WWE: The Ultimate Debate of Dive or Not to Dive in Pro Wrestling

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A War of the Worlds in WWE and wrestling, in general: Old School vs. New School.

In the world today we are seeing what may be the largest divide in generational beliefs in history. The battle between progressivism and the “old fashioned way,” is reaching a fever pitch.  The debate has been going on in the WWE and wrestling business for some time but its latest chapter was written this past weekend — the art of the high spot and more specifically, the dive, has come under scrutiny.

Legendary wrestling trainer Rip Rogers retweeted a post by an independent wrestler over the weekend that started a firestorm. The post was about the use of dives in matches. It very well could’ve gone under the radar until former Rogers trainee, Randy Orton, gave his two cents. Orton basically shot down any non-WWE wrestler and how they choose to work. Then longtime WWE wrestler Bully Ray stepped into the batter’s box for the independents. Ray is a man that has reinvented himself throughout the years on the independents and is always looking to evolve.

The issue at hand is wrestlers diving in matches and the frequency within which they do it. On the independent scene over the last few years, the number of high spots in matches has increased exponentially.  The defense of the “old school” mentality is that the high spot is garbage. Those defending the new school is that the business is passing those from past generations behind and it’s an evolution.

I have spoken to a few friends that fans of not only the WWE product but the independents as well.  I can honestly say I have gotten as close to a 50-50 response as you can get.  I, at first, was on the progressive side of the argument. The business, like everything in life, has to evolve or else it will fade away.

I consider myself a history buff when it comes to the art of professional wrestling. I can sit down and enjoy hours of 80’s era Memphis wrestling just as much as the latest NJPW card. So when taking a step back to evaluate things, there’s a gray area.

High spots in matches are enjoyable, but what’s better are high spots that have meaning. In the long run, it’s the core of the argument, because a dive for dive’s sake is just another move and is just as easily forgotten as a clothesline or Irish whip. But if a match can build to an apex within which that dive now puts it over the top, then it served its purpose.

The matches I tend to lose myself in the most are the ones that can build to a fever pitch. Each move leads to the next, then the next, and the next. It is a basic and yet in the same breath complex formula. Every flinch, move, smirk. It all has a purpose for the greater good of the story. That is where the high spot comes into the recipe of the match.

Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay from the 2016 NJPW Battle of the Super Juniors, was without a doubt one of the most beautiful things I have seen. In the same token, some independent shows have the spot burned through in the first match of the night which ruins it for the rest of the card.  If the opening match kills multiple high spots, then that ruins its effectiveness for the later bouts, that may benefit more from its drama.

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Professional Wrestling is a science and an art.  Every wrestler that competes is their own creative soul. They have their own brushes and paint to place on the canvas. In the end, there is no right way and there is no wrong way. Wrestling is a subjective art form, everyone has their likes and dislikes. What I love the most about the sport is that there is a home for every and all, it is our job to show them the way.