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Tristan Archer vs Pierre Fontaine, Japan Expo Euroresu 2017 - Day 4 (International Catch Wrestling Alliance)

I never thought of it exactly this way before, but one thing I love about technical wrestlers, and Tristan Archer in particular, is the way they present their stratagems - large and conspicuously - almost as if they're giving the fans an educational demonstration, a how-to of professional wrestling. Whether it's the lock-and-load backward thrust of the elbow when they're about to throw a punch or the microsecond of stillness before tossing an opponent to the mat, they make sure the crowd doesn't miss a thing. What they're doing, however, is projecting their moves so that the fans can follow the chain of events that comprise the match's particular drama. Typically, they're working without the frontloading of established character arcs and long expository harangues. They can't rely on ringside commentators to spell out the plot and fine points of character. The "story" is all in the moves. The "characterization" is all in how they deliver the moves. So they project their moves so that they can be clearly read from the last row.

Archer creates a rhythm in his movements, then breaks it right before the pow! moment. I first noticed it in the little rain dance his feet perform leading up to his reversal of Fontaine's arm lock (first GIF). The gestures are different, but he's doing the same thing - creating and then (at the last moment) breaking a rhythm - when he JCVDs Fontaine towards the match's end (last GIF). Of course, it isn't realistic. Real fighters don't telegraph their moves like this - and exaggeration isn't necessary when working in front of a camera, which can capture details. But watching Tristan work, I'm impressed with his professionalism - as well as his body.

Let me also speak briefly of the miracle of Beaury Mathieu's camerawork. The single-camera videography from ringside captures all the necessary action and does it beautifully. His still shots and video work never fail to astound me.


Visit ICWA here.

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