Doing Too Much

Corbin Macklin


I enjoyed WWE Crown Jewel. No star ratings or anything like that. I was entertained. My brain works in a critical/analytical manner that is NEVER not on. (Double negatives. Smell what I'm cookin, jabroni.) As I watched the show I thought about so many different things and I felt various emotions. This is good. At times, I thought about and felt... Wrestling is declining in popularity because they do too much. This is bad.

Throughout the show, they showed what I will assume were pretaped promos. Maybe they were live. Either way they evoked the feeling I had as a kid when wrestlers cut promos before matches. When Flair and Hogan cut promos I thought to myself "they still got it" and began thinking about how I enjoy NWA Power on YouTube because you can tell they're not scripting those promos. I doubt Flair and Hogan were allowed to shoot, brother. Whether or not they were, the delivery had me thinking about how the personalities are why we watched wrestling growing up. We watch now because we are addicts and we hope and pray one day Vince and his "creative" stop scripting the charisma right out of the talent.

I love AJ Styles. As I watched his match, I thought "THIS is the poster child for how doing too much is killing the business." I often see marks complaining AJ Styles hasn't had great matches even with the level of talent available in WWE. His matches with Orton, KO, and Nakamura have disappointed the workrate warriors. That dude has so many cool moves in his arsenal. He also exists as proof that moves aren't what get you over or keep you over with fans. What was the last hot angle AJ Styles shot? What was the last great promo AJ Styles cut? What was the last good storyline AJ Styles was in? The best two feuds he's had his entire run were against Roman Reigns and John Cena. Not because those guys are the best wrestlers or biggest stars. When I typed that and as you read this, you remember lines from promos. You remember the angles. You remember the storylines. Why? I have a great memory so if I saw it I vaguely at worst recall things. I believe those feuds stand out because AJ showed personality and charisma and bled star power.

During AJ Styles' match with Humberto Carillo, I thought about how revolutionary the cruiserweight division in WCW was in the mid to late 90s. And how cruiserweights can't get over now just because they do dives and flips. AJ Styles doesn't always do the springboard 450 but when he does... It doesn't mean anything because Roman Reigns dives over the top rope every now and again. More wrestlers than not, are doing several tope suicidas and moonsaults EVERY match. If you didn't know about the New Japan junior heavyweights from back in the day it was jarring to see all these wrestlers from Japan and Mexico flying around like that. In 2019 I acknowledge Humberto Carillo is athletic. But he does not impress me. Why is AJ Styles having competitive matches with that dude?

I began to think about how people who didn't watch NXT didn't get the big deal behind Asuka. She debuted in a competitive match with Emma, who was cut like a week or two later. If Asuka squashes her, and squashes a few more people on the way to having competitive matches with bigger names, you get the point quicker. Likewise, I was in attendance when Shinsuke Nakamura sold like 80% of his debut against Dolph Ziggler and people weren't impressed. A big part of creating the aura that people are stars is that they barely break a sweat against the average wrestler.

WWE is killing Seth Rollins. Seth Rollins is killing Seth Rollins. We are killing Seth Rollins. Everbody is killing that dude. At my core, I like him as a wrestler. He is talented as hell. During the match, I felt myself suppressing how much I want him to lose and stop being pushed as hard as he is being pushed. I thought about how fans felt about Roman from 2015 until learning he had cancer. And how when Roman gets the belt again fans will feel about him again.

You have been watching the same Bray Wyatt matches I have. You do not like that guy because he is this great workrate monster. You like him because he has personality and charisma. You like his character. I am not here to say that's wrong or bad. I'm here to make the point that fans pick and choose who they like or don't like based on their work and that is fleeting. It was weird hearing how hot the Saudi fans were for Roman and how they booed Rollins and remembering when it was different.

WWE doesn't give us reasons to like wrestlers they want to push. It's like... No. They think if someone just gets wins and cuts those scripted promos we just roll with it. They can pull on our strings like the puppets we are. The tools are right there but they don't use them. One of those tools is: don't have every match look the same. There does not need to be 20 false finishes in every match. You do not need to have every match end with the same sequence of moves. Then every surprise win does not need to be a roll up. Imagine if more matches had ONE pinfall or submission attempt and that was the finish AND if say, Roman Reigns won some matches with the Superman Punch. Then you don't know EVERY time he goes for a cover after one that it's a fake false finish.

That was why I liked the Cain v Brock match. If you would have told me Brock was going to win without hitting one suplex or F5 I wouldn't have believed it. I know some people think the match was bad because Cain's work strikes look fake. I didn't watch that hard and it didn't look Shane McMahon fake. Never look Shane McMahon fake! But put this match up against like every Brock match of the past few years and this was unpredictable. Which is good. Every Brock match does not need to be suplex and F5 spam. Speaking of spam... Why should I ever take the curbstomp seriously or ever believe The Fiend should take a pinfall loss? I have a feeling Roman Reigns is going to hit one Superman punch and one spear and WELP the internet gonna go nuts. I do not want to see Bray v Lesnar because I do not want to see the move spam that match will be. And say Adam Cole BAYBAAAAAAAAAAAY is in that match. Everyone knows who is taking that L. I'd hate to see it.

A lot is being said and a lot is being written about how bad wrestling viewership is right now. One: there is too much of it. NJPW is starting a NA promotion. TNA... IDC what the name is it will always be TNA to me like "Sears Tower" is forever to Chicagoans... TNA now has decent TV and AEW plus WWE are giving us 9 hours of wrestling TV. Anyone who knows a little about economics knows that if you don't even create the image of scarcity the demand will be low. Two: there is a sameness to wrestling now. Nothing is really that different to anything else so how do you call it superior? I will say. It's going to be interesting if NWA ever gets good TV and a bigger budget. THAT shit is WRESTLING. Until they start doing too much.