VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Talk about shows from the Voices of Wrestling podcast network and argue with us here.
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BlizzardAcolyte
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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by BlizzardAcolyte » Sun May 27, 2018 4:08 am

If you do a Tag Team discussion next week in this format, I will pay triple my usual Patreon fare--with Tag Team of the Year being one of only two WON awards I actually care about consistently, this would be a nice guide for me to start honing who I need to get caught up on for the remainder of the year. (I also assume The End would not factor in this discussion.)

Also, me and Mr. Sinclair cared about Z&E's title win on Impact, so you're wrong there, try again.
Last edited by BlizzardAcolyte on Sun May 27, 2018 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by BlizzardAcolyte » Sun May 27, 2018 4:14 am

ceftaxias wrote:I
Agreed with more burials on this ep than usual. The only people I've seen online who also don't get Ilja are you and Childs from PWO. Otherwise he seems to be over with everyone else, and whenever I've seen him I'm just actively looking for what everyone else sees, I wasn't even into the big WALTER match last year. One of the rare guys in wrestling where I don't understand the appeal at all. And I say that as someone who's favourite Euro promotion is wXw and thinks they have some pretty good homegrown guys.
That homegrown factor might be part of the issue: compared to everyone else in that promotion, I think he suffers from being head-and-shoulders above everyone else in terms of approaching complete-package status. It's the same thing I saw when they started seriously pushing Dieter Jr. as a singles guy. Then, when Dragunov gets compared to other complete-package guys...he comes off wholly unremarkable.

Personally, I see him right at the next tier below superstar. He's defintely main-eventer material, though.

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VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by JML » Sun May 27, 2018 5:18 pm

I'll second Asuka being a WOTY contender but I'll nominate Meiko Satomura, Io Shirai and Momo Watanabe if you want to talk about women being WOTY contenders.

Meiko and Io fits in your LeBron/MJ comparisons for women wrestlers but Meiko Satomura has had a really good year cause of her doing UK dates semi regularly now (and helping draw big crowds relative for Fight Club Pro btw) The matches that come to mind are the matches against Ayako Hamada, Io Shirai, Kay Lee Ray, Chris Brookes and Pete Dunne with her match against Toni Storm being the only disappointment. She's still FCP Champion so she can have more "Dream" matches if she wants to this year.

With Momo Watanabe, Stardom is giving her the rocket push as she's the leader of the new generation following Threedom so watch out for her.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by DylanWaco » Mon May 28, 2018 9:45 pm

I thought Joe's breakdown of the candidates was interesting and a welcome break from the regular stuff on the shows. I am an occasional listener. I would probably listen more often if the shows included more segments like that one, but I also think it's something you can't do every week or it loses something so it kind of is what it is. In any case I enjoyed and had some thoughts on.

I thought there was a lot of mixing of can/should on here. A lot of this is do to the paradigm that I THINK Joe was operating under based on his preface to the segment which is that what he was not talking about who the actual best bell to bell wrestler of the year was so much as he was talking about the contenders for the WOTY WON Award. He sort of clarified this more in talking about how he always struggles with it a bit because people mistake WOTY talk for Thesz/Flair talk unless you are really explicit about it and even then still sometimes. So things get muddled even more.

This is fair, but it also is kind of the root of my issue with a lot of the talking points I disagreed with (and there were fewer than you might think) which is to say that A. I really don't give a fuck about the WON Awards at this point except insofar as they spark interesting discussion about the categories that they relate to B. I don't think considerations that relate specifically to Thesz/Flair should really have any direct relationship to WOTY discussion aside from ring work itself and C. the can/should stuff sort of defeats the purpose of having individual opinions and reveals a tendency toward groupthink and bandwagoning that is often ridiculed as mythical when people suggest that it's a real thing despite discussions like the one on the podcast being public admissions of it's reality.

I don't know if Jonathan Gresham would be my number one wrestler in the World so far this year, but I would strongly consider him for it. The fact that he is a lower mid-carder in ROH and only really a regular in Beyond and Nova when it comes to high profile or mid-tier indies doesn't matter at all to me when it comes to assessing his bell-to-bell. In part this is because his matches actually have been presented as relatively significant in the universes where he operates, and in part it's because I think if you are that good and above a certain level there is really no argument against you being the best in the world that doesn't relate back to some sort of Thesz/Flair award argument or some general sentiment about wrestling being a universalist meritocracy when it comes to ring work which I don't believe to be true.

Having said that I concede that there probably is a "relevance line" for lack of a better term where I would personally find it hard to rate a person number one in the World. I'm not sure where that line is but it's somewhere north of best guy at a weekly indie with little to no content distribution and south of ROH lower mid-carder who is a major player in Beyond. That someone like Gresham "can't win" a WON Award has 0 effect on whether or not I think he's the best guy on the planet bell to bell. To me where you work matters only very slightly in these considerations and really more in the abstract than in actual reality. Of course where you work and are on the card can certainly effect your output and chances so they aren't totally related but my point is I don't see them where someone works or doesn't work as an immediate disqualifier absent a discussion of their wrestling.

In general I agree with the "his year" sort of argument being a compelling one to pick the top guy in the world though. That said I don't at all personally see that with Ospreay and I was surprised to hear Joe make the argument because it doesn't feel like their is a real consensus on this point. Certainly an individual can make a "this is his year" claim, but that sort of thing is usually an expression of a broader sentiment as Joe laid out in his Barkley example and I just haven't seen this with Ospreay this year. If anything this feels like a bit of a confused year with no clear front runner, which is not entirely unlike last year for those who were not NJPW diehards. In general it felt to me like Joe was more in the business of creating the "Ospreay is the WOTY" narrative than he was reporting on it which is perfectly fine and even encouraged, but felt slightly at odds with the "his year" argument.

One minor point is that I think Joe really understated the relevance of wXw on the show. No it is not Progress which is literally a WWE subsidized multi-continental promotion at this point. That said I think it has demonstrated itself to be a major indie promotion among hardcore fans, and one that can help elevate and create stars of note on an international level. It is itself a multi-national brand with it's in roads in the UK, Progress has actually grown somewhat dependent on regular wXw talent in recent months, they run two major destination events a year, more shows than most any other indie of note on the planet, et. If your cut off is Progress for some reason sure. They aren't there. But I'm not at all convince that should be the cut off, and as we sit here right now I'm not entirely sure there is a single American independent promotion at the level of wXw if you are assessing all factors. I wouldn't argue Dragunov as the best in the world this year, but I did think wXw was sold a little short on the show and it felt like an unusually dated take from Joe.

My big takeaway was that I greatly prefer the WDKW100 system of ranking a top 100 for the year than the more narrow WON system because I think for me at least there is much less pressure to conform, there is more opportunity to include a breadth of deserving talent, and it's less prone to getting bogged down in overlapping categories that should be their own lanes.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by Joe Lanza » Mon May 28, 2018 10:25 pm

The first few point are directed towards everyone but Dylan because I already discussed this with him, but I 100% cop to mixing can/should. I farmed for candidates publicly, then ranked them. When discussing them, I attacked what I thought was the most interesting talking point. For some, it was the idea that they realistically couldn't win something like a Flair/Thesz, because of exposure or some other reason. For others, it was my thoughts on their resume, bell-to-bell or otherwise, and where I think they stood vs everyone else.

As far as WON Awards vs non-WON Awards WOTY, I always struggle with how to attack this, because I know we have Observer reader listeners who want Flair/Thesz analysis, and I know we have listeners (like Dylan) who don't care about that and are probably just interested in bell-to-bell. So when I talk about this stuff, I try to serve all masters.

I could have done can AND should breakdowns, along with WON and non WON assessments of each guy, but that would have taken up the entire show, and also, I was by myself which makes something like that really drag and a lot less interesting than two people challenging each other on it. At the end of the day the segment was more about sparking some discussion and spending a few minutes on who the Twitter followers deemed the top contenders.

Now for some of the specific points Dylan brings up here. I personally feel it's been Will's year. I think he's really upped his game, found a groove, and is doing his best work while converting some of his old critics in the process. There was no intent to suggest that's any sort of consensus, but perhaps making a "his year" argument is inherently doing just that? Idk.

I ranked the 20 most frequently named that I felt people were being serious about, squeezed in guys like Rollins who only got mentioned once because it felt stupid to not include him, and basically did so for an award criteria that doesn't exist...a 60/40 mix of Flair/Thesz & what a common fan sort of thinks of when they think of a WOTY, a guy killing it in the ring with maybe a splash of star power. I wanted to get people talking on a slow week, even if it meant being beat up for propping up or burying "the wrong people" in the process, so I'm glad it seemed to get some discussion.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by mlev76 » Mon May 28, 2018 10:54 pm

I'd actually be curious to see Joe and Rich participate in the WDKW 100.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by Joe Lanza » Tue May 29, 2018 4:43 am

mlev76 wrote:I'd actually be curious to see Joe and Rich participate in the WDKW 100.
I always think about it but my brain really has trouble with stuff like that because I get bogged down in the minutea of #46 vs #47 rather than the big picture

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by armsofsleep » Tue May 29, 2018 12:53 pm

A few points (some that I've brought up to VOW on Twitter and some others)

1. It's really weird that in general with these awards that factor business in as a major part of the award, that lucha doesn't get any traction. I know VOW doesn't really cover lucha at all (hey, we all have our blind spots) so it's not something I'm going to get really upset about, but it's worth bringing up in pretty much any WOTY discussion that counts drawing power as a factor AT ALL. I mean, some questions about his work aside, Rush is probably a no brainer top 5 draw in North America right now outside of WWE. If Cody is making the discussion, you basically have to atleast acknowledge these guys. I just can't put the blame on Joe or VOW because this is common among a lot of fans.

2. I agree with Dylan that I do enjoy segments like this. I know it can't be an every week type thing, but it really does illuminate a bit more about the taste of the flagship. I find a lot more I disagree with, but I still find it compelling. Would love stuff like "tag teams of the year" but also "most underrated in-ring guys" or "best non-wrestlers" or "best matches no one saw" or things like that. Maybe just do a monthly 30-minute segment or something like that. I know it's sort of doing a listicle and it can be lazy but I think with a real juice behind it, it could be awesome.

3. I do think that, while Thesz/Flair can be an occasionally compelling criteria, I almost always prefer looking at strictly in-ring polls. My issue with Thesz/Flair stuff is that it basically shoehorns you into a handful of promotions, and often times the wrestlers personal drawing ability doesn't even really come into play. Like it's basically impossible to tell who a bigger draw is between Ospreay and Hiromu Takahashi, or Rollins and Reigns, or even like Cody vs Miyahara. You basically just pick a few guys out of the hot promotions and hope that they're actually the draw.

4. Ultimately, the reason WOTY will be a bit more heated than last year is because Ospreay is just a more divisive worker than Okada (or even Omega). Funnily enough, I think he would probably be less divisive as a touring indie guy. Outside of NJPW, he's been able to work some more diverse matches, and it's paid off with some of the best work of his entire career (not only the Riddle stuff, but even stuff going back to last year like the Havoc match). But in NJPW, he's pretty much settled on one formula/style, and it's made a lot of his matches feel very samey to me. That sort of also plays into my exhaustion with NJPW juniors (and a lot of the BOSJ as a result), in that so much of the main event stuff just feels very one note. I've been way more into the more wacky off the wall stuff like Despy/Takahashi (which, if you like this match but you "dont get lucha", I'm just not sure what you're watching), Tiger Mask/Kanemaru, BUSHI/YOH, etc. I would match rather watch those than like, a *** Ishimori/Ospreay special that wouldn't even hang with the current Impact X-Division stuff

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by Joe Lanza » Tue May 29, 2018 2:19 pm

We got two lucha wrestlers in the responses that weren't jokes (Policeman), Marvin and LA Park. That probably speaks to two things. One, lucha never ever gets repsect in WON Awards, or really, any awards. Two, our follower base is going to be less apt to suggest lucha candidates. But then again, I say that, but we're followed by all of the big lucha accounts "in the bubble", so idk. Nobody suggested Rush, fwiw.

I'd like to talk lucha more. I probably would've included Park if I had seen the big Rush angle before I recorded. I have watched it since. I'll probably never follow lucha as close as I did in the mid-90's ever again, but I do try to keep up with the key stuff. I have my issues with it but I do enjoy casually watching it. I'll never pretend to be an expert. It just doesn't connect with Rich and I feel bad asking him to watch it when we're both already scrambling to keep up. It's part of the reason I hesitate to even watch Joshi at all. I know I'm gonna like it and I just can't get to everything.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by ScorpioCorp » Tue May 29, 2018 2:33 pm

I'm another person who enjoys the in-ring discussion rather than the Thesz/draw power discussion (not that I had a problem with the podcast, I enjoyed it). For example, Jon Gresham wasn't someone who I would consider as to having the best in-ring 2018, but Dylan bringing him up has made me want to seek out his Powerbomb TV stuff (which seems to be where the bulk of his work is). I don't know, I just find it more fun & makes me want to seek out different wrestlers.

I probably do have Ospreay, WALTER, Sabre Jr, Gargano & Okada as my top 5 in-ring guys in 2018.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by armsofsleep » Tue May 29, 2018 3:08 pm

Joe Lanza wrote:We got two lucha wrestlers in the responses that weren't jokes (Policeman), Marvin and LA Park. That probably speaks to two things. One, lucha never ever gets repsect in WON Awards, or really, any awards. Two, our follower base is going to be less apt to suggest lucha candidates. But then again, I say that, but we're followed by all of the big lucha accounts "in the bubble", so idk. Nobody suggested Rush, fwiw.

I'd like to talk lucha more. I probably would've included Park if I had seen the big Rush angle before I recorded. I have watched it since. I'll probably never follow lucha as close as I did in the mid-90's ever again, but I do try to keep up with the key stuff. I have my issues with it but I do enjoy casually watching it. I'll never pretend to be an expert. It just doesn't connect with Rich and I feel bad asking him to watch it when we're both already scrambling to keep up. It's part of the reason I hesitate to even watch Joshi at all. I know I'm gonna like it and I just can't get to everything.
I never even considered that you might have to change your viewing habits to accommodate Rich, since you guys basically cover everything you watch. It's funny because I think a lot of us in the bubble expect a LOT out of those with a public platform, because most of us try to watch as must wrestling as possible. I am excited for you to follow Park/Rush though. If the rumblings about this being the real deal build for an actual apuestas match are true, it would be really fun to hear you guys talk it about it.

ScorpioCorp wrote:I'm another person who enjoys the in-ring discussion rather than the Thesz/draw power discussion (not that I had a problem with the podcast, I enjoyed it). For example, Jon Gresham wasn't someone who I would consider as to having the best in-ring 2018, but Dylan bringing him up has made me want to seek out his Powerbomb TV stuff (which seems to be where the bulk of his work is). I don't know, I just find it more fun & makes me want to seek out different wrestlers.

I probably do have Ospreay, WALTER, Sabre Jr, Gargano & Okada as my top 5 in-ring guys in 2018.
I brought up Gresham on Twitter as well, he just connects with me as a wrestling savant in a way few other guys do. He's a guy who will always be hurt by his look (he's just too short to work in certain roles) and style (similar to Timothy Thatcher, he's a deliberate worker who sometimes doesn't hit the pace threshold a lot of indie style fans demand), but I still find him incredible. Pretty strange that he's a trainer for ROH but still doesn't get much of a feature there. I did love that first Jay Lethal match from this year though.

Also have to recommend

vs Mike Quackenbush
vs Karen Q
vs Fred Yehi (the first from Nova Pro last year was my favorite)

for him.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by mlev76 » Tue May 29, 2018 7:32 pm

Joe Lanza wrote:
mlev76 wrote:I'd actually be curious to see Joe and Rich participate in the WDKW 100.
I always think about it but my brain really has trouble with stuff like that because I get bogged down in the minutea of #46 vs #47 rather than the big picture
I did it last year and basically started from my MOTY list and then this year began tracking virtually every match I watch (approaching 500 at this point). once you get down past the top 50, it's a lot of personal preferences, biases and people just giving props to people they think deserve exposure (for me, not more broadly).

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by Joe Lanza » Tue May 29, 2018 9:25 pm

mlev76 wrote:
Joe Lanza wrote:
mlev76 wrote:I'd actually be curious to see Joe and Rich participate in the WDKW 100.
I always think about it but my brain really has trouble with stuff like that because I get bogged down in the minutea of #46 vs #47 rather than the big picture
I did it last year and basically started from my MOTY list and then this year began tracking virtually every match I watch (approaching 500 at this point). once you get down past the top 50, it's a lot of personal preferences, biases and people just giving props to people they think deserve exposure (for me, not more broadly).
I remember when the Greatest Wrestler Ever deal was due during WrestleMania weekend in Dallas, I sat in my hotel room and drive myself crazy trying to put together my list. It was ruining my weekend so I just stopped.

The scope is too big for me to focus for whatever reason. I do better with matches, or something more laser focused like the ROH specific list we did on this site.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by mlev76 » Tue May 29, 2018 11:09 pm

They also accept a 50 wrestler ballot.

I think if you follow enough promotions (really, if you follow WWE, NJPW and maybe 2-3 indies), it's really not so hard to pare it down.

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Re: VOW Flagship: WOTY Candidates, FOX/WWE & much more!

Post by ScorpioCorp » Wed May 30, 2018 7:51 am

armsofsleep wrote:
ScorpioCorp wrote:I'm another person who enjoys the in-ring discussion rather than the Thesz/draw power discussion (not that I had a problem with the podcast, I enjoyed it). For example, Jon Gresham wasn't someone who I would consider as to having the best in-ring 2018, but Dylan bringing him up has made me want to seek out his Powerbomb TV stuff (which seems to be where the bulk of his work is). I don't know, I just find it more fun & makes me want to seek out different wrestlers.

I probably do have Ospreay, WALTER, Sabre Jr, Gargano & Okada as my top 5 in-ring guys in 2018.
I brought up Gresham on Twitter as well, he just connects with me as a wrestling savant in a way few other guys do. He's a guy who will always be hurt by his look (he's just too short to work in certain roles) and style (similar to Timothy Thatcher, he's a deliberate worker who sometimes doesn't hit the pace threshold a lot of indie style fans demand), but I still find him incredible. Pretty strange that he's a trainer for ROH but still doesn't get much of a feature there. I did love that first Jay Lethal match from this year though.

Also have to recommend

vs Mike Quackenbush
vs Karen Q
vs Fred Yehi (the first from Nova Pro last year was my favorite)

for him.
Cheers. I'll have to check out those matches. Gresham is a phenomenal technician & it's interesting because it feels like his weaknesses are part of his charm (that he's too small & unconventional).

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