Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

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Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by BillThompson » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:33 pm

Not sure if this is the right place for this post as I'm not exactly plugging, but this is where it's at for the time being. Okay, I've had this article I've been working on exploring the idea of workrate; why it matters, what it is, how different people define it, etc. I've been working on it for some time now, and I've never quite been happy with it, hence it's stayed in the incomplete file for over a year. I asked about workrate at PWO when I first had the idea for the article and I got a lot of great responses. I'm asking here because I'd like to get some responses from this crowd as well. The article has changed to the point where I'm mainly interested in gathering quotes and using those as landmarks in the different ways people view workrate.

These are the basic questions I'm looking for answers to,

How do you define workrate?

Is workrate important to you?

What elements make up a quality match for you, and how much of that is workrate?

Do we need to move away from workrate as a metric in evaluating matches?

How did the online communities view of workrate influence you earlier in your wrestling fandom?

Also, though I have tracked down quotes from Meltzer and others, I'm still looking for more. In another bit of crowd sourcing if anyone has a link to any comments from a wrestler, promoter, journalist, etc. about workrate that they think would apply to this topic by all means send them my way.


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Re: Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by rovert » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:54 pm

Am I part of the crowd?

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Re: Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by SammyJ_D » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:03 pm

rovert wrote:Am I part of the crowd?
You have to reveal your face.

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Re: Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by Chismo » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:15 pm

I think it's very simple. Workrate opposes minimalism (aka less-is-more). Workrate = Ricochet, Angle, Benoit, Four Pillars, modern NJ, Villano III, Lucha Underground, PWG, etc. Minimalism = Baba, Fujinami, Choshu, 70s & 80s AJPW, Hogan, Flair, Fiera, Chicana, Rush, etc. Obviously those are all crude examples, I'm just tring to picture it.

Needless to say, I love both. But big difference is, it's much easier to fuck up workrate style, and it happens much more often (ROH!). Minimalism is much safer and payoffs are often greater.

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Re: Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by Joe Lanza » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:51 pm

Technically workrate is simply how hard a wrestler works in their match, regardless of match quality. Somewhere along the line it morphed into how well a wrestler works, and you can't put that toothpaste back in the tube, so now it has two definitions.

Under the intended definition, PWG would be the extreme end of high workrate, while Dory Funk Jr or tired 80's WWF house show workers would be the extreme low end. All of those Chismo examples work great, too.

Do we need to move away from workrate as a metric in evaluating matches?

That's up to you and your tastes. I value hard work, and will bump a match up a notch even if I don't particularly like the match if the participants worked really hard. Working hard (i.e. "high workrate") alone can't make a match truly great. I think there is a certain ceiling on how great a match can be simply based on workrate, but that ceiling is in the eye of the beholder and mine probably skews high. I have gone **** on stuff like Tortunga Turtles spotfests and wacky PWG insanity based almost entirely on super high effort and the match making me smile a lot. I don't think I would go any higher unless I saw mind blowing spots that I've never seen before or something else extraordinary. On the flip side, there is a Buddy Rose/Red Bastien match from Portland that has very low workrate, but it's a great match. I will say that it is easier to grab & hold my attention with high workrate. High workrate plus a compelling story = MOTY contender. High workrate + compelling story + big time match in a big time spot = All time great match.

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Re: Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by CheezeWhiz » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:52 pm

How do you define workrate? - I define it as the ability to put on a quality match, largely in terms of moves, selling, pacing, and all the other little things that occur in the ring. I'm not sure if that's the right definition and it's not something I've really thought about, but that's probably my answer.

Is workrate important to you? - Yes, on average it is the most important thing in a match. A match can have a great/good story, but if the in-ring work isn't up to par, how much can I really invest into the match?

What elements make up a quality match for you, and how much of that is workrate? - Basically my definition of workrate and storytelling (whether it be playing a character/gimmick or being part of/the payoff of an angle). On average with me, the better matches are heavy workrate matches. The absolute best matches combine both. If I had to assign a percentage I would say 80% workrate/20% storytelling, but that's a weird subjective thing.

Do we need to move away from workrate as a metric in evaluating matches? No, if anything "we" (I guess wrestling fans in general) should move towards workrate. I tend to favor workrate more than others, which is why I say that.

How did the online communities view of workrate influence you earlier in your wrestling fandom? Probably very little. I got match recommendations (and I still get them) from various communities and those usually turn out well if someone says it's a high workrate match or something of that nature. I do differ from time to time in those opinions and that difference has grown as years have gone by. Basically I had some sort of a guideline of sorts from over a decade ago, but those matter less to me than ever.

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Re: Crowd Sourcing: Workrate Article

Post by Hobbes » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:27 am

I always assumed that the term workrate was the product of it's era. In the 1980s you had wrestlers working death schedules. You also had a higher percentage of wrestlers who didn't grow up as wrestling fans and felt like the job of a wrestler was to do as little as you could get away with physically while still entertaining the crowd (Which health wise was a smart move, and that mindset when used by smart workers often pushed matches in great directions). You combine those two things and it's pretty easy to imagine why a generation of smart fans in the 80s would single out "workrate" as something they weren't getting enough of.

For a definition, just look at the word. It's the rate at which you work, not the quality of your work, the rate. Are you doing a lot moves per minute? Are you exerting yourself? I don't think workrate is the most important thing in wrestling, I like selling, storytelling/psychology, character, just as much if not more, but I do think workrate alone can make for an entertaining match. If two guys are doing cutting edge moves with perfect execution at a pace I've never seen before, I'll be entertained. Now will that match hold up and entertain me when I watch it again in ten years? Maybe not. Workrate and the other great elements of wrestling aren't an either/or thing though, you can have it all, and I think a lot of people's favourite matches combine all the elements. Mid-90s All Japan has lots of cool moves, long, long stretches of hot nearfalls, selling and psychology. I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also a lot of people's all time favourite wrestling.

In the 90s I feel like the term workrate had been perverted away from it's original meaning. Everyone was throwing it around, but most people just used it as shorthand for "good wrestler". I think as wrestling has changed and the average level of workrate has gone way up, the term isn't used as much, and when it is, it often seems outdated. Meltzer himself barely uses it now. It's one element of what can make wrestling great, it's something that a generation of fans wanted to see more of, it's not the be all end all of work.

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