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Randy Orton explained his problem with indie wrestler dives

Orton doesn’t hate all dives. But he clarified why he hates the ones he called out.

Randy Orton upset many indie wrestlers and fans when he called out the use of dives on Twitter. Orton had fun with it, we had fun with it, indie wrestlers had fun with it, and everything seemed to have died down a bit. So, Orton is now talking about it again, except this time, a bit more constructively and with far less trolling.

Orton spoke with a hometown radio station in St. Louis for a sit-down interview, and this transcription comes courtesy With Spandex:

“It’s a display of athleticism, no doubt, but … I’m not going to watch gymnastics. I want to go watch a story, a fight between a good guy and a bad guy. How many flips they do each, I’m not keeping a tally … But do you know who had my back on it? Guys like AJ [Styles]. Guys that do dives and know what they’re doing … Kurt Angle texted me after that. He didn’t do dives. If he did, he would put it where it should have went … he wouldn’t have done it just to do it …

Orton isn’t anti-dive at all times (and he’s not anti-indies, either, as he had time to praise both the scene and his former-indie coworkers in this same interview). He just wants dives to have a purpose in a match. And honestly, this isn’t a take I disagree with, and I’m someone who made a habit of traveling 2.5 hours to see monthly indie shows, subscribes to streaming services for indie wrestling, and thinks Ricochet and the like are dope as hell.

Moves should have purpose. Moves sometimes get overused because they’re impressive looking and can generate a pop, but when every match on the card suddenly is loaded with dives, and everyone is getting smashed onto the apron with no build-up as to why something that brutal is being utilized, when — as Orton said — there is a lack of story — that’s an issue.

“If that’s where our business is going, to where it’s just a preconceived, choreographed match with a bunch of acrobatics — back flips, front flips, gainers off the top rope, shooting star presses, moonsaults to the floor — then I don’t want to be a part of it. But I’ll tell you what: I don’t think that’s where it’s going.”

This isn’t Orton going Full Vader and saying Will Ospreay is ruining wrestling with his flips so much as it’s Orton saying slow down and think about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. It’s how a guy like AJ Styles, as reckless as he appears to be, got to be in his late-30s main-eventing WWE matches in the first place. Styles understanding of that and ability to adapt likely played at least a small part in the decision to have him skip NXT for the main roster.

The best balance of all of the moves Orton cited above and his request for them being necessary is probably Lucha Underground. They do some mind-melting stuff in that promotion, but it’s almost always in service of the story. Ricochet vs. Ospreay was amazing, but it also doesn’t need to be every match you see. Wrestling works well when it’s presented like a buffet: how satisfied are you going to be if you pick up six of the same plate on a Sunday night? Variety is the point.

Agree with Orton, Cagesiders? Or is it no fists, just flips for y’all?

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