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Your wrestling HOT TAKES


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17 minutes ago, Wyld Samurai said:

Probably because she was around people hooked on soma's and was given them. 

Yeah, something like: "Hey, Liz! Your segment was pretty early in the evening and you seem bored. I've got something here that will make the waiting around seem nice and fluffy!"

...and also, maybe you should try some of these muscle relaxants! They're pretty cool, too!

Edited by Shartnado
Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Here's a big one. Ahem.

Your relationship to wrestling is (probably) defined by your own adolescent delusions, when you thought you could grow up to be a professional wrestler.

I would wager to guess that 90% of this board, if so much as a squirt gun was pressed to their temple, would instantly be able to rattle off their preferred A) gimmick name B) entrance music C) finishing move.

I can't think of a single vocation that is more in-tune with adolescent male wish fulfillment, except for maybe being a rapper. Sport is obviously the big one of the last century-plus - the ex-high school football star knocking back boilermakers to calm his lumbar while pining for the glory days is a pretty accurate portrait of a pretty common human destination. But the delusion of athletic greatness breaks a lot quicker - a big injury, no scholarships, or just pairing up with a person who's so superior to you at a meet that you have to go "oh, fuck, I really can't pay the bills with this." But wrestling success isn't determined by such objective criteria as a win/loss record or your numbers at the combine. You can delude yourself for a long time by thinking you could be the most charismatic, the most creative, the hardest working, the guy who knows the most holds, the most willing to jump off of a very high ladder.

And it's not like you can just join the pro-wrestling club in school and find out that you suck at it. Instead you try out new moves on your siblings, backyard with your friends, get really into Fire Pro CAWs, book an e-fed, something. Mostly, you daydream. You cut promos against actual wrestlers while you're taking a shower. You hit the "back" button on whatever device is playing your music so you can hear that one track from the beginning and figure out the EXACT beat where you should burst through the imaginary curtain. You cycle through the move list in a video game, picking out sweet-looking techniques that you could conceivably do to somebody else, skipping over Presses both Gorilla and Shooting Star if you're inadequate in strength or agility. You interact with pro-wrestling in no small part by living this childhood of quiet desperation.

Pro wrestling fandom was built on the delusion of kayfabe. The artform has always been such an obvious work, it would have never gotten off the ground if old-timey marks weren't willing to delude themselves - but a change in culture and communication necessitated the truth being laid too bare to disbelieve. And so, a ton has been written (in this thread and elsewhere) about pro wrestling existing in pre-and-post kayfabe eras, along with the transitional years between, let's say, Black Saturday and Montreal. We can collectively agree that we miss the days when we wanted the Good Guy to beat the Bad Guy, but that we Can Never Go Home Again. The Genie's Out of the Bottle. God is Dead. Et cetera. 

So I ask you, if you can consider the evolution of the audience's understanding of pro wrestling, also consider your own. Why did you dream of main-eventing a Wrestlemania when your were a kid? When did you start realizing that this was all just a hobby? Would you love and hate the same things then, when you still had the boyhood dream? When I was ten I wanted to be Chris Jericho because he was a normal-sized person who succeeded on evil schemes and shit-talking. It was something I could aspire to. When I was in high school we would drive to Philly and watch tapes so we could steal spots for our backyard fed. I learned all of Chris Hero's cravate set-ups because I was good at remembering them, and I actually had an outlet where I could apply that knowledge. When I went to college there wasn't that outlet anymore, so I didn't have as much of a reason to watch. Now I'm in my mid-thirties and I've been living with a woman who has become an AEW diehard and I've been watching more wrestling than any point in my life since I was 17. Is it because of her? Is it because I have this board to post on? Was there just nothing better to do during quarantine? Did it take the death of my boyhood dream to finally appreciate all the 1986 Memphis TV I've been working through? Maybe I'll know in ten years. But when I state my opinions and argue my tastes in regards to pro wrestling, I consider how I got here. I knew wrestling was fake from the beginning, but grew up watching it with stars in my eyes and a dream in my heart. That was my kayfabe.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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I like the hot take, and I do think that pro wrestling is wish fulfillment, but I'm not sure it's that different from any other wish fulfillment in the way that @John E. Dynamitedescribes it. I mean, in sports, actual adults are still out here challenging white guys like Brian Scalabrine and WNBA players* to one-on-one games thinking that they can work these players because they're really good when they ball out at their local LA Fitness.

For me, wrestling is about a) the characters and b) the broad tropes that make up most entertainment. I want the entertaining guy who is good to beat the evil guy he opposes. I want to see a person who just starts out as a starry-eyed rookie find a belief in themselves to become champ rather than just being glad to be in the same room as the champs, etc. 

Which is not to say that Mr. Dynamite is wrong! I just see those points a bit differently. 

 

Edited by Smelly McUgly
*No offense to white or female basketball players; my point is that people internalize stupid-ass stereotypes and have entirely too much self-belief in their own competence, not that white or female basketball players are necessarily deficient in any way.
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I guess if I had to boil all that psudeo-prose into an argument, it would be - most wrestling die-hard fandom begins in adolescence. It happens when being entertained by wrestling turns into fantasizing about participating in it. Because of the nature of how the artform is performed and presented, the element of fantasizing plays a bigger role in wrestling fandom than others. Even more than in sport, acting, or music. And following that, most wrestling fans subconciously reach a point where they stop fantasizing and it changes the way the interact with the artform/product.

And I'm got a mess of "hot takes" that follow from that assumption and go out on a longer limb. Here's one... almost all post-kayfabe babyfaces have easy-to-perform finishing moves because Vince wants kids doing them to each other on the playground. The common assumption is that "out of nowhere" finishers get big, unexpected pops for said babyfaces. That makes sense. But  moves like the Stunner, The People's Elbow, Superkick, Spear, AA, the Swanton Bomb, any babyface sumbission finisher... these are things that kids do to each other. Powerbombs are hard. Your friends won't always let you piledrive them. The number of younger siblings who have had sock-covered hands shoved in their mouths? Tens of millions. And I think it's by design.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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4 hours ago, John E. Dynamite said:

I guess if I had to boil all that psudeo-prose into an argument, it would be - most wrestling die-hard fandom begins in adolescence. It happens when being entertained by wrestling turns into fantasizing about participating in it. Because of the nature of how the artform is performed and presented, the element of fantasizing plays a bigger role in wrestling fandom than others. Even more than in sport, acting, or music. And following that, most wrestling fans subconciously reach a point where they stop fantasizing and it changes the way the interact with the artform/product.

And I'm got a mess of "hot takes" that follow from that assumption and go out on a longer limb. Here's one... almost all post-kayfabe babyfaces have easy-to-perform finishing moves because Vince wants kids doing them to each other on the playground. The common assumption is that "out of nowhere" finishers get big, unexpected pops for said babyfaces. That makes sense. But  moves like the Stunner, The People's Elbow, Superkick, Spear, AA, the Swanton Bomb, any babyface sumbission finisher... these are things that kids do to each other. Powerbombs are hard. Your friends won't always let you piledrive them. The number of younger siblings who have had sock-covered hands shoved in their mouths? Tens of millions. And I think it's by design.

I wonder if a significant amount of fans ever stop fantasizing in that way. 

Actually, that's my hot take. A lot of fans who are quick-witted, clever, storytelling types can always dream of how they'd cut a promo on an angle they're watching or what they'd do to further a storyline, and I'd guess that most wrestling fans (and honestly, fans of sports and entertainment) fantasize still about those things, but are less open about it because it's considered immature or shameful to do so. 

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On 4/20/2021 at 8:53 PM, Smelly McUgly said:

I wonder if a significant amount of fans ever stop fantasizing in that way. 

Actually, that's my hot take. A lot of fans who are quick-witted, clever, storytelling types can always dream of how they'd cut a promo on an angle they're watching or what they'd do to further a storyline, and I'd guess that most wrestling fans (and honestly, fans of sports and entertainment) fantasize still about those things, but are less open about it because it's considered immature or shameful to do so. 

That's Part Two of the theory. I drove around a lot today and I kept Busted Open on the ol' outer-space radio. Lifetime mark Dave LaGreca always opens the show by doing this weird caricature of a ring announcer, often during interviews he breaks into what could be described as a "bathroom mirror promo". Legitimate Hall Of Famer-cum-Dignified Has-Been Bubba Ray Dudley spends most of every show fantasy booking. Mark Henry does the same thing & might be the best example on that show of a guy who can't stop the fantasy. Why would he? He's training for a comeback, he'll get one, and it will make him happy.

This board, just one example of many, is likely populated by boyhood dreamers who grew up but didn't move on. Now we imagine we're bookers, color commentators, managers and Meltzers. It's not like this is the only case of "armchair quarterbacking" in the world, but yeah, it really hits different in the pro-wrestling fandom - and I say this as someone who knows just as many high-school sports stars as he does old punk rockers and failed Broadway/Hollywood chasers. Those types can (and sometimes do) live their entire lives yearning for the unattainable glory of their extracurriculars,  but it usually requires a more active level of delusion and regret OR they find a legit outlet. Some find jobs or side gigs in education, promotion or volunteering, or become stage hands or folks who work at certain venues. Some people have kids to live vicariously through, for better or worse. But pro wrestling is too weird and niche to have all those outlets. Old smarks chit-chatting on the internet? Thinking that you're a better booker than Watts, a better businessman than Vince, a better critic than Meltz and a haver of hotter takes than Corny isn't just par for the course, it's the foundation of most discourse. It's the final, terminal state of the essential delusion.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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11 minutes ago, John E. Dynamite said:

This board, just one example of many, is likely populated by boyhood dreamers who grew up but didn't move on. Now we imagine we're bookers, color commentators, managers and Meltzers. It's not like this is the only case of "armchair quarterbacking" in the world, but yeah, it really hits different in the pro-wrestling fandom - and I say this as someone who knows just as many high-school sports stars as he does old punk rockers and failed Broadway/Hollywood chasers. Those types can (and sometimes do) live their entire lives yearning for the unattainable glory of their extracurriculars,  but it usually requires a more active level of delusion and regret. Some find jobs or side gigs in education, promotion or volunteering, or become stage hands or folks who work at certain venues. Some people have kids to live vicariously through, for better or worse. But pro wrestling is too weird and niche to have all those outlets. Old pro wrestling fans chit-chatting on the internet? Thinking that you're a better booker than Watts, a better businessman than Vince, a better critic than Meltz and a haver of hotter takes than Corny isn't just par for the course, it's the foundation of most discourse. It's the final, terminal state of the essential delusion.

I'm sure some of us just imagine ourselves as consumers and are content to be a schmuck on this side of the rail. Maybe that's my delusion, that I'm just an asshole with an opinion who doesn't want to be any of these things. When someone's got takes and critiques of Marvel flicks, I'm not sure I'd break down their psychology to the point where I think they're working through their unfulfilled desire to be a better director than James Gunn or a better producer than Kevin Feige. I'd hate to think we've got a board of people who look at their participation here and see it as "the final, terminal state of the essential delusion." 

Maybe the mindset you speak of is different for people who actively endeavoured to become something in wrestling. I don't know. I find this whole concept very foreign. Yes, it's true that our relationship with something we discover in adolescence would have to change if we were to continue on with it throughout life. But I don't think that leads to a delusional stasis of aging dreamers who are trying to hold onto or reclaim something. Maybe I'm just missing the point entirely. I dunno. 

I mean I know everything here is kind of meaningless. But I'd like to think it's not so meaningless that it'd fill me with the kind of existential dread I feel at the concept of a final, terminal state of essential delusion.

You're bumming me out, man! Don't make me feel old! 

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28 minutes ago, John from Cincinnati said:

I'm sure some of us just imagine ourselves as consumers and are content to be a schmuck on this side of the rail. Maybe that's my delusion, that I'm just an asshole with an opinion who doesn't want to be any of these things. When someone's got takes and critiques of Marvel flicks, I'm not sure I'd break down their psychology to the point where I think they're working through their unfulfilled desire to be a better director than James Gunn or a better producer than Kevin Feige. I'd hate to think we've got a board of people who look at their participation here and see it as "the final, terminal state of the essential delusion." 

Maybe the mindset you speak of is different for people who actively endeavoured to become something in wrestling. I don't know. I find this whole concept very foreign. Yes, it's true that our relationship with something we discover in adolescence would have to change if we were to continue on with it throughout life. But I don't think that leads to a delusional stasis of aging dreamers who are trying to hold onto or reclaim something. Maybe I'm just missing the point entirely. I dunno. 

I mean I know everything here is kind of meaningless. But I'd like to think it's not so meaningless that it'd fill me with the kind of existential dread I feel at the concept of a final, terminal state of essential delusion.

You're bumming me out, man! Don't make me feel old! 

Oh, don't sweat it. I'll tell you why my point was wrong to begin with - I just didn't think my initial take was "hot" enough to warrant what the thread was asking for.

Those ex punks actually played shows and sold some cassettes, those Broadway hopefuls did dinner theater and maybe even cashed some checks under Actors Equity, the Mellencampian ex-QBs accomplished valid things as student athletes. Those metaphors have nothing to do with my understanding of being a wrestling fan. There are many people on this board who have had experiences in the industry that could speak a lot more to those points. Hell, at least four or five of us are either CM Punk, Tony Khan, or both (myself included).

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19 hours ago, John E. Dynamite said:

This board, just one example of many, is likely populated by boyhood dreamers who grew up but didn't move on. Now we imagine we're bookers, color commentators, managers and Meltzers. It's not like this is the only case of "armchair quarterbacking" in the world, but yeah, it really hits different in the pro-wrestling fandom - and I say this as someone who knows just as many high-school sports stars as he does old punk rockers and failed Broadway/Hollywood chasers. Those types can (and sometimes do) live their entire lives yearning for the unattainable glory of their extracurriculars,  but it usually requires a more active level of delusion and regret. Some find jobs or side gigs in education, promotion or volunteering, or become stage hands or folks who work at certain venues. Some people have kids to live vicariously through, for better or worse. But pro wrestling is too weird and niche to have all those outlets. Old pro wrestling fans chit-chatting on the internet? Thinking that you're a better booker than Watts, a better businessman than Vince, a better critic than Meltz and a haver of hotter takes than Corny isn't just par for the course, it's the foundation of most discourse. It's the final, terminal state of the essential delusion.

First of all, how dare you?  Second of all, I'm pretty sure the wrestling business would cease to exist without this phenomenon.  I don't even watch much wrestling any more, most of the desiccated corpse that is my wrestling fandom is found on this board arguing about what is good and bad in wrestling.

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Copied and pasted from the AEW Dynamite thread:

Hot take: MJF is not nearly at the promo ability level that so many, including Meltzer, think he is.  Shit, Wardlow showed more charisma and composure, and was more natural, than MJF, who had to fall on his common crutches of using insider terms and being too cute by half.  I guess if promo ability is determined in 2021 by being all worky shooty, then he's great.  Otherwise, he's got a long way to go.  MJF is praised right now because the bar among his contemporaries is so low.

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I think @John E. Dynamite's posts could warrant a thread unto themselves. Great discussion so far.

As an addendum to the take: I feel it's hard to underestimate the lure of simple nostalgia when it comes to things like this, even for those who harbored no real dreams of being a professional wrestler. (Not to discount the value in tracing the evolution of one's own appreciation for the artform.)

Despite all of the horrible things we've learned about this industry, many of us still get a kick out of watching pro wrestling. I suspect the reasons behind that are different for everybody, as has already been written about - for some it's the armchair booking, others still live vicariously through the action. Now that I'm older and have been in the workforce for over a decade, I'm back on the board because I wanted to occasionally write about something that isn't health insurance.

 Just my personal nostalgia example, though:

Many people will complain about the video quality and overall poor functionality of NJPWWorld. I, however, take comfort in the fact that there are still some "primitive," low-def elements to it. It reminds me of the times where I would run in to the house to see that my package of bootleg puroresu VHS tapes had arrived, throw them in the VCR, and watch something brand-new and exciting through a grainy lens (I should note I discovered puro in my early teens, for those of you who find bounding in to the house in search of a package to be unacceptable adult behavior). That's it. It relaxes me and brings me back to a bygone, simpler time in my life without necessarily having a participatory dream/element to it.

Though if I ever get to wrestle a match, I'm totally gonna spit the Muta mist and do Tanahashi's flying body press to the outside 😉.

 

Edited by Teflon Turtle
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On 4/20/2021 at 3:45 PM, Smelly McUgly said:

I like the hot take, and I do think that pro wrestling is wish fulfillment, but I'm not sure it's that different from any other wish fulfillment in the way that @John E. Dynamitedescribes it. I mean, in sports, actual adults are still out here challenging white guys like Brian Scalabrine and WNBA players* to one-on-one games thinking that they can work these players because they're really good when they ball out at their local LA Fitness.

For me, wrestling is about a) the characters and b) the broad tropes that make up most entertainment. I want the entertaining guy who is good to beat the evil guy he opposes. I want to see a person who just starts out as a starry-eyed rookie find a belief in themselves to become champ rather than just being glad to be in the same room as the champs, etc. 

Which is not to say that Mr. Dynamite is wrong! I just see those points a bit differently. 

 

This isn't a wrestling take but you bringing up the Scalabrine thing made me think of just how wide the gulf between your good streetballer is to your benchwarming college player to good college player to NBA player is. I mean it's huge. I remember the college players would play against normal dudes in street ball and just never miss. And there were guys who couldn't get off the bench on the college team (Miami Hurricanes) playing against guys who played in high school. And then every now and then an NBA player from the Heat or a visiting team would show up for a quick workout at the Wellness Center (the gym at UM) and it was just amazing.

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You're reminding me of the first professional tennis tournament I ever attended in person. It was a Challenger event, the level below the main tour. When I drove up to the club to watch practice, it sounded like a damned shooting range, the crack of ball on racquet was so loud. And then watching these guys, the speed of the ball and the movement... my jaw was hanging open. These were players struggling to get by on tour, not even seeded in this little tournament, and they would absolutely crush any local player. When you watched them and realized there were at least two more levels up before you get to guys like Federer and Nadal... damn.

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My Hot Take is that the reason Koko B Ware named his version of the Brainbuster the Ghostbuster NOT because he was trying to capitalise on the popularity of the movie Ghostbusters, but because he knew that the two most high profile previous wrestlers who used the Brainbuster were both in the KKK. And KKK people in the robes look like ghosts innit?

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I have another hot take. Chris Benoit vs Booker T sucked. The matches were alright but add the feud up and it’s sucked. They didn’t have chemistry at all. I loved the TV Title but it was a step down for Benoit and it was limbo for Booker T who it wasn’t a step down for only because he hadn’t been elevated above it yet. 

Both guys had better matches with others. Booker T was so good for a guy his size that people forget how huge he was. His US Title vs BBP was an alltime great super heavyweight match. Benoit’s best matches against other guys make his Booker T matches look like crap. 

Chris Benoit vs many guys in WCW at the time was a match people would have paid to watch 7 times in a row. Make it a main event and...well that was as big of a fantasy then as it is now lol! They chose Booker T. Man imagine a best of 7 series vs Eddie. Heck it might have been to much. They might have proposed it and Hogan said naw we can’t do that because yeah lol!

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53 minutes ago, The Great ML said:

Hot Take: SummerSlam 1997 had one of the best PPV opening promo packages / voice overs ever.

”Life isn’t fair...but whoever said it would be?”

This. Tagging @olythegreat89 as he has the SummerSlam 1997 poster as a profile picture. One of the best wrestling posters ever.

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