A sequence from the Six-Man tag championship match at Ring of Honor (ROH) Final Battle between The Hung Bucks (Bullet Club’s Young Bucks and Hangman Page) and Flip Gordon, Dragon Lee and Titan made the rounds on Twitter Saturday after the show.
It’s the kind of thing which probably won’t shock you if you watch a lot of ROH, or Bucks matches, or even lucha libre:
Super FLIPPY DROPKICKY Sequence! @NickJacksonYB @MattJackson13 @theAdamPage v @TheFlipGordon @dragon_leecmll #Titan #FinalBattle #ROH pic.twitter.com/KAwzOZxtLM— Brian The Guppie (@briantheguppie) December 16, 2017
But it proved jarring for UFC Heavyweight Chase Sherman, who tweeted the clip with the comment “Grown men watch this”. ROH wrestlers responded with shots at Sherman’s lack of fame, starting with The Bucks’ Nick Jackson, and we were off!
Now that I’ve quote tweeted you, grown men know who you are too. https://t.co/gjkuuOmgIO— The Young Bucks (@NickJacksonYB) December 17, 2017
I was looking for your shirt in hot topic chase and..... oh wait, who are you?— Kenny King (@KennyKingPb2) December 17, 2017
It did inspire a slightly more reasoned debate on whether these kinds of over-the-top spots push the suspension of disbelief required of wrestling audiences too far and have a detrimental effect on the business as a whole. That started from UFC light heavyweight champ and pro wrestling fan Daniel Cormier:
@philbaroni this is actually pathetic. This is what people wanna see? Go to a god dang gymnastics competition. Suplex, bodyslam, piledriver do some old school wrestling man. DDT, I remember when the frankensteiner was the most you’d ever see someone flip. I say Boo to this BS https://t.co/eF4pnCy0SA— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) December 17, 2017
And got a response from The Bucks’ kayfabe and business partner Cody Rhodes:
It's not pathetic. The paying audience enjoyed it. UFC is thriving, and pro-wrestling has been going strong since 1920...besides most of y'all ask hunter for a job when the wheels fall off anyway and most are on the comp list at staples...so lay the fuck off. https://t.co/oqKto3a4TK— Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes) December 17, 2017
And, unsurprisingly, noted Bucks detractor Jim Cornette chimed in with a response to Rhodes:
Come on Cody, don't encourage these ballet dancers. @ufc 's kicking pro wrestling's ass all over the world cause of shit like this. I know you have to work with these clowns but it's embarrassing. Grown men used to want to wrestle, now want to fight in UFC cause of this shit. https://t.co/Py9tirbvRd— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) December 18, 2017
Flair & Steamboat were grown ass men, hitting each other hard & working at the highest level in the sport, & never exposed the business in their matches or outside the ring. These jackoffs are kids playing wrestler & laughing at how they tell people it's fake. They're a disgrace. https://t.co/Bd3SG8oMhG— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) December 18, 2017
As my own kayfabe and business partner Geno Mrosko said before we had a long chat about the topic in the Cageside offices, “it's actually an interesting discussion, if people could have it without wanting to murder each other”.
We managed to do just that, but didn’t come up with any definitive conclusions to an issue that has a lot of facets.
Is business down from past peaks because of guys like The Jacksons “exposing” it, or for other reasons? Do casual fans who’ve stopped watching wrestling even know who The Bucks are? Is adhering to the old way of “protecting the business” the way to get those folks back? Can the kayfabe genie ever be put back in the bottle, or is blurring the lines the best we can hope for when Vince McMahon himself is saying WWE is in the business of “making movies” and acknowledging the whole enterprise is a work?
Discuss... and try not to murder each other, okay?