By: Leigh Barber
Live shows, characters and scrolling.
So I’m sitting in the third row at a local show. Once again, less than 50 people in the crowd. The show is full of comedy spots, flips, long matches, the same moves, slams and suplexes. Is this what wrestling is now?
What’s missing? Selling, storytelling, crowd interaction, advertising, promoting, wrestlers wearing actual wrestling gear and sober patrons who can’t open their mouths without swearing. What’s really sad, is when you can’t tell the difference between a wrestler and someone dressed in the crowd. Let’s discuss that for a minute, how is the…… hang on, wtf??
*As I was writing this, Some guy in the crowd just jumped the barrier and attacked a wrestler.
Of course there is no security here, so I thought it was a drunk fan and stood up to run in, turns out, another wrestler in street clothes. Oh wait, here comes another wrestler in street clothes to save the other wrestler. The “heels” head back stage leaving the “faces” in the ring. Now here is the part that annoys me even more, the crowd now chants “kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss” Can you guess what they did? Yep, the two guys kiss and laugh about it to the camera. Now don’t get me wrong this is NOT about sexuality or gender, it doesn’t matter if it was two guys, two girls or a guy and a girl. It’s about being PROFESSIONAL, you know, as in Professional Wrestling or Professional Wrestler?!?!?!?!
Oh it gets better ( or worse ), the call of the night went to the drunk guy in the front row who yelled out to the wrestler in the ring, “Don’t point at me, I’ll suck your c*%k, what?” “What?” Seriously this crowd!
This is why kids don’t come to shows due to these ferals in the crowd. Can someone tell me why the promoter did not send someone up to that person and ask them to keep their opinions clean? In the all the years I watched wrestling I never saw Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, The Rock, Bret Hart or The Undertaker come out to wrestle in K-mart clothes or another wrestlers T-shirt or his girlfriend’s tights.
Wrestling has fallen due to the lack of control by promoters at shows or decent training schools that tell wrestlers to look professional, act professional and wrestle professional. Not only is the gear a problem, its the shows as well. Every time I see a show, they have 10 matches on the card, all 15-20minutes a match, same moves and every wrestler looks the same. Let’s be honest here. I’m an attitude guy, I started watching wrestling seriously in 1998/99. Wrestling was fast paced, matches were shorter, consisted of story telling and selling. Every match was exciting even the short ones. All the wrestlers were characters different to everyone else. Everyone of them was different to the other, look, size, gear, character and personality.
There was always a bit of everything, squash matches, short matches, long matches, gimmick matches, women’s matches, light and heavyweight matches. Go back to any WWF Raw in 1999 and see if you enjoy the show from top to bottom. It was a simple time. Watching this and the eras before the attitude era, I remember wrestling looked so believable that people still believed it was real. Crowds were electric and loud, even if there were so many signs in the way, you couldn’t see what was going on in the ring.
Yes wrestling has evolved since it began but is it wrestling, entertainment or just a stunt show these days? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some WWE, AEW, NJPW and ROH in small amounts, just sadly that’s it, small doses.
I enjoy a gimmick match now and again, I enjoy a flip here or there but don’t make me sit through two hours of talking and the same flippy shit matches. We are a generation of 10-30 seconds scrolling. We have no patience or interest for something that doesn’t keep our attention, seems long and boring before it even starts. Take Instagram for an example, how quickly do you scroll to the next reel? What keeps you there? What makes you leave? Attention is held from difference, interest, excitement and shortness.
If this generation could scroll to the next match at a live show, do you think they would????
Until next time….