Posts Tagged ‘Acquired Tastes’

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Acquired Tastes

December 23, 2019

WILPW

Today I want to talk about those performers who kind of fill a unique niche in the business and therefore become kind of an acquired taste. In fact, plenty of people never warm to them. They have unique or strange gimmicks or are just so different from what we think of when we think of a professional wrestler. Since it is incredibly close to Christmas, I think I will start with somebody I consider a gif. I’m talking about “Freshly-Squeezed” Orange Cassidy.

I do not know much about Cassidy’s early career. All I know about is his current gimmick and the one that catapulted him to the top of the independent scene and now onto primetime network television. His gimmick (brought to life in PWG, ICW, Chikara, Beyond, and others) is that of a perpetually hungover slacker. He walks out to the ring in a faded jean jacket, slacks, a t-shirt of himself wearing his t-shirt, and mirrored sunglasses. He barely emotes and tries to get away with moving as little as possible. In tag matches, you can sometimes be tricked into thinking he has fallen asleep in the corner. He moves slowly and then hits his opponents with strikes that could not hurt a fly. However, the crowd and announcers always sell the strikes as if they were brutal and savage. Just when his opponents dismiss him, he either tricks them into losing or kicks it into full gear and kicks their butt. All without removing his hands from his pockets.

Of course, he has both fans and detractors. His gimmick is extremely meta since it relies heavily on the cooperation of everyone involved. To their credit, the crowds bought into it fairly quickly. He may not look like he is doing much but every move is defintely thought out and calculated to tell one long joke. It is the kind of joke that feels really good to be a part of. I admit that I did not get it at first but once I watched a couple of his matches, i had it. His detractors think that his act distracts from the so-called legitimacy of the sport at the heart of the story. They complain that his lackadaiscal attitude and behavior is a slight to the other performers who are working hard and risking their bodies in more athletic endeavors. Except that they do not see that his act also takes skill and athleticism. They do not see that he chose the gimmick not to insult his co-workers but to stand out but also make them look better.

Next, we’ll move on to the other example I have today. His name is Marko Stunt and he seems to be even more controversial than Cassidy is. The thing about Marko Stunt is far more simple. Marko started as a viral sensation that allowed him to make a name for himself on the independent wrestling scene. Marko is all of five feet and two inches tall. Of course, that means he is only slightly shorter than I am but there is a problem. This is incredibly short for a pro-wrestler. The average seems to be somewhere between 6 foot and 6 foot 8 inches which is tall for most humans. While I cannot find a billed weight for him, he is very skinny. He also lacks the defined muscles of the classic pro-wrestler. All of this adds up to make him look like somebody’s kid somehow wandered into the ring. In fact, that is the usual knock his opponents pull out when he comes out to the ring.

It is easy to predict that the knock on Marko Stunt is that he is too small to be a believeable threat in the ring. The size disparity is indeed a lot to take in but the thing is that we are talking about a fantasy version of a fighting sport. Sure the average performer has more than a foot in height and probably a hundred pounds on Marko. However, any match can be won or lost based on strength, athleticism, skill, and heart. Marko has a ton of athleticism, skill, and heart. He is absolutely impressive in the ring and moves quicker than some of the fastest people I have seen in the squared circle. His agility and processing speed allow him to do some things that I did not think were possible. With him flipping and flying all around the ring, I start to believe that he just might win after all. Now that he is paired with “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry and Luchasaurus, he seems to be taking off a bit more in the public eye.


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