This is a positive article, I swear, but to explain why I wanted to write it, I have to say that I’m getting somewhat bored of the mindset of certain fans who like to pretend that there is only one way to enjoy wrestling.

I’ve been that fan at certain points in my life, but the more I watch, the more I’ve come to love the many different ways this genre can express itself. This isn’t to say that we should never criticize things or have certain tastes, but the best criticism comes from critiquing the execution of ideas and the ways that people attempt to get from A to B rather than endlessly watching and moaning about a style you don’t like

But this isn’t a critical article, it celebrates wrestling’s diversity of styles and how certain matches can only happen in certain promotions. I look at three recent standout matches from North America’s top three promotions in the past few weeks, each different but equally compelling.

Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega
AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door 2023

Kicking off with Kenny Omega vs. Will Ospreay at AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door.

This was an adrenaline-fueled showcase of athleticism. This bombastic performance delivered a blend of high-risk maneuvers, agility, and brutality that pushed the boundaries of what’s physically conceivable in wrestling. This duo, enduring a grueling 40-minute match with unfaltering intensity, delivered a spectacle that thrilled fans.

The Usos vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa
WWE Money in the Bank 2023

In stark contrast, the “Bloodline match” at WWE’s Money in the Bank 2023 featured The Usos vs. Roman Reigns and Sola Sikoa, offering a narrative-focused approach. This melodrama hinged less on high-flying acrobatics and more on raw emotion and obvious character dynamics. The match built to a crescendo, culminating in Jey Uso finally pinning Roman Reigns, a reward for much of the crowd who had followed the story for years and realized long ago that this was the logical step in the story.

This storyline-driven style, exemplified by Reigns, might be called dinner theatre wrestling; it’s the sort of style that’s all about unsubtle expression so that even those at the very back of the arena know what’s going on.

Unlike the other two matches here, it would never really work in a small backroom indie, as the celebrity star power and television storytelling are essential to how the matches are received as a spectacle.

Deonna Purrazzo vs. Gisele Shaw
Impact Wrestling Down Under Tour Day 2

Over at Impact Wrestling’s Down Under Tour Day 2 of the Australian tour, Deonna Purrazzo and Gisele Shaw provided a striking contrast with a masterclass in technical wrestling. This was a slow-burning methodological match crafted from skirmishes and counter-attacks.

The story was fairly simple, target the arms—a nod to each wrestler’s armbar victories the previous night. Technically and psychologically proficient, this encounter was underscored by Shaw’s flamboyant arrogance and Purrazzo’s confident ring prowess, even working with a left arm worn down by Shaw’s insistent attacks.

What I find fascinating about the land’s current lay is that each match could *only* happen in their respective promotions.

AEW’s allowance for a relentless, fast-paced 40-minute spectacle, WWE’s blend of high-stakes drama and personal conflict, and Impact’s focus on technically proficient main events, all contribute to the multi-faceted industry we see today.

Of course, these matches weren’t flawless.

AEW’s bout saw an unnecessary interference that undermined the story arc of Ospreay’s win. WWE’s match was slow to start, with the audience teetering on restlessness, and the Impact main event could have benefited from a bit more energy in the final stretch.

However, these critiques do not diminish the core argument: wrestling is prosperous, offering a smorgasbord of styles. The discourse surrounding this shouldn’t be about one style being superior to another but about celebrating this variety.

This testament to the state of the industry reminds us that wrestling can come in many forms, and there is a place for every fan’s preference in the grand arena of wrestling entertainment.

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