How To Adapt To Today's Wrestling
For years I followed, loved, and supported the modern style, “indie” wrestling product. I had a podcast (From the Top Turnbuckle) and covered promotions around the world, most passionately though, my local promotions (UWE, LCW, Legacy, etc.). This lead to me working for those promotions as a commentator and interviewer, later also working for several other promotions, most notably MCW Pro Wrestling, based in Joppa Maryland. I had an absolute blast during those years!
What made me fall out of love with the modern, indie style, was the arrival of guys like Joey Ryan and Dick Justice, as well as the promotion of undertrained guys, often to the very top of indie promotions, simply based on their friendship with the promoters, or their willingness to keep paying for training, no matter how much that training wasn’t helping. Things like “dance offs” in the middle of matches, and top indie guys wrestling “invisible men” also chased me away. I found all of these things not only embarrassing, but an insult to professional wrestling as a whole. This drove me to branding myself as “The Wrestling Snob” on the hunt for only the best professional wrestling.
When AEW first began I was excited! Finally a real alternative to the WWE. Sadly though, AEW featured and used a fair amount of talents that embraced the foolishness I hated. Sure, they had some good, solid, matches, but to me, they were often ruined by the weirdos and goofballs out there doing their shtick on the same cards. However; if you’ve noticed, most of those “wrestlers” are gone, or demoted to the YouTube shows now, simply because they aren’t a real draw. Being on top of small indie card is one thing, but being on National TV is another. Selling 300 tickets is different than selling 5,000 or more.
Finally, after three years, AEW has settled into being a solid company. Yes, Tony Kahn and company cater to the “smarks.” AEW doesn’t seem desperate to draw in the casual fans. Maybe that’s a mistake, but being that I can’t stand casual wrestling fans, I’m okay with it. As of late, AEW really reminds me of the indie wrestling company I worked for, that I loved most, and that was Legacy Wrestling. This is the main reason that I find it appealing right now. That said though, there are some rules, or line items, that you need to not only accept, but embrace, if you’re an old school guys like me, wanting to follow a modern day, American, wrestling product. Here are those rules/line items.
1. You must accept that today’s wrestling is a completely different product that it was in the 80’s and 90’s (or even earlier). Yes, it has some elements that are the same, some concepts that are the same, but overall it’s wildly different.
2. You must accept that the modern fan is as different as the product is today. The vast majority of modern fans are attention deficit. They can’t follow long angles (story lines) or intelligent gimmicks. They will turn the channel the second something bores them, or makes them think too much. This is why many old school guys won’t book an old school style. They understand their audience and sadly, what that means.
3. You must accept that you will be miserable if you watch today’s wrestling with an old school mindset. I don’t mean just in regard to the style of the in ring performers, but the booking, the story telling, the “sensibility” that the old school stuff often had is now dead. Today’s product is shot gun style, full of car crash matches. I too wish this were not the case, but I love wrestling so much that I find a way to adapt to today’s style, and presentation. If you can’t do that, don’t even bother watching.
4. Selling is dead. While it happens on a small level, today’s product is about moves. The matches are so fast that there isn’t time to sell much. The idea is that today’s wrestlers have “fighting spirit” that keeps them going, almost like a magic fairy dust. It’s a concept that was born in Japan, and adopted by today’s wrestlers. Yes, I am hurt, but “fighting spirit” allows me to kick out of monstrous moves and keep going. The winner of today’s matches is the wrestler with the most “fighting spirit.” This concept applies the same way to giant wrestler vs little wrestler match ups.
I used to do a podcast where the theme was a modern promoter, and fan of the old school debating me in regard to those ideas and the new school ideas and approaches. We did that weekly show for over a year, but the problem was, there was no argument to be made. I knew I was losing nearly every argument because it cannot be denied that the old ways, the old traditions, are much better and more intelligent that the modern ways and traditions. The best things about the modern style are the few old ways and traditions that are still kept! Please understand, that because old school wrestling was so good, it simply can’t be placed up against today’s product. The old school wins easily, every time. My argument now isn’t new school vs old school. My argument is that an old school fan, if choosing to, can adapt to the new school product and enjoy it, possibly even love it! That is what I now seek to show you all here at WrestlingDoneRight.com. I hope that I can be successful in doing so, because this is the wrestling we have today, and if you’re like me, you just love professional wrestling!
I'm Sorry For Loving Wrestling So Much
I love wrestling. I have loved wrestling since I was eight years old. I love old school wrestling most of all, and yes, I realize that is mostly because I am soon going to be 53 years old. I also realize that old school wrestling is pretty much dead, gone, and buried.
Pro Wrestling Noah has a much slower paced (mostly) harder hitting, better selling, style than any other wrestling company on Earth. I will always be a fan of Noah, a respecter of it without doubt. The problem though is that it's not American style wrestling. They don't do in ring, or at a podium promos/interviews. They don't do any real angles, not as I know angles to be in America. They have few real "big" personalities. Their reason for fighting is simply for the competition. I crave more than that. I also miss English commentary on EVERY show. Most of all I miss having people to interact with about what I am watching. People to agree with and even people to disagree with. Watching Japanese wrestling is pretty lonely.
Stardom is the best "modern day" wrestling there is. However it suffers from lack of everything I mentioned about Pro Wrestling Noah. The in ring stuff is great as well, but it's also a lonely place to be a fan, as an English speaking American. They also do too much comedy for my tastes. Not enough to make me say it's not any good, but still too much imo.
I had found my place in indy wrestling for a number of years. I LOVED IT!!!! What made me start to not love it, but to actually hate it, was dick boy Joey Ryan, finger gun idiot Dick Justice, and other clowns like that. Dance competitions, blow up doll matches, and invisible men, made me loathe the indy scene with a passion. Yes, I was never fond of the lack of selling, or insane bumps that not only didn't end a match, but the wrestler on the receiving end of said insane bumps, often coming back to WIN the damn match, made me flee the indie scene, insulting everything about it on the way.
MLW gave me joy for a few years, but now they've sold out to some of, if not the worst comedy bullshit I've seen in years, if ever. Micro man is bad, so insulting, that I am almost hurt to see it happening in a company that I put over so strongly. It breaks my heart watching that go on in that company. Mean while, I can't recall the last Von Erich match I've seen there.
The NWA had such potential, but The Question Mark bull shit is just cringe, and shits on everything they do in that company, or did. Now the Nick Aldis stuff seals their fate imo. They had magic in a bottle and not only spilled it, but smashed the bottle all over the sidewalk.
I have wanted to love and support AEW simply because someone, ANYONE, finally took on Vince McMahon again. I've always liked and respected Eric Bischoff for the same reason. AEW did some hideous shit for a long time (so did WCW). Stuff that angered me, and made me want to scream, and I often did scream about it, anywhere I could. Currently AEW reminds of the one company that I worked for, that I loved, and that's Legacy Wrestling. They have decent enough angles (stories) at the moment, and lots of solid matches, in the modern style, that pales in comparison to my beloved JCP style, but I love wrestling....and I don't want to...hell I can't forsake it. I have tried, and tried, and tried, to walk away from wrestling, and I am just unable to. It's my favorite entertainment medium by far. Nothing else is even close.
So I am going to see how much I can enjoy AEW for now by not acting like an insider. I will cheer for who I like, and boo who I hate. I will root for "my guys" to win, and those I can't stand to lose. Just like I did as a kid, and later a teenager, back in the day. Yes, I now know who deserves pushes and who doesn't, depending on a lot of different merits. I understand who can work, and who can't. I will forever be disgusted by those who refuse to sell as much as they should, but I got over that as a long time Ring of Honor fan, a while ago.
AEW may again go down a road that disgusts and infuriates me, we shall see. But for now, I need a non WWE, American company, that I can find people to engage with about. A company with more than a small YouTube or FITE TV audience. A company that's easily accessible, because that is the ONLY way you can ever find an engaged audience, and a company that in the very least, has some guys I consider friends and acquaintances that I worked with, on their way up. So excuse me for just wanting to TRY to enjoy American wrestling again. Yes, that means compromises, and no, I don't like compromises, at all, but I've learned it's either that, or just being a bored, lonely, Japanese wrestling fan that misses so many elements of what I think Pro Wrestling is.
Beginning Saturday, November, 19, 2022, I (Adam Leavelle) will begin breaking down every AEW Show, and PPV, in this "open letter" style. I will offer praise, but also constructive criticism. While loving Pro Wrestling Noah's in ring style, and work, I greatly miss American style wrestling, and will contribute what I can to AEW, in hopes of something, anything, getting through to someone. If nothing I say accomplishes anything, I will at least enjoy attempting to make a difference, for at least as long as I can! A small link titled "Open Letter To AEW" can be found at the top of the home page, beside "Adam's Bio."
-The Wrestling Snob