What is the best way to make an impression?

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What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Adam D on Mon 22 Jun 2015, 9:27 am

http://v2wrestling.com/5/post/2015/06/what-is-the-best-way-to-make-an-impression.html


by Lexi Helms

It’s always incredibly sad when the news breaks that a wrestler passes away. Just over a week ago, news broke that Dusty Rhodes had passed onto the great wrestling ring in the sky. The news of any wrestlers passing always makes me sad and makes me reflect upon my time as a wrestling fan - the Wrestlers I’ve cheered and booed, moments that left me in awe, moments that were a huge talking point amongst friends and fans the next day. During this time, I inevitably find myself looking through my list of favourite wrestlers of all time [admit it, you all have one!]. There is seemingly nothing that they have in common; some are obvious and some are not, they don’t look the same, they are not all heavyweights or high-flyers, some are not as successful as others. Regardless, I could sit and watch these people wrestle and cut promos until the cows come home. After many hours of reflection, it hit me that the only thing they seem to have in common is that they have made an impression. Scientists believe you have only 7 seconds to make an impression. With this statistic in mind, what does it take to make a lasting impression on a Wrestling fan?

Let’s start with the obvious - the look of a wrestler. In the industry of Pro Wrestling, there is an awful lot of skin on show regardless of gender, so having a great look is a good way of getting noticed. It goes without saying that if a male or female wrestler is pleasing on the eye, you’re probably going to take more of an interest in them. How many of us who watched wrestling in the early to mid 1990’s talk about Bertha Faye? Earthquake? Or Tugboat? Is it because you don’t remember them? Because of their look? Or simply because they were not good enough? I think Tugboat is more remembered for being the “Shock Master” than either Typhoon or Tugboat combined! There are also several modern wrestlers who have the look, but are forgettable for other reasons. One example that I could use, despite not being on the above favourites of all time list, is EC3: did you know he was in WWE under the name Derrick Bateman? More shockingly, Daniel Bryan was his mentor? I certainly didn’t know either fact - until I looked through my WWE Encyclopaedia and the help of Wikipedia. With the benefit of hindsight it is an easy spot, but it goes to show the difference a hair cut can make. With this said, could it simply be that his character wasn’t memorable rather than his look? Another one is Mordecai, who was on SmackDown! back in 2004. He had a memorable look, but didn’t really leave an impression and seemingly vanished without a trace. In 2006 Mordecai became Kevin Thorne - another example of what a good haircut and bottle of hair dye can do for a person, as Thorne’s character made a huge impression - to me at least.

Could it be the entrance music of said Wrestler that makes the impression? If you’re a subscriber to the WWE Network, there is a delightful documentary on the top 20 entrance music themes of all time (if you’ve not seen it, I highly recommend it and won’t discuss it further to avoid spoiler alerts!). However, there are lots of music that got missed out. For example, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Sting used to come out to Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy”. Being a Metallica fan, Sting instantly had more of my attention. It set the tone for Sting - this guy is here to kick arse and take names. The same can be said for Sandman and the use of “Enter Sandman”, which was a genius move by ECW. DDP used a modified version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. There is also the Ultimate Warrior. His music captured his energy and excitement perfectly. It stood out over everyone else’s on the roster at the time and certainly made an impression. I can also talk about “Here Comes The Money” for Shane McMahon. It has been, and still is one of my favourite ringtones and still sends a shiver down my spine when I hear it. I could not continue without mentioning HHH’s use of Motorhead. The two together now go hand in hand, and you know, once his music hits, what you’re dealing with. For me, this is something that WWE need to pounce on with Wade Barrett. It is no secret that he is a fan of the Manic Street Preachers (Culture, alienation, boredom and despair form his tattoo, which are taken from “Little Baby Nothing” and contain some of the most poignant and beautiful words ever written, FACT). The Manics, in turn have said that they are willing to perform his entrance music. Barrett’s current music has the Manics “sound”, and given that he is a heel, why not use “Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforadayitswholeworldwouldfallapart” from the “Holy Bible” album to generate more heat - especially with lyrics such as



“Big Mac, smack, Phoenix R, please smile y'all

Cuba, Mexico can't cauterize our discipline

Your idols speak so much of the abyss

Yet your morals only run as deep as the surface”



There are, however, some notable music fails though. Randy Orton used “This Fire Burns” by Killswitch Engage for an episode of RAW and it did not fit his character. This eventually went on to become the theme for a certain C M Punk. A more current one, for me, is Samoa Joe’s NXT theme. It starts like his old TNA theme. This is awesome - you know who it is... but then goes into something that I feel is too happy and upbeat for Samoa Joe.

Another factor to consider are the mic skills of the wrestler in question. We all know that cutting promos are an important part of Pro-Wrestling. One of the greatest of all time on the mic is Dusty Rhodes. He spoke with such passion, soul and grace, but the audience knew that he was serious. He was able to transfer this into his commentator role and give an insight into the mindset of both the heel and face in the match. He could be quite funny at times - probably unintentionally. We cannot continue to discuss this without talking about The Rock. During the famed Attitude Era, there is no doubting that this man made you sit up and listen - and usually laugh. I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the reasons why The Rock became so successful. There are other greats like Flair, Guerrero, HHH, Stone Cold, Edge, Jericho, Cena (back in the day, his raps were hilarious!), Ambrose, Punk, Paul Heyman, Kevin Owens, Aries, Roode... the list is endless, and with some of them, we’ve yet to see them at their best. However, one of my favourites from my childhood never spoke - at least in his initial start. That man was Goldberg - without words, he made everyone know that he was a legitimate bad ass. So, are mic skills that important? Currently, with WWE it seems, not really - need I say the Great Khali? or Roman Reigns? His promos are woeful at times, but he still got a push.

In addition, there are also the in-ring abilities of a wrestler to take note of. Currently, I feel that one of the best wrestlers is Neville. There is no doubt that he has the skills and his Red Arrow finisher is amazing. It is so amazing that I know of people who cannot watch him perform it in case it goes wrong. No matter who the opponent is, I stop what I’m doing to watch his matches. The same can be said for Austin Aries, Paige, Sammi Zayn, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Balor (to name a few). All of these excite me and feel fresh, allowing the audience to suspend their disbelief during their matches, which never get stale. Could it be, with the exception of Aries, that this is because they are not “over-exposed” yet? Yes, they are usually on programming most weeks, but their time always has a purpose and doesn’t come across as merely a “time filler”. I also get the impression that they treat every match as their “big” break, and give 100% to it. However, there are some wrestlers, both past and present who come across as lazy when they make it to the main roster. Whilst I idolise the Ultimate Warrior, I have to admit that his matches were... not the best, and that is not a reflection on his opponents. Does this mean that the abilities of the wrestler really matter? If we look at The Rock, Cena, Hogan, and Warrior, all of their matches can be easily predicted. With that said, I have to give credit to Cena who’s upped his game lately. All of them held the world titles at some point in their career, hold various records between them and are household names.

Throughout this piece, I’ve listed the qualities that make an impression on me. In all honesty, I still cannot tell you what makes the wrestlers mentioned in this article stand out (that and the word limit imposed onto me!). Whilst not everyone mentioned in this piece are on my favourites of all time list, they have been named for a reason. I cannot tell you why certain wrestlers stand out to me and not others. What I can tell you is that they must be doing something right to leave that lasting impression on my memory. With everything mentioned above, I’m sure I’ve missed people and qualities out. What wrestler has made a lasting impression on you? Why have they? Is there anyone I have missed out? Are there any other qualities I have missed?

Adam D
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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Prometheus on Mon 22 Jun 2015, 11:57 am

Okay.  So, I'm going to start by saying that I flat out disagree with your first major point that that you will take more interest in a wrestler if they are "pleasing on the eye”.

This is the Kevin Nash view: Men want to be them and women want to sleep with them.  And you can mix and match that for your gender and sexuality, as you wish.  I don’t think it’s right.  I think WWE has a whole mid-card of men and women who are athletic and to one degree or another traditionally good looking and I don’t really think they are drawing a dime.  Whereas Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose are all moving merchandise and drawing crowds.

You say that mic skills are not important in WWE currently.  Again, I’d strongly disagree.  The ability to cut a long mic segment I would list as one of the top 3 skills in WWE (the others being in-ring work and getting back stage stroke).  Name a top worker in WWE who’s not spending time on the mic, and name someone who got to the top, was then discovered to be not so good in promos and went straight back to the mid-card.  If WWE are not giving you a microphone, they don’t believe you can draw.

I’ll happily admit that WWE’s implementation of this completely sucks with the long, scripted promos.  But it is absolutely key in a company that runs so many shows and has 3 hours of live TV on a Monday night that you can fill good time speaking.  I’d also say that I think you have events the wrong way round with Reigns.  You contend that he still got a push, despite woeful mic skills.  I’d say that when they gave him those awful promos was when his push stalled.  As you say with Goldberg, if you are big your story should be “I’m a big guy who comes out there and spears guys in 2!”  You don’t need to sit around telling nursery rhymes to tell that story.

Does the ability of wrestlers matter, if their matches can be easily predicted?  Again I’d argue that WWE style is predictability.  Watch Bryan Danielson and then watch Daniel Bryan.  Now, tell me how long you want a Daniel Bryan match to run and I’ll call the match for you, without even seeing it.  WWE style is that their fans expect these moves in a match, that is what they pop for, so that is what they’ll be given.  And, yes that often includes the finish too.  I think you are right to highlight the Kevin Owens and John Cena case because here Cena is wrestling the Indie style of Owens, not vice-versa.  I credit Cena for pushing himself to try this.  I hope that this is a trend WWE are going to continue with, because there is little point getting these seasoned Indie pros and then having them wrestle the same style that Cody Rhodes and Curtis Axel can’t get over.   The challenge for someone like Neville is will he still be a wrestler you want to watch in 6 months.  If he has a 50:50 win:loss record, he’s not got a belt, he’s in a meaningless feud and he’s doing the moves you’ve seen every week for the last 6 months, does he still draw your attention as a viewer?  

When we talk WWE in particular.  The question of look, entrance music, mic skills, in-ring skills that get’s them over?  Then I think already we are looking to focus too soon.  What gets you over and shoots you into the stratosphere is the ability to tell a story.  And I think with the wrestlers that get over WWE weaves together 2 or more of these strands to tell the story.  SCSA, The Rock, Hogan, Daniel Bryan, HHH, Undertaker, Cena, Flair, Eddie, HBK…. Any of those WWE wrestlers that stood the test of time, I think in each case you can say, okay this is their story and this is how their image, their music, their mic work, their in-ring style told that story.   But I don’t think you can just say, okay if I get a wrestler with the look of Luger, the mic work of Dusty Rhodes, the in-ring ability of Benoit and the pyro of Kane you necessarily have a star unless all of that is put together to tell the right story.   And that is why Heyman, has done more with less, than anyone else, because he could pump up strengths and cover weaknesses with a clear idea in every case of what story he wanted to achieve.
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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Adam D on Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:12 pm

Prometheus wrote:
You say that mic skills are not important in WWE currently.  Again, I’d strongly disagree.  The ability to cut a long mic segment I would list as one of the top 3 skills in WWE (the others being in-ring work and getting back stage stroke).  Name a top worker in WWE who’s not spending time on the mic, and name someone who got to the top, was then discovered to be not so good in promos and went straight back to the mid-card.  If WWE are not giving you a microphone, they don’t believe you can draw.


Jack Swagger springs to mind!

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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Samo on Mon 22 Jun 2015, 4:26 pm

Dolph Ziggler is another. On the flip of that though you have a guy like The Miz, who is fairly good on the mic but hasnt been anywhere near a main event since he teamed with Truth to face the Rock and Cena.

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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Lexi Helms on Wed 24 Jun 2015, 7:15 pm

A few things here Prometheus, and I think you've been a little harsh

Prometheus wrote:Okay.  So, I'm going to start by saying that I flat out disagree with your first major point that that you will take more interest in a wrestler if they are "pleasing on the eye”.

I did not state that this was fact, I said that a person would "probably going to take more of an interest in them." I did not, flat out say that this was everyone's view. I have referenced superstars in this and previous articles that did not have the desired "look" and fit in with what you call the "Kevin Nash View". I referenced to Bertha Faye, May Young, The Fabulous Moolah, and Mordecai, who did not have the desired look. Hell, I'd go as far to say that Kevin Owens doesnt have the desired look and how over is he?

Unfortunately, can be common practice for WWE and other promotions to hide superstars marriages from fans to create the "Men want to be them and women want to sleep with them" illusion.


Name a top worker in WWE who’s not spending time on the mic, and name someone who got to the top, was then discovered to be not so good in promos and went straight back to the mid-card. Adam beat me to the punch on this but Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett all spring to mind for different reasons. Swagger had the title and then seemingly vanished but this could be due to wellness violations more than mic skills. Dolph, since having the title, has seemingly been mish-mashed into angles, and I do not buy the whole Lana angle - but that's just me. Barrett, is a difficult one. At one point he was on the mic during every RAW at some point, but before winning King of the Ring, seemed to be lost in a creative sense. Hopefully now, this KoTR push will be positive.

 I’d also say that I think you have events the wrong way round with Reigns.  You contend that he still got a push, despite woeful mic skills.  I’d say that when they gave him those awful promos was when his push stalled. I'd say that WWE was at least 12 months behind what the fans wanted, and as much as I love Big Dave, he shouldn't have been in the main event at WM30. With post-WM31 Reigns, he does seem to have more "character" now than before his push - the little interactions between him and Ambrose allow him to appear 'human' on camera.

Regarding predictability in WWE - it should be an issue. It should be a priority. Eric Bishoff said that research done prior to Nitro starting was that fans like unpredictability - they liked the fast-paced style of Luca Libre. Based off my own experience, if I know that said wrestler will perform move x, y and z one after another, I will not pay as much attention to the matches. If WWE want a product that will last, they need to have elements of unpredictability in their programming. This is why the talent of the wrestler matters to me.

I think you are right to highlight the Kevin Owens and John Cena case because here Cena is wrestling the Indie style of Owens, not vice-versa.  I credit Cena for pushing himself to try this. Thank you very much - I can do some things right! Wink  

What gets you over and shoots you into the stratosphere is the ability to tell a story. I agree, and believe that this is something that is lacking in the WWE today. There is little to none complex psychology used, it all seems very basic - even the build up to the matches. One of my favourite match build ups is the 2005 Survivor Series Team Raw vs, Team Smackdown! This had so much emotion and made you feel like it was "all or nothing" despite no title being on the line. Now, the build up is lacklustre at best - in my opinion anyway. Creative do not take the time to plant the seeds and watch it grow, organically. The lack of complex psychology is why I miss the matches of Eddie Guerrero and (dare I go there) Benoit - it didnt matter if it was a dark match, mid-card or main event match, if Eddie and Chris was in it, you knew you were going to be taken on a roller coaster ride. I think this is something that younger talents need to be taught, to make the ability to tell the story seem more "real".
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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Prometheus on Wed 24 Jun 2015, 8:11 pm

Apologies if I was harsh, I didn't intend to be. If it helps to put a better spin on it, not only did I take the time to read what you had written, but it was also thought provoking enough for me to comment in detail.

I do disagree on the look thing. And these are both personal views. But I do feel that if looks were a really, really big thing in WWE in 2015 then Dashing Cody Rhodes and Darren Young would both be massively over with the crowds. However, I will happily concede that a "look" e.g. the super-pumped Ryback, the 7'2" Kane or of course Big Show all draw on their physique.

Barrett is the perfect example IMO of on paper having it all. He is big and has even improved his physique when he was injured, as you say he has excellent timing on the mic and delivery and he is legitimately tough. He should be 2015's JBL. Somehow though, he seems to be just a guy that Vince finds funny, so there we go. And I get that he's been pushed in the past and got injured so maybe that is their thinking, but I don't think so. So, that is what I mean when I say you need backstage stroke now to make it in WWE. For instance, I love Titus, but if he'd not have been dad of the year, would the PTPs have got the tag titles? Maybe, if the angle was to promote Rowan & Harper. But sadly it looks like we won't see that now and I doubt it anyway.

Big Dave. Mmmmmm huge missed opportunity. He's this massive move star now, WWE really needed to piggy back that. But he was also going to gas (never the best stamina and not getting younger), brought back in really poorly. Bit mis-step, like you I like him and looking back I think that is one of the bigger mistakes in WWE in the last 2 years.

In the Raw thread, someone commented words to the effect of "bored by Neville already, its all about the build to the Red Arrow". So, I agree I don't want a predictable product. But I think that is what WWE sells because in a crowd of 6,000 people who only watch wrestling every so often, they want to know that this moves leads to this, and then they get the finisher. Of course this isn't the full story, they like the false finishes and kick-outs etc. but that is how I observe the product.

I'll leave with a question. Watching MitB and Elimination Chamber. Has the WWE PG era made these matches less watchable. I ask that because we finish by talking about the story and obviously a bit of colour or big bumps is the story of those matches. Both just felt to me so far within themselves, they'd have been better working without the gimmicks.
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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Lexi Helms on Fri 26 Jun 2015, 2:52 pm

to put a better spin on it, not only did I take the time to read what you had written, but it was also thought provoking enough for me to comment in detail. you should be included in New Day with your positivity Wink

I agree with Barrett, and I am desperate for him to have the world title. I think Vince doesnt understand his humour and British mannerisms, and I hope this will change.


Totally agree about Big Dave, but I am a tad bias about him... if he's on the TV in any way, shape or form, I am happy.

I'll be honest, I think the PG era has come at the cost of WWE's ability to really ramp up the drama in the actual build up to a match. I think the last time I can really remember this happening was when the Legacy went after H's and Orton DDT-ed Steph McMahon. I could be wrong and will no doubt remember other points after clicking send!
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Re: What is the best way to make an impression?

Post by Prometheus on Fri 26 Jun 2015, 3:15 pm

Hmmm, I've not looked at it like that, from the perspective of the build.

I saw a Tweet (?) that seemed to indicate intergender stuff was at the top of the WWE's no-no list right now and the implication was that working for an Indie that did that would mean you'd not get a WWE contract.  Don't know how legit that is, but I'm afraid you aren't going to see a male wrestler DDT Steph for quite some time, so better hope that WWE crosses Dana White's palm with silver to have Ronda turn up at SummerSlam if you want to see Steph get her comeuppance.

EDIT:
Spoiler:
Oh.  I've read spoilers about the TNA tapings now, which puts some of that into some kind of context.  
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