WWE Squash Matches and Their Importance to the Product
As proof of a WWE Superstar's dominance and a way to both elevate newcomers and highlight the quality of great clashes, the squash match is an important element to pro wrestling.
A one-sided, two- or three-minute match isn't nearly as exciting as an evenly matched classic, but it is a vital narrative tool.
Like when one player defeats another in Mortal Kombat without suffering a single hit in a "flawless victory" or when an NFL team beats down a rival team in a 42-0 game, a squash match is a display of complete dominance.
Fans may pine for wrestling clinics and drama-filled masterpieces every time out, but those short, unbalanced clashes have their place and in the end, better the product.
To begin with, squash matches can be an effective way to turn a man into a monster.
Creating a Monster
Should a new wrestler arrive on the scene, there is no better way to announce their arrival than by having them go on a destructive rampage. Were Ryback to have been immediately thrown in against John Cena or defeat The Miz, like he eventually did, it wouldn't have had the same power.
WWE evoked memories of wrestling's past by having Ryback tear through unknown jobber after unknown jobber.
It was months before a Ryback opponent even strung together some offensive moves against him. His numerous squash matches against increasingly impressive opponents began to add up. Even though fans knew the outcomes were scripted and that WWE was clearly doing the squash match routine, it eventually gave him an air of indestructibility.
When Ryback went up against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell, fans wondered how Punk would ever be able to beat him.
Suddenly, this newcomer was seen as on the same level as the WWE champ. That wouldn't have been possible without feeding Ryback a steady diet of easy wins.
The squash match gives fans a chance to see a gimmick in play and a new wrestler's move set in uninterrupted fashion.
Squash matches allowed Ted Dibiase a chance to stuff a foe's mouth full of money. They showed fans how destructive men from Ludvig Borga to Vladimir Kozlov were, at least in the beginning of their careers.
When Earthquake came onto the WWE scene in 1989, the company started him off with a series of squash matches.
Letting Earthquake operate against the jobbers helped build expectations in later, bigger matches. After seeing him crush many an opponent's chest by leaping on it, that became a move and a danger later opponents had to fear.
After a wake of easily dispatched foes, Earthquake challenged Hulk Hogan. The long resume of squash matches made him seem like a far more impressive foe than competitive matches would have.
The squash match is an essential part of a new or reinvigorated WWE monster's diet. One can't grow into a fearsome force without devouring prey in impressive fashion.
It's a process that can get boring or disappointing along the way, but it ultimately makes great matches look even better.
Greatness By Comparison
Can beauty exist without ugliness? Can light exist without darkness?
Squash matches make every standard match more exciting by comparison. Imagine seeing only Rembrandt paintings one's whole life. Eventually, the artistry gets lost on the eye.
That's a part of why pay-per-view matches feel so important and so thrilling. Fans, for the most part, watch one Superstar dominate another on weekly TV, and so seeing a battle stretch out, seeing two foes trade momentum, becomes even more compelling.
A steady of diet of squash matches numbs the audience some. So when it's time for a rivalry-ending clash or a showcase of athleticism, the crowd appreciates it even more.
Fans would love to see their favorites try to earn a 5-star rating each time out, but their bodies would eventually break down. A positive side effect of squash matches is that they save wrestler's bodies from wear and tear.
If Edge had to work 30-minute matches every Monday and Friday, his career likely would have ended even sooner. Shorter matches allows stars to hold back until the spotlight is the brightest.
Squash matches serve as snacks before fans dine on a substantive, complete match.
WWE will undoubtedly continue the tradition of one man destroying another with little resistance. They may not seem like the best option as they are happening, but squash matches are an integral component in the WWE formula.
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