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11 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

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.  😄

The only thing that breaks up the Flair formula was when he was a babyface and damn it he was an AMAZING fiery babyface. He'd change up stuff slightly so he wasn't showing ass and instead being a bad ass. Loved it. I guess his babyface run is the McRib or something.

edit: we don't have Morton's or Ruth's here in Canada, so I  wasn't aware of them. I guess that would be like The Keg here?

Edited by Jiji
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Also, flair’s formulaic matches really only began once he became touring champion. 

So, a good local restaurant that went national and became cookie cutter? 

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Excuse me for not reading the last three pages as once I saw OSJ get like his 3rd suspension in 3 months, I took it as things weren't going very well. So I will just pick and choose stuff that was just posted:

- I won't fight anyone who says Master P isn't an artist, but P breaking through was a watershed moment for hip-hop both good and bad. People blame the south for decimating the genre, but the south was really the last domino to fall and strapped a rocket booster to rap giving it that staying power. Fucking Ludacris and Nelly had diamond albums. So many rappers owe P for their existence and their livelihood. Yes, there were many classic albums from southern hip hop acts before P but only one guy just completely busted down that door. Before that, any record from the South was just a niche record. Moreover, people weren't trying to separate the regions between what was what. Being from the Mississippi Delta, nothing was more memorable than when BOTH New Orleans and Memphis got on the map. It became real for me when I first saw the music video for Juvenile's "Ha". For me, that was my Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message". The first thing I thought to myself is, "...so I see y'all shit is fucked up too.". It's not like I didn't like West Coast/G-Funk or New York hip hop, but that was the vast majority of what I was exposed to. I loved that and love it to this day, but that shit was almost like an entirely different country to me. I didn't know what the fuck a bodega was. I had no clue about the importance of World On Wheels and the Uncle Jamm's Army parties. The music just sounded good to me despite the regional differences. With the flood of new hip hop artists emerging in the wake of Master P's breakthrough, that was one of the first times I saw hip hop coming from the folks I related to the most. Do I love the whole "let me put 300 tracks on one album with some skits" trend that P started? No. Did I love the cheap ass, almost bordering on parody album covers? No. However, it was never about respectability politics. It was about people within hip hop/rap no longer being able to de-legitimize or discredit the people that come from what and where I come from. Don't believe me? Then why does Beyonce, one of the biggest pop icons of recent history, need to put Messy Mya and Big Freedia sound drops on her albums? Why are New York rappers trying sound like they're from Atlanta and New Orleans? It's the last vestige of legitimacy. Whether you're a small time independent artist or an icon, you're NOTHING without that legitimacy (especially now in era when people aren't actually selling albums). So you can call Master P whatever, but all I know is he fucking put an entire genre on it's goddamn head.

- We already had the performance art thing discussion here, and I gave push back to that. However, I would say the amount of longevity you have shows that what you're doing is at least somewhat credible. That and IMO it's like Eddie Murphy's bit about Cosby believing all Eddie's act was just a bunch of curse words after Cosby's son went to go see Eddie perform. It's going to always go back to the subjective. When it comes to wrestling, I never wanted to whittle it down the lowest common denominator. It always just pro wrestling to me. Personally, I never gave a fuck about Bret Hart feeling that Ric Flair was a routine man. I loved Bret Hart. I loved Ric Flair. That was it. Same with Foley and Flair. My favorite wrestlers are my favorite wrestlers even if they diss each other. I was watching Flair vs. Wahoo from Battle of the Belts I (I plan on posting that match when the anniversary of the match comes in few days) not too long ago. It was a terrible show so Flair being awesome was only going to be amplified, but he was a fucking GREAT. Wahoo was fine, but Flair was in entirely different stratosphere. At no point in the match was I like "...I wonder how much artistry is going into this match?" Didn't cross my mind. I'm not saying completely turn your brain off, but what certain wrestlers have the ability to do is make you unable to delineate what is real sport and what is art in that particular match. If I, as a person not within pro wrestling, can tell you detail for detail what you're doing...your shit is entirely too see through. I don't want that in my pro wrestling. I don't.

I've been watching some of the late 96 Raws and buddy, Steve Austin is just on entirely different level. Between a couple of those Raws, there was the Pillman chair/ankle spot (I guess the birth of the term "Pillmanize") on WWF Superstars at the Cincinnati Gardens. I didn't even know that whole thing wasn't even on Raw. The entire angle was brilliant because they didn't try to insult your intelligence. Ironically, they didn't even try to shit on WCW because Austin turning on his "friend" Brian Pillman was contingent on people knowing Austin believed he carried Pillman to the tag team titles in WCW. Austin also didn't exactly care that Pillman was so enamored with Austin's #1 target, Bret Hart, whose father just so happened to have trained Pillman. The Stone Cold character was based on if you're not 100% with me, then you're 100% against me. He didn't give a fuck about it being his old running buddy from WCW. Matter of fact, destroying Pillman was going to send a big message...a warning to Bret: If I don't give a damn about him, what do you think I'm going to do to you? It's complex yet so simple at the same time. Austin didn't turn on Pillman just to do a turn. They didn't have to spell out everything. They didn't have to beat you over the head with stuff. No one was indecisive in their actions. It was something that was incredibly well put together. If Steve Austin (or Steve Williams) doesn't know how to convey what he is doing or what he is suppose to be, it's all moot. I say that because the birth of the NOD was on the Livewire the Saturday before the gun angle. Ross had hyped up Ron Simmons' appearance on Livewire the Raw that week, which was a few weeks after Sunny and Farooq amicably split as Sunny inadvertently cost Farooq the vacant IC title vs. Marc Mero. So I'm safely guessing they decided to drop the stupid Spartan or w/e the hell he was suppose to be in creative that particular week. Ross said he would be completely different. Simmons shows up with Clarence Mason on Livewire and has this big back and forth with Ahmed and then some "callers". As much as Simmons is trying to give this a good go, you can tell they don't really know how to pull this off completely. You can also tell this is a bunch of white dudes coming up with this with possibly some input from Ron, and they kinda remember some stuff they saw from Farrakhan's appearances on Donahue. It shows promise, but it's so bad at the same time. It's just Ron mixing a whole bunch of talking points together that really aren't cohesive. However, when it's white people putting it together, they probably just think it's all babble anyway. That's a huge problem. You're being dismissive of highly relevant social issues from different cultures, but at the same time wondering, "man, why didn't this character get over like we intended?" Hell, this is why I basically agreed with New Jack railing against NOD. It was flawed from the beginning because just like Jack said, "It wasn't convincing coming from Ron Simmons." To me, it wasn't because Ron wasn't black enough but what the hell was the message he was trying to convey? If you ask Ron today, he probably can't even give you a good answer. It was all over the place. Now place that up against just the Stone Cold/Pillman stuff. It's proof that good and bad shit is born of the same place. Granted, Austin was so adamant on how his character should be shaped and how to get it over. It still had to be cleared at the end of the day through the same person: Vince McMahon.

- As for someone like Yumiko Hotta, going through some of her stuff, she has the physical bad ass woman charisma down pat. Yeah, some of her stuff is just devolving into a generic kick fest. If you go through the pivotal matches when she was younger though, it's "I'm going to dish out some punishment but I expect to take your best shit as well".  I think one of the issues I had when I first got into joshi was, "these are a bunch of androgynous women trying their damnedest to wrestle like men and it's agonizing." However, it was like saying Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten in a shitty death match or 911 vs. Hack Meyers is what ECW is. Each match is just a snapshot of that moment. Take for example a match I just posted not too long ago, the Kandori vs. Hotta red title match from a LLPW show (I have the switch back to Hotta on DVD fwiw). Ten or so years ago, I would have shitted all over that match. There is something about Kandori where I go, "Yeah, you trying too hard." However, Hotta makes the match more than palatable because she's trying to get Kandori over a legit killer and the match itself over as two perennial bad asses going at it. There is this understated feminine energy of "Bitch, I'm going to try to fuck you up" that Hotta provides that usually a match like this would lack. I am not saying two very masculine women can't wrestle as much it's harder to get in sync as a wrestling match if two people provide the exact same things. Look at Flair vs. Steamboat. Misawa vs. Kawada. Misawa vs. Kobashi. Austin vs. Bret Hart. You need different ingredients to make shit work. At any point, that match could have just been a bad UWFi match but Hotta wouldn't let it be. Same could be said about Asuka vs. Hotta from years earlier, but Lioness was equally pulling her weight in that one compared Kandori. There is a sense of "this is what this wrestler is and here is how I can play off of that". No more, no less. There is a blend of vulnerability (through facial expressions, movements, etc.) matched with toughness and certain intangibles that creates high drama. Earlier I was saying what I didn't want. That blend is what I do want in my pro wrestling. How you choose to get to that destination I have no problem with AS LONG AS you get to that destination.

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3 minutes ago, odessasteps said:

Also, flair’s formulaic matches really only began once he became touring champion. 

So, a good local restaurant that went national and became cookie cutter? 

Yes and no.  I think Flair is great, but he's like the Shawn Michaels prototype.  If you went to see Flair you were going to get you money's worth, but it's all steak and lobster.  If you want innovative vegetarian fare, they'd just look at you and say, "why would you want that when you could have this?"  Ric Flair was trying to give you the best that he had every single night, but what he thought was the best had much more to do with his effort and much less to do with giving you something unique.  I think the reason him and Foley never got a long is that Foley was constantly doing something to give the fans something they've never seen, when Flair wanted to give you the best version of the thing you're used to watching.  Flair wasn't attempting to be creative as much as he was trying to be the best.

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19 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

- As for someone like Yumiko Hotta, going through some of her stuff, she has the physical bad ass woman charisma down pat. Yeah, some of her stuff is just devolving into a generic kick fest. If you go through the pivotal matches when she was younger though, it's "I'm going to dish out some punishment but I expect to take your best shit as well".  I think one of the issues I had when I first got into joshi was, "these are a bunch of androgynous women trying their damnedest to wrestle like men and it's agonizing." However, it was like saying Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten in a shitty death match or 911 vs. Hack Meyers is what ECW is. Each match is just a snapshot of that moment. Take for example a match I just posted not too long ago, the Kandori vs. Hotta red title match from a LLPW show (I have the switch back to Hotta on DVD fwiw). Ten or so years ago, I would have shitted all over that match. There is something about Kandori where I go, "Yeah, you trying too hard." However, Hotta makes the match more than palatable because she's trying to get Kandori over a legit killer and the match itself over as two perennial bad asses going at it. There is this understated feminine energy of "Bitch, I'm going to try to fuck you up" that Hotta provides that usually a match like this would lack. I am not saying two very masculine women can't wrestle as much it's harder to get in sync as a wrestling match if two people provide the exact same things. Look at Flair vs. Steamboat. Misawa vs. Kawada. Misawa vs. Kobashi. Austin vs. Bret Hart. You need different ingredients to make shit work. At any point, that match could have just been a bad UWFi match but Hotta wouldn't let it be. Same could be said about Asuka vs. Hotta from years earlier, but Lioness was equally pulling her weight in that one compared Kandori. There is a sense of "this is what this wrestler is and here is how I can play off of that". No more, no less. There is a blend of vulnerability (through facial expressions, movements, etc.) matched with toughness and certain intangibles that creates high drama. Earlier I was saying what I didn't want. That blend is what I do want in my pro wrestling. How you choose to get to that destination I have no problem with AS LONG AS you get to that destination.

This is true and I was being harsh on Hotta. It felt wrong after I hit "submit reply". She definitely had more to her than just kicking bitches, though it sometimes felt like she regressed to that. The Grand Prix final vs. Hokuto in '93 was a classic because she went beyond what she normally does in her tag matches and the few singles matches I've seen from her in that '92-'93 period, to prove her worth to the fans, Hokuto, and herself. 

And yeah, early Stone Cold before he became a caricature was probably the best wrestling character of all time. He was horrifying and captivating, completely unpredictable. I fucking loved Nutty Brian Pillman as a Canadian kid with very little understanding of his history in WCW or with Austin there. From the incredible toilet stall angle where Austin pops up behind Pillman cutting a promo in the back to the Pillmanize angle and the climax with the house invasion, it's just next level shit. Raw was actually raw. Austin BEAT THE SHIT outta those slobs acting as Pillman's security. The energy Austin had at that moment was just unreal. And to tie that together with your Farooq point, there was a promo with Austin and McMahon from I think early '97 or so when Austin was just starting to become a face of some sorts... Simmons and the NOD interrupt him on the Tron from the back and Simmons cuts this rambling promo about hard times as a Black kid that has a point but he's taking the hella scenic route in going there. Austin just cuts him off eventually yelling "SHYAAADUP!" which cracked me the fuck up even though the racial implications are ugly. Simmons wasn't the guy to pull that role off even though he had the presence, his mic skills weren't quite there and, more importantly as you've touched on, the writing was poor and clearly done by a bunch of ignorant white guys. "This is what it sounds like when Blacks whine, right?"

Edited by Jiji
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I don't want to talk about Flair but I do want to do Hansen again.

So here's the deal with Hansen. He, more than any other wrestler in history, is completely dependent on what his opponent does. He's a tool, a force of nature, and it's up to the opponent to contain it and craft a narrative. It's like wrestling a tornado. This is different than, for instance, Bill Eadie shattering the WWF heel-in-peril structure in the 80s by making his opponent work for it for narratives purposes. Instead, it's just an unthinking, ineffable wave. What makes Hansen's 90s ultimately so good is that he was just broken down enough that opponents could more believably get something in on him in ways that they could barely do in the 80s. So while you have a hundred 80s tag matches which should be interesting where he never gives and just takes and takes and takes and his otherwise excellent opponents get swallowed up because they're trying to wrestle a normal match instead, there are chinks in the armor that offensive dynamos can take advantage of. It's like someone trying to climb a mountain. The exceptions in the 80s tend to be when he's up against someone who's his boss (like Colon in PR). Hansen matches are absolutely exhausting. It's like modern Brock except for instead of doing a bunch of stupid suplexes and finishes that completely ruin the suspension of disbelief and hierarchy of offense on the rest of the card, he's just constantly throwing every part of his body at you. 

Edited by Matt D
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The talk of Hotta/Kandori is interesting to me since I just watched their 93 match. Was nice, but kind of dragged at the end with the overkill and the two kind of getting repetitive. Maybe I will watch their title match from later to compare.

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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

 

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.

If we play that silly Desert Island game and I could pick one wrestling thing I could watch there it would probably be "all the 1990-93 AJPW TV". I think there are some individual matches past that which reach new heights, most of which should be fairly obvious to name to anyone with real knowledge of the decade, but the week to week quality in that period is going to be hard to ever match again.

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I feel like '95 was the high water mark of AJPW but their TV slot was diminished, so they became even more top heavy than they already were, and the head drops were becoming excessive. At that stage, they were building to huge, all time incredible matches and the TV was not nearly as consistently good as the '90-'93 period. First half of '90 has some good shit but doesn't really pick up until Tenryu leaves (he goes out with a bang though in that last Tsuruta match in which Hansen beats the fuck out of him before the start of the match). Also by '95, the foreigner monster heels were past their absolute bests. Hansen had magic left in the tank and Williams wasn't done by any means but '94 seemed like their last great, great year IIRC. So the drama was almost entirely on the Four Pillars. 

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Big matches continued to be good but it's hard to argue that the undercards didn't get significantly worse when at one point you had Furnas and Kroffat stuck in mid-card hell despite pumping out very very good matches every single time they got on TV vs later on, like, Wolf Hawkfield and Johnny Smith when he started getting fat. Jun Izumida honestly never got good, even in NOAH. Tamon Honda basically did literally nothing at all until he had that weird, miracle run in 2003 that came almost completely out of the blue. Omori was pretty mediocre but servicable, I actually think he came very close to taking the next step at one point, but it just never quite all clicked for him. Takayama doesn't really take off until very late in the decade.The early 90's still had a somewhat healthy Kikuchi, Can-Ams, the late British Bruiser/Bulldogs stuff is still good, etc, there's just more juice there. Even guys that had shorter runs like Bigelow or Ray Traylor managed to have at least one or two fun things make tape in the early 90's. By contrast for years Johnny Ace was always around and he wasn't bad but was never really anything special either. Even when they signed Hase they didn't know what the fuck to do with him and he went over basically "nobody" which kind of neutered him. The cards got so top heavy that nothing but the top stuff mattered. Granted it was some of the best top stuff conceivable, but still. Gary Albright has rode one good match with Kawada to like 20 years of "what if"s but he honestly wasn't as good as some people wished he was.

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Izumida kinda ruled for a bit in NOAH when he was a comedy geek and somebody forced him to brush his teeth mid match or some shit. That slayed me. I remember rocking an avatar with his face covered in toothpaste for a while I think. Yeah, he wasn't really good or anything but he was fun and dorky lovable. RIP.

Omori was pretty good as a young boy then he got pushed right before the split happened. After that, NO FEAR was really fucking swell. When Takayama branched off, he was lost in the shuffle. Good, sometimes even very good, but not great.

Fuchi was the key in so many of those multiman Tsuruta/Misawa tags. Sneaky, evil bastard who would be sooooo mean and stretch Kikuchi or even the younger guys before they grew out of their young boy status like Kobashi. Then he'd sell his ass off for Kobashi when Kenta became man-sized and was pushed as such. One of the smarter wrestlers who can still get great crowd reactions doing next to nothing. He spent time in Memphis and it shows. A master of selling without taking moves. His body language said so much. I loved it when he'd do a surprise comeback as shitty, cranky old vet against Chono or in the tag w/ Kawada v. Nagata/Iizuka and he'd do the guts pose and get all fired up.

The best part of the mid-to-late '90s stretch was the rise of Akiyama. He was insanely good pretty much right away in '92 but by '95 and especially '96 he was all-time great. I know a lot of people think the December '96 tag is better than the '95 June tag. I think they're wrong but it's not a crazy statement. 

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1 hour ago, Jiji said:

The only thing that breaks up the Flair formula was when he was a babyface and damn it he was an AMAZING fiery babyface. He'd change up stuff slightly so he wasn't showing ass and instead being a bad ass. Loved it. I guess his babyface run is the McRib or something.

edit: we don't have Morton's or Ruth's here in Canada, so I  wasn't aware of them. I guess that would be like The Keg here?

There are both Morton's and Ruth's Chris in Canada....you just have to come to the cultured part 😜😁

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There are a LOT of 89-92 matches I've not seen, actually. I think that's what I'm going to do while I run on the treadmill for the next year or so. Just start with January 89 and watch almost everything.

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Be ready for the Fantastics to disappoint. There was a match vs. FOOTLOOSE (Kawada & Fuyuki) that was just... bad despite the talent involved. I was never too impressed with the Fantastics in All Japan despite thinking they'd be a great fit there because they were kind of ahead of their time in terms of moves but also still smart workers too. I think they refused to let the Japanese guys no sell their shit, rightfully so, so it just turned into a mess of a match.

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WWE is the Nickelback of wrestling.

All the 'cool' people say they hate them but when How You Remind Me/WrestleMania/Photograph/Royal Rumble is on everyone tunes in.

This is why they keep making money and keep producing the same stuff over and over.

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20 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Be ready for the Fantastics to disappoint. There was a match vs. FOOTLOOSE (Kawada & Fuyuki) that was just... bad despite the talent involved. I was never too impressed with the Fantastics in All Japan despite thinking they'd be a great fit there because they were kind of ahead of their time in terms of moves but also still smart workers too. I think they refused to let the Japanese guys no sell their shit, rightfully so, so it just turned into a mess of a match.

Yeah I adore the Fantastics in Mid South but it just didn't quite click the way one would hope in Japan. 

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20 minutes ago, L_W_P said:

WWE is the Nickelback of wrestling.

All the 'cool' people say they hate them but when How You Remind Me/WrestleMania/Photograph/Royal Rumble is on everyone tunes in.

This is why they keep making money and keep producing the same stuff over and over.

Photograph is that kind of song that when it was on radio when my radio alarm went off, I was wide awake within a couple of seconds and very pissed (it's literally the only Nickelback song I know and if all of their music is like that, then they are even worse than they are made out to be). There was a Phil Collins song ("I can't stop loving you") around the same time that evoked the same kind of feelings in me. Thinking back, it's a wonder that I never destroyed that radio alarm back then.

Edited by Robert s
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I kind of want to seek out this mediocre Fantastics stuff because they were pretty great in Mid-South and exceptional in their JCP run, and I sort of need to see the conditions in which they'd be disappointing. 

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2 hours ago, Matt D said:

I don't want to talk about Flair but I do want to do Hansen again.

So here's the deal with Hansen. He, more than any other wrestler in history, is completely dependent on what his opponent does. He's a tool, a force of nature, and it's up to the opponent to contain it and craft a narrative. It's like wrestling a tornado. This is different than, for instance, Bill Eadie shattering the WWF heel-in-peril structure in the 80s by making his opponent work for it for narratives purposes. Instead, it's just an unthinking, ineffable wave. What makes Hansen's 90s ultimately so good is that he was just broken down enough that opponents could more believably get something in on him in ways that they could barely do in the 80s. So while you have a hundred 80s tag matches which should be interesting where he never gives and just takes and takes and takes and his otherwise excellent opponents get swallowed up because they're trying to wrestle a normal match instead, there are chinks in the armor that offensive dynamos can take advantage of. It's like someone trying to climb a mountain. The exceptions in the 80s tend to be when he's up against someone who's his boss (like Colon in PR). Hansen matches are absolutely exhausting. It's like modern Brock except for instead of doing a bunch of stupid suplexes and finishes that completely ruin the suspension of disbelief and hierarchy of offense on the rest of the card, he's just constantly throwing every part of his body at you. 

Hansen is a human wrestling bear. 

(No, not that kind of bear)

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I guess modern Brock Lesnar is a good comp for Hansen as @Matt D argued. I was going to say, and I know this was sacrilege, that he reminded me of Brody in that he does a lot of stuff and doesn't really sell, but there's not much going on there that is discernibly anything except "watch me no-sell and do this random shit."*

Which can work if you're wrestling Andre the Giant and you're the smaller guy because then you look like a badass whose plan is to throw everything at this unstoppable monster that you're fighting, but otherwise, it's not a very flexible way to work!

*Note that I haven't seen Brody in PR so maybe he doesn't work like that there, but otherwise, all the Brody I've seen feels like senseless striking and no-selling non-stop.

Edited by Smelly McUgly
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There's not a wrestler dead or alive who hasn't been repetitive in some form or another. I don't think there's ever been a wrestler who approached each match like it was an open canvas ready to paint a masterpiece. It's just not realistic. Not with the amount of matches a wrestler workers. You have bad nights, off nights, unimportant nights. The amount of effort and energy it requires to work a great match is impossible to produce night in, night out, and that's not taking into account how many great matches may have occurred simply by chance. It makes sense to fall back on a formula, a routine, some form of shtick. Fans like us like to point to half a dozen big matches where wrestlers are working at their best and tout their artistry, or find minute differences in an assortment of performances and expound on their versatility, but it's all a bit overblown.

Having said that, I don't think All Japan's booking reflects the artistry of what the wrestlers were trying to do stylistically. And I'm not saying that as a super fan. In fact, the whole super fan thing turns me off a bit. But if you watch one of the matches outside of that bubble, and you're in the right mood for it, the sheer focus on the match, and really every moment or beat of that match, shows a staggering amount of concentration and focus. I am convinced that if they hadn't had a clear focus on what they wanted to do stylistically, they would have wrestled much looser matches. 

Escalation is a problem in all styles of wrestling. I can't think of a style that didn't suffer from it over time. There are limits to what can be achieved creatively. The wrestlers would have had to have re-imagined and reinvented the style and created something new. Who's to say they didn't use up all of their creativity creating the style in the first place? In the case of All Japan, I think you can clearly see that NOAH, while it had its differences, wasn't exactly some trailblazing new style. The root cause of the problems in Japan, IMO, is that they didn't get a new wave of wrestlers. For whatever reason, perhaps the diminishing TV presence, they didn't get as many rookie tryouts and new talent in the 90s as they did in the 80s. Without fresh talent, you become stale. New Japan managed to eventually develop some generational talent, but it took them a while. The Japanese wrestling business has always had severe peaks and troughs, even during the Showa era, but it's basically the same as the US market -- an act gets hot and business heats up. That didn't happen in the 90s. Instead, the promoters cashed in on inter-promotional feuds, had a few fat paydays, and nothing they could book after that which could capture the fans' imaginations. 

As for Hansen, I think there is good Hansen and bad Hansen. A problem I find with wrestling fans is that a lot of people only see the good. If they like a wrestler, everything about them has to be good. The only time you get a balanced take on a guy is when people have contrary views, but often those people think the wrestler is bad. So, it just becomes an argument, good vs. bad, when in fact a warts and all take would be more insightful. I don't think Hansen is complicated, though. He was bat shit blind when he took off his glasses, went full throttle swinging at folks and sometimes connected. If you could take the fight to him, the match was generally good. He was pretty good at selling and generous when the paycheck was good. There are things you wouldn't want to see Hansen do like matwork or bumping and stooging because that would be boring, un-Hansen like, and not cool. Generally speaking, you do not expect Hansen to be a super worker in the vein of Nick Bockwinkel. Hansen belongs in the big man category not the super worker category.  

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I'm a Stan Hansen Stan (SHS, feel free to use that and thank me or damn me later), but I've never seen a Stan Hansen match that I haven't enjoyed on some level. At best, it's an amazing match of someone trying to take down a redneck Godzilla. At worst, it's just Stan Hansen clotheslining the shit out of someone so that he can win enough money to drink shit beer and his big fat wife and 9 kids can eat Spaghetti-Os.

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There are also lots of tropes related to pro wrestling as there are in any other artistic medium, and those tropes get used all the time. 

Repetition does not mean that great art can't be made. Originality is somewhat overrated. 

(Sorry to reduce your post to just that response, OJ, but that's what caught my eye the most.)

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49 minutes ago, Smelly McUgly said:

I kind of want to seek out this mediocre Fantastics stuff because they were pretty great in Mid-South and exceptional in their JCP run, and I sort of need to see the conditions in which they'd be disappointing. 

I've never seen a bad Fantastics match. Granted I haven't done a lot of deep dives into their stuff but they were a team that was so good at the formula, that even a "bad" match of theirs always came across as decent enough to me because of how good they were.

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