Imagine that it’s your birthday. You’ve done the rounds of the family, who’ve all given you their presents, some good, some bad. Some hitting the mark, some not.
You’re feeling pretty good. The family is done and now you’re off to have fun with your friends. One of them gives you a present too and it’s not a bad one at all. It’s a good one, something you wanted. Only one of your family have already got it for you.
That’s ok though – you can probably use two of something you really wanted. Or at least give it away as a present yourself – that’ll save you a few pennies or cents depending on where you’re reading this from.
The thing is, not only has a member of your family and one of your close friends given you the same gift, then the new girlfriend of one of another one of your friends goes and gives you the very same gift. That friend has clearly coached her, clearly trying to make sure she’s involved in the group and that she ingratiates herself to you by getting you something you really wanted.
It’s a nice gift. It’s a nice thing to do. It’s just you now have three of the damn things, which makes you almost not want even one of them.
That’s how I feel now when I see a wrestler in WWE do a suicide dive.
One per show has the chance of hitting the mark with me. Two? It’s nice, but the second becomes throwaway as I’ve seen it already. Three? In the same show? That happened so often last year before the brand split that I’ve now lost interest in the move altogether.
It’s not like a clothesline, or an uppercut or another basic move – the suicide dive is one of the marquee spots of a match – not a finisher, not a power move, but something to look spectacular and get the crowd going. So if you overuse it, each of those instances becomes diluted and eventually, the spots people should be popping for achieve nothing but indifference.
It’s not even an issue with the move itself, I like the suicide dive perfectly fine, I just think it should be restricted to one match per show or it actually starts to take away from the match rather than add.
Just as an aside, that’s why I don’t want every wrestler to be Sami Zayn. One of the reasons Raw this week was great is that you got a real mix of different styles, not just of wrestlers but of matches. A styles clash capped off by a great big man match between Strowman and Big Show. If you have Cesaro, Ambrose, Rollins, Reigns, Kalisto etc all doing suicide dives, or all doing teased top rope fail spots, basically teasing and performing the same moves, they get old quickly.
They can even be performed successfully more than once in the same match. You can tell a story around that – if your family and friends give you the same present at the same moment, you can start to laugh about it and it becomes its own thing. Similarly, two wrestlers each giving each other a suicide dive can tell a story of one-upmanship which is a story not often told in the ring any more and which is a story I remember fondly from, particularly, Kurt Angle’s style.
People notice this sort of thing a lot more when it happens in the finishes of matches. One ROLLUP OF DEATH! to finish a match? Well, I’m not a huge fan, but ok. I can live with it for the story, if it makes sense. Another ROLLUP OF DEATH! later in the night? Well, that smacks of someone backstage not talking to someone else or worse, someone not caring that the same story is being told twice in one night.
Take that one step further and if you see the same major spot in a single night it smacks of the same thing as the repeated rollup, and that’s how I feel about the suicide dive.
There’s even a case to be made, I think, for signature moves like the suicide dive to be restricted to one wrestler, or at least one wrestler per show. It’s no more unrealistic than saying that not everyone can do a Samoan drop, which they clearly can. If you made it so that only, say, Dean Ambrose could perform the suicide drive it would instantly become a key part of his assault and one you could build into being an integral part of the story of a match.
They also do it already for finishing moves. Repeated finishers don’t happen too often, making the obvious exception for Undertaker and Kane both using the chokeslam. They’re brothers. Same deal with the Hardyz and the Twist of Fate, I’ll take family as a good reason to use the same moves.
Everybody and his mother using the Spear? That leaves me completely bored of seeing that move. It’s been used too many times, by too many people, to have the same impact as it once did when Goldberg or Edge were in their prime. If you look at the rest of the list of wrestlers who’ve used it, (Rhino, Big Show, Batista, Reigns, Lashley) you see a list of wrestlers who have used a single move as a finisher in a really short space of time. Contrast that with the fact that KO using a Stone Cold Stunner a few weeks ago was practically headline news, and see the difference between a move that’s overexposed and one that’s still viewed as one of the most devastating of all time.
They try so hard with other finishing moves that I don’t quite understand it. Nobody does two Sharpshooters in the same show. Nobody else uses a Boston Crab submission (or a Walls of Jericho) when Jericho is on the card.
Why repeat finishers? It can’t be that hard to make sure only one current WWE wrestler uses a finisher, surely? They’re doing the same thing with the Superkick. It was an iconic move for Shawn Michaels and now it’s a move that it seems like I see around every wrestling corner. Just another move.
It’s such a shame and it’s been happening for years now, which makes me believe that nobody involved in WWE decision making cares about it.
I’ve been thinking about this because I’ve been thinking about ways in which WWE could improve what is essentially a pretty good wrestling product. I’ve written for many weeks about how they could improve the show, the structure, the stories and the direction, all things which aren’t anywhere near as consistent as the in-ring product, which is frankly as good as it’s ever been.
That doesn’t mean the in-ring product is perfect though, and I think distinguishing more between each wrestler and their matches would be one way to not only drive interest in the product, but drive interest in those individual wrestlers. I’d say they do a pretty good job, but there’s always a step further to take to make sure you give someone a gift that’s unique, something someone else has definitely not given as a gift that day.
You want to be the person who got THE BEST gift, not “the other person who got me that” surely?
What do you guys think? Does it annoy you to see moves repeated so often? Have I missed any?