Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sandbag Swagger? Pfft, NBD

Swagger going BEEF MOE
Photo Credit:
If you're reading this blog for something other than the first time, and you've been on the Internet reading message boards and interacting with "smart" fans, then I shouldn't need to tell you that in order for most wrestling moves to work, they take cooperation between the guy giving the move and the guy taking it. If you're reading for the first time, and this is your first time seeing such blasphemy openly saying that wrestling may not be on the up-and-up, hello, welcome to The Internet. I'm happy you chose my blog as your first foray into "advanced" Internet fandom, and I hope that you stay away from most other blogs or news/newz sites because they're exceedingly negative for the sake of being negative and suck. Stick with me and Fair to Flair and all our ancillary blogs, With Leather's Brandon Stroud, Grantland's David "Masked Man" Shoemaker, the Camel Clutch Blog and generally anyone who writes within the umbrella and is on my sidebar. So yeah, you may not know that moves take cooperation but they do. Get it. Got it? Good.

Anyway, what happens when someone taking the move just dead-weights a guy and doesn't cooperate? Or if they don't know how to take the move, or if there's a miscommunication or a mistake on taking it? Well, then you get an incident on RAW where Alex Riley sandbagged Jack Swagger during the execution of the SWAGGAH BOMB~! Swagger had trouble wrestling Riley up to the peak to bring the move to completion. It looked awkward as fuck for the first part of the move, but then a funny thing happened. Through last minute coordination from Riley or from sheer BEAST MODE-style strength from Swagger, the All-American American American American American American American American American American American got Riley up and delivered the signature gutwrench powerbomb to its full motion. In short, it made Swagger look like a complete badass.

I've made no bones about the introduction of "struggle" into move execution in the past. I love the scraps that Daniel Bryan would have with various opponents in trying to wrangle each other into their various submission holds. The Ikuto Hidaka/Chris Hero match from EVOLVE 2 was amazing because it had that rough edge to it. Both men didn't go in hitting their spots cleanly all the time; there was an illusion that yeah, maybe they really were fighting instead of just going through a choreographed routine. I don't pretend to say that the clean and crisp execution of a move is bad, because I like that too. I like all styles of wrestling, to tell you the truth. But there is something raw and visceral and satisfying when every once in awhile, you get guys giving in and saying "Fuck it, let's look like we're really scrapping."

That being said, what happened Monday was probably the furthest thing from a cooperative effort to look like the two guys were really beating the shit out of each other as possible. Riley fucked up, plain and simple. He sandbagged Swagger, and in turn, he fucked the sequence up. I don't know if it was intentional or whether Riley is still super, super green, but let's not rush to give him credit here. The guy we should be lauding though is Swagger. Whether it was sheer will, anger, frustration or adrenaline, he took Riley over and executed a move that would have looked awful if he didn't overcome the Varsity Villain's inertia.

There's taking lemons and turning them into lemonade, and then there's taking lemons, smashing them into curd and making them into delicious tarts. With the effort that Swagger put out Monday night, I'd say he deserves credit enough for the more laborious task. He made a bad situation into a visual spectacle. I'd say that earned him a round of applause, or at least it should have.

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