out of determination to watch the PPVs on the Network chronologically, I've started with S
'83 (aka "Everybody Bleeds"). To the modern eye, it seems like most of the finishes come out of nowhere, sometimes off of what I'd label a transitional move or in the middle of a sequence — and clearly the crowd doesn't expect them either.
Is the idea of building to a hot finish a more modern concept (or at least one that came later in the '80s), or was NWA just booked differently at the time? Or am I somehow watching it wrong (very possible)?
Yeah, the "hot finish" is very much a product of the modern times, I'd say. Obviously the usual finish in WWF main events was Hogan doing the big boot and legdrop for most of the 80s, although the tag teams on the undercard were doing a lot of the style we'd call "WWE main event style" now, with trading finishes and missing big moves and stuff. Bulldogs and Harts used to love to do that. It's also to do with the promotion you're watching. Japan's big two pretty much pioneered the finisher-trading industry and it ended up being a big influence on the guys who worked there or just came up watching it.