I realize I am probably dating myself with this, but in an effort to actually be entertained (as opposed to bored and disgusted) by this wonderful quasi-sport of ours, I've been watching a lot of 80's and early 90's stuff lately (mostly WWF but some other stuff via the DVDs and YouTube as well). Now, as a fan who started watching wrestling at the the tender age of 8 back in 1987, and who consequently was in my late teens and early 20's for the Attitude Era, ECW and the Monday Night Wars, I guess I sort of developed an underlying feeling that the older stuff from my childhood was more boring, less realistic and more… "fake" (if you take my meaning) than say, the Attitude era stuff. Now, here I am at 33 and much of the Attitude era stuff feels dated, and I've developed a whole new appreciation for the Hogan era stuff, and here's why. It seems to me that the pro wrestlers of yesterday were just so much more technically and fundamentally sound than those of today. What I mean is, it seems like even lower and midcard guys had a basic set of skills that today's guys, with some exceptions, are either lacking or, if they have them, just not utilizing. I'm not sure if I'm making my point, but to put it another way, in any given match in the 80's you'd see things like small packages, sunset flips, backslides, etc (pinning attempts, at points during the match that made sense). There would be some attempts at chain wrestling that made the whole thing seem more realistic. Guys had a basic, fundamental moveset – even when it came to restholds – and would work a specific parts of the body, with a purpose (usually to set up their finisher).
In fact, now that I'm rambling on it, I think everything that went on the ring just seemed to make so much more sense than it does today… where it seems like guys just kinda hit cool looking move, one after the other, hit a finisher, and go home. Maybe its because Gorilla and Jesse and Bobby were selling it better than King and Cole do (since they actually took time to explain what was happening in the ring, instead of talking about teh internets). During RAW the other night, because someone mentioned them in the live thread, I watched a few Jumping Bomb Angels vs. Glamour Girls matches, and even THEY seemed more… I don't know, proficient than most of the guys (nevermind the girls) on the roster today (yeah, yeah, obvious main event/veteran exceptions to this, but I hope I'm getting my meaning across). If I had to boil it down, it just seems like you could take any given match from Superstars of Wrestling Challenge and you get the impression that the participants know what they're doing in there, way more than you do with any given lower card match today.
So after all that, my question is, am I right? Did the journeyman wrestlers of yesterday just know their craft better? Or do today's wrestlers have the same set of fundamentals and just not use them because the style is different? Does today's style not lend itself to that kind of basic in-ring story telling? Or am I just looking at the old school stuff through my rose-tinted nostalgia glasses?