Contrary to what some detractors might tell you, wrestling is an art form. It combines action, athletics, drama, romance, comedy and more into some combination of film, television and the theater, all done in a series of live performances around the country (and world) by a host of different performers who often have to write their own scripts every single night. It’s no surprise that there are several different ways to pull this off.

Earlier this week, a major debate broke out after old school wrestler Rip Rogers (who trained a large number of wrestlers in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he still trains today) and British star Will Ospreay. Rogers posted a message on Twitter (which he did NOT write), basically criticizing the way most independent wrestling matches are run. Here are his comments:

“”Every Indy match now: handshake, drawn out move exchange, this is awesome chant, strike exchange, dive, no sell Indy strongstyle, dive, more strikes, no sells, dive, flippy floppy sequence, dive, hit everyone with each other’s finisher then Humpty Dumpty we all fall down. Fight forever chant, rinse and repeat until every move is useless and means nothing, dive, take unsafe shot that looks like sh*it and hurts like hell then roll up finish. Hand shake and hug after match. Everyone’s hands raised. All these guys chant. Go home and type on social media thanking your opponents and company for the match and telling others they should book these guys…….. dive.”

Adrian Street vs. Rip Rogers

Ospreay responded with the following:

And Rogers responded as well:

Finally, Randy Orton, who Rogers helped train, responded as well:

“Sorry to the indy marks, indy guys and old timers who do DIVES [that] took offense. Just having a good time over a few drinks in Denmark closing the Smackdown Live tour, while beating Raw in making over 5 million dollars in the last 11 shows. Now I know to some that doesn’t equate to a standing room only crowd of 150 people paying $8 at an armory somewhere, but in the big boy world that’s called putting asses in seats. So enjoy your flips, dives, and 20 superkicks per match. To each their own. I will go ‘dive’ back into my 13th title run and get ready to ‘flip’ when my bank statement comes this month. …..headlock”.

Randy Orton's WWE Debut

There’s a lot to digest here. First off, Rogers basically says that indy wrestlers don’t know how to wrestle. Ospreay responds by saying that he’s having fun and making money, which Rogers says isn’t a bad thing. Orton chimes in to say that he’s a top star for the biggest wrestling company of all time that probably makes more money in a week than a lot of these indy companies make in six months (if not longer). Here’s the thing that people don’t seem to understand, or want to understand: they’re all right and that’s fine.

For a little change of pace, let’s go to movies. Consider the following three films: “Citizen Kane”, “The Avengers” and “Theodore Rex”. I’m assuming you’ve heard of the first two but the third is a 1995 “comedy” starring Whoopi Goldberg as a detective with her new partner: a walking, talking dinosaur. Let’s take a quick look at these three films.

“Theodore Rex” is a direct-to-video movie released in 1995 on a budget of $33.5 million. The movie currently has a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (a movie rating site) and is currently ranked #88 on IMDB’s Bottom 100 movies of all time list. In other words, it’s really not very good and is the only movie Goldberg said she regretted making. Considering she was in “SuperBabies 2” and “The Pagemaster”, that’s covering a lot of ground. However, she made a very nice $7 million for the film as its top star. The movie does have a large cult following though and was a popular rental, which made it a lot of money.

“The Avengers” is one of the biggest movies of all time with $1.519 billion dollars in ticket sales (third place all time) and a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Odds are you’ve seen this movie and at least one of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe leading up to it. The movie was nominated for and won a host of awards, including being nominated for an Academy Award. That being said, the plot is very detailed with aliens, Norse gods and a mutant in the Hulk. Not exactly the greatest story ever told.

Finally, “Citizen Kane” is considered a masterpiece with 100% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, a Best Picture nomination and the #1 spot on both versions of the American Film Institute’s list of greatest films of all time. Almost no serious film critic has a word to say against this movie and you’ll almost always hear it listed among the greatest pieces of cinematic art of all time.

However, it was hardly a box office success, earning about $1.6 million in 1941 or $26 million in 2017 dollars. Also it’s not the most thrilling film as the plot is about trying to find out what Kane meant when he said “rosebud” right before he died. It’s certainly not for everyone and needs multiple viewings to really grasp a lot of the movie.

All three of them are all films with big names, though they all also have their flaws. While someone is going to find something to criticize in all of them, not everything can live up to “Citizen Kane’s” amazing production, have the financial success of “Avengers” or find a very different kind of audience like “Theodore Rex”.

Now, back to the wrestling. Let’s consider the three people we’re listening to on these subjects. Rogers. 63 years old, is a veteran whose career ran from 1973 to 2000, mainly wrestling around the territories as a midcard and tag wrestler. He wrestled in WCW for a bit and appeared on a pay per view but was never a top star nationally.

Ospreay is 24 years old and one of the top indy stars in England and around the world. He is currently under contract to both Ring of Honor and New Japan and there’s a good chance he’ll wind up in WWE someday. He’s had a match rated five stars by Dave Meltzer and won the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors in New Japan. In other words, he’s a good bit ahead of your standard independent wrestlers and could be a huge deal in the future.

Top 55 Moves of William Ospreay

Finally there’s Randy Orton, who is one of the top stars in wrestling history. He’s main evented Wrestlemania, won two Royal Rumbles and is a thirteen time World Champion who likely makes millions of dollars a year while flying around the world performing in front of some of the biggest wrestling crowds of all time.

So what we have are something classically made and trained which influenced a later generation but didn’t make a fortune, something over the top and flashy which has a big name (or two) and an audience but it’s not exactly well received and finally, something with a huge budget, big names and a huge profit while not being everyone’s taste.

You can watch and enjoy all three kinds of wrestling because there’s no proper way to like it. Maybe you like the high flying, flashy stuff without the highest level of psychology. Maybe it’s the technical, old school stuff with simple stories and characters in the smaller environments. Maybe you like the big, WWE style productions with one size fits all stories and actions on the big stage.

They’re all entertaining (indy style is high energy, WWE style feels bigger and old school stuff makes more sense) but they all have flaws (indy promotions don’t make a ton of money, WWE isn’t the most interesting and can be repetitive and more proper way can often feel boring as it might make sense but isn’t the most thrilling) and everyone is going to have fun watching a different kind of wrestling.

There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy wrestling. As a fan, you don’t have to care about making a profit or only care about psychology (though you can do either). Just find something you like and have fun. If you like more than one style, just enjoy the fact that you have more options to pick from. It’s wrestling and can be appreciated in so many forms. Even TNA. Sometimes.

On a good day.

For part of the show.

If you have a bunch of tacos.


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