Professional Wrestling


#141

Well I don’t follow WWE outside of the few episodes of NXT I’ve watched, but as I understand they are the biggest production, they have most content out every week and they have huge production values. That’s all basically secondary, but it’s easy to understand how that can seem attractive.

Other thing is that despite all the hate, people talk a lot about WWE and there are good things in there too often enough. And as people talk about WWE it creates this “I should also watch WWE to be part of the conversation” -mentality. I too have on occasion seen or heard interesting stuff about WWE happenings and thought to myself “maybe I watch some of that”. That kind of pull of the masses is kinda hard to deal with.


#142

It’s a little bit like asking a hockey fan why they watch the NHL during the dead puck era, except that currently the WWE is far better than the NHL was during the dead puck era.

The thing is that WWE is mostly “the only game in town”. Well, this isn’t true entirely because due to the internet and its limitless capability of word-to-mouth marketing and access to coverage has made it easier for indie feds to gain an audience. However, the WWE is the biggest out there and thus can rather easily outspend everyone else. This leads to them essentially having a near monopoly of the top talent in the business. And WWE does have a ton of very talented, hard-working wrestlers who are generally fun to watch perform.

What people complain about isn’t really the wrestlers or their performances. I don’t like Roman Reigns because I find botht he character and his wrestling style exceedingly boring, but I understand that he is doing a competent job in the ring. What people are annoyed with are the storylines and some of the corporate decisions i.e. who gets to be champion. This is called the booking.

Absolute trash-fests like this years Battleground PPV are actually exceedingly rare, and even there the fault lies primarily on the booking and not the wrestlers themselves. Thanks to the WWE network even that is kind of negligible due to the rather low cost when comparing to the old pay-per-view format. The network costs me 10€ a month. It and NJPWWorld (which is about 8€) are the only things I pay for in wrestling. Before the network you spend like 40-60 dollars on a pay per view. Then add NXT and 205 live which have genuinely good wrestling as well for a ton of content as well as access to the entire archive of WWE and the network is exceedingly cheap.

Basically all of this boils down to that the meat of the matter, the actual wrestling performances are very good and the internet wrestling community just very much likes to complain over the packaging. And while there are better promotions out there, the WWE is so big and so monumental that as a wrestling fan you can hardly avoid being involved with it and it is relatively cheap entertainment, that can be of varying quality. While this years Battleground PPV was awful, last years was one of the best PPVs of the year and had some genuinely great matches.

As for live events, I haven’t been to one yet since I am from europe, but I hear that live events are generally better an experience. At house-shows (which are usually non-canon except apprently when at MSG) wrestlers are often allowed to perform less restrained and can be more genuine without having to fit all the storyline stuff in between. Going to RAW or Smackdown on the other hand is about the atmosphere where you can share in seeing the storyline turns live.

In short

  • WWE is cheap (free on TV, the network is 10 bucks a month)
  • WWE produces tons of content
  • WWE quality ranges from poor to phenomenal, but mostly is above average with more highs than lows
  • WWE is ubiquitous and has no competition on the same level

#143

People are willing to spend a small amount of money on it. They are willing to spend time in their lives watching it. They are excited to talk about it. Maybe the booking that they you say is bad is actually not bad? If it was bad, it would turn you away from watching it because it would not be entertaining. Maybe it is actually more entertaining to book it in such a way that people complain about it. If everyone’s favorite wrestler is always the champ it will be a snooze job. You can’t get a big reaction out of that. Make someone nobody likes the champ, and now you get people talking. You get people watching because you want to see them lose so bad.

I’m just saying it’s always weird how all the words I see online about WWE are negative, but the vibe I feel from fans is immensely positive.


#144

Just booing the commish writ large?


#145

That’s what it looks like to me.


#146

You are also observing Internet which is pretty adept at focusing on the negatives. I’m sure that WWE has actual real issues and people who bring those up have valid complaints. But it’s impossible to access, especially as a outsider, how much unmentioned good there is and what is the ratio between good and bad, as every person weights those things differently. Most people don’t demand their entertainment to be perfect, as long as it’s good enough on average.


#147

That’s true. I’m sure the people who unabashedly just fucking love WWE aren’t saying much on the Internets.


#148

@petimort I got balcony seats for $50 (plus Ticketmaster fees), but I think you can get some for as low as $30.

Scott, I remember that you guys always said that you don’t review PAXes much anymore, by way of saying, “If we don’t talk about it, assume that it was good. We’ll only bring up the notably bad experiences.” Internet wrestling fan culture can be much the same way, especially on Twitter. But Rym is right, the complaints and booing are directed at specific writing and creative decisions moreso than the product itself or any given wrestler.

The thing I enjoy most about wrestling fandom is watching it with your friends, and of course going to live wrestling is always fun - I imagine in the same way that any live professional hockey is worth going to. But other than local minor-league shows, which I try to go to any time I can, the WWE is really the only option for live wrestling.

WWE is the most easily available organization to watch, it’s the most recognizable so you have a higher likelihood of being able to discuss it with people in the real world, they have the money to sign some of the best talent from all over the world to build an incredible roster that can put on incredible matches, and at times the week-to-week stories have been incredibly good.

But now that it’s much easier to see the alternatives such as NJPW, RoH, and Lucha Underground than it used to be, we see how high the ceiling can be for a booked show - and in fact the WWE can push it even higher than anyone other than NJPW due to the money they can throw at production values. But it’s clear that the WWE squanders it’s resources and often ignores incredibly talented workers in favor of their chosen few. Even going back to the Hogan era, the WWE always had one big hero, and everyone else mostly exists to make that hero look better. The problem is that Roman Reigns isn’t nearly as universally as popular as Hogan was, no matter how much Vince wishes he was.

My current main beef with what they are doing is that their top guy is essentially Poochie. So much so that the edict, "whenever Poochie’s not on screen, all the other characters should be asking ‘Where’s Poochie?’ " has literally happened. And I keep watching and supporting the guys that I do like, and usually just use the bathroom or get food during that guy’s segments. 90% of my complaints about the company would be gone if they stopped writing characters like that.


#149

It’s not like fans hate everything about WWE. There are some big missteps but as others have said, complaints are much easier voiced than satisfied opinions.

I like comparing wrestling to superhero comics or maybe Weekly Shonen Jump (and yes, the difference is negligible). When you buy WSJ, you get a package of tons of different manga featuring different storylines. You are interested in some of the manga, but probably not all. You are probably not going to read every issue of WSJ from cover to cover and perhaps you find one series actively bad and wish it was going away. The comparison goes even more so for stuff like Marvel comics which is far more expensive to keep up if you were to want to have the option to read everything.


#150

With all that said, I have always wanted to go to a show at Madison Square Garden but never had the excuse. So I would be totally up for going to the city next time the WWE comes to MSG and buy tickets for Rym and Scott if they would be willing to do an episode/Geekbyte on the experience. We could even make a FRCF event out of it.


#151

They do, but they don’t usually hang in traditional nerd circles. The analogy to the NHL above is fairly apt. Most wrestling fans don’t hate everything about WWE, though I generally dislike their “house style” compared to New Japan and higher level independent wrestling. My favorite wrestler, Bryan Danielson, ended his career in WWE. Most American wrestlers want to go there for the chance of making it in the big time, just like a hockey player wants to go to the NHL, even if they end up on a bad team or with a bad coach. I’m sure the Rangers have had bad years, but a player you really love to watch play, and you hope that they could build the team around that player or get a better coach in place. That’s the closest analogy I can offer.


#152

Watched the final day of G1 Blocks today and it was a great show live. Then I had something else to do, but just now I rewatched Okada vs. Omega III. What a damn match. Just as good as the previous two in half the time. Completely different pace from their other two encounters which makes it feel fresh and unique, and the angle with Okada’s neck also gives it a new dimension not present in the other two matches. These two have put together thee of the best matches in the history of the business in just over eight months. Just unbelievable.

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s final. Gonna eat a stack of pancakes and watch the best wrestling on the planet at 8 in the morning.


#153

Just watched the G1 Climax 27 Final. What an event. Most of the card was just tag matches with a lot of story implications thrown in though no real payoff yet. However, both tag team belts were also defended. First Taguchi Japan challenged the Young bucks for the Junior belts, with Ricochet (a.k.a. Prince Puma) and Ryusuke Taguchi building a team. This was a very good and very well worked tag team match. The Heavyweight tag titles were defended by War Machine against a Bullet Club team consisting of Cody and Hangman Page.

The show also featured three high profile returns. The first and most important happened at the start of the intermission after the Jr. Tag Title Match. Suddenly a very familar music starts playing and out comes motherfucking Katsuyori Shibata, looking in good health and very much a smile on his face. After getting in the ring, in true Shibata fashion, he just belts out two words in japanese which essentially translate to english as “I’m alive! That’s all!” and left. Many a tear were shed in the arena for this.

The second return was the Killer Elite Squad who attacked the winners and new challengers after the Heavyweight tag title match. One of them was on the shelf for quite some time. The third return was LIJ mascot Daryl who is on the mend.

And then of course the Final between Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito. Holy crap what a match. I think that it would be even better than any of the three Okada/Omega matches if not for an unfortunate botch during a table spot on the outside. Can’t even fault either man for it really, just bad circumstance. The match was incredible regardless, particularly two insane top-rope spots in a row. For now my match of the year.


#154

I loved that Kenny brought back the shades and jacket with his updated costume. His new tights really bring everything from all of his eras together from his time with as part of the Golden Lovers to The Elite. I was going to comment on the lack of bullet club stuff on it, but then I remembered he generally only does the shirt if anything at all.

As for Omega/Okada 3, I think I can almost say that I like this one more because of the more brisk paced brought by the decreased time limit. The way the brought their g1 injuries and exhaustion into light was also really great, altough it highlights my problem with the whole tournament. That being the amount of actual wear and tear it brings to its contestants, which is not something I particularly enjoy seeing.

Daryl is also back, and all is right in the world.


#155

Ric Flair is currently in the hospital for heart-related issues, and it’s been reported that he was put into a medically induced coma. :frowning:


#156

Oh no, not Ric. That’s going to be a hard one for a lot of people, a true legend. Time to rewatch his matches with Ricky Steamboat.


#157

I think this is the only time it will ever be appropriate to say wooooooooooooo! when there is bad news.


#158

Only wellwishes to Flair and the Flair family :frowning:


#159

Of course this is only one mans opinion, but Dave Meltzer’s star ratings are very well respected around the wrestling community. He has now published his ratings for the last couple of days of the G1 climax tournament, and gave out three ratings of five stars or above, one on each of the block finals and the G1 final proper. This brings NJPW to eight matches this year that have gotten this kind of rating. For comparison the last time a WWE match received a rating of 5 stars was in 2011 (though a lot of people begrudge him for not giving the UK Championship title match at NXT TakeOver Chicago earlier this year a 5 star match, and I could see it very much deserving it).

The matches:

Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega @ Wrestle Kingdom 11 (Jan. 4) (6 Stars)

Tetsuya Naito vs Michael Elgin @ The New Beginning In Osaka (Feb. 11) (5 Stars)

Kazuchika Okada vs Katsuyori Shibata @ Sakura Genesis (Apr. 9) (5 Stars)

KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay @ Best Of The Super Juniors Finals (Jun. 3) (5 Stars)

Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega @ Dominion (Jun. 11) (6.25 Stars)

Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi @ G1 Climax Day 17 (Aug. 11) (5 Stars)

Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada @ G1 Climax Day 18 (Aug. 12) (6 Stars)

Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega @ G1 Climax Finals (Aug. 13) (5.75 Stars)

#160

I’m pretty sure this has to do in part with (aside from njwp being fantastic) the crew knowing exactly what Meltzer likes, on top of him being a bit biased to begin with. There are enough Meltzer rankings to be able to study what will get a rise out of him.

I do wonder if the use of the 6 star ranking represents a demarcation of his rating system or just to make those matches stand out above all else? Like, will we see a 5.5 star match? Maybe I’ll ask him on Twitter. :thinking: