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  1. #1
    The Brain
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    Comedy Wrestling

    Thought I'd make a thread for this since it can cover a lot of ground and comes up a lot these days, both in the ring and in people debating about wrestling in general. I recently reviewed a relevant match from my recommend thread and thought I might as well share it here!

    Jushin Liger, Ebessan, & Tigers Mask vs. Super Delfin, Perro, & Kuishinbo Kamen 11/24/03 Osaka Pro Tokyo Holiday Paradise

    I suspected what this match would be when I saw it was Osaka Pro, and I was not disappointed to see that I was right! This is a Japanese comedy match in it's purest form, and that really, really works for me. Ebessan and Kamen are flat out comedy wrestlers, and spent the beginning of the match "fighting", i.e. posing and playing to the crowd and trying to get their partners to tag them so they wouldn't have to do any work. They do a wonderful job including Liger, who has comedic chops all his own. Several points in the match involve Liger getting excited to so some comedic trope, only for everyone around him to suddenly so something different or act very serious and look at him like he's nuts. There's something called "The M-Pro Hop" (I believe, anyway) where after a hectic comedy sequence, everyone in the ring turns around and hops suddenly. Don't ask me to explain it in more detail, but it's a thing! At one point they're going to do it in the match, and Liger's very excited, but when the moment comes everyone else crouches down and he's left hopping all by himself. Poor Liger! But yes, he did a wonderful job with everything as expected. You also get absurd running gags like Ebessan continuously baseball sliding into the same random ringside cameraman all through the match, and a lot of verbal joking that was obviously lost on me (Deg, feel free to translate if there's anything worthwhile!). It's very obvious to see that this kind of wrestling was an influence on companies like CHIKARA, and as a fan of this stuff I thought it was great fun.



    Obviously this is great if you're a fan of this type of stuff, but it's also interesting to see how influential this stuff is in the modern tropes that drive guys like Jim Cornette up the wall, and how many of them originated in the supposedly super-serious land of Japan! Any favorite comedic moments in wrestling, if not full matches then just moments over the years?

  2. #2
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    You might think I don't go a bundle on comedy wrestling and in a lot of cases you'd be right. But where you can work comedy spots into the stuff I do like then I think it certainly has it's place. I could go to the kind of tag matches that run like a farce with the babyfaces making the heels bump into each other off the ropes and similar spots, but instead I'll share something that is, to me at least, a bit closer to home.

    This is incredibly silly, there's no denying it, but there is something about it that still kind of works. It's really difficult to put your finger on how WoS was able to combine these disparate elements but for the most part, it all came together OK.



    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Team Farrell's Avatar
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    I'm not a huge fan of comedy wrestling, but I think that there's a place for a comedy match on a lot of cards if it's done well. Done well is when it doesn't come off like it's trying to be a comedy match and at least one of the wrestlers aren't in on the joke -- they're trying to win a wrestling match but something about their dynamic or the positions that they find themselves in or the way they're working is funny. I did a shot not too long ago where the guy's spot is to tease the test of strength and pull his hand down at the last second, he does it faster and faster until it looks like you're dancing together. But I played it straight and the second the crowd got their laugh and I "realized what was happening", I got angry and attacked him.

    The only time comedy really grates on me is when it's in a main event match or angle. That shit should be two serious competitors who want to win. How'd they work their way to the main event spot if they aren't two serious competitors who want to win?

    I think comedy wrestling is like spot monkey wrestling and slow hoss matches. Just about every card has a place for it, and it's good to add variety to what you're seeing.


    I actually like that match until the finish. You've got a comedian and a straight man who wants nothing to do with the comedy. After a few chuckles, the straight man starts beating up the comedian (as you'd expect in that situation) and once the comedian fights back, he doesn't get all funny again, he's legitimately fighting. ...then the finish is fake pro wrestling bullshit.

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Well, I've got two more matches to put on my list at least!

    World of Sport comedy is some of my absolute favorite, in part because they do blend it so well in with the rest of the action. There's a great sense in World of Sport that a lot of these guys are wrestling purely for the sport of it, and when they're done wrestling they go run their pub or ride horses or whatever else they do in their normal life. It's not life or death, they don't hate anybody, they don't need to have a "moment". It's just something fun to do, so if someone starts messing around, it fits with the atmosphere they've created. It also allows a nice juxtaposition to the more serious or nasty competitors who are making their living.

    One guy being played as the fool is a great way to do comedy in wrestling. Look at Bobby Heenan's, well, his whole career for instance. Tons of comedy but it all worked within the character, because he wasn't trying to be silly, he just got into it by mistake or by someone tricking him. In ring spots work well in that regard too, though I don't discount cooperative comedy entirely. I think that's a matter of taste though, and yeah it works best in the right time and place. I agree for the most part that once you get down to serious business it's best to leave it aside, except maybe in very specific promotions that have the right atmosphere. Interested to see what a wrestler considers "fake pro wrestling bullshit"! Probably something silly, I'm guessing.

  5. #5
    The Brain
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    Did get a chance to watch the match Coach, and while I 100% get where you're coming from, I have to admit I did enjoy the ending. Different strokes, I suppose! Big fan of Jervis, I think he does a lot of things really well in his role.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Team Farrell's Avatar
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    I actually liked a lot of what I saw from that Gervis guy and thought that for a lot of the match he was a step or two ahead of Slade. It's just that finish, "rocking a guy to sleep". I wouldn't even mind it if he got them in that position and hit them with something, or figured out a submission hold from that position, but he could be the best, most fluid worker on the entire planet and I'd never even consider booking him with that finish.

  7. #7
    The Brain
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    I could guess that it wouldn't be a good fit for the kind of wrestling I know you like to book! I did like that they worked it into the whole "Slade says he hasn't slept in weeks" thing, but it's still ultimately going to be too silly for some. I think Jervis would still be very good if he tweaked his style the way you mentioned though, so maybe it's something we'll see in the future.

  8. #8
    The Brain
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    Kikutaro vs. K-ness 11/11/11 Masaaki Mochizuki Produce Buyuden Again #3

    This got sent to me on twitter, so thought I'd throw it in too. Definitely a comedy match, as you might guess if you know about Kikutaro. Highlight of the match is both guys fighting to the back, and then fighting back out with their masks switched around. Got a big laugh from the crowd too. Some of the shtick was in Japanese (maybe Deg would appreciate it?) but overall I thought it was good fun.


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