"My dad always told me never to stop working, no matter what level you attain in life. My dream was to become a WWE Superstar. Now that I’m here, it doesn’t mean that I should stop trying to excel. There’s always room for improvement. Never settle."
— Ted DiBiase
My quest for art in professional wrestling has come to an impasse. Other than proclaiming that a wrestler paints his own portrait of the future, the facts and information needed seem to avoid my search.
DiBiase speaks of a dream that only few can achieve. In fact, it gets tighter as the ladder reaches its ultimate height to the form of a World Champion.
Each and every week, I have been drilling everyone who reads my pieces about how professional wrestling is an art. Layer by layer, the system adds up to a beautiful picture.
No matter the artist or his/her ability, the end result is always astonishing. In my opinion, there are seven aspects of professional wrestling that are overlooked.
Fans witness the match and assume that is all they are receiving. I don't mean to be brash, but a lot more ties into a three-hour show than meets the eye.
Let’s start with the very first layer and the main introduction...
Think of this like the artist's first shade. Before the wrestler makes his way down the ramp and everyone sees the whole look, the aforementioned pyro, music and lights are the first thing the fans hear and see.
The best example I can come up with is Undertaker's church bell. That sets the stage and his lights set in. A purple haze fills the arena with smoke coming through the ramp.
As Taker walks through the curtain, fire spurts from the stage on his left and right. That resembles the Undertaker in every possible. Without the characteristics listed above, it's a whole different story.
(I think I'm cute) Followed by a kneel down and prayer with fireworks in the background. That is Shawn Michaels.
(It's time to play the game...) A green light overshadows the crowd and no fireworks necessary. That is Triple H.
(Fireworks led by "Break the walls down!") No light is required, only by the entrance music and theatrics. Enter Chris Jericho.
The entrance music, lights and pyro define a superstar before he or she walks through that curtain. They are the various ringtones and music selections on our iPods.
Our next piece of the artistic circle needs no definition and is the most vital piece of the canvas...
The picture explains it all. Ric Flair loved what he did and it showed through every match and promo. Artists have intent for each and every painting; it starts with the passion he or she exudes.
It doesn't start and end with the wrestler; each fan takes their part in the passionate role. Analyze the blonde woman's facial expressions, which is why the fan is as important as the wrestler.
Shawn Michaels did it better than anyone. Mick Foley did put his body on the line each and every night for the company he loved, but HBK had true passion and desire.
It's hard to put someone ahead of Shawn when it comes down to total emotion, because he knew how to draw the tears and excitement out of our bodies.
The soul is a complex thing and only a select number of people can extract that ingredient from within us. Michaels did it in his sleep.
Professional wrestlers have a certain gift that enables them to pour their heart and soul in that squared circle like it’s their last match.
Shawn Michaels did, better than anyone I have watched. Another reason he was the best was because of his...
Just like emotion and passion, a wrestler's character is a very important aspect to professional wrestling. Often times, it's a debate of whether the person is a heel or face.
What happened to the true essence of a wrestler's character? Some have it in their name; just ask "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The further we go in the future, the less complex characters seem to develop.
Koko B. Ware, Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind, the Godfather, Big Boss Man were all characters with complexity and excitement. These days, the only true character is Cody Rhodes.
Why you ask? Twitter, Facebook and any other social media outlet ruins any kind of character. Kayfabe has gone completely out of the window, because we want to know the real Randy Orton.
His legend killer days were fantastic, due to the character he portrayed. Mick Foley was truly the best when it came to staying any one of his embodiments.
The list of superstars, who fit a character, made it work inside and outside of the ring could have written a full novel. In 2011, only a select few have that certain ability.
Cody Rhodes is destined for greatness and his character shows. Looking at him, he is quite honestly alone in that category.
Characters today are not analyzed by the actions, but more by...
A quality you must have in the wrestling business, the art of a promo ignites a crowd even more than a five-star match. As sad as it is, some guys and girls have made a career out of talking.
Promos are meant to do the obvious, but other than listening for a fourth wall break, wrestlers put their own feelings behind it. Roddy Piper is noted as one of the best talkers in history.
In his realm are CM Punk, Chris Jericho, the Rock, Stone Cold, JBL, and even Paul Heyman have cut historic promos.
Often times, it jump-starts a heel turn or the career roller coaster ride of a lifetime. Just think if Punk didn't cut that novel three months ago on Raw. Would he be in the seat he is now?
CM Punk is a great example of a man who puts emotion behind his words in the current world of wrestling. Another great mic-worker is John Cena. He is a different kind of animal, because you can see the passion oozing out of his skin.
A promo is more than just a man or woman talking, but it is what they believe in. Kind of like the artist's true meaning of the masterpiece in front of him. Only he knows the truth, but the people looking at it only see a picture.
To add to the masterpiece, wrestlers need...
The man above is one of the best professional wrestlers in history. Kurt Angle was not the only man to grace the stage, but Superfly Snuka, HBK and Ricky Steamboat entertained fans for decades.
Performing in the squared circle is no easy task. Most fans complain about how they watched a poor match, which does indeed happen occasionally.
What these men and women do is phenomenal and I wish that fans would appreciate the ring psychology they all portray. It's the little things that made Angle, Punk, and Steamboat so great.
To be a professional wrestler, all those certain "little things" must be combined and construed into a masterpiece. Shawn Michaels is the best WWE wrestler ever to live. His craft will never be re-done, because of those little things.
I could sit here and name all of the wrestlers who had the edge with ring psychology. Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Lou Thesz, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and many more are well-known and documented.
A match is the overall painting. Each detail is another stroke on the brush. The artist paints a technical stroke for a purpose that leads to the end result.
The last part of the masterpiece is the final shading and molding the painting together. I'm talking about...
"OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!"
"STONE COLD, STONE COLD, STONE COLD!"
There are many reasons to like the WWE, but commentary is a vital piece of the pie. It is a difficult art and trust me, Jim Ross is good at his job and it's not easy.
To go over on Joey Styles, calling a wrestling match isn't all about the moves, but a story must be told. In professional wrestling, two ingredients are combined to create an announcer team.
Chemistry is one, knowledge of the game; a good voice and an ability to tell a story are the qualities of a good announce team. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are arguably the best team in professional wrestling, if not in any sport.
All the qualities are met. It is the moments when JR yelled "Stone Cold" that we will always remember. At Night of Champions, Ross kept the mood going on television yelling and screaming, to keep the story going.
Commentary is, like I said the final shades and outlines. They hold the painting together. Without commentary, WWE would be just wrestling and wrestlers speaking their minds.
Granted, some would enjoy that, but WWE is the top wrestling promotion for a reason.
There's your painting.
I want to thank all of you who read this piece. I can't take all the credit as Chinmay, B/R legend, gave me this article idea.
To be honest, I'm honored I had the privilege to write this and I couldn't do it justice like he could have. Everyone have a great day and remember...
Wrestling is an art. Treat it as such.