BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

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BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by Big Red Machine » May 28th, '17, 22:50

You can consider this excerpt a teaser for my upcoming review of ROH Unauthorized, but as you'll see below it's something I've been bottling up for quite a while and is something that I think is a major problem in the wrestling business right now and it stands on its own quite well, so I figured I'd drop it here and see what people think:




In the middle of this violent street fight Bully Ray and Dalton Castle had a comedy pose-off in the middle of the ring. War Machine and the Brisoces, who had been throwing chairs at each other moments earlier, stopped to watch and cheer on their respective partners. Because that is what Ring of Honor has now become: funny is more important than wrestling.
And then the fans started to chant “THIS IS WRESTLING!” and I completely lost my sh*t. I went and took a ten minute walk so that I could calm down enough to get into a head-space where I could actually write something about this. I haven’t even seen the end of the match yet. This is something I’ve been meaning to say in several places for quite a while but I’ve held my metaphorical tongue for fear of offending people, but I can’t hold back anymore. Do you know what the saddest part of this is? Those fans are right. To them, this utter bullsh*t IS professional wrestling.
Pro wrestling has come to this point through the works of two seemingly opposite forces. The first is the “sports entertainment” crowd. And I don’t just mean Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn. I’m including, Russo, Ferrara, Disco Inferno, Kevin Nash and the like. People who forgot that the basic premise of professional wrestling is that it is just that: professional wrestling. It is the scripted/worked/whatever performance of the events of a professional combat league. People who decided that in order to appeal to people, wrestling has to be funny and so they went and kept trying to make things funny when they should have been serious. Unfortunately, these were also the people with ability to reach the greatest number of wrestling fans all around the world through their control of WWE, WCW, and TNA. Their crap is what many of today’s fans grew up watching. They haven’t been exposed to wresting that is presented as if it were, at its heart, a sport. All they’ve ever known are poorly-written action sitcoms, so when something utterly stupid happens for no other than the people putting the match and/or show together decided to do something funny, they respond the way you would on a sitcom: they laugh, and then talk about how much fun they had laughing.
On the other side we’ve got Dave Meltzer. Let me say up front that I am WON subscriber. I pay $10.99 or whatever it is each month for the privilege of reading and hearing Dave’s thoughts, news, and analysis because I have a very high opinion of his abilities as a journalist and an analyst. I don’t subscribe to the PWTorch or PWInsider even though I like both Wade Keller and Mike Johnson a lot as well, but I do subscribe to the Observer. A Figure 4 Weekly subscription is included in my Observer subscription, but I rarely read it. I read the Wrestling Observer Newsletter every week.
But I am also acutely aware that Dave Meltzer is a human being and therefore subject to human weaknesses. One of Dave’s biggest ones is hypocrisy. A guy doesn’t sell his leg in WWE? That’s bad. A guy doesn’t sell something in New Japan? FIGHTING SPIRIT! Seth Rollins is the world champion and he does a bunch of jobs and no title matches come of them? Vince is devaluing his title. Okada does jobs in the G1 that don’t result in title matches? Gedo is a great booker. Alicia Fox botches a bunch of moves? She sucks. Tomohiro Ishii botches a bunch of moves? He must have done it on purpose to make you think he was legit injured because he’s so next level. Dave will often defend these things by saying that the crowd was loving it and you have to play to the crowd that is in the building, but he’d never defend, say, CZW or TNA like that.
One of Dave’s biggest blind-spots has been PWG. Ever since they got hot at the end of 2010 Dave has put them over huge and talked about the great crowd and great action and all the wrestlers love being there and they sell out in a microsecond etc. etc. But when they do stupid comedy in a title match main event and the crowd eats it up because PWG has always had its comedic undertones, Dave just ignores it rather than criticize it like he would if it happened in TNA or WWE.
So on the one side you’ve got the wrestlers who either think that what Dave likes must be the “best” way to do wrestling or hope that if they start doing things that he likes he’ll give them more snowflakes which will create buzz around them and boost their careers, and the fans who watch PWG and see Dave put the crowd over so they go to their local shows and try to be the PWG crowd and spend too much time trying to come up with clever things to chant instead of paying attention to the match. On the other side you’ve got the “mainstream” fans who have grown up with wrestling being funny and between WWE making more use of top indy stars and indy wrestling becoming easier and cheaper to find due to the internet, those fans start filtering in to your local indy shows… and due to their TV exposure and actually having a touring schedule, the easiest indy to find is ROH. And ROH has also been the home of some of the hardest of the hardcore for years and they’ve been watching PWG because of the outstanding work-rate they’ve had going for most of the past seven years and they see Dave put over the crowd and the matches- which, by his omission of criticizing them includes the comedy, they decide that they should like comedy, too. So now you’ve got wrestlers in ROH trying to have all of their big matches be spotfests with copious comedy because Dave masturbates to those when they happen in Reseda, and hardcore fans who want Dave to talk about how great of a crowd they are just like he does for PWG and then you’ve got new fans coming in from the mainstream who want funny in their wrestling, and before you know it we’re living in a world where a Ring of Honor show features a big match in which the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions War Machine come out dressed as Dalton Castle’s manservants to have a match against the Briscoes and a washed-up Bubba Ray Dudley that becomes a garbage match for no other reason than because Bubba said so and in which War Machine and the Briscoes stop throwing chairs at each other so that they can watch Bubba Ray Dudley and Dalton Castle do comedy and the crowd responds by chanting “THIS IS WRESTLING!”


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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by cero2k » May 29th, '17, 00:55

I don't think it's hypocrisy what dave has, but as he has stated many times, he rates products differently. You can't rate NJPW and WWE the same because one is kept to a higher standard. The same way that I've said, you can't rate PWG expecting an EVOLVE storyline. We're ALWAYS going to be biased one way or another, you have a style that you like and you're forgiving of WWE while hate Impact, I have another style, I like Impact with all it's problems, but WWE I judge to the smallest thing, and Dozer does't even care about our indie darlings. Dave is the same, he won't miss certain shows, but doesn't watch ROH tv for instance.

And in that whole thing, well, there are people who like comedy in wrestling, because if you talk to people about wrestling, many will say that it's not meant to be taken seriously, it's still at the end of the day, a fake show. Some people don't care about stories or continuity, they just wanna see cool action, new stuff, did you know that right now are TONS of people defending Jinder Mahal becuase (1) it's new, and (2), it's not Randy Orton, and (3) he 'deserves it'. And you know what, i'm sure that 19 yrs ago, when Mankind won the title, there may had been a similar debate on whether he deserved it or not. That's just wrestling. People are raving over the Fashion Police and you're surprised that people like War Machine dressing up as Boys? That's wrestling fans, as Cole would say it, they just like to have fun. People go to shows to have fun, and yeah, sometimes try to get themselves over, but at the end, that getting over is also part of the fun. You go to a ROH show, and you'll find yourself chanting this is awesome because it's addictive, because everything feels better live, and at the end, you'll be like, that was a good show, but maybe it is because you were there. I've been to PWG and even talked to dave there, you get to see gummie bears live, and it's awesome; I don't like the slow mo sequences, but then you're there live, and holy shit it's awesome.
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by Big Red Machine » May 29th, '17, 02:29

cero2k wrote:
May 29th, '17, 00:55
I don't think it's hypocrisy what dave has, but as he has stated many times, he rates products differently. You can't rate NJPW and WWE the same because one is kept to a higher standard. The same way that I've said, you can't rate PWG expecting an EVOLVE storyline. We're ALWAYS going to be biased one way or another, you have a style that you like and you're forgiving of WWE while hate Impact, I have another style, I like Impact with all it's problems, but WWE I judge to the smallest thing, and Dozer does't even care about our indie darlings. Dave is the same, he won't miss certain shows, but doesn't watch ROH tv for instance.
I do think that you can hold matches in different promotions all to the same standard. Can you really argue that Okada and Shibata putting on the exact same match and getting the exact same crowd reaction would have been any better or worse if the turnbuckle pads had a different logo on them? It seems to me that if Dave was grading on a curve like that we'd see a lot more ***** coming out of WWE and even more than that coming out of TNA, but basically all of them are coming from New Japan. Of fifteen matches Dave has given ***** (or more) to in the past five years, fourteen of them have been from New Japan (the only other one is the main event from last year's BOLA Night 2). In the previous six years (and two months) he had only give THREE matches *****, and between the Dragon Gate six-man at Supercard of Honor and Punk vs. Cena we went OVER FIVE YEARS without one. Those fourteen in the past five years are more ***** matches than Dave gave out to every company total in the previous fifteen years. Of all of the ****3/4 matches Dave has given out over that time-frame, 36 out of the 45 of them have been in New Japan (and one of the ones that wasn't was six New Japan regulars facing off at War of the Worlds Tour show. Since Dave started rating PWG in 2015, he has never rated a match below ***1/4 and has given ****+ to more matches than he has given less than ****. Meanwhile, Dave has consistently rated matches that have been literally universally raved about like the Shawn-Taker Mania matches or the ROH Ladder War from last year or Dragon vs. KENTA from GBH V: Night 2 a "mere" ****3/4. Seems to me like he's grading on a curve to help them more than anything else. Or does he really think that New Japan is just that much better than everyone else that they can a million ****3/4 matches while everyone else struggles to even get one?

As for storylines... to an extent you are right, but I do think it's pretty stupid to do an angle where Chuck Taylor goes undefeated for year in order to earn a title shot while guys in the tag team division are given title shots for no other reason than they will be able to do lots of flips and superkicks with the Young Bucks, and doubly so when you've got a team that actually did beat the Bucks in a non-title match recently. I don't watch PWG expecting to see Jimmy Loves Lacey, but I do expect some kind of consistency from things in proximity to each other. It's like WWE stripping Naomi of the SD Women's Title preemptively because it merely looked like she might violate the 30 Days Rule, and then on the very show where Naomi returns to action, they put the Universal Title on Brock knowing full well that he will be violating that same rule three times over.

My other issue, as I said in the article, has nothing to do with the possibility of a curve. It's applying double-standard. Why does a hot crowd pull a New Japan or PWG match up so much but doesn't do so for TNA or ECW? If he doesn't think cheating babyfaces are okay he should call New Japan out for doing it just like he would with WWE And if he thinks comedy devalues titles he should criticize PWG for having it just like he would if it was anyone else.

Personally, I generally don't forgive WWE for doing things that I have called Impact out on. If you can find me doing so please let me know. Same with ROH, while we're at it.

Dave not watching ROH and Impact actually bothers me a lot. It should be part of his f*cking job. How is he supposed to give us his expert analysis on stuff he hasn't even seen? This CWF Mid-Atlantic show that's been getting all of this buzz lately? Dave should be checking that out, too. So far this year we've seen Style Battle start up and FIP and CZW have big directional changes (well-publicized in FIP's case) and Dave seems to have made no effort to check any of them out. Glory Pro's first show got some amazing reviews. Why hasn't Dave watched that? Surely he has lackeys like Josh Nason that he can have watch these eight-hour UFC shows for him and tell him if anything is good or controversial, right?

cero2k wrote:
May 29th, '17, 00:55
And in that whole thing, well, there are people who like comedy in wrestling, because if you talk to people about wrestling, many will say that it's not meant to be taken seriously, it's still at the end of the day, a fake show. Some people don't care about stories or continuity, they just wanna see cool action, new stuff, did you know that right now are TONS of people defending Jinder Mahal becuase (1) it's new, and (2), it's not Randy Orton, and (3) he 'deserves it'. And you know what, i'm sure that 19 yrs ago, when Mankind won the title, there may had been a similar debate on whether he deserved it or not. That's just wrestling. People are raving over the Fashion Police and you're surprised that people like War Machine dressing up as Boys? That's wrestling fans, as Cole would say it, they just like to have fun. People go to shows to have fun, and yeah, sometimes try to get themselves over, but at the end, that getting over is also part of the fun. You go to a ROH show, and you'll find yourself chanting this is awesome because it's addictive, because everything feels better live, and at the end, you'll be like, that was a good show, but maybe it is because you were there. I've been to PWG and even talked to dave there, you get to see gummie bears live, and it's awesome; I don't like the slow mo sequences, but then you're there live, and holy shit it's awesome.
And the people defending the Jinder thing for reasons one and two are completely f*cking stupid. Putting the title on ME would be "new" and I'm certainly "not Randy Orton." Should they have put the title on me?
Three is argument that would be more palatable in other circumstances (for example, I'd have been all for them putting the PWG belt on Chuck Taylor, if only for one show, but that's because, with the build-up they gave it, it would have been a feel-good moment for a guy who has, in a way embodied what PWG has been about for longer than there has been a PWG. With Jinder... what the f*ck has Jinder Mahal ever done to "deserve" the world title. Those people must be dumb sh*ts just didn't understand the whole Daniel Bryan title win and figured that he just "deserved it" because he had worked in WWE for a few years rather than for being an amazing work and an excellent promo and fighting through everything he had to fight through to get to the top

The Fashion Police and War Machine dressing up as the Boys are totally different things. For the Fashion Police it was slightly in character (because their gimmick is that they're idiots who think they're real cops). For War Machine it is completely 100% out of character to do this. If it was Taguchi I would have no problem with it. And wrestling fans didn't use to think this sort of thing was cool. They wanted their badasses to be badasses and guys who made a mockery of things were booed out of the building.

Yes, everything feels better live. But I wouldn't chant this "THIS IS AWESOME" for Tanahashi doing a f*cking double back rake. I'd chant it if there was what appeared to me to be an awesome wresting match going on. My opinion on comedy doesn't change whether or not I'm there live. Trust me. I've seen R.D. Evans live twice. The stuff that was funny live was also funny when I watched it back on the DVD and that stuff that wasn't funny live wasn't funny on the DVD, either.
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by cero2k » May 29th, '17, 13:49

Can you rate all matches under the same standard? sure, but things would definitely be different from what we're getting. Young lions in NJPW arguably have better matches than 50% of the WWE roster, and the CMLL lucha libre style is soo different that it would get different reactions in WWE. There's definitely a certain level in which all matches are rated, but there still needs to be different factors, imagine rating Kaiju Big Battel or a Chikara match under the same standards of a Naito vs Omega match?

Crowd-wise, it does make a lot of difference, a crowd can make or kill a match, NXT was built on good crowds at first, and at the end of the day, it's his personal opinion on which crowds he likes. I don't like NXT crowds even when they're hot, they sound so fake to me, but some people love them. And I think the comedy falls in the same venue, some comedy I'm ok with, I like Taguchi's comedy, hate Yano's, and Dave should be the same, he shits on Omega when he does comedy, but loves Castle's. We can't all be Cornette shitting on all comedy.

Should Dave cover ROH/Impact, yes i definitely agree, but i also don't blame the man. There's just soo much stuff out there that realistically may be more relevant that Impact and ROHtv. WWE alone is 10+ weekly hours + UFC + writing that weekly newsletter.
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by Big Red Machine » May 29th, '17, 15:43

cero2k wrote:
May 29th, '17, 13:49
Can you rate all matches under the same standard? sure, but things would definitely be different from what we're getting. Young lions in NJPW arguably have better matches than 50% of the WWE roster, and the CMLL lucha libre style is soo different that it would get different reactions in WWE. There's definitely a certain level in which all matches are rated, but there still needs to be different factors, imagine rating Kaiju Big Battel or a Chikara match under the same standards of a Naito vs Omega match?
Oh come on. The Young Lions aren't that much better than the WWE roster (especially not with the restrictions placed upon them).
Kaiju, form what I've seen of it, is a whole different animal,
Lucha is different enough that I think that if you put it in front of a mainstream crowd in the US (without a large Hispanic population) they might not quite understand it, but I think that anyone going to any non-WWE show in North America is probably smarky enough to understand Lucha well enough that they will be able to understand a match that requires no backstory.
As for CHIKARA- a comedy match anywhere shouldn't be rated the same way as a serious match (which why I rarely give them number ratings), but there is no reason that the F.I.S.T. vs The Colony should be rated on a different scale than Misawa & Akiyama vs. Johnny Ace & Dr. Death, or that Elgin vs. Omega should be rated differently from any other Ladder Match.
The other problem with trying break things down by style is that where the lines are drawn is so inherently subjective. If just getting up and not selling your leg getting destroyed is part of the Dragon Gate style when why is it not also part of the WWE style? That sort of thing.
cero2k wrote:
May 29th, '17, 13:49
Crowd-wise, it does make a lot of difference, a crowd can make or kill a match, NXT was built on good crowds at first, and at the end of the day, it's his personal opinion on which crowds he likes. I don't like NXT crowds even when they're hot, they sound so fake to me, but some people love them. And I think the comedy falls in the same venue, some comedy I'm ok with, I like Taguchi's comedy, hate Yano's, and Dave should be the same, he shits on Omega when he does comedy, but loves Castle's. We can't all be Cornette shitting on all comedy.
Crowds can definitely help or hurt a match (although I tend not to let the hurt it part effect me as much as most people might). My issue is when Dave will use a hot crowd as an excuse for bumping up a PWG or New Japan match but doesn't do so for the perhaps even more rabid atmosphere you'd find in, say, ECW.

As for comedy... while I agree that it is subjective, I think that if you set standards like Dave seems to (and like I will) that comedy is not acceptable in something like a big title match because it hurts the titles and makes the product look silly, then that standard should be held pretty much universally.

cero2k wrote:
May 29th, '17, 13:49
Should Dave cover ROH/Impact, yes i definitely agree, but i also don't blame the man. There's just soo much stuff out there that realistically may be more relevant that Impact and ROHtv. WWE alone is 10+ weekly hours + UFC + writing that weekly newsletter.
WWE is seven hours weekly, and I'm not sure Dave is even watching 205 Live most weeks. I really do think he should cut down on the UFC and maybe some of the New Japan (although New Japan themselves have made that pretty hard by splitting their B PPVs into two or three different shows on the tour). Most UFC fights are nothing to write about anyway and he has lackeys to watch them for him. I also really wish he wouldn't waste the (admittedly little) time that he does waste looking up how Rock and Batista's movies do.
The other frustrating thing is that, with ROH in particular, his coverage is so lackluster. His total lack of comment on anything going on with ROH over the past few months from attendance being down to the Kyle fiasco to the developing trend of guys like Rush, Lee, ACH, Whitmer, and Dijak (and Kyle, and possibly Fish) all leaving, and the attendance being down and the various reports Sullivan has been completely negligent.
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by KILLdozer » May 29th, '17, 20:17

I swear, we'd be a room with no lights on and you two would argue about which one of you actually made the room darker by turning off said lights.
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by kirbs2002 » May 30th, '17, 21:38

+1(,000)

Funny don't draw money.
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by cero2k » May 30th, '17, 22:08

kirbs2002 wrote:
May 30th, '17, 21:38
+1(,000)

Funny don't draw money.
except BRM's point is that WWE is full of comedy, and WWE is definitely making money
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by KILLdozer » Jun 1st, '17, 10:51

cero2k wrote:
May 30th, '17, 22:08
kirbs2002 wrote:
May 30th, '17, 21:38
+1(,000)

Funny don't draw money.
except BRM's point is that WWE is full of comedy, and WWE is definitely making money
Yeah, imagine that. :twisted:
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Re: BRM Finally Lets It All Out: THE Rant on Wrestling Fans in 2017

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 1st, '17, 20:56

cero2k wrote:
May 30th, '17, 22:08
kirbs2002 wrote:
May 30th, '17, 21:38
+1(,000)

Funny don't draw money.
except BRM's point is that WWE is full of comedy, and WWE is definitely making money
Yes, but not as much as they could be. Attendance is down (same for ROH). Ratings are down. The Network numbers are at least a million or two short of what they were hoping for, and the last time the rights fees were up for renegotiation (2014, I think) they only got half of what they were expecting to get and had no leverage because NBC Universal were the only ones who wanted them.

It's all opportunity cost. Time wasted on dumb bullsh*t is time that could be spent having good wrestling matches or doing things to enhance storylines or get worthwhile characters over. Time the writers waste on dumb comedy is time that could be spend thinking up interesting stuff.

For the record, I don't have a problem with comedy overall. It just needs to stay in the proper places. During matches/feuds between top stars or Street Fights or title matches is not the place for it. You can be funny on the mic without being stupid and/or farcical. You shouldn't be doing comedy all over the show, and that is a big problem in ROH in terms of the matches and in WWE in terms of... well... everything else.
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