Earlier today I read a great post from ECW great and current member of the TNA roster Raven. Before continuing my post please read his commentary first.
Raven’s thoughts on steroids:”The sheets crapped on the former ECW guys who weren't in shape, but decry when wrestlers used steroids. Make up your mind. Benoit who until he became a double murderer was the biggest steroid user in the business and without steroids he never would have had a career, yet he was never buried for it. Other guys were. Don't you love people who pick and choose their favorites when condemning society.”
After reading his blog I can’t help but agreeing with Raven. Wrestling over the years evolved from the appreciation of larger than life characters who amazed audiences with great feats of athleticism and great promos to jacked up one dimensional caricatures who barely have any connection with the audience. This evolution is partly the changing of wrestling but the other part stems from the need for the wrestlers to be larger than life and having an edge physically has always helped. Let’s hop back in the time machine for a minute and look at someone who was never the most physical of specimens but was and to some extent is still one of the best performers today.
Ric Flair is a great example of a great character and looked to be in decent enough shape. The guy made himself a household name not with a body like the Hulk but with great wrestling and exceptional mic work. Flair connected with fans on varying levels from hitting on the girls , clowning the poor bastard with a cheap suit, acting over the top bat shit crazy. These traits stood out and made him better than his peers. Now I can sit here and discuss the pro’s and cons of steroids and their harmful effects on the body but that’s a story for another day. My theory is and will always be that fans dictate popularity and if the crowd continues to cheer jacked up dudes then who are we as fans to pass judgment on their methods of getting fan appreciation .
ECW & TNA to some extent have always used the throwback method of letting the wrestling do the talking. ROH I feel holds that standard the most and has built a solid rep because of it. Who are we to judge any of these performers physical attributes? We pay to be entertained and should just enjoy the product. Who cares if Matt Hardy gained a few pounds!!! The guy busts his ass entertaining fans . I feel that we should not sit by and make commentary on things we don’t understand. When your ability to put food on the table for your family is dictated by your looks and your ability to entertain you are damn certain that you will do what ever it takes to be the best.
I use the argument often when talk shifts to steroids in baseball that we wanted homeruns since it was the most exciting parts of the game. Next thing you know players needed help hitting them more frequently. Management knew it and did nothing because the got a ton of money and because people became enamored with the “long” ball. Wrestling is pretty much the same way in that we went from cheering for guys like Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho to cheering guys like Batista who while being a scary mofo has about as much technical wrestling skill as Stephen Hawking. The guys who are the biggest in the game are not always the best.
Do talent or looks for make quality wrestling?
Share your thoughts below.