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.