WWE: Ryback, Tensai and How Squash Matches Can Be Made Interesting
"Shut up, Cole! I am looking forward to this debut."
"I think the entire WWE Universe has been waiting for this moment, Lawler. In fact, he is the No. 1 topic trending worldwide on Twitter."
"I do not envy that kid in the ring right now."
And so it begins. As the local wrestler in the ring paces nervously, the theme of the newly debuting (or repackaged and re-debuting) superstar plays. Slowly, he makes an entrance to the ring, which his opponent has already vacated. He looks at the crowd, then at the scrawny opponent, who timidly makes his way back to the ring. The bell rings.
The young jobber initially looks intimidated. Then, he runs at full speed at the larger opponent. Bam! A shoulderblock knocks the jobber down. Then, after less than 60 seconds and three powerful moves, the bell rings again.
Another squash match ends.
What Is a Squash Match?
A squash match is a match that does not last very long, is thoroughly dominated by one individual (or, occasionally, a tag team) and makes the aggressor look strong at the expense of a weaker opponent.
It is common practice for new or repackaged superstars to defeat a few local "jobbers" in order to demonstrate their dominance as well as their basic move set to the audience.
Squash matches are usually reserved for larger superstars, usually those billed weighing close to or more than the 300-pound mark.
Some "huge" superstars, like the returning Brock Lesnar, who have tremendous drawing power, can do away with squash matches and directly beat up former world champions like John Cena.
Why Squash Matches Can Become Boring?
While the very first match of a new superstar usually intrigues the fans, when it happens week after week, the fans might get bored and decide to reschedule their bathroom break from the Divas match to the squash match.
While this might occasionally enable the viewers to see the Divas championship change hands, it usually results in them seeing a tag match ending with The Great Khali kissing someone who might be old enough to be John Young's sister.
Also, it does nothing to build the hype of the "dominant" superstar if the fans who are supposed to watch him destroy the jobber are either in the bathroom or changing channels to find a commercial that might be more entertaining.
Can Squash Matches Be Made Interesting?
Since that is the topic of my article, I'll have to say yes.
Squash matches can be made much more interesting than the generic affair they are today.
By adding stuff to the match that would keep the fans interested in the performance and the outcome.
Jobbing to a Lord Tensai or a Ryback would be a step up from him compared to jobbing to a B-grade singer that the fans don't care much for.
I'm not implying that all the potential talent that do not get TV airtime should just be jobbing. But it would be more sensible to give your actual talent some airtime than a local jobber that nobody cares about.
There are also some "big stars" that might serve this role. While not many people are interested in seeing The Great Khali in a match, I think it might be sensible to use him as an enhancement talent against someone like Tensai. We know Tensai can pulverize someone smaller than him, but it would be interesting to see him manhandle Khali.
Then there are multiple tag teams that are doing nothing at the moment. Which brings me to...
Handicap Matches / Gauntlet Matches
OK, the new guy is better than any single person. We get it.
How about two? Or three?
A handicap match with Brodus Clay facing off against the team of Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks, while still a squash match, would showcase how Tensai can dominate two men at the same time and would be more interesting than to see him go up against a single talent.
Similarly, a gauntlet match, where Ryback has to face three people one after the other, would show that he has the stamina to defeat multiple opponents in a row. It would be even more interesting if the three were in increasing levels of "difficulty." What if, after demolishing a local jobber and then destroying Yoshi Tatsu, he had to fight someone like Ted DiBiase or Drew McIntyre, who would take longer to finish?
A handicap or a gauntlet match would also enable the fans to see different alternative finishers/submission holds, which would make the new talent seem even more dominant and dynamic.
Remember the Kurt Angle Invitational?
Angle gave local wrestlers three minutes to become a star by winning his Olympic gold medal from him.
While I knew that the local jobber would lose, there were two factors that made me watch: the medal that was up for grabs and the clock at the bottom corner.
Looking at most squash matches, you wonder what the jobber gets, even if he somehow wins.
Putting up a $100,000 prize (not a big amount in comparison to what one gets fined for kicking a referee in the head) for the first person to defeat Tensai would make the fight seem worth the challenge. It would also lead to someone winning (eventually) and setting up a storyline feud.
Other than rewards and time limits, other stipulations (e.g., a tables match, a submission match, etc.) would make squash matches more dynamic and more interesting.
Imagine Ryback putting Heath Slater through a table (in a tables match) as soon as the bell rings to earn the quickest victory ever in a WWE match!
Get Managers Involved
Involving managers/valets in mini-feuds would also serve to make the squash matches more interesting.
Someone trying to get a date with Naomi or Cameron before their match with Brodus Clay would make it interesting to see how Clay reacts with them in the ring.
Even something as simple as AW (as Abraham Washington is calling himself) telling a local jobber "I've got my eyes on you" would add some intrigue to a squash match.
However, to make it really interesting, having a manager (perhaps Vickie Guerrero or even Michael Cole) try to find someone to defeat Ryback, only to fail week after week, would make it very interesting to see what they might try next week.
A manager changes the dynamic of the match by giving a regular figure the abililty to interact with the talent during the squash match.
While squash matches are a mainstay in showcasing and hyping a new dominant talent, there should be more flexibility and dynamics in the way they take place.
Making squash matches more interesting will lend credibility to the talent and the matches they take part in.
It will also make it easier to build storylines for the new stars.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
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