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Scout Report by Wrestlingscout
Puroresu vs. Lucha Libre: Part 2
El Hijo Del Lucha (exhibit 2): Faces vs. Heels. Since wrestling went from competition to entertainment back in the day, promoters have used babyfaces and heels. This is what makes pro wrestling great entertainment, it is the age-old story of good versus evil. Promoters just had to come up with interesting storylines in which evil struck first, but good always returned and got the win. Lucha Libre, which is around 75 years old, has been using that mold since the 30s. Even in Japan, they've used that, using the native versus foreigner angle, which was and still is popular in Mexico as well. Today, there are no really distinct faces and heels in Japan. Fans like the foreigners as much as they like the natives, one can hardly tell if they're impressed at all with their golf-claps. The fans can't get behind a face like they could when Antonio Inoki or Giant Baba wrestled some big American bully. Now you see the fans clapping for every big move either man does that's not what pro wrestling's about. It's about heroes and villains, not actual competition.
Strong Style Machine (rebuttal 2): Why does there have to be faces and heels? You don't have good guys and bad guys in other sports, what is wrong with making pro wrestling looking like a real sport. These guys are athletes, they don't need to be making the fans hate them just because. It should be the best athletes on top in pro wrestling as it is in other sports, not the most respected or most well-known. I've seen my share of lucha cards where old men like Perro Aguayo, Mil Mascaras, or Rayo de Jalisco Jr. were headlining just because of their name recognition. Aside from a few guys in puroresu, it is predominately the best wrestlers on top of the cards.
Strong Style Machine (exhibit 3): Selling. Although I have many problems with the realism factor of lucha libre, I think no aspect illustrates this better than the selling or lack there of. The only thing wrestlers sell are piledrivers and they sell them like career-ending neck injuries. Wrestlers just bounce up and down with all their highflying, but the big risks seem to have little effect. Like I mentioned earlier, the submission holds have nothing to them other than application and immediate surrender. Selling is one of the most essential parts of wrestling and most luchadors can hardly do that, in fact a lot of the veterans no-sell entire matches.
El Hijo Del Lucha (rebuttal 3): As I've tried to reintegrate putting every single strike, submission, and move over makes for boring slow-paced matches. Yes, wrestling needs a certain degree of realism otherwise it's just an action movie in the ring, but it needs far more unrealism. People want to see the babyface making the comeback because he's been beaten down and has to rise above the pain. No man can be pummeled into the ground and the other have an overwhelming advantage that disappears because one no-sells. I believe it's called "summoning fighting spirit" in puroresu, it is a classic face aspect. People also want to see the face come in the ring and clear out all the heels, who are attacking his friend. No one man can beat up a group, especially if they are credible fighters. The more realistic selling is the further wrestling moves from what pro wrestling is - entertainment.
El Hijo Del Lucha (exhibit 3): Entertainment Value. The biggest flaw I see with puroresu is how entertaining it is. Its almost like a worked sport, rather than a hybrid of sport and entertainment. Aside from lucha-influenced groups like Toryumon, Michinoku Pro, and Osaka Pro, you don't see many crazy gimmicks or comedy in the top groups. In Toryumon you see guys like Stoker Ichikawa who dress in a bizarre outfit, do hilarious bits, and are not lacking in talent. It's not like he's going to be a top star in a big federation, but his contributions are grossly under appreciated. Guys in Japan seldom have gimmicks either, why are they a bad thing? Wrestlers should have a certain amount of mystique behind their personas, not just be a guy in tights, who may wear a jacket or t-shirt to the ring. Maybe this is why Japanese fans do not produce the heat that lucha fans do. The people are so into it their have been instances of riots, now that may be a little overboard, but that sort of fervor is only produced by lucha and a choice few hot American angles. Puroresu seems to be unable or unwilling to add the entertainment to their wrestling.
Strong Style Machine (rebuttal 3): Why would worked sports be bad? How often are professional sports blowouts that are not really as entertaining as they should be? Look at an event like the Superbowl, one of the most important annual sporting events and how many times are the commercials better than the actual game? If it was worked, you could have it be everything it should be an "edge of your seat" event, where you can have a big comeback, an exciting overtime, an upset, whatever. Pro wrestling is supposed to be a worked sport because the fans were uninterested in the 3-4 hour matches in the beginning of the century. It was not supposed to digress into what we often see in the WWF: second-rate garbage matches, highspot wrestlers, pointless T&A, and screw-job after screw-job. There are people out their who want wrestling presented to them that is not hardly believable because you have someone who is over because of their gimmick against someone who is over because they have an attractive valet and performs a three stunts per match. Yes wrestling should be entertaining as any sport should be, but it should be more sport than Hollywood.
Strong Style Machine (closing): In short, I feel puroresu is the premier style of wrestling in the world. It adds a little bit of story to make it interesting, but above all it is a sport. It is a continuation of the worked sport it started to be in the early 1900s. It includes a number of hybrid styles, but "Strong Style" is the form of wrestling for which Japan is known. This kind of wrestling is known for its brutal strikes, realistic submissions, believable selling, and dangerous moves. These are all aspects that lucha libre lacks and makes puroresu superior. Puroresu is treated as a sport and its athletes are held in the highest regard in their homeland. Wrestling grew out of a pure sport, but added entertainment aspects for marketability purposes. The closer it is to a sport the greater the style is and puroresu contains the best styles.
El Hijo Del Lucha (closing): Lucha Libre is older than wrestling in a Japan, so it has a certain degree of seniority, but stylistically it is better as well. Pro wrestling grew into a performance art when it became works with unrealistic aspects. Lucha simply took the entertainment aspects to a new height to make its form of wrestling the most exciting and innovative in the world. Wrestling is not meant to be a sport, it is meant to be entertainment and lucha does that better than any other form of wrestling. It has drama, action, mystery, comedy, etc., which puroresu lacks. The more entertaining a style is the greater it is.
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