Indy Style vs. WWE Style: 200 Moves Don't Make a Good Match

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2012

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Pro wrestling: What's considered a five-star match by one is looked at as dumb by another.

A 200-move match with no purpose isn't a match― it's a demonstration that has a referee in the ring.

A match has a story to it with emotion involved.

The indy style versus the WWE style.

A bad indy-style match is often one that is supposed to be 10 minutes, goes over in time because the wrestlers wanted to get all of their cool spots in and you feel the same after the match as you did when it started.

A high amount of fast-paced sequences and flashy moves with no glue to piece them together.

Too often matches get revered as this amazing match because fans chanted “this is awesome” on four separate occasions because the wrestler(s) nearly killed themselves.

The match gets looked at as a five-star match because it was the first time anybody had ever attempted the combination of moves A, B and C...and then they both fell into thumb tacks.

The “shoot” promo that's the coolest because whenever anything that sounds like it wouldn't be written into a script gets cheered by fans even if they have no idea why they're really cheering. It's always bashing the company, a fellow roster member (but call him by his real name), Vince McMahon or WWE in general.


The fans have no idea, have never met or worked with particular wrestler or company, but because it's that cult-like mentality, they cheer the “controversial” wrestler who “shoots.”


The point is, you can have entertaining sequences. You can have a “this is awesome” moment. You can have a first-time-ever move combination. You can have blood and guts.

The key is doing them at the right time for the right effect.

I once saw a match in a small promotion in Indiana that tossed thumb tacks on the mat three minutes into the match, fell on them and the match went on for another 7 minutes.

Backstage after the match, I asked both wrestlers why they did that. They said they were worried people would get up once the match started. They felt nobody would care about their match because of its placement on the card so they wanted to get the audience's attention quickly.

I understood their concern. I then said, why not pull the bag of tacks out early, tease the tacks but hold the bump until later, you know, for the finish? You would have gotten the audience's attention and it wouldn't have over shadowed how illogical the rest of the match was.

WWE sends every talent to developmental, even if for a few months, before coming to the main roster. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan both spent a little less than a year in developmental before coming to the main roster.

WWE doesn't care how many accolades on the indy scene you have, they make you start over. They want you to do things the WWE way. If you can make them happy plus keep your style/entertainment value in the ring―this is what makes you “the best in the world.”

CM Punk can perform a lot of moves successfully. He is capable of not only doing the moves but knows when to do them. He knows how to build the match. There are some moves you no longer see in his repertoire since coming from indy to WWE, but for the most part he's kept his style as well as pleased WWE. WWE is where you make the top money. All this combined makes him the best in the world.


Some independent wrestlers never figure it out. They can practice their agility and courage all day in the ring or trampoline, but they need to piece it all together.

If you don't know why or when to do a move, you're as good as not doing the move in the first place. The crowd might chant “this is awesome” but if you don't learn the match psychology, you'll be performing in front of the same crowd until you retire.

The current WWE audience craves for the cruiserweight division to return. The biggest time of glory for cruiserweights in front of the American audience is the late 90s in WCW. Every Nitro and pay-per-view started off with a fast-paced, high-flying match.

The trouble with so many of these matches: no story or emotion.

First off, most of the guys have masks over their faces, so emotion has been taken out of the equation.


Secondly, if you do all of these intense moves one after another, it can be a frustrating match to follow.

A Triple H versus The Undertaker WrestleMania match is the kind of match that's tough to follow, but you appreciate.

Tons of backstory. Tons of emotion. Reversals, combinations, a hardcore element and a finale. No wasted motion. Every bit of motion and sequence had a point to the progression of what was going on.

Michaels and Hart did it at WrestleMania 12.

Flair did it every night with Rhodes.

John Cena haters don't want to hear it or know how to see it―Cena has had some outstanding matches with CM Punk. I'm not saying the matches were in the same category as Rhodes/Flair or Hart/Michaels, but they were solid stories told in the ring.

I'm not bashing the independent scene or its performers. At least not all of them. I work in different capacities in the independents myself, most notably with Prime Wrestling which can be found on DirecTV every Sunday night.

There is a great primitive beauty to independent wrestling. It's like watching AA baseball. The ballpark isn't a 50,000-person stadium. The players aren't making millions or on a video game. However, you're seeing natural talent and love for the game at its best.


That's what good independent wrestling is. Love and natural talent for professional wrestling at its best.

Every independent wrestling show is going to have someone or some matches that carry that indy style. You have to expect it. Many young wrestlers spend years working on getting the physical spots learned, working on their look and improving their conditioning.

When you hear an older veteran say, “He hasn't figured out how good he can be yet,” a lot of times this means that the guy is working on a lot of the things you see on the surface, but hasn't figured out how effective they truly can be.

They haven't figured out the match psychology. When and when not to do something. Or what they would try to get out of the crowd with 30 moves, they can get out of it in 15 with the right timing and emotion.

This is why some of those “king of the indy's” make it to WWE.

CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Antonio Cesaro.

They have so much talent in the ring. They understand how to build a match and tell the story. They can do it all while working the cameras, staying safe and making the most of their motions.

They don't need a “this is awesome” chant, because they do it every night and know it's awesome.