Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay took over the Internet last week after video of their acrobatic wrestling match for New Japan Pro Wrestling went viral.
It’s understandable why so many wrestling and non-wrestling types alike would be talking about it as both men launched into numerous death-defying moves that left the Japanese audience (and many all over the world) in stunned silence followed by periods of wild applause.
For wrestling legend Jim Cornette, however, there wasn’t anything impressive about it from a wrestling standpoint. In fact, he of the tennis racket said it was “not wrestling” at all.
Anyone who follows Cornette on his Jim Cornette Experience Podcast knows that he is more in line with keeping professional wrestling kayfabe, and any attempt to tear that down sends him off into a tirade.
Convinced they had finally found something he would be impressed by, Twitter users sent him an onslaught of tweets encouraging him to check it out.
“With all this attention, I had to see this match,” Cornette began. “Believe it or not, I’m not going to s*** on these guys. At least one or both of these guys could be big box office attractions — just not in the wrestling business.”
— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) May 31, 2016
From there, Cornette complimented the athletic ability on display in the Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay match but lamented the lack of storytelling.
“For their own good, a lot of these guys don’t know when to not do some things and hold back,” he said. “Here’s the thing. They’re obviously great athletes, but it’s not a wrestling match when you do s*** just to do it and not to simulate a real contest or struggle of any kind.”
“Imagine all they could have done with 10 wrestling matches had those moves been peppered in throughout instead of wasted all at once. Why doesn’t someone put them in the movies to make those martial arts or action movies more exciting? They could be big movie stars or get jobs doing motion capture for video games.”
Jim Cornette’s co-host mentioned that the pacing was off in the Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay match as well, noting “a lot of standing around with no form of aggression or sense of importance,” adding that “anyone who says that’s a 5-star match is f****** crazy.”
Recently, wrestling legend Big Van Vader shared similar views on his Twitter page and caught a lot of heat from online wrestling fans. Cornette can likely expect more of the same, but that certainly didn’t slow him down on Thursday’s show.
While he did acknowledge that every generation has an older generation ahead of them complaining that the new blood is “doing too much” in the ring — he name-drops Ole Anderson as one such offender when he was coming up as a manager — he remarks that in the past, even some of those Anderson derided still sold the idea they were locked in competition.
— Fredo Esparza (@therealfredo) May 27, 2016
“Everything looked like a legitimate struggle. It didn’t look like an Olympics gymnastic team.”
What was worst about the Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay match was that neither wrestler had any reason “to do any of these moves again,” Cornette said, adding that the moves didn’t do any real damage no matter how good they may have looked on paper.
“They haven’t figured out a way to make it look like part of an athletic struggle.” Also, he said, “you can hear the guys talking to each other” (calling their moves) during the matchup. In the end, it gives the impression that Ricochet and Will Ospreay “don’t give a s*** about winning.”
“It exposes the business, and anybody who watched that can give them their proper due as athletes, but no one could believe it was a competition,” Cornette said. “And it hurts my heart that we’re so far gone people find this acceptable.”
What did you think of the Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay match? Agree with Cornette or has time passed him by?
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons/Mike Kalasnik]