The good old days. They exist in all facets of your life. You ever wonder what it would be like if American professional wrestling went back to the good old days? Look at how things are today with the fireworks, the giant stages, the monstrous video screens, and men chiseled to perfection. It all seems so over the top. Often the veterans will complain about the direction wrestling has taken in the past couple of decades and how it has changed wrestling for the worse, leaving the only glimpses of the olden days found in local bars where old men and young hopefuls wrestle for a dozen drunken fishermen. But is it really the case that wrestling should indeed go back to the old days?
Think of Brooks from Shawshank Redemption. He had been in prison for several decades before he made parole. When he got back into the world he said that it had went and got itself in big damn hurry. I fell very much like Brooks these days. I am only in my mid-twenties but when I look back at how wrestling was when I first started watching it, I long for the days when the arenas were darker, when there wasn?t an unnecessarily giant video screen displaying pointless backstage segments, and storylines weren?t so rushed.
Granted things are better than they were in 1994 and 1995 when everything was a circus, but as better as things are today they still feel out of place. Wrestling still seems to be finding its niche after the boom period ended back in 2001. It used to be fun and exciting when the boss would announce a big match that would take place that same night in the main event, but now it just seems tired and cruise controlled. We used to see backstage interviews that that meant something because it was a genuine interview with more than just the interviewer asking what they are thinking at the moment, allowing the interviewee to break into their usual promo. When a wrestler would come out to rescue or interfere, they didn?t need to play their entrance music. You know why? Because it made no sense to have the entrance music played when it is suppose to be unexpected.
They used to say that the champion would be a combination of the man who would attract viewers, and also a ring general. This is another example of how things have changed. When a new champion is crowned nowadays they are not always an individual that can call a match entirely on their own. That is why you see these men put in the ring veterans as their primary challengers for the first few months of their championship reign. Look at the initial reigns of Randy Orton and Batista. It was great to see Orton become champion, but he was not ready and dropped the title within a month. Batista had great build around him because he worked hard and Triple H did a great job to build him as well. However, for the first three months of his championship reign he really only worked with Triple H. Together they had some really good matches, but when Batista went on to face other challengers, he bombed unless he was in there with the likes of Triple H or Eddy Guerrero.
I could go on and on but I already feel really petty complaining about these things. Regardless of how I feel about how wrestling has changed in my lifetime it just part of the natural evolution that everything in this world undergoes. It is the same with music, movies, work, technology, and people themselves. We change over the course of time based on a number of factors be it our social upbringing, our own experiences, or traditional customs the new generation decides to overturn. The same thing happens in the world of professional wrestling. I don?t like a lot of the things I see on TV today, but I would never go back to the days of Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter or Hulk Hogan’s war with the Dungeon of Doom.
Fifteen years ago when Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon had their famous ladder match at Wrestlemania X, nobody knew that one day we would see the incredible display we would see only a few years later when the Hardys, Edge, Christian, and the Dudleys went at in those incredible TLC matches. Regardless of the changes we see in professional wrestling, we must always remember that if we didn?t have these changes for the worse, we would not have the changes for the better. We would still see matches where the high spot was a suplex. We wouldn?t see the fast-paced displays of human impossibility realized in front of our very eyes. We have to take the good and the bad together. This doesn?t mean we can?t criticize wrestling when it fails to live up its full potential, but patience and understanding must be a factor in our criticism.
The world is in a big damn hurry. In order to keep up we buy complex phones to check our email compulsively, we create Facebook pages to let the world know we exist and put our pictures and interests for the world to see, proving that some way, somehow, we are relevant. Professional wrestling changes to adapt to the world around it to retain current viewers and attract new eyes because you can?t let the world pass you by. The fact is you either get busy living or you get busy dying.
Do you long for the old days? Maybe you do, maybe you don?t. The simple truth is that it doesn?t matter. The world changes. As everything in your life changes and you look to find solace in something you hoped would never change, you know you won?t find it. Keep your memories intact, but evolve with the rest of the world because regardless of how much things change there is no reason that lessons from the past cannot be implemented in present day. That goes for professional wrestling as well.