Originally Posted by Segunda Caida
Austin- hmmm in his 'Stone Cold' persona I'd say some of the overly brawling aspects of his matches weren't terrific, I can only think of Backlash 2002 v Taker where they spend a vast portion of the match brawling and it really didn't look or feel that special/memorable. I know Cal will probably be in disagreement there but bar his matches being overbooked at times and the brawling not always being enthralling I can't think of too much to really criticise. In WCW he got really really good around '94 but it wasn't like he was bad prior to that, just outshined by Arn, Eaton, Rude and Zbyszko etc.
Funk- well shit this is even harder to criticise, I can only say that maybe people would be bored by the more realistic/organic environment his matches produce, like I adore his punches and punch drunk selling but if people prefer 100mph sprints with insane spots and athleticism then Funk really won't appeal to them. Its hardly a knock on Funk since I'm thankful to God he never went down that road/style and its certainly something I'd never agree with if someone said he was boring, but well trying to find things Funk did badly/wrong isn't exactly an easy feat so I'm having to scrounge for something.
Benoit- by about 2005 onwards I did think he got overly formulaic with his offence and set ups for signature spots, he could still 'go' when he wanted to even in his later years but I think there's a world of difference between 2006 Benoit v Finlay and then 2006 Benoit v someone who works totally different to Finlay and Regal etc. I'm still largely a fan of his junior stuff since he and Eddie in particularly always seemed to be a step above the rest when it came to building their matches and making their spots mean much more in the context of the match, but I'm sure a few of his junior matches in WCW and NJPW may not hold up as well if I were to rewatch them tomorrow: though that's about as likely to happen because of my growing abhorance to the junior style than Benoit himself. Not really a fan of him in his matches v Angle either, felt he went along with Angle's counter counter style and didn't impose his ability to structure matches around mind blowing spots like he could do with Eddie or Mysterio for example.
Lawler- fuck youuuuuuuuuuuuu for making me think of something bad about Lawler. Ok, not an amazing athlete and 95% of his offence is great looking punches, so yeah if you don't appreciate the detail and story behind a basic match formula then Lawler will likely bore you or leave you thinking you're just not seeing what everyone else is seeing.
Flair- tendancy to oversell, though I'm not in the camp that hates that since it usually played a big part in getting him heat/babyface support on his opponent and made for a great build to his desperation transition spot and was an essential part of the Flair formula in making his opponent look like gold. People will say if you've seen 1 Flair match you've seen them all, total bollocks to me of course but I can understand why people will look for a more diverse performer (though again Flair is about as diverse as they come throughout his career). His matches with Windham and Steamboat are basic matches in terms of moves and execution, though of course its the subtle build, engaging atmosphere and character dynamics which add so much more to the sequences but again, if people are looking for an athlete to leave them speechless Ric Flair isn't who you go to.
I've spent literally 1 week trying to think "bad" things about Funk's and Lawler's work. It hasn't been easy.
Good stuff on Benoit, specially his "formulaic work" in his later years. I still love his Junior matches as I still like that style and appreciate it by what it is. This last 2 weeks I've been rewatching a lot of early 90's work (even his fun brawl against Funk) and it still holds up. I'm still waiting for someone to find his 2nd match vs Owen with audio, it's such a fun 10 minutes even without it.