Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guest Post: Anatomy of a Bad Match

Yes, the site is still alive. I apologize for the lack of updates lately, I've had a rather insane week and will discuss the issues soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a Guest Post from friend of the site, Trey Irby, who dissected last week's train wreck between Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson.

While the date of this entry makes the history of this and when this occurred completely obvious to the usual fans of this site, I feel a need to explain this for the rare chance that ten years from now, someone needed the proper context for a bad match between two hosses. One night before January 5th, 2010, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling managed to make a show much like the TNA of old and yet one that still stunned wrestling fans into believing in competition. While criticism grew beyond tired for smarks in noting the staleness of WWE's programming, they began to have a point. No match on Monday Night Raw was better than TNA Impact's main event, and Raw also took away its best performing heel and had a rising star leveled one more time.

Meanwhile, ECW, the third brand of WWE, had been criticized as highly irrelevant. Similar to how the worst criticism of wrestling could be to be considered boring, the worst type of criticism to a wrestling show is to be considered irrelevant. Even with potential stars of tomorrow like Yoshi Tatsu (time will tell, of course, if he got big or if he became the next Funaki), the show felt bogged down by luminaries like Vance Archer and Abraham Washington. And on a show that was mostly entertaining, ECW had the need to produce potentially the worst match of the decade.

The logistics of a feud between evil foreigner Vladimir Kozlov and really big black dude Ezekiel Jackson are superfluous. It is also superfluous to mention that Kozlov was the evil foreigner babyface and Jackson the heel due to siding with uber-heel William Regal, who naturally has no hand in this match, either. It is more superfluous to mention that these two met in two previous matches, one on ECW that lasted two minutes and produced the purpose to side Regal with Kozlov, at least attempting some sort of storyline purpose. The second match was surely to finish the feud. So naturally, they needed a third match.

Jackson and Kozlov is an unmitigated failure in all extents.

Being the third confrontation, no human on earth would want to see these two meet again because they had already found out the answer to“What would a match between these two big bastards look like?” Kozlov had no change in his mannerisms, essentially making the match into heel vs. heel, which no wrestling fan ever really reacts to unless it is of top stars they want to cheer. (As of note, Jackson and Kozlov were jobbers to the stars of the third brand at this point, losing to tag teams featuring Shelton Benjamin and Yoshi Tatsu.)

Zeke was green to the gills at this point, being that he'd only really wrestled for less than a year on television. Kozlov was legendarily bad to smarks, being that he became infamous for a match he had on pay-per-view with Triple H in 2008. Many a rant had been made on his apparent lack of talent in the year after, until he was shipped to ECW in 2009 and it was an afterthought that he was even on the roster. Needless to say, neither man had the ability to keep a sense of intrigue in the match.

Moreover, it failed in the extent of time and crowd reaction. A bad match usually makes minutes feel like hours. A six minute match between the two felt like days, as the silence of the crowd made all the more obvious the disappointment inside the ring. Chants like “We want Regal” echoed from the halls as brief shots showed the 41-year-old veteran yelling things like “Finish him!” A brief chant of “USA” bellowed, more hilarious because Jackson hailed from Ghana, Regal hailed from England, and Kozlov hailed from happy Russia. And also because Kozlov was the babyface.

One night after facing a show that was not entirely good, but still entirely relevant to the wrestling world, WWE responded in kind by putting on a mostly good show, and yet failing because someone booked Kozlov vs. Jackson again. The sorry taste it left this wrestling fan was a bit much. I most likely watched a lot of wrestling since this point, and I hopefully never saw such a stinky encounter again. Hopefully.

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