November 15, 2006
This commentary was actually inspired by a Question I answered in a recent Q and A commentary. Someone had asked for my opinion of Lance Hoyt and one of the comments I made was: "Seriously, I think he needs to learn how to work like a big man and quit doing Planchas and Moonsaults." I have since received an email questioning this opinion and I think it can be used to illustrate one of the things that I think is very wrong with the business today and where a lot of younger workers go wrong. The follow up email asked: “In the WWE, when Kane does his flying forearm off the top rope, Jim Ross always comments how agile he is for a big guy. If Kane can do it, why not Hoyt?”
For starters Kane does a flying clothesline, but that is neither here nor there. The reason I feel Kane can get away with “high flying” and think Hoyt should not, is that they are two very different people in two very different situations. Just because wrestle A does a specific move or spot does not mean wrestler B should. I get asked all the time by my students about moves and spots and if they should do them and where in the match they should be done, and the answer is usually, “It all depends on who, when, where, why, and how.” Just because a spot makes sense in one match doesn’t mean it will make sense in another, which is why workers who just imitate or copy stuff they see others doing, without thinking about the how, why, and when, will never be as good as the worker who understands psychology and thinks things through.
Lets look at Kane specifically; he is obviously a “Big Man”. Kane works like a “Big Man” and has successfully established himself as such. When his music hits or he confronts someone you feel his presence and the crowd knows the other guy is in deep trouble. He has established himself as a “Big Man” to be feared. I’ve worked with Kane a ton and I think he is one of the better “Big Men” out there and on top of that is incredibly easy to work with. He protects his character and size without hurting his opponent or becoming difficult. Since Kane has established himself real well, he is then able to get a way with a little more without damaging that image. (i.e. the flying clothesline).
Further more and this is the real key, Kane works for WWE, which is a “Big Man” territory. In WWE there are a ton of big guys; you have The Big Show, The Undertaker, Great Kahli, Bautista, Viscera, to name just a few; with so many big men Kane adding ONE top rope move will help him stand out in the land of giants. He also does it very deliberate and slow to make it mean something, without looking like a guy trying to be a cruiserweight.
Lance Hoyt on the other hand has not yet established himself as a “Big Man” on TV. Fans are just getting to see and get a feel for Lance and he moves at a similar speed to some of the smaller guys, and as I mentioned does Planchas and Moonsaults. The Moonsault I’ve seen him do was even one in which he runs up the ropes quickly, which again makes him look more like a cruiserweight. He also had the guy kick out the first time we saw such an impressive move, which made the move seem ineffective. The little bit I’ve seen Lance on TV all I remember are his dives and the moonsault, and I don’t remember them in a good way.
This is another big difference that needs to be taken into account. TNA is not a “Big Man” territory. Most of the roster is smaller, shorter, faster, and more agile, than guys in WWE. With the majority of the TNA roster being smaller and more agile, being a good “Big Man” could really make one stand out. With so many great fliers in TNA Hoyt’s agility (as impressive as it may be) will always look second rate.
I remember the first match I saw Hoyt in he was tagging with AJ and they both did dives to the floor. AJ’s was of course super impressive and Hoyt followed up with one not nearly as impressive. TNA is filed with great fliers, if Hoyt wants to get established and stand out, he would be far better served (in my opinion) to concentrate on being a “Big Man” and making himself more unique. Kane might be able to pull off a decent drop kick, but he would never do one in a match with Bob Holly, Randy Orton, or myself, because he is going to look clumsy by comparison should he try.
This business, when done properly, isn’t about the moves, it’s about establishing yourself and developing a style and presence that best suits you and the environment that you are in. When trying to establish yourself you need to be far more careful and consistent with what you do and how you act. Once you are established you can get a way with so much more. Flair is a prime example. Flair is so established he can do absolutely anything he wants and the crowd will still love him. Flair can rant like a mad man in a promo, breaking into a strut and take face bumps for no reason or drop elbows and knees on the microphone and fans will cheer and love him; that does not mean this would be a good idea for anyone else. I would even go so far to say that if anyone else tried to do this they would get laughed out of the building.
In wrestling all things are not created equal and you have to look at each individual person and the environment they are in before deciding what makes sense.
Till next week,