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I would say that some artists (and I include the odd wrestler in here) have moments when they are making true art AND being properly compensated but those moments are few and far between and many who claim to be artists never have one. Music is the easiest analogy, a band can make an amazing, progressive album and it can be a smash hit but very rarely can they do that twice. I think a band like Queen was trying to really push the art form while being a massive touring band, others will disagree. It will ultimately come down to what you consider art and that's maybe the most subjective subject there is.

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Just now, Godfrey said:

I would say that some artists (and I include the odd wrestler in here) have moments when they are making true art AND being properly compensated but those moments are few and far between and many who claim to be artists never have one. Music is the easiest analogy, a band can make an amazing, progressive album and it can be a smash hit but very rarely can they do that twice. I think a band like Queen was trying to really push the art form while being a massive touring band, others will disagree. It will ultimately come down to what you consider art and that's maybe the most subjective subject there is.

I don't think every successful artist ceases to be an artist.  I think every artists who lets the pursuit of profit to overtake the pursuit of manifesting their creativity ceases to be an artist.  It doesn't even have to be a permanent change, there are plenty of artists who put out a couple trash albums to feed the kids only to come back and produce something truly inspired.  My point is art is a creative endeavor not a financial endeavor.  That is not to say that there aren't any good to great financial endeavors, there are plenty, but that's a different conversation.  Creating a factory isn't a useless endeavor, but working in a factory doesn't make you an artist.

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Plenty of people think of "Here, my Dear" as their favourite Marvin Gaye album. He made it to pay for his divorce, with all the royalties going to his ex-Wife, hence the title.

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11 hours ago, thee Reverend Axl Future said:

my main bonhomme Roland Barthes

- RAF

No offense to RAF intended, but I remember doing a paper on pro wrestling in the university back in the late 90's (I think it was on the broader subject of subcultures) and Barthes was indeed pretty much the only academic material available even considering pro wrestling as worthy of any kind of analysis.

Anyway, having just discovered the Internet and all the insider wrestling information, I had a pretty big "South Park "-moment, while pretty much yelling "Stop reading shit into things that aren't there!" at the book, while reading his analysis.

I was like "stop trying to make this relatively simple thing sound like something complicated." But hey, that's probably why I have not much use of my bachelor's degree.

So yeah, he won in the end.

Carry on. ..

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For anyone wondering whether Dynamite will be happening tonight with the protests going on in legit sports, it's being reported by Ian Rappaport that the Jags are practicing today after having a 2 hour meeting so I feel like it's safe to assume the show's going on. 

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4 minutes ago, AxB said:

Plenty of people think of "Here, my Dear" as their favourite Marvin Gaye album. He made it to pay for his divorce, with all the royalties going to his ex-Wife, hence the title.

LOL, anyone who thinks "Here, my Dear" is their favorite Marving Gaye album is a bitter person who probably needs to seek counseling...with that said the break up album is one of the most consistently great artistic endeavors.  For better or worse, whatever is said on a break up album is generally a sincere expression of that person's true feelings.  

To get this back to wrestling, is there a wrestler that any of you would consider an artist?  If I had to choose one, I might choose Bret Hart.  I'm not someone who thinks Bret is the best worker of all time, but I think his approach to wrestling storytelling is about as close to artistry as anyone I can think of.  There is a match he has with Shawn Michaels where he hits a cross body early in the match, and then goes for it two more times and misses.  In the same match he tries to hit a Oklahoma roll early in the match, and fails, he tries it again and fails, he tries it a third time and finally gets it.  You could watch that match over and over and never really catch those details, but there are layers of context that someone with a keen eye can see and enjoy.  It's clearly a Bret thing too, because Shawn Michaels is the exact opposite type of worker.  He's kind of a big match factory where he kind of just adds all the pieces of what makes a big match great without adding the subtle little touches in between.  Shawn Michaels may have more great matches than Bret, but I think Bret took more creative risks in the name of his art.

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"Here, My Dear" has grown in love and stature over the decades, but "What's Going On" is one of the greatest albums of all-time. OF ALL-TIME.

Mick Foley pretty clearly saw wrestling as an artistic endeavor while also trying to make as much money as possible. It's his "what's my motivation" style of wrestling psychology, even more than his willingness to carve himself up or take wild bumps, that made him a damned good wrestler, IMO. 

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Just now, Smelly McUgly said:

"Here, My Dear" has grown in love and stature over the decades, but "What's Going On" is one of the greatest albums of all-time. OF ALL-TIME.

Mick Foley pretty clearly saw wrestling as an artistic endeavor while also trying to make as much money as possible. It's his "what's my motivation" style of wrestling psychology, even more than his willingness to carve himself up or take wild bumps, that made him a damned good wrestler, IMO. 

This is a great answer.  For what it is worth, I don't think negotiating a lucrative deal makes you less of an artist.  Stevie Wonder was signed to Motown as a preteen and renegotiated his deal to get not only complete creative control, but to own all his masters before going on one of the best creative runs in the history of music.  His decision to take his career into his own hands happened simultaneously with his decision to start taking huge creative risks.  Foley wanted to be compensated fairly, but he's also wanted freedom to take creative risks.  His desire to push the envelope creatively is what made him a special worker.

I think Ric Flair may be the best wrestler of all time.  I also think Ric Flair may be the least artistic wrestler of all time.

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I feel like the artistic side of AJPW/AJW is pretty strong. The Zen men told subtle stories with multiple layers on them on the same canvas for ten plus years with long arcs and super emotional highs and lows. The women sacrificed so much. I can't get that fact about Bull taking hormones to get her weight up and become something inhuman out of my head. That is tragic and fucked up. This is obviously more applicable for some than others. Like Hotta just kicked people really hard. I wouldn't call her a great artist. 

Edited by Jiji
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I've never liked the notion "art can't also make money". The example I'll put out there is one of the reasons Stanley Kubrick was successful wasn't just his substantial skill as a film director, but also that he was one of the few directors that also had enough business savvy to independently raise funding that allowed him to make his films the way he wanted. That's not a bad thing, it's a strength most lack.

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"Innervisions" is the greatest album of all time as far as I'm concerned, so I essentially agree with you, @supremebve. Making money and expressing oneself artistically are not mutually exclusive, necessarily. It all depends on context as most things do.

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1 hour ago, Jiji said:

I feel like the artistic side of AJPW/AJW is pretty strong. The Zen men told subtle stories with multiple layers on them on the same canvas for ten plus years with long arcs and super emotional highs and lows. The women sacrificed so much. I can't get that fact about Bull taking hormones to get her weight up and become something inhuman out of my head. That is tragic and fucked up. This is obviously more applicable for some than others. Like Hotta just kicked people really hard. I wouldn't call her a great artist. 

I honestly don't know if I'd say that AJPW is artistic.  First, let me make myself clear and say that I think 90s AJPW is the best run of professional wrestling of all time.  This conversation started with @Matt D saying something to the effect of wrestling would be better if finishes were 1/6th of a match not 1/3rd of a match.  I disagreed saying "that's not what I want from a creative endeavor."  The thing that made 90's All Japan great was that it was almost completely predictable...until it wasn't.  When the 90s started Jumbo Tsuruta was the man.  He won every match by pinfall, and everyone knows it.  Then one day Misawa beats him, clean in the middle of the ring...and Jumbo is pissed about it.  Then for two straight years Misawa and Jumbo and their collection fo friends beat the hell out of each other.  Misawa isn't quite the man, but neither is Jumbo, but they're clearly a step above everyone else on the roster.  Kawada and Taue are a step above everyone but Misawa and Jumbo.  Kobashi and Fuchi are a step below them, and so on.  If you matched any of those guys up, everyone kind of knew what was going to happen for about 2 straight years until it became apparent that Misawa and his army won.  With Jumbo out of the picture Kawada stepped up to challenge Misawa and Kobashi stepped into Kawada's place as second banana.  Misawa wins every 1-on-1 match with Kawada for five straight years.  For pretty much the entire decade we knew exactly what was going to happen in every match.  We also knew that eventually we'd be surprised.  

Keeping us entertained for that long is great, and the formula absolutely worked...but formulas aren't art.  Matter of fact the biggest criticism of the style is that they had to keep ratcheting up the danger in order to keep the fans engaged.  Being more creative, and artistic would have probably served them better.  

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2 hours ago, supremebve said:

I think Ric Flair may be the best wrestler of all time.  I also think Ric Flair may be the least artistic wrestler of all time.

This is a pretty fair statement. 

Anyway, I mainly was just trying to give cover to John but then that didn't work anyway.

My personal feeling is that 90-92 AJPW is better than post 92 AJPW, but that's me. I tend to think the escalation gets to be too much a couple of years before most people do.

Edited by Matt D
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2 minutes ago, supremebve said:

Keeping us entertained for that long is great, and the formula absolutely worked...but formulas aren't art.  Matter of fact the biggest criticism of the style is that they had to keep ratcheting up the danger in order to keep the fans engaged.  Being more creative, and artistic would have probably served them better.  

Which is funny because I think more of the subtleties in character work and how they grew and changed over the decade way more than I do the escalation of violence. That they were able to keep things fresh and not feel like we're watching The Flinstones or some other super formulaic, long-running show speaks to their absolute mastery of professional wrestling as an art from of storytelling and psychology imo. So, while I agree with you on most things, I think we see this one case differently.

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My huge frustration was always that they absolutely could have managed it without the escalation. They were that good. They cared about storytelling within and between matches so much. They were able to accomplish so much with their selling. They could have taken a different path and achieved even more amazing results. 

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1 minute ago, Matt D said:

My huge frustration was always that they absolutely could have managed it without the escalation. They were that good. They cared about storytelling within and between matches so much. They were able to accomplish so much with their selling. They could have taken a different path and achieved even more amazing results. 

Agreed 100%. I feel like Kobashi was the most culpable for escalation but they each played a part in it and by the late '90s it was madness what they were doing to each other. I almost do an involuntary twitch when I read people say Kobashi is their guy because he was so fucking good at emoting and fighting from underneath and comebacks in late match that he absolutely did not need to introduce shit like the Burning Hammer and his dozen other crazy finishers that lasted a hot minute.

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Just now, Jiji said:

Agreed 100%. I feel like Kobashi was the most culpable for escalation but they each played a part in it and by the late '90s it was madness what they were doing to each other. I almost do an involuntary twitch when I read people say Kobashi is their guy because he was so fucking good at emoting and fighting from underneath and comebacks in late match that he absolutely did not need to introduce shit like the Burning Hammer and his dozen other crazy finishers that lasted a hot minute.

I also feel like Kobashi is the one who even within the confines of just having a comeback and doing a thousand chops or channeling super powers in dropping his selling or just having a burst of energy late in the match that would be less weighed down than the others, could take things too far in more subtle ways, not just in moves or headdrops or kick outs. I don't know if he was trying to overcompensate for having the least physical presence of the four or what. 

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Stu Bennett returning to WWE and Thunder Rosa appearing on AEW's next PPV has people wondering if the NWA is more or less finished.

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1 minute ago, Matt D said:

My huge frustration was always that they absolutely could have managed it without the escalation. They were that good. They cared about storytelling within and between matches so much. They were able to accomplish so much with their selling. They could have taken a different path and achieved even more amazing results. 

This is my point.  All the great stuff they did with their character work still had to fit in their hierarchy.  They waited so long to give Kawada a win that his credibility was shot.  In order to get a win Kawada had to hit a head drop German suplex, multiple enziguris, a brainbuster, and two powerbombs.  By the time it was time for Kawada to get a win, Misawa had been dropped on his head countless times and still kicked out.  They had painted themselves into a corner and instead of realizing that they needed to adjust their formula, they just started climbing up the walls.  

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2 hours ago, supremebve said:

I think Ric Flair may be the best wrestler of all time.  I also think Ric Flair may be the least artistic wrestler of all time.

Art vs commerce.  Quality vs consistency.  Is Flair the McDonald's of wrestling?  If you get a Big Mac in Miami, Houston, or San Francisco, it's the same Big Mac.  If you get a Flair match in Greensboro, Baltimore, or St. Louis, it's the same Flair Match.  😄

Edited by Technico Support
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27 minutes ago, Matt D said:

My huge frustration was always that they absolutely could have managed it without the escalation. They were that good. They cared about storytelling within and between matches so much. They were able to accomplish so much with their selling. They could have taken a different path and achieved even more amazing results. 

Wasn't the escalation factor more Baba's fault than anyone else's? Like that was the style he wanted from them even going as far as to decide submissions no longer mattered.

 

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Just now, Technico Support said:

Is Flair the McDonald's of wrestling?  If you get a Big Mac in Miami, Houston, or San Francisco, it's the same Big Mac.  If you get a Flair match in Greensboro, Baltimore, or St. Louis, it's the same Flair Match.  😄

No, he's too good to be McDonald's.  He's more of a Morton's or Ruth's Chris.  He's something you can get in every city in the country, and it feels special despite it being pretty generic.  

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4 minutes ago, supremebve said:

No, he's too good to be McDonald's.  He's more of a Morton's or Ruth's Chris.  He's something you can get in every city in the country, and it feels special despite it being pretty generic.  

Ah, there you go.  Perfect.  You saved my metaphor!

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