For years now, pro wrestling fans have listened to the advice of luminaries like Jim Ross and Jim Cornette (all the Jims, really) explaining how today’s wrestlers need to slow down and sell more. And work on their punches. And build up their chests and upper arms.
There are really two schools of thought here: some people want to take things back to basics and focus on storytelling and emotion, while some people want to watch Will Ospreay and Ricochet wire-fight. (I’m being reductive, of course. There are many different levels of wrestling fandom and we all want something different. Me? I want Bob Holly to come back and teach these kids some damn respect.) The evolution of independent wrestling has ramped up the breakneck pace of wrestling in most respects, and that has slowly trickled up to WWE.
And now you can add another wrestling icon to the list of people who think the WWE Superstars of today are working too fast. Kurt Angle appeared on episode 373 of the Steve Austin Show and talked about pacing issues. He believes everything is cyclical and he’s lived through a “fast” period himself, but it’s time for WWE to slow it back down.
“I look at WWE, and there are a lot of good talent right now. Now, their style, I think they’ve picked up the pace a little bit more. And I think they need to pull that back a little bit and get back to being a little more old school. I think the pace is going too fast. And I think the one thing they’re not doing is not selling as much as they used to. I think that down the road, if they continue to do that and continue to pick up the pace, it will, it could kill the business a little bit. [Austin knows] that wrestling goes in cycles and there was a time, I remember when I was in WWE where I’d say I had 50 straight matches where I didn’t tie up. It started with punches. But then, it slowed down, and then, the style came into technical wrestling and I know [Austin] and I did a lot of that, so I think that it’ll come around. I just think right now, they’re probably giving these wrestlers less time on TV and if you give them less time, they’re not going to have time to tell that story at the beginning, showing that wrestling ability. Instead, they just go right into a high spot.”
Like Ross and Cornette and other part-time curmudgeons, he makes some good points. I don’t think the pace could “kill the business a little bit” or anything like that. I actually think the best possible thing would be more variance from match to match. The sameness of everything, week in and week out. That’s what needs to get shaken up a bit.
At least Kurt didn’t have anything to say about punches.