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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Wrestling Is Dead
July 5, 2006 by Peter Sawyer


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At the end of their match at WWE vs. ECW, or ECW vs. WWE if you're Joey Styles or Tazz, Rey Mysterio and RVD shook hands and Jim Ross remarked in surprised tones that there was 'respect and appreciation' between the two wrestlers and I almost fell off my chair. It wasn't the result of the match, it wasn't the handshake itself, it was the fact that good ole JR sounded so surprised that Mysterio and RVD shook hands. I know ECW wrestlers don't shake hands after the match because they aren't normally conscious enough to manage it but the WWE matches are rarely that brutal, especially not in a mid-card match.

The night after WWE vs. ECW (I'd like to say goodnight to SmackDown! right now) I watched some World of Sport from the early 1980s including Johnny Saint, Clive Myers and Kung Fu. The final match of the evening was the culmination of a four-man elimination tournament for the British middleweight championship between Mark Rocco and 'Ironfist' Clive Myers.

Rocco was not a wrestler who stuck to the rules all the time and Myers was a multi-time champion both in Britain and the West Indies and a terrific sportsman. At the end of the match, Myers won with a series of fantastically athletic moves despite some of Rocco's rather dubious tactics. The MC, or ring announcer, gave the referee's decision, a win by two falls to one in favour of Myers, and Rocco, grudgingly, shook the Jamaican's hand and raised his victorious opponent's hand in victory. The crowd gave both competitors a standing ovation. My point is that even a bad-boy wrestler, a notorious rule breaker, a deposed champion, showed respect and admiration for his opponent.

When was the last time you saw Triple H show appreciation for the efforts of his opponent" Please think and let me know, I can't think of one time.

Another example I would like to cite is a Vic Faulkner vs. Little Prince match from the late 70s. Both were superb athletes, real crowd pleasers and almost unparalleled sportsmen. A contest over thirty minutes, six rounds of five minutes each, two falls, two submissions or a knockout to decide it with Tony Manselli as referee. After an early pin from Little Prince, and an equaliser early in the fourth from Faulkner, the match went right to the wire. Midway through the final round, Faulkner started throwing the bigger man from post to post. Every time, he allowed the Little Prince out of the corner before resuming his attack. He then started hitting running forearms. Every time, he allowed Little Prince up before continuing. The match finished as a one fall apiece draw.

Steve Naylor faced Johnny Saint for the British Light Middleweight title. It was a good, competitive, ebb-and-flow match up with Saint showing his normal range of athletic moves and Naylor wrestling a solid ground and submission match. About halfway through the match, Naylor took a bad fall and got his foot tied up in the ropes. We've all seen it in TNA and WWE; cue the guy pounding the hell out of his opponent while the poor bloke hangs helplessly in the ropes. Saint immediately went in... and helped the referee detangle Naylor. The champ was down and the referee was forced to stop the match due to the injured condition of the champion. The announcer declared the result as a win for the challenger Johnny Saint. Saint immediately took the microphone and said that he could not possibly take the championship on an injury and refused to accept any decision other than a no-contest. The referee obliged and Naylor promised the next title shot would be Saint's. The crowd swarmed around the ring, applauding the two men. Let's recap a moment. The referee stopped the match because of an injury and the opponent did not accept the decision because of the injured condition of the champion. Saint then gave the belt back to Naylor and helped him out of the ring. He didn't hit Naylor over the head and run off with the belt. He didn't even put him in a submission move and further damage the joint. It's that easy. You appreciate the other competitor's ability and effort and remember that this is a sport.

Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio are shining beacons of this spirit still alive in some small way, plus a few ROH wrestlers who stick to their Code of Honour. Wrestling is still SPORTS entertainment. Watch the Dynamite Kid in his World of Sport days; watch Johnny Kwango, there is room for entertainment in wrestling. There is room for playing to the crowd and taunting your opponent. But is it so hard to respect the rope break" Why do people find it so hard to let a guy out of the corner" I'd like to invite some controversy in this article. I'd like to address this question particularly to North American wrestling fans:

Do you think its right that the rule-breaking, disrespect and lack of appreciation and sportsmanship continues and is actually encouraged"

I'm not counting ECW or CZW as they are based on the hardcore, no rules action. I'm not counting hardcore matches as they aren't true sporting contests. I'm talking normal WWE or TNA or ROH one-on-one, pin fall/submission/DQ/count-out matches. Why does the wrestling world continue to forget its roots and turn matches into street fights" I know that I speak for many fans in Britain, and I'm sure worldwide, who agree: bring back the SPORT in Sports Entertainment. And I close with particular emphasis on the last-but-one word: 'Until next time, grapple fans.'

by Peter Sawyer ..


FJ Parlan wrote:
How about when Triple H not only shook hands with Benoit but wembraced him in the Eddie Guerrero tribute" Remember that. I don't care for whatever reason the act may be but he still did it. So please, next time...
Jon Rosaler wrote:
Have more faith in Smackdown! and You seem really into Old School Wrestlers.
Todd Cole wrote:
A real quick response on Trips: Backlash 2002 against Hogan. Good writing.
Jeff Kelly wrote:
When Hulk Hogan beat HHH for the WWE chanpionship a few years ago, HHH did indeed shake Hulks hand after the match.
Kyle Haynie wrote:
Triple H is the King of Kings He doesn't shake hands with opponents because that then ruins the chance of another match in a heated rivalry. Triple H shows his opponents respect by letting them have clean win over him. He does what he has to do to make the WWE better. Example: Batista would be nothing without Triple H. Nor would Orton!
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