What's GOOD Professional Wrestling?

Christina FreemanContributor IJanuary 20, 2010

LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 24:  Wrestlers Jack Swagger (top) and Primo compete during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As I read these posts and articles by people who are a lot like me and love professional wrestling and just want to see it get better, I wonder about people who don't understand what we're all up in arms about. 

For the most par,t other than fan opinion and the process of talent selection that we don't get to see or participate in, there is no bar for quality wrestling. 

As fans we know what we see and we know what we like, but this is solely based on past experience and not on current talent crops. The common opinion is that professional wrestling talent as a whole has taken a decline. But how can we rate that other than our own opinions?

And here is the problem, we really can’t.

There truly isn't any formal way to catalogue the quality of what is seen. So let's cut down to basics, get rid of public appeal and popular trends, company wars and backstage politics.

What are the qualities that make a good professional wrestler? Not a promotion, just the performers.

Bare bones ideas here, please feel free to argue, but I see it as a tie between non-ring performance and in-ring performance. In this current age of writers, you have to give some leeway to character development. But this ties into the performance aspect, there is a lot to be said about character development and follow through. When you believe something, why do you believe it?

In my opinion, non-ring performance includes mic'ed segments, either cut promos or backstage sessions. The ability to pull this off can be summed up by one word: charisma.

Charisma is something that really can't be defined. It is this pulsing, life-altering thing that just about all performers of any media or genre have. It is the thing that makes Undertaker able to do so much with so little and have you love him for it. This is an attribute that can't be learned; it is either cultivated over time or burns out quickly.

Personally, I don't care for CM Punk, and I never have; when you break a couple of noses, I'm done with you. But he has charisma. When he first started, it was barely tolerable because it was out of whack somehow, as he didn't know how to wield it, but has since been able to utilize it for good.

Same for John Cena, most of his in ring work is better than before, but still pretty painful at best. Regardless, this is a man that has enough impact to make fans feel they have to create an entire network to express their disapproval. Call it what you want, in the end, it’s charisma. 

In direct comparison, I think about Scott Hall, a man that had earth shattering charisma when he started and now he is almost unwatchable unless you fondly replace what you see with what used to be. Or a man like Shelton Benjamin who has tons of charisma but has never truly been able to channel it to his best benefit.

Then you have in ring performance, which used to be the higher regarded of these two traits. It didn't matter if someone could talk, if they could wrestle they were a superstar. 

There was a time when a guy like Evan Bourne would've ruled professional wrestling. Period. Yet this new age of wrestling has taken away the idea of the silent but deadly ring technician, made popular by men like Dean Malenko and Arn Anderson.

I've noticed one thing at all professional wrestling events I've attended: a less and less knowledgeable fan base. By completely committing to advertising to younger audiences, the WWE gave itself a naturally replenishing fan base. 

Children don’t know the difference between quality and quantity. They know they like to yell and jump around; they’re children. Because of this, the plot lines are easier for them to follow when dumbed down like they currently are.

The WWE, and now TNA it seems, gear their entertainment to be grown out of knowing that mankind's ability to make more children has only gotten better over the years. This trend that has been steadily emerging for years now has left older fans in the lurch trying to find the quality of years gone by.  

So why are we as older fans only engaged long enough to be disgusted? What's missing from the stars of new that have made what is being presented so very lackluster?

Vocal Performance

Ring Performance

Character Development

Or comment if I missed something. I’m really curious to understand.