THE POWER OF THE PIN - Feb 26, 2023: Was It Better Than A Sandwich?

When asking whether or not a match is good, the only thing that matters is if it whets your appetite for entertainment

THE POWER OF THE PIN - Feb 26, 2023: Was It Better Than A Sandwich?

For a few decades now, professional wrestling watchers have transformed from mere fans to critics. In the past, the 'sport' of the squared circle was viewed just as that: a sort of competition, even if it wasn't in the traditional sense. Even though there were always fantastical and farcical elements to it all, the audience generally accepted it as just part of the show.

Now? Every microcosm of a match and every inch of an event faces online analysis. And while it started out much like assigning movie-type ratings to matches, it's evolved into a sort of pseudo-science. Today, every armchair expert has some kind of blueprint in their mind of what a specific match, and wrestling in general, should be.

While many will point the finger at longtime journalist Dave Meltzer and his Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it's more the copycats that followed him that have taken it too far. Everyone who has studied sports entertainment on the internet and learned the lingo by watching shoot interviews thinks they are the Einstein of the industry. In many ways, that's hurting the very business they claim to be 'fans' of.

So... what makes a great match? 

Beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, and sports entertainment is certainly no different. Everyone has a taste or a style that they enjoy. There's a side that loves the upstart AEW, while others stay devoted to World Wrestling Entertainment. Maybe lucha libre is what's on the menu, or possibly two powerhouses punching it out. Some people enjoy The Wild Thing, while others really love The Tribal Chief. 

That crazy mix-'em-up is what we should all truly relish. All the different layers make up a perfectly-stacked sandwich of sports entertainment. 

Speaking of sandwiches, they are a great analogy to the way we could choose to view wrestling. Legend has it that famed Motown producer Berry Gordy thought that a song might be a hit, he would gather several employees in a room. Then at the meeting, he would play the tune and ask them:

"If you were down to your last dollar... would you buy this record?  Or a sandwich?"

While it may seem like a silly premise, it actually holds up when you think about it. What he's basically asking is if something is special enough that you might pass up something else for it. 

In other words... is what you're potentially getting better than something that you know you're going to have to give up in exchange for it?

In a sense, that's a great way to objectively view wrestling programming

Every show isn't going to blow you away, and quite frankly, it shouldn't have to. Because a the end of the day, that's not really the ultimate endgame. At least not from the common viewer's perspective.

The goal isn't to garner five-star ratings or to have the internet buzzing, per se. And for the fans, those things aren't really relevant anyway. Not in the grand scheme of things. In the end, the objective of the promotion should be to produce a product that's worth the time you - the audience member - invests in it. If not, what incentive would you truly have to come back for more?

Did you blow off something better for the couple of hours you spent on the couch? Was that night's episode of Smackdown or Dynamite served up stale? Because at the end of the day, what you are truly giving up is time, and you're investing in hopes of getting comfort, enjoyment, and entertainment in return.

We can break down match times and blown spots all we want, but at the end of the day does any of that stuff add or take away from your overall enjoyment of the product? Or, are we simply over-complicating things - searching for a gourmet meal when we shouldn't expect much more than a Hot Pocket?

So that's the way I view every match I see now, or every big event I watch. It isn't about who wins or loses, or what the critics will be saying about it all tomorrow. It's not even really about how much I paid for it. The only deciding factor for me is: Did I enjoy it more than if I would have done something else with my time?

So, when people try to tell me about how great an event was and how I should go back and see it, I only ask them one thing ... Was it better than a sandwich?