WWE: Can Something Be Said About the ‘Safe’ Style?


With all the talk over recent weeks on social media as to The Miz’s safer style of competition, can something be said about the benefits of that style in WWE?

A month or so ago, social media blew up after the worked shoot interview that took place during the ‘Talking Smack’ segment between Daniel Bryan and The Miz. As fans will recall, Bryan said he respected the Intercontinental title, but didn’t respect the person holding the belt. The conversation escalated from there, and he criticized The Miz’s style and said that he wrestles like a coward. The comments infuriated The Miz, who in turn called Bryan a coward for failing to return to the ring; whether he could or could not, is irrelevant.

What was the spark of conversation was The Miz’s assertion that his style, while being subject to criticism, has ensured that he has maintained a decade long career. During his career the has held the WWE heavyweight championship, tag team championship, and the Intercontinental championship on five separate occasions. His ‘safe’ style has prolonged The Miz’s career, while in the process he hasn’t hurt anyone else during his career, thus making it, well, something. Where fans take issue is that, while Miz has had a career that has spanned over a decade, and he has wrestled a safe style, how memorable have his matches have been throughout his career?

For some, having a career is something they would rather not relinquish. And perhaps what you may not achieve during your matches you’re able to achieve during your promos. Often the argument has been it isn’t about what you do on the microphone, it is what you do between the ropes that will make others remember you. This has been the spark of the discussion.

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Yes, the Safe Style Has Made Legends

One of the most notable wrestlers in history was Hulk Hogan. Hogan’s career lasted many, many years, and while it may have been slowed down because of the toll of competing for as long as he did, he has still remained memorable. His battles against King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant and The Ultimate Warrior were safer because there was nothing that put anyone in harm’s way, and yet they were still able to capture the attention of the audience because they were creating memories.

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If we think of all the wrestlers that were known more for their personality than their in-ring style, it could easily be said that the safe style is what prolonged their careers. These men and women fought a refined technique that was much like an illusionist, the art of convincing fans that they were hurt than they actually were. A number of wrestlers, whether it was in the AWA, NWA, WCW or WWE, fought a style that wasn’t necessarily exciting, but filled time. Often times matches can be filled with enough storytelling without risks having to be taken. Men such as The Miz have made a career on this.

No, That Time Has Come and Gone

The likes of Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior succeeded by being more personality than wrestling, but that isn’t what a number of today’s wrestling fans want to see. The recent success of the WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic is a clear indication that they want to see countless risks taken, and countless spots during each match to help further along the story being told in the ring. A number of talented wrestlers on the independent circuit have earned a great deal of notoriety and popularity because of their ability to use a style that is conducive to what the paying audience wants to see.

Wrestlers such as The Young Bucks, Ricochet, Will Ospreay and Adam Cole are among the biggest risk takers in pro wrestling, and they seem to push the envelope each time they are out there. Their success has also seen them capture championships, but each time they are out in the ring fans know they will be treated to something special each time they are out there. The riskier style does have its downside in that wrestlers’ careers are shortened because of the risks they take.

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The selfish side wants to see these tremendous talents give their all, but the downside is that in giving their all we are left with only memories of what they were, rather than having them compete for the masses. It is easy to say that we support that type of style or don’t, but as fans we don’t live with the lasting effects one way or the other. All we have are memories of a group of men and women that spilled blood for our entertainment as we applauded or jeered along the way.