We’ve all got takes on professional wrestling, some of them good, some of them bad but the majority of them are inoffensive, standard takes you’d expect from anyone. They’re shared by many and that means they aren’t all that interesting.
You know what’s interesting? Bad takes.
So I asked the staff of Cageside to give me the worst take they have on professional wrestling, and it led to this glorious list below.
Geno Mrosko: Kevin Nash was right, though I won’t use the language he did when describing the smaller guys in WCW back in the day. I still feel that way today. There is nothing that could possibly happen to get me into a show like 205 Live because I can’t get into the idea of guys that small being any kind of interesting, even in simulated combat. I understand what it is people enjoy about cruiserweights but I just can’t get there.
I want my wrestlers to be larger than life, something far away from what regular people are. Yes, I’m that guy who thinks you need to stand out at an airport and not be overshadowed by literally every average sized human you come across. They’re talented at fake fighting, no question, but I’ll always believe the least important part of this business is the actual wrestling matches.
I’d rather watch a big ass monster of a man wreck shit than see a tiny little guy flying all around the place.
Sean Rueter: Heel Biker Taker is the best Taker. Maybe it’s because I was out of high school and a “jaded young man” when the gimmick debuted, but the undead mortician schtick’s never done it for me. As I’ve gotten older and recaptured my childhood appreciation for over-the-top-nonsense, however, the conviction of this belief’s only strengthened. He was just more fun as a sadist (with a code) on a Harley.
His promos were fun - still short and to the point, but straight forward, bad-ass soundbites about his love of ass-kicking instead of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo delivered like Christian Bale’s Batman and punctuated by rolling his eyes into his skull and sticking his tongue out. The wrestling style never really changed, and don’t the MMA-aspects of his arsenal make more sense for mean-spirited motorcyclist than a zombie from the 19th century?
Bonus $#!+take... there are some good NuMetal songs and “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” is one of them.
Kyle Decker: New Japan is boring and Ring of Honor just isn’t good.
I’m not good at hot takes. It’s my nature to say something and then say “well, on the other hand...” So when the General asked us all for a bad take/hot take, I knew it was going to be tough for a “Well what’s the other side of it?” kind of guy like me. So expect some wavering even in this hot take on these two popular promotions.
Let me start with NJPW, which I actually consider myself a fan of to some degree (not die hard). But man those shows are just boring. I’m not talking the Wrestle Kingdoms. I’m talking all the rest. Even the show tonight is just a bunch of tag matches. Everything is tag matches! They have two or three singles matches and a bunch of filler tags. When the instinct is to skip 3/4th of the card, that’s a failure. In-ring work only gets you so far.
But that’s nowhere near my feelings of Ring of Honor, which isn’t any good. And this isn’t just because their show Friday was a dud. It’s because most of their shows have been duds for the last year plus. If it weren’t for the hot Bullet Club act (who are overrated in their own right), this promotion would completely suck. It’s not that the talent isn’t there, but booking isn’t interesting. And even the matches, which are their staple, are way too choreographed. I know you have to suspend disbelief for all wrestling matches, but I find it a big stretch for a lot of ROH bouts. The production quality is subpar, the announcing is average at best, and their PPV cards are a bunch of underwhelming matches anchored with a main event that will probably be technically sound but not have the story to back it up. It’s considered a viable option for those who don’t want to go to WWE, but it’s surely not as entertaining.
Claire Elizabeth: I love it when old people wrestle.
And not just old people that are still very good at wrestling, your Jushin Ligers, your Jerry Lawlers, and so on, which is what pretty clearly makes this my worst take. No, I love seeing creaky old Undertaker lace the boots up one more time even though his recent matches have been... not great and you’re all groaning that he should retire already.
I see no reason, barring catastrophic, career-ending injury, that wrestlers should ever retire if they don’t want to. Even when it’s unwise by medical standards, when a guy like Vader wrestles deep into heart failure, if that’s what he wants, I am for it. I recently watched Nikolai Volkoff’s final match, from about a year before he passed, and it’s stumbling and awkward and his old man gut spilled over his trunks, but damnit, the pure love of wrestling shined through, and if somebody wants to do it and can find a promotion willing to give them a platform, who am I to say no?
Cain A. Knight: I always enjoy hearing the random chants for CM Punk. I think they’re great, and I would love to bathe in a steady dose of them every week.
Somewhere in my brain I understand why many people think the CM Punk chants are pointless, disrespectful, and outdated. But none of those arguments matter one bit to me. CM Punk was one of my favorite pro wrestlers of all-time, so I’m going to mark out whenever I hear his name chanted. It’s that simple. I’d enjoy it just as much if wrestling audiences would randomly chant for other entertainers who I hold in high esteem such as Conan O’Brien or Bruce Campbell.
I’m also cool with those fans who chant CM Punk out of protest. If there is even a remote possibility that those chants actually do get under Triple H’s skin, then I’m in favor of it. I will never forgive that guy for turning 2011’s Summer of Punk into “Kevin Nash texting himself” and then a Sledgehammer Ladder match. So if the McMahons are booking the show in a way that annoys you, it’s only fair to annoy the McMahons back by chanting CM Punk.
There are also the CM Punk chants that are done out of pure boredom. Because Raw is 3 hours long, too many matches are either complete filler or only require you to pay attention to the finish. If fans want to keep themselves entertained through a match that doesn’t matter by chanting CM Punk, I can’t blame them. The wrestlers in the ring shouldn’t take it personally. If the fans want to respond to a pointless match by pointlessly chanting CM Punk in return, then it’s probably WWE’s fault for not providing more engaging storylines.
Whether fans chant CM Punk out of appreciation, protest, or boredom, I just can’t get enough of it. I eagerly look forward to many more years of random CM Punk chants on Raw.
Tommy Messano: I miss the guest host era of Raw because it was really awesome. That feels good to get off my chest. Raw getting a new guest every once in awhile was great just because it made the WWE work a little bit outside of their comfort zone. How would my favorite pop punk band/Netflix superhero/NHL player/ 80s C-list celebrity react when they’re dropped into the world of the WWE? I don’t know, but maybe I want to find out.
Variety is the spice of life and if that means Raw gets weird once a month so be it. Pro wrestling fans need something to break-up the status quo of television’s longest running weekly episodic program. Give me your tired fans, your poorly connected plot points, but also give me The Muppets and Hugh Jackman punching Dolph Ziggler in his face.
Stella Cheeks: Bret Hart is overrated AF. Was he technically gifted? Sure. Was he entertaining? No. The phrase “Black Hole of Charisma” comes to mind every time I think of him. Any wrestling match that is touted as a Bret Hart classic is because his opponent brought extra levels of charisma and made up for the fact that Bret has no personality.
Also, it’s not as if he was the only technically good wrestler in his era. There were plenty of other competent wrestlers! Hello, Ricky the Dreamboat?? (Yes, I know it’s Steamboat.) Bret Hart just stood there with his cool guy glasses, his blank stare, terrible body language, and somehow got over. I legit don’t get it. Doesn’t help that he’s a whiny old man that is constantly living in the past, either. He needs to get over himself yesterday.
Your turn, dear reader. We want to hear your worst pro wrestling take.