuki in 2017. I would have Goto lose and join Suzuki-Gun (maybe as soon as New Year’s Dash). Goto with a new look (shaved head) could do wonders for him. He feels stale, which is a shame because he is a very good wrestler with a strong theme song. Suzuki will be fine either way and if he loses that opens him up to win the New Japan Cup…but I think it is more important to freshen up Goto. I should also mention that this match more than any other on the card has “trust Gedo” all over it because Ishii is a fresher and better matchup in my eyes and in the eyes of many others.

Junior Title

I would go with Takahashi here. I mentioned Goto being stale, I get the same feeling about Kushida. I don’t think he should win unless he is turning heel. The other two are strong choices. I think this is where NPJW has to be careful about going with so many foreigners at the expense of Japanese talent. I personally do not mind either way…to me talent is talent, but I just wonder if NJPW feels the same way. I’m okay with any of the other three besides Kushida winning (unless he turns heel like I said) I am a fan of Kushida, but it seems underwhelming just to re-establish him as the ace when it seems like his popularity is regressing. I think it is first fall wins so Ospreay winning without beating Scurll is a good story going forward (even if it is elimination that story could still be told). I think Takahashi is the best of all options