Randy Orton knows how to cause drama of the off-screen variety. In fact, he’s something of an artist at it. Last weekend, Orton retweeted a message from his original trainer in OVW, Rip Rogers, that criticized the current style of independent wrestling.
“Every Indy match now: handshake, drawn out move exchange, this is awesome chant, strike exchange, dive, no sell Indy strongstyle, dive, more strikes, no sells, dive, flippy floppy sequence, dive, hit everyone with each other’s finisher, then Humpty Dumpty, we all fall down. Fight forever chant, rinse and repeat until every move is useless and means nothing, dive, take unsafe shot that looks like shit and hurts like hell then roll-up finish. Handshake and hug after match. Everyone’s hand raised. All these guys chant. Go home and type on social media thanking your opponent and company for the match and telling others they should book these guys…dive.”
Wrestlers from all walks of life including Bully Ray and Low Ki voiced their displeasure over the tweet and Orton issued an “apology,” which added fuel to the fire.
“Sorry to the indy marks, indy guys and old-timers who do dives took offense…just having a good time over a few drinks in Denmark closing the Smackdown live tour…while beating Raw in making over $5 million in the last 11 shows. Now I know to some that doesn’t equate to a standing room only crowd of 150 people paying $8 at an armory somewhere…bit in the big boy world that’s called putting asses in seats. So enjoy your flips, dives and 20 superkicks per match. To each their own. I will go dive’ back into my 13th title run and get ready to flip’ when my make statement comes this month…headlock.”
The “indy debate” has been going on long before I was ever around and it will most likely continue long after I’m gone. The gist of the argument it that popular independent wrestling promotions such as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), feature a style of wrestling that is innovative yet lacks a narrative fabric.
Some fans love this style of wrestling while it fails to resonate with others. Similar and perhaps more passionate views seemingly consume practitioners within the industry. There are some wrestlers who like a match with a plethora of high spots. There are others who believe that less is more with the number of moves exhibited in a match.
Look at the popular tag team The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson). The Superkick Party where both men drill their opponents with multiple kicks per match is a hallmark of their act. Shawn Michaels, however, only needed a single rendition of Sweet Chin Music to finish his adversaries.
Now, if wrestling was real, this above comparison means that The Young Bucks are crappy wrestlers because it takes them multiple times to accomplish what Michaels did with one. Therefore, doing multiple superkicks makes absolutely no sense and shouldn’t be done.
The thing is, the Bucks make a lot of money off of delivering 20 million superkicks in a match. The fans go crazy for it and I’ve seen firsthand how their merchandise flies off the shelves at wrestling events. Plus, they recently signed a merchandise deal with popular clothing and pop culture outlet Hot Topic.
Who else besides wrestlers in WWE has their swag sold on a major platform? So, if the fans like it and it’s making money, do you stop doing it simply because we’re afraid that the more is more approach of wrestling is ruining the business? The answer is no.
Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) is a northeast independent promotion that showcases a brand of hardcore wrestling called “ultra-violent.” Ladders, tables, thumbtacks, barbed wire and fluorescent light tubes are common elements in their matches. “That shit is killing the business” has been said by every ‘grizzled’ veteran since 1999. Well, the business is still here.
There have always been sub-genres in wrestling, however, they’re now just starting to be defined due to the industry being more self-aware than ever before.
It’s the same thing as horror films, superhero movies and romantic comedies in Hollywood. Not everyone likes the same thing, which is why different movies appeal to different audiences.
Whether you prefer your pro wrestling to adhere to kayfabe or you know it’s all a work and just want a good show, it’s all good. There are plenty of dives and headlocks to go around.