First of all I’ll start by saying I’m no writer or a journalist. I’m just a guy in the Professional Wrestling business who likes to chat shit.
Every so often I’ll be scrolling through my news feed and I’ll see a video of Will Ospreay doing his thing; hitting the deck, jumping up, hitting flips and even some crazy fucking dives. Each time I watch it my jaw hits the floor. I rewind and watch again and think ‘How the fuck did he do that!?’ And then I check out the comments. For the most part things seem to be positive. This is something different, unique even and a large percentage of wrestling fans are absolutely loving it! And with good reason, Will’s style of wrestling is a huge alternative to what they see on main WWE programming week in and week out. But then you’ll see the negative comments on Twitter. More commonly from those in the business saying things such as “he’s ruining the trade”, “this doesn’t make sense” and “kid needs to learn to work a headlock”. These are just a few of the things said in a whole tirade of abuse that often comes Will’s way from those who work in the Professional Wrestling industry; some from those whose days have gone by, some who are in their prime today.
Last year it was former WWE Superstar Vader to bring the heat when Ospreay and Ricochet’s bout from NJPW had caught the attention of the Professional Wrestling world. Vader piped up and gave his opinions on what he thought was not Professional Wrestling, but instead “gymnastics”. Ospreay then retorted by saying that Professional Wrestling is an art form and what happens in the ring is purely how Professional Wrestlers express themselves, whether it’s by doing ‘gymnastics’ around the ring, hold for hold wrestling, or two guys setting each other on fire in some fucked up Jimmy Havoc style death match. It’s all art.
Will was again criticised by the likes of Rip Rogers after another back & forth Twitter debate after Rip had posted what he described as ‘every indy match’.
Will retorted with ‘Yeah but I’m having fun and making money’, which may sound arrogant – but he’s not lying. And the fact that the business is often referred to as ‘the job’ by the older generation and here’s this guy supposedly ruining it whilst making more money and having more success than most of his critics ever have/done/will is well, quite frankly, hilarious.
But in all this I began to think and observe the situation. A lot of wrestling I watch is old… Whilst most are tuning into WCPW & streaming the latest chapter of Progress; I’m watching matches involving Tiger Mask from 30 years ago. I don’t say this to make myself sound like a ‘student of the game’, I just enjoy watching old shit. I like the simplicity of it; it doesn’t follow the structure that most matches do today which makes it unpredictable and for this reason I get invested in it so much more than any current product.
There’s a big difference from Professional Wrestling in the 1980’s to the 1990’s. There’s a smaller difference in Professional Wrestling from the 1990’s to the 2000’s. And there’s another big difference from Professional Wrestling in the 2000’s to now. Wrestling is constantly evolving. It goes back on itself as much as It goes forward, trends come, go and then come back again.
When I do watch matches from 30/40 years ago I’ll see that the finish is a suplex… A fucking suplex! And I’m not talking of the German kind or the T-Bone kind, I mean a normal upside down, over you go, suplex. It was such a big deal at the time. You were picking up your opponent, turning him upside down and making it look like you were dropping the cu*t on his head from height. Fast forward 40 years and the suplex is such a throw away move now. The type of thing that gets thrown in the heat of a match and for the most part is not even followed up by a pin-fall because ‘you can’t believably win from such a basic move.’ So, the guy’s just keep going and move on to the next thing and that’s been like this for nearly 20 years now. And I can guarantee the heat that Ospreay gets now for his style of wrestling will have probably been the same to what the boys of 20 years ago got from the boys of 40 years ago. Generations just cussing out younger generations. But instead of complaining about a series of flips, that generation was complaining about how these new guys of the 80’s are throwing away a suplex and a body slam in the heat of the match instead of using it as a finish and working a hold for 20 minutes.
I can admit that Will’s style isn’t my go to style of wrestling that I like to watch. A lot of that style of independent wrestling isn’t. There’s too much for me to process and when they move on to the next spot I forget what just happened in the previous spot. I’m a dumb fuck like that. I personally enjoy watching more simple stories; matches full of drama with a slow build. But that doesn’t mean I hate on what Will does because it impresses the hell out of me and more importantly it has its place in wrestling. The way I see it is that every wrestling show should be a variety show. You need your flips, you need your hold for hold wrestling, you need your big man vs. big man and your tag team matches and drama fuelled main events… that’s what makes the best shows. Variety!
To be honest I’m bored or writing now and I don’t even know if the shit I’m saying is even making sense. For me, Mark Haskins said it best. ‘Who invents all these bull shit wrestling rules? Just go give the paying crowd a killer show, without them we got fuck all. Fuck.’