Monday, June 23, 2014

Technical Wrestling Master Class: The USA

He wasn't called the Excellence of Execution for nothing
Photo Credit:
I have a massive library of wrestling on my computer. It's not anything to be ashamed of; rather, I'm proud of it. And in the course of one day reviewing what I have I came to a sort of conclusion about the sort of wrestling I like. It's not the mindless WWE Main Event style, and it's not the head-droppy OMG MOVEZ~! stuff that passes for main event work in Ring of Honor currently. What do I enjoy at its core? Technical wrestling. and the high-end stuff. Curious as to what I like and how you could find some of it for yourself? Follow me.

First off, technical wrestling takes a variety of forms depending on who personifies that specific aesthetic for you. If, like me, you grew up in the United States with the WWF, WCW, and (to a far lesser extent) ECW on your televisions, then guys like this were the guys you were into.

Nick Bockwinkel

The real interesting thing about Bockwinkel is that, in a lot of ways, his best work was happening when the fewest amount of people were seeing it. By the time that the AWA got its TV deal with ESPN, Bockwinkel was in his late-40's. Did that matter? Not even a little bit. He was still as sharp as he had ever been.

Ric Flair

 Now I know what you're thinking, and yes it's true. Ric Flair was known for his flossiness, the fact that he seemed to be incapable of rolling anywhere without 10 to 20 ladies, a suit that cost more than your paycheck, and his boys the Four Horsemen. But make no mistake, when the "Nature Boy" got in the ring, he could go. He wrestled that 70's style where every hold was treated as though it was death, and the biggest strike that you were going to see was some blistering chops. And when I say blistering, I mean BLISTERING. Add to his technical skill his almost-superhuman cardio and the fact that most of his best work happened in the NWA during the 1980's and you had one of the coolest wrestlers ever.

Bret Hart

 And the last man on our list. If you were a kid in the WWF enclave of the Northeast during the 80's and 90's and didn't have fond memories of Gorilla Monsoon telling you how Bret Hart was the excellence of execution, and that every single manuever he did was applied to absolute perfection, you must have been watching different wrestling than I was as a kid. Bret Hart was always presented to younger fan of the WWF (sorry WWE, but you were the WWF at this specific point in my childhood) as a master, the guy every other wrestler knew could not just beat them but hurt them badly. And the chief tool in his toolbox? The Sharpshooter.

Again this was portrayed as the be all and end all. And if, as a kid, you didn't try and put the sharpshooter on your friends or your family, you were either not a big wrestling fan or liked different wrestlers than I did.

In closing, this is only the beginning. As time goes on, I'll introduce you to guys you may have not seen yet, and masters from far-off lands. Thank you for reading.