I've got a question for those of you who have been watching for a long time...
In the past, did they talk about the match that you were watching, or about the other plot lines in the show?
I'm trying to imagine how these matches would sound in a "from the vault" type setting if viewed later. It seems to me that only the main events of current shows could possibly make sense in that kind of setting...
So. Is this new? Am I only remembering the main events from the past, or were midcard matches and cruiser matches occasionally about the psychology and antics from that match?
On the old "Best of" Sunday afternoon Georgia Championship Wrestling shows, they would occasionally throw in matches from Florida or Mid-Atlantic, generally of wrestlers that were on their way to Georgia or who had been in Georgia recently. You have to remember that many of those TV matches were squashes. We could be seeing Roddy Piper manhandling say, Rick McGraw from Charlotte, and the announcers would be talking about Piper's feud with, say, Wahoo or somebody. There wasn't often a lot of action to call.
The same with the Saturday show. Masked Superstar would beat Mike Jackson in hour one, and Pat Rose in hour two. Solie would make note of something about Jackson and Rose, usually during their token offense, but the majority of the time he would be building the Superstar-Tommy Rich feud.
While that would seem to be terrible for later, taped watching, I always felt that it added a bit of intrigue. Of course, today's WWE style in no way shape of form matches Solies...
***Outrighted to Jersey City (IL) April 15, 2002***
I'm not sure I'm understanding this question right, but if I am I'll answer it.
In the long run, the bigger picture so to speak, an individual match on a weekly (or whatever the case may be) television show is not very important. What is important is the feud a wrestler is participating in. The reason only main events may be memorable is because your typical main event had a storyline-reason for happening, while most other matches on the card were just filler so the announcers could discuss that feud that the wrestlers were in that actually WAS important.
Mean Gene: "You know, I don't think it's a question - Goldberg, I don't think it's a question of who's next, I think it's a question of who's left?" Goldberg: "No, see, that's where you're wrong. It ain't who's left, it's - WHO'S NEXT?"
"Just how hardcore am I? Well this morning, I drank milk that was two days past the expiration!" -Norman Smiley
Imagine Tazz and Lawler are having a match... Cole and Raven commentary for the match. Imagine a 6 minute match, 4 minutes of which is taken up by Cole saying "I wonder what the Undertaker is going to do tonight when he gets back" or flashbacks to 15 minutes ago ... stuff like that. Stuff that isn't even relevant to the match, to the combatants history, to anything other than the rest of the show.
THAT's what is bugging me - and what I was asking about. The complete disregard for the action in front of them. Heat used to be really, really bad about this. Cole would talk about the upcoming RAW for more than 1/2 of the match it seemed - like the show you were watching wasn't anything more than an infomercial for the Big 2 shows.
//edit: Ok - this is what I am asking. ( I thought of it finally ) With older matches that you guys have on tape, can you take just about any match and play it out of context of the show that it broadcast in, and still make sense of it? Do the matches hold up outside of their original airing? My thought is that the current matches will not - if they are ever put in a "Best of RAW" tape or whatever. Does that make sense?
(edited by Guru Zim on 11.6.02 1910) I love it when a plan comes together
The reason for that is still the same. Nothing but the major feuds are important in the WWF, so that is what they talk about. Is this a problem? Perhaps. But for the WWF to fix it they would have to give mid- and lower-carders better storylines, storylines that have an impact on the structure or devlopement of the show, to train the audience to actually care about the Spike Dudleys, Christians and Lance Storms of the wrestling world. But then, that's what they need to do anyway just to make the show overall better.
EDIT: After seeing Guru's edit:
NOW, I see what you're saying. I don't know why I didn't understand before. I think JR does an OK job, though he has his off nights (STONE BY GAWD COLD!), of staying focused, but give the shows a few years to age and I doubt viewers will understand what the announcers are talking about. I know I have that problem watching old tapes from the early-mid 1990s.
(edited by TheBucsFan on 11.6.02 2217) Mean Gene: "You know, I don't think it's a question - Goldberg, I don't think it's a question of who's next, I think it's a question of who's left?" Goldberg: "No, see, that's where you're wrong. It ain't who's left, it's - WHO'S NEXT?"
"Just how hardcore am I? Well this morning, I drank milk that was two days past the expiration!" -Norman Smiley
I'd say that announcers during the "olden days" spent at least 75% of their time talking about the match in front of them. They would occasionally spend less time if some major incident had just occurred, like a big heel or face turn, an in-ring attack, or an injury. Back then, not every wrestler had to have an angle or feud.
I agree, a lot of today's matches probably wouldn't come across well taken by themselves. They would probably have to do a new commentary for them for them to work outside the context of the shows.
Originally posted by Guru ZimWith older matches that you guys have on tape, can you take just about any match and play it out of context of the show that it broadcast in, and still make sense of it? Do the matches hold up outside of their original airing? My thought is that the current matches will not - if they are ever put in a "Best of RAW" tape or whatever. Does that make sense?
Yes you can (play them out of context), and there's a very good reason for that...Shows of yesteryear weren't recorded as one long two-hour "live" event. They were cut up into segments, recorded not necessarily in order. In the WWF's case, this is because they were spreading a month's worth of programming out of like TWO TV tapings.
Each segment (often a squash) concentrated on the superstar's upcoming feud at the big PPV or, going before the PPV days, big match at the local arena. They would also promote in GENERAL the big event on PPV or the local arena, but they spent much more time concentrating on the match at hand. And the matches on the PPV's were generally treated seperately as well.
Today's two big shows (and PPV's frankly) are recorded as one continuous event, so the announcers can use the matches as background fodder for discussing the big things they've already seen earlier in the show. But when you think about it, is that really any different than what some of US are doing during the show? Example: We have a Smackdown party every Thursday at a friend's home. There's usually four-to-six of us, and while the show runs, we may be talking about: the match at hand, the schmoz in the first hour, something that happened on RAW, or the 7-Eleven commercial. Really, the announcers aren't doing anything different.
In the end, the WWF has a solution...Re-record the play-by-play. I certainly remember a number of Coliseum Video compilations that had vastly different play-by-play than they had when the matches ran on Prime-Time Wrestling. There's a reason nobody remembers Tony Schiovane worked briefly for the WWF. They erased the evidence.
Originally posted by Guru Zim Ok - this is what I am asking. ( I thought of it finally ) With older matches that you guys have on tape, can you take just about any match and play it out of context of the show that it broadcast in, and still make sense of it? Do the matches hold up outside of their original airing? My thought is that the current matches will not - if they are ever put in a "Best of RAW" tape or whatever. Does that make sense?
(edited by Guru Zim on 11.6.02 1910)
Well, in my example with the Georgia shows, since most of the matches were "squashes" there sometimes wasn't a real "main event" scheduled. Superstar may wrestle twice, then Rich twice. They'd have interview time, and maybe they'd run-in on each other. They would NOT wrestle each other (for the most part).
So, you could replay a Superstar GCW match and get (usually) the match call, and some history of whatever feud Superstar was in. Solie usually wouldn't change the subject to, for example, an Ole Anderson feud. The GCW matches would hold up MUCH better than the WWE matches in that way.
***Outrighted to Jersey City (IL) April 15, 2002***
Monsoon and Ventura/Heenan seemed to stick to the match about 80% of the time. It does seem like there was a time when the commentary was focused on the match, but that was before weekly shows and monthly ppvs.
Joey Styles was always pretty good about staying focused and he EVEN called the moves.
I know what you're getting at though RVD/EDDY would be a prime example of the announcers drifting away from the match as I've seen in awhile. I know you have to hype what's next, but you have to make people care about what's going on now too.
This is why Jesse's the man. He almost always insult the face and praise the heel, but in his unique libertarian matter. What was also great was that he didn't resort to the nonsense "I didn't see nothing!!" schtick that you hear from other heel color commentators. He does play by play of the chair shot or illegal move like it was a normal part of the match. I'm not a heel-worshipper like some people here, but if there were more heels like Jesse Ventura, who unlike Shawn Michaels tells the absolute truth, the shows might be watchable
I don't have any tapes or anything, so this is mostly anecdotal rambling, but I definitely remember the commentary in the WWF focusing more on the matches and the people in them than the other big angles and what was coming ahead. There are a couple of things that have changed since then that probably explain at least part of it.
Oddly, the jobber with a goofy gimmick that doesn't appear very often today was probably a part of it. The announcers had to spend some time giving explaining Outback Jack (he was Australian, after all) or playing up Iron Mike Sharpe's claim of being Canada's Greatest Athlete. The average match probably wasn't that long, so when you have Gorilla Monsoon explaining the Texan tenacity of Young Up and Comer Young Sam Houston or just what the hell the Brooklyn Brawler was, they'd just work it around calling the moves. Add in guys like Sharpe or shinguard-era Greg Valentine with gimmicked finishers or attempted finishers and that was something else they had to pay attention to payoff the finish.
So having them pay attention to certain aspects of the character and then calling the moves around it lead to announcers who gave more attention to the wrestlers, and that worked with guys like Venture or Heenan who went out of their way to have their one-liners tailored to even the lowest of the jobbers. Heenan had as much material for making fun of Koko B. Ware or Tito Santana as he did on loathing Hulk Hogan. Jesse always seemed to take a lot of pleasure digging into everybody and building up even the worst heels, too. And Gorilla would balance things by refuting whatever they'd say.
Guys today, though, are more in the Lord Alfred Hayes role of being the guy who has to sell Right Guard and talk about the WWF action coming near you. Vince McMahon the announcer was kind of the stooge company guy in that role, which was kind of the prototype for the Ian Mooney/Tod Pettingil/Michael Cole company schil.
Bischoff was in that role for Nitro, which (in theory) freed Schiavone to be the Gorilla Monsoon type who could talk about the individual guys, but they both ended up playing the same kind of GREATEST NITRO EVER function. JR might even be a sadder case, because he was better than Tony and had an announcer character like Monsoon did (but a different kind), but even with Michael Cole, he's just like Tony Schiavone was when WCW started to go downhill or like Vince was at his worst "1!2!HEGOTHIM! NOHEDIDN'T! DAMNITREF!" moments. I at least got laughs out of Tony and Vince's wackiness, though.
I've brought them up as announcers I'd like to see back in other threads here, but again, I think Mike Tenay and Stevie Ray were great throwbacks to the old style of talking about the wrestlers and the matches first and the other stories later. I don't think they ever tried Tenay as a company guy product seller (probably for good reason) and he always had stories about the lower card guys' history and their moves. And Stevie Ray always got excited about telling road stories and histories for guys (I remember him going into Big Vito's career during some throwaway matches) and trying to get Tony or Hudson to talk about something happening in the match or what move that was.
One other thing, they also don't have some of the promo devices they used to have, like the picture-in-picture interview. If Tito Santana was feuding with Rick Martel but wrestling someone else, they'd just fly in the magic box with Rick Martel saying "Hey, I'm Rick Martel and not only am I arrogant, but also, I hate you, Tito Santana!" and that was that. And between matches, they'd put together four or five quick interview segments of guys standing in front of their logo to sell the feuds carrying the house shows, where the guy would have 30 seconds to sell his gimmick, the feud, the match and get out. Bossman was great at that. "Tito Santana, the Big Bossman is gonna give you some hard time at the Cow Palace where I'll cuff you and give you the ol' ball and chain and here's me twirling my nightstick!"
I looked at my old tapes, and it seems Gorilla Monsoon always put over the guys who were wrestling at that moment in the ring, not the main event or whatever. The reason this worked back then was during the match, Gorilla and Brain could call the match at hand and basically go bonkers for the action. But when the match ended, you went back to the Prime Time Wrestling studio where they DID talk about the upcoming PPVs, big matches later in the show, run-ins, injuries etc. I think the old format of WWF shows was more conducive to this. Things as they stand now would have to be re-tooled to make this possible. Personally, I loved the "old" way of doing things. When I'm watching Jeff Hardy vs. Tommy Dreamer, I don't want to hear about f'ing Undertaker, or Hogan, or HHH or whoever. Call the damn match, I say. Back in the day, Monsoon put EVERYBODY over. You would have never caught him shilling only for STONE COLD STONE COLD BY GAWD RATTLESNAKE. He put over everyone from Damien Demento to Max Moon. Incidentally, when Raven was still doing Heat commentary a few weeks ago, Coach started saying, "Well let's talk about Ric Flair. Just this past week on Raw..." And Raven said: "Shut up Coach and call the match in front of you. We have good action right here." Ah yes. At least someone understands.
EDITED TO ADD a hearty WILL YOU STOP! in honor of Gorilla. RIP.
(edited by Parts Unknown on 12.6.02 1010) YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME!?! - The immortal, chilling words of...The Shockmaster!
There is a great little bit about this during the Survivor Series -- I think 1999 show. The match is Hardyz/E&C vs. Hollys/Too Cool in elimination. Great match btw, you should check it out.
Anyways, this match takes place right after the whole Stone Cold hit by the car skit. JR is acting all distant because one of his best friends just got rundown and the King just goes on and on about how JR needs to put it behind him, be a professional and call the match.
Finally, JR starts calling the match because he is sick of hearing King bitch and the King says "I can't believe you JR, your best friend just got rundown by a car and all you can think about is this wrestling match"
That signaled the American Badass version of Taker (youtube.com). I wonder if we'll see another tweaking of the gimmick heralded by this/these vignettes. A full-on Western version would be closer to his original look (dailymotion.com)