There are many things about professional wrestling that are widely held beliefs that are not necessarily true, but because they’ve been talked about or mentioned over and over, they become ingrained in wrestling fans.
The wrestling fans I’m talking about in particular are Internet fans, but some of the myths can “affect” more casual fans as well. This column will take a look at some of the wrestling myths and the truth behind the myths.
Myth #1: 1999 was a great year for WWE programming
Truth: The truth is that while the ratings were at record peaks for WWE, the style of “sports entertainment” that was promoted is not a lasting style. To put another way, in 2009, there is no way that the type of skits and matches that were produced by WWE at that time would be accepted today. Especially when one considers that the ratings war is over and even the”trainwreck” segments that could draw ratings even now just hurt the companies ability to draw money in the long run. Bra and Panties matches, transvestites doing sexual favors, matches that last less than three minutes and human sacrifices are among the types of segments that made waves back then, which would draw groans now.
WWE was successful because of Steve Austin, the Rock, Degeneration X and Vince McMahon for the most part. That is not to say the idea of the content on WWE programming wasn’t the right idea at the right time when one considers Jerry Springer and South Park both reached major levels of popularity around the time of the WWE attitude era. The bottom line is that the type of content WWE delivered is the least sustainable of any of the successful eras in wrestling history. To put it another way, even though ratings were a bit down in 2000, 2000 was much better in terms of drawing money because there was more of a focus on wrestling and not just in-ring action, but promos designed not just to entertain but to build matches as well. If 1999 drew better on Pay per View, then that would be something else altogether and it would be difficult to say that 1999 was not strong programming. Another thing that got better as time went on is the work in the mid-card. There are no more three-minute matches with the Godfather and the Blue Meanie. In 2000 there were 10-15 minute matches with Eddie Guerrero and today there are 10-15 minute matches with CM Punk or Matt Hardy.
Myth #2: Moves make the wrestler
Truth: There is nothing wrong with having a lot of moves. There is something wrong with trying to use them all in a five minute match which is often seen in the independents and even in TNA. There are many wrestlers that do a lot without using a lot of moves. Of course in WWE, wrestlers have to know how to put on good matches without doing too much, but it is an effective style of wrestling and storytelling.
Finlay is one of the best workers in the world and it is not because of his “moveset”, it’s because of his selling and his snug work in terms of strikes and clotheslines. For example Finlay is a better worker than someone like Petey Williams or Sonjay Dutt because he is smarter and he knows how to make less mean more. MVP and Matt Hardy are two more examples of wrestlers that put on quality matches on a weekly basis without using many moves. The most important qualities of a wrestler are selling (99 percent of the time-there are exceptions like Hulk Hogan) and timing.
Myth #3: The divas are all interchangeable
Truth: The truth is that while many of the divas have similar characters, there are distinguishing characteristics that would be noticeable if one actually pays attention to the shows. Marsye is the cocky girl that thinks she is better than everyone because of her looks. Michelle McCool is the jock that thinks she is better than all of the models that are surrounding her on Smackdown. Beth Phoenix is the powerhouse that can beat up her boyfriend. Mickie James is the bubbly girl who can wrestle. Kelly Kelly is the girl next door type (she’s obviously the girl next door who models on the side, but still). Alicia Fox is the dancer. So as stated above, people have to pay attention and then they will see the differences.
Myth #4: HHH is a mediocre performer that is only in his position because of his family connections
Truth: Is HHH always in the title picture because of his marriage? Yes. With that said he does he deserve to have a top spot. He is a solid interview and usually puts on good matches. Not only that, but after being on top for five or six years he still drew big money with an unproven draw at the time in Batista. Is it too much at times? Of course and new stars do need to be created, but WWE trusts HHH as a family member and as a holdover of the last major successful period of WWE.
Myth #5: WWE doesn’t care about wrestling
Truth: At times it may seem WWE doesn’t care about quality wrestling with the pushes of Vladimir Koslov and Great Khali. At the same time it is smart to take a look at the main eventers of WWE. John Cena is a very good wrestler (and obviously underrated). Randy Orton is good. The Undertaker has actually improved with age. Edge, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, HHH, and Chris Jericho are all strong workers and Batista is certainly capable of having good matches with the right opponent.
On the subject of Koslov and Khali, Khali is out of main events and Koslov looks to be someone who is getting phased out in the next several weeks and months. You have to be able to put on quality main events to get a push in WWE. Is being a good wrestler the number one thing as opposed to look and other factors that the McMahons care about? No, but being a capable wrestler is number 1-A in especially the last few years. Many of the wrestlers in the middle of the card such as the Miz, John Morrison, the Colons, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Rey Mysterio and Finlay among others are asked to fill 8-10 minutes of television time on a regular basis and of course it would be better if they were actually good wrestlers.
Myth #6: The brand-split should end.
Truth: The brand-split is the reason that the new stars that have been created were created as quickly as they were. Even the “chosen ones” such as Cena, Batista and Orton would have taken more time to become major stars if they had to share the spotlight with Michaels, HHH, Undertaker and each other all at the same time. It also allows for two different touring “companies” and when one considers that WWE Pay per Views have been basically the same even when combining all the brands, the potential is there if WWE gets really hot again to sell out arenas on both brands. Think of wrestlers such as CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibase, MVP and both of the Hardys, all of those wrestlers would have had trouble getting even a steady position in the mid-card under the old system. There is no way WWE should even consider getting rid of ECW because it is a good way to get a few veterans in many wrestlers who have potential. As has been stated by many wrestling experts/journalists, ECW is a glorified developmental system and should stay as such.