Thursday, March 30, 2017
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Marty Scurll, Pro Wrestling World Cup '17, 21 March 2017 (What Culture Pro Wrestling)
It seems no exaggeration to say that Zack Sabre Jr. has been spending the last dozen years creating a wholly new style of professional wrestling. If I only knew the science and art of pro wrestling a bit better, I might be able to describe it adequately. At best I can approximate, based on impressions hard to find words for. It seems firmly based on the British wrestling tradition, out of which the flashier American tradition grew in the early twentieth century and all but supplanted later. To the sporting and gentlemanly spectacle of UK wrestling, Sabre introduced elements of the even flashier wrestling styles of Japan--strong-style slaps and soccer kicks, catapults, and Tiger suplexes, plus Mexican-flavored arm drags and hurricanranas, the latter overused of late but always fresh when performed by Zack. More than the moves, though, Zack brings a personal mythology to wrestling, much like the authentic luchadors of the mid-twentieth century--that is, he is more than just a hero to his fans--he is an incarnation of something I suspect there's no word for yet.
Small gestures, like the way he presses the back of Marty Scurll's hand to his forehead (in the third GIF above), give a ceremonial flavor to Sabre's ring style. I don't have a clue what they signify, but they effectively raise the tenor of the match above the run-of-the-mill hijinks we have seen thousands of times before. The rest of his mystique derives from his silky smooth transitions from hold to hold. They are almost too awesome. Speedy, graceful, surely choreographed but seemingly not--they are either truly in the moment or amazing impersonations of off-the-cuff expedients. Some of them look as if they're played in reverse, like a video of a dog running backwards. This is not even my taste in wrestling, which leans heavily towards basic grunt-n-groan grappling and slugfests, but I find it mesmerizing. No doubt Sabre's good looks are a big factor, but they are far from the only factor. The man has a distinctive style that rises above gimmick or persona. Chaplinesque, Seussian, more Cirque du Soleil than WWE, Sabre-ism is a thing. What exactly I cannot yet say.