Every couple of weeks or so we go through it all over again. The argument that goes back to the beginning of time. Old school vs. New school. People from the olden days hate how things are done today by disrespectful punks that are killing the business to have a laugh. People doing things today don’t want to hear complaining from the old-timers that don’t get it & are just jealous they couldn’t do the things that they do. Wrestling fans fall into either camp & tend to buy into one side of the argument without much thought, if Twitter & comment sections are any indication. So what got everybody worked up this time? You knew it had to involve The Young Bucks.
These things usually do.
The Young Bucks GIF Seen Around The World
— Brian The Guppie (@briantheguppie) December 16, 2017
I mean…it’s a silly spot. The first time I watched it I kind of rolled my eyes, but it’s not like I haven’t seen 5,000 matches with some type of standoff spot where everybody tries moves & they all miss. The point is to establish a stalemate and get a reaction from the crowd. Which this did, a sold out Hammerstein Ballroom crowd at the Ring Of Honor Final Battle pay-per-view.
To act like this is anything new would mean that I would have forgotten all of the matches Tajiri had with Super Crazy in ECW where they did multiple standoffs. I’m getting old, and my short-term memory isn’t what it once was, but I haven’t forgotten those. Neither have Nick & Matt Jackson, or other people of my generation that grew up watching wrestling. I liked those standoffs. After the first few matches they got a little old as a TV viewer, but they always got a pop from the crowd at the event.
The moment the GIF got posted online, everybody lost their damn minds. Especially UFC fighters, for some strange reason. I don’t know what had those guys all excited last weekend, but a bunch of them were very angry with the temerity & unmitigated gall of the spot. The one I recognized was Daniel Cormier, who apparently is a pro wrestling expert when he’s not busy getting knocked out by Jon Jones and being given championships anyway.
Some wrestlers tweeted back at the UFC guys. Cody Rhodes was defensive in support of his Bullet Club buddies, as you would expect. Vince Russo didn’t like it because there wasn’t a miscarriage or a transvestite involved, as you would expect. Jim Cornette rambled on about how it was killing the business & kissed the UFC fighters’ ass, as you would expect. I guess you wouldn’t expect Russo & Cornette to agree on something, but then again they’re both behind the times. Just in different ways.
Young Bucks vs. Midnight Express
One fun part of the whole Twitter brouhaha was Dave Meltzer firing some shots at Cornette and really grinding his gears by comparing the Young Bucks to a team near & dear to his heart.
As live show performers, the first time I saw them work a crowd as heels, it was the same response of mixing comedy with getting middling foes over and using creative new moves like MX. https://t.co/xW5cBEKKh6
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) December 18, 2017
I’m not 100% sold on the comparison. Get back to me in thirty years & we’ll see how well the Young Bucks’ matches have aged. The MX are pretty timeless. As far as personal enjoyment goes, I’d take the Midnights every time.
The Midnight Express can’t wrestle today. To be honest, if a team went out there and wrestled just like the Midnight Express today, I wouldn’t like them. Originality doesn’t always equal awesome, but you have to have some if you’re going to stand out. If Nick & Matt went out there and used all of the Midnight Express’s old moves and brought in their old manager for a payday, it’d get over as well as Bob Holly & Bart Gunn did as the New Midnight Express.
Meltzer probably would equate the Young Bucks with the Midnight Express. He’s a fan. Whether we agree with him or not, he makes a valuable point. These teams play the same roles. They’re exciting tag team wrestlers playing the role of bad guy. It’s tough to be exciting & get booed. It’s even tougher in 2017 than it was in 1987. Bobby Eaton didn’t have to worry about promoting himself on Twitter. Promotions actually promoted their wrestlers back in the day. Wrestlers have to do it themselves now, or risk getting left behind.
Let’s be honest. Cornette isn’t an angel here. He’s been involved in some spots that heavily exposed the business too. Like this one from the 1993 Survivor Series match pitting his Heavenly Bodies team against the Rock n’ Roll Express.
— History of NWA/JCP/WCW/MSW (@HistoryofWrest) December 21, 2017
I mean, come on now. Who in the world believed that 185 pound Ricky Morton could flip any two men on the planet over the top rope like that? It’s ridiculous. No wonder the Boston Garden crowd took a dump all over the match.
When you think about it, the Rock n’ Rolls exposed the business as much as anybody. Morton would get his butt kicked for the entirety of the match. There was no way that he could possibly recover. Sure enough, he would get the hot tag to Robert Gibson, crazy stuff would happen & the Rock n’ Roll Express would get the win to the delight of the crowd. They never had any real chance winning matches against teams that were bigger & stronger, and beat Morton up the whole match, but they did all the time.
Talk about exposing the business!
Honestly, the GIF wasn’t even the most business-exposing thing to happen in wrestling this week. Stephanie McMahon’s announcement of the Women’s Royal Rumble took that award from where I sit. I got pretty worked up about it. It’s one thing for wrestling moves to get a little too much like gymnastics. It’s another thing for people to completely forget they are feuding with each other & celebrate together like everybody just won the Super Bowl. That, to me, was more business-exposing than anything I’ve ever seen the Young Bucks do inside a wrestling ring.
Granted, I haven’t seen all their matches so maybe I missed something.
From what I have seen, the Bucks are this generation’s high-flying tag team. They get a little meta with their humor. Some of the things they do aren’t my cup of tea as a wrestling viewer. But they’re super successful and making a ton of money outside WWE, so I have to give them a ton of credit as a wrestling columnist. To do anything else wouldn’t make much sense, at least from my perspective. As far as I can tell, they aren’t killing the business.
Twenty years from now, wrestlers of this era will be on whatever social media platform is around bitching & moaning about how the new wrestlers are destroying the business. That’s how this has worked since the beginning. Old wrestlers complained about Flair vs. Steamboat. Old wrestlers complained about the various Expresses. Old wrestlers complain about whatever happens after they retire, just like other old athletes complain about how current athletes have it easy or use PEDs or whatever.
They sometimes have good points worth listening to. We just need to make sure their more destructive takes are taken with a grain of salt. I mean, could you imagine if we let a bunch of bitter old people that hate young people that aren’t like them at all run the country? Wouldn’t that be a terrible idea? They’d do whatever they could to destroy us!
The world can’t be stuck in the past, and neither can pro wrestling. We can celebrate the past. We can watch all the old-time wrestling we want. I know I do. We can’t let it decide the future. Wrestling has to take its own course. We might not always like the direction it goes in…but if you’re anything like me, that’s been a pretty common thing for most of your time as a fan.