The High-Flying Debate: How the IWC Degrades the Style and Its Best

Nicholas LeVackContributor IIAugust 11, 2010

When assessing a mainstream high-flyer, an Internet smark will often cite a quasi-notable indy talent with the capacity for near-uncountable rotations when delivering a particularly striking spot during a match.

To them, they are the true high-flyers; the ones who deserve all the praise that they feel men like Rey Mysterio are undeservingly lavished with.

However, to such people I have this to say: many of those men you so psychotically idolize are little more than two-bit spot monkeys, more likely to break a leg than to pull off a match that surpasses anything but a quick display of exaggerated diving prowess that devalues common offensive maneuvers, lacking any of the amenities of a genuine wrestling match and akin more to gymnastics.

What fills these smarks with blind hate of wrestlers like Rey Mysterio is WWE’s insistence that he is the best high-flyer in professional wrestling.

If you were to accept your average Internet fan’s definition of a high-flyer, you’d believe WWE incorrect; however, perhaps after I state my case, you’ll see how Rey Mysteiro has easily clinched the mantle of the world’s best high-flyer.

To me, there’s hardly anything enticing about a wrestler who specializes in pulling off a few flips. Yet there are still many Internet fans who would attest to such performances as being unsung classics.

There are a plethora of videos on YouTube that shows kids performing the same stunts with relative ease in their backyards. Why should I then pay to see professionals do what I can watch for free from the comfort of my computer chair?

Do not misunderstand me, readers, I love independent wrestling. I delight at promotions like HYBRID and ROH as they emphasize so strongly on technical ability and an atmosphere of competition, while still maintaining a fair quality of storytelling in ROH’s case, at least.

However, I care for those over-exalted spot monkeys as much as I would to stay in a German death camp.

What mainstream wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and John Morrison pull off in terms of high-flying moves might appear trite to the vast array of spots seen in the independents, but what matters most is how they’re employed.

If you watch just about any Rey Mysterio match, you’ll see he uses relatively few high-impact spots.

His “high-flying” moves manifest mostly during transitions, comebacks, and near-finish counters. Why, that sounds much more appealing from a wrestling psychology standpoint than an untimely placed 630 senton, does it not?

What makes Rey Mysterio excellent is not a propensity for high spots. Rather, he uses crisp, fluid counters in dismal situations that intensify the suspense for a finish to near meteoric levels.

Those moments reawaken a viewer’s investment in the match, renewing his or her hope for Rey Mysterio to pull of what is recurrently billed as an “upset victory.”

To me, that is much more compelling than a high spot that elicits a pop for all of three seconds, dying quickly as neither combatant is capable of harnessing the momentum that move provided.

You could make a case for mainstream high-flyers like AJ Styles, Evan Bourne, and John Morrison.

Indeed, all three of them have pulled off excellent matches in their time spent with their respective television promotions, which is saying a lot especially for Evan Bourne, whose TV time has been heavily limited by a tentative Raw creative team.

However, what sets Rey Mysterio apart from those three is the sheer vastness and malleability of his arsenal. It’s truly amazing that after all of these years, he is still able to devise new counters, adapting constantly as he faces new, younger talent.

His feud with CM Punk was an unmistakable testament to that quality. Despite having never wrestled the man before (not counting unreported house shows), he exuded with unmatched proficiency as he still pulled off appropriately unique counters to much of Punk’s offense, providing for a distinct performance between he and Punk.

When used in a timely manner, a breathtaking high spot can be a great thing. However, when it’s the appetizer, trimmings, and entrée for a match, it degrades the inimitability.

Regardless of his detractors, Rey Mysterio will continue to put on top caliber performances with WWE’s youngest and brightest or even their oldest and slowest, solidifying his place as professional wrestling’s unparalleled supreme high-flyer.

My only hope for this matter is that if the Internet smarks will not accept this unassailable reason, they’ll at least quiet down so that I can enjoy my wrestling, while they are more than welcome to elatedly watch their gymnastics with the same peace.


For more of my work, check me out at The John Report, where I write the blog's weekly WWE Superstars review: