Every now and then I wonder what it is that works and doesn't work for me in professional wrestling. Just last week I had an illuminating online chat on the subject of squash jobs. In previous posts, most notably here, I've expressed my distaste for the squash job angle, and it's true that I prefer a battle between equals in physique, mass, fight, and skill.
I make exceptions for payback matches--where some odious and cowardly heel (or manager or valet stupid enough to enter the ring to face a trained wrestler) gets his ass handed to him, after he's been practically begging for a beating week after week. I can't explain the satisfaction I get from that scenario, but it's deep.
During this chat last week, thanks to the other guy's insights mostly, I realized that what really bugs me is the idea, perpetuated in the pro and underground wrestling scenes alike, that pretty rookies must have their asses handed to them in match after match after match. I would much rather watch the strapping young stud give the rugged ring veteran at least a good run for his money and, even better, a good drubbing.
I could possibly see the charm of a wrestler having to job his very first match--a nice initiation ritual, okay, I could cope--and I really don't mind when wrestlers lose a fairly high percentage of their matches. But when they appear to be losing every match, I begin to wonder on what basis they can call themselves wrestlers.
What I do resent, though, is consistent and sustained predictability: the sure knowledge that even before the competitors enter the ring, I know who the winner's going to be ... 99.7% of the time. Sure it's kayfabe--I accept that--but for me the drama is usually so much better when I can believe that either fighter has a fighting chance of coming out on top.
Still, enough careers have been built solely on the suck end of squash jobs and enough videos are titled "Squash Job Wrestling" for me to realize I'm not in the majority on this one. BG East has ten (so far) releases each on its Hunkbash and Jobberpaloozer series. Lots of you dudes like knowing that Alexi Adamov or Troy Baker or Christopher Bruce is more than likely going to get pwned even before you slide the disk into your machine.
Okay, fine, I'm just saying what I like and don't particularly like.
Here's something else I don't get--fluorescent-tube and staple-gun and thumbtack matches.
I'm not particularly squeamish--or at least I don't think so. If some fighter bloodies his lip in the normal course of combat, I don't mind so much. But stringing razor wire around the ring is just (I'm sorry) barbaric. And "barbaric" is not even the problem--the problem is that these angles don't interest me--they offer spectacle without drama. They are stunts, pure and simple, in the manner of Evel Knievel and Johnny Knoxville--but without the death-defying ballsiness of the one or the gonzo sexiness of the other.
Sure, a dozen Megabrites smashed on a man's bare back is something to see--but, in my mind, it's nothing compared to a dramatic story, where duplicity and baseness catch their rewards across the jaw, upon the knuckles of some stalwart and honest hero figure--or where a bruised and battered ex-champion pulls himself up off the ash heap of ignominy with one last valiant slugfest against his age-old arch-nemesis.
I like the thrill of "foreign objects" as much as the next guy. I can even tolerate the occasional folding chair against the forehead. But ladders and coffins surrounding the ring are just too too much for me to take even semi-seriously. (Mark my words: ladder matches will be remembered as the 2010 equivalent of mullets and Bastion Booger.) When props overshadow the human drama of pro wrestling, you've lost me.
(Eros, yes, wonderful, please--thanatos, sorry, not so much.)
Again, I figure I'm in the minority here. This past weekend, Comptroller relayed a comment he received via e-mail correspondence with an up-and-coming young Australian wrestler. The eighteen-year-old babyface said, and I quote verbatim, "the hardcore n blood is a turn on for fans because without any of thats.. its un-realistic & boring." (Personally, I suspect the goal is not "realism" or "excitement," but rather avoidance of the entertainment's being perceived as "gay" or at any rate "more gay than UFC"--but I don't think I could prove that ... not yet ... just a suspicion that's been gnawing at me lately.)
But who knows? I may in time change my mind about some or all of these things. Eventually I warmed up to the idea of masked wrestlers and tag teams--two classic gimmicks I just didn't see the point of until fairly late in the life of my kinks. Live and learn. My kinks evolve and grow like everything else in life.