Category Archives: Wrestling

Follow up on Tanahashi post

A few posts ago, I speculated on Tanahashi’s Wrestle Kingdom opponent. What NJPW decided to do was better than all of the options that I set forth. Certainly, there is some questioning about giving Switchblade Jay White such a big push (it’s the #3 match at worst for Wrestle Kingdom and it may be #2). At the same time, that is what companies should do. They should push new talent especially if they are…well talented. The match itself should be fun and White gains whether he wins or loses.

Also with the Omega-Jericho match, now we have a situation where the IC title match could in theory be #3, which is something that I did not take into account, because I figured Tanahashi had to be in the number 2 match.

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I just had an epiphany

Pro wrestling is my best friend (I don’t count my younger brother, he is in a separate category and he is truly my best friend). If I had a choice between never talking to any of my friends again or never watching wrestling again…I would choose to not talk to my friends. It’s actually not even a hard decision and that’s nothing against my friends (well I don’t say it as an insult to them). It’s just that pro wrestling is the only entity that I have been close to besides my brother and my mom. I cannot imagine my life without it.

Honestly, I am not sure if I would be alive without pro wrestling. Now one could say that is a sad commentary on my life, considering multiple factors…including the fact that I have never worked in wrestling. To that argument (it being a sad commentary), I would refer you to my other blog, where I often discuss my biggest annoyance (people judging others). My point is wrestling is the most important thing in my life besides God and family. It has gotten me through so many rough days, especially now when it is so easy to watch clips on the WWE Network or YouTube.

The thing is that I am a sports fan. I follow the NFL very closely. I am a big baseball fan. The NBA is interesting in that I have become much more of a casual fan until the playoffs. I also watch Days of Our Lives regularly (I have not missed/skipped an episode besides those that are non-canon in more than 20 years), I’m a big fan of Ownage Pranks,  I love writing…but nothing speaks to me like wrestling does. I don’t think anything ever will either

ROH and Impact Wrestling…

Ideally would have a working relationship. I know that Impact is moving to Canada and that is just one of several potential logistical problems…I still think that they should work together. When they were both on Destination America, there was talk of exchanging talent. There was also talk of an invasion angle. If the two organizations do work together I know people would groan at the idea of an invasion storyline (no matter who is doing the invading). I don’t care how they do it. There are few things that I believe have more potential than a properly done invasion so I won’t complain about that. If they just want to exchange talent…that’s fine too.

The reason I think the companies should work together is that both rosters have lack of depth. Granted the Final Battle card this year looks decent without much  (if any) New Japan talent. At the same time, it seems like the New Japan talent makes ROH feel like it has more depth. They could use more bodies, even if it is just people who are there to put over others. It is the same thing with Impact Wrestling.

My Influences in Wrestling

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.

I’m Not Giving Up

When I say I am not giving up, I do not mean I am not giving up on wrestling. I will never give up on wrestling so that is not even a question. It is like a sports team that you enjoy that may struggle at times. I am always going to watch I do not even think wrestling (WWE included) is that bad. To me it’s not bad at all. When you combine that with the other promotions that I watch, I think the quality of wrestling as whole is decent when it comes to my enjoyment of the shows. My biggest problem with wrestling (especially WWE and GFW) is that it underachieves more than it is actively bad.

That was a long introduction/prologue. Anyway, when I say that I am not giving up…I mean I am not submitting to the idea that nothing WWE (or any wrestling company, but especially WWE) does matters because their numbers are going to be within a certain range no matter what they do. I think that wrestling can do bigger numbers if there was better booking and more star power. An example is how much Kenny Omega has helped ROH’s numbers. It’s a smaller scale, but it proves that the right star can move numbers.

Another reason that I refuse to believe that there is nothing that WWE can do to increase its numbers is because a great deal of the criticism that the company gets for its booking, writing and presentation is legitimate criticism. If they fixed some of those issues, their numbers would be even better. It’s not like “the product” is getting a 90 percent approval ratings. Indeed, the fact that ratings are stabilized, but still historically low, attendance is down for now and the Network is a slight disappointment (a big disappointment when one looks at initial projections) does correlate with complaints about the television show and the general WWE presentation. If WWE can look at those complaints (I will not rehash them) and make changes…then the numbers should in theory go up.

In essence, I am agreeing with what the Vince McMahon narrative was for years…you need the right attraction and you will draw.

How to Fix 50/50 booking…if they insist

50/50 booking is going to be a constant theme of this blog because it may be the biggest problem that WWE has in terms of getting people over. Also, knowing their patterns makes things more predictable than they should be. I would say this, I think it works better in other promotions than in WWE, because the only issue with 50/50 booking in promotions like NJPW and ROH is that it makes things predictable, but in WWE it not only creates predictability, it makes it difficult for people to get over.

With the above in mind, if 50/50 booking is going to be a reality, then there are two things that WWE could do to make it easier to digest for those in the audience who do see it as a problem.

The first is acknowledge the parity. Acknowledging the parity has to be more than “anything can happen in WWE.” It has to be treated like a sport where it is outright said that the wrestlers’ records are relatively even for the most part. I see why they would not approach things in the manner I just suggested, but at this point it is almost insulting the intelligence of the audience not to discuss the reality that 90 percent of the company is around the .500 mark (at least it seems that way). I do not always agree with Wade Keller, but one thing he often preaches that I do agree with is that companies should “own their booking”. If they want to book 50/50, then they should address it just like any other sports announcer would address parity in a league where there is obviously parity.

The second one is a bit more difficult to explain in terms of reasoning. I’ll start by saying that one thing I feel wrestling promotions should avoid (for the most part), is giving people a reason to remember that this is a “show.” When people talk about that, they usually talk about wrestlers “laying their stuff in” or not writing or producing a “hokey” segment. I agree with those sentiments. I would expand it and say that when a promotion does a match one week and then does the same match the next week…there needs to be a storyline reason for it. If Wrestler A beats Wrestler B on November 1, if there is a rematch on November 8…give us a reason. Even if that reason is on the company’s website or YouTube page. When you don’t give a reason, it makes some members of the audience think…”oh, they just want to give Wrestler B his or her win back.”

If you don’t want to give a storyline reason, go back to what I wrote in the above paragraph, just have the announcers say that the management of the show in question wanted to see if last week was a fluke or that the promotion believes that there is parity, so one match does not prove that one is better than the other and the next match is to make sure. Of course that does not explain why there would not be a third match, but this post is to make 50/50 booking work. I think it’s a poor way to book, but there are ways to make it manageable.

Revisiting My Top 10

Last year, I posted my top 10 favorite wrestlers. Now that I am more into NJPW, that list has changed. So here are my top 10 favorite wrestlers right now.

  1. Naito
  2. A.J Styles
  3. Kenny Omega
  4. Okada
  5. Dalton Castle
  6. Young Bucks
  7. Asuka
  8. Usos
  9. Minoru Suzuki
  10. Depends on the Day…it could be Miz, Roman Reigns, John Cena, LIJ’s Takahashi, Will Osperay, Zack Sabre, Sasha Banks,  Sami Zayn, Ibushi, Brock Lesnar or anyone of a number of other wrestlers.