Chairs, Fire and Piledrivers - What Gives"
September 1, 2004 by Matt Mackinder

A chair shot used to be seen only on pay-per-views or high-profile cards at Madison Square Garden or the Atlanta Omni. Now they happen in every other match on Raw.

What gives"

Eddie Gilbert didn't have the name "Hot Stuff" for nothing as he and Jerry Lawler routinely threw fire at one another on cards in the Mid-South Coliseum.

Whatever became of fire throwing"

Same thing with the piledriver. The move that made Lawler, The Undertaker, Paul Orndorff and the old USWA famous has gone by the wayside. It used to be a set-up move many wrestlers worked into their repertoire, but when was the last time you saw it used by someone other than the aforementioned 'Taker or the "newly-married" Kane"

Because some redneck kid hurt (killed maybe) a schoolmate with it, the piledriver references have been pushed back to the defunct pages of wrestling's glossary.

And why is it that normal moves don't win matches any more" Randy "Macho Man" Savage won his first WWF World title with his top-rope elbow smash. Hulk Hogan won a gazillion matches with a legdrop and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake won matches with a sleeper as did Ted DiBiase and his "Million Dollar Dream." The Ultimate Warrior utilized a big splash and Ravishing Rick Rude's "Rude Awakening" was nothing more than a neck-breaker. The Rockers used a double-fist off the top turnbuckle and Hercules made guys submit to a back-breaker. And though I may be off the board here, who could ever forget Arn Anderson's spine buster"

Nowadays, we've got planchas, swanton bombs, RKO's, FU's, F-5's and 619's. Huh" More exciting" I'd say so. More traditional" Nah. I remember watching Ken Patera beat jobber Tom Stone on a Superstars of Wrestling card in 1987 with an elbow drop. Simple.

And the wrestlers wonder why crowds boo, when the arenas are actually full, and why the wave gets started at major pay-per-view events.

So what gives"

One could make the argument that fans simply lost interest in watching Rick "The Model" Martel win matches with Boston crabs and Haku decking no-namers with his savatte thrust kicks. But for those old-school wrestling fans, that IS wrestling.

Looking over my tape collection recently, I also noticed that heels and faces were more solidified way back when. Like when Andre the Giant was at his peak in the Rock-n-Wrestling era in the 1980's, only Hogan was more popular. When Andre turned and took Bobby Heenan as his manager, the boos were never louder. Andre stayed a heel for three years until WrestleMania VI when Demolition upended Andre and Haku for the World tag team titles.

Nowadays, you never know from week to week who is a "good guy" and who is a "bad guy." But there is no set protocol anymore; fans cheer for whomever has the better gimmick. A perfect example is Undertaker - when has that guy ever been booed in the last ten years"""

How do you explain that"

Society is rough as ever. Back in Bruno Sammartino's heyday when he would win a cage match against Ivan Koloff or Stan Hansen, fans would go insane with joy and glee.

Nowadays, fans are just insane. Like Metallica once sang, it's sad but true.

by Matt Mackinder..

A response from the NEW SCHOOL:
Hey Old Timer by the name of Matt,

If you don't like it... Don't WATCH IT. Wrestling is still popular in some shape or form. But it doesn't matter about whose bad guys and whose good guys. It's what those guys do inside the ring that matters. So they can pull off one hell of a storyline to it. So what"

Simple Moves: Backbreaker, Elbow Drop, Leg Drop, Splash, Spine Buster. Rhyno still pulls off the spine buster, yet he refers to a different move that's actually simpler than grabbing somebody, picking them up and spinning them around and putting them down on their backs. It's called the GORE! It's a tackle, You just run with your shoulder driving through, Driving STRAIGHT THROUGH the guys midsection. Man dude, that's really complicated (Sarcasm) yet it only takes like One step besides pinning the guy after the move is performed. Also look up Test's Big Boot, He runs with his foot out, done deal, Match finished with. Not that complicated. Swanton Bomb. Step 1 Climb turnbuckle with opponent laying flat on the ground. And Step 2 Jump over with a FLIP. Duh! Evenflow DDT Grab opponent place head under armpit and then fall backwards. And Ultimate Warrior's wrestling is simple. Look at Goldberg's wrestling in WCW! All he did was Spear and Jackhammer. You might like him, his matches were short because just like Ultimate Warrior he just couldn't get the job done. WWE is exciting. The Talent they had could actually pull off better matches than Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan. TLC, TLC 2, Tag Team Ladder Match, Bret Hart vs. HBK! This wrestling is better because it has excitement. It's not so easy yet what they did was give one hell of a show. Ultimate Warrior was pathetic when he took on Triple H because he just blew up too easy. He got out of breath. Yet HBK and Bret Hart's 60 minute match made that night Special. Not the old Geezer from your time. Bret Hart actually knew how to wrestle compared to the YOUR old-school. FACT FACTS old man. You just check out those matches and you'll know what I'm talking about. So deal with it.

The last time I ever recall somebody getting fire thrown at them, Raven from Jim Mitchell in TNA, a couple months back. (LOOK UP YOUR HISTORY.) So what you don't see it that often. With Kane in WWF during the Attitude era, he used. Hell he even was put in a couple matches dealing with Fire Against Undertaker, and Triple from Smackdown.

Just one more other thing. WE, you and me decide who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. Everybody likes some wrestler. I might not like you who like but I deal with it. I cheer for Raven, yet he is boo'ed all the time. HBK, Vince McMahon and Earl Hebnar go to Montreal, Canada, they are boo'ed Straight to hell because of the Montreal Screw Job, but you have probably missed that because you were watching too many old tapes from the Rock'N'Wrestling Era. So what! You're old deal with it. It's still wrestling, you love it, you like it, or you just waste your time criticizing it. So don't waste the time of the NEW SCHOOL. Have fun watching pro-wrestling or just turn it off. There is a power button or you can easily change the channel. Watch TNA for example. O well Dude, Just read over what I said a couple times over again so it sinks in. Then get back to me whenever you feel like it.

NEW SCHOOL of Pro-wrestling from 1991 till now
L. Biggins wrote:
What on Earth is your problem, NEW SCHOOL" What is wrong with someone preferring the finishing moves of 10-15 years ago to the finishing moves of today" Or the fact that Chairshots are used too often" First off, the Swanton Bomb is NOT simple. Secondly, the WWE is NOT exciting and finally use proper spelling and grammar. Just because someone prefers the wrestling style of 10-15 years ago doesn't mean you have to go and insult him calling him an "Old Man". And one last point, please stop making "NEW SCHOOL" sound like a gang of Thugs.
Willis Smith wrote:
Okay, this new school guy got me going. What are you, 16" Puberty getting to ya" I'm 27, and I haven't seen everything from back in the day, but I've tried to find enough tapes and read enough articles to see what I missed from the 70's and early 80's. What you seemed to miss, ADD Boy, is what the main part of his story was: that the wrestling used to tell a story as it went along. Not only did the feud, but each match itself. A hold or maneuver meant something, and was done to further something ahead. Now, it sometimes seems that it's just a contest to see who can come up with the most ridiculous looking move.

If you had watched any matches involving Harley Race, a young Ric Flair, any Hart, or a present day Angle or Benoit match, you see moves built open one another, with a flow, which leads up to the climatic finish. Unfortunately, what you see now for the most part is a list of moves just run through from A to Z, like it's figure skating or something. I remember the first time I saw The Great Muta-you probably don't know who he is, so you should probably look him up-do a moonsault. I nearly fell out of my chair. Now, everyone can do one. Shoot, Vader had one. But what's the point if it doesn't have a purpose other than as a circus act"

By the way, every event you brought up as new school" It happened from 2001 or earlier! You mentioned things that all happened during the Attitude era, which has long since passed. You apparently don't even know what the new school is. And if you're going to use Test as someone to look forward to, your opinion is already shot dead in the water. I want to see wrestling. I enjoy it still, but it was better when the moves meant something-and wrestlers actually sold moves! That's another story unto itself. If I wanted to see who could do the most flips and spins, then I'd watch platform diving. And Billy Kidman would have been a multiple-time World Champion...oohh, nausea just thinking about it. And if you're wondering what that ADD was for, it's Attention Deficit Disorder and you probably suffer from it.
Another (wants to be known as "C") response from the NEW SCHOOL:
Well first off I know exactly what ADD is, so Willie you honestly do not have to tell me. And second I am not some stupid boy so don't call me one i'm 19 years old as a matter of fact. The first time I saw the Great Muta was in 1991 at the Clash of the Champions when The Great Muta wrestled the U.S. Champion Lex Luger to see who would become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight title after the match the Nature Boy would have with Beautiful Bobby Eaton in a two out of three falls match so I assure you, I know exactly who the Great Muta is. Now as it deals with the moves meaning something. Ok here's a group of matches that you guys haven't seen that have actually turned out to be great matches. Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn from ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999. That match was and is a classic to me. It went back and forth between the two Sure they used the chair in the match but look at ECW during the times since it was created. ECW was the people who used the chairs the most. But using the chairs in the matches kind of made things different. Then when Raven came to WCW he started to use it like how he used it in ECW. I'm sorry i went off an ADD trip again. Sorry! But if you want to talk about great matches where the moves meant something Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit from Royal Rumble 2003, Jerry Lynn vs. Lance Storm from ECW Anarchy Rules 1999, and Chris Benoit vs William Regal from the Brian Pillman Tribute Show.

You got the wrong idea about me thinking of all these flipping and all that because that's not the kind of wrestling I always like to see. So you got the wrong impression. I know good wrestling matches when I see them and trust me when you see those matches that I just listed above I'm telling you that I do know my wrestling. I have done the same thing you have done Willie by reading old articles and watching old footage. Wrestling has went through an evolution though. You as well as everybody else has to deal with it. It doesn't mean you still can't watch it. But if you like to see something done as it deals with Pro-Wrestling today, speak up to the people that own the company. Tell them your concerns, you do know you can contact the WWE you know. And the last thing I would like to say is that Matt I'm sorry for calling you old man and making references to that. So I apologize. I think i have made some good arguments now, but it's all up to what everybody thinks about my arguments if I'm still wrong to you guys then fine. I believe I'm right and I'm willing to stand up for what I believe in. By the way I forgot one last great wrestling match that is hardcore but it certainly is a classic in my books, not classic meaning to being old but just a classic for how good of a match it was. The hardcore match I'm talking about is Raven vs. Rhyno from Backlash. Every shot used in that match was brutal it in some sort of way made the match seem to flow. I know they weren't exactly using wrestling moves but they kept the match going quite well from what I see from it when I pop in the WWF Hardcore DVD in my DVD player I'm also not trying to be some sort of thug by writing this is new school. it's just that i don't feel like saying my name so i'm just calling myself new school as it deals with this issue. i guess it appears that everybody hates that name, so i'll just go with my first letter in my first name. And no it doesn't mean Coward,
Greg Prowse wrote:
I have to say I find it hard to not agree on the numerous points made by Matt in this column. I'm 21, hardly an 'old man,' and yet I love action from the past as opposed to what we get today. Why" Exactly what Matt was talking about, there's no consistency other then the continual farce that pro-wrestling has become.

I've watched Bill Watts Mid-South and seen clips from Memphis, the crowds were big and hotter then I've seen of any WWE audience in the last few years. The moves meant something, everything had a purpose; it's become a lost art. Why is it that someone can get hit in the face with a sledgehammer and be back the next week to extract revenge" I know wrestling's a work, but c'mon.

Just for the record also, I dont watch WWE, so to anybody who says shut up and just change the channel, that's exactly what I've done. While I would have loved to see Matt go into more detail about old school matches/fueds he's watched, I thought it was a purposeful commentary on one of the issues why I think pro wrestling is really falling behind the eight ball.
Willis Smith wrote:
Okay C, New School, whatever your name is. The point that was being made was that mainstream wrestling has begun to ignore it's core fans. We all still love wrestling, and will watch what we can of it. It's that the fact is that less people are watching and less people are attending and buying pay-per-views. That's a fact, you can check Nielsen rating and buyrates. Yet, WWE has yet to realize that something is not right with what they are giving us. While I enjoy the storylines and wrestling style of ROH and a small amount of TNA (at least the non-WWE retirement home part of it,) the wrestlers just aren't as gifted. The WWE has the best wrestlers, there is a reason they are where they are. But they are used horribly, book matches like they are throwing darts, and leaves some situations unfinished. And there really is no science to a wrestling match anymore. Who can get the most muscular or do the most ridiculous finisher. Once again, you have mentioned only one match, the Benoit-Angle classic, that has taken place in the last five years! That isn't new. I hate to tell you, but I'll let you in on something...ECW went bankrupt. In 2001. And was bought by WWE. And most of those guys get no recognition now or have retired or wrestle in smaller promotion. What was originally intended by Matt, I think, is that the people that can deliver better matches don't seem to get the appropriate pushes. Jerry Lynn is a minor player in TNA, the same for Rhyno in WWE. Big time wrestling today just is not what it used to be. Why do you think Flair gets the pop that he does, because of the matches he puts on now" I don't think so. Watch the flash promo that runs on this website and tell me the ratio of guys who are wrestling and getting over now versus the ones you see that make you wish that wrestling could be like it was then. That's point that Matt was making, and the same for me. I just hope one of these days you get it, C.

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