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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Ring Architect 5.20.14: Mailbag Edition
Posted by Obi Justice on 05.20.2014

So I did have a proper Ring Architect planned today, but I'm skipping it as it was to do with the ROH War of the Worlds show which I wasn't able to watch live because Ustream has a half-functioning website and terrible customer service. Trying to get someone from either ROH or Ustream to pay attention took up far too much time and energy. So there's my bitch session/apology to you guys. I'll probably revisit the topic at a later time, right now I'm too annoyed to try and put together an actual article. Hope you're not too mad, as instead it's...

Fascinating. I don't suppose you'd consider doing a piece on why wrestlers by and large stand still and actively try to catch the idiots flying out of the ring onto them?
New York Strike Exchange [5.12.14]

It is a bit counter-intuitive, and I think it should definitely be noted that the main reason they do this is for safety. I'm sure this was well-known but an important thing about thinking in kayfabe terms is remembering the real reason, so you don't get so wrapped up in explaining why you really shouldn't do it to forget the real reason that you are actually doing it. That is to say, just because maybe you really should dodge to avoid being hit doesn't mean you actually should, because there's still a person in the air that will hit the ground hard.

Now putting the kayfabe cap on, one thing that shouldn't be overlooked is fatigue. Generally when people get set up for these moves they're already a bit beaten up (at least) and so they're not moving as quick as they normally would. Then, there's the fact that it's not always easy to gauge distance when someone's flying through the air, especially if they're doing a lot of flippies to boot. If you make the wrong move, that's 180+ pounds crashing down on you, maybe in a very awkward and painful way. If you stay where you are you can try to catch and maybe turn it around, and at the very least falling on your back is one of the safest ways to fall if you do it properly. On the other side of that, you might just freeze like a deer in the headlights, not really know how to respond right in the moment. That's not something people plan for but it does happen, even to the best.

The main thing that irritates me about these dives is that the person catching generally just looks like they're... catching them. I would rather see guys look more beat up, maybe not exactly paying attention (i.e., not staring straight at the dude while he scales the buckle) and then get hit. I realize that requires good timing, but... well, if you're good you're good, let's leave it there.

So not being able to account for bad selling, it's a lot to do with not really being sure how to react in the moment and perhaps (though a slim chance) trying to get a counter. Cap off.

Good article, that tourney stuff got me thinking maybe one of these wrestling organizations should try acting more like a real sports company.

They could have seasons and keep track of wins and losses, take a month or two off to rest guys, maybe even focus on younger guys during the off-season so there'd be no break from tv.

Most people love fantasy sports and I think this could make fantasy pro wrestling a big thing, or at least not so terrible. Trading cards too, I don't even know if they still make WWE trading cards but I'm sure they'd be much better with yearly stats on the back.
The Best Around [4.20.14]

A really strongly sports-style company would be fun to see, and you might want to check out some of the Japanese shoot-style stuff like UWFi if that's your bag. That said, it does put a crimp on storylines and stories shouldn't be overlooked. The whole reason that pro wrestling is staged is because they wanted to sell more tickets and the stories are a big part of that. Personally, while I do like athletics I don't follow any sports except wrestling, and that's because I don't find much reason to care. Of course, having a sports presentation doesn't mean you can't have that stuff but it does mean that a lot more care has to be taken in planning everything out.

A season structure is the biggest sports trope but it's the one that clashes the most with running storylines. The problem is that everybody has to face everybody, so you can't get people to have repeat matches quickly. Plus, you really have to be sure that no one is going to get injured, walk out, have a family emergency, or anything else. Every little hiccup throws out a lot of meticulous work getting records to match up. Tracking wins and losses is great right up until you need to start pushing a guy, and then Zack Ryder's 3-44 record (a guess) doesn't look so good. An off-season idea sounds nice but there's really no reason for WWE to do it. I support wrestlers getting time off to rest, but more likely WWE will simply rotate people out. They've got a deep enough roster by far that they can pull it off if that's the way they want to go.

To make wrestling more sports-style in a way that would help the product, to me, would be things like stronger enforcement of rules and fewer run-ins. Remember, boxing and MMA are sports too, and that's really the model that I think wrestling has and should follow. There's one bit of The Rise and Fall of WCW where everybody's tearing their hair out about Bill Watts saying people couldn't jump off the top rope. What he said about it made perfect sense to me, though. It wasn't saying people couldn't do it, he just put a count on it and (presumably) tried to have it enforced. If you did it, you were breaking the rules a little bit. Details like that help make there seem a proper, clean-cut form of wrestling, which is what sports try to do: make something that's really chaotic and wild seem very organized and safe for consumption. You still have a guy come off the top rope, but people aren't jumping off all the time, they're having to approach it differently. The more orderly things feel in general, the more sports-like they'll feel, and the bigger impact when the rules are broken.

As far as fantasy sports, I think the main thing that makes fantasy wrestling not work for the traditional fantasy sports league is that no one really agrees on what makes a difference in wrestling. It's extremely difficult to come up with stats to track the way you would in football or football. Plus, it being staged makes it a lot weirder to participate in. It's basically like, if you get John Cena you will probably always win and it has nothing to do with Cena's week-to-week performance, he's always a safe bet. Maybe if you did it like "Build-a-Wrestler," so you decided to make a guy with John Cena's strength, AJ Lee's ring smarts, Cody Rhodes' flying ability, and because of a shit draft, Big Show's speed? Would at least give people the "Mr. Football needs to get 9 home runs or I'll lose!" feeling, like "No Cena, beat him with the AA or I'll lose!"

The match not being an actual match is exactly what pissed me off in the debut. Pretty sure people were chanting "this is awesome!" when the match started, and then the match ended before they finished the sentence.

They should've got like 15 minutes or something to work with there, that's what we were expecting and wanted to see. I don't know why WWE keeps doing these super fast title drops anyway? Don't these always bite them in the ass hardcore a la Sheamus VS Bryan at WM?
Erh -- Gold from Left Field [4.14.14]

I think the main thing is that when you have an unknown making her debut, it's got to make a big impact. Paige did and didn't. I think beating AJ so quickly got her noticed and the crowd definitely knew her some or took to her look straight away. But the match itself didn't really make a statement, nor did the promo which was just weird and weak-sounding. A quick title change could work if it's like Mark Henry demolishing Dolph Ziggler because Henry is giant and it show off his incredible strength. Similarly, if Ziggler beat Henry really quickly by outsmarting him, it reinforces his wilyness. Even forgetting the awkward-looking finish, Paige didn't really show anything that set her apart from the other divas in an immediate enough way. She really needed to have the time to flesh her character out more. Of course, she has had all the opportunities since and she's been doing a good job of it.

I couldn't tell you why WWE keeps running these. To be fair, it's not as if they ran the last rapid title drop last month. At the same time, they misjudged it pretty badly with Sheamus/Bryan as well. I think on that stage, if I expected to see a match between Sheamus and Bryan I'd be pretty damn disappointed if I got something less. On a TV show like Raw, especially in an impromptu match, there's less of that risk to consider. Still, it'd help if they would get better at gauging them. When in doubt, I say they should give the matches time. I'd always rather watch a match than a stunt.

All that's left to say.

I just want to make a small note. If you do want me to answer a question in a mailbag, I generally look for comments that are well thought out and aren't too tied down to the events of a particular show (pretty obviously, since I don't do these week by week). I'm not likely to get into fantasy booking here, though.

Thanks for reading and a special thanks to those who took the time out to leave comments. Always appreciated.


I'm writing about politics, philosophy, and history at bloctheory.com and I'm on twitter at @datsupahero. Much thanks to my friend Jen for the Ring Architect logo, and you can also find Jen on tumblr.


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