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FEBRUARY 2024 Wrestling Talk


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8 hours ago, HarryArchieGus said:

AEWTV which pretty clearly has a consistent internal logic/presentation along with the required discpline with booking and ring work.

I am in week six or seven of "does anyone involved with the Acclaimed or the Bang Bang Gang even remember why they even considered teaming up?" so... I will respectfully disagree 🙂

 

Also touching on what someone else said, I don't think we need a flood of matches that end in a few minutes via shenanigans... but a sharp uptick in 4-5 minute matches where the much higher in the hierarchy guy takes 80+% of the match as opposed to the now typical 55/45 split? That I will sign up for.

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15 hours ago, Godfrey said:

Hard disagree that AEW is anything close to disciplined. Wrestlers come and go, pushes start and stop, angles go nowhere and get dropped all the time.

Certainly from time to time, but not 'all the time'. It's a fact of injuries first and foremost. There isn't a wrestling company I've ever watched regularly that wasn't prone to mistakes. AEW's batting average is a lot higher than most. Curious what promotion you've been watching all these years where this wasn't the case.

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In the ring, matches do not progress logically and often bop between spots that sometimes are killers and other times are shrugged off as nothing.

I'm sure there are matches where I would very much agree with you on this, but summing up every match from Danielson to FTR to the Bucks to Vikingo as such is pretty Corny. 

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AEW didn't have anything BUT dream matches for a long time and now they're struggling to find an identity

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story I guess. I'll gleefully look forward to going back and watching the Dream Matches era I missed.

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I kept watching after Forbidden Door, it was the combo of the ridiculous Devil angle and Joe throwing away his ROH belt that led me to stop watching regularly. E

I too hated the ROH TV title dump and the Devil Angle. The latter an erroneous creative shift due to injuries. I just found too much other fun stuff happening week to week to sweat either like some sort of monumental reason to care so much. The Devil angle for example peaked during a time when we had consistently great Continental Classic matches happening. 

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Even after that I try to give it a shot every now and then. And as much as I love being told I'm watching wrestling wrong, you're just going to have to accept that as a longtime wrestling fan I have a different standard for my wrestling than you

Very dramatic. Not unlike posting ultimatums to whether you'll personally continue watching or not. I urge you to follow through on that. The standard isn't changing. 

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55 minutes ago, HarryArchieGus said:

Very dramatic. Not unlike posting ultimatums to whether you'll personally continue watching or not. I urge you to follow through on that. The standard isn't changing. 

Haha, I don't know how you interpret my posts but I haven't given any ultimatums. I could keep explaining perspective and opinion to you but at this point we're just talking past each other so time to call it a day. Enjoy your wrestling, bud!

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Yeah, I certainly don’t want anyone reading my posts the last couple days and come away thinking I think AEW is perfect. It isn’t. I could make a list multiple pages long of booking decisions they’ve made that I don’t like. I think they’ve been over reliant on the young bucks, who have never proven themselves to be a draw at this level, the decision not to have S&O win the tag titles at any point is baffling. The treatment of Adam Cole as a top star is puzzling, and the hesitance to elevate stars like Malakai Black & Ricky Starks to the tippy top is confusing to me. This “bang bang scissor gang” thing is a giant barrel of ass juice, although I think they’re eventually gonna merge the trios titles from this angle. I also think losing Juice Robinson to injury hurt the BCG guys. 
 

In spite of that, I also think AEW is doing a ton right, and the biggest thing they can do in 2024 is weather the storm and keep putting on a great product. Wwe is hot right now, but their business has always been cyclical. I still don’t really understand the notion that the wwe product is “good” right now. It’s largely the same shit in a Vince-free package, and that in and of itself doesn’t make it good. We’ll see where they are I’m six months.

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For the record, I do think AEW has a lot of good stuff on it and it sounds like they're putting people in the right place to improve things overall. I'm excited about that prospect because when the WWE isn't hot it's some of the worst shit on earth

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I want to clarify that when I said there needs to be increased shorter matches I definitely was not calling for a return of crash TV style where ever match ends with some bs. More give a variety of how matches both progress and end. More clear differences in hierarchy would be very good. If Mox runs through lower guys in 5 minutes it will mean more when one of those lower guys goes 10 with him. 
I feel like Tony Kahn is trying to meld North America TV wrestling with old school ROH match making and Japan roster hierarchy and it’s not perfect and I’m not sure if it will ever properly integrate 

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2 hours ago, Godfrey said:

Haha, I don't know how you interpret my posts but I haven't given any ultimatums. I could keep explaining perspective and opinion to you but at this point we're just talking past each other so time to call it a day. Enjoy your wrestling, bud!

To be clear, it was a reference to your repeated posting about how you’re going to stop watching aew, and then don’t but continue to complain. I welcome discussion, but the negative generalizations are missing that perspective you speak of. All that said, grateful for your courteous closing. I suspect we could very likely have a nice chat about wrestling in person where we would find lots in common. Godspeed fellow Torontonian.

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56 minutes ago, HarryArchieGus said:

To be clear, it was a reference to your repeated posting about how you’re going to stop watching aew, and then don’t but continue to complain. I welcome discussion, but the negative generalizations are missing that perspective you speak of. All that said, grateful for your courteous closing. I suspect we could very likely have a nice chat about wrestling in person where we would find lots in common. Godspeed fellow Torontonian.

Please provide examples of me saying this. You can’t

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On 2/27/2024 at 10:22 PM, username said:

Based on the past few pages of discussion I'm gonna write something I truly believe that is probably gonna baffle some people here:

 

I don't think the value of a good wrestling match for the simple sake of having a good match has ever been lower. It is probably the most common thing going in wrestling across the entire industry, you load up an indie show and likely most of the card is aiming for just that, even WWE has more of it than they have at arguably any other time (handwaves at the SD 6 era) and... I just don't care that much any more about them. TBF this is magnified by so many matches, even stylistically different ones, being paced rather similarly. Double it again when so many of these matches have obvious winners. This doesn't mean I'm not intrigued by a randomly thrown together match if there is something inherently intriguing about it or of the quality is simply outstanding, but to grab a random name that was mentioned a page back I'll for example start caring about Bryan Keith when I'm given a reason beyond "he wrestles a good match before losing" (for those who just wanted to see Malakai finally in a singles match again that I fully understand and agree with).

Normally I would agree on the indie card thing. But down this way most of the feds actually got stories behind almost every match. Helps that the major feds in MS run at least 12 times a year and most do 2 shows a month. 

Now Louisiana is loaded with feds that have dream match after dream match with little story.

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47 minutes ago, Godfrey said:

Please provide examples of me saying this. You can’t

Either I’m mistaken or it’s a very good bluff as I have no interest in going over your history of posts. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s my mistake for suggesting you’ve more than once claimed you’ll stop watching aew due to some complaint but didn’t and continued to complain. Sorry God!

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Per this discussion: When I watch wrestling, I want and love broader story arcs. I don't mean a story told in a single feud, but a narrative arc that takes a character or characters and grows them as they move through the story. Modern wrestling takes too much of the dumb in-ring shit from CHIKARA (that was good in the specific context in which it occurred), but not enough of the unifying story arc stuff that, while also dumb, was a unifying thread that encompassed more than just one feud in the company.. 

Lucha Underground was probably the closest thing we had to modernizing the broad concept of overarching story arcs. I've been watching a lot of WCW and have my complaints about the nWo arc never ending, but had it ended properly at Starrcade 1997, it would be a gold standard. That era of WCW has a series of story arcs that, while they go on too long and are usually booked into dullness by the end, are compelling and encompass a number of spots on the card. Raven's Flock is actually what I'm thinking of; that had a surprisingly satisfying story arc in which Raven used his free agency to get J.J. Dillon to agree that he could have hardcore matches for every one of his matches if he wanted, then he gathered lower-card losers like his buddy Stevie Richards who he knew he could control and used the power that he had from negotiating his contract to basically maneuver them like chess pieces into matches of his choosing within the scope limited by his contract. 

Eventually, he brought his long-time friend Saturn into the company as his second, but unlike the rest of the toadies that he convinced to follow him, Saturn had a mind of his own and ended up being the downfall of the whole Flock. There were missteps along the way, sure! It's not a perfect story. But from the point at which Raven shows up in mid-1997 to when the Flock is forcibly disbanded by Saturn in late 1998, we get this wonderful arc in which Raven tries to keep power over his followers using what he was able to negotiate in his contract and ultimately failing because one member of his group decided to push back against him. 

This was a roundly satisfying character story. Had Raven just disappeared from WCW television after this, it actually would have been perfect because it felt like his full story had been told. The other cool thing is that because other characters were caught up in it, it was able to sometimes fill multiple story spots in the company in an effective way, and in the midcard, no less. 

I don't think, beyond LU, there have been many or any stories in American wrestling that take eighteen months to tell a grand story about a character and then to wrap that story up narratively so I feel like I took a journey. That, I miss deeply and would love to see in more modern takes on pro wrestling. 

I understand that there are matches that are just there to be good matches, that there are looser character journeys that happen on wrestling shows, and that feuds are still a thing. But I don't think there's been anything nearly as effective as, say, the Savage and Elizabeth saga that started right before WM V and basically narratively completed at WM VII and that had people ugly crying on television in years. I don't watch AEW regularly or WWE at all, but I do read here and other places and have a sense of the big angles, and they don't seem to have the same sense of narrative that wrestling should have. Like, I hear people talking about Cody Rhodes "finishing the story," but what's the story? It's all based on this real-life truth that he was a career midcarder who left, raised his profile, and is back to become a world champ like his dad. That is a narrative story arc, but one which relies on knowing the real-life career goals of a guy playing a wrestler, which I find far less interesting than a story arc that is built around a character. 

In fact, real-life stuff is a crutch for long-term narrative arc storytelling. In the '80s, I had no idea as a kid that Randy and Liz had already been married for awhile, so them getting kayfabe married hit harder. Maybe you can't put the internet back in a box and shove it into the corner of the closet, but LU showed a formula for telling longform stories with clear character development in the internet era. 

Thank you for coming to my TEDx Talk. 

 

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While absolutely a looser story, Hangman Page's storyline from the start of AEW to him winning the belt from Omega was definitely a good, long arc.  They could have absolutely hammered it home better, and ending it just to give that goof Punk a vanity reign was a massive misstep, but it was definitely a good, long story.  I'm probably missing some steps, getting some out of order, etc., but:

  1. Almost wins the belt from Jericho in the first title bout, gets too much too fast
  2. Meanders a while
  3. Tags with Kenny to win the tag belts
  4. That falls apart; Hangman talks about winning them back but Kenny wants nothing to do with the team, and turns heel
  5. Gets manipulated by FTR into screwing his longtime friends, the Bucks, so the whole Elite is gone and Hangman thinks it's his fault
  6. Is befriended by the Dark Order
  7. Gradually finds his confidence and strength through friendship, all the while Kenny is talking shit about how he'll always be below him
  8. Wins the world title

I'd argue that AEW's story quality hasn't been the same since then.  But you can put some of that at the feet of the Punk mess, Cole getting hurt, MJF getting hurt, and TK not really being the best at adjusting his booking plans due to injuries, etc.

Edited by Technico Support
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You know what was good storytelling in Wrestling? Crush Gals vs Dump Matsumoto and friends. You know what else was? Misawa vs Jumbo, and how it segued into Misawa & co vs Kawada & co. Now, at parts in both feuds, the wrestlers did speak into a microphone. I have no idea what any of them said (with the exception of the handful of YouTube videos that got subtitled), but wierdly I understand the characters and the story without knowing anything that they said.

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2 minutes ago, AxB said:

wierdly I understand the characters and the story without knowing anything that they said.

We're getting back into those glory days of "I have no idea what he's saying but I understand what's happening" now that Will Osprey is here.

Edited by Technico Support
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I saw part of that arc. I'm trying to remember when I stopped watching weekly AEW. It was pretty early. I think I stopped somewhere during the meandering. 

Do you think, Technico, that this story advanced Hangman as a character in the long term in some noticeable way? Does it feel like his character has evolved from where it was before?

As a side, note, I love a good segue. Shawn Michaels careening from feud to feud directly because of the result of the Ric Flair match at WrestleMania was not the greatest example of that, but it stood out in the midst of the boring crap that was on WWE television at that time. 

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I love long term storytelling, but wrestling is not great at actually finishing the story and clearly moving on. I also love character development, but that's also pretty hard when the so called top promotion has been a plaything for the owner's perversions for god knows how long. That is the thing that AEW could really shine in, if they wanted to. Long term story telling with clear and satisfying character development. Combine that with strong intra-match logic and plenty of head-drops, flips and poison ranas and you would have me for life. Just saying. At this point, you probably already do, anyway, but still it would be nice. Thanks.

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4 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

We're getting back into those glory days of "I have no idea what he's saying but I understand what's happening" now that Will Osprey is here.

Bruv!

...But his entrance theme has given me some insane results in the gym recently, so I will always appreciate the hell out of that!

Edited by Shartnado
Elevated makes me lift like crazy!
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14 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

While absolutely a looser story, Hangman Page's storyline from the start of AEW to him winning the belt from Omega was definitely a good, long arc.  They could have absolutely hammered it home better, and ending it just to give that goof Punk a vanity reign was a massive misstep, but it was definitely a good, long story.  I'm probably missing some steps, getting some out of order, etc., but:

  1. Almost wins the belt from Jericho in the first title bout, gets too much too fast
  2. Meanders a while
  3. Tags with Kenny to win the tag belts
  4. That falls apart; Hangman talks about winning them back but Kenny wants nothing to do with the team, and turns heel
  5. Gets manipulated by FTR into screwing his longtime friends, the Bucks, so the whole Elite is gone and Hangman thinks it's his fault
  6. Is befriended by the Dark Order
  7. Gradually finds his confidence and strength through friendship, all the while Kenny is talking shit about how he'll always be below him
  8. Wins the world title

I'd argue that AEW's story quality hasn't been the same since then.  But you can put some of that at the feet of the Punk mess, Cole getting hurt, MJF getting hurt, and TK not really being the best at adjusting his booking plans due to injuries, etc.

Number 2 is still my favorite part of Page's story, the 'Hangman says 'Hold My Beer'' era. I loved his reckless abandon. The above got a bit cheesewhiz on the friendship tip, but I'd agree overall that it was a good story. 

I certainly can get behind a good story, Kingston for example has had several, but subtletly goes a lot further than the traditional Wrestling Story Arc generally allows. I'm more interested in character studies/character development than long term stories. The motivation of winning and being the best and inflated egos clashing with other inflated egos on similar journeys kinda covers things. As long as there are good promos on said road I can be more than satisfied. I get my fill of well told stories from movies and the seemingly endless number of cable and streaming television shows.  

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@HarryArchieGus I was going to say that what Eddie has gone through has been a pretty awesome story. I will most likely go to my grave thinking that when Eddie said to Mox that he will win the AEW title, bring it to her mother and say "This is why you don't have any grandchildren!" is the greatest line I have ever heard in wrestling! And he lost. And he lost some more. Until he clawed his way back and won and won some more, until it seemed to all collapse, but he pulled back and won everything, even over the guy who denied it the last time! That's pretty satisfying, eventhough it took a long ass while to get there!

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5 minutes ago, HarryArchieGus said:

As long as there are good promos on said road I can be more than satisfied. I get my fill of well told stories from movies and the seemingly endless number of cable and streaming television shows.  

I think this may get at why I'm not as big on story stories in pro wrestling as I am on in-ring stories. The vast majority of pro wrestling stories aren't all that great, really. They work within the medium and can and are very satisfying there, but don't really hold up to really well-done stories in other mediums like tv show or books or movies or whatever. Also, most wrestlers don't have the chops to really pull off good acting. Like, the Bloodline stuff may have been a great pro wrestling story, but people saying the one Uso deserved an Emmy nom is ridiculous. Ron Killings is very funny within the context of pro wrestling, but his stuff wouldn't work on, say, a sitcom (although he may be funnier that a lot of what's on sitcoms nowadays).

I think that may be why I lean into the in-ring stuff harder than the angles/promos/etc. It's the one thing I can get from wrestling that I can't get in other mediums I enjoy.

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I personally seek raw catharsis from pro wrestling stories compared to stories in books, movies, or shows. I don't have any issues with a show or book narrative that lacks closure, but a pro wrestling story that lacks closure blocks me from catharsis and drives me up a wall. 

That's why pro wrestling stories are so important to me; something about them induces, for me, purer emotional reaction (in some ways) than if I read a great fictional book or see a great fictional film. 

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33 minutes ago, Log said:

I think that may be why I lean into the in-ring stuff harder than the angles/promos/etc. It's the one thing I can get from wrestling that I can't get in other mediums I enjoy.

You're totally right, wrestling is a unique medium and that's why it's a combo for me. I think a match can only be so good without a story supporting it and a story can only succeed if it has a good match or series of matches to blow it off. Audiences will forgive weakness in one if there is a lot of strength in the other but ultimately they're inseparable. When both are firing, that's when you get transcendent matches that stand the test of time

1 minute ago, SirSmUgly said:

That's why pro wrestling stories are so important to me; something about them induces, for me, purer emotional reaction (in some ways) than if I read a great fictional book or see a great fictional film. 

For me too. Maybe it's because I studied writing for so long but I can see through the Matrix on most movies and TV shows. Wrestling evokes the catharsis of sports and real life competition which is different from the emotional stakes usually found in films (although there's always things like Randy and Liz)

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@SirSmUgly If you mean bad people getting their fucking shit pushed in when taking it too far, I know exactly what you mean! I love the idea of raw catharsis. This is probably what I am looking for during working out, watching wrestling and watching action movies.

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2 hours ago, AxB said:

You know what was good storytelling in Wrestling? Crush Gals vs Dump Matsumoto and friends. You know what else was? Misawa vs Jumbo, and how it segued into Misawa & co vs Kawada & co. Now, at parts in both feuds, the wrestlers did speak into a microphone. I have no idea what any of them said (with the exception of the handful of YouTube videos that got subtitled), but wierdly I understand the characters and the story without knowing anything that they said.

I’ve noticed when watching NJPW that Japanese wrestlers are much better at getting over their characters via ring work than promo work

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