When people decry independent wrestling as self-indulgent and excessive, it sends me into a fury. As someone who seeks out and enjoys wrestling on all levels, I know that there are people in the indies who are masturbatory, but that there are those wrestlers and matches in the mainstream or in lucha/puro that have the same excessive feel to them. One only needs to look as far as the match that was considered to be the "best" from WrestleMania this year, Undertaker vs. Triple H. I've seen a hundred indie matches this year that weren't as "excessive" as that one was.
That being said, there's one trope that appears in indie matches that I can't defend, one that I feel embodies the "masturbatory" label and ends up being so overused to the point where I can't even enjoy it when it's used right. It's the point in the match where two competitors trade blows back and forth, while the crowd chants either "BOO!" or "YAY!" depending who the person is landing the strike. What started out as a playful way for the crowd to show its collective allegiance to the favored wrestler in the ring seems to have become as commonplace as the Irish whip or the requisite suicide dive.
This trope has popped up a lot for me lately, as my end-of-the-year indie cram is in full swing. I've viewed so many DVDs in the last couple of weeks that my head is absolutely swimming. I've seen the boo-yay volley so many times that I'm beginning to think I'm going to start seeing it on the news, or on other television shows. For example, I watched Chikara's Klunk in Love show, from October 8th in Tennessee, on DVD today. Before I get into what issues I have, let me say that I thought this was a great show, anchored by several solid matches, including Sara del Rey taking on Kana in an outstanding main event. That being said, the show had seven matches, and four of them had the boo-yay volley, including two where there was no real demarcation between the good and bad guys (The Colony vs. Daisuke Harada and Atsushi Kotoge and the aforementioned del Rey/Kana tilt).
Obviously, the massive proliferation of this spot is annoying because I like my matches to have some kind of variety. If this volley is destined to appear in every match, then it becomes less and less special each time. Each match needs to have its identity, and the more homogeneous the matches become, the less effect they have on the crowds. Granted, crowds still react to it if the face/heel dichotomy is concrete, but there's doubt as to whether it would continue to remain effective. Even if it didn't, it'd personally annoy me, but then again, a lot of things annoy me that other wrestling fans deem alright. "This is wrestling!" as a crowd chant is one of them, but that's fodder for another column.
Still, even if it remains effective forever, using it in a situation where the crowd is split or where it's a situation where the good guy is wrestling another good guy is just dumb. I get that wrestlers like to show how hard they are and get over how much the match they're in is the most intense affair ever, but there are other ways that can be done without trading no-sells to no reaction from the crowd. Again, whenever I hear about elitist wrestlers or fans talk about how indie wrestlers "don't know how to work", it grates at me, but then I have no defense for that kind of lack of psychology.
Independent wrestling is known for its innovation. I believe this to be its greatest asset, but when something works, running it into the ground it does a lot to undo the good that's done by introducing it in the first place. I'm not really saying the boo-yay volley needs to disappear, but it certainly needs to be curtailed severely. I already get frustrated at seeing dead horses being beaten on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. I don't need the act carried out every time I go to an independent show.