On the latest episode of Wrestling with History on VOC Nation, legendary wrestling personality Ken Resnick gave his thoughts on the recent Dog-Collar matchup in AEW, as well as commenting on how the lack of psychology in wrestling is what is leading to the industry’s decline in ratings. That and more can be found below.
On the AEW dog collar match:
“The match itself between Cody Rhodes and Brody Lee was really good. It was entertaining from an announcer standpoint; I’m a fan of Jim Ross’. Jim calls the match; it’s wrestling but he still calls what he sees. When there were some great spots, he called those; when there were some spots that were missed – – Someone was a little shaky on the top ropes or (when) Cody’s dog collar loosened up – – he acknowledged that. Overall, especially where wrestling today is trending toward more high spot after high spot after highs pot where they do it so quick you can’t even invest in what you just say, I thought it was a really good match.”
On the contrast in the aftermath between 40 years ago and today:
“After the match, it kind of crystalized to me the difference between wrestling in the 80s and wrestling in the 90s and the wrestling of today…in those days if there was blood or juicing in the match, the wrestlers would wait (to clean off) so the ‘bloody mess’ the fans would see them on the interviews. To me, I was a little dumbfounded after a very good match, Brody Lee and his entourage leaves and Cody is going to do an in-ring interview. He didn’t leave or come back, it was right after the match. He kinda toweled off, and he comes on to do the interview. I mean there’s not a drop of blood visible. It’s like, if you are really cut, you are going to see some blood somewhere around the cut… Other than kind of a puffy eye, there were no markings that were emblematic of what had supposedly just taken place.”
On lack of psychology leading to the loss in viewership:
“(After the match between Piper and Valentine) there were exhausted. They could barely stand. And here’s Cody doing this great, passionate interview talking about all these things, much like if it were a normal interview and he had just walked out and hadn’t just finished this grueling, devastating match. Then toward the end…(Orange Cassidy) comes walking out and challenges him and he immediately accepts for next week, and that’s how they go off. I’m thinking, you’ve been building up and promo-ing, and you had this devastating supposed dogcollar match, and you don’t really give the fans even a couple minutes to kind of invest and digest what’s taken place. You’ve already moved on to something that’s unrelated… I thought to myself, that’s maybe one of the reasons that ratings and viewership of wrestling is down some; it’s become this kind of instant gratification entertainment, where a lot of the psychology and building up to things and paying them off and letting the fans talk about it for weeks just doesn’t exist anymore.”
On talent not being allowed to really invest in their storylines:
“In today’s business, the bookers book a match, book an angle, and there’s really no time for the wrestlers involved to really take that booking or angle and make it their own. It’s just instant gratification – – do it this way and then we’re going to do that – – regardless of what happens… The really great talent just doesn’t have the (time or empowerment) to take that where they want it to go or to build on it.”
On how 50/50 booking hurts the business:
“It’s no different than any pro sports team in any sport. If you’re a .500 team, you have your loyal fan base but you don’t really build a national audience. If Alabama or Clemson or LSU is playing, they’re one of the great teams out there and people are tuning in to watch that team… It’s like anything else, when someone is so good, fans from other sports that weren’t necessarily wrestling fans were tuning in to see Hulk Hogan… It’s also fair to say, even with Hulk going over and always winning, if Hulk had not had the charisma, the passion, the interviews, and the look, all that booking could not have made him as great as he was without all the other factors.”
On Vince McMahon’s reputation being unfair:
“Vince, when you were there, he treated everybody good. It was once he decided he didn’t need you or didn’t want you, he would kind of forget your name… Let’s be honest none of the other promotions gave you health insurance either. Because of his success, people try and point to Vince. He may not have provided it but neither did anyone else. On the flip side of the coin, Vince was suddenly paying you more than anybody else. They want to complain about it but they knew what they were getting into… I think in some ways, Vince is being unfairly persecuted for not giving health insurance…it’s not like everybody else was and Vince wasn’t.”
On the Ken Patera/Saito incident that caused both men to spend time in prison:
“It was unfortunate all around. Ken went to McDonald’s (and) it had just closed. He was fine, he said ‘let me just buy what you’ve got already made.’… Ken was starving, saw the food, the guy wouldn’t give it to him. Ken was mad, walked out, saw a brick, got mad and threw it through the window. I think the manager knew who he was. Ken just walked back across the highway to the hotel they were staying in and went to his room… The police break into the room – – the guy I really feel sorry for is Saito. He was already sleeping; all of a sudden there’s people breaking into his room and he didn’t know what was going on, and he starts swinging – – whether it was Patera or Mr Saito, one of them threw a police officer – – ended up it was a female – – through the walls of the hotel room. That police officer’s father was the fire chief of Waukesha, and that made the prosecutors out for blood… Verne I don’t think took it seriously in that they just had their normal business lawyer go down and were going to defend them, and the prosecuters in Waukesha were out for blood…they both got sentenced to two years in prison… Ken Patera was pretty bitter about the whole thing and it took him a long time to really get over it. It was sad on all fronts.”
Listen to the full episode below.