Psychology in pro wrestling may be the most underrated aspect of the industry, at least in terms of fan viewing and the pleasure said fans derive from it. But it may be the most fascinating part of the business, even more so than the juicy rumors and backstage goings on.
In a recent interview with Peter Rosenberg, who always seems to get great stuff when he brings on wrestlers, Big Show dropped some serious knowledge. Here's the transcript of the relevant part to this discussion, followed by the video of the whole interview:
"A lot of the things I try to stress to the younger guys now... the one big thing that goes on in our industry now, and if you really want some inside stuff, I'll shoot you inside stuff that bothers me, is most every finish in a tag match has a dip. Why put in a dip in a finish when you're a new tag team? If you're a new heel tag team... A dip is (when) there's a comeback and the comeback stops, that's a dip. Stop that. When you're younger, if you're a babyface tag team and you're going over, make a comeback and go home. Because the only reason a dip works in a finish or false finish situation is because the audience is emotionally invested in your character. If they're not emotionally invested in you and you put a dip in a finish, it just looks like you couldn't get the job done.
"If you get them to the highest point and they drop, you never get them back, whereas guys that are over... Cena does it. Taker and Shawn, what made that match so amazing is Taker and Shawn sat there and traded their heaviest guns back and forth. And you were emotionally invested because you really didn't know who you wanted to win. Did you want Shawn to win? Did you want Taker to win? But you appreciated the fact that they got you emotionally invested in the match and that's the thing, you know I catch shit all the time 'oh, you're slow;' I'm slow for a reason. I'm slow because that's my character and that's my style. When I accelerate my offense it's not slow, there's not a big man who moves as fast as fast as I do. When it's time for me to bump and feed for a comeback, I bump and feed for a comeback but in the meantime, why am I going to run around looking like everyone else? It's not because I'm lazy, it's because I'm telling a story. I try to explain that to some of the younger guys -- find out who you are and get people emotionally invested.
"Look at Randy Orton. Randy Orton really doesn't do much. He sells well, he does a few of his things well, but he does all the little intricate things in between that keeps the crowd emotionally involved. And it's not by 'hey, cheer for me' like some people do, or 'shut up' like some heels do, he does it through his work and his bridges. And that's the thing that becoming a better worker is about. It's about telling the story and getting people emotionally invested.
"Your job as a heel is to get the babyface over. Which means when it's time for you to get your heat, you get your heat. You know, heat's not big moves. As a heel, your heat is underhanded, is kicking a guy when he's down, is taking the easy route out when you can, bailing out of the ring and bailing back in the ring but as the babyface is coming back in cutting him off when he's trying to get in; it's a psychological game of America and the human race in general has always fought from underneath, through evolution, through war, through disease, through famine, we've always had to overcome these obstacles. That's where sports entertainment comes in and has so many fans who are emotionally invested because we all understand that paradox of life, fighting from underneath and having that obstacle to overcome. And though I had fun as a babyface, and I been around a long time and it was fun to laugh and do all the stuff we did, it's better for me as a heel because I'm better for the younger talent to teach them how to work from underneath."