Originally Posted by Clique
Not trying to attack, honest question for anyone to answer, does being a better big match worker make you a better worker overall compared to a better week-to-week worker? When you mentioned Cena's big matches being better than Orton's that got me to think about other comparisons like Benoit & Undertaker or Rey Mysterio & Triple H. One is/was the more consistent yearly while the other was more consistent in the classic main events.
I wouldn't say so, to me I look at a worker regardless of his card positioning (not saying others don't, just citing my point). When I consider what makes a good worker, I have a certain list in my head:
Babyface - very good/great seller, smart structurer of his comeback, bumps big, good offence which either looks good (i.e stiff/painful when the match calls for it), is timed well to get a good reaction, unique touches (incoporating a weakened limb into his offence: e.g Christian selling the left arm after using it to hit a tornado DDT or switching up parts of his offence because the arm he'd normally use is hurt). Someone like an Evan Bourne is at minimum a good worker to me because he generally excells at these attributes, certainly compared to someone like Ryder or even current day Orton who may be good at some of these attributes, but bombs badly in other areas.
Heel - painful looking offence, smart layout of the match, facial expressions/mannerisms to sell a match through emotion, e.g furious in the beginning when he gets outwrestled, vicious when on offence, cocky the longer he dominates, frustrated/worried when he can't put his opponent away, big bumper, eats opponent's offence well, creative touches either as a transition spot or creative offence in general, making a workover feel important to the finishing stretch of a match, so the match flows rather than the final third being completely separate from the first 2/3rds.
To me, that's the standard of a good/great worker whether the babyface in question is Evan Bourne or John Cena, and the heel in question is 2006 Finlay or 2012 CM Punk.
Finlay to me is a better worker in that sense than any WWE heel in recent memory aside from maybe 2004-06 Orton. HHH, JBL, Batista, Lesnar, Angle, Edge etc all failed to be as good a worker as Finlay in those attributes I mentioned. Every part of his match felt relevant, there was always a good story to be found in his matches, he sold a match just as well visually as his opponent did a limb, his matches generally were creative and had several things you weren't used to seeing and most importantly it always felt like the match was constantly building and moving along at a nice pace instead of stopping and starting and going off in several directions.
I can appreciate why the likes of Shawn Michaels, HHH, Undertaker, Edge and co are seen as better workers than the likes of Finlay, Regal, Mysterio, Matt Hardy and other midcard 'workhorses' not named Benoit or Eddie: the 'elite' obviously were put in big time matches/angles that could captivate a crowd where as the Finlay's and Regal's where confined to great individual performances but rarely given a chance to excel in a big time environment: hell their entire style was the complete opposite of what a HHH or Edge for example would use in a main event match.
To me a good/great worker are ones who excel at the attributes I included, since its these attributes which I've become a greater fan of the more wrestling I've watched. I can see the merit in Cena's big time matches and performances earning him more praise than Orton maybe having generally solid matches on a week to week basis (though tbf I think Cena has just on average as good a TV output as Orton, especially post 2009), but to me if you had Orton working the main event and Cena working a lower position on the card I'd still call him a better worker because he just does a lot more of the things I've grown to appreciate better than Orton. I mean I like Cena a hell of a lot more than others, but he's not even close to being as good as Finlay, Regal or Danielson: regardless of his best matches perhaps being better/more memorable than their best matches.