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Jan 8, 2020

Taking a tremendous gamble here by using my very first post on the SA Forums to start a brand new text-only effort-post thread but I guess I don't have much to lose so what the hell. If the mods or the community at large feel that this more properly belongs in the "questions that don't deserve a thread... thread" or that it should just be binned entirely then I totally get it and I hope no harm done.

Briefly, I'd like to talk about / get recommendations for writing about pro wrestling which eschews the usual *bland recap of the in-ring action* or *sub-Meltzer (or even sub-Scott Keith!) star-rated review with a little bit of tedious opinion*. I'm convinced that there must be compelling and entertaining writing about wrestling out there but I simply don't know where to look. To be clear, I don't really mean "news" or the kind of exposť journalism that a number of people now do brilliantly - I mean writing about the wrestling directly, more so than the people involved with it.

As a starting point, I think it's worth restating that among wrestling writers Dave Meltzer eventually stands alone (open to contradictory takes here!).

His relatively recent (I think?) detours into defending lovely people because he enjoys their wrestling or because they're old friends of his, his tendency to argue with every broke-brain on Twitter, the doubling down on bad takes when challenged and I guess ultimately the extremely questionable poo poo he sometimes comes out with, seemingly through a combo of being an old man who has failed to keep up with the times and also being an old man who has always been way too into pro wrestling for his own good (with all the potential for warped perspective that being too involved with the wrestling world has always entailed) - all of these are strikes against him and it kinda sucks to see a guy who has been and still is so impressive in terms of what he has achieved and contributed, and is kind of a force of nature in his own way, come out with some of the trash that he has done over the last few years.

With that said, he really does stand alone. His obituaries and historical pieces have always been incredible, an unbelievable feat of semi-amateur scholarship. People often laugh or despair at his prose style but I've never got that - he is and always has been a ridiculously prolific autodidact who doesn't give a poo poo about formal sentence structure or how difficult it might be to parse his writing. He is avant-garde to the extreme. He is anti-style.

Unfortunately, due to his preeminence he has inspired a legion of terrible writers who lack even a bit of his insight or his offbeat charisma. The majority of wrestling writing I have found on the internet has either been desperately earnest and worthy or desperately boring (lol how about that for self-awareness). There are exceptions - the SegundaCaida blog is amazing in its own right (even if I think it does sometimes go too far with its revisionist poptimist takes on mainstream wrestling, it's always interesting - revisiting Mabel's mid-90s WWF run and deciding that actually it was pretty good after all - awesome! tI actually find that really nteresting!)

But I guess most of all what I'm after is wrestling writing that is witty and articulate and has a sense of humour that chimes with my own. Some of my favourite writing is housed here, on the Rumblemetrics blog (now sadly discontinued). If you've never read these, I cannot recommend it highly enough. A hilarious dude with a beautiful flow dumps down his thoughts on every Royal Rumble event from the beginning to whenever it was the WWE became generally deemed to be beyond the pale for any right-thinking person.

Similarly the TK Scissors blog (which I think is by the same guy and covers a lot of ground on 90s shoot style, primarily Fighting Network Rings)

Or here, where some guy writes about the 2015 G1 Climax, the emergence of LIJ Naito and his match with Shibata, which isn't funny per se but it captures so much of what was interesting about that whole period and about Naito in particular in a way that I don't think the majority of wrestling writers are able to.

Or even here, where ancient wrestling blogger / fanziner / DVDVR contributor / whatever Raven Mack writes in what I find to be an extremely compelling manner about the beauty of southern rasslin' in the 1980s.

Content warning for this one - the guy uses an ableist slur in the piece (the usual word beginning with "r") and there are a few other things scattered throughout which, while not directly using slurs, are still pretty lovely. The piece is from 2008, for reference, but I'm well aware that that's no justification for any of that stuff. I've included this because I think thee writing has merit in spite of those lovely elements but if I've hosed up here then mods, please do remove the link, and if it upsets anyone personally then please let me know directly so I can apologise - really not intending to offend anyone here or endorse that bullshit by posting this link.

Anyway, those are a few of the examples I've found of writing that I find in some way interesting, compelling, funny, unique, after long years of mucking about and lurking on messageboards where people discuss pro-wrestling. There's an absolute world of terrible wrestling writing out there (and even more which is just mediocre). I'd be really interested in hearing what stuff other people read which they feel is a cut above the dross.

God bless you if you read this far. If you CBA reading all that, seriously check out the links - if nothing else, there's some awesome wrestling writing in there which I don't think is particularly widely read.


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