Ariel Dominguez asked me on one of my Facebook statuses if I, and others like me, that don't like Marko Stunt, believe he should leave wrestling because of his height. I told him absolutely not, as it's not just about height to me. it's about look, it's about style, it's about name, presentation, etc.
I am not a fan of Marko Stunt because he looks like a wet towel hanging in my bathroom, combined with the fact that he's four feet tall (or whatever he is).
I am not a fan of Cheeseburger, even though yes, I know the ROH guys all love him, and he's the first one in the building, and the last one out, and he helps train, etc. etc. but his name is fucking Cheeseburger, and his gear is ridiculous looking, and nothing he does in the ring offensively looks believable to me.
Ariel Dominguez is a legit amateur super star, He looks like a million dollars, has gear that is super professional and screams "I am a fighter." He looks like he might live at the gym, and I suspect could legit take a much larger guy out, in a real fight. If Dominguez were to face Burger and Stunt in singles matches, and he wasn't booked to destroy them, I'd be pissed off. Being under 5'7" or so should always cause a wrestler to struggle, to always have to work from the bottom, but if they look and perform like Ariel, them being in the fight, and winning their fair share, wouldn't bother me at all. I'd rather have more short guys that look and work like Ariel Dominguez than a company full of mudshow clowns sticking their thumbs up each others assholes.
From Being the Elite, The Bubbly Bunch, Broken Matt Hardy, and all of the WWE’s nonsense, the wrestling market is saturated with silliness. There are wrestling fans out there desperate for real, desperate for legitimate tough guy/women wrestlers, desperate for companies, and wrestlers, that present what they do as a fight, as a struggle, as an athletic competition to crown the best in the world of professional wrestling, not slapstick comedy routines performed inside a wrestling ring, or wrestling “environment.” The social media market is also saturated with “wrestlers” (or, gag, sports entertainers) and their gimmicks, but none of them, and yes I said none of them, are using social media to their advantage in any real way. Creating a gimmick Facebook page, where you occasionally post, or (gasp!) even answer fans posts, is cute, and better than nothing, but it doesn’t come close to fulfilling what you could do with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
So I’ve decided to offer a free “Social Media Seminar” from “The Wrestling Snob” Adam Leavelle. I’m a guy that trained to be a wrestler in the 80’s. I didn’t stick with it, but remained a loyal fan, and managed a time or two after I had “left” training because of my ability to talk. Twenty years later I started writing for numerous wrestling websites such as 411Mania, PWMania, PWPodnerings, The Indy Corner, Wrestling Inc, among others. I decided to open my own site when I began covering my local indies, in hopes of getting those companies over as much as a place like Ring of Honor was. I feel that I succeeded in that cause, bring a ton of attention to The Ultimate Wrestling Experience, Lancaster Championship Wrestling, Atomic Championship Wrestling, Rogue Women Warriors, and Legacy Wrestling. Along the way though, I found myself getting over with the indie crowd on some level. It got to the point to where I was invited to work for those companies, as well as MCW Pro Wrestling. When men in the business like Tiger Hitore, AJ Styles, Bobbie Fish, Adam Cole, Kevin Kelly, and others knew who I was, I wondered how lesser known wrestlers could accomplish the same. Yes, of course by their wrestling, and bookings, but I had discovered that you could get your name out there without even stepping into a wrestling ring, so how could wrestlers that I love, help boost the attention they were receiving in the wrestling world like me? My seminar will tell you how, and it’s coming soon to Facebook Live, for free! Yes, some will laugh at this. Some will roll their eyes, but I am telling you that if you LISTEN to what I have to say, and practice my suggestions, you’ll find yourself getting more bookings than ever. I have been invited all over the country to “review” shows, and if I saw fit, label them as “wrestling done right.” From Arkansas to Kentucky, New York, to West Virginia, and all places in between, I’ve been asked to appear, and post my thoughts of these shows on my social media. Now I want to help wrestlers that desire to be “more over” to have that happen. I don’t expect many will listen, and some won’t even care if what I am saying is true. For the few of you still with me, stay tuned, my “seminar” is coming soon! There’s no reason I should “more over than you,” and I am willing to help you make that happen! That’s always been, and forever will remain my goal.
Attention, for immediate release!
Wrestlingdoneright.com goes full Major League Wrestling coverage only! After years searching for a good American Professional wrestling company to lend his support to, The Wrestling Snob, Adam Leavelle, has decided that he's discovered just that, with Court Bauer's "Major League Wrestling (MLW). Adam spent the past ten years covering numerous companies, as a wrestling journalist, and reviewer, while also working for numerous independant companies as a commentator, and back stage interviewer, companies such as Legacy Wrestling, UWE, LCW, and MCW Pro. Having tired of the constant over the top comedy, the horrible story lines, awful gimmicks, and angles, Adam fully believed that Japan would be the only place to find wrestling that met his tastes and standards. The 2020 pandemic allowed "The Wrestling Snob" much more time to search out any possibility of a good company in the United States, and he was beyond delighted to find MLW. Having dubbed Major League Wrestling as Wrestling Done Right, the website will be dedicated to bringing fellow wrestling snobs, with particular tastes, all the news, reviews, opinion pieces, a blog, and a podcast, focusing solely on Major League Wrestling. Adam hopes that you bookmark Wrestlingdoneright.com and follow along with all things MLW, and join in the discussion on his Facebook page, and his Twitter.
One thing that pushed this “Wrestling Snob” away from modern professional wrestling is the total lack of selling. I understand that “wrestling has evolved,” and all, but all the cool moves, flips, and dives, aren’t nearly as cool as they could be because they just don’t seem to do much damage at all. Now calm down, this isn’t another rant from yours truly. What I am going to do is try to EXPLAIN why wrestlers take such a beating and keep going.
Since the 1980’s and 90’s, the focus on what you need to “make it” in professional wrestling has changed. Out are the hard bodied, overly large, muscle heads, and in are the smaller, but far more fit, flexible, and agile, CrossFit style of athletes. Sure, you’ll see a few body builder types here and there, but with the exposure of steroids years ago, much of the fitness industry now focuses on lean muscle mass and conditioning. The modern athlete also focuses much more on his or her mind as well, learning to overcome pain, injury, and exhaustion, not only physically, but mentally, to accomplish goals thought to be impossible in the past.
Today’s pro wrestler do the same, but on a larger scale. For example, why do you think it’s such an honor, and privilege to wrestle and work in Japan? With their “strong style,” and “Kings Road” philosophies, comes a mental toughness like seldom seen in the United States. Pro wrestlers go to Japan to not only “apply their craft,” but to learn the secretes of mental conditioning, taught in Japanese Dojo’s. One look at a guy like Juice Robinson, and you can see what I’m writing about here. Japanese wrestling has exploded onto the American scene, and with it came all of the teachings that normally were only found in that Country. Today, just about any wrestler that applies him or herself can learn the secrete arts of Puroresu, and this has been a large contributing factor to wrestlers overcoming moves that ended matches in the past.
Many “old school” wrestlers have opened wrestling school. These wrestlers developed strategies, training methods, and psychological methods, that have taught, trained, and inspired the current generation. These older wrestlers spent their days developing ways to withstand the moves the pain, and defeat, that many of the old school moves, styles, and methods, used assure. Today’s wrestlers, after having trained the bodies, and minds, to withstand more than the average athlete, now take up training classes with veterans that add to their knowledge. These things combined lead to wrestlers that no longer are instantly defeated with DDT’s, Super Kicks, and brainbusters. No, it doesn’t make sense to fans like you and I, but those who have the strength and ability to withstand the training that the modern professional wrestlers endures can learn the secrets. Why do you think it is that many wrestlers today get so insulted by fans critiquing their performance? They have suffered through immense pain, and pressure, to be allowed to step into the ring! No Timmy, you couldn’t get up after a super kick, but you’re not a professional wrestler that has trained his body, and mind for years to withstand such physical punishment and abuse. You’ve not delved deep into the psyche in order to tell yourself to keep going after taking a DDT, or a piledriver! The business isn’t just for anyone, it’s for the physically, and mentally strong. Have you not seen the quotes from NFL football players, and MMA fighters about wrestling being the most difficult thing they’ve ever done in their life? There is a reason for that!
If there is one thing about today’s pro wrestling that is legitimately easier, it’s the schedule. Yes, WWE performers still have insane schedules, but most other companies have a much easier schedule. AEW wrestlers have a much nicer, and more comfortable schedule than “stars” had back in the old days. As such, they can rest their bodies, and minds more. If you combine that rest, along with the new conditioning, and training, it makes a little more sense as to how they can take more damage. Finally, today’s rings, while not “trampolines” are much more comfortably built, allowing wrestlers to work a harder/stronger style more comfortably than the rings of old. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to bump around, but technology has improved in this way as well, adding to the “less selling” you see in today’s product.
It is my feeling, and belief, that wrestling journalists, and commentators need to start focusing far more on the modern athletic professional wrestler, and his or her training methods. If you listen to podcasts, like Arn Anderson’s, you will hear this much respected “old school” great talk about this. You will hear him say how athletic, how fit, how drilled in mentally, etc. today’s wrestlers are. You will hear him say how a team like “The Revival” are “worlds better” than he and Tully Blanchard, and folks, this guy isn’t getting paid by WWE anymore, and he hasn’t lost confidence in how amazing he and Tully were. Guys like Arn, Tully, and Jake Roberts realize everything that I’ve written here is true, and they’ve signed on to be teachers, trainers, and coaches, to take the AEW wrestlers even further in these directions. Once again you rely on “The Wrestling Snob” to help you enjoy today’s AEW, even when no one else is doing so. The uneducated fan may not need these things explained, or talked about, but I am here to try and help my fellow intelligent, wrestling snobs, understand the story of today’s in ring product. Next time we’ll discuss Kristen Stadtlander’s insistence that she’s “from another planet” and why that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and why I am the ONLY “journalist” out there capable of presenting such a case that isn’t insulting to your intelligence. Now if only Cody Rhodes were reading my material!
My name is Adam Leavelle, and I spent several years in the wrestling world hyping, promoting, pushing, and “putting over” wrestling that I found to be “done right.” I was in love with Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Evolve, and the companies I worked for as a commentator, companies like Lancaster Championship Wrestling, The Ultimate Wresting Experience, and Legacy Wrestling. I put over wrestlers like AJ Styles, Tetsuya Naito, AR Fox, Eddie Smooth, Nigel McGuiness, Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk. As the years rolled by though, things started to change. Professional Wrestling began to get sillier, and more outlandish. From a wrestler who was flipping other wrestlers with his penis, to another wrestler shooting invisible bullets from his “finger gun,” and his opponents selling them, I just began to get frustrated. The wrestlers that I still enjoyed like Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, etc. still “worked” matches pretty well, but the no selling of monstrous moves was getting to be too much to take. Combine that with the fact that the very much hated (to me) WWE was swallowing guys like them up, as well as Johnny Gargano, and Shane Strickland, just made me walk away from nearly all of professional wrestling. At this same time, Kenny Omega had taken over New Japan, and morphed into some strange social justice style of performer, out to spread a message, more than kick ass. I was very dejected, latching on to two companies for my “Wrestling Done Right.” Those companies being Pro Wrestling NOAH, and World Wonder Ring Stardom. These are two promotions from Japan, that I still hold above all others.
I’ve missed wrestling though, pretty badly. As much as I love NOAH, and Stardom, I really, really, want an American company to prosper, succeed, and give us wrestling fans an alternative to the horrible WWE. Yes, WWE’s NXT brand isn’t bad, but damn it, it’s still a WWE product, and I just don’t want to support a company that has proven time and again that they just don’t care what their fans want. A company that swallows wrestlers worldwide, and re-names them “sports entertainers” and often, even renames them in whole, (isn’t that right, Isiah, Swerve, Scott?) While I wish every wrestler well, and wish none of them to be out of a job (well, except maybe penis, and invisible bullet guy) I can’t support Vince McMahon, and his arrogant approach to “sports entertainment.” No thank you. I can’t watch the best Joshi wrestlers in the world, get beaten by wrestlers….errrr, I mean “sports entertainers,” that really don’t even deserve to carry their bags.
So what’s a rabid, intelligent, passionate, wrestling fan/journalist to do? Well, this one is going to do something that will shock everyone who knows him. I will be turning to All Elite Wrestling. Yes, AEW, the company that I have criticized since its inception. The company I’ve laughed at, and mocked, almost as much as Jim Cornette has. Why have I made this decision? Well, here is where you need to read the title of this article again, and bear with me. AEW does some really stupid stuff. Really stupid. They also do some really great stuff. Really great. I’ve discovered a way to look at most of the stupid stuff that I truly believe will help. I believe that I’m a smart enough guy, with enough wrestling knowledge, and ability, to cover AEW in such a way that it will help others enjoy it more, and if at all possible, make those at AEW sit up and take notice to what I am doing, and possibly incorporate it into their programing. I'm going to do this just for fun. Yes, I’d certainly love a job in the business, but that’s not my “goal” here. My goal is for me to be able to enjoy an American wrestling product, while covering it as a journalist, and to share that method through articles, and Facebook Live videos. I am nearly certain that many of you reading this wonder what in the world I am talking about. You’re likely wondering how in God’s name can I make sense of the stupid things AEW puts out? How can I take things that I have campaigned against, maligned, and spat at, and now make them not only bearable, but enjoyable? Well, if you can continuing reading this long article, I am going to give you my first idea now. My first idea is how to take a wrestler like “Orange Cassidy” and accept what he does, in the scope of the professional wrestling world. The problem with a gimmick/character/wrestler like Cassidy is that what he does makes no sense. He has no “story,” he’s just a goof that acts goofy, inside a professional wrestling ring. So let me tell you Orange Cassidy’s story, as I see it (in my attempt to accept him in the wrestling world).
James Cipperly always wanted to be a professional wrestler. Working hard on the independent scene, taking the name “Orange Cassidy,” he debuted in 2004, sixteen years ago. Working hard for years Casidy wouldn’t find a lot of success, even when working alongside WWE Superstar, Drew Gulak, and AEW wrestler, Chuck Taylor in Gabe Sapolsky’s “Evolve” wrestling as “The Gentleman’s Club.” Taylor would go on to work in high profile matches with Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Gulak would become the Combat Zone Wrestling world champion, and later even the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, but Cassidy languished behind. In 2006 Cassidy would find his most success as “Fire Ant,” a silly looking masked wrestler, part of the “Colony” in CHIKARA wrestling organization. Sadly though, Fire Ant didn’t obtain much success outside of the New Jersey based wrestling company. No matter how much Cassidy trained, worked out, and applied his craft, he continued to see his friends prosper, sign big money deals, and travel the globe, while Cassidy still worked as a masked ant, on the Eastern coast of America. Cassidy, in his sixteen year career, only claimed four championship titles, none of them known to many outside of those small companies. Unbeknownst to many, Cassidy sought out more training across the globe. While still continuing to be ignored by most, Cassidy honed his craft, until he became a finally tuned wrestler, so good, that most didn’t want to face him. Now Cassidy wasn’t getting booked because promoters feared him, they didn’t want him embarrassing their top stars. Fire Ant wasn’t going to dominate the indies, that’s for damn sure!
Along came Cody Rhodes, and AEW. Many in the wrestling world bemoaned the signing of a wrestler that now wrestled with his hands in his pockets. A wrestler that play kicked at his opponents like a small child. A wrestler that just doesn’t seem to care. Why would Cody want this clown in a “sports based promotion that he promised AEW was going to be? What I’ve discovered is that Cody Rhodes, and a few others in AEW, know what Casidy is doing. Now that I know, you too shall know. Orange Cassidy adopted this silly “sloth style” so that no one would ever take him serious, so that he would be taken lightly, and booked in low card matches. Orange Cassidy developed a plan over these sixteen years, a plan that could one day see him on top of the wrestling world. Many fans identify with Cassidy’s laissez faire approach simply because they too feel their hard work doesn’t pay off, that the lesser talented get more attention, and greater opportunities, they too would love to take a half ass approach to life and get by with it. To these people, Cassidy is their hero, someone they identify with so much, that his antics aren’t disrespectful to wrestling to them, but rather they are screwing “the man” that never appreciates when he worked hard for him! What many fans haven’t known, until now, is that it’s all a set up. While Cassidy appreciates the support he’s gotten from the AEW faithful, one day he will snap out of the “sloth style” and show everyone the kind of wrestler, the kind of “worker” that he is. What will it take to get him to that point? We saw just a little bit of it in his match against PAC, but Cassidy refused to come completely out of his disgusted man shell. I believe Cody Rhodes knows what buttons to push with Cassidy, and that he has shared that with his fellow AEW management team, and you will see the full story unfold on AEW Dynamite, week, after week. If you are how I once was, sick of the stupidity, know that there’s a story being told here. If you just want to see wrestling done right, know that also involves solidly told stories, and that Cassidy’s will be worth the pay off, even if right now, it’s only a “thumbs half way up.”
Future articles looking at AEW will help explain
-Why don’t big moves seem to do much damage?
-Why does one of their female wrestlers claim to be an alien?
-What is with the Young Bucks?
-Who is Kenny Omega, and what’s his mission?
Do you want to come back? Do you want to be a big deal again? Bringing back the "Pure" title is an excellent start, but you need to do more.
1) Slow your matches down and SELL MORE. Every modern day American wrestling company, except the new NWA has way too many fast paces matches that don't give fans time to process what's going on! SLOW DOWN!
2) I see you're working with the NWA on some level, but PLEASE avoid their hideous comedy wrestlers like Aaron Stevens and Question Mark. Don't join the massive club that insists on making wrestling a joke, or a parody of some sort.
3) Make moves matter again! Yes, I already mentioned selling, but it can't be mentioned enough. Don't be part of the club where vicious, wicked looking moves never get more than a two count!
4) SHORTEN MATCHES!!!!! You are familiar with Stardom, you've used their women on your shows before. Follow their lead with match lengths. Matches are way, way, too long today. In fact, follow their lead in just about everything match wise. They have excellence down to a science.
I'd love to support you again, but if you're going to present wrestling just like NXT, Impact, RAW, Smackdown, etc. then there's no point. Be better, be different, be wrestling done right!
It’s no secret that this writer despises the modern “super indy” era of professional wrestling. All the over the top moves that don’t seem to cause much damage just makes wrestling look foolish. I really tried to adapt to it, and actually managed to support it for a number of years, attending ROH, CZW, NXT, and other shows. At one point in time NJPW was my absolute favorite promotion, especially The Bullet Club. As time went on though, everything I had accepted got bigger, sillier, and wilder. Occasional high spots became constant, and no one was selling them, they’d just jump back up to take, or deliver, another high spot. It became eye-rollingly bad, and nearly impossible for me to take (i.e. suspend my disbelief, as wrestling fans say.) How did all this happen? Why did it happen?
Between Vince McMahon’s killing of kayfabe in federal court, and his WWE’s “Attitude Era,” current day wrestlers got sillier, and sillier, but places like Ring of Honor, and Evolve held out for quite some time, presenting wrestling much like Stardom does today from 2006 to 2010 or so. What changed all that? I believe the arrival, and the eventual success of The Young Bucks changed it all. When the Bucks first arrived on the scene in places like Ring of Honor, and Evolve, they weren’t widely accepted at all. They were presented as faces, but more often received as heels, because of their look, and style. Matt and Nick Jackson were perceived as scrawny, no selling, Hardy Boy wannabe’s. At first I didn’t know how to take them, but when I figured out their gimmick, and what they were doing, I enjoyed them. Yes, I enjoyed the Young Bucks for several years. The Young Bucks used to be a rare thing, fresh, and different. They came in dressed in their Rocker’s style gear, and did all kind of crazy moves, and didn’t give a crap about what anyone thought. I saw them as “frat boy,” types, the kind of rich kids that think their crap doesn’t stink, and are better than anyone they have to “work” with. They came across as entitled, and juvenile. I thought it was the perfect heel shtick to have on the “indy’s,” and a great way to rock the boat.
A funny thing happened on that boat. As time went on the Young Bucks became more, and more accepted. Eventually they became popular, and one day soon extremely “over.” This created a problem that I never saw coming. While I was happy for their success, and owned several of their t-shirts, I never realized just how imitated they would be. Sure, looking back that makes sense, but I never considered just how much influence their style and gimmick would have on the entire world of wrestling. Soon many were copying their moves, and no (or quick) selling in hopes of getting over like the Young Bucks. Guys like Kevin Steen even started dressing like them when he teamed with them! Tough guy, slobby looking, street fighter, Kevin Steen started wearing tassels and teal colored tights… yikes! Soon what was once just the Bucks attitude (gimmick) seemed to be nearly everyone’s gimmick. Screw the traditions of wrestling, we’re “Killing the business!” I never dreamed that when the Young Bucks said that, and printed it on t-shirts, that they meant it.
Maybe you need more examples? I actually liked the Bucks being brought into Bullet Club. Their arrogance fit, and they need to be heels in my opinion. However, the longer the Bucks remained in Bullet Club, the more Bullet Club seemed to reflect the Bucks, it seemed to be “Young Bucks Club.” Kenny Omega came into Bullet Club as the cool looking “Cleaner,” with his trench coat, and sunglasses. Not long after he became sillier, and sillier, with he and The Bucks actually carrying brooms to the ring (cleaner, get it? har, har). Soon after that Kenny also adapted Young Buck style gear for many of his matches. Omega went from the bad ass “Cleaner” to another juvenile, silly, cocky, over the top, frat boy. Kenny Omega became the third Young Buck! Later came Cody Rhodes! Rhodes came into Ring of Honor as the ex-WWE guy that thought he was too good for places like ROH, and wanted to take out guys like Jay Lethal to prove it. I enjoyed that, and thought someone like Rhodes could really pull that off. Soon after though Cody was made the newest member of Bullet Club. His gimmick changed overnight. Now Rhodes was another rebel, a cigar chomping arrogant, silly, leader of the frat boys. The one who decided what pledges to the fraternity had to do for him, as he and his cheerleader wife laughed, and laughed, at their shenanigans. Cody became the fourth Young Buck! Adam “Hangman” Page then came along to the Bullet Club. Page came in a gritty, hardnosed, tough guy with a leather vest, and a noose around his neck. In a short amount of time he became another goofy, silly, wild move performing, frat boy. Page became the fourth Young Buck!
he Young Bucks, once a “different” kind of act in wrestling, that added some fun and levity to serious, hard hitting companies like ROH, Evolve, and NJPW, were taking over. Maybe because all the other wrestlers saw their merch sales and wanted in on the game. Maybe because many wrestlers don’t have the kind of mind it takes to create new and fresh ideas for themselves? I’m not sure what happened exactly, but I do know that Matt and Nick Jackson changed wrestling. Now instead of two Young Bucks, there are about eight of them, after you toss in the fact that they will feature guys like Joey Ryan, and Flip Gordon in their “Elite” videos. I think of wrestling like coffee. Some like their coffee black, other with some crème, and others with a little sugar. That said though, if you take a cup of sugar and just drizzle some coffee into it, you don’t have coffee anymore, you have some sugar sludge with a hint of coffee flavoring. The Young Bucks have caused my coffee to be that sludge, and ironically it is just…..too sweet. That's not "Wrestling Done Right."
Every day I become less and less of a wrestling fan. Yes, the women do things right, but to be honest...that's not enough. There aren't enough women's shows to tide wrestling over. Stardom is the only company I know running frequently. Nearly everyone else is once a month at best. That's not the only problem though. Wrestling can no longer get me to "emotionally invest" any more. I always loved wrestling because it was a "combat sport." Even after I learned what a "work" was, and what "Kayfabe" was, I still saw it that way. It was a violent sport where I lived vicariously through the "workers." It was very much like "The Walking Dead" is for so many today. Everyone knows that TWD isn't "real," but by god it's presented as if it is. Many get so attached to the characters (workers/gimmicks) and their stories (angles) that they have real emotional reactions to them. The possible death of Rick Grimes tonight has millions on edge. That story (angle) is causing a legitimate reaction. That story is "viral." Wrestling doesn't even try to get anything like that reaction anymore. The WWE still does "angles/stories" but they are almost always horrible. They have an amazing roster, being wasted by soap opera writers and Vince McMahon's unwillingness to get anyone "over" in a major way. The indy's are simply matches. Promoters look for performers they feel will create a good match/performance, and try to book those wrestlers. That's all indy wrestling is anymore, and it's just not enough.
Why is that not enough? Well, because if I want to see a "combat sport" that's only about the best fighters (not performers) going up against each other, then there's no doubt that's MMA/Kickboxing. The thing that wrestling always had over anything else was the ability to make me care about more than just what happened in the ring. Wrestling used to make you care about each wrestler, and why they were fighting. It was never just about "lets see which one of these two guys (or tag team) is better than the other." Hell, even if there was a time or two where a wrestling match focused only on "who is better" it was almost always for a championship title, and today, championship titles mean less and less. I could argue that most titles in wrestling today mean nothing at all. Too often wrestling titles are placed on lesser performers because "they need the rub." Wrestling companies today are so bad at getting their performers over, that they often put a title on them hoping that will do it for them.
I am at the point today where if I want to see two guys, or women fight, just to see who is the better of the two, then let it be an MMA or Kickboxing fight. Why? Well, because at least those are real fights, to obtain a real ranking, to chase after a real championship, that really means something. Wrestling has gotten so bad today that not only did they give up on their ability to create story lines that elicit legitimate emotions from their fans, they'v even made most of their "cool moves" meaningless. The moves were something else wrestling had on all other sports. Superplexes, pile drivers, DDT's, and clotheslines were things you saw nowhere else! Today, these moves have graduated to even bigger moves like Canadian Destroyers, brainbusters (often even on the apron) death valley drivers, and an unbelievable amount of dives from the ring, to the outside venue flooring, sometimes even the cement part of the floor, without padding. The occasional chair shot has turned into multiple chair shots, kendo sticks, canes, whips, and even sledgehammers! The problem is that far too often these amazing, unbelievable, over the top, moves, don't hurt the wrestler on the receiving end enough for him to be pinned. No only that, far too often a wrestler who has taken a move (bump) like that, is back on his feet on offense, with no visible signs of having taken such a move.
All this just to say that my ability to "suspend disbelief" is as dead as the kayfabe era. I only watch wrestling today in order to discuss it, and break it down on social media. I don't watch wrestling for fun. I don't watch wrestling for excitement, and I can't even recall the last time I was able to live vicariously through a wrestler, or a wrestling match. If you took away my ability to analyze and break down a match, a card, a show, I'd never watch wrestling again. I believe that's telling me everything I need to know. I've moved past a sport I used to love more than any other. I hung on to the end of that rope for as long as I possibly could, but I slipped...and I've fallen away from professional wrestling, and the slapstick, variety show, parody that it is today. I'll be covering MMA and Kickboxing now, and discussing what's wrong with wrestling, and how it could be "saved" on my monthly podcast Jason and Adam Save The Wrestling World. What wrestling was is dead, and what it is...is something that wants to compete with MMA, and it just doesn't stand a chance doing that. Wrestling that doesn't want to compete with MMA is often the kind of wrestling that introduces penis flips, invisible bullets, wrestling dinosaurs, and male wrestlers wearing dresses with their hair in pigtails "just because". I've never had any interest in that garbage. It was a great 40 years as a wrestling fan, who even got to spend several years in the business. I'll always remember it fondly, but I have to get out before I completely start to hate the business I've loved most of my life.
Killing the business doesn't have to mean the crowds are small. It doesn't have to mean ticket sales are down. It doesn't have to mean no one watches wrestling on TV, PPV, DVD, etc. When I argue that many of today's workers are killing the business I get ticket sale stats, and pictures of full venues for wrestling shows. What those of you sending me that stuff don't realize is that those things don't prove that the business isn't being killed by today's performers.
Since no one teaches about protecting the business in all these wrestling schools anymore, and the only thing guys that SHOULD be protecting the business do is kiss ass, and tell wannabe wrestlers to go make money, to go "get yours," we are left with guys that are selfish bastards, flipping people with their penis, shooting opponents with bullets from their finger gun, doing killer finishing type moves 2 minutes into a match, performing moves on the ring apron that are kicked out of, etc. etc. and then bragging about all the money they are making. Well isn't that special?
No one stops to consider the most important question of all. That question being..."What's next?" Seriously, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to consider that question. After all these insane moves, after the penis flip, and invisible bullets, what the hell is next? Since wrestling stopped being about stories, since it stopped being about psychology, and selling more simple moves, since so few can cut a decent promo anymore, or even begin to understand why they should be able to, everyone has had to top each other with their move set. A splash became a frog splash. A frog splash became a swanton, a swanton became a moonsault, a moonsault became a 360, a 360 became a 540, and a 540 became a 720. Then all of those dives became moves done from inside the ring, to outside the ring.
Before someone one bitches, and gives me dates on when those moves were first used, I know that isn't the exact way those moves came into being, but my point is still the same. The more wrestling becomes about the "moves" the more over the top moves have to become. Even though spinning three times as you dive from the top shouldn't really make a top rope splash hurt anymore, we have to put on a bigger show to keep the audience's attention! Now we see moves getting goofy, and silly, because they can't be taken any more over the top unless man learns how to legitimately fly. So instead of guys taking bumps off the top of buildings (well, except for idiotic Joey Janela) they are resorting to silly things like penis flips, invisible hand grenades, and bullets. Silliness also keeps you from bumping as much, like trying to find more over the top moves, causes you to do more of. The audience, now having seen every kind of dangerous, wild, and insane flip and dive, are awoken to how "fake" wrestling is, so hey...why not just laugh at it? The workers (performers really, because nobody really "works" anymore) have exposed it all so badly, the curtain's been pulled back so far, that now they create a slapstick variety show to entertain those that supposedly "love" professional wrestling, but are willing to laugh at how fake it all is.
I don't have much hope left anymore, but I am holding some out for places like USA Championship Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling, and even Stardom, as these companies are all business between the ropes, and don't rely on insane moves, or over the top "comedy" stuff to maintain their audience. Companies such as these still rely on selling "regular" wrestling holds, and moves, while telling stories in the ring. I believe this can still be done. Sadly though, I also believe most performers today are killing the business they claim to love by taking it somewhere that can't be topped. I believe most performers today are killing the business because soon there will be nowhere left to take it, so it will either stagnate and die, or get goofier than ever. I already barely recognize the sport I grew up watching, and fell in love with. Please don't tell me you love it too, while slowly strangling it to death.
I’ve told my story more than once. How I grew up watching wrestling, mostly the old NWA shows on Superstation WTBS along with World Class, and the UWF (Mid South). I discovered the “WWF” when Hulkamania was born, and while I thought it was okay, it never compared to my southern wrestling (and I’m a Pennsylvania guy!). Back then I didn’t care about “work rate” or who was “getting a push” or who they “put the title on.” Sure, I had my favorites, and I got frustrated when someone I didn’t like defeated them, or beat them for their championship, but I never once even thought someone was being “held back.”
For example, I hated Jimmy Valiant, even as a kid he was too silly for me. Yet I recognized that he was good, or a threat, because of how he was presented. I didn’t really like that he was a threat, because I wanted my favorite guys to beat this silly man up, and be done with him, but I realized they would have a “fight” on their hands against him, whether I liked it or not. Today, like nearly all other fans, I get angry when someone I don’t like puts up a fight against my favorite guys because they aren’t as good, or their work rate is so much lower, or they don’t have the moves, or skill set that my favorite guy has. Today I get angry that better “wrestlers” (based on my perception of what a good wrestler is) aren’t placed higher on the card than worse wrestlers. Wrestling today isn’t about the perceived competition, even to those of us willing to “suspend disbelief” and forget that kayfabe is dead. Wrestling fans view wrestling much like they view fantasy football, or those less popular fantasy wrestling booking games. Wrestling fans today worry about who is “best used” and who needs or deserves a “push” over who doesn’t. As such, professional wrestling today has turned into an argument of best placement on the card/show than anything else. I’m writing this article to say that I’m sick of it. I’m writing this to make a pledge that I’m going to stop doing those things, and to ask anyone reading this to commit to the same.
As a fan of the old school era, I at one time stopped watching professional wrestling because it wasn’t the same. I wound up missing it, and returned. Upon my return I decided that I was going to fully embrace the “new era” of wrestling. I was going to accept the fast paced, less selling, modern professional wrestling. I’m pretty sure I even have articles on this site where I defend “flips and dives” and talk about why wrestling is new, and different today. At one time I was absolutely “All in!” During that trip down the rabbit hole, to “Wrestling Wonderland” I came to realize that anything went. There were no rules, no guidelines, nothing. In this “new era” anything goes! You see, in Wrestling Wonderland, since kayfabe is dead, there is nothing that can’t be done. From children winning championships from full grown men, after getting choke slammed, to men using their penis to put wrestling hold on their opponents, literally ANYTHING goes. In Wrestling Wonderland, of this “new era” nothing hurts in a wrestling match. There are all these amazing moves, flips, dives, etc. but few of them do any damage. DDT’s on the cement floor, multiple pile drivers, and burning hammers on the apron all bring ewwwwwwws and ahhhhhhhhs from the crowd, but they don’t end matches. Instead, matches often end with random roll ups out of nowhere.
Thankfully a return to watching the old 1980’s NWA shows from Superstation WTBS brought me out of the rabbit hole. Now I fully believe the only real “cure” to doing wrestling “right” again, at least in the United States, is to take it back old school. It’s time for a return to studio wrestling where top guys in the company work a lot of squash style matches, with an occasional match between two of the top guys promoting an upcoming major show. A studio show where wrestlers are interviewed between matches so we can get to know who they are, and what they stand for. In this company the heels and the faces will be clearly defined, and the wrestling will be psychologically driven. This means we won’t see spot fest matches with 8 false finishes, we won’t see insane moves that are kicked out of, and we won’t see a bunch of video game type of no selling nonsense. We will see wrestlers that you’ll come to love, or at least appreciate or maybe even hate, or at least want to see have their ass kicked. You’ll see good story lines that make sense, and aren’t so dumb that they make you want to denounce professional wrestling for life, and deny that you were ever a fan. This show won’t be able to bring in primadonna’s that will hijack the company, or hold them up, because they are “too big” to do what they’re told. This company will be filled with workers (wrestlers) that are all about doing business.
Is this company some “fantasy” of mine? No, it’s not. This company has been around for a long, long, time. They are taking the rest of 2018 to get better in style and presentation. My good friend Matt Riviera is a player in this company, and he’s the man that was behind TCW, Traditional Championship Wrestling, and as such I fully trust him. This company is “USA Championship Wrestling”, headed by long time, and well respected wrestling promoter Bert Prentice. Mr. Prentice is known for his knowledge and old school style. USACW is absolutely old school, studio, southern style wrestling. I don’t expect many of you to get into it. It’s not Ring of Honor, or New Japan. It’s not a spot fest show, it’s not full of fancy pyro and catch phrases, it’s wrestling how it used to be. If I can get a selection of my audience to give it a chance I’ll be happy. There are some of us that crave what we consider legitimate wrestling again and I hope USACW brings that to us. If this doesn’t work out, it will be my last foray into wrestling in the United States. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll walk away from wrestling in this Country forever, legitimately handing it over the “dick lovers” out there. I’ll be rooting for USACW to help me not do that, and to give a place in this Country for “Wrestling Done Right!”
You can watch USACW's weekly 30 minute TV show below:
USA Championship Wrestling TV