SPOTLIGHTS: Talent Misidentification – Re-thinking the Brass Ring

010_NXT_10222015ej_4836-506550570-600x337Watching our favorite indy wrestling talent pursue their dreams is why this site exists. It’s a safe, non-smark forum for everyone involved in this global community to voice their passions.

Nary a week goes by when one of these individuals doesn’t crack an NXT show, secure a spot in Evolve, appear at a Ring Honor dark match, and/or obtains a Performance Center Tryout. It’s a privilege to be along for these journeys.

Still, something odd is happening at the top of the mountain. Individuals who served as capable champions in regional promotions now find themselves talent forgotten. Moveset neutered in lieu of character recreation, a complete re-programming of everything they’ve being doing for – on average – 8-10 years’ time at that stage.

At first I chalked this up to different styles of each higher tier promotion. Understandably, the higher up one goes, crowd interaction, deliberately selling moves, and strong mic work come in tandem. That’s called branding. Also a social darwinistic reality of step up or get out of the way of talent who can’t and won’t carry poor match partners.

Except none of this true.

Almost like Moneyball gone horribly awry, at higher echelons creative/management becomes surprisingly stupid. It’s as if hitting the fastball is implied and no longer relevant. Every individual must instead become experts at solely hitting curveballs…and nothing else. Even though fastballs encompass the vast majority of pitch selection and determine at bat outcomes.

What occurs is disjointed match pacing, little/no storytelling and – most importantly – excessive injuries from slow moves via athletes not doing what they do and know best. Meaning in attempt to simplify toward perfection, athletes end up executing sloppy, similar and disjointed moves in stale stories and sequences. Mick Foley and Rob Naylor hit the nail on the head in their denouncement of the WWE in this regard.

The blame lies squarely at the top. Anyone capable of watching pro wrestling as an art form can spot talent on the rise. There’s an entire section of this Website dedicated to it. Upon request, we’ve sent private message to individuals requesting match feedback.

In the past year alone, Mary Dobson, Andreá, Cherry Bomb, Donovan Dijak, and Ivelisse all found deserved time at NXT, Ring of Honor, and Lucha Underground. We’re not geniuses, but we know talent when we see it. Gary Jay and Maxwell Chicago…it’s only a matter of when.

Still, the group think at the top of the pro wrestling business discards the road traveled as a statement of blind pride. I’ve seen this echoed at poor fight gyms, ones married only to their training style. I found these centers both shortsighted and punching bags via lack of flexible thinking and technique.

It’s time to trust the fans, use house/regional shows as experimental labs for what to change. Assume there’s nothing worth fixing unless a live, dynamic situation calls it to order.

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