Shut the fuck up, JR.
Ok, yeah. That’s a little extreme. Jim Ross is arguably the best voice to ever grace the WWE announce table. The accolades don’t begin or end there either; JR voiced an entirely different generation of stars in Jim Crocket Promotions and the early days of WCW. He certainly has a great mind for the business, as he put over talent with his voice, in the ring, and behind the curtain.
Good ol’ JR is also a crotchety old man and he needs to calm the fuck down.
If you’ve laid your curious little noggin onto the rugged chest of the pro wrestling world, then your ear has certainly heard the thump from the pulse of the podcast community. If you haven’t, take a moment and stop by JR’s acre of airwaves and pay close attention to his monologues, or his talk with other old-timers.
Two things will become overwhelmingly apparent: JR has an unhealthy obsession with Bill Watts, but more importantly, in regards to this article, he also has a constant need to remind many of the independent talent (and some WWE talent) to slow. it. down.
To his defense, Ross isn’t completely wrong. Jump in your time machine for a moment and travel back a couple of decades to the territory days. Start slow, shine the babyface, have the heel get heat, comeback, heat, comeback, finish. There is a certain magic that is conjured by following the old formula and being able to hold that crowd in the palm of your hand. Much to his point, again, matches didn’t begin with dives to the outside, or some other high spot within the first two minutes. Nope, they took their time, told a story and went through the rest of the motions, and it worked.
The same could be said about a promotion like All Japan, who, while working a strong and much more aggressive style, still worked a very slow, progressive match that took you on an intense journey.
It works today, too. The best matches will still be the ones that tell the best stories. Everything has a place. Pro wrestling has had to evolve over the years in order to survive. Stories and concepts like the Attitude Era, nWo, ECW, etc. were born out of a dire need for change. Society was changing and wrestling needed to change along with it.
TV and movies getting edgier? Don’t worry, man. Here’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, New Jack, and the Outsiders. People getting smarter? Got ya, we will fool you with Vince’s guys showing up on Nitro. Society is becoming faster? Information at the tip of your fingers? Well, that’s the interesting one.
Think back to watching those opening cruiserweight matches on Monday Nitro. It was a style most mainstream fans had never experienced before. It was fast, fluid, and electric. Most importantly, it introduced a change in styles that had already been occurring in other parts of the world, and more locally, in places like ECW. Jump forward and you’ll find that matches have gotten faster, people have gotten faster, and it’s not always a bad thing.
Linked above is a highlight reel for a very recent PWG show, and the point of this article. PWG shows are just wells overflowing with high spots, and you know what? It rules. They’ve been doing the same thing for years and have a packed house every show.
Fans come and go home happy (and probably drunk) so what’s the problem? Even more publicly noticed promotions like Ring of Honor still have their share of fast paced matches that are 100mph from bell to bell. They have a place. Ultra violence has a place, hardcore has a place – it all does.
I think it’s time for good ol’ JR to take a step back and realize the times, they are-a-changin’ and a fast paced match isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s just the evolution of wrestling.