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LaBar: The secret to a good pro wrestling match

Less is more.

This past weekend I embarked on another adventure as a manager in professional wrestling. When I say manager, I don’t mean just the on-screen activity a normal wrestling fan is used to seeing. I’m talking about managing in every sense of the word.

One of the guys I often work with is one of my best friends who wrestles as Bam Stone out of Georgia. We appeared for the second time in a row at the Superstars of Wrestling event at The Forum arena in Rome, Ga.

Setting up travel arrangements, hotel, money, music, personal comfort and more go into my role of trying to make the talent, Bam, as prepared as possible to perform in the main event on Internet pay-per-view against the man formerly known as Brodus Clay.

A lot of addresses, prices, plans and contacts are filling both our heads as we try to make best of this busy-but-exciting weekend. Also in the duties is talking and strategizing for the best match possible. The agreed theme in this conversation regarding how to make Saturday night’s match as entertaining as possible and to the advantage for a Bam Stone victory was to keep it simple.

What that means is no need for a crazy flip here, a dive onto that and wild swerves in expectations in the end. Give the people what they want. A need to know what the people expect out of each performer is vital. What will it take to make them feel like they got their money’s worth?

Is it dancing? Is it this particular move? Is it to see the manager get intimidated and run like crazy?

Every match needs to have these question, answered and for this match it was a lot of simplicity. Two imposing guys with unique looks along with a pesky manager causing havoc on the outside. The key is not to make things more complicated than they need to be.

Fans don’t realize when hearing a wrestler talk about the importance of the amount of bumps they take in a ring per night. To that fan watching that night, those 10 bumps don’t seem like a big deal. Add it up night after night, and the results begin to show year after year.

The people can be satisfied and know what they want to see. You can give them what they see if clear emotion and roles have been established. If you do this, you often find the very art to professional wrestling shouldn’t call for an excess of unnecessary bumps.

I love talking to wrestlers from the 1970s and 1980s. They love to tell stories about what it really means to work a crowd. The art of working the crowd can be centered around getting them invested in the characters in front of them for minutes while barely touching each other. Not how fast or how many reversals someone can do. If the people don’t react, it doesn’t matter.

This is where having a character, charisma and comfort come into play.

A wrestler who worked all the southern territories in the 1980s gave me a piece of advice awhile ago that I’m just now starting to understand. He would say a wrestling match is based around whether Popeye is going to eat his spinach. If he does, then after conflict he rises up, and it’s a spectacular comeback. If not, the nice guys finish last, and the need to fight another day is all the more needed and wanted.

Go to HighSpots.com and look up SuperStars of Wrestling on iPPV, and you’ll get a little bit of everything. Falls count anywhere matches, ladder matches, women wrestling and, of course, Brodus Clay vs. Bam Stone with me in the corner doing what I do best: managing.

Watch that match, and you’ll see what I mean with a perfect blend of entertainment, character but less is more.

Justin Labar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @JustinLaBar.


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