Craig Wilson, Brian Damage, Jamie Lithgow and Amerigo Diehl
Regular readers will be well aware how much we like to reminisce on this blog and we spend a lot of time talking about some of the things we miss from old-school wrestling. All this shall be discussed in this week’s Sunday Sermon.
Craig: We certainly do like to reminisce on this blog. As the current WWE product is increasingly unwatchable, I find myself watching more and more old school wrestling and seeing things I miss.
Managers is one thing. It seems to be a lost art form. Sure, there’s the odd one here and there but there are no stables like the Heenan family etc. I’d also add stables to the list, too, in fact.
What about you, team? What are some of the old school things you miss?
Brian: As crazy as this sounds, I miss the old days when WWF programming took place at the small, dark and smoky Mid Hudson Civic Center. It was a lot more intimate and didn’t need all the crazy pyro, shaky camera shots and what not. Less was certainly more.
I, like Craig, also miss the use of managers in wrestling. Nowadays, everything is scripted word for word…so even the most non-charismatic wrestler had something to say. Back then, managers were often used to speak for those wrestlers who could not cut a decent promo to save their life. The managers like Bobby Heenan, Lou Albano and the Grand Wizard didn’t need a script, just a live microphone.
Jamie: I miss both of those things too. I just don’t understand why almost every performer is forced to do promos. If they just naturally suck at speaking but are good in the ring then it is common sense to not make them speak. While WWE does disguise some performer’s weaknesses with a manager (Paul Heyman speaks so Brock doesn’t have to) there are so many more wrestlers who would benefit from having someone speak for them. Managers also add layers to a character because there’s always the chance that they split, like Bobby Heenan and Andre. Turning on your heat magnet of a manager equals instant mega babyface. Not to mention a heel manager can cheat for their client, which brings me to what I really miss; cheating heels. I don’t mean when Drew McIntyre runs in during a match and blatantly batters The Miz. I miss when heel wrestlers would break the rules in an attempt to win a match. Ric Flair putting his feet on the ropes during a pinning attempt was genius, but I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone do this. Heels actively attempting to win via count-out, when was the last time that happened? During this year’s Best of The Super Juniors, Yoshinobu Kanemaru kept Sho outside the ring until the count of around 18 (it’s a 20 count in New Japan). Kanermaru then ran into the ring but threw one of the Young Lion wrestlers into Sho’s path making him trip and unable to answer the count. I loved this because you just don’t see heels cheat to win in WWE, they generally don’t care about getting caught and cheat mainly to inflict damage on their rival.
Brian: It’s true, being a legitimate heel is a lost art because many of the heels today are cheered more than they are booed. There are a few exceptions like with Brock Lesnar and maybe Baron Corbin, but I’m not too sure if that’s heel heat or “X-Pac” heat.
Another lost art at least with WWE in recent years is tag team wrestling. It seems to be making a bit of a comeback with teams like the Usos, the Revival and The Viking Raiders… but truly great tag team wrestling from the days of the Rock N Roll Express vs the Midnight Express have faded away. Tag teams were so good and so over, they could main event shows. Nowadays, you’d be lucky to get them on a pre-show.
Amerigo: Brian and Jaime, I could not agree more with the heel comment. Being that I am older than I believe just about anyone here lol, I remember as a kid, (late 70’s early 80’s) that the job of a heel manager was to bring serious heat for his wrestler. Albano, Blassie, and later guys like Bobby Heenan, and Jim Cornette perfected this. They truly made you hate the bad guy and cheer the babyface.
I also miss the deep storylines that wrapped you up but did not drag on forever. Back then they built good feuds to last a month or so on TV, and hopefully culminate at a pay per view event. Back then feuds shocked us, often times. If you are not sure what I mean just watch the heel turn of Zybysko against Sammartino, or Andre showing up with Heenan to challenge Hogan. Lately, there is so much rush to make a feud only to have it end with no clear direction or finale. I remember at the height of Hulkamania, watching a show end, and hardly being able to wait until next week to see what would happen between the guys who were entering into a feud. The last time I really remember this being relevant was during the attitude era.
I have plenty more to miss but I would like to see what you guys add before I continue.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.