If I told you I had just watched a classic wrestling match where the only two moves used in the first five minutes were a side headlock and a cravat, you would probably ask me what 1950’s-era bout I had seen. Actually, your first question might be “what’s a cravat?“, depending on how familiar you are with the terminology of wrestling holds. But it wasn’t the 1950’s, or the ’60’s, or even the ’70’s. No, it was less than a week ago, right here in good old 2009.
In a match on the 12/17/09 episode of TNA Wrestling, Christopher Daniels and Desmond Wolfe (video) managed to build things up “old school” using basic wrestling moves. Not only that, but at the same time they were able to keep the attention of the crowd. By the time they worked up to a simple shoulder tackle, the crowd popped. Later in the match when they went into their various high spots and false finishes, the moves had a lot more impact because of where the match started, and it resulted in one of the best matches of the year, IMHO (the only negative was the finish).
With professional wrestling’s constant attempt to outdo themselves with more “extreme” matches and storylines, seeing things go back to basics last week was refreshing. It put some energy and variety back into a match in a way that got me more engaged than I have in quite awhile.
When the business can no longer top itself, what do you do? One thing you could do is start over. You could drop kick “sports entertainment” and bring the wrestling back.
At a time when Hollywood seems to be “rebooting” previous properties for better or worse (Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Transformers, GI-Joe, Star Trek, Land of the Frickin’ Lost), is it possible for professional wrestling to reboot itself? Could it start over again?
I doubt that WWE would be able to do it, as the short term ratings drop while they find their new audience would probably be too much for the shareholders to take (WWE is a publicly traded company). TNA may have been able to do it at one time, but since they’ve decided to bring Hogan in so that they can become “the biggest wrestling company in the world”, I think it’s too late.
Maybe a smaller promotion like Ring of Honor (ROH)? I haven’t seen any of their product, but Jim Cornette‘s Contract With the Wrestling Fans makes me think they are listening to people who “want their wrestling back”.
The match you described is how I remember wrestling in the ’50’s. I enjoyed it then, and I believe it would sell today. This change might bring some of the older crowd back Similar to music referred to as “an oldie, but a goodie.”