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Uncle Dave Meltzer or: Let's All Fight Forever

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  • Uncle Dave Meltzer or: Let's All Fight Forever

    So earlier this week there was some Meltzer talk and it devolved into a fight. Sometimes that's fun.

    So, let's fight about Meltzer!

    Seriously though, some people are big supporters, some people (myself included) are big detractors. Let's discuss.

    First off, I will agree with what Cult said in a different thread about most of the info "from Meltzer" is secondhand from websites, at best.

    Meltz is taking a little heat today, because a website reported that Meltzer said on his podcast that Charly Caruso has her job because she's "young and cute". I didn't listen to the podcast, but I did read the quote about how Gene Okurland wouldn't have her job today because he's not "young and cute".

    I would think that anyone with common sense would see the context there and know that she wasn't hired because she's "young and cute", but because being a young and attractive-looking person is one of the qualities that they look for these days when it comes to that role.

    But then, there's the quote:

    “Vince is done with Humberto Carrillo for the time being. He’s giving him the ‘Cedric Alexander.’ Like you’re still gonna see him on TV. I’m sure he’s gonna win here and there, but like it’s exactly like Cedric Alexander. He got a few weeks, Vince thought he wasn’t getting over, so he’s just — he’s done.”

    And that's where I take the Eric Bischoff approach of "how did he get that information"? Because that seems more to me like he's pulling back on a guy a little bit that they established early could hang with the top guys, in order to not "overpush" him and see how he gets over.

    That's where the "stooges" giving out information that even they aren't 110% sure is completely true leads me to disbelieve a lot.

    So, what does everyone think? Is Big Dave misunderstood and misquoted, or does he have a network of stooges and a seeming need to phrase things in a way that paints whomever's on top as bad and inept?

    I did get a pop out of Cornette breaking down Dave's "obituary" of him from the Observer. Particularly the stuff about any deal with AEW being unlikely at this point, to which Cornette laughed and said any deal there is dead because he wouldn't want one.
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  • #2
    I won't believe a word he says until he says Randy Orton is this generation's Frank Gotch.


    • #3
      I think a big reason he's supposedly misquoted is that on his podcast, it's a stream of discussion, and a lot of it is just guessing/supposition. But because he also gets a lot of info meant to be factual, it gets confusing to tell what's meant to be fact, and what's meant to be what he guesses is going on. It likely wouldn't be so bad if he said his stories with phrases like "I heard..." more often.

      But, that's me playing contrarian/devil's advocate. Because he states his opinion or rumors as fact, the guy is a scumbag, and knows how to play to a depressingly oblivious audience who love to chug his BS.


      • #4
        In case this subject actually gets discussion traction, I wanted to add something here about the Corey Graves/Mauro story.

        Since the tweets during Takeover, Mauro has deleted his account, wasn't on NXT or Survivor Series, and Corey has apologized on a podcast. These are the only true facts about the story.

        But, since then, to further the speculation and agenda of BS, the Observer has elaborated routinely during the week with more false narratives, such as Mauro was still in bad shape a few days ago, but is better as of this weekend.

        Now I get that the internet loves drama, and if he's judging his podcast discussions based on the feedback he's getting, then I get why it's still a topic. But to first say he's still in bad shape, but then improved days later just feels like pushing BS around to keep the subject alive. I get that I don't listen, and maybe he does list sources or give an idea of how he got these impressions, and the "reporters" who write newspieces based on Dave's podcast talks don't elaborate either (and they are just as vile as Meltz in pushing agendas). But it just feels ultra convenient that he shares these pieces of info to stir shit up just in time to keep his podcast relevant.


        • #5
          I'd say I'm marginally pro-Meltzer. He seems to be a good resource for certain historical stuff and his match ratings were a useful starting point for me when I started branching out in what I watched. I tend to disbelieve the idea that he makes things up out of the blue but it's clear he'll sometimes report things without fully verifying them, and the way he phrases his takes has gotten him deservedly in hot water at times.

          I've never really listened to WOR or subbed his site so I guess I can only say so much. I find his staunchest defenders and harshest critics annoying but that's not unique to Meltzer.

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          • #6
            Found out that Meltzer said earlier this year that psychology is just 'the ability to get the audience to react'. Huh. I guess that explains the difference between modern and old wrestling because that's not how I came to understand it. In fact, I'd suggest you only have to think about that for the length of a pinfall to come up with some pretty strong counterarguments.

            "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."


            • #7
              I...I don't understand. It makes me sad. I literally have "Psychology 101", "Psychology 201" and "Advanced Psychology" presentations that I give to my trainees.

              It sounds like someone explained psychology to Dave once, and without really getting it, he tried to simplify it. Psychology is why they react and when they react, and how to get the desired reaction. It's not just the ability to get them to react.

              It's called "wrestling psychology" because it's how you play with the emotions of your audience to get a reaction. 45 flip dives that get reactions isn't "different psychology", it's doing something that gets a reaction in place of trying to actually emotionally impact people. It's giving them a bunch of dopamine hits rather than toying with their feelings. Psychology is the difference between someone booing me with a smile on their face because I'm a heel and it's a show and it's fun to do because that's what you do at a show, and someone taking a swing at me or jumping a barricade.

              "Different psychology" is Japan vs North America where some of the things that they do with bigger bumps and multiple finishers doesn't translate well here, and when it is translated it gets prostituted back to dopamine hits. Different psychology is Hart/Stampede/Calgary vs Dupree/AGPW where one is a little more bump heavy, some more holds, etc. and the other used more gimmicks and had a lot more brawling. (Part of the reason that I could go home and put on a brawl with buckets of blood, but people would still get a little uneasy with it in this territory.)

              Like, I literally can't state how wrong this is. Being good at psychology is knowing when to do something, and when not to do it. It's knowing why to do this thing here as opposed to there. I've been doing this almost 15 years, I have worked with and been lucky to become friends with and sit in cars for hours at a time with some of the best minds this country has ever had for pro wrestling and I have only now gotten pretty "good" at psychology. I still hear something broken down by an old timer like why and angle worked or why they did X in their comeback instead of Y and am blown away.

              The more anyone -- you, me, Dave, my mentors, Tony Khan, Vince MhMachon, etc. -- sits and listens to the people that came before them and is taught not just what they did, but why they did it and how it could be adapted for today's sensibilities, the more you start to realize just how much there is to know about pro wrestling and how impossible it is to know it all.

              I devour everything I can get my hands on about pro wrestling history and psychology, and the more I do the clearer it becomes that I'm just scratching the surface.
              Last edited by Team Farrell; 08-21-2020, 01:00 PM.
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              • #8
                Well, I get what Dave is saying. I do see flippy spots as psychology, but it's more that it's shitty psychology. It's shallow. Getting someone to pop for a flip spot is part of psychology. The problem is that too many of modern wrestlers think that's the story and there's nothing else to it. When Shawn would do the moonsault to the outside, it was a spot, but he made it mean something. He wouldn't do it in the first 3 minutes of a match. Whenever this involved the broadcast table, he took his time climbing, made sure the fans saw him glancing at the table to basically announce his plans to get people excited, and then he would either land it or miss. And whatever injury was caused (to himself or the opponent), became part of the story. Could Shawn recover from missing the moonsault onto the announce booth? There were layers to it all.

                I know there was a time that one of the Bucks sold his back injury really well (apparently), but he still did his spots regularly. He basically wrestled a spottier version of what Shawn did when he returned in 2002. The difference in the amount of spots makes a huge difference to me though. Shawn wasn't a spot wrestler, he just added spots into his match. Jackson (whichever one it was) hasn't shown me psychology (and this isn't saying they don't have any, it's just not been part of the few matches I've tolerated to watch). It's a spot for spot sake. The recent flip or dive he did that missed and the opponents sold, and caused Randy to reply, for example. Had that been Shawn, I believe 9 times out of 10, they would have still wrestled to adjust to the fact the spot was missed. The opponent would roll as it's hard to change that sort of plan last minute, but would pop back up knowing it didn't connect. Stuff like what the Buck did kills my focus for a match. A botch is fine if they work around it. Modern wrestlers just pretend the botch never happened, and I think it makes them look stupid.

                Or maybe we are 3 old fogies.


                • #9
                  I had to smile at the first line there - because you start by saying you get what Dave is saying, then say that flippy spots are shitty psychology, and I can't imagine anything sending the 2020 Meltzer into a rage more than that.

                  It's a difficult thing to define, not just because as mentioned above there's more to learn than you could ever hope to learn. But I suppose the short-hand, bite-sized version of how I see it, is that every way you can pop a crowd boils down to either psychology, or spectacle. All sorts of things fit into that latter category - from Young Bucks flips, as mentioned, right the way to the Ultimate Warrior's entrance or Sable's handprint bikini. Spectacle, whether it's seeing someone do something physically staggering, or using sex appeal, or whatever you want to use as an example will pop a crowd. But what all those things have in common is that they are subject to the law of diminishing returns.

                  Psychology is all the stuff you do to pop a crowd that defies that law of diminishing returns - it's about manipulation (which is I think why it's called psychology in the first place and not 'storytelling' or whatever), about making the audience buy into what they are seeing and about positioning them so that they feel how you want them to about your wrestlers. When that's what psychology was, I see contemporary promotions saying they don't care about face and heel or if people buy into the show and I wonder how psychology can even exist in that environment. It strikes me that what modern crowds react to is the stuff that isn't psychology, but to the spectacle. And I don't think that would be so contentious if it weren't for the fact that it was such a privileged term in the old days, and there's a burning need for some in that Meltzer/Indy crowd to drive home how 'smart' they are. They can't accept that when it comes to this issue Johnny Flippy-do has more in common with the Warrior than with, I dunno, Pat Patterson say, and so to make it work for them you have to do what Dave is doing there, which is to twist the term so badly that it ends up meaning nothing.

                  That's my take anyway, and though I don't pretend to be some kind of all-knowing wrestling oracle I think I'm likely to believe that it's true in essence, no matter how much I might change my mind about some bits around the edges.

                  "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PEN15v2 View Post
                    I know there was a time that one of the Bucks sold his back injury really well (apparently), but he still did his spots regularly. He basically wrestled a spottier version of what Shawn did when he returned in 2002.
                    This was what got me into the Bucks and changed my mind on them originally (my how things change, we're right back to the beginning).

                    I really enjoyed that run because Matt would start off the match pretty okay, but as it wore on and/or the opponents worked his back, he started selling it more and slowing way down. There'd be times where he would try to get a guy up for the tombstone and it would take two or three tries, or he'd get him up and just have to drop them. Or when they would do their normally synchronized flips, Nick would nail it and Matt would either be a step or two behind, or have to take a second to psych himself our before doing it, and then sell his own agony after he hit it. I also liked that the change in timing was often what lead to the other team taking over on the Bucks.

                    There was good stuff there. If they could even work half their matches with that type of psychology, I'd still be 100% on the Bucks train.
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