A Question of Style (or old age)

Hey Scott,
 
 
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? 
Joe

 

Oh no, you are absolutely correct.  Most of the guys in the previous generations came from a collegiate or at least highly trained wrestling background.  Now guys are coming from bodybuilding or modelling, and the legitimate wrestlers are getting into MMA instead.  It's basically chlorine in the gene pool of pro wrestling, because the further removed from the "old school" that we get, the less guys who will know how to train in turn.  Plus previous generations had to work a packed schedule, where you're doing 5-6 nights per week on a regular basis and getting good long training on the basics.  Now, guys who come up through developmental are being taught to read lines instead, and they only do 2 nights a week at most and aren't getting any actual experience working in front of a crowd or doing matches that run longer than the TV length 2-5 minute stuff.  WWE breeds their guys to work exactly how they want within their own bubble, but put them out on the indies and they're dead meat, which we've discovered over and over from their prospects who drop out of the system and then just choose to leave the business completely.  You think we're ever gonna see Tyler Reks again?  
And I'm not trying to say all of it was better than today, because it's just a totally different style anyway, but really 90% of the new guys would benefit tremendously from learning to take care of themselves without the benevolent WWE machine stealing their house show revenues on their behalf.  Promotional wars were started over beefs smaller than the one that JTG had with WWE, and yet he just rolls over and takes it because they put him on TV for 15 seconds and tell him he's a star.