Thursday 13 February 2014

That Wrestling Podcast Episode 41

Entrances are one of the most important parts of wrestling. Done right they can be one of the most entertaining aspects of a show, add layers to a character, or create a career highlight. Done wrong they can be horrific, ruining shows, dampening audience enthusiasm, and ruining careers. Many wrestlers, notably (but not necessarily interestingly) Daniel Bryan, have said that having a good entrance is the most important aspect of succeeding in WWE.

This is nothing new, of course. You can go back decades to find examples of wrestlers enjoying lavish entrances on bigger shows. As time’s gone on and technology and budgets have improved the quality of these entrances has grown. WrestleMania III saw wrestlers ferried to the ring on a truck, with a shot of Andre the Giant and Bobby Heenan becoming a recurring clip in WWE video packages. WrestleMania IX saw The Undertaker pulled to the ring on what was described as a “funereal chariot”. Three years later Shawn Michaels ziplined into ‘Mania before dethroning Bret Hart for his first WWF championship.

There are non-WWE examples too, of course. The Sandman’s entrances for his match in ECW were usually better than the matches that followed. Meanwhile WCW used the simple idea of having static and black and white featured in the nWo’s entrance video to make it seem as though they really were hijacking episodes of Nitro. And they had Sting dropping in from the rafters too.

And this isn't even the entrance!
Right now New Japan are the undisputed market leaders when it comes to wrestling entrances. Instead of having a set routine their wrestlers are given special entrances on bigger shows, ones that fit their personalities and position on the card. Everything from giant anime swords to strip clubs to comic book-inspired body paint daubing to Japanese rock stars to full size animatronic dinosaurs have been incorporated into entrances for their top stars. It’s an approach that enhances both the wrestlers and the shows.

It’s also an approach that knocks WWE’s tacky firework displays into a cocked hat. If comparing WWE entrances to NJPW’s seems unfair think again. WWE has a long history, longer than New Japan, of giving its top players memorable entrances on big shows. Not only that but they have more money than NJPW, meaning that if they had a mind to they could produce something far more lavish. That they don’t is disappointing.

No comments:

Post a Comment