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  " The Gravel Pit "

Wrestling

One Mann's Opinion- The Trouble With Snowflakes
Posted by Joseph Mann on Aug 11, 2003, 20:21

Look who decided to come back.

I realize for the past two months I haven't made a peep as a columnist. There are several reasons. I'm working 40hrs a week now, I just graduated from college and am currently looking for a more fitting job. But more than those, I just burned myself out.

I mean I love wrestling, but deciding on one match to provide a deep analysis for can be both difficult and boring. It didn't help that in addition to the 5 colums I posted I had written 5 other analysis' in the Smark Krew board. So I've decided on a change in format. When I find a match I want to talk about, I'll do my trademark analysis. But I won't limit myself to that gimmick anymore.

Welcome to the first edition of One Mann's Opinion

And today I'm going to discuss a topic that is one reason I got bored of offering Match Analysis.

STAR RATINGS

Yes, those little snowflakes. Board after board, column after column, it seems everyone has an opinion when it comes to rating a match. And this is where my dilema comes in.

I have no frickin' clue how one rates a match.

Apparently star rating are supposed to be given based on a combination or workrate, psychology, crowd interest, time, booking, etc etc. Yet I doubt many of us use all of that criteria when it comes to rating a match. I'll give an example. Last Thursday I was on the board while watching Smackdown and at the conclusion of the Undertake/John Cena match I suggested that the match was at least ***. I enjoyed it, felt it had decent "psychology" (there's that word again) and a clean finish with Cena getting the win(when Undertaker kicked out of Cena's pin following Albert's interference it negated said interference).

It only took a few minutes for someone to post Scott Keith's review of the match and his ** rating of it. First of all, no one would say that Scott Keith is the be all end all when it comes to star ratings. Secondly...IT'S MY OPINION. Whatever criteria I have for rating a match *** or ***** or DUD is mine. Feel free to ask me why I felt the match was good or bad/what worked or didn't. But one shouldn't assume that because my rating doesn't equal theirs (or that of a somewhat well-known TV/PPV reviewer) that my rating is wrong. It's merely different.

Now I'm going to open a can of worms here, but let me give another example. Savage/Flair from WrestleMania VIII. For me, it's just ****. And this is coming from a HUGE Savage mark. I like the match, but I've seen people give it ****1/2 and even *****, and I don't see it. It's got great emotion and good selling. But I get even more emotion out of Warrior/Savage from the previous year (the match itself not the famous post-match activities) or Hart/Piper from the same show (which I'd give ****1/2). But it's ok. I won't deny anyone their 5* match just because I don't feel the same. We can't all like (or dislike) everything. Hell from a storyline standpoint I think the "blindfold" match between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel from WrestleMania VII makes perfect sense. And it makes great use of crowd participation (i choose not to rate it, but I wouldn't call the match horrible, just different).

I wrote an analysis for the Double Dog Collar match between the Pitbulls & Raven and Steven Richards for the Smark Krew a couple months ago. This is the match that SK gave ***** and many other long-time ECW fans rate it highly too. I gave it ***3/4 and I stand by that rating. As I explained in my analysis, I understand how from a storyline standpoint the match is fantastic, weaving many different storylines (Pitbulls/Raven&Richards, Tommy Dreamer/Raven, Tod Gordan/Bill Alphonso, 911/Alphonso), some cool looking spots and an energentic crowd. But I can't relate to it the way those who were watching ECW back in 1995 can. And so the match loses its luster for me and I spot its flaws (bad timing, the Pitbulls general sloppiness) probably moreso than someone who had been following the storylines (I didn't get ECW until August of '96).

Perhaps the most debated match and how many *stars* it gets is Hell in a Cell II, Undertaker vs Mankind. Before I discuss the match let me state I think every wrestling fan new or old should see this match. Like Hogan/Andre, it trancends the idea of a "good match" and becomes an experience that must be witnessed. When the match happened me and some friends were watching the PPV (it was my brother's birthday) and as the match started we weren't quite watching the TV. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Foley get tossed. I screamed "guys did you see that!" We turned around and didn't take our eyes off until it was over.

Watching it again over the years I recognize now it's not a "good" match. I can understand how some might rate it ****, but for me the match is closer to **-**1/2. Now some might say I'm overrating it, giving the match only * or less. But that's okay, because everyone has thier scale as to what makes a match special.

What's my scale? Well I agree that moves should make sense with in the context of a match. If there's going to be psychology during a match (a body part is targeted, mind games being played), that should be followed through. Don't go working on the guy's back for 15 minutes and then win with a Figure 4. But at the same time given who's fighting, not every match needs to have building drama and psychology. The Nasty Boys vs Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne/Kevin Sullivan matches from Spring Stampede 1994 and Slamboree 1994 are just two wild chaotic brawls with no stategy or psychology from a normal definition. But those matches are excellent because the story going into both matches is that those 4 HATE EACH OTHER. And some people complain that because both were under 10 minutes neither should be higher then ****. I think the fact that both are short is a positive, because given what they do to each other it's hard enough believing they went for 10 minutes. It'd be ridiculous seeing them do it for 15 or *GASP* 20. A real fight like that would be lucky to go 2-3 minutes. It's hard to describe how I rate a match, because it's an emotional reaction and its hard to say what drives our emotions. I will say this- I jumped out of my seat during Benoit/Angle from January this year, and if that doesn't warrent *****, I don't know what does.

So let me say that I'll try and make regular columns, given what's on my mind regarding our great sport.

Till next time...email at



 

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