Wrestling Forum banner

Which is more important? Character work or ring work?


  • Total voters
    55
1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
540 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
If I was to name any successful wrestler from the past and ask you name the first thing you think of regarding that wrestler I am willing to bet most will say some aspect of their character work.

The Rock is remembered for his promos. Likewise Stone Cold. Likewise Hulk Hogan. Likewise Flair. Likewise Cena.

Yes we all remember the IQ match between Hart and Austin but is that how you associate Austin?

Hogan slamming Andre during a match is possibly the biggest moment in wrestling history but is that how we associate Hogan?

Or do we associate him with the entrance, the theme music, the tearing of the shirt, the poses, the interviews with Mean Gene?

With Bret Hart it's the entrance, the theme music, the sunglasses, the jacket, the pose. This is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. Do we associate him with the character work or him slapping a sharpshooter on someone?

The one wrestler who is remembered more for his ring work is possibly Chris Benoit.

This gets me on to present day wrestlers, or sports entertainers.

Omega, Bucks, Mcintyre, Rollins etc

What will they be remembered for? I think of Omega and I think of goofy facial expressions in the middle of a match. No distinctive entrance, music, attire, promos. He is instantly forgettable.

Likewise Mcintyre or Rollins. What seperates them other than accent, attire and theme music? In 15 years we will associate Rollins with his curbstomp. Nothing else.

With Ric Flair we have hours of interviews with him trashing his opponent. The iconic look he had in his robe and sunglasses. The exit from his plane. Rollins and Mcintyre? Just a collection of curb stomps and claymore kicks.

Some wrestlers these days do have a character, not saying everyone doesn't have a character but why has wrestling largely gotten rid of any character work and just focuses on the bell to bell action?

Can you name any present or former wrestler who is more remembered for his ring work?

Maybe you had a favourite wrestler who you liked his character work but dislked his ring work? Or vice-versa?

I'm going to add a poll. Which do you think is more important? The character work or the ring work? Or maybe a mixture of both?

Be interesting to see what draws you to your favourite wrestler.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
Think character work is overall more important since fans related/invest themselves in a character. the Austin Rock Bret Hart Hogan etc. had great personas, could speak much better and much more convincingly, more in line with what the fans wanted and were smart/powerful enough to make tweaks to their characters when fans got tired of their current schtick... But then when you look at them, they also knew how to make their matches interesting, sell their feuds etc. Their matches were not going through the motions, and focused more on telling a story as compared to the present day and age which focuses more on doing a series of spots, dont really get what selling means, and certainly could not care less about the story being told.
 

·
Waiting for Kawato
Joined
·
906 Posts
To them in the business, the character work, what you are reducing to promos, is more important because that is what gets you in the building, buying the show, tuning in, etc.

To anyone watching the payoff should be what matters, and that's the match. The fingerpoke of doom is an extreme example, but a good one. Good matches live forever, while half assed payoffs to great feuds pretty much exist for the moment.

Ideally you want both, and picking one or the other seems dumb to me. If I had to pick just one I would pick the ring work because I like watching good wrestling, but for the success of the business itself if you have to pick just one, well that's obvious. Great characters and stories are what leads to long term, big time success.

Compare WWE's Attitude era to now, the wrestling up and down the card has never been better than it is now, but the other stuff was arguably never better than it was then. The difference in level of success should be enough to answer this question, but again... When you have both is when pro wrestling is at its absolute best.
 

·
Currently booking tonight’s card...
Joined
·
2,230 Posts
It really is a mixture of both at the end of the day, but I do think it’s the character that has stood out to me first over the years. So I’m going with character for this. The way someone enters the arena is a big deal, you can grasp who and what that character is all about immediately.

the rock, austin, taker, Bret, Shawn, Cena, Kane, ect... all these people made that impression immediately within seconds... their attitude and body language is right there... how can you look past that?

the ring work is also a big factor, it completes the package. But there are tons a flashy workers, especially today... but who cares if there’s not a character easily detectable?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
It’s a mixture of both. From Austin to Bret Hart `97 to Kane to Big Show to Goldberg to Trish Status to Jacqueline to Crash Holly to Harlem Heat to APA, they all had something going for them on both a ring work level, and a character level.

Even the luchador cruiserweights in WCW had something to their character in addition to their ring work due to the attire they wore, despite no cutting promos very often.

And the stars in Japan (NJPW `90s & `10s, AJPW `90s, NOAH `00) are the same, despite the Western audiences in general not understanding their promos in Japanese.

Omega did have a character in NJPW. It’s hit or miss though in AEW. It’s night and day. The same can be said for Fenix and Pentagon Jr; their characters in LU are different from what`s seen in AEW. They all still deliver in the ring though.

And in the case of Benoit, being serious and intense was his character, as he was a shoot basically. Combined with being crisp in the ring, he managed to stand out despite being one of the smaller wrestlers on the roster.

Seth Rollins should stand out more as the Monday Night Messiah. It’s not his fault though. The stars in WWE are indistinguishable from one another these days, because that the way WWE wants it. Even though UFC shows that all the tradition tricks of the pro wrestling trade still work, from show presentation to call names to having being larger than life personalities.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,959 Posts
It’s a mix of both really.

Look at Steve Austin pre neck injury. His intensity and attitude came through when he worked but at the same time he was a really good worker too. The best guys are guys who can work in whatever style suits them best that incorporates their character and attitude at the same time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,967 Posts
You can´t have one without the other. Austin after the injury was a bad (limited) wrestler, but he made it work because of his character. Bret Hart was the opposite. Excellent in-ring wrestler but besides his catchphrase he wasn´t that outstanding (at least not to me).. Still, it worked for him, again, because "The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be" was his character.
 

·
Harvester of Sorrow
Joined
·
12,208 Posts
I like a mixture of both but character work is more essential than ring work. You look at guys like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Andre the Giant and The Rock none of them were really known for the wrestling ability yet their larger than life characters got over huge with the fans. It didn't matter that they couldn't wrestle a clinic, what mattered is that the fans loved them regardless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
The best performers have both. Rollins, Austin, Michaels, etc.

Guys like Rock and Hogan have the character work but not the in ring work. Which is why I don't consider them to be among the elite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
To them in the business, the character work, what you are reducing to promos, is more important because that is what gets you in the building, buying the show, tuning in, etc.

To anyone watching the payoff should be what matters, and that's the match. The fingerpoke of doom is an extreme example, but a good one. Good matches live forever, while half assed payoffs to great feuds pretty much exist for the moment.

Ideally you want both, and picking one or the other seems dumb to me. If I had to pick just one I would pick the ring work because I like watching good wrestling, but for the success of the business itself if you have to pick just one, well that's obvious. Great characters and stories are what leads to long term, big time success.

Compare WWE's Attitude era to now, the wrestling up and down the card has never been better than it is now, but the other stuff was arguably never better than it was then. The difference in level of success should be enough to answer this question, but again... When you have both is when pro wrestling is at its absolute best.
The wrestling today is absolute garbage. Just endless high spots. Most of the roster doesnt know how to work.
 

·
F*** This indy flippy shit
Joined
·
2,173 Posts
Character Work/Promo ability by miles over ring work. I don't care how many moves you can do. It ends up looking like video game wrestling with too much choreography.

We already know it's two guys fake fighting, we don't need to embellish that more. Guys like Austin and Hogan were brawlers with limited move sets and they could pop a crowd like no other because people cared about them as characters.

Fuck this Meltzer 5-star indy spotfest shit, it has killed the business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,563 Posts
The "Mixture of Both" is the obvious answer. But, it's cheating. It's the "duh" answer

Character work is infinitely more important than ring work. It's fucking everything. An intense staredown between two awesome characters has way more impact than Wrestler A vs Wrestler B doing a staged fight in a wrestling ring.

WWE is just creatively bankrupt at this point and can't come up with compelling characters. The Attitude Era was a master class at Oxford in character work. This current era is literally a free online course at a community college.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,479 Posts
I would call most wrestlers who have come post territory days as average to below average workers. Simply because everything is just dreadful from the standpoint of storytelling and in ring psychology.

Sadly the ring work and character work has worsened over the years. People don't take themselves seriously enough to portray a character that people can connect with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
I've picked mixture but really ring work should be an extension of their character, too often their ring work IS their character which means nobody stands out.
 

·
Currently lying down wearing a blue suit
Joined
·
10,804 Posts
Obviously, character work and in-ring work BOTH matter.

No matter how many times some folks continue to bitch nowadays about the latter and hating the wrestling aspect, in-ring ability is also important (especially if being good at it helps you get more over with the crowds/fans).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,732 Posts
If character work only mattered you wouldn't be watching pro wrestling. You would watch any other TV show.
You need people that can work a match and get their character over in the ring. If you're only a great character, be a manager or something, but pro wrestlers need to be able to work, bump, tell a story, and engage the crowd with what goes on inside the ring as well.

I would call most wrestlers who have come post territory days as average to below average workers. Simply because everything is just dreadful from the standpoint of storytelling and in ring psychology.

Sadly the ring work and character work has worsened over the years. People don't take themselves seriously enough to portray a character that people can connect with.
The guy in your avatar was really the perfect example of a character that was well executed inside and outside the ring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
If I was to name any successful wrestler from the past and ask you name the first thing you think of regarding that wrestler I am willing to bet most will say some aspect of their character work.

The Rock is remembered for his promos. Likewise Stone Cold. Likewise Hulk Hogan. Likewise Flair. Likewise Cena.

Yes we all remember the IQ match between Hart and Austin but is that how you associate Austin?

Hogan slamming Andre during a match is possibly the biggest moment in wrestling history but is that how we associate Hogan?

Or do we associate him with the entrance, the theme music, the tearing of the shirt, the poses, the interviews with Mean Gene?

With Bret Hart it's the entrance, the theme music, the sunglasses, the jacket, the pose. This is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. Do we associate him with the character work or him slapping a sharpshooter on someone?

The one wrestler who is remembered more for his ring work is possibly Chris Benoit.

This gets me on to present day wrestlers, or sports entertainers.

Omega, Bucks, Mcintyre, Rollins etc

What will they be remembered for? I think of Omega and I think of goofy facial expressions in the middle of a match. No distinctive entrance, music, attire, promos. He is instantly forgettable.

Likewise Mcintyre or Rollins. What seperates them other than accent, attire and theme music? In 15 years we will associate Rollins with his curbstomp. Nothing else.

With Ric Flair we have hours of interviews with him trashing his opponent. The iconic look he had in his robe and sunglasses. The exit from his plane. Rollins and Mcintyre? Just a collection of curb stomps and claymore kicks.

Some wrestlers these days do have a character, not saying everyone doesn't have a character but why has wrestling largely gotten rid of any character work and just focuses on the bell to bell action?

Can you name any present or former wrestler who is more remembered for his ring work?

Maybe you had a favourite wrestler who you liked his character work but dislked his ring work? Or vice-versa?

I'm going to add a poll. Which do you think is more important? The character work or the ring work? Or maybe a mixture of both?

Be interesting to see what draws you to your favourite wrestler.
For me its all about the moves. Sure Shawn Michaels was the coolest guy in the 90's, but I remember him for all those flying forearms, moonsaults, planchas, & elbow drops. Likewise currently for AJ Styles & Will Ospreay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,440 Posts
If I was to name any successful wrestler from the past and ask you name the first thing you think of regarding that wrestler I am willing to bet most will say some aspect of their character work.

The Rock is remembered for his promos. Likewise Stone Cold. Likewise Hulk Hogan. Likewise Flair. Likewise Cena.

Yes we all remember the IQ match between Hart and Austin but is that how you associate Austin?

Hogan slamming Andre during a match is possibly the biggest moment in wrestling history but is that how we associate Hogan?

Or do we associate him with the entrance, the theme music, the tearing of the shirt, the poses, the interviews with Mean Gene?

With Bret Hart it's the entrance, the theme music, the sunglasses, the jacket, the pose. This is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. Do we associate him with the character work or him slapping a sharpshooter on someone?

The one wrestler who is remembered more for his ring work is possibly Chris Benoit.

This gets me on to present day wrestlers, or sports entertainers.

Omega, Bucks, Mcintyre, Rollins etc

What will they be remembered for? I think of Omega and I think of goofy facial expressions in the middle of a match. No distinctive entrance, music, attire, promos. He is instantly forgettable.

Likewise Mcintyre or Rollins. What seperates them other than accent, attire and theme music? In 15 years we will associate Rollins with his curbstomp. Nothing else.

With Ric Flair we have hours of interviews with him trashing his opponent. The iconic look he had in his robe and sunglasses. The exit from his plane. Rollins and Mcintyre? Just a collection of curb stomps and claymore kicks.

Some wrestlers these days do have a character, not saying everyone doesn't have a character but why has wrestling largely gotten rid of any character work and just focuses on the bell to bell action?

Can you name any present or former wrestler who is more remembered for his ring work?

Maybe you had a favourite wrestler who you liked his character work but dislked his ring work? Or vice-versa?

I'm going to add a poll. Which do you think is more important? The character work or the ring work? Or maybe a mixture of both?

Be interesting to see what draws you to your favourite wrestler.
How can u say nothing separates McIntyre and Rollins? McIntyre is an intense badass brawler.

Rollins is a whiny spot monkey geek. They are nothing alike except long hair.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top